"Too Many Gods"
by RW

"Strap in quickly, soldiers!" the striking, muscular woman yells at her companions.  "We must move fast to catch that Protector!"  When one seems to be moving too slowly, she cuffs the side of his head with one hand, rattling his brain, and snarls at him, "Come on, come on, LIFT your feet, don't trip over them, you useless get of a cross-eyed degenerate Beta!"

Mar-vel, First Officer of the Arion colony ship CS-1121 places her arms on the back of the pilot's couch and vaults over it effortlessly, dropping into seat.  "LET'S GOOOO!" she cries, her spirits soaring as the *hunt* begins. Many years ago, she had played a key role in thwarting the meddling of another super human in Arion affairs.  If she captures this Protector, Mar-vel believes her reputation will reach all the way back to Aria!

As two Arion Primes and four Beta soldiers scramble to find seats on the Arion assault lander - a specially-designed ship for landing Arion troops on a planet, under "hot" or combat conditions, Mar-vel begins flipping switches, bypassing safeties and pre-flight checks.  The Betas secure the webbing which holds them in padded cocoons as the lander's motors fire suddenly and the ship leaps from its docking clamps, pinning the ship's occupants against their seats as it accelerates at 25 times Earth-normal gravity.   One Beta soldier cries out but his voice is lost in the roar of the ship's engines.

CS-1121 is in a fixed orbital position over the Arions' Terran System Base #1 on the "dark" side of Earth's moon.  The assault lander launches into a flight path which will take it down toward the moon's surface to skim across the satellite's weak gravity well, then use that gravity and the ship's own speed to "slingshot" toward Earth.

The assault lander has extra armor protection made of some of the finest materials of Arion design, capable of defeating most energy weapons and all but the most powerful kinetic weapons.  The ship's stress limits are at least 50 times Earth-normal gravity along all significant structural vectors.  Within seconds of launch, the ship begins to jink and swerve as it maneuvers toward an optimum flight path around Earth's moon, subjecting the ship to stresses near its design limits.  As the craft exits from the moon's gravity well and races across space toward the blue-green planet called Earth, several passengers let out sighs of relief.  One of the Betas groans loudly, suffering from several broken ribs caused when his body was crushed against poorly-secured webbing.  Blood trickles from the side of his mouth.

Even as the ship leaves the vicinity of the moon, its motors continue to fire, accelerating the ship to a sustained 35g thrust. "Watch Commander!" Mar-vel shouts into the ship's radio, straining against the gravity created by her piloting skills, "update us on the Protector!"  Mar-vel is talking to the Arion Prime back on CS-1121 in the ship's Control Center.   The WC's staff had spotted a fast-moving object over the Atlantic Ocean, racing southward and identified it as a Velorian Protector.

The Protector, an attractive young woman named Cai Trin, with the apparent age of sixteen (Earth) years, is on this planet by mischance.  She had approached an Earth in another dimension but was slipped "sideways" through inter dimensional space and deposited on the planet Earth in this dimension.  Unfortunately, this super heroine soon learned that this Earth was controlled, indirectly, by three shiploads of Arions, operating through German Nazi and Italian Fascist lackeys.  Velorian Protectors, in this dimension, had been chased back to their home world roughly 300 years earlier.  The *Ancient Ones*, a race of super beings, had decided that the Velorians were upsetting the balance of the universe in their battles with the Arions.  With no Velorians around to hinder them, the Arions were able to secretly provide help to the Axis powers, enabling them win World War II, in this dimension.

The Protector, Cai Trin of Velor, now calling herself Suprema, was flying from New Danzig (New York in other dimensions) to Haiti, on the island of Hispaniola in the Caribbean.  She saw a volcano erupting and knew instinctively that humans there would need her help, her super powers.  She flew south to help the people near the volcano and also planned to use the natural energy and heat in the volcano to recharge her own energies, depleted by combat and prolonged lack of exposure to the sun's energies.

As Suprema completes her efforts to spare a small Haitian town from the effects of lava flowing from the volcano, the assault lander's motors fire to make final adjustments to the ship's course.  Mar-vel has been given assurances that the *unidentified flying object* assumed to be a Protector went *off the scopes* near the volcano, as predicted.  The Prime smiles at this good luck of finding the Protector so soon after the Arion forces became alerted to her presence.

Mar-vel guides the lander as it streaks into Earth's atmosphere, trailing light behind the ship as would a huge meteorite entering the atmosphere.   As the ship begins to feel air, bat-like wings slide out from the lander's fuselage and give it more control surfaces for maneuvering.  The leading edges of the ship begin to glow with intense heat as the ship knifes across the sky.  The cabin temperature rises rapidly, soaring above 200 degrees Fahrenheit.  Naturally, the Primes ignore the heat's affect on the Betas.

