We met in a death trap down in Cartel Country, Mexico. We were subterranean deep in an arena this bruja asshole carved out of what had previously been a fully functional Flying Saucer. The situation was ghoul-rillas. As in six zombie gorillas, parallel universe imported, COCAINE pumped, and with their faces peeled away with a scalpel just to crank up the you're-truly-fucked-now factor. For the moment they were cage locked, frenzied, gesticulating in sign language the same word over and over again - "Brains!" Around us was one round wall of onyx material polished mirror smooth and desecrated with graffiti and arcane symbols spray-painted in red. Above us, said bruja asshole is praising Santa Muerta before a shrine built around the radioactive alien skull of the saucer's pilot. Around the bruja the faithful gathered, primarily drug wired goons and homicidal ex-strippers, all genuflected in unified devotion. I didn't exactly have to habla the rite to pick up its gist. We had both apparently pissed off the wrong asshole, one with a cocaine powered UFO-Death cult, and we were to be fed to the zombie gorillas all in the name of some holy Space Grim Reaper or whatever.
So, who were we anyway to warrant death by an act of undead simian cannibalism and how did we get here?
My companion in fuckedness, that would be the lady besides me dressed in commando black and with her face painted up in the colors of a luchadore mask, well, she didn't give me her name. However one look at the blood on her tattooed knuckles and the teeth lodged in the treads of her boots told you she didn't get this far without initiating many suckers into the dark mysteries of the morgue on the way.
As for me? I had been found passed out on hashish and mescal in a whore house not but three miles from here. How I got there will have to remain one of the life's smaller mysteries . Last thing I remember was attending a Ted Séance in New Orleans where Tesla's ghost lectured through a floating medium about some new ideas he'd been working on involving an app that periodically electrocuted you through your phone in order to boost your intelligence. Later, there was a party at a hotel room and a game of strip poker with Tarot cards. Next thing I know... bam! Here I am hung-over and south of the border ready to be fed to the undead in a flyer saucer. My performance enhancing talisman and pack of all lucky cigarettes confiscated, down to naught but my boxers, my chucks, my Kirlian goggles, and fez. Still, no reason not to be civil.
"So..., " I ask my partner in doomed through a goggle obscured wink, "come here often?
She doesn't say anything, her attention focused on eyeball fucking the zombie gorillas.
"Yeah, well, I'm new in town, so my first time here too."
She snorts and searches for something she can use as a weapon.
"Still, been in one flying saucer you've been in them all ... or so you'd think, right?" I smile striking up the air of an experienced connoisseur. "For example you can tell by the Kether Engine suspended above us that this is... well, was, the engine room. The Kether engine also means you can rule out your Hollow Earth Nazi saucers or run of the mill Sirius Empire scout cruiser. No, this vessel wasn't meant for traversing between star systems, but rather something bigger, nastier, something that could travel vast swaths of possibility..."
She clears her throat and with a bob of her chin motions towards the bruja and the faithful circled above us from the 25 foot ledge of the engine room. The bruja throws down two items that land at our feet. One is an aluminum baseball bat and the other is a silver flask.
She takes the bat, I take the flask. It's filled to the brim with mescal and the swig burns down the throat evaporating the hangover. The alcohol isn't for us though. It's for the ghoul-rillas. Don't ask me why but when undead types get a hankering for brain, it just tastes better when that brains had a few or even a few too many. Gives even the basest zombie a buzz.
"Don't s'pose you got any... like, I dunno, super-powers or some shit?" I ask her.
She shakes her head and finally breaks the silence, "You?"
"I have the proportional sense of humor of a radioactive spider and I'm fluent in Language Zero."
"Useless," she mutters with a roll of her eyes giving the bat a test swing across the air.
"Okay, that's cool, uh, maybe you got a plan then?"
She snags the flask from my hand, glugs back some liquid bravado, hands it back and says - "Yes, my plan is to crack the skull of anything that gets in my way, then pile up their corpses, climb them out of this... engine room you say? ... and from there just generally kill each and every last mother-fucker on this saucer. Present company excluded of course."
"I figure you'll at least be able to distract one of the beasts while they feed on your brain."
"See... and you thought I wasn't bringing anything to the party?"
The bruja shouts down at us holding the glowing alien skull over the engine room arena to look down at the meat to be sacrificed in its name. Don't know exactly what he's saying, some bullshit about his plans for feeding our souls to the skull in order to power the ship.
