By Leonard Pigg. Artwork by George A. Lane III.
Under cover of night, Captain Nemo rides across the Atlantic Ocean on the back of a massive whale. He sits atop it in the Lotus Position, with a silver trident in his hands. It gives off a slight blue glow and hums in his hands. Alongside him is Helen of Troy. The goddess stands with arms crossed in front of her golden breastplate and a white tunic. She also has a sword strapped to her back and her blonde hair blows in the wind. Her bright garb sticks out in the night, as contrast to the Captain Nemo in his dark blue togs. He takes a sip from his flask, then offers her some. She takes a big swig and hands it back. He tips it upside down, noticing the flask is now empty. He shrugs and tucks it back into his coat. Helen takes her sword out and pulls a flint, sharpening her blade as she paces back and forth. “This has been fun, Nemo. I appreciate you letting me vent about my relationship with Dracula. He has become distant in recent days, which makes me wonder if he is seeing someone else? He might have a tendency toward mortal women, not unlike my father, Zeus. However, I must admit I am getting bored riding atop this whale. I heard Professor Moriarty is clashing with Blue Bolt in Spain. The Bolt has a knack for sticking his nose where it doesn’t belong. Perhaps I should head there and lend a hand?” Helen muses. Nemo retorts, “Do what thou wilt, as the saying goes. I’ve had my men on standby to alert me of any action out here. Nothing’s happened so far, but I like the peace of the ocean and the fresh air. Send the Professor my regards.” Helen gives a slight bow and Nemo replies in kind. She then points at the air and a portal crackles in the air. “Off to Spain I go!” she says, stepping through the tear in the middle of the air and disappears. It closes behind her in a flash of light. Once the captain is alone again, he gives a deep sigh and lights a tobacco pipe, taking a few puffs. He enjoys the smoke amid the sea air and pats the whale.
Suddenly, his ear bud has a slight crackle, a voice comes through with a thick British accent. “Captain, there is a cruise liner under siege that should be within your sight soon. Word is, that pirates have taken over the ship. The distress signal has been going off for quite a while. I imagine the Coast Guard will come, but given the stormy weather, it will take them some time.” Nemo laughs. He tosses his tobacco pipe aside and says, “Very good. I’d like to test the mettle of these so-called pirates. Game on. Nemo out.” He reaches into his pocket and takes out a small plastic bag. Inside it, is what looks like a piece of beef jerky. He consumes it, tossing the plastic bag aside. After he finishes eating it, his eyes flash an eerie blue color and he thinks to himself, “I’ve had the god Neptune locked away in captivity for years, neutralized by mystical wards. Slowly, but surely I’ve been consuming him. If you are what you eat, than I am going to be a god. This sinister sacrament is the dirty little secret of my longevity and strength.” He feels his muscles swell slightly in his Navy Pea Coat. The streaks of gray in his hair go away, as do the wrinkles around his eyes. He grips the trident tighter, as the divine power courses through his body and he gives a roar of defiance, that echoes across the sea. “Looks like Helen is going to miss all of the action at sea. Oh well, more for me!” he says through gritted teeth.
As he approaches the cruise liner, he notices a smaller boat with a rope attached to it. He points his trident at the smaller boat and fires an energy blast at the side of the hull, closest to the water. It begins to take on water and starts sinking. “No chance of escape for them now. Get me closer.” Nemo says to the whale, which gets next to the cruise liner. He runs across the back of the whale and leaps onto the ship. He lands on his feet and from around the corner comes an armed gunman in fatigues and a ski mask. He points his AK-47 at Nemo and opens fire. Nemo spins his trident, causing the bullets to ricochet. A stray bullet bounces back, striking the gunman and he falls to the ground, holding his stomach. The Captain goes over to the injured man, kicking the gun away from him, then running him through with the trident and using it to toss him overboard. Two more gunmen rush towards the sounds of chaos, yelling at him in another language. “If I spoke your language, I might have been able to convince you to surrender. I’m not much for the Berber dialects, I’d prefer the Queen’s English.” Nemo says as he fires another beam, cutting one of them in half. The other man, sees this and runs. “By Neptune, I’m bored already. Let’s end this quick.” Nemo points his trident straight down and fires another energy blasts, penetrating through the floors and finally, the hull. He pauses to hear the screams and gunfire, then the rush of water. Making another run, he points the trident behind him and fires again, giving his leap a boost to reach the whale’s back. As Nemo rides away atop the creature, he looks back as he sees both boats sinking into the ocean depths and the sounds of violence eventually cease. He taps the ear bud again and says, “Situation neutralized. Bring out the rum and put on some Tom Hooker records. Summon some harlots, as well. I’m in a mood to party.” The voice replies, “Affirmative, Captain!”
As the whale continues on its path toward Nemo’s ship, the Nautilus, the Captain sees a glowing green haze ahead. He sighs and says, “Hold, my steed.” The whale stops. The haze rolls across the ocean and begins to swirl onto the back of the whale, across from Nemo. It takes the shape of a tall humanoid figure with pale white skin, pointed teeth, pointed ears and decked out in a long, black coat. “I am Count Orlok. I’ve been looking for you, Nemo.” Orlok says in a raspy voice. Nemo rises, adjusting his cap and says, “That’s Captain Nemo. I take it, you’re a vampire? If that’s the case, I’d advise you stand down. I am an ally of Dracula himself.” Orlok cocks his head to the side and frowns, “Dracula has no dominion over me. He is not my maker. Nevertheless, I’ve come to relieve you of your trident and your position as one of the Six Emperors!” Nemo nods, then fires at Orlok with his trident. The beams strikes true. Orlok looks down at himself, seeing a hole through his chest. He falls backwards, landing in the water. Nemo shrugs and says, “Onward, steed.” He sits down again for the rest of his journey.
