tagSci-Fi & FantasyHeroes of Herodor Ch. 01

Heroes of Herodor Ch. 01


I was watching a certain movie with a Queen soundtrack the night before I wrote this. Those of you who have seen it may notice certain similariities in several places. I give props and homage where it is due, it was without a doubt one of the grest pulp inspired films ever made...


On a distant planet...a long ways away.....

"Darhon...I am bored...."

"Your Majesty, shall I summon your handmaidens to perform for your amusement?"

"No...that won't be necessary. The pleasures of the flesh are not what I seek right now. After five thousand years of existence, even my tastes have become decidedly jaded."

"Your Majesty, perhaps you would then turn your attention to the Electro-Scryer?"

"Why ever for?"

"I have found something that may indeed end your boredom."

"Hmmm...yes, indeed. Very interesting. What is it?"

"A Theta-Gamma Nine class planet, the third orbiting the star designated SKL-TT-G111-99A....."

"Yes, yes, hurry up...."

"Forgive me. It's inhabitants, a most primitive lot indeed, call it the planet...Earth."

"Earth.... Yes. I shall amuse myself with it. Prepare the Positronic Amplifier Gun!!!! HAHAHA!!!!"

On millions of television screens across America....

"For the past thirty years the Berger Institute has been known across the world as a leading center for scientific study and exploration. The founder and current Chairman, Doctor Saul Berger, is perhaps the most honored scientist in the history of mankind. Winner of three Nobel Prizes, and honored in over sixty countries around the world, he is regarded as a genius of unparalleled heights, and in some circles seen as a living saint....

...on Thursday, Dr. Berger will unveil his latest creation. Details are still sketchy at this time, but according to some sources within the government, it concerns a revolutionary power source that, if effective, could mean unlimited energy for the entire world....

....Already seats at the unveiling ceremony are highly coveted by the world elite, as political and business leaders compete for spots with celebrities from Hollywood and beyond. The ceremony promises to be not only a major scientific event, but the social event of the year. This is Cynthia Yates for International News.....

"....been two weeks after it's release and already Starsinger is being derided as the biggest flop in Hollywood history. Reputedly costing almost 360 million dollars to make, the science fiction romantic thriller is considered to be the most expensive movie ever made, yet it has not even earned back a tenth of that sum, latest box office receipts totaling only 11 million.....

....the failure of Starsinger is seen as a financial disaster for Holy Oak Studios, which is now rumored to be on the verge of bankruptcy as a result. Hollywood insiders also consider it a catastrophe for Milos Fonseca, the superstar director who is blamed for cost overruns that drove up the budget, the producing team of Jerry Morgan and Andy Weissman, currently awaiting trial on fraud charges, but above all else for the films star, Amy Chanier, who had previously claimed that Starsinger would bring her an Oscar....

....Chanier, only 23, faces a personal and professional crisis of great severity. Once seen as Hollywood's 'it' girl, a starlet who, according to a certain famous director, was considered the next Elizabeth Taylor, Julia Roberts, and Britney Spears combined, she now finds herself kicked off the A-list, a pariah in the business she once ruled....

...Despite her troubles, Chanier is expected to attend the ceremony at the Berger Institute in New York, once of many celebrities invited to attend. Perhaps Dr. Berger is a fan, or more likely he hadn't seen her movie when the invite was mailed out. This is Maria Mendez, for the Entertainment News Network....

In a basement in New York City.....

"Watch out!"

The shout cut into Tommy's consciousness just before one of the lab techs came barreling around the corner. Sitting up, blinking his eyes, he then was knocked back as a dull boom echoed through the hallways, followed a moment later by a cloud of acrid smoke.

Sneezing, he stood back up, brushing the dust off his jacket. The lab tech, who had been hiding behind a steel filling cabinet. "Sorry about that," he said, a bit sheepishly. "The trans-carbrinizer went past the second red line....."

"What does that mean?" Tommy asked, dreading the answer.

The lab tech frowned at him." Who are you? You look familiar...."

"I...work up stairs....."

"Well, in layman's terms....the radiator cap blew off." The tech stared at him.

"You're not wearing a name tag. You have to wear a name tag."

"Tom MacAlpin."

"Oh." The comprehension hit. "Ohhhh...."

"Yeah." Go ahead and say it...

"Well, I'm sure you're uncle will be waiting for you. If you will excuse me." And with that the tech scuttled off.

