Vegas Falls by Jackson Cord

EXTRACT FOR
Vegas Falls

(Jackson Cord)


After nine years as a ranger in the U.S. Army, this ordinary guy – the one that his army buddies nicknamed Lucky – took his honorable discharge from Fort George G. Meade in Maryland and started to hitch his way west to Las Vegas. His idea was to pick up a beat up Porsche sportster he’d won in a poker game while waiting for his ride back to the States at Hamid Karzai airport outside of Kabul. That was the plan: once he was a civilian, keys in his pocket, just pick up that damn car and then figure out what to do with the rest of his life. But before he got to Nevada, there were a deepening series of complications. Lucky tripped up along the way and tumbled into a sort-of crazy-land, a detour that was not in any way (at least not very much) his fault. But there was a good side to all his troubles…well, not exactly good, but at least instructional. He found out something amazing: there were at least three breeds of alien creatures vying for control of the earth, and he was related to one of them. And he had grown up thinking he was just an ordinary guy. How the hell could bizarre and outlandish things be happening to him? How, and why?
Maybe the first time he noticed his ordinary life had started slipping off its routine track was that time he was at a barbeque joint on the western edge of Iowa, where the Hawkeye State meets the Flickertail State (North Dakota). Lucky’s dad, the godlike creature of legend known as Prometheus (no, serious here), was waiting to snuff him out at Famous Dave’s barbeque joint. Let’s switch POVs for a moment and see things through the eyes of the dad:
This godlike guy was feeling superior in his silent invisibility the way most immortals do. Prometheus – known as Pro My on a sprinkle of sentient planets throughout the Milky Way – was looking down on Lucky from a love bower he’d chosen high in an old hickory tree and wondering how to firm up the resolve to kill another of his children. Zeus, Pro My’s old man and Lucky’s grandpa, was insisting he squash the unfortunate youngster like a flea – hades supreme, he had already demanded a quick snuff several times before now. But Prometheus was cunning and stubborn, and thought he might have a way out; the intergalactic com-lines were bad with at least two connecting wormholes on the flutter again, and Papa Z was half way on the other side of this universe. Assuming he wasn’t hanging out Dark Side in his natural habitat, the cantankerous old fart was in another galaxy far, far away. Prometheus was gambling the old fartster didn’t really care enough to get active over the snuffing of one more insignificant human.
The demi-god nuzzled the nearest tit of a young earth girl nestled kitten-like in his embrace. He had picked her up at the library of a nearby small liberal arts college earlier in the day. His was a lonely life and he reassured himself (as was the custom with self-righteous demi-gods who generally regarded their human sex subjects as more or less beloved pets), he wasn’t causing any problems. That was one of the rules; do no harm. Of course, the question of harm was subjective. It depended on your point of view.
“What do you think honey-bunny?” Prometheus said, gently licking her nipple. “Should I zap him?”
The girl had no idea what he was talking about.
“Mm, as long as you save some of your zap for me.” She giggled; her semi-sentiency was deep under his spell. He was just making talk with her. It didn’t matter to him what she said. He wasn’t seriously asking anyway, just something like an owner asking Woofie the sheep dog if he thinks it’s going to rain today.
The cause of this godly unrest, the young male sap named Lu Ky (Lucky in the English variant of the universal Milky Way language), was down there on the ground, a dozen feet under and a bit away from Prometheus’ tree bower, leaning with his back against a meat freezer, all but invisible in the dark shadows, and convinced he was out of reach of the abnormally bright moonlight. Prometheus agreed; his son did seem for the moment to be unreadable to the sharp senses of a nearby pair of hungry Tomis, his body heat negated by the cold metal of a meat locker he happened to be leaning against. Happened to be? Probably not, Prometheus was thinking. He didn’t believe in coincidence. Lucky was more than lucky, he had that survival-sense.
The Tomis, short for Tomungis, were another matter. They were the lobby scum of at least two parallel universes (multiverses) that Prometheus knew of; they were agile shape changers, but could only survive here in this universe by feeding on live sentient sperm, and they preferred human sperm. Always hungry, the Tomis called themselves brights, and conducted themselves like angelic strumpets, leading human males into bondage and death with illusion and chemical magic, their pheromone-based powers nearly as strong as his own.
The Tomis could change their density at will, shaping their outer appearance as they went along, and their human victims rarely had any idea they were being taken down until it was too late. The Tomis advertised themselves as saviors of sentiency, but on the Dark Side and in other planes where they were known, they were despised by some and feared others. They were known as cold-blooded life-sappers who would snuff out lesser beings as their right, without remorse and for slight advantage. Of course, there were worse creatures in the scale of all things, beasts of questionable morality that were certainly more dangerous.
Time to get on with his assignment; Prometheus sighed and with a snap of the thumb and finger on his left hand returned his maiden to her own bed where she would wake in the morning with memories of sleeping with a godlike creature.
And taking his leave of her was a good thing because thirty seconds later another of Prometheus’ famous (or at least renowned in earth legend) sons materialized, rez-ing up in that bumptious way of his.
“What’s up, Dad?”
“Hercules. What a surprise.”
