Introducing Princess Akenefer Tut also known as 'General Ultra' or code name: (Neplusultra)
“In space a revenant was emergingfrom a crack at the edge of the universe.A point no larger than the tip of a sewing needle,was giving birth to an entity,from far beyond all known time and space.The tiny point glittering darkly,stretched for parsecs on a direct coursetowards a tiny blue planet called earth.” - Edehn Staplefoote
Princess Akenefer Tut. Code name: Neplusultra
A motorcade of six black sedans, hogged the curb in front of the SeaTac Airport terminal, creating an anticipation in the air. Here and there, folks glanced to be sure they didn’t miss a head of state arriving, or maybe even the newly elected, Prime Minister of NAS ( the North American State) Prime Minister Hashinoto. But no, it was not him. It was the princess Neplusultra, and that was her motorcade.
Neplusultra emerged from the concourse in a simple gold tunic drawn over snug suede britches, of powdery black silk. Instead of her typical weaponized Kephresh she donned a simple tiara that would only denote to the keenest of observers that she was in fact a sovereign, and not in some presumptuous cosplay outfit. Neplusultra was the supreme heir to the magical dominion of Amenteht which lay beyond the known borders of the continent of Antarctica. Accompanied by a small entourage made up of her first general Apollonia, and three soldiers she moved swiftly through the terminal.
Apollonia halted the small detachment and drew up beside Neplusultra “Ma’am I just received the intel on our target.”
“You mean Geneviève?” Neplusultra said. Apollonia nodded her head reluctantly.
“The compound in Ocean Shores, is definitely occupied. We are certain it’s her.”
“Ok, you know the drill. I will take it from here, and we will rally tomorrow at the Penthouse. We can develope a recovery plan from there.” Neplusultra regarded Apollonia sternly. “No reinforcements. She is bound to have technology that can detect alterhumans.” Neplusultra motioned indiscriminately at the three soldiers, who were outfitted with cybernetic legs and arms, who stood at the ready behind Apollonia. “She won’t see me coming or going. Remember, I am immune to sorcery. You girls aren’t”
“Yes, Ma’am I understand. But firstly, Geneviève is not our target, the compound and what appears to be a cache of stolen proprietary Amenteht technology is. That’s why I strongly insist that I ‘will’ accompany you. Even I don’t have to remind you, that though you do hold the highest rank in the land milady, as regent. I am solely charged with your protection.” Princess Neplusultra groaned inside, though she and Appollonia were both generals, Apollonia as Neplusultra's personal body guard was always given ranking authority when they were on mission together, and Apollonia was always all about the mission. Neplusultra was going to have to figure out a way to shake Apollonia and the detachment. Because Apollonia was right, the stolen cache of proprietary technology was Apollonia’s mission, but not Neplusultra’s if this Genevieve was who she thought she was then Neplusultra had a score to settle.
Neplusultra snatched her attention away from a mirror finish, chromium fiber formula one race car that caught her eye, curiously rotating slowly on a crystalline studded dais in the center of the airport lobby, to regard Apollonia. Neplusultra was incensed, but she knew she couldn’t let on, or else Apollonia and the transhuman soldiers would be escorting her everywhere, save for the toilet; for the rest of what should be a short recon.
“Remember, when I use to race those in Monaco?” Neplusultra nodded longingly towards the race car. “Now the Hippodrome is totally enclosed. No more open-air racing anywhere.”
“It was ’66 wasn’t it?” Apollonia remembered Neplusultra’s racing days. That time of their lives was a fond memory for her as well. Apollonia was shocked, Neplusultra hadn’t thrown a tantrum in response to her order. Neplusultra smiled humbly. “That was more than a hundred years ago. And just look at us now, still so young and pretty.”
“And strong!” Apollonia’s said it like a warning. She could feel a butting of authority was inevitable. Neplusultra was infamous for not obeying orders, and that of course was because she was also a princess. But they weren’t in Amenteht anymore. Apollonia had her orders and the power to enforce them.
“Apollonia, really there is nothing to fret about here, look at all of them… after all these centuries, they still don’t even know we exist. Seriously you shouldn’t bother.” There was an awkward pause between the two women. Neplusultra threw back her voluminous mane of sable rivulets that spiraled down around her shoulders and framed her beautifully deep dark face, and distinctive amber eyes. “I’m the princess of Amenteht. I will take leave of you now. You need to keep an eye on them. It’s their first time in the mid world.”
Apolonia stepped in front of Neplusultra carefully. “No you won’t. With all due respect -Milady.”
