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Welcome to a 'War of the Apocalyptics' Web-Serial Page

- Top of Page Search Engine - Latest Highlights - Phantacea Publications available in print and digitally - Bottom of Page Ordering Lynx -

Phantacea Publications in Print

- The 'Launch 1980' story cycle - 'The Thrice-Cursed Godly Glories' Fantasy Trilogy - The '1000 Days' Mini-Novels - The phantacea Graphic Novels -

The 'Launch 1980' Story Cycle

The War of the Apocalyptics

Front cover of War Pox, artwork by Ian Bateson, 2009

Published in 2009; main webpage is here; ordering lynx are here;

Nuclear Dragons

Nuclear Dragons front cover, artwork by Ian Bateson, 2013

Published in 2013; main webpage is here; ordering lynx are here;

Helios on the Moon

Front cover for Helios on the Moon, artwork by Ricardo Sandoval, 2014

Published in 2014; main webpage is here; ordering lynx are here;

The 'Launch 1980' story cycle comprises three complete, multi-character mosaic novels, "The War of the Apocalyptics", "Nuclear Dragons" and "Helios on the Moon", as well as parts of two others, "Janna Fangfingers" and "Goddess Gambit". Together they represent creator/writer Jim McPherson's long running, but now concluded, project to novelize the Phantacea comic book series.

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'The Thrice-Cursed Godly Glories' Epic Fantasy

Feeling Theocidal

Front Cover for Feel Theo, artwork by Verne Andru, 2008

Published in 2008; main webpage is here; ordering lynx are here

The 1000 Days of Disbelief

Front cover of The Thousand Days of Disbelief, collage prepared by Jim McPherson, 2010

Published as three mini-novels, 2010/11; main webpage is here; ordering lynx for individual mini-novels are here

Goddess Gambit

Front cover for Goddess Gambit by Verne Andru, 2012

Published in 2012; main webpage is here; ordering lynx are here

Circa the Year of Dome 2000, Anvil the Artificer, a then otherwise unnamed, highborn Lazaremist later called Tvasitar Smithmonger, dedicated the first three devic talismans, or power foci, that he forged out of molten Brainrock to the Trigregos Sisters.

The long lost, possibly even dead, simultaneous mothers of devakind hated their offspring for abandoning them on the far-off planetary Utopia of New Weir. Not surprisingly, their fearsome talismans could be used to kill Master Devas (devils).

For most of twenty-five hundred years, they belonged to the recurring deviant, Chrysaor Attis, time after time proven a devaslayer. On Thrygragon, Mithramas Day 4376 YD, he turned them over to his Great God of a half-father, Thrygragos Varuna Mithras, to use against his two brothers, Unmoving Byron and Little Star Lazareme, in hopes of usurping their adherents and claiming them as his own.

Hundreds of years later, these selfsame thrice-cursed Godly Glories helped turn the devil-worshippers of Sedon's Head against their seemingly immortal, if not necessarily undying gods. Now, five hundred years after the 1000 Days of Disbelief, they've been relocated.

The highest born, surviving devic goddesses want them for themselves; want to thereby become incarnations of the Trigregos Sisters on the Hidden Continent. An Outer Earthling, one who has literally fallen out of the sky after the launching of the Cosmic Express, gets to them first ...

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The '1000 Days' Mini-Novels

The Death's Head Hellion

- Sedonplay -

Front cover for The Death's Head Hellion, collage prepared by Jim McPherson, 2010

Published in 2010; main web presence is here; Character Companion starts here; ordering lynx are here;

Contagion Collectors

- Sedon Plague -

Front cover for Contagion Collectors, collage prepared by Jim McPherson, 2010

Published in 2010; main web presence is here; Character Companion starts here; ordering lynx are here;

Janna Fangfingers

- Sedon Purge -

Front cover for Janna Fangfingers, collage prepared by Jim McPherson, 2011

Published in 2011; two storylines recounted side-by-side, the titular one narrated by the Legendarian in 5980, the other indirectly leading into the 'Launch 1980' story cycle; main web presence is here; Character Companion starts here; ordering lynx are here;

In the Year of the Dome 4825, Morgan Abyss, the Melusine Master of the Utopian Weirdom of Cabalarkon, seizes control of Primeval Lilith, the ageless, seemingly unkillable Demon Queen of the Night. The eldritch earthborn is the real half-mother of the invariably mortal Sed-sons but, once she has hold of her, aka Lethal Lily, Master Morgan proceeds to trap the Moloch Sedon Himself.