“Grandpa Zee-ster says we have to kill somebody.”
“That’s what he says, but we’re not going to.”
“Who is it?”
“The kid down there.”
“But that’s Lu Ky.”
“Right. I forgot you know him. He has certainly turned into a powerful force of a fellow, hasn’t he?”
“Well, I could take him, sure.”
“Maybe…”
“Well, I could, even though rumor is, he’s a killer, too…well, a soldier who has killed, though I don’t see much difference.”
“You wouldn’t. Saps are only semi-rational,” Pro My said.
“Hey, so you say. Don’t forget, you’re part sap, too, Dad.”
“Like pure gods are any better than demi-gods?” Hercules said.
Prometheus sighed. “I know, I know. It’s not fair; Grandpa says that’s the way it’s going to be, and so Akto gets eaten by dog bots just for watching Art My pleasure herself.”
“And you get pecked by giant birds for gifting fire to the saps.”
“Well, Herk, that was no more than a stupid misunderstanding. We both know Old Zee is going senile. The saps had already figured out combustion. I simply refused to blank their minds like he wanted. It was all a stupid waste of time. It’s a lot of trouble, running around blanking minds. I mean, what did they do to deserve it?”
Hercules flexed his arms, looking around for something to crush or smash or maybe a boulder to throw. “Okay, back to reality, Pops – you want me to hit my own brother with a magic rock or should we call in the really big birds?”
“No can do, muscle boy. Magic is out. Don’t you ever scan the updates? We’ve got new rules on this earth. It’s got to look real.”
“Yeah. Real.”
“Okay, scientifically plausible. That is, if we were going to do it. But we’re not.”
“Why not?”
“Because I say so. Old Zee shoves a ton of crappy new rules up our butts – on top of the bothersome old ones. I’m tired of it.”
“Yeah. No more transmogging fair maidens into flowers or trees. I read that part.”
“Transmogrify. I didn’t know you knew that word.”
“Come on, Pops. We’re on the same page here. I’m tired of all the Zeusian restrictions, too. No more zapping villains and schemers with bolts of energy out of a clear blue sky; It makes no sense – we can still zing a zap or two to change some mortal’s sorry fate if we go through the trouble of whipping up a storm, but so much bother and all for what? It’s a pain in the ass; demi-gods like us have to stick around and be responsible for running things – and yet we less and less get the go sign to do the good stuff.”
“Maybe we’re spoiled. Maybe it’s not as bad as we’re saying.”
“Yeah, when’s the last time you had the go-ahead to gift eternal life-spans on the best sap warriors and virgins?” Hercules said.
“Well, there might be some good reason for that one.”
“Like what?”
“Combine sap foibles with immortality, you got cause for worry, particularly now they know uranium can blow things up.”
A beep told them the wormhole transmitter was working again. “Yeah. What?” Prometheus said.
A scratchy voice came at him out of the sky, “Where are you, Pro? Z is asking.”
“Earth KT480. He knows that.”
“Yes, but he doesn’t know why.”
“I haven’t been back since the 1960’s. Just catching up on who’s screwing who and how come.”
“Whom.”
“Huh?”
“Who’s screwing whom.”
“Oh, yeah. Grammar. Look, I’m supposed to be on vacation. No grammar and no decisions to kill anybody.”
“Pro My, you haven’t exterminated Lu Ky yet, have you.” More a statement than a question.
“No, and I don’t see why I have to. He’s my son for crap’s sake.”
“You have to because Zee is Zee and you are you.”
“And you’re just the messenger,” Pro My said.
“And you’re just making excuses. You have lots of sons.”
“Not as many as the big schlong.”
“What will I tell him? He said you’re supposed to crush Lu Ky like an ant.”
“No. I don’t get it. The boy isn’t hurting anybody. In fact, there’s a pair of Tomi’s right here want to suck up his sperm and spit the rest of him out like dirt.”
“Good. They can take him out for you.”
“No son of mine will ever be sucked dead by a filthy Tomi. Not if I can help it. Talk later.” And with that Prometheus nipped off the transmission.
In spite of his reluctance, Prometheus was wondering if maybe Big Zee had a point; enormous and unexpected tragedy was such a frequent happening in this particular solar system. Maybe this earth’s sun was preordained as an unlucky star. Just look at their solar system: Mars had been populated with sentient scorpions, and, before that, there was Phaeton with their smart water monkeys. Nobody could blame the saps for either of those extinctions; they hadn’t been around back then. And yet Phaeton had been hit and blown to asteroids with a wayward mini-planet on the loose from some other galaxy, and as for Mars, well, it simply dried up once the sentient scorpion people inadvertently got rid of their own atmosphere, something to do with Freon gas in their pop sticks.
A lot to think about: There were earlier times when the Big Zee had been more patient and humane (humane: an oxymoron if Prometheus had ever heard one). Be that as it may, back then the Zeester had endlessly preached to anybody who would listen that his guiding principal was live and let live, and so what if there was an occasional genocide, just get on with it. But here on the planet earth Hitler and Stalin and Truman and Hirohito and the atom bomb had put screeching brakes on his tolerance. In the Big Z’s mind, the defects in the sap species had advanced from mere genocide to death-of-the-planet happenings.
