By Leonard Pigg
Everything is black. Things are still on a molecular level. Reality is frozen. Time and space are dilated beyond understanding. Suddenly, everything blinks back into existence and the two men are still on the ship. Koschei chuckles and says, “Hell of a way to travel, but it saves on me expending energy from the power core. Now, I’m wondering where and when the hell are we?”
Bilgamesh takes a sip from his flask and sighs. “We’re still alive, that’s what counts. However, I wonder what kind of change has been wrought with me not committing genocide?”
Koschei shrugs and says, “I’m not sure, I’ll have to do some research and find out. Maybe we’ll have intergalactic peace now? That’s the beauty of changing history.” Koschei begins tapping on the crystal ball again, which gives a soft hum and finally he looks over to Bilgamesh and says, “Seems we’ve skipped forward fifty years. Maybe we’ll have intergalactic peace by now?”
Suddenly, a beeping noise goes off and Koschei starts tapping on the ball again. A holographic message appears above the ball, revealing the image of a striking man in a long coat, wielding an exotic looking gun. “This message is being sent out across multiple frequencies! My name is Captain Ulysses Paxton and there is an invasion on Mars! Our city is being overrun by cybernetic men and they are killing everyone in their path! We need help!” The message is cut short and the screen goes black.
Bilgamesh cracks his knuckles and says, “I never liked cyborgs. Let’s go to Mars, my friend!” Koschei gives Bilgamesh a wink and starts to program the ship coordinates. “Looks like I’m about to prevent another great pogrom!” Koschei says as the ship vibrates through the time and space.
Meanwhile, Captain Ulysses Paxton leaps across the landscape of Mars. As he goes through the air, he fires his gun behind him at a pack of cyborgs following him on a land cruiser. A moment later, a rocket comes flying from behind a hill and strikes the cruiser. As it explodes, Paxton looks around to see who rescued him. Barbarella steps out, with a rocket launcher over her shoulder. She is wearing silver body armor, that has a blue glow on the seams. She gestures for him to come toward her, which he does. Before he reaches her, an energy beam from the wreckage hits Paxton, knocking him down. There are only three cyborgs left that have crawled from the destroyed cruiser. She ducks down as they fire at the two, then launches another rocket towards them. It explodes mid-air as they shoot it with their lasers.
The backlash of the explosion knocks her down, leaving her dazed. She crawls over toward Paxton, who is now conscious. The two scramble to get their bearings as the cyborgs move in. Suddenly, from out of the sky, Bilgamesh lands in between them. He swings a sickle, decapitating one cyborg and he kicks the other two. Giving a yell, Bilgamesh cuts into the other two with his sickle, chopping off the robotic parts. The purple obelisk appears nearby and Koschei comes out in fatigues, carrying a large backpack. He tosses it over to Barbarella and Paxton.
“Plenty of guns and bombs in there. I imagine you’ll be needing them. I’m Koschei and that’s Bilgamesh. We’re here to help.” Koschei says with a smile.
Barbarella immediately pulls a laser gun on Koschie and says, “Which side you helping?” He gestures towards the bag of weapons and points at her. “Duh,” Koschei says. Once Bilgamesh finishes dismembering the cyborgs, he walks up and bows. When introductions are made, the trio all go into Koschei’s ship to regroup.
“We can knock out the cyborgs with a large electromagnetic pulse. That will shut them down temporarily.” Koschei says.
“What about their organic parts?” Barbarella asks.
“If their vitals are connected to it, they will die. Anyone know who they are or why they’re here?” Koschei asks.
Paxton raises his hand. “It’s Vad Varo, my former Martian name and body. Their Prime Cyborg took over the body as a computer virus. I’ve been an expert at body swapping, so my mind escaped before it could take me over and I had to recreate this new one with a few upgrades.”
Koschei says to Paxton, “When this is over, maybe you can help me make a new one for myself?” Barbarella rolls her eyes at the flirtatious tone.
Bilgamesh gets a somber look on his face and begins pacing the room slowly. “Can you get in touch with Doctor Omega? Or maybe some of the heroes from Earth to intervene?”
“We don’t need Doctor Omega, we just need to take out the leader. That’s usually how this goes and frankly, Omega doesn’t usually have the stomach for that kind of thing. I’m fairly certain none of us have a problem with killing. In fact, I bet you might even enjoy it. Not all Earth-based heroes go for that sort of action. Prepare to get bloody and if all else fails, I’ll detonate my ship. Either way, this will come to an end. Are you all with me?” Koschei says as he starts to adjust controls on his ship. Each person silently nods in agreement.
“Good. All else fails, we dies as heroes.” Koschei and Bilgamesh lock eyes a moment.
“The ones I killed had orange skin! They’re Bilgamites!” Bilgamesh says angrily.
Paxton interrupts and says, “There’s only a couple hundred here, but they’re converting Martians now. I get random mental images from the old body. We have to get to the main ship and take Vad Varo head on. If not, we’ll be overwhelmed by grunts as the majority are fighting in the city now.”
Suddenly, Koschei’s ship is shaking and the sound of muffled explosions are going on outside. The four stumble inside the ship as it vibrates violently. A hailing frequency goes off and Koschei presses the crystal ball on the console.
“Greetings. I am Vad Varo. Please surrender at your earliest convenience for transmogrification or you will be destroyed. You are outnumbered. We have superior weapons.” Varo says with a thousand yard stare. His holographic image appears in the ship by Koschei and the rest of the group. Varo’s face is identical to Paxton, but his body is more muscular. Mercury-colored cords trail across his black outfit and his eyes glow yellow.
“Such a polite despot. Pretty eyes, too.” Koschei says with a grin.
“Let these creatures go and I won’t destroy your entire species. Give them back their free will!” Bilgamesh says, thumping his chest.
Varo laughs and says, “When their god-king disappeared, their society collapsed. Anarchy reigned supreme. The Bilgamites begged to be saved. They sent out a beacon across the galaxy, begging to be saved. I am their savior. I am now their god-king and I have given them such power. You are beneath me, Bilgamesh of Earth. I know of your history, demigod. You abandoned your people and are jealous that I was the one to carry them into a glorious new future.”
Suddenly, the ship begins to vibrate again. Koschei goes to the control crystal and looks. “A teleportation beam has the ship. Get ready for anything!”
To be continued…