In the midst of the bitter, century-long expansion of the Lathakran Empire, the Hidden Headworld's three tribes of devil-gods are forced to unite in an effort to release their All-Father. Unfortunately for them, they're initially unaware Master Morg, the Death's Head Hellion herself, has also got hold of the Trigregos Talismans, devic power foci that can actually kill devils, and Sedon's thought-father Cabalarkon, the Undying Utopian she'll happily slay if they dare attack her Weirdom.

Utopians from Weir have never given up seeking to wipe devils off not just the face of the Inner Earth, but off the planet itself. Their techno and biomages, under the direction of the Weirdom of Cabalarkon's extremely long-lived High Illuminary, Quoits Tethys, have determined there is only one sure way to do that -- namely, to infect the devils' Inner Earth worshippers with fatal plagues brought in from the Outer Earth.

Come All-Death Day there are more Dead Things Walking than Living Beings Talking. Believe it or not, that's the good news.

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phantacea Graphic Novels

Forever and Forty Days

- The Genesis of Phantacea -

Front cover of Forever and Forty Days; artwork by Ian Fry and Ian Bateson, ca 1990

Published in 1990; main webpage is here; ordering lynx are here

The Damnation Brigade

- Phantacea Revisited 1 -

Front cover of The Damnation Brigade, artwork by Ian Bateson, retouching by Chris Chuckry 2012

Published in 2013; main webpage is here; ordering lynx are here

Cataclysm Catalyst

- Phantacea Revisited 2 -

Front cover for Cataclysm Catalyst, artwork by Verne Andru, 2013

Published in 2014, main webpage is here; ordering lynx are here

Kadmon Heliopolis had one life. It ended in October 1968. The Male Entity has had many lives. In his fifth, he and his female counterpart, often known as Miracle Memory, engendered more so than created the Moloch Sedon. They believe him to be the Devil Incarnate. They've been attempting to kill him ever since. Too bad it's invariably he, Heliosophos (Helios called Sophos the Wise), who gets killed instead.

On the then still Whole Earth circa the Year 4000 BCE, one of their descendants, Xuthros Hor, the tenth patriarch of Golden Age Humanity, puts into action a thought-foolproof, albeit mass murderous, plan to succeed where the Dual Entities have always failed. He unleashes the Genesea. The Devil takes a bath.

Fifty-nine hundred and eighty years later, New Century Enterprises launches the Cosmic Express from Centauri Island. It never reaches Outer Space; not all of it anyhow. As a stunning consequence of its apparent destruction, ten extraordinary supranormals are reunited, bodies, souls and minds, after a quarter century in what they've come to consider Limbo. They name themselves the Damnation Brigade. And so it appears they are -- if perhaps not so much damned as doomed.

At least one person survives the launching of the Cosmic Express. He literally falls out of the sky -- on the Hidden Continent of Sedon's Head. An old lady saves him. Except this old lady lives in a golden pagoda, rides vultures and has a third eye. She also doesn't stay old long. He becomes her willing soldier, acquires the three Sacred Objects and goes on a rampage, against his own people, those that live.

Meanwhile, Centauri Island, the launch site of the Cosmic Express, comes under attack from Hell's Horsemen. Only it's not horses they ride. It's Atomic Firedrakes!

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Phantacea Logo

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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The War of the Apocalyptics

10. The War of the Apocalyptics: "Centurium"

Even though it's been referred to throughout all three serials currently appearing in PHANTACEA on the Web, this time up's the first opportunity we actually get to head seriously through Cathonia to Sedon's Head, Big Shelter, the Hidden World, the Inner Earth, Eden's Zoo, Ancient Lemuria, and whatever else the Headworld might have been called in previous installments. It's quite the place and there's no place in, over, on, or under it quite like Temporis, the Thousand Caverns of Tariqartha.