For his own part, Prometheus had endured the Zee’s legendary punishments until he decided enough was enough. In his heart of hearts he secretly believed the old god was just as fallible as any other immortal (but he wasn’t going to say that one out loud). Prometheus was sure he knew the saps at least as well as Zeus, even though his upstart beliefs were heresy to the Old Fartster. So what? Prometheus figured humanoids and even humans were basically good creatures and, if left alone, might work things out on their own. And if not, well, this galaxy – indeed, this entire universe – was blooming with young sentiency, so what did it matter?
So Prometheus dawdled and delayed the cindering of his son and at the same time kept rash Hercules from doing anything bold and stupid, young muscle boy’s usual mode of operation. Prometheus told himself he didn’t have enough information, and, after all, Lucky was his own offspring and as such his personal responsibility, and he only had a hundred or so children scattered around this universe, while Zee had maybe tens of thousands. More as a formality than anything serious, Prometheus tried callback three or four times to lay out some excuses, but control was three wormholes away and the mag-link – always if-y – was down again and so he felt his excuse was he could say he thought that with the system out he was more or less on his own, and that probably (maybe. might possibly) play okay in the Big Zee’s fusty mind..
At least that’s what Prometheus was thinking until the familiar voice-like-thunder practically knocked him off his tree branch.
“What crap are you pulling now? When I give an order, it’s an order!” That thunder-voice, of course, from Zeus – direct line, naturally. The old fartster couldn’t just use a normal talking voice. Prometheus sighed and stirred up his pot of excuses, looking for something original, or at least faintly plausible.
“I’ve been trying to call you, Dad. How come you get to use the direct line and we don’t?”
“You have any idea how much this costs?”
“Ah…lots, I suppose.”
“And it’s coming out of your allowance.”
There was a dull click and the voice was gone. Prometheus reluctantly raised one finger to cinder his offspring, but a big fat ugly moth fluttered into his line of sight. Clearly a dissenting voice from some other god. Pro My wondered who it was, but he wasn’t going to question a gift from the gods. He lowered his hand.
Time passed. After dawdling for a half hour, Prometheus took a closer look across the patio at the two hungry Tomungi girls. If he wanted, he could enlist them to do his dirty deed for him. It would be easy; they needed Lucky’s joy juice to stay alive in this universe, they would be happy to oblige. Still, what a slutty pair, and what an unfortunate end to a promising life! And, come on, this was his favorite earth kid!
Sure, the voracious twosome of Tomis could take his son down and then he wouldn’t have to bother. But that would be a shame, and the outcome wasn’t that certain. Lucky belonged here in a way that neither the Tomis nor the other aliens did. Lucky was over half human, like Hercules, Jesus, Attila the Hun, Joan of Arc, St. Francis, Alexander the Great and a few others who had carved their mark for good or bad on the clay tablets of the history of mortal mankind. This was Lucky’s solar system, his little corner of the galaxy. And although the young sap had no idea – and might never realize – who he was or what he was capable of, by rights it should take a lot more than a pair of hungry Tomis to take him out.
Prometheus was frustrated by his own indecision, but finally he again raised a finger-of-death in his son’s direction. And again paused, remembering the strange appearance of that rare night moth.
“Maybe later. I leave it in the hands of the gods,” he muttered to nobody in particular, or maybe he was in some sort of argument with the entire universe. He lowered his hand for the final time, and slowly vanished from the tree branch.

Vegas Falls by Jackson Cord

EXTRACT FOR
Vegas Falls

(Jackson Cord)


After nine years as a ranger in the U.S. Army, this ordinary guy – the one that his army buddies nicknamed Lucky – took his honorable discharge from Fort George G. Meade in Maryland and started to hitch his way west to Las Vegas. His idea was to pick up a beat up Porsche sportster he’d won in a poker game while waiting for his ride back to the States at Hamid Karzai airport outside of Kabul. That was the plan: once he was a civilian, keys in his pocket, just pick up that damn car and then figure out what to do with the rest of his life. But before he got to Nevada, there were a deepening series of complications. Lucky tripped up along the way and tumbled into a sort-of crazy-land, a detour that was not in any way (at least not very much) his fault. But there was a good side to all his troubles…well, not exactly good, but at least instructional. He found out something amazing: there were at least three breeds of alien creatures vying for control of the earth, and he was related to one of them. And he had grown up thinking he was just an ordinary guy. How the hell could bizarre and outlandish things be happening to him? How, and why?
Maybe the first time he noticed his ordinary life had started slipping off its routine track was that time he was at a barbeque joint on the western edge of Iowa, where the Hawkeye State meets the Flickertail State (North Dakota). Lucky’s dad, the godlike creature of legend known as Prometheus (no, serious here), was waiting to snuff him out at Famous Dave’s barbeque joint. Let’s switch POVs for a moment and see things through the eyes of the dad:
This godlike guy was feeling superior in his silent invisibility the way most immortals do. Prometheus – known as Pro My on a sprinkle of sentient planets throughout the Milky Way – was looking down on Lucky from a love bower he’d chosen high in an old hickory tree and wondering how to firm up the resolve to kill another of his children. Zeus, Pro My’s old man and Lucky’s grandpa, was insisting he squash the unfortunate youngster like a flea – hades supreme, he had already demanded a quick snuff several times before now. But Prometheus was cunning and stubborn, and thought he might have a way out; the intergalactic com-lines were bad with at least two connecting wormholes on the flutter again, and Papa Z was half way on the other side of this universe. Assuming he wasn’t hanging out Dark Side in his natural habitat, the cantankerous old fart was in another galaxy far, far away. Prometheus was gambling the old fartster didn’t really care enough to get active over the snuffing of one more insignificant human.
