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"We'll come through for you!"

 Three fingered Minion feels Denso's five fingered fist






Anti-grav flying high above the prison, Denso banked and dived straight down. He couldn’t fly very fast horizontally, but vertically he could attain blazing speed. In the prison yard a surrounded Fractal was using lava blasts and lightning bolts to counter heavy disruptor fire. Denso fired two missiles. He was moving so fast the missiles outdistanced him only gradually. But, as usual, Denso’s timing was perfect. The missiles destroyed the two armed block houses on the corners of the open prison yard just as Denso arrived. He landed with a colossal thud, his back to Fractal’s, and they mowed down Minions in all directions.

“What are you doing here?” Fractal shouted above the din of battle and the rasping screams of dying zombies.

“Saving your Kolomogoron posterior!” Denso shouted back as he raked a catwalk with his death beam and a dozen piles of debris fell, sifting down through the catwalk grating.

Fractal assumed his battle pose and sent a lava blast down a corridor that opened on the prison yard. The group of heavily armed Minions coming down that corridor were suddenly enveloped in a river of glowing red magma. They screamed until it absorbed them.

“This ‘rescue’ was Joshua Miles’s idea, wasn’t it?” Fractal shouted.

“The Solarian felt it was our duty,” Denso said. “I left him safely far away, but I am certain he’s running toward us as fast as his little Solarian legs can carry him, so we’d better get on with it.”

“Yes, I’m running low on energy,” Fractal said, “and you have only five missiles left.”

“Make that four,” Denso replied, then he fired a missile point blank into a horde of oncoming Minions.

The two of them raced down an empty corridor, Fractal following Denso.

“Slow down,” Fractal called out. “We must search every holding area!”

“Unnecessary. The Solarian was able to access their computer and found Tremor’s exact location!” Then Denso stopped short, and turned to Fractal. “That is, of course, if you want our help,” Denso added with dripping sarcasm.

Just then six Minions with stun rifles rounded the corner and ran right into them. They had long range weapons, useless in close quarters.  As Denso and Fractal punched in and tore off the heads of the six, Fractal accused Denso of being a lousy friend.

“Sure, you show up when there’s fun to be had, like now,” he said, as he used karate-like chops to lop off first an arm then the head of a Minion. “But where were you when I had Nijee Fever last year?”

“I brought you soup every day!” Denso argued, as he crushed the skull of the last Minion.

“Really?” Fractal grinned. “Ha! I thought I was hallucinating!”

“You Dovian Slug!” Denso laughed, then he noticed the weapons the Minions were carrying. Denso picked up and studied one of the futuristic rifles. “Bet you’ve seen entirely too many of these babies,” he said.

“Their stun rifle,” Fractal sneered, as they moved on down the corridor and around a bend. “It’s how they’re able to capture—” he stopped short, then added, “—them.”

Denso looked up and beheld a horrible sight: a huge room where a thousand Kolomogorons sat clamped down in restraint chairs like the one in Chaos’s torture room. There were row upon row of them, palms held down fast in humiliation. Still, they cheered as Fractal and Denso came running up the aisle between the chairs. Denso noted the chair numbers  as they ran. “It’s 1024. Here we go. This way.”

They ran down one of the crossing aisles and found him. Tremor was weak and nearly unconscious from the ordeal he had faced in The Cluster’s custody. He smiled up at his son with some astonishment in his eyes, then the old Kolomogoron passed out as if in relief. Denso used a precise narrow version of his death beam to burn off the chair clamps and Fractal swept his gray haired father up into his arms. Carrying his father, Fractal could not assume the palms up pose that employed his powers. Two guards stepped into the aisle before him and began to level their weapons, but Denso’s death beam cut them down before they could shoot.

“I could have handled them,” Fractal growled.

“Hey, I’m just trying to be sensitive to your needs,” Denso shrugged, as he fired a missile into a group of guards shooting down from catwalks above the prison floor. Denso’s missile set the place afire.

“Can’t burn through these walls! We must get back to the prison yard to burn out of here!” Fractal said.

Denso immediately began leading them back the way they came. They were half way across the central holding area when a large contingent of Minions appeared blocking their way. More Minions appeared behind them. They were trapped! Suddenly, there was the tremble of a quake from some other area of the prison. An instant later, the metal clamps on all the chairs popped open, and a thousand Kolomogorons joined the fight. To activate their powers, the Kolomogorons moved like martial artists, their arms and legs making ballet-like motions before they thrust their upturned palms forward. Fissures stitched their way across the floors and up the walls. Outside the prison, storm clouds gathered to electrify the entire complex with lightning, and to feed the need within. Inside, it was all over for the Minions. Deadly forces issued forth from thousands of palms. In close quarters, the Minions didn’t have a chance. Lightning bolts and lava blasts filled the holding area. Every guard was disposed of in a few violent moments. But the fire became more intense, roaring now, broken power mains feeding the flames.

“This way!” Fractal shouted, taking the lead from Denso and leading the entire horde away from the central prison yard where he and Denso could burn out.