Princess Akenefer 'Neplusultra',a general the same as Apollonia could easily take Apollonia in a fair fight but she knew that Apollonia had to have been given the one thing from the senate that could neutralize her extraordinary abilities. That was the only reason Apollonia would have had the nerve to be so brazen.
“Well aint that a bitch?” Neplusultra charged angrily. “We leave Amenteht and you loose your mind. Girl, we both know you are no match for me.”
“Don’t devolve this milady, your attitude it’s unbecoming. I have simple orders from the senate to bring you back safely. This is an intelligence gathering mission. You invited yourself, to something me and the girls could have easily taken care of ourselves. The keep of a royal, and not just any royal but the last of the linage of Amenteht…. They should have quarantined you until we returned. You are liability to our mission because of your obsession with this Geneviève character, and you know it.” Apollonia motioned to the other soldiers to scout the airport. The command was conveyed with a peculiar blink of the eye, numbered repetitions that the detachment could decern from any range of direct line of sight. Neplusultra had a plan. She gaged Apollonia, scanning for any indication of where Apollonia may be concealing the serpent amulet, the only thing that could negate her power.
“Surely you’ve heard, that Geneviève just might be one of the ancients, like you and me, and also that she is possibly the most powerful thianthrope left or at least the only one left capable of spellcasting. It is said she is could even be more powerful then the Wolf Queen, that currently controls seventy percent of my Amenteht. What happens when the Wolf Queen comes for the last of our dominion? If the senate refuses to prepare to stand against her?”
Apollonia, was getting drawn into the conspiracy, nodding with interest. Then quickly, Apollonia, drew herself up into a solemn posture. “Neplusultra, Milady, I know what you are trying to do. I am half amazon, the Wolf Queen and the Sauru razed my capital, Lintukutoo and it fell just like Amenteht thirteen thousand years ago, but you don’t see their An-Najashi chasing ghost’s. Our mission is not about Geneviève. She’s a whisper, ha, Geneviève is not even her real name that’s to be certain. Our mission is that technology beacon sending out signals, at said compound in Ocean Shores. Lastly, why would Geneviève just put herself on the map now unless she was trying to draw someone out? And she’s Prime Minister Hashinoto’s unofficial personal security chief. So whoever she is, that little compound of hers on the beach is probably fortified to the nine’s with drones, cloaked aquatic armor squads, and an aerial defense array, the likes of which we may have never seen. We have to assume she has access to all our technology and then some.”
“So she’s the personal security chief, to the Prime Minister of NAS -New America? And when did all this happen?” Neplusultra rolled her eyes dumfounded.
“Well, as far as anyone else is concerned it actually hasn’t happened. Geneviève is Prime Minister Hashinoto’s secret security advisor. To the rest of the world Geneviève just looks like another sister who made it. Which is probably all she is. Which brings us back to the conundrum of figuring how we are going to penetrate that compound and gather intel.
“Yeah. True, she has to be trying desperately to draw someone out. If she is who I suspect she is, what I do remember about Genevieve specifically is she was always most clever. But speaking of names…. It’s like we are in a mind lock, that we can’t remember more about her.” Neplusultra grinned intensely at Apollonia with a defiant menace.
Apollonia tried to call forward the soldier carrying the serpent amulet, that sated Neplusultra’s magical abilities. It was too late. A fine sweat broke across Apollonia’s olive tone skin, and her eyes felt as if they were rolling back into her head.
“LaToya Nyshira.” The words mesmerized Apollonia instantly, her body grew still. She couldn’t move or speak. It was Apollonia’s true name; the name given at birth to children of magical lineage, and known only to their mother. With this name the mother had total control over the life and death of that child, and other more practical things, like to render a screaming child quiet or to stop a child dead in its tracks before it chased a ball out into traffic.
Neplusultra wasn’t Apollonia’s mother. The magical sense to channel the secret name from any magical being where it lay dormant in the subconscious, was just another of her magical abilities.
Mike and Bobeau. Code name: Superman and Shazam
A faint light outlined a door up ahead. The door seemed to be further away than it looked. The dark was playing tricks on Bobeau’s eyes. He squinted desperately to keep focus as he and Mike ran down the corridor away from what sounded like a large creature. Bobeau mustered all his energy and made a critical dash to close distance between him and the door. “C’mon, Mike, I’m taking off, that thing is getting too close. Let’s see how much of that track star magic we got left over from high school.”