The demi-god nuzzled the nearest tit of a young earth girl nestled kitten-like in his embrace. He had picked her up at the library of a nearby small liberal arts college earlier in the day. His was a lonely life and he reassured himself (as was the custom with self-righteous demi-gods who generally regarded their human sex subjects as more or less beloved pets), he wasn’t causing any problems. That was one of the rules; do no harm. Of course, the question of harm was subjective. It depended on your point of view.
“What do you think honey-bunny?” Prometheus said, gently licking her nipple. “Should I zap him?”
The girl had no idea what he was talking about.
“Mm, as long as you save some of your zap for me.” She giggled; her semi-sentiency was deep under his spell. He was just making talk with her. It didn’t matter to him what she said. He wasn’t seriously asking anyway, just something like an owner asking Woofie the sheep dog if he thinks it’s going to rain today.
The cause of this godly unrest, the young male sap named Lu Ky (Lucky in the English variant of the universal Milky Way language), was down there on the ground, a dozen feet under and a bit away from Prometheus’ tree bower, leaning with his back against a meat freezer, all but invisible in the dark shadows, and convinced he was out of reach of the abnormally bright moonlight. Prometheus agreed; his son did seem for the moment to be unreadable to the sharp senses of a nearby pair of hungry Tomis, his body heat negated by the cold metal of a meat locker he happened to be leaning against. Happened to be? Probably not, Prometheus was thinking. He didn’t believe in coincidence. Lucky was more than lucky, he had that survival-sense.
The Tomis, short for Tomungis, were another matter. They were the lobby scum of at least two parallel universes (multiverses) that Prometheus knew of; they were agile shape changers, but could only survive here in this universe by feeding on live sentient sperm, and they preferred human sperm. Always hungry, the Tomis called themselves brights, and conducted themselves like angelic strumpets, leading human males into bondage and death with illusion and chemical magic, their pheromone-based powers nearly as strong as his own.
The Tomis could change their density at will, shaping their outer appearance as they went along, and their human victims rarely had any idea they were being taken down until it was too late. The Tomis advertised themselves as saviors of sentiency, but on the Dark Side and in other planes where they were known, they were despised by some and feared others. They were known as cold-blooded life-sappers who would snuff out lesser beings as their right, without remorse and for slight advantage. Of course, there were worse creatures in the scale of all things, beasts of questionable morality that were certainly more dangerous.
Time to get on with his assignment; Prometheus sighed and with a snap of the thumb and finger on his left hand returned his maiden to her own bed where she would wake in the morning with memories of sleeping with a godlike creature.
And taking his leave of her was a good thing because thirty seconds later another of Prometheus’ famous (or at least renowned in earth legend) sons materialized, rez-ing up in that bumptious way of his.
“What’s up, Dad?”
“Hercules. What a surprise.”
“Grandpa Zee-ster says we have to kill somebody.”
“That’s what he says, but we’re not going to.”
“Who is it?”
“The kid down there.”
“But that’s Lu Ky.”
“Right. I forgot you know him. He has certainly turned into a powerful force of a fellow, hasn’t he?”
“Well, I could take him, sure.”
“Maybe…”
“Well, I could, even though rumor is, he’s a killer, too…well, a soldier who has killed, though I don’t see much difference.”
“You wouldn’t. Saps are only semi-rational,” Pro My said.
“Hey, so you say. Don’t forget, you’re part sap, too, Dad.”
“Like pure gods are any better than demi-gods?” Hercules said.
Prometheus sighed. “I know, I know. It’s not fair; Grandpa says that’s the way it’s going to be, and so Akto gets eaten by dog bots just for watching Art My pleasure herself.”
“And you get pecked by giant birds for gifting fire to the saps.”
“Well, Herk, that was no more than a stupid misunderstanding. We both know Old Zee is going senile. The saps had already figured out combustion. I simply refused to blank their minds like he wanted. It was all a stupid waste of time. It’s a lot of trouble, running around blanking minds. I mean, what did they do to deserve it?”
Hercules flexed his arms, looking around for something to crush or smash or maybe a boulder to throw. “Okay, back to reality, Pops – you want me to hit my own brother with a magic rock or should we call in the really big birds?”
“No can do, muscle boy. Magic is out. Don’t you ever scan the updates? We’ve got new rules on this earth. It’s got to look real.”
“Yeah. Real.”
“Okay, scientifically plausible. That is, if we were going to do it. But we’re not.”
“Why not?”
“Because I say so. Old Zee shoves a ton of crappy new rules up our butts – on top of the bothersome old ones. I’m tired of it.”
