This free script provided by
- Jim McPherson's phantacea Online -
|| pH-Webworld's Welcoming Page | Internal Search Engine | Main Menu | Online PHANTACEA Primer | Ongoing PHANTACEA Features | pHantaBlog | Information for ordering by credit card | Information for ordering by certified cheque or money order | Serial Synopses | Contact | pH-Webworld Miscellanea | Lynx to additional websites featuring Jim McPherson's PHANTACEA Mythos | Bottom of Page Lynx ||
|Bulk of page written: Fall 2000|
THE LAUNCHING OF THE COSMIC EXPRESS SERIALS
-- Chapter-by-chapter Synopses of 'The Trigregos Gambit' --
9. The Trigregos Gambit: "The Susasword"
First of all, given the chapter's title, one might suspect someone gets hold of the Body of Demeter, the second of the three Trigregos Talismans, this time around. As it happens one would be wrong but, as to that someone, remember that character I at least once suggested you may have thought would never turn up again?
If you want to find out more about him, a good place to look would be one of this time up's installments of 'Helios on the Moon'. In Trigregos, he is of course Vetala's Soldier. But, in most of the rest of PHANTACEA, he was Cosmicaptain Dmetri Diomad. (Should I have said: 'probably was Dem's Dim'? Probably!)
It was, not at all probably, Cosmicaptain Diomad's cosmicar that ended up empty on Damnation Island last Sunday, November 30, 1980; the one, as recounted in an earlier chapter of Centauri, that Blackguard and his rude-mouthed comrades so ill-fatedly attempted to retrieve from the very same Outer Earth Aleutian Islet later on that week.
As we now know, to say Diomad's cosmicar ended up beyond the Cathonic Dome empty would not be altogether accurate. If it had been empty, there'd've been no Apocalyptics. Not to mention any Damnation Brigade to be blown up by the duelling duo, the Dual Nuclei, later on today, Devauray, Tantal 6, 5980 Year of the Dome, on the Inner Earth.
A few months ago, non-Cyberian time, we found out what went on with the so-called Alphabet Cosmicompanions E, F, & G. Shortly thereafter, we learned about Cosmicompanions A, B, & C. We thus know that the latter three were possessed by demon-devas while they were in Cathonia (namely the so-called Cousins, the original owners of the Three Sacred Objects) and it's therefore a relatively safe bet that the first three, the ones Nergal Vetala made a meal of, were as well.
So far there's been no evidence that 'D' (Dem's Dim, as Diomad's not so affectionately referred to throughout much of PHANTACEA -- Dem being his father's name and Dim being a diminutive of Dmetri) was similarly possessed. Turns out he might have been however. We meet whom it was by (maybe) this time up. Name's Kala Tal and, if she had been cathonitized, the Spidery Devil's had the good fortune to be decathonitized in her own protectorate. (That is to say in the Forbidden Forest of, you guessed it, Tal.)
Turns out also that not only is she the Mithradic breed sister of Nergal Vetala and (maybe again) Mater Matare, Mother Murder from over in Apocalyptics, the arachnoid's a long history -- unless it's a four-armed herstory -- with the Thirty Year Man, a deviant better known as Jordan Tethys or, even more commonly, as the Legendarian.
And, last we saw of 30-Beers, he was tangling with his erstwhile buddy, Ringleader. Not that any of this has much to do with Gambit. Just thought I'd mention it is all. While I'm at it, I might as well mention that the arachnid (whose fourth pair of appendages seem to extend from her forehead) doesn't have a great deal to do in Gambit either.
Nor do, other than perchance biting the big, bat-bastard biscuit, a bunch of other characters including Andaemyn Sarpedon, whom we meet in this chapter. One who does though is Kronokronos Susano Mikoto, whom you would have read about in War.
Even though, this time up, we'll hear a lot about the Japanese warlord, in particular his relationship with the once and future Kronokronos Supreme, we'll hear even more about him next time. Which is when we'll also rejoin War. Albeit howsoever briefly, -- and with an entirely different perspective on the events that took place in the Faerie Garden in that book. It's not that, in Susasword, I'm rewriting anything that's gone on before. (I'm not.) It's just that one series' protagonists oft-times are another series' antagonists.
As to what I wrote at the outset -- to the effect that, given the chapter's title, one might suspect someone gets hold of the Susasword -- I have to admit I was being only a mite premature. Got to give the aforementioned Legendarian, Warrior Priest Thartarre Sraddha Holgatson (Barsine's baby), Young Death, King Cold, the Scarlet Seeress, and the Thanatoids of Lathakra's Haunted Angel a bit more time in the spotlight first.