Before our heroes, anheroic variety, get there though our titular anti-heroes, equally of the anheroic variety, have to get to it first. One of them's Headless Ramazar. Not surprisingly, he proves to be vain, looks into a mirror all the time, and collects hats. Of course, to wear a hat one has to have a head first. The Apocalyptic of Sudden Disaster turns out to have them aplenty. Got more than heads too, as witness the following exchange with Dand Tariqartha, Overlord of this Underworld:

"So, a firestorm it is then."

"Rather not, if you don't mind."

"Fine, fine. We've dozens more." He flipped onto another page. "Whoa, look at this! Guess I've been hanging around Devil Wind too much lately. Seems we have a special: hurricanes, twisters, cyclones, tornadoes, blare-air spouts. Tell you what, give you one of each, package deal, and Bob's your uncle."

"Neither of my uncles are named Bob."

"Neither are mine, come to think of it. Just an expression I picked up from a brief shell I had on the Outer Earth. Ah, this is it! Ideal! Temporis being subterranean, the Vultyrie and I'll whip you up, make that down, a landfall. Great stuff landfalls, -- especially in mines. Find us a lake in Sisert, we'll throw in a wicked whirlpool and a terrific flood to boot. No extra charge."

"That sounds appropriately awful. Okay, you've the cavern of your choice."

"A pleasure doing business with you, Sir Dand." Ramazar snapped shut his notebook. "By the way, I'm modernizing my repertoire. You ever need a computer crashed, I'm your devil."

So, if neither of their uncles are named Bob, are any of their offspring named Akbar? Or Lakshmi of Lemuria, for that matter? In terms of the Chronocollector, the answer's yes. In terms of the Apocalyptics, theirs are still to come!

Come they do too, -- in the inauspiciously named Calvary Cavern!

But there's lots of other stuff in this chapter before we even get to the Quadrangs. Who might this Akbar be? None other than Obadiah Melvin Power, OMP. As for Lakshmi, it's her eighteenth birthday. Their mutual devic father, that is to say the devil possessing their sperm fathers when they were conceived? Dand Tariqartha of course. And tomorrow, Saturday December 6, 1980, on the Outside, Devauray Tantalar 6, 5980, on the Inside, is his four thousandth birthday!

Oh, not the 4000th Anniversary of his birth per se, -- devazurs don't seem to get born, or even hatched. They seem, rather, to have entered straight into existence. As bodiless Spirit Beings.

No, tomorrow is the 4000th Anniversary of him gaining solidity. Unfortunately, expecially the way he's been treated these past few days by the Apocalyptics and their two allies, Antaeor Thanatos and the Vultyrie, it may well turn out to be his Deathday too.

What about the rest of the Damnation Brigade? (Minus Sea Goddess, recall.) Hey, where do think the Byronic Nucleus was taking them after they finished demolishing their Fraser River ranchhouse this same Friday night?

Way west then way south. Through the Cathonic Zone, -- I won't say where the linkway is; not here, not that it's a secret any more, at least not in 'War'. Then way up north to the Head's Cranium. But that's it. It's simply not safe to take them any further.

Temporis lay beneath Sisert, the Silent Sands of Cathune, Sedon's Bald Patch. Was Tariqartha's devic protectorate and there's no way Thrygragos Byron, Sedona Spellbinder, Chimaera Glimmenmare, and Vayu Maelstrom dare enter a Lazaremist's realm univited. Even a Great God like the Unmoving One would be at the mercy of this underworld's overlord.

So why aren't the Apocalyptics at risk? Well, they're decathonitized, see. And decathonitized Master Devas serve no one, not even the Moloch Sedon, any more. Which was also why they could now get away with killing folks!

John Sundown accepted Raven's long-forgotten saddle bag, rummaged through it, and pulled out a couple of odd-looking items. One was a stone tomahawk with a leather wrist-strap; the other was an atlatl, an arm-length spear-thrower complete with perforated bannerstone weights, balance disc, finger loops and a dozen short spears tipped with flint arrowheads.

Like the witch's cut-anything knife, bow, and arrows, the weapons once belonged to Sundown's childhood bride, Solace nee Sunrise. In her own way, in her own time, Solace had been a great or greater medicine woman, -- 'sorciere' was the Metis term she preferred --, than her fellow sister in Anthea.