As the lander begins rapid deceleration (subjecting its occupants to more stress and high gravity), an old Haitian voodoo priest and his zombie assistants surprises and captures the Velorian Protector, using a powerful *magick* that Suprema cannot resist.  The Protector, rendered helpless by the influence of his magick potion and arcane incantation, is carried into the jungle at the foot of the volcano as the lander makes its final landing course adjustments.

The ship roars to a halt and lands within ten feet of a lava stream pouring from the caldera of the volcano.  The front of the lander glows white and heat waves shimmer off the hull - it's surface might be hotter than the lava flow!  Cracking and popping noises signify that even the exotic materials used to construct the craft are reacting to the changing temperatures.  No metals fabricated on Earth could have survived Mar-vel's piloting skills.

As the Arions begin to disembark from the ship, Mar-vel notices one of the weaker Beta soldiers still hanging in his webbing, bleeding from the mouth.  When she learns that he had not properly secured the webbing and had suffered grievous wounds through his own carelessness, only her well-trained ability to control her emotions allows the man to remain alive.  "Useless Beta!" Mar-vel spits at him in disgust, "at least pull yourself together and move to the DS station.  Be of some use to me, pig, if you want to survive this mission!  If you have compromised the probability of success for this mission . . ."

The Beta, Nor-kem, terrified at the First Officer's legendary rages, pulls himself from his landing couch and staggers to the ship's Defense Systems station - a console which controls several of the ship's weapons and sensors.  He breathes a ragged sigh of relief when Mar-vel exits the lander to join the others in her party.  After flicking several switches, the Beta has six active screens which show him satellite feeds and camera-like views of approaches to the lander.  Nor-kem checks the main weapon, a tachyon projector capable of energy bursts of nearly 50 megawatts, enough to slow even a Velorian Protector.  He readies it for action and knows the consequences if the Protector attacks the ship and he fails to stop her.

Outside the ship, Mar-vel addresses the two Arion Primes and three remaining Beta soldiers.  She and the members of her team had donned SS uniforms taken from lockers on the lander before leaving the ship.  When the alarms rang on the colony ship and she learned that the Protector might have been sighted, Mar-vel was wearing her *play* clothes: a black Arion-made LeatherEx © body suit, elbow-length white leather gloves and white knee-length boots.  To this she added a hat and a tight thigh-length leather coat with the insignia of a Standartenführer in the German SS.  The two other Primes (males) had taken uniforms of Hauptstürmführers and the three Betas (two males and a female) wore uniforms of SS enlisted men.

"We'll form three teams, a Prime and a Beta in each.  My team will go down to the village," Mar-vel says, pointing toward the town below, "your team, Kel-em, will walk down beside the lava flow, and the last team will circle the volcano, moving toward lower levels.  Use your tachyon vision, Primes, to search for the Protector.  She's blond, has a red, yellow and blue costume, and is young.  Shouldn't be hard to spot her among the dark-skinned humans on this island.  Betas, use your weapons at full capacity - they won't kill her but they should at least slow her down.  Let the Primes do any hand-to-hand combat.  Remember, she MUST be taken alive!

"And if any Terrans get in your way or see you using your Arion strength or weapons, *remove* the humans," Mar-vel says, ominously.  Then she and the others leave on their search missions, each hoping to be the one that returns to the ship with the Protector in tow.


Several miles away from the Arion ship, in a small crumbling building that doubles as both a Catholic church and voodoo temple, Frere Patrice, a Haitian houngan or voodoo priest walks around the young blond woman standing rigidly before him, examining her body.  Just minutes ago, he put a mix of herbs and powders on Suprema's face, then applied an ancient African rune to her forehead, using a charcoal stick.  The *magick* acted on her invulnerable body as it does on ordinary humans - the poison passed through the pores of her skin and put her in a profound state of physical paralysis.  Suprema's mind is unaffected and the young girl SCREAMS in her head, begging the houngan to release her.  Her super hearing detects the roar of unearthly engines and she deduces that an Arion ship has landed in the area. Her spirits flag with the realization that a Beta child could capture her, in this condition.

"I 'ave fought ze Spanish ze last twenty years," the old man rages, "den their Boche *ad-vi-sors*, when they find ze nerve to come up here.  Now you come, and I don't know what you be, chile.  You white, so you ain't one of us.  You fly, so I KNOW you ain't even human.  You say you tell us ze truth about le Boche?  Ze truth is, they are killin' US, cher!  But soon as my people get here, we gonna make you a permanent zombie, you bet!  Den we send you back to your masters.  Teach you to come here, bother us!"