Not to mention the devil I keep forgetting to mention!
10. The Trigregos Gambit: "The Crimson Corona"
As promised, albeit howsoever briefly, we do rejoin War this time up. And, as one might expect given the chapter's title, someone does get hold of the Amateramirror. Gets hold of the Susasword too, -- finally!
Not surprisingly it's that same someone I keep suggesting you may have thought would never turn up again. Is and it isn't, that is. Which is to say it is Vetala's Soldier. Which would go a long way to answering who those annoying, otherwise nameless, characters were that caused Wilderwitch and the Awesome Akbar so much consternation towards the end of War.
Well, it's not the born-replicated Japanese warlord I also promised we'd hear even more about this time up. And we do, -- including, among other things, more about his long relationship with the once and future Kronokronos Supreme. Hear how Kronokronos Mikoto dies as well. (Which of course is why we'll be hearing even more from him come ENDGAME-Gambit)
Is Datong Harmonia, the one-time Unity of Balance, she who figured so prominently in PREGAME-Gambit. (You knew she was returning, didn't you?) Only, after nearly 500 years of being pinned to a slab of Brainrock in the Crystal Mountains by the Susasword, she's no longer feeling very harmonious. In fact, she's so out of kilter she's changed her name to Freespirit Nihila. As in Nihilism!
All in all, there's stacks of stuff in this chapter. Stacks of characters too. Besides Vetala and her soldier, Wilderwitch and Akbarartha, Ringleader and Freespirit Nihila, we've the usual group of recurring reprobates: the likes of the Legendarian, the one-armed Warrior Priest Thartarre, Young Death, King Cold, the Scarlet Seeress, and that devil I keep forgetting to mention.
In terms of Gambit, while it's not quite yet ENDGAME for Andaemyn Sarpedon and her mercenary buddies, -- including the Tethys Twins and Alastor Molorchus, whom we've only just met --, oddly enough, especially given what happens to him this chapter, it isn't necessarily so for a certain Japanese warlord either.
Why's that, you might ask? Though I've already hinted at it up above, the answer's actually in this chapter. It, if not Kronokronos Mikoto himself, might also be found over in Centauri Island. And so might another character who semi-sort of makes her debut in Gambit this time up. As does, wait for it, -- Demon Land!
What with such a plethora of characters you'd think it would be more than just Andy and her buddies walking off into Gambit's sunset come end-chapter. Generous guy that I am, I'm pretty sure you'd be right to think that too!
Wait a minute! Am I telling you it's ENDGAME for Ringleader? Can't be. Especially not after I made such a big deal out of him being Gambit's primary protagonist not all that long ago.
What can I tell you other than I get bored easily. I mean, -- answer me this: what else could I do with a character whose only seemingly supra-talent is the ability to cast Gypsium teleportals except repeat that which I've done with him previously?
Other than kill him off of course!
11. The Trigregos Gambit: "The Damnation Brigade"
What did I do last time? Kill off Ringleader? Apparently anyhow. So, not content with just that, how do I begin this chapter? By killing off that same someone I keep suggesting you may have thought would never turn up again, naturally. And there is nothing apparently nor anyhow about his death. (Note, though, I did not say 'passing' and believe me, as in the case of a certain Japanese warlord referred to recently, there is a distinction.)
PHANTACEA is fantasy, albeit of the anheroic variety, so you should not be overly surprised as to who else reappears this time up. Won't tell you here, not right now anyhow, -- though the title of this chapter does kind of give it away. You'll have to read the chapter to be sure. Will tell you that 30-Beers is back and so's Thartarre, the one-armed High Priest of the Brown-Robed Sraddhites, self-proclaimed Heroes of the Living that these Brown-Robes consider themselves to be.
Some of the others returning are the Four Apocalyptics, the Vultyrie, and Demon Land from War. Someone who isn't is Dand Tariqartha, the devic overlord of Temporis, also from War. Well, he's back and then he isn't, more correctly. Lakshmi of Lemuria is another, dot-ditto. Then again, maybe it isn't for long either.
As for the Thanatoids of Lathakra and the Smiling Fiend, the devil I keep forgetting to mention, they're here too. Make that four, -- no, five --, in the case of the Thanatoids. That old (three) green-eyed monster Envy's coming to the fore, however, and you can look forward to all three of the Master Devas (not the eyes, nor the Sinistral) not being here for much longer. That I can guarantee you! (A couple of them might move over to 'Helios on the Moon' though.)