He returned the atlatl and hatchet to the witch but held onto the bag and the rest of its contents. "Please keep these. As my wife desired, I no longer count coup the way I once did."

"I understand," said Wilderwitch. Like virtually all of the others, Sorciere did not believe in killing.

If she had, she might still be alive!

Just by the by, about the Tsukyomi character. The one the Awesome Akbar, -- Kronokronos Supreme now that the Apocalyptics have moved in on Temporis and more senior Kronokroni have gone the way of the replicas crucified in Mother Murder's chosen cavern --, spotted starkers along with Lakshmi and the rest of the Lemurian's bathing beauties just before the hunted human-stag sequence. Watch out for her!

She's deadly.

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11. The War of the Apocalyptics: "The Apocalyptic of War"

First there were ten. Now, with the loss of Sea Goddess, -- the one who beat the Apocalyptics the first time they came up against the Damnation Brigade --, there are nine. By chapter end, there may well be seven!

There is something very wrong with Dand Tariqartha, the devic overlord of this underworld, this Temporis. It being his protectorate, the Time-Space Displacer should have been able to just kick Apocalyptic butt out of it. Instead he's let them set up house in five of his thousand caverns.

The Brigade splits into four groups in order to battle their way through the exterior buffer-caverns into the main one, that of Calvary. Where Mater Matare has more than just set up house. She's turned it into a Maternity Ward!

Blame the strategy on Cerebrus David Ryne. The egocentric mentat has decided it makes more sense for his fellow supras to tangle with the individual Apocalyptics than pick one and take him on full force. Give him a degree of credit though. The Chronocollector rated them from top to bottom and declared Mars Bellona the most dangerous of the lot. Stands to reason therefore that Cerebrus should take him on.

He's not alone of course. Has chosen Wildman Dervish Furie to be his tag-team partner. This makes somewhat less sense. Dervish is no weakling; certainly not compared to, say, Wilderwitch or Kronokronos Akbar (now that he's ruined his regalia, his Warask, Cloak of Many Colours, and mutable sword, and left what remained of them on the Outer Earth). Maybe Cerebrus isn't as confident as he makes out. Then again, maybe Furie wouldn't have taken no for an answer.

After all, back on Damnation Island, it was the Dervish who War possessed!

Didn't I warn you about Tsukyomi? Should have warned Furie and Cerebrus instead. Certainly Lakshmi should have warned the birdmen she sent out to assassinate the sixteen year old. Coming across their bodies is not an auspicious way for Jerry/Derry and Davey/Cerey to begin their journey to Calvary via the pre-Tokugawa Era Cavern.

Definitely puts Dervish on guard. Seemingly not so the Ryne Brat, as Air used to refer to him. Cerebrus exudes more than just overconfidence. Unless that's less of course. He's positively nonchalant. Can't detect War anywhere, he tells Furie. Maybe he heard they were on the way and beetled off in panic.

For his part, the Wildman thinks there's about as much likelihood of that as of them gettting back to Vancouver in time for Monday Night Football two days from now, -- it being Saturday morning by the time they come through the tunnel from one cavern to this one, their penultimate destination. Which is to say none at all.

Come through the tunnel not quite all the way, make that. Further progress is impeded by the cavern's Headman, Lord Tornado (pronounced with a soft 'a'), and his honour guard of armoured Samurai; ones armed with long swords sharp enough to cut through even Furie's next to impervious hide. No Bellona here either, not in any of them, Cerebrus mentally assures his companion.

Mars Bellona, the Apocalyptic of War, as drawn by Ian Bateson circa 1978Maybe War's a coward.

To be sure Lord Tornado seems the ideal host. Treats them to plenty of seafood, tea, and other goodies, all of which he and his Samurai consume before Furie will let Ryne dig in. Tells a few tales too, mostly about his predecessor as Headman of this Living Cavern, one Kronokronos Mikoto.

We've come across that name before, albeit briefly, when the Time-Space Displacer blamed his approaching-terminal deterioration on this most unworthy of his sons. Will come across the man himself in 'The Trigregos Gambit', which has probably debuted by the time you read this, though not immediately.