“Yeah. No more transmogging fair maidens into flowers or trees. I read that part.”
“Transmogrify. I didn’t know you knew that word.”
“Come on, Pops. We’re on the same page here. I’m tired of all the Zeusian restrictions, too. No more zapping villains and schemers with bolts of energy out of a clear blue sky; It makes no sense – we can still zing a zap or two to change some mortal’s sorry fate if we go through the trouble of whipping up a storm, but so much bother and all for what? It’s a pain in the ass; demi-gods like us have to stick around and be responsible for running things – and yet we less and less get the go sign to do the good stuff.”
“Maybe we’re spoiled. Maybe it’s not as bad as we’re saying.”
“Yeah, when’s the last time you had the go-ahead to gift eternal life-spans on the best sap warriors and virgins?” Hercules said.
“Well, there might be some good reason for that one.”
“Like what?”
“Combine sap foibles with immortality, you got cause for worry, particularly now they know uranium can blow things up.”
A beep told them the wormhole transmitter was working again. “Yeah. What?” Prometheus said.
A scratchy voice came at him out of the sky, “Where are you, Pro? Z is asking.”
“Earth KT480. He knows that.”
“Yes, but he doesn’t know why.”
“I haven’t been back since the 1960’s. Just catching up on who’s screwing who and how come.”
“Whom.”
“Huh?”
“Who’s screwing whom.”
“Oh, yeah. Grammar. Look, I’m supposed to be on vacation. No grammar and no decisions to kill anybody.”
“Pro My, you haven’t exterminated Lu Ky yet, have you.” More a statement than a question.
“No, and I don’t see why I have to. He’s my son for crap’s sake.”
“You have to because Zee is Zee and you are you.”
“And you’re just the messenger,” Pro My said.
“And you’re just making excuses. You have lots of sons.”
“Not as many as the big schlong.”
“What will I tell him? He said you’re supposed to crush Lu Ky like an ant.”
“No. I don’t get it. The boy isn’t hurting anybody. In fact, there’s a pair of Tomi’s right here want to suck up his sperm and spit the rest of him out like dirt.”
“Good. They can take him out for you.”
“No son of mine will ever be sucked dead by a filthy Tomi. Not if I can help it. Talk later.” And with that Prometheus nipped off the transmission.
In spite of his reluctance, Prometheus was wondering if maybe Big Zee had a point; enormous and unexpected tragedy was such a frequent happening in this particular solar system. Maybe this earth’s sun was preordained as an unlucky star. Just look at their solar system: Mars had been populated with sentient scorpions, and, before that, there was Phaeton with their smart water monkeys. Nobody could blame the saps for either of those extinctions; they hadn’t been around back then. And yet Phaeton had been hit and blown to asteroids with a wayward mini-planet on the loose from some other galaxy, and as for Mars, well, it simply dried up once the sentient scorpion people inadvertently got rid of their own atmosphere, something to do with Freon gas in their pop sticks.
A lot to think about: There were earlier times when the Big Zee had been more patient and humane (humane: an oxymoron if Prometheus had ever heard one). Be that as it may, back then the Zeester had endlessly preached to anybody who would listen that his guiding principal was live and let live, and so what if there was an occasional genocide, just get on with it. But here on the planet earth Hitler and Stalin and Truman and Hirohito and the atom bomb had put screeching brakes on his tolerance. In the Big Z’s mind, the defects in the sap species had advanced from mere genocide to death-of-the-planet happenings.
For his own part, Prometheus had endured the Zee’s legendary punishments until he decided enough was enough. In his heart of hearts he secretly believed the old god was just as fallible as any other immortal (but he wasn’t going to say that one out loud). Prometheus was sure he knew the saps at least as well as Zeus, even though his upstart beliefs were heresy to the Old Fartster. So what? Prometheus figured humanoids and even humans were basically good creatures and, if left alone, might work things out on their own. And if not, well, this galaxy – indeed, this entire universe – was blooming with young sentiency, so what did it matter?
So Prometheus dawdled and delayed the cindering of his son and at the same time kept rash Hercules from doing anything bold and stupid, young muscle boy’s usual mode of operation. Prometheus told himself he didn’t have enough information, and, after all, Lucky was his own offspring and as such his personal responsibility, and he only had a hundred or so children scattered around this universe, while Zee had maybe tens of thousands. More as a formality than anything serious, Prometheus tried callback three or four times to lay out some excuses, but control was three wormholes away and the mag-link – always if-y – was down again and so he felt his excuse was he could say he thought that with the system out he was more or less on his own, and that probably (maybe. might possibly) play okay in the Big Zee’s fusty mind..
At least that’s what Prometheus was thinking until the familiar voice-like-thunder practically knocked him off his tree branch.
“What crap are you pulling now? When I give an order, it’s an order!” That thunder-voice, of course, from Zeus – direct line, naturally. The old fartster couldn’t just use a normal talking voice. Prometheus sighed and stirred up his pot of excuses, looking for something original, or at least faintly plausible.
“I’ve been trying to call you, Dad. How come you get to use the direct line and we don’t?”
