Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Nightmare Planet excerpt, "Ghost Saucers In the Sky!"

Eddie skillfully navigated the compact Jet-Orbiter down onto Nekron-Nihne. Even as they set down, he and Kioko saw that the planet had once boasted a thriving populace. Empty architecture stood in magnificence, advanced and orderly. Wide thoroughfares spidered the city, but were abandoned.
"I don't understand!" the manufactured space-girl ventured. "All seems quite civilized, yet -- what became of the inhabitants?"
"That's one puzzler whose solution the finest minds have agonized over!" Eddie released the Jet-Orbiter's bubble-hatch latch.
As they climbed out and onto the avenue, Eddie drew his ray-gun. "Let's watch our step..!"
A pool of quicksand materialized beneath them.
Kioko thrashed, her long limbs desperate for support but finding none. Eddie lost his ray-pistol. He strained to reach the girl robot. Every muscle rippled. His square jaw clenched.

Almost…got…her!’ his fevered mind insisted.

Suddenly, they were again on stony avenue. Nothing remained of the murky sludge.

“Come on!” Eddie urged. “Let’s wrap this up before another nightmare shows up!” 

But before Kioko could respond, a red-scaled, horned berserker lurched toward them. His left arm looked frozen in place, thrust out and swiping at thin air. His upraised right arm was crooked at the elbow, its hand a palsied claw.
It's ugly head was crooked onto its bony left shoulder. Its fanged mouth yawed and gnashed. Most horrifying of all was its incessant high/low groan-shriek:
"What th-!" Eddie raised his ray-gun. "It's the damaged atmosphere! Whatever it is, it's gone Germ-Crazy!"

They edged back. Eddie instructed Kioko, "Get to the Jet Orbiter! Get Spunky on the radio! Tell him to blast with all he's got!"

As the tawny girl robot dashed back to the craft, the captain squared off with the microbe-deranged reptile-beast. Earth fists flew.

Kioko tried the radio. "X-9! Come in!"

No answer.

She deduced the cause. "The same germs that render this planet's atmosphere hazardous make Jet-Orbiter console transmission impossible!"

Her analysis was interrupted by a cold, claw hand on her delicate shoulder.


A second germ-crazed, reptile-man loomed.

Mascaraed eyes wide with terror, she bolted. But style proved her literal downfall as she caught a high heel and tumbled in leggy disarray.

The maniacal wretch loomed over her, arm swinging wildly.


Still battling the original attacker, Eddie saw Kioko's peril. "Say goodnight!" he yelled, knocking the infected thing to the ground.

Racing to the Jet Orbiter, he sailed into the second creature.

Kioko snatched up a fallen street sign, hoping to club the captain's lurching opponent. But the battlers' revolving set-to stymied her attempted intervention. Time and again, she targeted the attacker's head, only to pull back lest she strike Eddie.
At length, he summoned all his strength and loosed a knuckled powerhouse that flattened the germ-crazed monstrosity.

Captain Atomic shouted hoarsely into his hand-radio. "Spunky! Full-power blast! I mean now!"

The reliable young pilot heard him. The entire planet was engulfed in a white flash that for moments rendered all blank and silent.

A moment later, Eddie saw that only he and Kioko remained.

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