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PHANTACEA Phase One # 2
- Ian Bateson artwork, 1985 -
Devil Land versus Demon Land
-- from Warpoc-2
© copyright Jim McPherson, 2003
The War of the Apocalyptics
- Ian Bateson artwork, 1978 -
Thalassa D'Angleo (Sea Goddess) cleanses Damnation Isle
-- from Warpoc-3
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|Bulk of page written: July 1997|
6. The War of the Apocalyptics: "Inner Demons"
Just as he is in the 'Centauri Island' installment this time around, Saul Ryne, the Magnificent Psycho, is making his presence felt in Apocalyptics this Tuesday, December 2, 1980. First, Cerebrus David Ryne goes down in the Hotel Vancouver then Masada Richler, an old friend of the Diver's father (actually the Diver himself) kills himself, -- only he doesn't, not really.
All the way from Damnation Isle, Psycho has mentally got hold of Wilderwitch and caused her to cast a full sensory illusion of his suicide. What for? Fun? Maybe. But more likely it's because Psycho wants the Damnation Brigade as much as he had the King Crimefighters a quarter century earlier. He's plans for them. And a start of that plan is to commandeer his twin's mind. After all, Cerebrus is almost as powerful as he is. Plus, he has a body!
Unlike the unfortunate Demios Sarpedon and Psycho's other victims/playthings on Damnation Isle the day before, Cerebrus has some very impressive friends. The Elemental Twins, for example. What's with this psychic bond they have with each other? Can they form into some kind of Dual Entity even more powerful than they are individually?
What's with Gloriel's Little Angels, -- the rainbow-hued, butterfly-winged eyeballs she seemingly can project at will? And how about Wilderwitch's fearsome soul-self? As Gloriel put it: "If that's a reflection of what's inside her, what she's doing on our side?"
Where are Sundown and Raven? Cerebrus thinks he knows, -- on Damnation Isle, with whatever's become of his ever-dangerous and, perhaps now, even murderous twin brother. What none of them know is precisely what, besides meditating, Obadiah Power's doing upstairs in Hideaway Damnation's 'sweet house.'
That night, Mars Bellona, the Apocalyptic of War, appears in Temporis!
7. The War of the Apocalyptics: "Damnation Disturbed"
It's now the first Wednesday in December 1980 and, after a couple of comparatively slow chapters, War's breakneck pace picks up again. Quite literally in one case. Various members of the Damnation Brigade are spotlighted, beginning with Blind Sundown and Raven's Head. The ultimate fate of the Conquering Christ is revealed for the first time, -- or is it?
Silver Signallers, seven of them, are introduced, though only hints as to their true origins are given. Saul Ryne, the Magnificent Psycho, still haunts these pages, albeit not for long, and Devil Wind returns, again not for long.
Ding~Dong, the Witch is dead! Well, not really. (When it comes to Wilderwitch, who ever knows what's real and what's illusion?) She's actually on Damnation Island seeking some degree of payback for what happened to her last night. Only Psycho isn't there any more.
Aranyani Nightingales's shown up while Sundown and Raven were out and about in the Grey putting Vayu Maelstrom out of his misery. Not as thoroughly as the Witch promptly does once they return him to Damnation though, -- the 'quite literally' crack made above refers directly to what happens to the Whirling Deva this time around!
As the Witch goes off through the Universal Substance in order to properly dispose of the demon-devil's severed head some thousand miles away from where the remainder of Vayu's corpse is left to rot, or freeze, or be eaten, Johnny and the Head head to Vancouver mostly via Shadowland. Which, thanks largely to Psycho, Raven has only recently learned she can get into and navigate through.
Meanwhile, on the Head Itself, Thrygragos Byron, he who is all head, finally realizes one of his Primary Nucleoids is altogether missing, -- not to mention bifurcated. With his other two top-drawer enforcement-offspring in tow, the long-bodiless Great God heads off-Head to do something about it. (Actually it would be be more correct to say in eye, as opposed to in toe. Plus, even in terms of Master Devas, Sedona Spellbinder and Chimaera Glimmenmare are a couple of very strange characters indeed.)