“You have any idea how much this costs?”
“Ah…lots, I suppose.”
“And it’s coming out of your allowance.”
There was a dull click and the voice was gone. Prometheus reluctantly raised one finger to cinder his offspring, but a big fat ugly moth fluttered into his line of sight. Clearly a dissenting voice from some other god. Pro My wondered who it was, but he wasn’t going to question a gift from the gods. He lowered his hand.
Time passed. After dawdling for a half hour, Prometheus took a closer look across the patio at the two hungry Tomungi girls. If he wanted, he could enlist them to do his dirty deed for him. It would be easy; they needed Lucky’s joy juice to stay alive in this universe, they would be happy to oblige. Still, what a slutty pair, and what an unfortunate end to a promising life! And, come on, this was his favorite earth kid!
Sure, the voracious twosome of Tomis could take his son down and then he wouldn’t have to bother. But that would be a shame, and the outcome wasn’t that certain. Lucky belonged here in a way that neither the Tomis nor the other aliens did. Lucky was over half human, like Hercules, Jesus, Attila the Hun, Joan of Arc, St. Francis, Alexander the Great and a few others who had carved their mark for good or bad on the clay tablets of the history of mortal mankind. This was Lucky’s solar system, his little corner of the galaxy. And although the young sap had no idea – and might never realize – who he was or what he was capable of, by rights it should take a lot more than a pair of hungry Tomis to take him out.
Prometheus was frustrated by his own indecision, but finally he again raised a finger-of-death in his son’s direction. And again paused, remembering the strange appearance of that rare night moth.
“Maybe later. I leave it in the hands of the gods,” he muttered to nobody in particular, or maybe he was in some sort of argument with the entire universe. He lowered his hand for the final time, and slowly vanished from the tree branch.

EXTRACT FOR
Vegas Falls

(Jackson Cord)


After nine years as a ranger in the U.S. Army, this ordinary guy – the one that his army buddies nicknamed Lucky – took his honorable discharge from Fort George G. Meade in Maryland and started to hitch his way west to Las Vegas. His idea was to pick up a beat up Porsche sportster he’d won in a poker game while waiting for his ride back to the States at Hamid Karzai airport outside of Kabul. That was the plan: once he was a civilian, keys in his pocket, just pick up that damn car and then figure out what to do with the rest of his life. But before he got to Nevada, there were a deepening series of complications. Lucky tripped up along the way and tumbled into a sort-of crazy-land, a detour that was not in any way (at least not very much) his fault. But there was a good side to all his troubles…well, not exactly good, but at least instructional. He found out something amazing: there were at least three breeds of alien creatures vying for control of the earth, and he was related to one of them. And he had grown up thinking he was just an ordinary guy. How the hell could bizarre and outlandish things be happening to him? How, and why?
Maybe the first time he noticed his ordinary life had started slipping off its routine track was that time he was at a barbeque joint on the western edge of Iowa, where the Hawkeye State meets the Flickertail State (North Dakota). Lucky’s dad, the godlike creature of legend known as Prometheus (no, serious here), was waiting to snuff him out at Famous Dave’s barbeque joint. Let’s switch POVs for a moment and see things through the eyes of the dad:
This godlike guy was feeling superior in his silent invisibility the way most immortals do. Prometheus – known as Pro My on a sprinkle of sentient planets throughout the Milky Way – was looking down on Lucky from a love bower he’d chosen high in an old hickory tree and wondering how to firm up the resolve to kill another of his children. Zeus, Pro My’s old man and Lucky’s grandpa, was insisting he squash the unfortunate youngster like a flea – hades supreme, he had already demanded a quick snuff several times before now. But Prometheus was cunning and stubborn, and thought he might have a way out; the intergalactic com-lines were bad with at least two connecting wormholes on the flutter again, and Papa Z was half way on the other side of this universe. Assuming he wasn’t hanging out Dark Side in his natural habitat, the cantankerous old fart was in another galaxy far, far away. Prometheus was gambling the old fartster didn’t really care enough to get active over the snuffing of one more insignificant human.
The demi-god nuzzled the nearest tit of a young earth girl nestled kitten-like in his embrace. He had picked her up at the library of a nearby small liberal arts college earlier in the day. His was a lonely life and he reassured himself (as was the custom with self-righteous demi-gods who generally regarded their human sex subjects as more or less beloved pets), he wasn’t causing any problems. That was one of the rules; do no harm. Of course, the question of harm was subjective. It depended on your point of view.
“What do you think honey-bunny?” Prometheus said, gently licking her nipple. “Should I zap him?”
The girl had no idea what he was talking about.
“Mm, as long as you save some of your zap for me.” She giggled; her semi-sentiency was deep under his spell. He was just making talk with her. It didn’t matter to him what she said. He wasn’t seriously asking anyway, just something like an owner asking Woofie the sheep dog if he thinks it’s going to rain today.