“It’s the other way!” Denso shouted back.

“I know! They don’t have burn bands!” Fractal said, referring to those prisoners crowded behind them.

More guards appeared, blocking their path. Dozens of them, and they cut down many Kolomogorons with their cell disruptors. But suddenly the wall behind the Minions exploded inward and they were struck from behind by lava blasts and lightning bolts. They all crumbled into piles of smoldering debris. Through the wall opening stepped more Kolomogorons.

“Where’d they come from?” Denso gasped.

“The Kolomogoro Underground,” Fractal said. “Others have fought their way into the main control room. They’re the ones that released the prisoners from their restraint chairs.” One massive Kolomogoron stepped forward. “This is Quake,” Fractal said, “leader of the Underground. We coordinated our efforts. So you see, I didn’t really need your help.”

Just then, panting and gasping, Josh arrived and appeared in the smoldering opening in the outer wall.

“Everyone all right?” the boy said between gasps. “This must be the Solarian,” Quake smiled. “We await your fulfillment of the prophecy.”

Josh just grinned crookedly. He was tired of hearing about the prophecy that he had come to replace Lord Eddington Lowe, and again bring peace to interdimensional space. Yeah, right, Josh thought, I don’t even get algebra!

More released prisoners from other buildings joined those assembled outside the prison, laughing and jabbering. Quake held up a hand to silence them. “You may return to your families if you wish, but be assured The Cluster will seek you out. I offer, to those of you who wish to join the fight, our welcome into the Underground.”

Nearly all those released cheered in agreement. “It won’t be long before Minion reinforcements arrive, so we should disperse,” Quake shouted. Then in a softer voice he said to Fractal, “You and your friends should return burn to the Forbidden Land.”

“We owe you a great debt,” Fractal said, both for himself and for his unconscious father.

“No, it is we who owe a great debt to the DimensioNoids,” Quake smiled. “You keep our hopes alive.”

Denso put his hand on Fractal’s shoulder for the return burn, hit his own activation button, and they all, with Fractal carrying his father, vanished into the welcome portal of fire.


*     *     *


The white light generated by Tempo’s touch enveloped Tremor from head to toe, as he lay there, still unconscious, on the foam bed in Fractal’s quarters. Tempo, who again held the form of Emily Kinicki, took her hand from Tremor’s forehead and the healing light winked out.

“My healing powers cannot absorb aging,” Tempo said to the others who stood around the unconscious old Kolomogoron. “I’ve repaired a weak artery near one of his hearts, but he needs rest, and some good food.”

“I’ll prepare some fresh energy wafers for when he becomes conscious,” Starla offered, causing Josh and Denso to exchange ironic glances. “We have some pressing concerns, other than your father’s health,” Starla told Fractal. Then the spectral light energy entity floated out of the room.

The others all quietly shuffled into the ready room. They all went to their tactics benches, and Starla provided stored images of the Cadavran recruitment field. It was a down angle view, as if Starla were perched in a tree overlooking the Awakening. Seeing the Minion zombies claw their way out of the ground and into the service of The Evil Cluster sent a chill clawing its way up Josh’s spine.

“Maybe they’re just replacing those killed in Huen,” Josh suggested.

“No, these are ten times the casualties they suffered from all our activities since your arrival. We have only seen The Cluster conduct such a large Awakening when they are planning a major invasion,” Spindle noted.

“But where, and when?” Fractal scowled.

“I could burn back into Cadavra as Number Three,” Tempo offered. “Perhaps I can learn their plans.”

“Too dangerous,” Josh insisted. “We should just wait and see what they’re up to. Then, we can react.”

Josh got up and went into his quarters to think. Denso used one of his big arms to block Tempo from following Josh. Denso followed Josh himself, instead. Josh was surprised when Denso appeared, came in and closed Josh’s door.

“Wait and see? React? You let your feelings for Tempo cloud your judgment,” the big blue Ramanujan said. “Reacting to The Cluster is what we used to do before you came. It gained us little, but since you’ve encouraged deceptions and preemptive strategies, our victories have greatly improved.”

“What are you saying?” Josh stammered.

“I have already said it,” Denso pointedly replied.

It was becoming obvious to Josh that Denso, this mammoth entity who seemed to possess limited intelligence, nevertheless often exhibited perceptions the others seemed not to have.

Josh hung his head. “You want me to send Tempo to Cadavra.”

“She is willing, and it seems to be the intelligent maneuver.”

“No!” Josh snapped. “It’s too dangerous! This is not a mission to plant a mine on a building. If they’re up to something they’ll be on high alert. She’ll have to get close to their inner circle! In where we can’t help her!”

That’s when Spindle shouted out for everyone to hurry to the ready room. There, they found Starla, for the first time lying on the floor instead of hovering. Starla’s normally bright light intensity was greatly diminished. It pulsated intermittently.

“Starla! What’s wrong?” Josh gasped.

“I am dying,” the spectral light entity said in its routinely direct and unembellished manner.