Messieurs Barry and Lapin (Sasquatch and Styx, for those who know their Signallers and/or read last month's newest PHANTACEA on the Web feature) have escaped from the Oakalla prison in Burnaby, British Columbia, Vancouver's next-door metropolis eastward. As Cerebrus David Ryne gleans thanks to his mental might, they have, possibly, been broken out of jail by the latest incarnation of the Emperor Mammalian himself. He and the Terrible Twins, Sea and Air, are on their way to investigate their disappearance when Cerebrus picks up the presence of Splendour Units, -- and some of System's Silver Signallers equally nearby!
The punkish, teenage Signaller called Sapphire, a daughter/great granddaughter of Sedon St. Synne, 'photostats' Cerebrus' soul into one of her artificial agates. Can't allow that, says still-young Ryne, can we? Have to get it back, don't we? Aires shows his stuff; Thalassa does too, and Cerebrus is at his Mister Mental best.
Jervis Murray tips a waiter for serving watered-down rum -- actually it's more tap than tip -- while, up top, underneath Grouse Mountain, Gloriella D'Angelo, who is both Sap's aunt and her niece, tells the Diver about 'The Garden of Heavenly Happiness.'
It's not Eden. Eden Nightingale was killed in 1939, along with Daughter Aranyani, who was born on the same day Gloriel was, Good Friday 1933, and of course turns out not to have been killled at all. No, this garden is Glory's own personal vision of perfection. Except it's now been soiled by their tortuous return from Limbo, by the horrendous, group-humiliating, Advent of the Apocalyptics -- of Plague in her particular case, given what Carcinogen the Leper did to her on Damnation Isle -- and, she thinks, by Wilderwitch, who covets her Rainbow Gratuities; her Big Angel, as it were.
As if the Witch doesn't have enough goodies in her bottomless bag already.
Sapphire's last name is Lancz, but she isn't the daughter of Simon Lancz, the Signallers' nominal Strategos. At least she doesn't think she is!
By the way, how could Donar Lancz, Simon's prohibitive father, have been killed in 1943 if he was killed on Salvation Island in 1953 -- the same as the King Conqueror, assuming Jesus Mandam was the Conqueror and not just the self-proclaimed Conquering Christ?
Answer to that's simple. Lancz had been cloned in the early Forties, late Thirties, -- which is what Sharpshooter, who may be a clone himself, thinks is how either Cerebrus or Psycho, plus the Elemental Twins, are seemingly back in action after being dead for a quarter century. They aren't the real thing; are Callion Clones, all of them. Ones with the Twin Angels and Psychic Siblings' abilities! (Misnomer that; check out 'Centauri Island' for clues as to the identities of the real Psychic Siblings.)
Has to do with the Man on the Moon, you see. That explains Mammalian too. The great man, Loxus Abraham Ryne, has been breaking his own rules; been trying to bring supranormals back to life, one way or another, in a misguided effort to fulfill SPACE's mandate, -- namely, to prevent alien control of the Earth. However, would aliens be worse than Advanced Men, supermen? Certainly System doesn't think so.
Realizing the Xuthrodites' octogenarian patriarch's senile follies for what they are, System brought Signallers into existence not just to neutralize supras but to exterminate them, once and for all time. So, Shooter contacts Shelter. Not Big Shelter; not even the Witch's Shelter. No, this Shelter, -- well, just as Shoot may be Thaddeus Hyperenor, the only son of the late Thirties', early Forties' Silver Arrow Assassins, Sagittarius and Sagitta, Shelter could be Echion Sangati.
Who could this Echion Sangati be, you might ask? You'd be best reading 'The Moloch Manoeuvres' for a likely answer to that. As for more on the Magnificent Psycho, Aranyani Nightingale, Moe III, and the Silver Signallers, you definitely should be reading 'Centauri Island' , especially for the fullness of Signal System's saga. Most of it anyhow.
And who is the Kronokronos Supreme? What's Wilderwitch doing with the Crimson Corona? What's Corona Power's long-estranged mate, Obadiah Melvin Power, doing to his regalia but for his Homeworld Sceptre? What exactly are they, what exactly is it, and why is OMP wandering around naked in the 'sweet house' atop Hideaway Damnation?
Isn't that's why you're reading 'The War of the Apocalyptics'?