By now you've cleverly figured out who else is back this chapter but, especially if you're new to PHANTACEA on the Web, you might not realize that when they were last seen, in 'War of the Apocalyptics', they were being wiped out, one by one. Guess what? They still are!
That's because what we have this time up is a 1-chapter 'selected' condensation of War's second half. As the Web's War-free right now, -- and has been for a couple of years --, you might want to go back and check out its synopsis. I promise you a detailed inventory of the casualties next time around but, as I forewarned you it would a long time ago, kindly regard this chapter as picking up where War left off.
12. The Trigregos Gambit: "Farewell, Great Byron"
Been shuffling the deck of character cards again, haven't I? As promised last time up, what follows is a list of who's left and, more to the present point, who you can look forward to seeing some more of in 'The Trigregos Gambit'.
The title refers to one of the Three Great Gods, the Unmoving One; he who, as recounted in 'Forever and Forty Days', has nothing left but his over-inflated head, -- hence, the Byronhead. He doesn't, by the way. That is to say he only survives as a star in the Sedonic Night's Sky. Thus it's definitely ENDGAME for the aforesaid Unmoving One.
Is a distinct dick-dildo for Carcinogen the Leper as well. He goes out wonderfully well though, even if I do say so myself. Much more fittingly than he went out, howsoever gloriously, last time up. Rather, back in War.
Someone else who does dirty dog ditto in the seemingly ENDGAME department is a character you likely never expected to see in 'The Launching of the Cosmic Express' story sequences; a character who has only appeared previously, at least when comes to PHANTACEA on the Web, in 'The Moloch Manoeuvres'. This is Tyrtod von Blut, Tanith Silverhair's father.
Which is moderately interesting because there's a lot of talk about Pyrame Silverstar, the Pauper Priestess, this time around as well. And if you're wondering what's interesting about that, you obviously have not read 'The Volsung Variations' yet. Oh, by the way, I wrote seemingly ENDGAME a few sentences ago because, you see, Tyrtod von Blut's already dead.
Which means, -- ah, but since you've read 'Centauri Island' and figured out what my earlier references to a certain born-replicated Japanese warlord's fate have to do with the price of toffee, I don't have to tell you what it means. Would recommend you revisit the description of a certain other, spookily Pani mercenary buddy of the Tethys Twins and Andaemyn Sarpedon by the name of Alastor Molorchus from a few chapters back, though.
If last time up was a 1-chapter 'selected condensation' of War's second half, this time up begins with a condensed summary of Great Byron's appearances thus far, -- and no further. (Or have I already suggested as much?) In keeping with everything else in Gambit it's action packed, particulary its latter half. Lots of other stuff in here though.
What's particularly good about this chapter is that it was based on scripts I was writing for PHANTACEA when it was still just Anheroic Fiction Illustrated; that is to say, a comic book. Which means it's as violent, if not more so, as War's rear end. In retrospect I should have taken up a career designing videogames, -- because, given him playing his part slightly differently, Plague might have won!
Had I, -- and I didn't --, I'd've called it 'Headgames'. These days I truly hope to (ultimately) call it: 'Jim Finally Cashes In!'!
13. The Trigregos Gambit: "Sraddha Isle"
Here's my dictionary's definition of casualty (ties): 'One who or that which is destroyed, injured, or otherwise made ineffectual through (combat) action'. It's a pretty wide-ranging definition, you'll agree, and applies to a number of characters who have been thus far featured throughout large sections of 'The Launching of the Cosmic Express' story sequences.
Turns out though, no big surprise here, it wasn't ENDGAME for Ringleader a few chapters ago, after all. Turns out also Rings is the main reason it wasn't ENDGAME for the Damnation Brigade either. Some of them do fit the definition of 'casualty(ties)', however. Here's how it goes for them:
A doctor himself, Ringleader [Aristotle Zeross] didn't need to explain who needed help or in what order. He had interned with some of them [Trinondev Scientocrats], trained most of the younger ones, and the older ones, the vast majority, given Utopian life spans, had been his teachers. Obviously Cerebrus David Ryne was near-terminal, Wilderwitch critical, and Gloriel D'Angelo Dark serious.
Since we've already lost both the Elemental Twins, that leaves five members of the Damnation Brigage still around, -- at least for now. They are Blind Johnny Sundown, Raven's Head, the Untouchable Diver, Wildman Dervish Furie, and the Awesome Akbar (Old Man Power or Obadiah Melvin . . .). Even adding Ringleader to their number, we're still only at the beginning of our list of our still active protagonists.
