Diane Carter finished the work that she had been doing and straightened up. It had been a long, day, and the pretty, slender brunette was tired. But, she wasn’t ready for home and bed yet, despite the late hour. She reached into her leather attaché and removed a sheaf of parchment-like papers in a leather binding. She could have taken them home to read, but she was too excited; that was why the day had seemed so long. She would really READ the book at home, but she just had to spend a few more minutes skimming it while she had the chance.
Diane didn’t really understand how she became Golden Goddess, because she maintained her own personality, but with different memories added to her own, additional knowledge that was beyond her as Diane. She assumed that it was some kind of “channeling” of the goddess’ spirit, but she wished she knew more about her alter ego. That was why she was thrilled when, last night, she had felt compelled to become Golden Goddess and enter the Gateway of the Void and retrieve this book, one of several hidden in that strange pocket dimension, which was a chronicle of Golden Goddess on earth.
So far, Diane had learned that Golden Goddess first appeared on the ancient continent of Lemuria. She had fought for justice on the island continent, and her followers had spread her vision of peace for all far beyond the shores of Lemuria. In seeking to spread this message, of course, Golden Goddess and her minions had encountered many challenges. For instance, Diane shivered as she looked at a drawing of the subhuman King Choma who had ruled some bizarre species of animalistic people off the shore of Lemuria. They had been destroyed when they tried to overrun the island nation, but the Lemurian forces, led by Golden Goddess had struck back. As she skimmed the story, Diane thought that she could write it as fiction and make a fortune from some publisher of fantasy stories!
With a sigh, Diane looked at her watch and slid the book back into her bag. If she didn’t get moving, she’d probably spend the whole night here! Better to go home, slip into some sweats, and read while she made dinner. She grabbed her coat and left her office.
The Ropersville University Museum was practically deserted, but Diane was used to that. Her activities as Golden Goddess made the strange hours necessary sometimes, and her bosses didn’t mind, so long as she continued to keep her work standards as high as they were. But, given her experiences in the museum when it was empty, she knew when a sound was out of place. She stopped short when she heard such a sound. It was coming from one of the new acquisition storage rooms, so she headed toward it.
Diane looked around the room. She didn’t see anybody, just the objects that Professor Jones had brought back from his recent trip to the South Pacific. His pride and joy was the sarcophagus that was in the center of the room. Seemingly made of stone and well over nine feet long, it had markings that corresponded to no known language of the region. It was also where the noise was coming from. Now that she was closer, Diane thought that it sounded like groaning. Could someone have somehow fallen into the coffin and had the lid slam shut, trapping them inside? It seemed unlikely, but what else could it be? She dropped her coat and bag on a table, grabbed the edge of the lid and pressed upward as hard as she could.
After a few seconds of straining, the lid moved upward. There was a hissing sound, as if of escaping gases, and Diane noticed a stale smell to the air. As the lid swung up and out of her way, she bent to look inside. But, before she could get a good view, a large, hairy hand shot out of the sarcophagus and grabbed her by the neck, choking her! The beautiful scientist fought to free herself from the grip of that massive paw, but it was no use. She could only gasp for air and watch as someone climbed from the now open tomb.
The man, if he could be called a man, was frightening. He stood over seven feet tall, and his body was comprised of huge slabs of rock-hard muscle, mostly hidden by course, dark body hair. His eyes were small and black under the low forehead, his nose was long and pointed and his mouth were filled with sharp teeth that could only be described as fangs. The man wore simple clothing, consisting of a black loincloth and a golden breastplate, complemented by leather boots and golden jewelry. Through her pain, Diane thought that he looked like a cross between a man and a gorilla. He looked like something from a nightmare. Then it hit her: he looked like the picture of King Choma!
Diane’s mind was awhirl. How could Choma be back after millennia? And how could she stop him? Golden Goddess could stop him, as she had done in the past, but Diane couldn’t summon Golden Goddess, because the grip on her throat was too tight! She couldn’t speak; she couldn’t even breathe! Her vision began to grow dim, until, try as she might, her oxygen-starved brain shut down and Diane passed out.
Choma looked around, disorented. Where was he? More important, WHEN was he? His suspended animation chamber had worked, but this place looked like nothing he had seen before. He finally looked at the human woman in his grasp, and noted with disgust that she was unconscious. Choma had forgotten how fragile these humans were. But therein lied the brilliance of his plan! Without that damned Golden Goddess to help them, he would rule the rule as he had nearly done back at Lemuria. And, surely, Golden Goddess couldn’t have survived the rise of this new civilization! But now, Choma needed to get established, and this human female could give him away early. Best to get her out of the way for a while!