"Oh, gods," Suprema thinks, "please let me speak to this man!  He doesn't understand . . ."  The girl concentrates and strains with every fiber of her being but just cannot move her muscles.  Only the automatic muscles that beat the heart, pump the blood, draw in and exhale air work.  Her arms, legs, even her vaunted super vision require muscles her brain can no longer control.   Suprema slowly, raggedly draws a breath, hoping she can get the man's attention before he does anything else to her.

The spell used by Frere Patrice is only a temporary spell.  As he assembles the materials and artifacts he'll need to permanently make Suprema a zombie, the young girl continues to struggle against the magick.  Suddenly, the Velorian senses some progress.  She can feel the spell starting to weaken.  "Maybe the spell won't last as long as he thinks . . ." she decides.  "Maybe it will fail before he can do whatever he has planned," she hopes desperately.  Then the young heroine has an inspiration.  "Maybe I can . . ." she thinks, then slowly begins exhaling air.  And, as she thought, she's able to use literally the last reserves of her strength to work her throat muscles and vocal cords  as she exhales.

"IIIIII . . . haaateee . . . hermansss!" she manages to utter, straining to use her tongue to help form words.

"WHAT!  You speaking!?  How you do dat?" Frere Patrice cries, turning away from his ceremonial altar to look at his lovely captive.  At first, he sees just the short blond girl, dressed in her red boods and skirt, blue tunic, and red cape.  Then he notices her smallish chest rising and falling rapidly, notices sweat beading on her forehead as if the girl is moving a mountain with her bare hands.

"IIIIII . . . HHAAATTEEEE . . . HERMANS!" she cries out through unmoving lips.

The old houngan shuffles closer to the girl and stands just inches from her face, looking down into her eyes.  He can see that the girl is striving mightily to break his spell.   Then he realizes that she should be immobilized for HOURS, and barely thirty minutes have elapsed!  Suddenly the old man knows fear.  This is the first time one of his sorcerous spells has failed.  Who IS this amazing little girl?

In utter desperation, Suprema tries a new tact, "IIIII . . . KIILLLL . . . HERMANSS!" she moans, lying to the man, but hoping he will understand that they can be allies.  This is her last, supreme effort.  Her body seems to sag as her muscles again lock up - she knows instinctively that she won't be able to speak again until the spell wears off.

"You a puzzlement, chile," the old voodoo priest says, still staring at Suprema's eyes.  "I seen you dig ze ditch up on ze hill.  You done a good t'ing - ze lava must go 'round ze village fer sure.  Maybe . . . maybe you ain't a Boche.  Maybe you did come here to help.

"I got sumt'n here - where it be?" he says, turning back toward his altar.  Rummaging underneath it, he pulls himself back up and returns to the Velorian.  "You see dis, fille?" he says, holding a thin silver band before her eyes.  "Dis is ze *Ring of Truth!*  Made it my own self, from one of ze old books.  You cain't lie to me, girl, if it is on you finger!"  The old man leans forward, his fetid breath filling Suprema's face, and puts the ring on one of the Velorian's fingers.

"MMMnnnnnhhh!" Suprema moans when the thin band comes into contact with her skin and its magical influences begin to affect her body.  Her mind nearly swoons and it feels like the blood in her brain is boiling.  Suprema gasps raggedly and feels her will to resist begin to fade away.  "OOhhhhhh!" she sighs.

The old man brushes Suprema's face and neck, removing most of the herbs and powders he had thrown onto her earlier to paralyze her, and as he removes the enchantments, he mutters an incantation in a mixture of Haitian creole, French, and some African dialect - probably Yoruba or Fon.  As he finishes, Suprema suddenly feels her muscles *go limp* as the spell's hold over them is released.   The girl drops slowly to the floor, landing first on her knees, then dropping her butt onto her boot heels.  As her arms hang uselessly at her sides, she continues to sag until she's seated on the floor, legs splayed out to one side, one shoulder propped against the crude voodoo altar.

Frere Patrice squats beside the girl and cups one bony hand under her chin.  He lifts her face up and stares into her deep blue eyes, trying to find answers before she regains full control of her muscles.  "I know you can speak, chile," he finally says.  "By ze power o' ze Ring o' Trut', you got to say why you come down here . . .   Speak to me, fille!"

Suprema runs her tongue across her lips, trying to restore some moisture to her parched lips.  "I . . . saw news about  . . . the volcano . . . saw a chance to . . . help humans, save lives . . . and get energy from . . . volcano," she says, unable to stop the flow of words from her mouth.  The girl is utterly exhausted from struggling against his magicks, but she knows she can't resist him any longer!  "N-need to show . . . show people that . . . I'm their friend."

"How I stop you, you cause me trouble, girl?" the old man asks.

"Gold weakens me, hurts . . . you can control me with magick," the girl says, forced by the mystic silver ring to tell the truth.  Suprema can barely hold her head off her chest but she does manage to smile at the old Black man.

