The twin suns of Arcturus II shone down from a cloudless sky on the endless vista of the Emerald Sea. Rae Arizona and her cousin Jan floated in the rippling water, enjoying the warmth on their naked bodies. They seldom wore clothing except when on a mission, preferring to be one with nature and it's wonders.
Sith, their feline humanoid partner, was off hunting in the Forbidden Mountains while Pallas and Daisy, their cybernetic companions, played a game of 3-D Escher chess in the beach house they all called home.
Spot, their pet Oxfish, had invited Tassa and Malla, they of the powers of molecular vibration, to accompany him on his hunt for food. Curious as always, the two phototropic beings clung happily to Spot's dorsal fin as he surged through the water in search of prey to fill his immense stomach.
It was another lazy day on Arcturus II until Rae's communicator implant buzzed softly.
"Rae, there's a holocall for you from the Planetary Coordinators office," Daisy said. "Want me to patch him through?" "I'll talk to them, Daisy." The air shimmered and the holographic image of a young man appeared, clad in the blue tunic of an Assistant Planetary Coordinator. He blinked at the sight of two beautiful nude women, one red haired and one blonde, bobbing in the green water and then remembered his duties.
"Ms Arizona, Ms. Adenauer, good afternoon. My name is Potter, Clay Potter, I'm Assistant Planetary Coordinator. We find ourselves in need of your services if you have the time." "I think we can fit you in," Rae said with a smile. "What's going on?" "An unusually large meteor slipped through the planetary defenses and impacted in the vicinity of the Jigsaw Islands. Since your personal spacecraft is of current vintage and our scout ships are tied up on other matters, we were wondering if you could examine the impact area and assess any property damage that may have occurred. Our records tell us that there are several vacation homes on the islands, but none are currently occupied." "Sure, we'll hop over there and take a look. Beam us the impact area coordinates and we'll let you know what we find." "Thank you, Ms. Arizona. Coordinates are being sent. You will be suitably reimbursed for your time. We await your report. Good fortune to you both. Potter, out." The holo image faded and Jan said "Sounds like fun, race you back to shore." "You're on."
"I haven't done much exploring since I came to live here," Rae said as the image of the Jigsaw Islands filled the forward telescreen. Jan was piloting the 'Sunflower' manually as it was only a short distance to the islands, thus allowing Daisy the cyberpilot and house 'puter continue her game of chess with Pallas.
The islands varied in size from mere sand spits and reefs to larger land masses, verdant with tropical vegetation and several kilometers in circumference. Many vacation homes were in evidence, but none appeared to be damaged.
"Maybe they got the co-ords wrong," Jan said as they circled the islands. "I see no point of impact on any of the islands. Maybe it hit in the water and..." "Anubis' fangs!" Rae exclaimed, "What in the galaxy is that?" 'That' was a gigantic, stepped ziggurat constructed of massive blocks and columns glistening with green slime as if it had arisen from the waters that lapped at it's edges. It covered most of a small island that had been swept clean of any vegetation save a few scraggly palm trees.
Jan studied aerial holos of the islands and said "It doesn't show on any of the PC's records. How in space did it get here? It looks ages old." "Set down on the beach over there and we'll check it out," Rae replied, buckling on her trademark pair of Colt .44 revolver replica positron pistols.
Settling easily on its antigravs, the 'Sunflower' hovered a few inches above the beach. Jan buckled on her molecular disruptor and followed Rae out the open hatch onto the sand.
"Ugh, what's that stink?" Jan said as they neared the structure. "It smells like rotting fish." "There are no windows, no doors, how do you get in there?" Rae said, running a finger along a slimy block. "If this this thing's been at the bottom of the ocean for eons, what made it appear now?" "Maybe it came in on the meteor," Jan said. "That would explain it's sudden appearance. I wonder how anything this big could get past the defense satellites." "If it approached in a flat curve out of orbit and was traveling at a sufficient velocity, the sats wouldn't have had time to draw a bead on it. Hold it, what's that!" A sustained grinding noise emitted from one end of the monolith as the massive blocks slowly drew apart revealing a void of stygian darkness. Then out of the darkness shambled a hideous creature with the head of an octopus, leathery webbed wings, a hulking body covered in green scales, flabby clawed arms and muscular legs ending in clawed feet. Two yellow eyes burned from within the mass of tentacles on its head and the miasma of corruption enveloped it like a noxious cloud.