Upon arrival at the Nautilus ship, Nemo can hear music playing. “I love Italo Disco,” he says with a smile. He hops off the whale and onto the platform of the ship. He enters, not noticing there is blood in the water around the whimpering whale. It closes its eyes and goes quiet. What seems like an eternity later, Orlok rises from the water. He climbs aboard the ship, completely healed. He looks back at the whale and says, “Thanks for the free meal, Shamu. Any blood will sate my appetite. You are under my control now. Destroy the Nautilus!” The whale’s eyes open and are red. It gives out a fanged roar, swims a good distance away and charges toward the ship. The Count turns into mist again and slips inside a porthole on the side of the Nautilus. As he floats through the ship, he goes towards the sound of music. There is a room where the Captain is drinking from a goblet, surrounded by several sailors and women. The sound of the music thumps through the room as they are all reveling in a ball room. The haze appears in the middle of the room, confusing the sailors. Nemo shoves the women aside and dives toward his trident. “The blood from that beast healed me and also allowed me to make it my slave,” the disembodied haze that is Orlok says to Nemo. At that moment, the whale slams into the side of the ship, sending the people flying like leaves in the wind. Orlok reforms and dives onto a sailor, biting into him and then tossing him at the other sailors. Captain Nemo leaps onto the top of the dining table, charging toward the vampire. “Everyone out!” Nemo yells, as his eyes glow. He kicks Orlok and swings his trident, knocking him back. Orlok lunges at him, with claws swinging. He tears through Nemo’s coat, drawing blood. The two both give a growl and start trading punches. Orlok spits a tooth, while Nemo’s eye begins to swell. The two tear into each other with reckless abandon. They seems to be of equal strength, but Nemo gets the upper hand using his trident for leverage. The table breaks as the two brawls atop it. Food and booze go crashing all around, meanwhile the whale slams into the Nautilus again. The two combatants tumble across the room, Orlok digs his claws into the floor to get his bearings and Nemo fires his trident at the chandelier above. It shatters and crashes down onto Orlok, who screams in agony.
Meanwhile, the sailors regroup and go on red alert in the control room. They begin to fire guns and torpedoes at the vampiric whale outside. The creature takes the damage and gives out a death cry, before it finally explodes in a bloody mass of blubber and gore. They all cheer at their direct hits. Orlok turns into mist again and rises out of the jagged debris. Nemo begins to spin his trident quickly like a propeller, causing the mist to scatter. Orlok screams again. Once there is silence, Nemo stops spinning the weapon and looks around the room. Suddenly, he hears the sounds of gunfire in another wing of the ship. He charges towards the sounds of chaos and when he arrives, he sees several of his sailors dead and dismembered on the floor. Blood and bullet holes decorate the walls of the hallway. Nemo follows the trail of carnage further down the hallway, until he sees Orlok at the end of the hall. He hisses at the Captain and leaps toward him. Nemo stabs him with the trident, as Orlok digs his claws into the Captain’s shoulders. The two are locked, slamming one another into the wall, both growling and seething with rage. The Captain fires his beam from the trident as he screams from the claws deepening into his flesh. The beam blasts through Orlok, but he doesn’t loosen his grip. Nemo continues firing the energy stream from his trident and raises it higher, disintegrating chunks of Orlok’s body until he reaches the head. Orlok’s body turns to ash and crumbles, as Nemo crashes to the ground in a bloody heap. Leaning against the wall, Nemo drops the trident and pulls off his blood-soaked coat. As he finally rises to his feet, his wounds begin to close and the remaining sailors enter the room, attending to him. “No,” Nemo says sternly, “See to the fallen. Prepare them for a burial at sea and clean the hallways. I wish to be alone now.”
Hours later, the Captain has regrouped and healed. He goes into his room, placing his trident on the mantle above his fireplace. Sitting on a couch near the fire, he gives a long sigh. On the table in front of him is a box, which he opens and takes out a small remote. He presses the button and a panel on the wall slides open. Inside the wall is a large tube of water, in which a white-haired elderly man wears tattered robes and is in chains. The tube is scrawled with various sigils, each one looks to have been etched into the glass. The chains have a gold glow, as the elderly man struggles against them. He is missing a leg and he gives Nemo a death glare. “Ancient Neptune, my lord. Your sacrament gives me such wondrous strength to stand against all threats. Very soon, I’ll have consumed every bit of you and then, I’ll be the true King of the Seven Seas.” Nemo says to him, raising a glass of wine and takes a sip. Neptune smiles and says, “I felt your fear, Nemo. The vampire almost had you. You’d better hope to slay me, else you shall know suffering far beyond mortal understanding. Pray your enemies get to you before I do. I am not the only god that still remains in this world, boy.” Nemo tosses the glass into the fire and says, “I am one of the Six Emperors. We stand atop this world as gods. I’ll not be stopped by anyone mortal or divine! Tomorrow belongs to us!”
Nemo angrily presses the button on the remote again, causing the panel to slide back in place, removing Neptune from his sight. As he sits and finishes his wine, he hears the faint echo of Neptune’s laughter behind the wall.