"Hmmn," the old man says, rubbing his chin, "maybe I be gettin' too old, maybe I be gettin' too desperate, but cher, I know ze Ring works.

"I been fightin' alone, protectin' my people for long time now.  Mebbe you is sent here to help dis old man?  So mebbe I trust you for a while.  Let me get ze rest of zat 'chantmen' off you, girl."  As the old man removes the rune and the rest of the magick items off Suprema's face and neck, she feels a rush of power and gains more control over her body.  The problem is, she doesn't have enough energy left to do anything with her body!

Suprema, in a soft and halting voice, explains to the old houngan about her need for natural energy to replace all that she has used and has been unable to replenish.  She explains how a good long soak in the lava would be a certain way to replenish her energy.

"But girl," the old man says in exasperation, "zere be energy all 'round you.  Why you don't use that energy?"


"Girl - what is your name, anyway . . ."

"Suprema - call me Cai, though."

"Cai, honey, nature is a wonderment!  Dere's all KINDS of energy flowing 'round you, through you.  All you need to do is connect with it, let it flow into your body."

"I . . . I don't know how," she says, not entirely sure what he means.  "I never heard of that."

"Why, cher, you may have muscles, you may fly like ze bird, but you want to move ze world, best you use ze world's energy 'gainst itself!  Only a fool waste his own energy!"  With that, the old priest begins to explain to the Velorian the truth - HIS truth, about using natural energy.  He explains that there are scores of local spirits or loa all around us - most people just don't notice them.  These loa can be good or they can be bad.  But all of them control a kind of natural energy.  During a voodoo service, as the participants dance and sing and perform ritual acts of sacrifice, they open their minds and allow the loa to flow into their bodies.  When the spirits flow into someone's body, they bring along their natural energy, super charging the true believers, the ones who are controlled by the most powerful loa.  The priest doesn't mention that he, in turn, controls the loa once they enter a person, thereby making the person possessed by a spirit his own pawn.

Slowly, carefully, the old man works with the young girl, helping her into a lotus position, helping her lower her mental barriers and natural resistance to enable loa to flow into her body. Frere Patrice's two assistants, zombies named Poul and Andre, are ordered to help the houngan and the young girl by beating on drums.  After just a few minutes of a steady mind numbing rhythm and chants from the old man, as Cai feels herself drifting off to sleep, her head suddenly snaps backward, punching a hole into the wooden altar behind her.  Her eyes open widely and she inhales sharply through her nose.

"Viola!" Frere Patrice says, "ze loa comin', cher!  Don' fight 'em!  Relax, go wit' ze drums and let ze spirits enter you!"  The old man, seated opposite the young girl, resumes his chanting and, like Suprema, sways with the beating of the drums.

Suprema had, indeed, started to resist the unexpected shock to her system, but as the old man trusted her, so too did she now trust him.  In seconds, she is back in rhythm with the drums and and the old man's chanting.  Soon she feels a steady, powerful surge of energy flowing into her body.  She also senses that she is somehow becoming detached from her body - she can see her knees but doesn't think they really belong to her body.  Suprema feels a tingling on her skin as each breath seems to energize her body.  There is no indication of any spirits or loa - just an incredibly warm and sensual flow of energy into her body, especially into her breasts.  The old man must use the tale of spirits to inspire awe in his followers.

"Dere you go, girl!" the old man laughs, clapping his hands and rocking sideways, "I can SEE you gettin' FILLED with ze spirits!"  The old man's eyes suddenly begin to widen - he can now literally SEE thin wispy streamers flowing into the girl's body, from different directions.  More, he can see her breasts start to get larger!  What were, less than thirty minutes ago, little more than bumps on her chest are now swelling outward.  Her blond hair slowly rises away from her head and a beautific smile crosses her face.  "Dat's it, cher, now you got it! Now you gettin' ze energy of ze world!"


Yes or no.  True or false.  Black or white.  Yin or yang.  There is a kind of duality underlying many things in this universe and almost all other universes.  Two diametrically opposed alternatives - decisions, choices, answers to profound questions - vie for dominance.  Another pair of such diametrically opposed alternatives is the two forces which offer alternative ways of confronting reality.

These forces are known in many universes as *the Old Gods*, the *Ancient Ones*, or the *Old Ones*.  Actually these Old Gods are two tremendously advanced races, the Galens and the Diaboli, operating from some place beyond known time and space.  Throughout time, each has sought to enlist younger races on their side.  Working behind the scenes sometimes, in full view at other times, the Old Gods try to persuade young, emerging species that their way of dealing with reality is the best.  Sometimes called *religions*, other times called metaphysics, these represented two mutually exclusive ways of living and interpreting reality.