The cause of this godly unrest, the young male sap named Lu Ky (Lucky in the English variant of the universal Milky Way language), was down there on the ground, a dozen feet under and a bit away from Prometheus’ tree bower, leaning with his back against a meat freezer, all but invisible in the dark shadows, and convinced he was out of reach of the abnormally bright moonlight. Prometheus agreed; his son did seem for the moment to be unreadable to the sharp senses of a nearby pair of hungry Tomis, his body heat negated by the cold metal of a meat locker he happened to be leaning against. Happened to be? Probably not, Prometheus was thinking. He didn’t believe in coincidence. Lucky was more than lucky, he had that survival-sense.
The Tomis, short for Tomungis, were another matter. They were the lobby scum of at least two parallel universes (multiverses) that Prometheus knew of; they were agile shape changers, but could only survive here in this universe by feeding on live sentient sperm, and they preferred human sperm. Always hungry, the Tomis called themselves brights, and conducted themselves like angelic strumpets, leading human males into bondage and death with illusion and chemical magic, their pheromone-based powers nearly as strong as his own.
The Tomis could change their density at will, shaping their outer appearance as they went along, and their human victims rarely had any idea they were being taken down until it was too late. The Tomis advertised themselves as saviors of sentiency, but on the Dark Side and in other planes where they were known, they were despised by some and feared others. They were known as cold-blooded life-sappers who would snuff out lesser beings as their right, without remorse and for slight advantage. Of course, there were worse creatures in the scale of all things, beasts of questionable morality that were certainly more dangerous.
Time to get on with his assignment; Prometheus sighed and with a snap of the thumb and finger on his left hand returned his maiden to her own bed where she would wake in the morning with memories of sleeping with a godlike creature.
And taking his leave of her was a good thing because thirty seconds later another of Prometheus’ famous (or at least renowned in earth legend) sons materialized, rez-ing up in that bumptious way of his.
“What’s up, Dad?”
“Hercules. What a surprise.”
“Grandpa Zee-ster says we have to kill somebody.”
“That’s what he says, but we’re not going to.”
“Who is it?”
“The kid down there.”
“But that’s Lu Ky.”
“Right. I forgot you know him. He has certainly turned into a powerful force of a fellow, hasn’t he?”
“Well, I could take him, sure.”
“Maybe…”
“Well, I could, even though rumor is, he’s a killer, too…well, a soldier who has killed, though I don’t see much difference.”
“You wouldn’t. Saps are only semi-rational,” Pro My said.
“Hey, so you say. Don’t forget, you’re part sap, too, Dad.”
“Like pure gods are any better than demi-gods?” Hercules said.
Prometheus sighed. “I know, I know. It’s not fair; Grandpa says that’s the way it’s going to be, and so Akto gets eaten by dog bots just for watching Art My pleasure herself.”
“And you get pecked by giant birds for gifting fire to the saps.”
“Well, Herk, that was no more than a stupid misunderstanding. We both know Old Zee is going senile. The saps had already figured out combustion. I simply refused to blank their minds like he wanted. It was all a stupid waste of time. It’s a lot of trouble, running around blanking minds. I mean, what did they do to deserve it?”
Hercules flexed his arms, looking around for something to crush or smash or maybe a boulder to throw. “Okay, back to reality, Pops – you want me to hit my own brother with a magic rock or should we call in the really big birds?”
“No can do, muscle boy. Magic is out. Don’t you ever scan the updates? We’ve got new rules on this earth. It’s got to look real.”
“Yeah. Real.”
“Okay, scientifically plausible. That is, if we were going to do it. But we’re not.”
“Why not?”
“Because I say so. Old Zee shoves a ton of crappy new rules up our butts – on top of the bothersome old ones. I’m tired of it.”
“Yeah. No more transmogging fair maidens into flowers or trees. I read that part.”
“Transmogrify. I didn’t know you knew that word.”
“Come on, Pops. We’re on the same page here. I’m tired of all the Zeusian restrictions, too. No more zapping villains and schemers with bolts of energy out of a clear blue sky; It makes no sense – we can still zing a zap or two to change some mortal’s sorry fate if we go through the trouble of whipping up a storm, but so much bother and all for what? It’s a pain in the ass; demi-gods like us have to stick around and be responsible for running things – and yet we less and less get the go sign to do the good stuff.”
“Maybe we’re spoiled. Maybe it’s not as bad as we’re saying.”
“Yeah, when’s the last time you had the go-ahead to gift eternal life-spans on the best sap warriors and virgins?” Hercules said.
“Well, there might be some good reason for that one.”
“Like what?”
“Combine sap foibles with immortality, you got cause for worry, particularly now they know uranium can blow things up.”
A beep told them the wormhole transmitter was working again. “Yeah. What?” Prometheus said.
A scratchy voice came at him out of the sky, “Where are you, Pro? Z is asking.”
“Earth KT480. He knows that.”
“Yes, but he doesn’t know why.”
“I haven’t been back since the 1960’s. Just catching up on who’s screwing who and how come.”
“Whom.”
“Huh?”
“Who’s screwing whom.”
“Oh, yeah. Grammar. Look, I’m supposed to be on vacation. No grammar and no decisions to kill anybody.”
“Pro My, you haven’t exterminated Lu Ky yet, have you.” More a statement than a question.
“No, and I don’t see why I have to. He’s my son for crap’s sake.”
“You have to because Zee is Zee and you are you.”