"Yeah," I snort to myself with the derisive confidence of a fanboy, "that's not how it works."
The bruja points the ET skull at me and shrieks at me too fast to comprehend.
My partner in fuckedness translates: "Apparently the UFO skull demands that you speak up like you have a pair when you dare make snide remarks about its priest."
I nod thoughtfully, contemplating what will no doubt be my final words, cup a hand around my mouth, shout up towards our captives - "Fuckin' Noob!"
The bruja's eyes widen with shocked offense. He jibber-jabbers a command to the gasping flock. In response one of the goon-acolytes comes scurrying up and pulls from their robe (did I mention they had robes, I mean it just seemed so obvious that they would, you know?) a big old wooden spoon filled with a measuring cups worth of cocaine. The acolyte holds the spoon up and the bruja dips the skull's nasal cavities into the mound. The bruja wiggles it a little, then pulls it out of the spoon's mound of super-snow and working the jaw has the skull say in a high pitched voice - "Gracias."
"De nada," the acolyte grumbles in a voice that would make Tom Waits sound like a choir soprano and offers the bruja a bump off the spoon.
The bruja partakes with an elongated snort that takes much longer than humanly possible. When he pulls out his eyes are ready pry themselves from their sockets and the clenched teeth grin glows up there in the candle gloom. He looks at the skull and holds it to ear where it whispers something that drives the bruja into hysterical laughter. Then the bruja whispers in the goons ear and the goon nods solemnly and whispers into a hooded ear and that goon in return makes a motion to a robed helper monkey who nods solemnly and pulls a lever.
Cogs grind into life, pulleys drop, gears crackle. A moment passes. My partner looks at me to see if I'm ready. I shoot another invisible wink from behind the goggles. The caged doors rattled open, six simian ghouls coke fueled and cerebrum starved bound out towards us roaring through their peeled.
Zero hesitation, she moves up on the beasts bellowing through their skinned faces, two hands on the bat with all the confidence of a New York Yankee stepping up to plate.
I step back to let her do her thing all the while continuing my previous thought.
"As I was saying, this isn't a space-ship, it's a trans-dimensional reconnaissance skimmer...," I look up studying the Kether Engine, "matter of fact this is angel tech by the look of her."
"Uh-huh," my partner grunts trying to focus on the situation at hand. One of the ghoul-rillas, smaller than the others but much faster, comes at her in a shambling charge. She waits for it, waits for it, waits for... and swings! Crack and shattered fangs spray from a broken jaw. Pivoting off the momentum of her swing, she sidesteps from the beast's grasp and ducks down to deliver an expertly delivered shot of bat to shatter the creature's kneecap. It buckles at the blow and she comes up out of the crouch to kick it straight into a second brute tangling them up into a crash. A third dives for her arms outstretched and roaring madly. She braces for the assault flipping the bat in hands so the handle faces forward. When the diving ghoul-rilla is upon her she thrusts the handle straight through the roar to puncture the roof of the mouth and strikes what's left of its brain. Simultaneously she collapses backward, rolling beneath the flying weight of her now dead again opponent. The inert beast slides across the floor and comes to a stop just before my feet.
"One down five to go," I say swigging back mescal, "cheers."
She comes out of the roll beside me and plucks the bat out of the thing at my feet. The other ghoul-rillas are jumping up and down. Furious, scared, drug rattled. Ghouls are different than zombies in many respects one of which is that they still feel things such as aggression and fear. They're stalled, looking at one of their numbered down and another hobbled. They sign to each you other - "You can't 'em!"
"Fuck that, you get 'em. I'll back you up."
"No, you both get 'em and we'll back you up."
"We got a few seconds before they figure out to rush us at once," she tells me as if I didn't already know, "so if you know how to do something besides drink mescal and talk smack now would be the time to do it."
"I don't just talk smack, lady...," I say stepping forward, "I talk Language Zero and as I was trying to explain to you earlier this is angel tech we're looking at, meaning we're inside an Enochian 'Chariot'."
"Meaning?" She asks.
"Meaning it responds to Enochian voice commands and Enochian is just bastardized Language Zero...," I smile and pass her the flask.