The Ancient Ones promoted order, rationality, the scientific method, and the notion that society must be organized to perpetuate itself, even at the expense of the individual.  They celebrate the physical and mental development of species toward an unspecified ideal.  The Old Ones, on the other hand, welcome chaos, uncertainty, intuition, and individuality as the best way to cope with life.  Spiritual growth and the ability to link with *natural* energies, in this world or even in other dimensions, are the goals of any who would follow the Old Ones.

Many eons ago, in most universes, the Galens sought to develop one race (the Velorians) as their *champions*.  Descended from barbarian archetypes roaming northern Europe on Earth, the Velorians were transported to a distant planet and genetically enhanced to become Homo Supremis - superior man.  Some time later, a group of Velorians who opposed the methods used by their leaders, left the Velorian homeworld and became the Arions.  Later, their gene pool was corrupted by Velorian treachery, weakening the Arions and dividing their race into the Alphas (Primes) and Betas, the Primes having their Velorian strength reduced by nearly fifty percent and losing their ability to fly, the Betas reduced to little more than *superior* humans.  Throughout the long millennia after that, the Arions and Velorians savagely fought each other to become the premier example of Homo Supremis. Often open battles would rage on young worlds, as Velorian Protectors and Arion warriors sought to dominate the planet.  Deaths among the young races soared - collateral damage, the *cost of doing business*.

Even as the battle between Velorians and Arions raged, the more important battle between the Ancient Ones and the Old Ones continued, on Earth and on other planets as well.  The *gods* would send one or more people to a planet to demonstrate an approach for dealing with life - on Earth the Diaboli spread their teachings among the Bronze Age Britons who built Stonehenge. Millennia later, the Diaboli had left the planet but their teachings on the use of natural energies became the core beliefs of the human Druids.  Roman legions, at the instigation of the Galens, went to the British Isles and wiped out the Druids, imposing the views of the Galens (manifested as Greco-Roman civilization) on humanity.

Down through time, groups or even individuals like the Galen agent Galileo or the Diaboli agent Merlin would try to shape humankind's perspective on reality.  Then the other group of *gods* or their champions would rise as a counter force.  Tantric Buddhists, Wiccans, and voodoo priests are other examples of humans trying to fathom Diaboli teachings.

Only one race ever whole-heartedly adopted the Diaboli approach to life.  Called by some the *Elder Gods*, they began on a planet circling a star that Terrans would later call Betelgeuse, and became powerful masters of what humans would call sorcery.  Led by their war lords, Cthulhu, Yog-Sothtoth, Ygdrasil and others, they quickly spread across the universe, fueling their expansion with energies stolen from sentient beings during vile sexual excesses, ritual sacrifices, and the enslavement of younger races to their will.  The extreme pain and suffering of the young races enhanced the powers of the Elder Gods, making their *magick* stronger, and allowing them to draw even more strength from *natural* energies.

Both the Galens and the Diaboli were aghast at the excesses of the Elder Gods.  They were soon stopped by the two older races and imprisoned in a horrific dimensional limbo, trapped forever between normal time and space.  Occasionally, someone would stumble upon some writing or trace of the Elder Gods and mistakenly try to free them - the mad Arab, Abdul al-Hazred, in his book The Necronomicon, for example, detailed ways to free the Elder Gods and Charles Dexter Ward of Arkham, Massachusetts, actually did open a gateway, briefly, before the now-insane Elder Gods lashed out and killed him.

The Galens and Diaboli learned from their experience with the Elder Gods and the carnage wrought by the Velorian/Arion wars and decreed that such overt genocide was unacceptable.  The Galens and Diaboli imposed upon both races a prohibition on the violent and overt subjugation of the younger races.  Leaders of both races were told in no uncertain terms that the younger races were to be left alone, allowed to develop on their own.  If any contact WAS made with Velor or Aria, the younger race MUST be allowed to choose its OWN relationships with the Supremis races.

For some time, as the Old Gods resumed their efforts to influence the development of the younger races, the Velorians and Arions kept a low profile in their struggles, and the level of violence throughout the universe SEEMED to subside.  Then 300 years ago, a shipload of Velorians began traveling to young worlds and dropping fusion bombs and *Hellburners* on races that were struggling to develop their own civilizations.  Whether there were Arions on the planet was apparently irrelevant.  When the Old Gods saw what was happening, they tried to capture this ship, but it was destroyed by Arions when it entered their system.  Once again the Galens had to bridle their creations.  The Galens FORCED the Velorians to withdraw back to their own world.