All in all, in terms protagonistical, we've quite the Gathering of Diversity this chapter. Just about every 'good guy' (or gal) I've ever featured in PHANTACEA on the Web, those whom I haven't already killed off anyhow, -- as well as a few I did away with previously but whom didn't take kindly enough to it to stay end-gamed --, come into play.
There's Jordan Tethys again, Kronokronos Mikoto's Five from a couple of chapters ago, some of Centauri's Godbadian cohorts from the PREGAME chapters of Gambit, and even a few leftovers from the Heliodyssey story sequences set 42 years earlier.
These include Saladin Devason, the current Master of Weir, and his year younger sister, Morgianna once Somata now Sarpedon, the Superior Wilderwitch spoke of dreading back on Damnation Island. Also include in this number Andaemyn Sarpedon's aunt, Illuminatus, Melina once Sarpedon now Zeross. Along with her three daughters by Ringleader, she is kidnapped from her Weirdom of Cabalarkon seaside home by devils unknown, -- primarily for reasons that won't be fully revealed until and unless you switch over to 'Helios on the Moon'.
Oh yes, lest we forget, one of my all-time favourites is back as well. None other than Scylla Nereid, Fisherwoman. Which gives me the opportunity to throw in a few of my equally favourite Fishisms. (She's the one who says things like hake-hope and carp-crap on a regular basis. Says whaledreck too, -- but then again so does Wilderwitch, her sister in more than just Flowery Anthea.)
Fish, by the way, has been in and out of more sketch-script-story-scrapes, in more eras, than almost any of my other characters except, perhaps, Helios. Mind you, he keeps getting killed. Truth is, the D-Brigade thought Fish had too. Been killed, that is, -- in 1952, by Sea Goddess no less, and on Centauri Island, just to make matters even more synchronous.
Their only trouble, other than the Diver's delight more so than embarassment at seeing his premarital-ex altogether alive, though not in the altogether (that won't happen for another couple of chapters, assuming they last that long) is that, in terms antagonistical, they've never tangled with Nergal Vetala and Trigregos Incarnate before. Do this chapter though.
And it's only the beginning of a nearly non-stop battle royal that'll carry on right through to the end of the book!
14. The Trigregos Gambit: "The Dead and The Damned"
For those of you following Gambit's plotline from the original series of comic books, we're finally up to PHANTACEA Six, which was drawn cover to cover by Verne Andru. Since pH-6 was the last comic I published, way back in the late Seventies, it shouldn't surprise you that we're also up to the 'ENDGAME' section of 'The Trigregos Gambit' here in the Year 2-3-Zeroes. (Not to be confused with Zeross.)
Who (King Cold) kidnapped Melina Sarpedon Zeross and her three daughters by Ringleader (Persephone, Helen and Athena) and where they were taken (Lathakra, naturally) is revealed. Antaeor Thanatos, -- Demon Land from, mostly, 'War of the Apocalyptics' --, has made his way to the Frozen Isle and is reacquainted Aires, Airealist of the Damnation Brigade. Who, as we've pretty much known all along, proves to be no D'Angelo whatsoever.
Got a couple more Thanatoids of Lathakra to bring, re-bring rather, to your attention before we get onto the end-chapter fight-fest. These are Klannit, the Mirror Mentalist, the Thanatoids' Haunted Angel who also appears in the later 'Heliodyssey' story sequences, and Sedunihas the Artist. Also the Sculptor.
Their appearances, though, have more to do with 'Helios on the Moon' than Gambit so I won't dwell on them overly long here. Won't dwell on them any more than that, actually. You want action aplenty? As ever-always look no further than PHANTACEA on the Web. It's all here, in this chapter, in all its abundance.
There's Nergal Vetala and Silver Fangs, another one from the later 'Heliodyssey' story sequences as well as earlier on in Gambit. There's more about the spooky Pani, Valhallans, a third Tyrtod and, as was also touched upon the same few chapters ago, just what the hell Death's Angels were up to last Demetray. There's zombies, the Cloud of Hadd (vulturous variety), and at least one Apocalyptic power focus. There's a shape-shifting Raksha-demon, a bit-bite of sex, and someone even swears!
There's far-sight; tons of teleportation; Vetala's Brainrock throne; Dustmound as a middle finger raised to the Sedon Sphere; Freespirit Nihila; Ringleader strutting his stuff (not as much as Trigregos does though); an earthquake; and, at the end of the day, a standoff. (Sorry!)
15. The Trigregos Gambit: "Trigregos Triumphant"
Titles do tend to say it all, don't they? Don't tell you how many more chapters there are to go, though. So there's hope, isn't there? Of course that would depend on who you're hake-hoping'll win.