A few yards away the pack's alpha ghoul-rilla pounds its chest signing that they will all charge at once and even if the 'Life-Meat' kills another of their tribe then at least the others will take her down. The wounded ghoul-rillas asks about me. He's just some asshole the alpha assures them. The others nod and jump up and down approvingly. Then with a wave of the alpha's hand the entire ghoul-rilla squad comes at us shambling at us from across the arena, slowly, spreading out wider.
"Chariot," I vibrate the word through a growl that ends in shriek , "activate Kether Engine."
Vibrating from every wall of the saucer a melodic roar similar to that of the song of whales as the Kether Engine awakens. Above us the 72 sided tesseract casing the Kether Engine begins Rubik cube shifting its sides into impossible patterns, faster and faster until with a crackling Kirby dots that illuminate the arena in shades of day-glow poster it comes online. Rattled but undeterred, the ghoul-rillas rush us at once from all sides.
"Chariot," I command calmly taking the flask back for a sip, "exterminate hostile life-forms."
A white light sweeps through the engine room - arena in a sweep. When it reaches the ghoul-rillas they freeze up in terror and wonder. Then the wall of white light vanishes.
The 'Chariot' speaks back in electric Enochian - "Scan complete. No hostile life-forms located."
Shit... and that's about as far as I get before one of the brutes barrels into me sending us crashing down to the ground. It lounges its screaming jaws at my face and jackrabbit panic quick I shove the flask between its fangs just as it bites down. It howls with unmitigated agony trying to pry the flask embedded into the roof of its mouth. But it don't matter the rest of the beasts are ready to pile up on me.
"Chariot," I growl the letters of Language Zero burning in the air under the light of the Kether Engine, "exterminate all hostile post-life forms."
The light of the Engine Room blinks out and there is the vooooom of a black hole no bigger than a baseball sucking itself out of existence.
... and then there was light. Those strange head-shop colors once again flooded the engine room and around us the ghoul-rillas laid collapsed. Looking almost as if they had all suddenly fallen asleep.
I turn to my companion and with a grandiose flourish of bow saying the magick words - "Ta da!"
She gives one of the ghoul-rillas a test kick to the skull and nods with a modicum of satisfaction.
Above us the bruja can be heard screaming and babbling incoherently from a silhouette burning in shades of ultraviolet tinged orange, holding up the alien skull before the engine. Throughout the saucer the faithful can be heard chanting or shouting praise of their UFO Death Goddess. The skull begins to glow brighter in the hands. Until it flares up bright enough to illuminate the skeleton within the bruja's shadow before reducing them to ashes.
The skull falls down into the arena and shatters across the floor.
The praises and chants of the faithful evaporate into nervous murmurs and curses. Then, at some collective signal known only to their ranks, they begin to trample and scream their way free of the saucer.
Within a minute there is no sound but the whale hum of the idling Kether Engine.
"Now what?" My companion asks, bat slung over shoulder, taking in the shifting tesseract casing and the evaporating Kirby dots falling down upon us.
"You tell me your name, maybe." I say adjust my fez back on correctly.
She walks over with all the time in the world, stepping over inert ghoul-rillas, bat slung over shoulder and she grabs me by the back of the head to pull me into a kiss.
I close my eyes and what I taste is nothing more than the air.
I pull off my Kirlian goggles, opening my eyes to confirm what I've known all along. That I stand alone in the arena, the bat in my hand, the ache in the muscles, the ghoul-rilla gore splashed all over me. My 'companion' was no more than an imaginary friend, an artificial side-kick, one hypnosis buried, and emergency triggered. A 'friend' who could do all that cool shit normal me wouldn't dream of trying.
An order to the 'Chariot' cleanses me of the gore, a second retrieves my clothes along with confiscated personal items, the third takes me to the 'Throne' or command center of the saucer. There's not much juice left in her now, the Kether Engine is running on the fumes of fading ideas, enough for a last jump.
"Chariot," I command, "take me home."
The Kether Engine rattles a last gasp and with great agony a last shower of Kirby dots shimmer in and out existence. Watching the tesseract casing begin to spin faster and faster, sucking in all the light it has shed back into itself. Darkness descends...
... and retreats around the whirling of a ceiling fan, where gunshots ring out down on Line Street and a cell phone sits loaded with an alarm that will go off much too soon. As somewhere the Chariot, along with all remnants of its adventure, disperses in a puff of impossibility.