Choma pulled a heavy tapestry down from the wall. The heavy, decorative golden cord was thick enough to act as a gag once pulled between the girl’s teeth and knotted behind her head. Then he laid her on one end of the tapestry and rolled her up in it, pinning her arms to her sides. That should hold her! Next, he carried the girl out of the room. He quickly spied a suit of armor, holding a heavy battle-axe. THAT would work, he decided.
The hideous man-beast laid Diane on the floor in front of the armor, and then tied a rope to the armor, anchoring the other end to the staircase. Next, he shoved the armor forward, so that it was off balance, supported only by the rope. “Not for long,” Choma chortled as he pulled a small vial from the pouch on his belt. He had been the shaman-king of his tribe, and still had many of his potions, including this powerful acid. He put a drop on the rope, and watched as it began to smoke. The villain grinned, baring his fang-like teeth. “Thanks for waking me, my dear! If I had a choice, I’d keep you around as my personal slave, but I’m afraid that’s just not possible…” With the skill and agility of a gorilla, Choma leapt upward, swinging on the various displays until he could slip through an open skylight and into the night.
Moments later, Diane Carter awoke with a headache. When she tried to reach up to massage her temples, however, she found her movements constricted. It took a few moments for her to understand her position, but she quickly figured out what was holding her. With a resigned sigh, she lay still, waiting for the security guard to come by on his rounds to free her.
Diane’s eyes roamed around, and she suddenly became aware of the awkward position of the armor above her. Then she noticed the rope, the smoke, and the acrid smell in the air. With a bolt of terror, she now understood her predicament. She had to escape! Diane tried to roll, but the tapestry was too heavy; she couldn’t get any leverage. She was stuck!
With a sharp “twang” a few of the strands of the rope parted, and the armor shifted forward. The razor edge of the battle-axe, aimed right at her chest, glinted in the moonlight. Diane tried to call for help, or to summon Golden Goddess, but the gag was too effective for either. What was she going to do? As she wiggled about, Diane suddenly felt something hard and cold brush her cheek.
After a few seconds, Diane ceased her struggles, breathed deeply, and tried to think. Then she remembered that object against her cheek, and she realized what it was: one of the hooks used to hang the tapestry! If she could hook her gag on that, she had a chance. Diane lowered her chin to her chest, as much as she could, and wiggled her head about, feeling for the tell-tale sensation of metal against her cheek. Each time she felt it, she whipped her head upward, trying to snag the cord on the hook, but it didn’t seem to be working.
Out of the corner of her eye, Diane studied the rope, watching the threads part and the margin of safety grow smaller. She tried to hook her gag once, twice, three times… Finally, on the fourth pass, the gag hooked. Diane wiggled her head, trying to loosen the knot as she pulled. The dusty cloth finally slid past her lips and dropped around her chin. “I invoke the Golden Goddess,” the lovely captive said with desperation in her voice. She was relieved as she felt the familiar flowing and shifting as her human form altered into that of The Golden Goddess!
Golden Goddess was even more tightly held than Diane had been; because she was larger. Her massive chest was being crushed by the tapestry, making breathing difficult. She COULD summon the Sword of Fire to cut her way free, but hated the thought of ruining the tapestry. A quick glance at the rope told her that she had better think of something else, FAST!
“Doorway of the Void,” Golden Goddess said. The black, circular entrance to nowhere appeared beneath her, dropping her downward. The doorway closed behind her, cutting her off from the real world. As she drifted through the strange, limbo-like land beyond the doorway, Golden Goddess was able to twist and spin, unfurling the tapestry. Soon, she was free. She reopened the doorway, and stepped back into the museum. The suit of armor was on the floor, the battle-axe imbedded into the wooden floor.
“Well, THAT was close,” the divine dare-doll remarked wryly. “I don’t know how Choma survived since the days of Lemuria, but it looks like I have to stop him again! But first, I have to figure out where he is!”
The Chariot of Air hovered over city. Anyone lucky enough to look up at that point would have been graced with a magnificent silhouette of Golden Goddess’ voluptuous form against the full moon. Her blue eyes strained into the night, her keen hearing was on full alert. The maid of mythology was learning more and more about her skills and weapons, and had found that she could affect the Chariot’s make-up. Tonight it resembled a milky-white, opalescent lounge, upon which Golden Goddess stood. Her senses were above those of a normal human, though certainly not as great as what she had read about that Hyper-Girl in Macropolis. The blonde beauty thought again that she might have to look up some of the other heroines she’s heard about. But that was for another time!