“And you’re just the messenger,” Pro My said.
“And you’re just making excuses. You have lots of sons.”
“Not as many as the big schlong.”
“What will I tell him? He said you’re supposed to crush Lu Ky like an ant.”
“No. I don’t get it. The boy isn’t hurting anybody. In fact, there’s a pair of Tomi’s right here want to suck up his sperm and spit the rest of him out like dirt.”
“Good. They can take him out for you.”
“No son of mine will ever be sucked dead by a filthy Tomi. Not if I can help it. Talk later.” And with that Prometheus nipped off the transmission.
In spite of his reluctance, Prometheus was wondering if maybe Big Zee had a point; enormous and unexpected tragedy was such a frequent happening in this particular solar system. Maybe this earth’s sun was preordained as an unlucky star. Just look at their solar system: Mars had been populated with sentient scorpions, and, before that, there was Phaeton with their smart water monkeys. Nobody could blame the saps for either of those extinctions; they hadn’t been around back then. And yet Phaeton had been hit and blown to asteroids with a wayward mini-planet on the loose from some other galaxy, and as for Mars, well, it simply dried up once the sentient scorpion people inadvertently got rid of their own atmosphere, something to do with Freon gas in their pop sticks.
A lot to think about: There were earlier times when the Big Zee had been more patient and humane (humane: an oxymoron if Prometheus had ever heard one). Be that as it may, back then the Zeester had endlessly preached to anybody who would listen that his guiding principal was live and let live, and so what if there was an occasional genocide, just get on with it. But here on the planet earth Hitler and Stalin and Truman and Hirohito and the atom bomb had put screeching brakes on his tolerance. In the Big Z’s mind, the defects in the sap species had advanced from mere genocide to death-of-the-planet happenings.
For his own part, Prometheus had endured the Zee’s legendary punishments until he decided enough was enough. In his heart of hearts he secretly believed the old god was just as fallible as any other immortal (but he wasn’t going to say that one out loud). Prometheus was sure he knew the saps at least as well as Zeus, even though his upstart beliefs were heresy to the Old Fartster. So what? Prometheus figured humanoids and even humans were basically good creatures and, if left alone, might work things out on their own. And if not, well, this galaxy – indeed, this entire universe – was blooming with young sentiency, so what did it matter?
So Prometheus dawdled and delayed the cindering of his son and at the same time kept rash Hercules from doing anything bold and stupid, young muscle boy’s usual mode of operation. Prometheus told himself he didn’t have enough information, and, after all, Lucky was his own offspring and as such his personal responsibility, and he only had a hundred or so children scattered around this universe, while Zee had maybe tens of thousands. More as a formality than anything serious, Prometheus tried callback three or four times to lay out some excuses, but control was three wormholes away and the mag-link – always if-y – was down again and so he felt his excuse was he could say he thought that with the system out he was more or less on his own, and that probably (maybe. might possibly) play okay in the Big Zee’s fusty mind..
At least that’s what Prometheus was thinking until the familiar voice-like-thunder practically knocked him off his tree branch.
“What crap are you pulling now? When I give an order, it’s an order!” That thunder-voice, of course, from Zeus – direct line, naturally. The old fartster couldn’t just use a normal talking voice. Prometheus sighed and stirred up his pot of excuses, looking for something original, or at least faintly plausible.
“I’ve been trying to call you, Dad. How come you get to use the direct line and we don’t?”
“You have any idea how much this costs?”
“Ah…lots, I suppose.”
“And it’s coming out of your allowance.”
There was a dull click and the voice was gone. Prometheus reluctantly raised one finger to cinder his offspring, but a big fat ugly moth fluttered into his line of sight. Clearly a dissenting voice from some other god. Pro My wondered who it was, but he wasn’t going to question a gift from the gods. He lowered his hand.
Time passed. After dawdling for a half hour, Prometheus took a closer look across the patio at the two hungry Tomungi girls. If he wanted, he could enlist them to do his dirty deed for him. It would be easy; they needed Lucky’s joy juice to stay alive in this universe, they would be happy to oblige. Still, what a slutty pair, and what an unfortunate end to a promising life! And, come on, this was his favorite earth kid!
Sure, the voracious twosome of Tomis could take his son down and then he wouldn’t have to bother. But that would be a shame, and the outcome wasn’t that certain. Lucky belonged here in a way that neither the Tomis nor the other aliens did. Lucky was over half human, like Hercules, Jesus, Attila the Hun, Joan of Arc, St. Francis, Alexander the Great and a few others who had carved their mark for good or bad on the clay tablets of the history of mortal mankind. This was Lucky’s solar system, his little corner of the galaxy. And although the young sap had no idea – and might never realize – who he was or what he was capable of, by rights it should take a lot more than a pair of hungry Tomis to take him out.
Prometheus was frustrated by his own indecision, but finally he again raised a finger-of-death in his son’s direction. And again paused, remembering the strange appearance of that rare night moth.
“Maybe later. I leave it in the hands of the gods,” he muttered to nobody in particular, or maybe he was in some sort of argument with the entire universe. He lowered his hand for the final time, and slowly vanished from the tree branch.