Monday, 31 December 1990

Anglo-Force: The Formation & The Return Of Saruman Chapter 15

Magus stood alone at the summit of Mount Vasaria. Closed circuit television cameras beamed the proceedings back to their headquarters. As they watched Magus drew a mystic circle on the bare rock around him, he walked to each corner of the pentagram within and lit a black candle which stood there. He gazed up at the full moon which beamed down upon him. Tonight was not a night for the moon. Magus chanted the Charm of Making. Black clouds swept across the moon until those watching could only see dimly by the light of the flickering candles.
    Magus turned his attention to the central brazier. Lighting it he produced a silver chalice and poured Winthorn’s ashes into it. Then he began to invoke Ybo. His words chilled those who watched on the screens below.
    “Ybo, Lord of the Dead, Master of the Seventh Hell, I call thee. Rise up from the pit and instil life once more into the remains of this one now dead.”
    As the flames leapt up Magus poured liquid from a vial onto the ashes.
    “With blood I summon thee!”
    Then he dropped something into the flames.
    “With hair I summon thee!”
    Thick black smoke swirled around. Then a mighty clap of thunder vent the air. The sky turned green as atop the mountain stood Ybo, Lord of the Dead.
    “Who calls Ybo?” the hideous apparition boomed.
    “I, Magus, of the Istari.”
    Ybo seemed surprised.
    “I would not have expected one of the Istari to call me forth. What do you crave?”
    “This man whose remains lie here died out of his time. His death will even affect you, Ybo!”
    “You speak the truth, but why do you not restore him yourself?”
    “Were I to bring him back to life then he would be but a zombie. I need him as he was.”
    Ybo raised his arms. The top of the mountain bathed in purple light. When it faded Winthorn stood, looking bemused. Ybo rounded on Magus, a triumphant gleam in his eyes.
    “Now I claim my payment! Your immortal soul!”
    Magus played his trump card. Before him he held a piece of the Sacred Host, blessed by the Pope himself. Ybo cowered back.
    “Did you think that I would use black magic without protecting myself? I have the power of the church behind me!”
    “We are at a stalemate then!” Ybo sneered. “I cannot take your soul, you cannot return me to the void! There is only one way and….”
    Ybo’s voice rose into a scream. The last words of the Saamaac ritual fell from Magus’ lips. Then he seized Winthorn and teleported away. He knew not where, he just had to get away.
    The screens in the headquarters went blank. What they did not see was everything within the circle was scorched to a crisp. Magus and Winthorn appeared half a mile away, three thousand feet above the ground. Magus was unconscious. They began to plummet earthwards. Watt swept out of the headquarters as fast as he could but before he could get there a great leathery winged shape swept beneath the two and carried them back to the headquarters.
    Early the next morning Magus, still recovering from his ordeal, greeted his comrades. As he seated himself, somewhat unsteadily, he introduced….
    “Captain Winthorn, gentlemen!” I’ve brought him back, now you must take him back!”

    Saruman the White hobbled through the hallways of his castle. Davros was close behind him.
    “Are you stupid, Saruman?” shouted Davros. “To send my forces to orbit around Earth is shear stupidity, especially with all of your orcs destroyed!”
    “I do not care what you think, Davros.” said Saruman. “You and your Daleks will monitor our attack on Vasaria.”
    Saruman stopped for a moment, as if he were out of breath. Then, he slowly turned round to face Davros. It was clear to Davros that Saruman was struck by some mysterious ailment.
    “I will lead the attack on the forces of Magus.” said Saruman. “You will launch your ship in two hours.”
    Davros moved away from Saruman, with on thing on his mind. Should he withdraw his forces from Saruman’s alliance?