Tom watched him go, knowing full well what the man must have been thinking. The old man's nephew....couldn't get a job on the outside, had to come here.... He'd heard it all before.

His full name was Thomas Gorden MacAlpin the Third, and he was twenty-three this January. He'd graduated from college only four month's before with a degree in English. The fact that he'd gotten a degree at all was something of a marvel, considering how close he'd come to flunking out.

His uncle Saul had taken him in, when no one else would hire him. Good old Uncle Saul. Brilliant Uncle Saul, who would save the world but couldn't remember which shoes to put on his feet, according to his long-suffering sister, Tommy's mother. Saul, being the kind old duffer that he was, took Tommy in, and put him in the Public Affairs department. "English, you say? Well, the boys in Public Affairs speak English, you'll fit right in."

Never mind that Tommy didn't know the first thing about Public Relations, or that his boss treated him as his bosses idiot relation. Or that he had become just one of a handful of non-scientists in a building otherwise full of them. Saul had given him the job, and Tommy did his best, though like with much that went on his life he didn't know exactly what he was doing.

Sometimes he caught himself looking in a mirror. The reflection that stared back was of a young man, six feet tall with a burly build like a blacksmith's. His hands were big, his arms big, his legs big, everything about him was big. He had muscles that rippled when he moved, could bench press two hundred pounds. And it wasn't as if he even went to the gym all that often. He had blue eyes, a squaring face, and black hair cut short.

At college he'd played football for a year, figuring it was the thing to do. Except Tommy didn't have a clue how to play the game, had never been interested in it, and after a year of pep talks that seemed more like screaming fits from the coach decided he hated it. College was supposed to be about figuring out what to do with your life. Tommy MacAlpin had left even more confused than when he arrived.

He sat down here in the basement because it was the one place he was sure no one would bother him. Only now it had been converted for this supper secret project Uncle Saul was working on, so he never had a moment's peace.....

"Watch out!!!"

Tommy looked over, and saw the same lab tech running towards him. Amount later came another cloud of smoke, and a spate of cursing in several languages. And then... "Tommy boy, er...could you come in here for a minute?"

Tommy shambled over to the laboratory, and saw, buried underneath a pile of wiring and what looked like a large copper pipe with an odd pattern of holes punches in the side, his uncles balding head. A pair of bright blue eyes looked out worriedly from underneath. "Could you help me out? I seem to be in a bit of a spot here...."

Tommy held back the urge to sigh. "Sure Uncle." It was the third time today.

Some time later a black limo was stuck in traffic on Lexington. The driver occasionally leaned on the horn, adding his noise to the cacophony the drenched the streets. For the most past it went unnoticed. Up ahead, in the middle of a busy intersection, a large truck lay on it's side, piles of what appeared to be cabbages spread across the street. The cops were arguing with the sanitation workers, and both took the time to yell at the driver, who sat on a sidewalk in handcuffs, still reeking of whiskey.

Inside the limo, Amy Chanier sat pensively. She didn't mind the wait. In fact, she half-hoped it would go on forever.

"I knew we should have arranged for a police escort." Gary Haverstok, her manager for the past two tears, looked out the window. Damn this traffic. We're going to be late."

"The last thing I need is more publicity," Amy replied in her musical voice. Her famous red hair was woven into one of the intricate braids that were in this season. She was twenty-two, slender, with firm, full breasts, fair skin, long legs, and a graceful walk. Her heartshaped face, with it's green eyes and full, bee-sting lips, was reckoned one of the most beautiful in the world. At the moment it looked extremely stressed. "And don't give me that shit about no publicity being bad publicity. You tell that to the tabloids!"

"Amy this will pass. Hollywood has a short memory. A couple good flicks and you'll be back on top...."

"Biggest Flop in History! You can't walk away from that!" Amy glared at her manager. "All right, I'm calm. Did you hear from Charel?"

" I did."


Gary hesitated. "He said...he said he'd decided to take the movie in another directions and...."

"And I was out." Amy finished his sentence. "What about that offer from Forest Studios?"

"They withdrew it. Look honey," he leaned forward, forestalling another outburst from his famously hot-tempered client, "right now you're radio active. Which is why you need to go to this ceremony, and then do the talk show circuit. Give it time, you'll pull through."

Amy didn't answer, and Gary took another deep breath. "I got a message from Weissman this morning. He'd like to call you as a character witness when his trial begins."