For now, Golden Goddess had to find Choma. She tried to look at the problem logically, but that did her no good. Choma wanted to enslave humanity, which he viewed as a lesser species. He could probably do it; his race combined the power and savagery of a wild animal with technical and scientific skills that were, in some ways, beyond what mankind had currently achieved. The problem was, he didn’t know where he was, or what the city was like. Therefore, she couldn’t figure out where he’d WANT to go. Instead, she had to try to figure out where he would have stumbled into, and that could be anywhere!
“This is pointless,” Golden Goddess said with a sigh as she sat down again. “I may as well go home and wait for him to appear again!”
Meanwhile, somewhere below, one pair of beady black eyes focused on the shapely shadow in the sky. Choma cursed under his breath. “Golden Goddess! Alive! Well, I plan to put an end to that…”
A week later, Diane Carter got home from work, kicked off her pumps, and pulled a newspaper clipping from her briefcase. She carried the paper into the living room, where she unlocked her roll-top desk and pulled out a folder. She sat on the couch, and spread the contents of the folder on her coffee table.
Several bizarre crimes had occurred during the past week. The authorities were stumped, but Diane recognized Choma’s handiwork. He had stolen a strange combination of chemicals, electronic equipment, and semi-precious stones. The slender brunette unfolded a map of the city from the folder. It had several red spots marked on it, showing where the crimes had taken place. She marked the latest on one the map, and studied it carefully, looking for some kind of pattern. Then she noticed that all the robberies seemed to spiral outward from the area around the zoo! Choma’s people had always been more comfortable with animals, whom they could control to some degree, than with people. The zoo wasn’t too far from the University, and with Choma’s senses, he would smell the trees and animals, and home in on it, thinking it was a natural area in the midst of the concrete city. The more she thought about it, the more she decided it made sense.
Diane put the papers away, locked her desk, and summoned Golden Goddess. Within moments, the Chariot of Air was slicing through the night sky, headed towards the city Zoo.
The ground crunched slightly under Golden Goddess’ boots as she walked quietly through the zoo. She hadn’t been here in ages, and had forgotten how large it was. Even if Choma WAS here, where was he? And, was it logical to assume he was here? It seemed like a good bet back in her apartment, but where could he hide from the hundreds of visitors that arrived here every day? It’s not like Choma could lose himself in a crowd!
The heroine paused and leaned against a railing to think things through. Then , she noticed that the railing surrounded the gorilla habitat. This consisted of a large pit, in which were several trees and climbing apparatuses, along with a large artificial cave in the back wall. A person could easily hide in that cave for a while without being spotted. Golden Goddess hopped over the railing and retaining wall, dropping lightly to the floor below. Slowly, she advanced, every sense on the alert for possible danger.
While Golden Goddess couldn’t really COMMUNICATE with animals, the way her opponent could, she was very in tune with the natural world. All she could sense from the great apes in the habitat was peacefulness; they seemed to be asleep. Well, that was good for her, anyway; she had enough to worry about without facing some territorial gorilla! She slipped into the artificial cave, and slowly moved into the shadows within.
After a few feet, it became too dark to see. “Okay,” the blonde said, “I know how to create a little light! Sword of Fmmmph!”
Golden Goddess’ words of power were silenced by a large, hairy hand that reached out of the darkness and covered her mouth. She tried to bite the leathery skin, but the hand didn’t release her, despite a grunt of pain from behind her. That gave her some satisfaction as her strong, gloved hands grabbed the paw that silenced her and pulled as hard as she could.
“Not THIS time,” the low, guttural voice said. Golden Goddess felt a sharp jabbing pain in her left buttock. After a second, she identified the pain as that of a hypodermic needle! She increased her struggle for freedom, realizing that her time was now limited. However, Choma’s other huge arm wrapped around her from behind, pinning her arms to her side and lifting her feet from the floor. Even with her increased strength, Golden Goddess couldn’t do anything with no leverage! The drug that had been injected into her veins began to take effect, and her thinking grew fuzzy. Slowly, despite her best efforts, Golden Goddess passed out.
When the attractive avatar regained consciousness, she was in what seemed to be a large, concrete tunnel. She was bound spread-eagle to a large wooden table, and a large ball-gag in her mouth prevented her from summoning any of her weapons. However, none of that worried her as much as what she saw above her: a large, bladed pendulum, right out of Edgar Allen Poe! She twisted around trying to test or loosen her bonds.
“Ah, awake at last, I see!” Choma strode into her view. “I’m glad! Time is of the essence, but I wanted you to see me before I destroyed you! After all, that makes the victory that much sweeter!”
“Hmmmmmph! Ummm ummmmph hmmmmm!” Golden Goddess’ eyes blazed with fury and confusion at her captor.