    Magus walked out of one of the small rooms in the Morbius mansion. Burns approached him.
    “How is Winthorn?” he asked.
    “He is sleeping.” Magus replied. “But that is the least of my worries. I must find a way to merge our Captain Winthorn with the one in 1933.”
    “And Kong?” queried Burns. “I’ve been in contact with Ogasawa Island. They’re getting ready to bring Kong here.
    “Good.” said Magus. “He, too, will have be returned to the past, and joined with his other self. Keep an eye on Winthorn for me. His mind is very fragile at the moment, which is why he must be kept asleep. If he sees just the slightest part of this time he may be lost to us forever. Thomas should be able to see to it.”
    “Where are you going?” asked Burns.
    “I must consult with those of my order, the Istari.” replied Magus. “I may not be strong enough to perform such a task that we will heed. I will be gone for a day.”
    Magus shuffled off down the corridor. He was soon in the open air of Vasaria. It was a bitterly cold evening, with temperatures near zero. As he reached the centre of the town, he noticed a figure in the distance. He couldn’t make him out at first, but he was sure it wasn’t one of Anglo-Force, because they were all back at the Morbius mansion. Then, as he stood there, the figure approached him. A solemn look appeared on Magus’ face when he recognised the man.
    “Q!” he shouted. “What the hell are you doing here? This isn’t the time or the place!”
    “Come now, Phineas.” smiled Q. “Is that the proper way to greet an old friend?”
    Magus went to walk past Q.
    “I have no time for your games.” he said. “I have an appointment.”
    “Ah, yes.” said Q. “With the Istari. A bunch of old, bearded men in even older clothes.”
    Magus turned, and stared at Q.
    “You’ve made your point Q, on many occasions.” he said. “Why are you here now?”
    “Because I have observed you in the sixteenth century.” said Q. “And I have observed you in the twenty-fourth century. Now, I wish to observe you, and help you, in the twentieth century.”
    “Help?” queried Magus. “How can you help me?”
    “Now, now, Magus.” said Q. “Have I not proven that I am more intelligent and more powerful than you?”
    “Get to the point.” said Magus.
    “You have a problem with a man and a giant chimp.” said Q. “You wish to merge their 1990’s selves with those in the 1930’s, but you, at the moment, do not have the power to perform such an act. There is currently only one other on this planet who could perform that task. Me.”
    “Why are you offering your help?” Magus asked. “Why is the Q contingent interested in this war?”
    “Let me just say that if Captain Winthorn did not survive, the ramifications would stretch far further than your thirtieth century!”
    “What are you saying?” asked Magus. “Does one of his descendants become…omnipotent? A god? One of the Q perhaps?”
    “I will say no more.” said Q. “But do you accept my offer?”
    “I have no other choice, Q.” said Magus. “Your offer is accepted.”
    “There will, however, be a price to pay.” said Q.
    “I should have known.” said Magus. “What price?”
    “I may call on you, at a later date, to help me.” said Q. “But not just you, your allies, Anglo-Force, as well. They may be of use in helping the Q contingent. I will say no more than that.”
    Q began to walk away.
    “When you need me.” he said. “Just mention my name. And remember our deal. Even you and your friends may be of help to the Q!”
    Then, there was a bright flash of light, and Q was gone. Magus stood, alone for a moment, pondering on whether he had made the right decision.

    Saruman hobbled into the courtyard of his castle. A few months ago, this courtyard had been the centre of activity for his army of orcs. With that army all but destroyed, the human contingent of his forces now filled the courtyard.
    As Saruman entered the courtyard, Morgana Le Fey approached him.
    “How do you feel now?” she asked.
    “Strong enough top lead the attack on Vasaria.” Saruman replied.
    “Are you sure?” Morgana said. “But your power…”
    “My power is not diminished one iota!” snapped Saruman. “Tell me, woman, has Davros left yet?”
    “He prepares his craft now.” Morgana replied.
    “Is Captain Shield’s homing beacon in place?” asked Saruman.
    “It is.” replied Morgana.
    “Good.” said Saruman. “I have a feeling that Davros may abandon the Brotherhood and try to return to Skaro. He must not be allowed to.”
    As they spoke, Mother Nature approached them. She was not in a happy frame of mind.
    “Why have you done it, Saruman?” she shouted. “Why have Theophilus and Celsius been restrained in your dungeons?”
    “Because they are now a threat to me.” answered Saruman. “They have drunk from the Holy Grail. Now, they are immortal, they think they should have a higher position within the Brotherhood. The others serve me without question. They did not. I must have total obedience!”
    “But look at you!” said Mother Nature. “You are nothing more than a frail old man now. Your power is fading. Maybe they were correct!”
    Saruman raised his finger. Mother Nature grabbed her throat, as if she was gasping for breath. Then, she began to float in mid-air, at a height of ten feet.
    “You have two choices, Mother Nature.” said Saruman. “You can join me in Vasaria, or you can join your comrades in the dungeon.”
    “Vasaria!” gasped Mother Nature.
    Saruman lowered his finger, and Mother Nature fell to the ground. She soon regained her breath.
    “You are no match for me!” said Saruman. “You have made a wise decision. To battle against me results in utter defeat.”