We've come across his daughter as well, again in name only as yet, -- Corona Power, Old Man Power's still living ex-wife and whose talisman Wilderwitch has brought with her to the Head, despite the vociferous objections of Great Byron and his Nucleoids. The supra better known as Crimson Corona (also the term given to her talisman), her real given name turns out to be Takeda.

While nothing's for sure, there are distinct hints that she might be somehow related to Tsukyomi, therefore definitely to Mikoto and, just possibly, to Akbar himself. If so, she'd hardly be the only one. Without letting too many cats out of the bag at once, it's safe to say that under a variety of identities the Old Man's had a very long and very productive, as in procreative, life.

So, where's our titular antagonist? Where's War? And who does survive? Tell you one thing, a battle's no war but what's War without battle? And what's a battle without casualties?

Keeping his arms high, protecting his head, -- his facial area, particularly his eyes and mouth, being the most vulnerable parts of his body --, he went directly for her; sting-stun-stop forgotten. He felt knives and shurikens rebound off his back, some of the long swords and few arrows got to him; didn't slow him down though. This was last resort stuff.

In the time it took her to smile, she stepped back into the shadows. Damnation, he realized too late, she was like the witch or Airealist; could become material, immaterial, or a bit of both at will. No other way to explain it. No one could be that fast. Not even him. He grabbed for her, grasped only shadow. She flung her knives; no Air Arrows or semi-solid darts these.

Furie went down, -- one of the knives embedded in the centre of his forehead!

Then again, sometimes battles are over before they've really begun.

Not this time though!

[I write this somewhat sadly, the day after Lady Di died in a car crash in Paris. I myself recently came out of a car crash relatively unscathed, so I definitely wouldn't trade places with her. Nevertheless, two of the most common words being used to describe the Princess of Wales are 'beautiful' and 'compassionate'. Seems a fair assessment to me.

[Among the worthy causes she espoused were the elimination of land mines (which is also a Canadian Government initiative), AIDS research (which isn't, not enough), and caring for the sick, the disenfranchised, and the poor. In this regard she went to India, where she visited Mother Theresa (not one of my favourites) and spent some time with lepers. Good stuff all.]

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12. The War of the Apocalyptics: "The Apocalyptic of Disease"

On Saturday, December 5, 1980 -- Devauray, Tantalar 5, 5980 Y.D. -- the Untouchable Diver and Glory of the Angels, Radiant Rider, hoping against hope to pass through it uneventfully on the way to the adjacent Calvary Cavern and Mother Murder, visit Cavern 1492 of Temporis.

(NOTE: The number doesn't refer to which cavern's numerically which. Not for nothing is Temporis known as the Thousand Caverns of Tariqartha. No, the number refers to the year (A.D.) it replicates.)

One thing that wasn't happening in the Spain of 1492 is an outbreak of the Black Death (plague-variety, as opposed to Auguste Moirnoir, the pseudo-suicidal Male Trickster of, briefly, Moloch infamy). It's happening in Cavern 1492 though and there isn't much doubt who's responsible, -- our titular character, Carcinogen the Leper. Carcinogen the Leper, the Apocalyptic of Disease, as drawn by Ian Bateson circa 1978

Gloriel has had dealings with Plague before, on Damnation Island. So did Yehudi Cohen, though, for his part, the Diver was more concerned with Demon Land and Mars Bellona back then, the Sunday Previous. Consequently, neither of them have any illusions regarding Disease. He is, not to put too fine a point to it, one sick puppy. As if to prove it, the Leper's masquerading as Cardinal Molino, 1492's Kronokronos and chief religious leader.

After he disposes of the Diver and captures Gloriel, after he tears off her 'modesty gown', slices off her rainbow hair, and lays her out on an altar atop the cathedral steps for a bit of applied attention, Inquisition-style, he ... then she ... then Elohistic Coryza ... and the hair ... she takes pity on a devil, does him a favour ... only he ... and then the chapter ends!

"Madman!" screamed Gloriel. "What in God's name are you doing?"

"Doing, my dear?" Carcinogen smashed the disease pod at the end of his focus into his face. "Merely becoming myself again."