8. The War of the Apocalyptics: "Family Affairs"
Important chapter this. Lots going on this Thursday, December 4, 1980.
Obadiah Melvin Power's finally out of his funk. Blind Sundown, Raven's Head, and Wilderwitch are back from Damnation Isle, though Sundown and Raven decide not to hang around in Hideaway Damnation and head off for their former happy hunting grounds in the Rocky Mountains. Family could be families as OMP, Diver, and Cerebrus all reflect on what's become of theirs, -- but the titular one's the Family D'Angelo.
Their five year reunion is not scheduled until this weekend but already most of its members are in Vancouver. One of them is Sapphire Lancz, the teenage Signaller who 'photostatted' Cerebrus' soul the day before. (Not that she got to hold onto it for long.) Two others are 18 year old Natasha Dre'Ath, the daughter of Bruce Dre'Ath and Anna Maria nee D'Angelo, and Star Dark, Estrella, Gloriel's now 27 year old daughter. They've been doing the town, hitting the nightspots. They aren't the only ones either.
Wilderwitch shows off even more of her 'talents', -- can't call them powers as such because, in most respects, she isn't a supranormal. For example, not only can she cast undetectable sensory illusions but she can grow a second skin about herself. She can also brain-baffle with the best of them. On the best of them too, as she proves by pulling a Cerebrus on Cerebrus. As for why she's taken the Crimson Corona out of its display case, that's yet to be determined.
What is determined is that she's running out of Anthean Agates. She learns where to get more though, albeit artificial ones. From the teenage Signaller known as Sapphire!
(By the way, even though aspects of her-story, and OMP's his-story, is touched upon in this chapter, for a lot more on Corona Power and her talisman, check out this month's installment of 'Centauri Island'. Much of the information contained therein won't be repeated when the Corona really comes into play later on this serial.)
The five Silver Signallers still in Vancouver (Sharpshooter, Shadowswirl, Spartan, Stiletto, and the aforementioned Sapphire) receive a couple of missives from System Central; from Strategos, Simon Lancz, more specifically. Sapphire's prohibitive father considers it a very real possibility that the Signallers actually encountered the King's Own Crimefighters out in Burnaby and at the Bayshore the night before. The real ones, -- not some clonal facsimile as had been speculated by Shooter in particular.
Rather explicitly, Lancz instructs them to try to make contact. Gloriel and the Terrible Twins are D'Angelos after all. That must be why they're in Vancouver, to attend the big family reunion, what happens every five years or so, and which he'll be flying in to join come the weekend. Oh yes, that and the fact Mammalian and his Manimalians are on the loose again after over a quarter century of course.
Wilderwitch isn't the only one who shows off different aspects of her abilities. So too does Old Man Power. Seems he can transmit dreams; seems, moreover, he's been doing exactly that, -- sending dreams to folks in Vancouver indicating they're back, and unchanged in twenty-five years. Yehudi Cohen, the Untouchable Diver, is horrified when he hears about it.
OMP's dream-casting talents are erratic to say the least. The old man counters that they've saved a lot of lives in the past and they'll certainly cushion the blow when he and Gloriel go to see the latter's elderly parents, siblings, child, nieces and nephews, come the weekend. The Diver tries to talk them out of it but, in the end, seems to be going along with them. In fact, as he suggests to Wilderwitch, she and Furie, maybe even the Elemental Twins, should consider joining them. Why? Because, if they don't, Cerebrus is going to stick them right back in the breech!
Lots of breech to stick them into too. There's the Menace on the Moon, what's happened to the Cosmic Express, Centauri Island itself, -- Cerebrus is convinced it links to Big Shelter. And that Big Shelter is a Hidden Continent. (Wherever did he get that idea?) There's also Signal System, a newly-nascent Emperor Mammalian, what his sister, Aranyani Nightingale, and her partner, Moses Callion III, are up to in the Houston Academy of Man, (making clones of old supras, no doubt about that) and, lest we forget, the Magnificent Psycho.
Meanwhile, Jervis Murray and Airealist are still recovering from last night's successful 'pussy prowl', as Air somewhat undiplomatically refers to it. Can't fool the Witch of course; her senses are almost as heightened as Jerry's are when he's in Dervish Furie mode. She knows he's been with another woman and dumps his clothing at his feet to show her displeasure. Still, theirs is an open relationship and Wilderwitch isn't as annoyed as she makes out to be. (Sorry, couldn't resist.)