Isn't the Damnation Brigade, I can tell you that. They haven't had much success lately. Especially not since coming from the Outer Earth to Sedon's Head. Where once there were ten of them, eleven if you add in Kid Ringo, -- which we did awhile ago --, by end-chapter there's only two still active. And one of them's fast-fading away.
That'd be Yehudi Cohen, the Untouchable Diver. He isn't as quip-witted as he used to be but at least he's still free. So's Fisherwoman and, yes, they do get a little touchy-feelie this time around. (As he says, she's a hell of a butt.) What the Diver touches, other than her halibut, is what gives him fishbait-faith there's more chapters still to come.
One anyhow, -- although whether he comes in it remains to be seen!
What else? Well, the Godbadian air force finally succeeds in seeding the non-Vultyrie Cloud of Hadd, which means the whole chapter takes place in a veritable deluge. Then there's Morgianna Sarpedon lady-lording over the clone, Golgotha Nauroz, Field-Fuhrer of the Utopians' Trinondev Elite, as if she and not her year older brother, Saladin Devason, was the Master of Weir.
There's also Cosmicompanions E, F, & G, from earlier on, -- still vampires, but now decathonitized devas as well. And guess which devils they've become? Time's up! In no particular order, they're the Scarecrow Strawman (Vanthysces, Byron's Reaper); the First Fangs Fop Vladuca; and Zuvem Nergalis, Gravedigger or Devil Doom. All from even earlier on, -- from PREGAME-Gambit, to be precise!
Never one to be left out, the third Nergalid, Yama Nergal, Mithras' Grim Reaper, and his Death's Angels (last seen a couple of installments ago) reappear end-chapter. This due to Rings rising from his near-deathbed and teleportal-ringing Trigregos Incarnate up to the radioactive Ghostlands. So, let me ask you this, -- in a confrontation between the latest Deva Death (not to be confused with King Cold, Devil Doom, or Mother Murder, the Apocalyptic of Death), who do you think's going to win?
Titles do tend to say it all, don't they? Don't say much about the middle Nergalid, though, -- the one who did the growing after the first one did the planting and before the other one did the harvesting. Not to mention the devil I keep forgetting to mention. Here's how it goes with them:
16. The Trigregos Gambit: "Dust Devils"
I should assure you at the onset that the title has nothing to do with any kind of Outer Earth vacuum cleaner. Can't even recall if such a thing existed circa 1979 or '80, which was when the comic book script for ph-6, upon which this chapter is based, was written. Probably did when I wrote this draft, the prose version of it, -- but that doesn't mean a hellish hill of jalepeno bean baguettes. Let alone a doughty dough of has-beens, for that matter. Or a mound of decomposed-unto-dust Dead Things, which is where most of the munificent motivity herein described is centred.
We're talking Dustmound, naturally. Not that there's anything natural about ambulant Dead Things and even less about still-cognizant Valhallans. Also talking the penultimate chapter of Gambit. Which of course means there will be a bit-bunch-bundle of pre-ultimate ENDGAME, instant has-beens this time up. Might be surprised as to who among them, one in particular, bat-bites the proverbial ...
Recognize who utters pre-ultimate's ultimatum? Thought you might!
Inked but never coloured cover by Verne Andrusiek ca. 1987/8, intended for the phantacea Phase One project, the double-click is of a postcard prepared for the revised version of this web-serial in 2005 by Jim McPherson; Verne (now Andru) also did the cover for Phantacea Publications'
17. The Trigregos Gambit: "Coda"
All right, so I lied. Sort of! Smiler's utterance was right on. Should have known that right away, shouldn't you? Devas don't lie! Last chapter marked the real end of ENDGAME-Gambit. All this chapter marks is the end of PREGAME-Gambit, the first chapter of PREGAME-Gambit, to be precise! But, is it really?
The Trigregos Gambit, PREGAME, Chapters 1-4
The Trigregos Gambit, GAME, Chapters 5-8
The Trigregos Gambit, GAME, Chapters 9-13
The Trigregos Gambit, ENDGAME, Chapters 14-17
Ordering Information for PHANTACEA Mythos comic books, graphic novels, standalone novels, mini-novels and e-books
Downloadable order form for additional PHANTACEA Mythos Print Publications
Current Web-Publisher's Commentary
Jim McPherson's Worldwide Email Address -- email@example.com
PHANTACEA: The Web Serials
Jim McPherson -- firstname.lastname@example.org
© copyright Jim McPherson (www.phantacea.com)