"Will the judge allow me to say 'Rot in Hell Weissman, you backstabbing piece of shit?" Amy replied sweetly.

Gary didn't bother to respond. Instead he looked out the window. "Traffic's clearing. Looks like we might make it on time after all.

Flash bulbs popped, and reporters swarmed along the red carpet as the guests arrived. Dignitaries, stars, the famous and those who thought they were famous strutted into the Berger Institute, occasionally pausing to answer a question or sign an autograph.

Before a large stage in the auditorium, waiters in white coats served drinks and tidbits to the guests, who mingled to await the nights events. Speculation ran wild about what might be revealed on this night.

Backstage, things were not running as smoothly.

"What do you mean I have to do it?" Tommy looked at his uncle with wide eyes, still trying to process what he had just been told.

Dr. Saul Berger stared back at him. "Sandy can't do it," he said, referring to the Institutes publicist. "She has a deathly fear of speaking in public. She thought she could handle this, but right now the poor girl is in back breathing into a paper bag. You have to make the announcement."

"Uncle Saul, I don't know anything about public speaking....."

"It's not rocket science," said a man who was a master of that particular discipline. "Just go out there, and say 'Ladies and Gentlemen, presenting Dr Berger,' and so on. You did take public speaking in school, didn't you?"

"Yeah. I failed that class."

Berger sighed. "Just do it, for me, okay?"

And so it was that Tommy MacAlpin, hands shaking and feeling on the verge of vomiting from nervousness, stepped up to the podium with cameras snapping. Squinting slightly in the light, he looked down at the assembled crowd, noting with a shock just how many famous faces there were. His gaze alighted on a redhead seated in the front row, wearing a low cut dress that glittered with sequins. She looked familiar, what was her name....

"Ladies and Gentlemen," he said, his voice surprisingly steady, "presenting Dr Saul Berger!"

"You Majesty, the Positronic Amplifier gun is ready."

"Have we a direct lock on the planet...what was it called again?"

"Earth, your Majesty. Yes we do."

"Excellent. Charge the capacitors. I shall enjoy blasting it to atoms. And a batch of pleasure slaves waiting afterwards, inflicting such a disaster always gets my juices flowing...."

"My friends!" Saul Bergers arms were raised as he addressed the gathered throng. "Today I present to you a revolutionary new power source. Imagine a world where energy is cheap and abundant, where our addiction to oil is but an unpleasant memory. A dream, you might say, but tonight, that dream will become reality!"

On cue, a white sheet was pulled away from the apparatus behind him on the stage. Murmurs of wonder and awe rose as they stared at a giant ring shape on a metal platform. "I present to you, the Magnetic Anomaly Generator!"

"Begin preparations to fire, Darhon."

"As you wish, your Majesty....."

"....drawing its power from the magnetic field of our planet, the MAG needs no fuel, and can provide enough power to run a city the size of New York, with plenty to spare....."

Standing off to the side, Tommy again sought out that strange red head he saw earlier. She was still seated in the front, looking bored. What was her name, Kris...something....."

"One minute to firing...."

"Turn it on, boys!"

One of the lab techs flipped the switch, and with the hum of machinery the ring began to spin, slowly at first, the quickly gathering speed. Electricity crackled along its surface, and it began to glow, causing some to squint. Along the front of the stage a row of lightbulbs began to shine.

"A new age for mankind is upon us!"


Later on Tommy would never remember exactly what happened. He had been standing at the edge of the stage, watching slack jawed as his Uncles latest creation glowing like a small sun. Then, oddly enough, his gaze was drawn upwards, towards the nighttime sky, where a new light appeared, a brilliant green speck, brighter than any star. It quickly grew larger, and it seemed, veered towards him as it moved, as if something was drawing to the city.

Then, with a sharp buzzing sound, a beam of brilliant green energy stabbed down from the heavens, curving slightly as it went, and slamming into the generator. Screams sounded as streaks of electricity shot out, slamming into walls and the ceiling, punching holes thorough. A loud screech was heard, and the air began to shimmer and distort, as if reality itself was being twisted.

Two tentacles of energy then struck out wildly. One gouged a furrow along the floor, and then snapped into Amy Chanier, sitting in shock in the front row. The other hit

Tommy square in the chest.

Pain filled his world. His vision turned a brilliant white, before darkness claimed him.

"Your Majesty, something has gone wrong."