But while trying to preserve the *natural balance* of the universe, the Galens actually UPSET the balance, basing their action on a contrived situation that just wasn't true.  The bombings were not done by Velorians, they were done by *Valkyries*.  And now two Valkyries, a male and a female, were racing through space toward the Sol system, in response to a call from the Arion commander of the system.  Du-kem, the Arion, had a need for Valkyries, lest this upstart Protector wreck the careful planning begun over 500 years ago on Aria.

But if Mar-vel had any luck at all, the Protector would be captured before the Valkyries arrived.


A mile above Frere Patrice's little church, Kel-em's super hearing detects the incessant and hypnotic rhythms of the drums.  Turning toward the sound, Kel-em gasps at the sight of the young Protector hovering almost a foot above the dirt floor of the run-down church.  Kel-em can see her hair stretching outward from her head, can even see multi-colored wisps of smoke flowing toward her body.

Grabbing his Beta companion, Kel-em begins running toward the church, trampling all but the largest trees in his path.  The Beta, grimly holding onto his energy weapon, goes limp in the vice grip of the Prime and bounces along behind the man.  When the pair reaches the door to the church a few seconds later, Kel-em has the Beta call the lander and report that the Protector has been found.

Once this has been completed, the two Arions turn toward the door and Kel-em hammers it with one boot, driving the door inward and off its hinges.  As the Beta fires his energy weapon at the three humans in the room, burning each one with a short but powerful blast, Kel-em rushes the Protector, noting happily that she seems to have not noticed their arrival.  "Stupid Velorian cow - no fighting skills whatsoever!" the Prime gloats as his shoulder slams into the girl's ribs with incredible force, driving both of them through the wall of the church and beyond.

Suprema is barely aware of her surroundings.  The young girl is floating on a surreal sea of sound and sensuous pleasure as waves of energy, seemingly attuned to the drum beats and the houngan's chants, flow into her body.  Distantly, she is aware that her body is moving and that there is some pain in her side.  In the seconds after the two zombies are vaporized and the drumming halts, Suprema flows back in touch with her body again.

Suddenly she's aware that she is no longer in the church.  Her mind snaps back to the here-and-now and Suprema realizes that someone is sitting on her stomach, hammering her face with powerful blows from clenched fists!  "NNnnghh!!" she moans as the incessant pounding begins to register, "aaAOOOWW!  S-stopppp!! STOOPPPP!!" she cries.  Sounds of steel pounding steel ring through the small clearing.  The Arion Prime screams from the effort of hammering the Protector, hoping to beat her senseless.

"What's the matter, little girl?" Kel-em sneers, "didn't anyone teach you how to fight an Arion Prime?".  After pushing the girl through the church wall, they landed on the ground outside.  Kel-em quickly sat upon the dazed Protector, using his knees to pin her arms to the ground.  Then he leaned forward and began pounding her, to render her unconscious.

As Suprema struggles under the Prime, his Beta screams into the radio, begging the other teams to join them.  Unlike the Prime, this Beta realizes they are no match for a Protector. He hovers near the conflict, ready to fire his weapon at the Protector, should he get a clean shot.

"ENOUGH!" Suprema yells, finally recovering her senses.  With a mighty effort, she brings her outspread arms together, lifting the Arion's knees off her biceps in the process and tossing him into the air.  The little Protector is immediately aware that whatever that old voodoo priest had done to her had, in fact, given her a massive charge of energy.  Once again, her breasts are back to their normal 38D. She will later discover that her body has grown, from its 5'6" height to almost 5'9", and outward several sizes as well.  She no longer looks like a teen, but now looks more like a young Terran woman in her twenties (one with a phenomenally well-developed physique).  Flexing her arms swells Suprema's biceps to over 24 inches in diameter!

As the Prime is literally bucked off the girl's body, the Beta reacts by firing a pulse of his energy weapon at the Velorian.  The shot hits her side and blasts her body backward several feet.  A second later, as Kel-em lands unceremoniously on his face, the Beta fires a second blast at the Protector's back, aiming at the shield on her cape, at the "S".  This second powerful blast hits Suprema and sends her spinning off toward the trees.

"Mmnnh!  M-must get back into this fight!" Suprema thinks.  Lying on her stomach, feet toward the Arions, she rises slightly and looks backward in time to see the Beta take aim at her to fire a third shot.  Wasting no time, Suprema shoots a heat beam back at the Beta, slightly melting the muzzle end of his weapon, deforming it.  As the weapon fires, the charge hits the warped end of the barrel and causes the weapon to explode.  The mighty blast levels the church, bowls over the recovering Prime, and scatters the Beta's molecules like dust in the wind.  Even Suprema is battered by the shock wave.

As Kel-em begins to rise, pulling himself to his hands and knees, he suddenly feels and sees two tanned legs, ending in shiny red boots, wrap around his mid-section.  The Protector recovered faster than the Arion and like a little child getting a pony ride from a favorite uncle, Suprema has mounted the Prime.