Instantaneously his skin pustulated. Blotches, festering sores, cracked scabs, and oozing lacerations broke out all over his head and body. He raised the pendulum above his head and wrung his other fist at Gloriel.

"Moments ago, in the heat of passion, you sliced off this hand. Now take it back! Take it home, if you like. Put it under your pillow. Keep it as proof of our peace agreement."

And if all this reminds you somewhat of the ending to Moloch and what Abe Chaos did to First Fangs over in Gambit, hey, if it works once, why not thrice?

[NOTE: Today, almost a week after I mustered my best Lady Di tribute, I heard that Mother Theresa died. As I said, she was not one of my favourites, mostly because of her stand against contraceptives, -- this in a part of the world that already has trouble providing a decent standard of living for most of its, to my mind, far too many folks. However, many regarded her as a kind of Living Saint.

[Be that as it may, -- on with our regularly scheduled synopsis. Last time up, PHANTACEA's own Living Saint, Gloriella D'Angelo, got into some torturously dire straits. If you haven't already, I invite you to read how she handled that most heinous of Master Devas, none other than Plague Incarnate. It's one of my favourite stories.]

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13. The War of the Apocalyptics: "The Faerie Garden"

While a lot of information about the Awesome Akbar, formerly OMP, Old Man Power, Obadiah Melvin Power, and Wilderwitch, formerly just about anyone she damn well pleases to be at any given moment, comes out in this sequence, sorry, no one dies. Need I say it?

Not yet!

How far back do these two go? Quite frankly, Kronokronos Akbar has no idea just how far back he goes even in terms of being alive. He also doesn't know he's the father of Wilderwitch's lone child, a daughter, the one she admits was stolen by faeries in the late Forties; thanks to a quarter century lost in Limbo, not even a decade ago as these two members of the ever-dwindling Damnation Brigade count time.

As for the Witch, she acknowledges that she was born on Big Shelter, -- in 1927 AD (5927 YD, Year of the Dome, under the Sedon Sphere). Says she was born on the same day, to the minute, as Countess Ramona Avar, who was last seen getting killed over in Island. (NOTE: For those who've already read 'Magnifico Munched', her memory of this former Strife seems somewhat at odds with Lady Guillotine's own. Who's right? Probably neither of them, as it happens.)

Another reference the Witch makes, that her blood sisters are Eden Nightingale and Fisherwoman, of Moloch fame, and that their father's History, is too obscure for Akbar to make head nor tail of, -- so he lets it pass without comment. She's probably quite right, however, at least about her and Fish. As for Eden, the story of the Trigon Triplets is told during 'Heliodyssey'.

There's more about Judge and Wiccan Warlock, Sedon St Synne and Jesus Mandam, the Conquering Christ. (It's only touched on here but the full story of the latter's suicide cum martydom will be recounted next time up, when we return to Blind Sundown, Raven's Head, and Airealist.) You'll also find connections to 'Gambit' and even 'Helios on the Moon' in this installment. In the latter case, Moon, it's been linked to 'Centauri Island' virtually since its opening chapter, 'Mind Tap'. In the former case, Gambit, that sequence of stories will be linking with Apocalyptics shortly, -- right here in the Faerie Garden, as a matter of fact.

As for Antaeor Thanatos, Demon Land, he's not too far away; is likely lurking quite literally underfoot, waiting for just the right moment to erupt. He's also listening, albeit not to the Witch and the Kronokronos Supreme. He listening to his mother. And what's her relation to Wilderwitch? Nothing, as it happens, but there is a rather solid link to the Witch's probable mother.

You see, devas need to possess humanoids in order to have non-azura offspring. (Azuras, by far the more numerous side of the devazur specie, are just Spirit Beings.) There's also one Entity, of the female persuasion, Her Story if you will, that possesses devas in order to become human. That Entity can have children, -- one of which, as you'll know from reading 'Thrygragon', was the famous Attis, the Universal Soldier. And what did I say earlier? Something about Akbar having no idea just how far back he goes in terms of being alive.

That too!