After all, there have been plenty of men in her life; one of whom, obviously, since Murray's infertile, is the father of her lone daughter, Fey Woman. Consequently, when the eight members of the Damnation Brigade (Sundow and Raven being off on their own, as was their wont) get together that night for pizza and a home-warming, spirits are high.
Gloriel is in a particularly good mood, a rare thing for her, as is also detailed in this chapter. She's found an article in Macleans, a Canadian weekly newsmagazine, about what's left of her family. Lots of pictures too but, when she shows it to Murray, well, to say the least the party's pooped.
Oh, yes. That night Demon Land (remember him?) shows up in replicated Versailles. The next morning so too does Mater Matare, as pregnant as ever. She's quickly followed by ... ah, but that would be telling.
And why exactly does Lakshmi of Lemuria croak?
9. The War of the Apocalyptics: "The Byronic Nucleus"
Needless to say, given the title, we've the fullness of the Byronic Nucleus back with us. Also, as should be clear from the typeset of the blockquote, the Moloch Sedon, Demon King of the Headworld that bears his name, returns this time up. But he's not the only Sedon featured in this chapter. There's Sedona Spellbinder, the 'daughter' Eye-Mouth refers to above, for one. Our old friend, Sedon St. Synne, is another. In fact, this is about the closest that decrepit semi-still-living fossil comes to actually appearing in any of the three sequences currently appearing on the Web!
Recall, earlier on in the 'Launching' serials, that Salvatore Dis L'Orca accused a certain baleful, three-eyed wraith of being the telepathic old corpse? He's back too, that one, but he still isn't that Sedon. In fact, Daemonicus says he isn't any Sedon. What is he then? Best be keeping an eye on War's sister story sequence, 'Centauri Island' , for an answer to that perchance of perplexity.
So, is this the end of the Damnation Brigade? It certainly is! Lots of good stuff before it goes the way of Doc Defiance and the Indescribable Mr. No Name over in Centauri though. Shelter shows up, -- with a different helmet than he's sporting next door. Bunch of other Silver Signallers come in on mop-up detail toward chapter-end. Full batch of Angelics as well, prior to endgame. Even Papa and Mama D'Angelo make an appearance, -- albeit slightly over fifty years older than they appear in'The Moloch Manoeuvres'.
It's now Friday, December 5, 1980, two days event depicted in 'Centauri Island' this time up. Murray and the Witch, then Air and Sea, have some good old-fashioned slap/whack sessions. Baron Justice II -- remember him from the Comic Books? -- pops in just after Thalassa pops off. At her lover, Cerebrus David Ryne, as it happens. Then 'Lassa catches a plane for Los Angeles. With Erech Avar-Ryne, the great man's son by Strife/Lady Guillotine, sitting beside her! Which is the last we'll see her in Apocalyptics.
There's disco-dancing and Star Dark, in the proverbial flesh. Lot of it too! There's a nearly full contingent of current-day (for 1980) Angelics at the airport. There's Sundown and Raven showing off some new abilities, -- the Diver does too, in his own way. There's a rainbow-fist though a big old display-window; a roof being ripped off, and lots of smoke. Sort of goes without saying when Sedona gets busy. And, of course, where there's smoke there's fire. Oh yes, as for the Silver Signaller code-named Spherus, his reappearance, sort of, has been presaged for quite a while now.
Best of all, there's Chimaera Glimmenmare!
Did I say this was it for the Damnation Brigade? What I meant was this was it for the first half of 'The War of the Apocalyptics'. Where are they, -- War, Death, Disease, and heedless, heartless, Headless Disaster? Where are Demon Land and the monstrous, two-headed, six-eyed Vultyrie?
What's become of Old Man Power? Why exactly did Lakshmi of Lemuria croak? And, by the way, did I mention Chimaera?
Actually, what I really mean is: Is this it for the Damnation Brigade?
The War of the Apocalyptics Chapters 1-5
The War of the Apocalyptics Chapters 6-9
The War of the Apocalyptics Chapters 10-15
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