Then this homey tableaux changes - to the worse for Kel-em.  Suprema locks her ankles and begins to squeeze together her thighs, the most powerful muscles in a Protector's body.  Incredible pressures from her knees begin to press Kel-em's ribs inward, crushing them, breaking them.  He screams from the horrible pain and tries to collapse to the ground, but Suprema uses her flying power to keep them off the ground.  Now some four feet above the ground, the little Protector wraps her hands around the thick neck of the Prime and begins to slowly, powerfully squeeze and turn.

As the Prime struggles to free himself, his hands grasp Suprema's knees and try to pry her legs away from his body.  The Prime's rough hands send a tingle up the girl's legs as his fingers try to pull her thighs apart.  The Protector suddenly notices that the struggles of the Prime, his hands on her legs, the thrill of hand to hand combat are starting to arouse her!  She can smell the characteristic smell of honey and flowers, an indication that she is becoming sexually aroused.  She also becomes aware that the man's struggles, rubbing against her body, has caused her body to begin lubricating in anticipation of intercourse!

Kel-em's struggles against the Protector suddenly increase in urgency when he, too, smells the woman's pheromones.  He knows from his training that an aroused female - Velorian or even Arion Prime, becomes more powerful when sexually aroused.  Kel-em digs his fingers into Suprema's impossibly hard thighs, hoping to pry them apart.  He's only sealed his doom - his touch does nothing to move her legs apart but DOES increase her arousal.

Suprema gasps and shudders as a wave of pleasure washes through her body.  When it passes, she tightens her grip around the man's waist and neck and twists his head inexorably to the right.

"<GACK> Nngh! S-top! <URGH!>" Kel-em grunts as he feels his neck collapsing like his rib cage.  Suprema continues exerting terrible pressures on the man, both with her legs and arms, and the inevitable happens just seconds later - Kel-em's ribs collapse and his neck snaps, his head twists around to face backward.  Suprema looks down on the eyes of the still-living Prime and fires a blast of heat vision into his face, burning even his nearly-invulnerable skin.  Then she relaxes her legs and releases Kel-em's body, allowing it to fall into a heap on the ground.

Having Kel-em pinned between her thighs, struggling helplessly, shaking, throbbing, was a powerfully sensuous pleasure for the young Protector. This first kill was almost an erotic pleasure, she realizes, noting the wetness between her legs and on the crotch of her tunic.  Even her breasts are tingling from this experience and she can still detect the scent of flowers and honey, above the carnage wrought by the battle.  Oh yes, the scent of her pheromones clearly indicates that this first kill was a near-orgasmic experience for the girl.

Unhappily, Suprema doesn't have time to luxuriate in these feelings.  Scanning the area for more Arions, she sadly assumes that the old voodoo priest, Frere Patrice, is nowhere to be found and must have died during the fight.  Then she spots the assault lander, a few miles away, on the edge of the volcano.  She contemplates an attack, then sees two pairs of Arions rushing through the woods toward her.  "I'll fight them later," she decides, "I need to think about this kill and about what the old man taught me."  Flexing her thigh muscles, the Protector roars upward and aims herself back toward New Danzig.

Mar-vel and her Beta rush into the clearing just as the little red skirt and boots of Suprema flash away.  "COME ON!" Mar-vel roars, grabbing the Beta by her shoulder harness, "back to the ship!  Call the other team, tell them to get back to the ship AT ONCE!"  As the Prime races at incredible speed up the steep slope toward the volcano's caldera, she hears the Beta radio the ship to prepare for flight, then advise the other team to return to the lander.  When Mar-vel hears the other team reply in the affirmative, the Prime unceremoniously drops her Beta and hunkers down to increase her speed toward the ship. The Beta skips and bounces several times, finally crashing to a halt as her body slams into a tree.  The unconscious woman lies in a tangle at the foot of the tree, abandoned by a Prime on the hunt.

A few heartbeats later, Mar-vel arrives at the lander.  Within seconds, the other Prime rushes toward the ship - he too had dropped his Beta as an unnecessary encumbrance.  The two Primes rush into the ship and strap into flight couches.  Nor-kem had prepped the ship for takeoff, so as soon as Mar-vel lands in the pilot's couch, she flips switches and pulls back the throttle, launching the ship.  Its stubby black bat-shaped wings wobble slightly as the Prime red-lines the throttle for maximum lift and speed.  "Give me her course, Beta!" Mar-vel hisses, "don't let her get away from us!  And when you get a chance, fire that main gun.  I want you to aim for her crotch, you hear?  Not her breasts!"