“Go. Go. Go!” Mike nudged Bobeau forward urgently, Bobeau took off with long heavy steps. The insidious clicking of claws on the dirt gravel floor behind them, took Bobeau’s breath away. Mike groaned at how slow Bobeau was. The only thing that kept Mike from sprinting ahead of Bobeau is that he knew if something happened to Bobeau, he would never forgive himself. How had the creature not caught them yet? Bobeau was embarrassed at how slow he had become, he couldn’t remember the last time he had ran. Mike had his arm around Bobeau’s shoulders hastening Bobeau to go faster.
Mike was fast because running is what Mike did when he got really high on Trazadone, Vortiox and weed, because if he didn’t run he would start punching walls and throwing furniture, but if he didn’t take his meds he would threaten whoever would listen to him about how he was going to destroy the world and kill himself afterward.
Bobeau on the other hand preferred drinking until he passed out, or chewing down bitter prescriptions until he felt ‘himself’ go away. Bobeau letting himself go away, sometimes meant sleepwalking in nothing more than his boxers out into the modest early AM traffic of downtown Tacoma, Washington. Bobeau always seemed to head directly for whatever traffic he could find drawn to the bright gleaming headlights, as if, like the moth, the lights signified a golden hope or existential promise of everlasting fulfillment. Bobeau had been hit three times already, but hadn’t been seriously injured yet. This was probably because in the area where he and Mike stayed in the Veterans Hospice, there was a traffic light or stop sign on every block, so cars couldn’t really pick up enough speed, to careen with deadly force into, per se, a drugged out vet sleep walking in nothing but their underwear at any hour of pre-dawn. Bobeau worked out though, so arguably running aside, he was actually in better shape than Mike. Bobeau, was tiring, his legs felt like rubber, he thought he could feel the last of his mojo evaporate and dreaded that he might wipe out completely in front of Mike, before they reached the door.
How had that thing not caught up to them yet and ripped them to shreds Bobeau thought? Was that light up ahead just a common trap, and the creature behind he and Mike corralling them for an easy feast?
Bobeau ran into the door! It was a lot closer than he had estimated in his delirium. Mike slammed into him, causing the door burst open. Where he and Mike tripped over each other into the barn. They lay in thick dusty hay, It was beyond dry rotted. Mike shot up from the ground and starting trying to slam the door close. It wouldn’t close, it was jammed on something! Mike looked up around the doorframe for a spring or a catch. Bobeau looked up at Mike “What the fuck! Close it already, c’mon man!” The rickety door was comprised of four tall flat boards and three horizontal 2x4 slats keeping them all together. The unvarnished wood was gray and brittle. The echo of a low pensive grunt ensued from the dark corridor, Bobeau and Mike listened nervously for sounds of movement. It was as if whatever-the-thing behind them was sensed a trap.
“Goddamn this fucking door!” Mike screamed as he heaved with a great breath and slammed the door again, so hard this time he heard a splintering at one of the hinges.
“FUCK, that’s my foot you!” Bobeau screamed up at Mike, realizing that in fact it was his foot jamming the door open. “My foot’s in the door, what the hey Mike! Stop it, Stop. You’re gonna break my foot!” A delayed pain shot up Bobeau’s leg. Mike stopped and looked down at Bobeau greatly agitated. Bobeau pulled his foot out of the door.
Mike stood there seething over Bobeau. Measuring Bobeau to see if he was really hurt. Bobeau, avoided Mike’s gaze, feeling stupid, his foot didn’t hurt at all now.
“Fuck Bobeau! Took you that long to figure the damn jam in the door was your foot? Tell you what, next time I close a door, I’ll be sure to send a damb Amber alert for your fucking foot, dumbass.” Mike slammed the door finally.
“Yup, ok, so I will be sure not to forget my phone next time hero. Hey, but why don’t you learn how to write in the meantime though?”
“That was lame. Bobeau your word game is in the toilet dude!” Mike shook his head with half a smile.
“Yup, well that’s what happens when someone tries to hack your foot off with a door Flintstone’s style. Huh? What you think about that one?” Bobeau pointed matter of fact up at Mike.
“Whatever dude, can’t believe you’re gonna be a whiny bitch about it. I practically had to drag you down that passage.” Mike leaned over to help Bobeau up. “If that’s what you call running dude, then I strongly suggest you don’t forget your ears next time Dumbo.” Mike sniggered triumphantly “Score!!!” Bobeau became furious.