"Osiris' teats!" Jan exclaimed. "I thought a Rhapis chick was ugly and that smell. Phew!" Rae watched as the creature lumbered toward them and then stopped, tentacles writhing and fore claws flexing.
"I am Chthulu, lord of all," rasped a voice in their minds. "Grovel before your natural superior, puny beings, lest I devour you wholesale." "Before we grovel," Rae drawled, hands resting on her pistol butts, "Mind telling us where you're from?" "I am from beyond the stars, beyond time itself, cast adrift by the cursed Elder Gods, condemned to sleep the eternal sleep of neither life nor death until we impacted on this planet and awakened to rule the universe once more." "Rather full of himself isn't he?" Jan said to Rae. "What's this talk about ruling the universe, Chthulu? That's a lot of places to rule. Over two hundred inhabited worlds at last count. Think you're up to it?" "I am Chthulhu," rumbled the creature, tentacles writhing, "Why do you not flee in terror or fall and worship me, begging to be devoured?" "I don't reckon on being anything's midday snack," Rae replied. "By the way, who's this 'we' you referred to, anybody else arrive in that smelly brick pile with you?" "Only terror beyond your feeble imaginings," was the reply, "Terror that will turn your blood to ice and cause your heart to stop in sheer fright." "This I gotta see," Jan said. "Okay ugly, trot out the rest of your buddies." First to appear from the darkness was a huge lizard waddling on stumpy legs and clawed feet, it's gaping maw a mass of jagged yellow teeth, it's four red, unblinking eyes fixed upon the women as it's crimson forked tongue flicked to and fro spraying a yellow saliva.
Next a loathsome toad-like creature appeared, hopping ponderously, it's wattled body leaking brown fluid from every pore. It's forelimbs were huge crab claws, it's head resembling that of a squid with one immense tentacle protruding from the rest. It's one yellow eye glared balefully at Rae and Jan as it came to rest flanking Chthulhu on one side, the lizard on the other.
"Quite a menagerie you have here," Rae drawled. "Is this the whole gang?" "I'm guessing it's saved the best for last," Jan said.
In answer to her quip, from the darkness a cluster of iridescent globes emerged, shifting and quivering as the apparition floated above the ground, tentacles sprouting randomly from it's amorphous body and though it had no visible eyes or mouth, it gurgled horribly as it took it's place next to the others.
"Welcome to Arcturus II," Jan said amiably. "You boys have names?" "They are incapable of human speech," said Chtulhu. "The lizard is Bokrug, destroyer of Sarnath, the one eyed being is Byatis and the cluster of globes is called Yog-Sothoth. Together we are the remaining Outer Gods from the depths of space. We have returned to claim our rightful prize, this universe. We shall sweep all before us and all beings will do our bidding or die." "Daisy, you there?" Rae said in her comm implant.
"Here." "We've run into a problem. You and Pallas lock onto our coordinates and come on the double. Contact the others and get them here too. I think we may have a fight on our hands." "We're gone." "Listen fellas," Jan said. "We have a peaceful little world here and we'd like to keep it that way. You're welcome to stay as long as you like, but none of this 'Conquer the Universe' business, okay?" "You dare to defy the might of the Outer Gods?" Chthulhu roared. "We will strip this planet of everything that lives and use it at our will. Soon all worlds will tremble at the very mention of our names as they did long ago on Earth." The other creature-gods shifted in place as if awaiting the signal to attack.
Rae noticed the movement and drew her pistols as Jan unclipped the disruptor from her belt. "Last chance to play nice, boys, and otherwise things might get messy." With that, the copper sphere that was Pallas swooped in and hovered above the women, the shiny rhomboid that was Daisy gripped in his force field.
"These are the new arrivals, I take it," Pallas said, "Not a very friendly looking bunch are they Daisy?" "I should say not. I would have had you in four moves if these things hadn't arrived," Daisy replied.
.... There is more of this story ...