"I can see that, Darhon. The planet is still intact."

"It seems some sort of energy anomaly occurred at the precise moment the weapon was fired. It drew in the line and dissipated it."

"A weapon, perhaps?"

"If so, it is a powerful one. The Posititronic Amplifier is destroyed, shattered from the backlash. And...wait, there is something more."

"More, Darhon?"

"Something has come back to here...."

Tommy opened his eyes and immediately wished he hadn't.

Pain exploded behind his eyes, feeling like every hangover he had ever heard of all rolled into one and out on steroids. Bright light seemed to stab into his eyeballs, and he winced as he rolled over. At the point he noticed several things. First, he seemed to be lying on some soft surface, almost like grass, which was odd because there was no grass in the Institute. The second was that something was lying across his legs.

He opened his eyes again and sat up. He looked around with astonishment at his surroundings, unable to speak. Finally two words did come, two words which seemed to be very appropriate for the situation. "Holy shit!"

He was sitting on what appeared to be some kind of purple moss. Around arose giant...plants was the best way he could describe them, which looked like oversized ferns with blue leaves tinged with green. Overhead was a dark orange sky streaked with red lights that flashed in the distance. He stared upwards, his eyes widening at what lay overhead.

Spread across the sky, partially hidden by the rose-tinged clouds, were five moons.

"What the hell...."

"Oohh, my head...."

He heard movement behind him and spun around. "What are you doing here...."

The red head, the one from the Institute, was sitting up from where she lay in the shadow of one of the ferns. Her sequined dress was slightly worse for where. Come to think of it, he wasn't doing much better, his clothes slightly singed. Hurrying over, he said, "Are you all right?"

The red head grimaced. "I think I'm gonna puke." And then a moment later, she did.

Amy took a sip from the gourd of water Tommy gave her. "Feel any better?" he asked.

She nodded. "Where did you get this?"

"From one of the plants. When you pull it off, the water comes out."

She nodded again. "What's your name?"

""Tommy MacAlpin. You?"

"Amy," she replied. "Amy Chanier."

"Amy Chanier? From Star..."

"Yes," she said, cutting him off. "No need to remind me." Before he could say any more she looked around. "Where are we?"

He shook his head. "I don't know. But there are five moons in the sky. Does that sound right to you?"

"Five moons? I don't think so..." The she looked up. "Oh. I see...."

"I don't think...I don't think we're on Earth anymore. Something happened there, back at the Institute."

"What did that crackpot bastard get me into?" Amy muttered.

"What crackpot?" Tommy asked.

"That bald man, the inventor, whatshisname...."


"Yeah him...."

"He's my uncle."

"Oh. Sorry." But her tone said otherwise. She slowly got to her feet, giving Tommy a good look at her cleavage. Even as mussed as she was, she still looked good. "What are you looking at?" she asked, glaring at him, wobbling as her high heels sank into the ground somewhat.

"Nothing," Tommy replied. "We need too....." His voice trailed off, as he realized he didn't have the foggiest idea what to do next. Where would they go? What would they do? What could they do. "I...."

"Any further thought was cut off by the sound of rustled to their rear.

As one they turned around, Amy grabbing Tommy's arm as an iridescent bush began to move, and snuffling could be heard coming from some creature. A long shadow, with faint outlines of teeth could be seen. Both began to back away, preparing to run....

And then the little creature hopped into view. It was small, perhaps knee high, with long floppy ears, big, sad eyes, and covered in soft fur. Its front legs were held in front in a praying position, while it hopped forward on its back legs. It made soft mewing sounds as it came up, blinking slowly.

"What is that?" Tommy asked, staring at it. Amy stepped forward, extending a hand. "Wait, he said, stepping up. "It might be dangerous!"

"Does this little puppy look dangerous?" she shot back, slowly stroking her hand across the creates head. "See, it's friendly." She began petting it some more. "Aww, you're a good boy, aren't you...."

"RRAAAAWWWWW!" The creature screeched, mouth opening to reveal rows of razor sharp teeth. Its eyes reddened and claws shot out from its hands. It snapped at

Amy, who yanked her hand back just in time.

"Shit, run!" Tommy grabbed her by the arm and they ran away, Amy kicked away her heels ands stumbling barefoot across the forest floor. The beast screeched yet again and jumped after them. The first step took it within three feet of Tommy's back. It tensed, preparing for the killing jump, ready to shred the pair into blood tatters.

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