“Fuck you!” Bobeau rubbed his temples as if he had a headache then slammed his hands down into the hay to either side of him. “That hurt my feelings. Now I don’t feel good!” Bobeau’s eyes were full of embarrassment. Mike reached down and extended his hand to help Bobeau up; he waved Mike’s outstretched hand away. The expression faded immediately though, as Bobeau huffed to catch his breath.
“Youre a real opera dude, violins, action, drama!” Mike absently, searched his pocket for a cigarette. “Dude, you aint never feelin’ good unless you got a handful of pills and a fifth of Vodka anyway.” Mike shot Bobeau a quick look to see if Bobeau was still mad. “Who you trying to fool dude? When it comes to intoxicants, you’re Shazam and I’m Superman bro.”
“You can shut up now Mike, that’s not funny.”
“Awe shucks but I was about to describe your Aria Bobeau. Fuck, I mean really. This shit man... What is wrong with us? We haven’t seen a damn thing and here we are all scatterbrained, running around in tunnels, and breaking down doors, like it’s the end of the world. This is some more mind control bullshit! Like I always tell you, the Government is fucking with our head, so that if we ever go public, with all the shit we done seen, no one will believe us. “That last deployment, how many combatants did you see? I didn’t see nothing but dead babies, and cripples.
“Wha tha fuck Mike, Mother of God help me, youre gonna start with that shit now?” Bobeau pointed to the door they had just come through. Mike carried on obliviously.
“We was callin’ in bomb strikes on helpless women and children for damn near three years straight. You hear anything about that since we been back? NO WE’RE FUCKIN HERO’S AGAIN. Fucking baby killer heros dude. Five million people go missing every year because of New America, we are a part of all that. We blow em’ up they take em away. Mass graves my ass. You ever see any mass graves Bobeau? I never saw a mass grave.” Mike started senselessly patting his body at random as if he thought perhaps that last cigarette had fallen into the lining of the jacket. “This is how they do it: this is it, right now. We are about to disappear forever. We think it’s monsters… but they know it’s what they put in our mind. They found a way to murder us with our own fucking mind Bobeau. It’s worse than the shit in The Matrix.” Mike shook his head violently and kicked at the ground. “FUCK THIS! If it’s time to go, it’s time to go. I want to look those Bolsheviks in the eye and let them know I had their number all along… Dude, don’t you want to know what they are doing to all of us?”
“Nope and nope.” Bobeau huffed at mike. A salience came to Mike’s eye’s.
“Aliens dude, they gonna take it all. You know we are born with gold in our blood right. Aliens gonna take that too, suck it right out of our hemoglobin.”
“You finished nostra-damn-us!” Bobeau said. Mike puckered his mouth brooding. “Nobody gives a fuck about you or me, the only reason they got us locked up and pumped full of prescriptions is not so we don’t hurt ourselves but so we don’t hurt anybody else. Get real.”
Mike looked at Bobeau miserably. Bobeau was right. In the eye’s of the government he and Bobeau were just damaged goods. Mike was so disappointed with his life, the perpetual wasting and wanting. He slapped his Jacket pockets for his prescription bottle, fuck he forgot his meds. He thought about asking Bobeau did he have any prescriptions but he was too proud, after the haranguing he had just given Bobeau. But he and Bobeau were on the exact same prescriptions, same dosages and everything. Mike wondered if that was because they had come into the Army together and done all their combat tours together? Soldiers, not even soldiers who married other soldiers, had been to as many of the same places as he and Bobeau: same deployment, same comrades, same discharge, same hometown and then the same crazy vet house and same drugs. Obviously, it must be a reason for all of it.
This was dreamlike, Bobeau thought but certainly not a dream, suddenly Bobeau couldn’t move. “Bobeau?” Mike unaware, called again. Why was Mike calling him Bobeau thought? There was something on the ground, by his hand, he couldn’t answer Mike. It was shinny and dark, it looked like it was moving toward his hand.
Mike knew they had to go right now. Mike looked to the opening of the barn, out into the tall grass and then up into the sky above. His eyes conned every crevasse and dark crack where the moonlight allowed his sight to reach. Again, that feeling… something was here, why couldn’t he see it?
Again found himself, looking at the gaping opening of the barn as if noticing it for the first time. Something huge and dark like a gorilla with tall pointy elf-like ears and thick yellow fangs, was standing right there in the opening just watching him and Bobeau. Oh, no it wasn’t, there wasn’t anything there. What was Mike thinking? Nothing could have moved in and out of his view that fast, and things didn’t just disappear into thin air. But Mike knew he wasn’t hallucinating. Mike felt for his gun, it was gone.