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14. The War of the Apocalyptics: "The Apocalyptic of Disaster"

First of all, those of you following the Heliodyssey sequence of stories might want to skip this chapter, at least the sections in italics. Why? Because it goes into Blind Sundown's memories of his wife, Solace nee Sunrise, their children, all of whom were boys, and the fate of Manitoulin, the Cheyenne Wayfarer in the Weird who helped raise them all.

Statue reminiscent of Headless Ramazare, the Apocalyptic of Disaster, photo taken by Jim McPherson in Catania, Sicily, 1997Otherwise, let's see. Last I looked we were down to five or six left and, this time up, it's more nasty news for the Damnation Brigade. Might we be down to two or three by the time this chapter's finished? Bet on it!

Headless Ramazar, a prototypical bogey man if there ever was one, and the Vultyrie (who says two heads are better than one, or even none in Disaster's case?) are waiting for their former shells, Sundown and Raven's Head. Waiting for Airealist too. Have some particularly deadly Acts of not exactly God lined up for them and the unfortunate replicas of Temporis' pre-Colombian Plainsland America Cavern.

So far only Dervish Furie has escaped the wrath of the Apocalyptics and made it into the link-cave leading to Mother Murder, her damnable children, and the Calvary Cavern. Will these three be any luckier, if luck's an appropriate word? What makes me think not? (Hey, I did write the stuff.). But don't take my word for it. Bang the blue bit up top and check it out for yourself.

By the way, just in case you've been missing him, the Moloch Sedon returns to these pages for the first time since the earliest chapters of 'Centauri Island'

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15. The War of the Apocalyptics: "The Trigregos Gambit"

This is the chapter that links to, um, you guessed it -- 'The Trigregos Gambit', Book Three (unless it's Book Two) in the Launching series of stories.

Demon Land, as drawn by Ian Bateson 1978What've I got in store for you, other than Wilderwitch and Kronokronos Akbar taking on Demon Land in the Faerie Garden? Lots. As for who, how about Freespririt Nihila, Vetala's Soldier, a certain Vampire Queen of the Dead, and Ringleader? (Aka Kid Ringo, Ringleader's the Outer Earth Supra who, as recounted in 'The Last of the Supranormals', abandoned the King Crimefighters to the tender mercies of the Magnificent Psycho on Damnation Isle twenty-five years earlier, when he was barely twelve years old.)

Oh yes, and were you wondering why it's called the Faerie Garden? Wonder no longer. At least wonder no longer than the end of the chapter. Then you can start wondering what Lakshmi of Lemuria's doing there.

Not that you'll get an answer. Not if Wilderwitch doesn't make it to the Calvary Cavern, join up with her fellow survivors from the Brigade (assuming, besides Furie, there are any), and stop Mater Matare. Which, you might as well know, she does.

And she doesn't. (Hint: neither do they!)

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16. The War of the Apocalyptics: "The Apocalyptic Nucleus"

The Byronic and Apocalptic Nucleii atomizing each other, from pH-5, art by George Freeman and Verne Andru, 1980Finally it's here, -- the, without exaggeration, cataclysmic conclusion to the 'War of the Apocalyptics'. That's it then. End of Story. Boom! (Actually I think the exact word is Kaboom!)

No more Dand Tariqartha. No more Thousand Caverns of Temporis. No more Byronhead, Thrygragos Byron or Byronic Nucleus. No more Four Apocalyptics, -- not that Mother Murder goes meekly into the void of neverending non-existence. No more four, fourth generation Apocalyptics either.

Too bad too. The Quadrang Nucleoids were as unwholesome a foursome as I've ever fever-dream concocted. (Barring their parents of course.) And, perhaps most importantly for all you hero-lovers, no more Damnation Brigade.

So, what's left? More to the point, other than he never stops, why is Rhadamanthys-Daemonicus smiling? The embodiment of darkness, of evil, of Ahriman, of Aryanman, of Hades, couldn't have won, could he? Guess that's why there's three more books in the 'Launching of the Cosmic Express' sequences.

Not to mention all those other characters I mentioned last time up.

The War of the Apocalyptics Chapters 1-5

The War of the Apocalyptics Chapters 6-9

The War of the Apocalyptics Chapters 10-16

Hit here for graphics prepared for the full-length 'War-Pox' novel ; notes for the Abu Simbel page background are now here

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