    Mr. X walked through the corridors of Morbius’ mansion. As he walked, he heard a noise. A clanging of metal, as if a duel of swords was taking place. He walked into the gymnasium, and what he saw was the same as he had heard - a duel of swords. The Highlander and White Knight were testing their skills against each other. During World War Two, and in the fifties, the Highlander was considered the world’s greatest swordsman. In the nineties, that honour belonged to White Knight.
    Mr. X called to them.
    “Magus has called a meeting.” he shouted. “He’s putting everyone on red alert. Seems like something big is about to happen.”
    “It’s about time.” said the Highlander. “I’m itching for some action!”
    Mr. X hugged as the Highlander walked up to him, wiping the sweat from his brow.
    “Got a problem, Mister?” the Highlander asked.
    “It’s just that I don’t like teaming with killers.” said Mr. X
    The Highlander pointed his finger at Mr. X’s face.
    “You should get your facts straight.” said the Highlander. “Didn’t you see that Royal pardon Magus handed to me?”
    The Highlander pushed his way past Mr. X on the way to the study. White Knight came up to him.
    “A word of advice, my friend.” he said. “The Highlander is a great swordsman, and a great leader. If Magus has respect for him, then so do I. Learn to live with him, because we need him.”
    “But he’s a murderer, Arthur.” said Mr. X.
    “Neither of us know all the facts, Simon.” said White Knight. “If Magus has confidence in him, then so do I.”
    White Knight walked away, toward the study.
    The meeting did not take long. Anglo-Force were now on read alert.

    Jock Muir sat on the aqua-plane at one of the computer consoles. As he busily worked, a look of dejection appeared on his face. Then, Chameleon boarded.
    “It’s nay good.” said Muir. “Saruman’s weird cloaking thingy had scrambled the sensors. It’s kaput!”
    “Is there nothing we can do?” asked Chameleon/
    “Not without going back to my plant in Aberdeen.” said Muir. “We’re sitting ducks now. We won’t be able to tell when the croonies will attack!”

    Magus sat atop Granamyr. On the ground below stood McCloud.
    “Do you really think this is wise, Magus?” he asked.
    “Saruman’s power is weakening. I myself destroyed his staff. You must remember, he was stripped of his immortality by Gandalf. His staff was his only means of controlling his life force. As each day passes, as he casts each new spell, he grows older!”

    As Magus sat atop his dragon, an aircraft in Sylvania was being boarded - the aircraft of the Nightmares. The forces of Saruman had finished their preparations.
    Captain Shield sat in the pilot’s chair. As he started the aircraft’s engines, Saruman sat himself in the chair next to Shield. Saruman was visibly weakening.
    “You look unwell.” said Shield. “Are you sure you should be on this attack?”
    “I am perfectly well.” said Saruman. “I have never felt stronger.”
    Then, the aircraft took off. The passengers, which included members of the Black Squadron, the Nightmares, Panthor and what was left of the orcish army were ready for combat.
    Three hours passed. The aircraft had reached Vasarian airspace. They were met with little resistance. They landed just inside the border. Saruman was the first to disembark.
    “How far are we from the mansion?” he asked.
    “About twenty miles.” said Morgana.
    “Good.” said Saruman. “Those of you who can fly under their own power will do so. Morgana, you will carry  those who can not, as well as myself.”
    “Yourself, Saruman?” queried Morgana.
    “Do not argue, woman!” snapped Saruman. “Just do as I say!”
    Within a matter of seconds, they were airborne, headed toward the Morbius mansion.
    A short time alter, they were on the outskirts of the compound. Morgana Le Fey was surprised.
    “This place is deserted!” she said.
    “Magus is no fool.” said Saruman. “He knew that a mighty battle would take place here. A pity that the people he wanted to protect will soon be enslaved. Death Angel, you fly on ahead.”
    Death Angel took to the sky, laser rifle in hand. A few minutes later, he was high above the Morbius mansion. From the sky, he could see Jock Muir working on the aqua-plane. Using the communicator he had been given, he contacted Saruman. He was then given new orders.

