And The Race Against Time
Al Bruno III
Battle For The Planet Of The Seventies
Three days before the estimated end of the world the jackal-things attacked. Under the leadership of the white-furred Serbe the creatures used wave after wave of zombies strapped with dynamite to bring down the thick metal door that had protected the bunker for so long.
The laboratory's blaring alarms startled Annabelle Jones and Sidney Tibbs awake. They scrambled out of the rickety cot they shared. Annabelle had retrieved her revolvers in the time it took her lover to struggle to his feet.
“What is it?” he asked blearily.
“They found us,” she said.
Still in their underwear Annabelle and Sidney both ran to the laboratory door, slammed it shut and bolted it.
Soldiers and refugees alike were slow to recover from the initial wave of shock and panic. Sirens and alarms filled the air. Lady Indigo and Frogman met the enemies as they streamed into the facility. At first her magics and his expertise of the obscure martial art of Hop-Fu held the jackal-things at bay.
They used whatever they could to barricade the laboratory door. As they worked they heard the sounds of battle beginning.
“Go on,” Sidney ordered, “get ready. I’ll power up the Photon Sling.”
Annabelle felt her stomach flutter.
Lady Indigo was the first to fall, a lucky slash of monster’s claws reduced her beautiful azure features to a crimson ruin. Then they were on her in a frenzy of snarls and snapping teeth. She didn’t even have time to scream.
Frogman tried to save her, wading into the thick of them.
The gold jumpsuit was on, the zipper drawn up to Annabelle’s chin. In her rush she had become clumsy, it took her five tries to fasten her gunbelts. Gripping her goggles in her teeth she began hopping on one foot so she could pull a boot onto the other.
The Photon Sling began humming with power. Sidney was busy at the bank of controls and switches. He was still bare-chested and in his boxer shorts but he had put on his white lab coat. They both caught a glimpse of each other and shared a moment of frantic laughter.
The bunker’s lights flickered and went red as the backup generators kicked in. Everyone knew that meant that Project Omega was going live and the Celestial Treadmill was powering up.
Colonel Rictus rallied the soldiers and survivors. They armed themselves, took up defensive positions and opened fire with their rifles and assault weapons. Dozens of jackal-things fell to the rain of bullets.
Frogman fell with them. No one had seen him until it was too late. The bullets had made a ruin of his helmet and the head beneath but there was enough of him left for the survivors to finally understand why he had never taken it off.
“Now make sure you keep the throttle down,” Sidney helped Annabelle fasten her crash helmet. He was talking so fast she could barely understand him, “You shouldn’t flip over this time. Not with the new inertial overrides I’ve installed.”
“Wait,” she followed after him, “Us... we don’t have much time. I need to tell you-”
Smoke, gunfire and roars filled the air. “Hold your ground!” Colonel Rictus shouted but the survivors were beginning to panic and abandon their positions. Some retreated deeper into the complex, others just ran in a blind panic. One of the jackal-things reached Colonel Rictus and he snapped its neck. Another dove at him but he shot it with his sidearm. The red fog of combat descended over his consciousness, just as it had during the Battle of the Bulge. He never even realized that he was the last of the survivors standing. He never felt the blow that killed him.
“If this works-” Annabelle began.
Sidney cut her off, “It will.”
“Then we’ll never see each other again.”
“Worse than that, we’ll never have known each other.”
“I love you Annabelle,” he said as he practically shoved her through the main hatch of the Photon Sling. The motorcycle was there, waiting. “But we need to do this- You need to do this.”
What else was there to say? She kissed him and then climbed onto the motorcycle.
“Go on now.” Sidney Tibbs said, “Go save the world.”
The white-furred jackal-think called Serbe did not walk around the bodies of his minions and his enemies. He strode over them. He had obeyed the Ogodad’s wishes and soon he would be rewarded. All he needed to do now was the stop the last few survivors from unmaking the world.
He called forward his last two remaining zombies and lit the fuses on the explosive vests they wore.
Professor Sidney Tibbs secured the hatch to the Photon Sling just as an explosion tore the laboratory door off its hinges and sent the barricades flying in all directions.
A piece of shrapnel caught Sidney on the shoulder cutting him to the bone. The arm went limp and his knees nearly buckled from the pain. He managed to reach the control panel. The jackal-things swarmed onto the laboratory. He activated the right switches in the right order. The Tesla coils flared and bolts of energy arced above the Photon Sling.
The jackal-things leapt over the control panel. Some smashed the rows of blinking buttons and carefully labeled toggle switches, others tore Sidney limb from limb. His last sight was the bright blue glow of the Photon Sling tearing a hole through reality.
The moment the temporal rift appeared Annabelle gunned the motorcycle’s engine and sped through it. The madness that spawned between moments howled with outrage and set after her. It was a living, all-consuming wave of temporal energy and if it caught her then it would all have been for nothing.
Annabelle urged the impossible motorcycle to go faster and faster as she raced against time.