"Y-yes ma'am," Nor-kem replies, searching furiously for traces of the fleeing Protector.  "First Officer," he says, shouting out some numbers, "here are her coordinates!"  Mar-vel's fingers play expertly across the ship's control surfaces and the lander banks slightly as it heads after the Velorian.

As the Protector and the trailing lander race northward from Hispaniola and pass the island of Bermuda, the lander's engines accelerate the ship, allowing it to soon overtake the Protector. "I . . . I have her," Nor-kem stammers when he hears the sharp tone indicating his targeting computer has sighted and *locked on* the Protector.  The dorsal turret housing the powerful energy weapon swings around and points toward the distant flying girl.  "First shot away!" Nor-kem says, praying to himself that he gets at least a near miss.

Suprema isn't thinking about anything but returning to New Danzig.  Confident that she has left the non-flying Arions back on the volcano, still trying to get airborne, her reverie suddenly shatters when a powerful blast of energy hits the bottoms of her boots and sends her body spinning forward, out of control.  "AAOOWWW!" she cries, "that - that HURTS!"  In the seconds she needs to right herself, the lander closes to within a thousand meters of her position.

As Suprema again thrusts her legs for speed, Nor-kem fires a second burst at the girl, and this time part of the blast hits one of her hips, smashing her sideways.  The girl screams from the pain and clutches her hip, again losing valuable momentum.  As she again tries to fly away, this time she begins to dive left or swerve right-and-up, hoping to evade further blasts from the ship's main gun, now less than 500 meters away.  Her flying skills do cause the next two shots to miss, but the lander, on its straighter course, continues to close the gap.

Suprema suddenly brakes her forward movement, flexing her forward-stretched arms and using them as she would her legs, causing her body abruptly lose forward momentum and drop slightly downward.  As her forward air speed drops rapidly, the speeding lander overtakes the girl and zooms over her head, too quickly for anyone on board to react.  Suprema immediate launches herself forward again and flies straight toward the ship's hellishly hot engines.

Nor-kem tries to locate the Protector, somewhere behind or below the ship, he believes, obscured by the wash of the engines.  Mar-vel screams at the Beta to "DO SOMETHING!!" Suddenly the lander shudders as if a massive object had just slammed against its rear.  The massive object, a little girl from Velor, rammed her body against the rear of the lander, driving her shoulder into one of the white-hot vents of the engine.  The nearly 5,000 degree C heat is almost too hot for Suprema, but after taking a second to recover, she manages to push against the sides of the engine's vent, crumpling them inward.

Straining, grunting, the heroine manages to collapse the vents around one engine, funneling the motor's exhaust through a far-too-narrow hole.  As she drops away from the crippled ship, Suprema uses her super vision to fire a heat blast at the turret, melting part of it against the roof of the lander.  This deformation of the turret's base means it can no longer turn, sparing Suprema from any more blasts.  As the lander falls away from Suprema, she sees two bodies leap from the ship.

"GET OUT!" Mar-vel screams, vaulting over the back of the pilot's couch and running toward the ship's door.  As she opens the door and leaps out, the other Prime is right behind her.  Nor-kem, this time, had properly secured his web restraints, so he could survive Mar-vel's flying.  As he releases the last of the catches, the ship's engines go critical and explode, vaporizing the ship in a staggering blast.

Suprema sees the two bodies fall from the lander and instinctively knows she should make sure the two Arions die, if not from the fall, then from the sudden thud when they land.  The girl dives down past the crippled lander and as she passes near it, the ship suddenly explodes in a powerful blast.  The concussive effects of the exploding shuttle throw the two Primes in one direction and hammer Suprema's body, she being much closer to the ship when it died.  Her dazed mind is barely conscious as her limp body tumbles out of control and away from the blast site.  Just before she blacks out, Suprema feels her body pass through some kind of barrier - a force shield or something.  Then . . . blackness.


Slowly, ever so slowly, the young Velorian's mind struggles upward toward consciousness.  As she begins to revive, her first sensation is that of a hand gently caressing her cheek.  Luxuriating in a dream-like state, Suprema then begins to notice a distant voice, a female voice, cutting through the haze into her brain.

" . . . better be soon.  Come on, girl, you can do it!"

"Mmnnnh!" Suprema struggles to say.  She opens her eyes and finds herself in a bed, naked, under light silky sheets.  A stunning red-headed beauty is seated beside her on the edge of the bed.  The older woman's upper body has bracelets and some kind of gold and tunic.  Her smile would melt the heart of any male, and the heart of this Velorian.  "Mmmmmm!" Suprema moans, leaning into the red-head's hand as it slips down to the girl's neck, just below her ear. "That feels nice," the girl says, "thank you!"

"Welcome back, little one!" the woman says to the Velorian.  "Welcome to Themyscira.  My name is Artemis.  Can you tell me your name?"