    On the ground, Jock Muir left the aqua-plane. He was not a happy man, as he had been unable to repair the aqua-plane. As he wiped grease from his hands with an old rag, he casually looked up into the sky. He thought he saw something, but he dismissed it. Then, he heard the huge flapping of giant wings, and saw Death Angel above him. He managed to dive out of the way when he saw the Russian point the rifle at him. There was an explosion as the aqua-plane was hit. When he heard the explosion, Magus rushed to the window of the room he was in. Mr. X was not far behind him.
    “It’s started!” said Magus. “Saruman’s attacking! Alert the others.”
    Star Man was the first to leave the mansion. Firing a light blast, he only just missed Death Angel. After this attack, he turned his attention to the mansion, blasting it three times.
    Beastmaster stood alone, his thin grey hair blowing in the wind. Panthor leapt to attack, Burns dodged.
    “You are nimble for an old man!” sneered Panthor.
    “Not as nimble as my friend!” replied Burns.
    Panthor looked around, the ground at his feet was a carpet of rats, clawing at his legs. Then, at Beastmaster’s discretion a swarm of bees settled on Panthor’s head. He collapsed in terror. Saruman stalked the compound in search of Magus. He could not find him. However, once more Magician faced Morgana. Spell was countered by spell. Then, from a vial in his pocket Magician played his trump card, he threw it, a vial of saltwater, at Morgana’s feet. The water began to grow. Morgana, knowing full well that as a witch she could not stand salt water, fled.
    The battle went well with Magus and his allies. At last Saruman came face to face with his old nemesis. They stood facing each other. Saruman, who mere months before, looked as old as Magus.
    “I will destroy you!” snarled Saruman.
    “Do not be a fool.” said Magus. “I have destroyed your staff. Even now your power fades.”
    Saruman gathered his energy. As he mustered his last effort, Magus opened a portal. He pushed Saruman through it, not noticing a shadowy figure escaping from it. Vampira saw this and rushed to leave. Soon she, and all the others, were rounded up. Magus rested in the mansion. A loud noise could be heard outside. It was a helicopter bearing urgent news.
    Davros had attacked the Predators outside Moscow. Half a dozen shuttle crafts left the Dalek ship. A mighty battle ensued. Neither side had met the likes of the other before. The battle seemed to be at a stalemate until the Predators got the upper hand. Slowly, the Daleks were being destroyed.
    Davros sat in his ship, surveying the battle below. He was unhappy.
    “The Predators are indeed mighty warriors.” he said. “My Daleks are outnumbered now. Red-4, charge lasers! Attack the Predators! Attack Moscow!”
    The Dalek moved over to the weapons panel. After setting the necessary controls, the Dalek was ready to press the fire button.
    But before the weapons could be fired, Davros saw something on the view-screen. Seemingly, from out of nowhere, appeared a huge spaceship. A saucer-like shape was at the front of the vessel, which joined onto a ‘body’, which had two ‘arms’, which were the engines. On top of the saucer section was the following;
    ‘NCC 1058 - U.S.S. Valkyrie’
    Davros was shocked. He had never seen a ship that big before. Before the Daleks could do anything, a burst of energy came from the large Valkyrie spaceship. The blast struck the Dalek ship. It flew out of it’s orbit around Earth, and was sent spinning into space.
    With no reinforcements, the remaining Daleks were easily destroyed by the Predators.

    But they were not the only Predators on Earth. Another group had been drawn toward Vasaria, drawn by the battle that had just taken place. They had quickly studied the powers of Anglo-Force, and thirty of the alien warriors had been dispatched. As Anglo-Force re-grouped in the compound, the Predators landed in front of them.
    “This is all we need!” said Watt.
    “Magus!” cried Mr. X. “Get us out of here!”
    “I still don’t have enough energy!” Magus shouted.
    Then, before anybody did anything, something strange happened. To the surprise of the alien Predators, Anglo-Force seemed to be enveloped by some strange energy field. Then, within a matter of seconds, they were all gone.
    A few seconds later, they re-appeared. This time, in a large, white room. What seemed to be small spaceships were positioned next to them. Then, they heard a hissing-like noise, as a door, about ten feet in front of them, opened. Two men, wearing some sort of black and gold uniform, and carrying what appeared to be weapons, walked in. One appeared to be human, the other had dark hair, and pointed ears. Magus was somewhat surprised.
    “An elf?” he said. “But we are nowhere near the Time of Legends!”
    The elf smiled, then pressed what appeared to be his badge. It was, in fact, a communication device.
    “Greenleaf to bridge. They’re all aboard sir.”
    “Good, Ensign.” said another voice. “I’m on my way.”
    Almost everyone was confused.
    “What the hell is going on here?” shouted Watt. “Where are we?”
    The other man stepped forward.
    “You must be James Watt.” he said. “You look only slightly younger than the last time I saw you.”
    Watt was even more confused. His confusion grew when another man entered. This man wore a red and black uniform. Apart from the slightly greying black hair, he was almost a spitting image of Watt.
    “Allow me to introduce myself. I’m Captain James Watt, commanding officer of the U.S.S. Valkyrie.”