“Let me guess,” Choma said. “You want to know where you are, and how I survived the centuries since our last encounter, right?” When the blonde nodded her pretty head, he grinned, showing his fangs. “This is part of the city’s storm drain system. There was a vent in the back of the gorilla cage, so I merely enlarged the opening so I could use this as my base of operations. From here, I could access the sewers, and move about the city rather quickly, without attracting too much attention, until I wanted to!”
Golden Goddess rolled her eyes. Choma’s people had lived partly underground; she should have thought to check the sewers! She assumed that she was still having trouble integrating Golden Goddess’ personality and memories into Diane’s. That was something she’d have to work on, if she survived this!
“As for the rest, well, you didn’t REALLY think I’d committed suicide after my defeat, did you? That body was one of my lieutenants’. I had prepared the cryro-chamber to let me sleep until you were gone, at which time I could revive and lead my people to victory! But, something went wrong, and I slept for eons, only to awake and find that you are still here, my whole race is gone, and the damned homo sapiens are running the planet! All that’s left for me is revenge!”
Golden Goddess didn’t like the sound of that! When the Lemurians had defeated the beast-men in those long-ago days, many of the controls in Choma’s control room had been destroyed. She wondered if that was what had kept him from waking up when he should have, allowing him to sleep until Diane Carter opened the finally malfunctioning chamber!
Choma ran his hand along Golden Goddess’ cheek. “As for you, my beautiful enemy, I’m curious how you managed to survive the ages. But, I somehow doubt that the knowledge would be worth the trouble I’d encounter if I were to remove your gag!”
“Yes, exactly! In any case, I have other things to occupy my time! I have created a devise that will enable me to launch all of the nuclear weapons still stockpiled in the world, plunging the earth into a nuclear nightmare!” He looked at his captive with sympathy in his eyes. “You poor thing… battling my people because you wanted to end barbarism, and your damned humans create weapons like this! Even my people never would have made something this destructive!”
Golden Goddess pulled at her bonds and yelled angrily into her gag. “Hmmm ummmm hmmmmmph!”
“In any case, after this radio signal allows me to devastate the world, I hope be able to utilize a cloning technique to repopulate the planet with others of my kind! A few simple alterations to human DNA, combining it with certain animal DNA, should do the trick! It will be a long, tiring road, but I will finally rebuild my society on the ashes of human misery! Any humans who survive will become slaves. Or maybe pets!”
The beast man reached up and flipped a switch that started the pendulum swinging back and forth. “I hope you like this device; I created it with you in mind! There are HUNDREDS of ways to eliminate you, but this was always one of my favorites back in the old days. I guess I’m just sentimental! Farewell, Golden Goddess. Your death has been FAR too long in coming!”
The beast man walked off, leaving the heroine to contemplate her fate. Her large, bright blue eyes followed the glistening blade as it arched back and forth, slowly gaining momentum. After a few swings, there was a clicking, ratcheting sound, and the blade dropped a few inches closer to her bare midriff!
The heroine looked around for some way to get her gag off; her weapons were her only chance! But Choma had known that, and plotted this death trap well. The only things in the concrete storm drain were her, the table she was tied to, and the pendulum-mechanism hanging from the ceiling. The table was old, but sturdy and smooth; there was nothing sticking up near her face. Besides, this gag was MUCH more secure than the one back at the museum, pulling it out might be impossible!
The blade dropped again, causing Golden Goddess to suck in her stomach a bit. She still had room, but it wasn’t enough to make her comfortable! She had to think of something, and quick! As she struggled, she felt a “thud” as the table shifted slightly. This gave her an idea. The storm drains were essentially large pipes, so the table was resting on a curved surface! If she could get it to shift enough, it might tip over, putting her out of the way of the blade. It was a long shot, but it was all she had!
As the blade passed over her body, Golden Goddess threw her weight after the pendulum. As it arched back the other way, she threw her weight that way, straining against her bonds. Right, then left, then right again… The pendulum dropped another notch closer, but she could hear the legs of the table scraping along the curved floor. She was getting close, but so was the blade!
After a few minutes of this, the lovely from Lemuria actually had to hold her stomach in, and she still felt the breeze from the blade as it passed over her. Throwing her weight as hard as she could, she finally rewarded as the table shifted almost sideways! This time, as the pendulum swung back, it slammed into the hard wood of the table, actually slicing through the hard planking. This loosened the table legs attached to that planking, allowing the goddess of goodness to pull free the table leg that her wrist was bound to. It was a struggle to undo the strap on the ball-gag with only one hand, but she finally got it unhooked and spit the hard rubber ball from her mouth.
Golden Goddess summoned the Sword of Fire and slashed her way free in less time than it takes to describe. Then she raced down the same way Choma had gone. “Okay, Choma,” she said grimly, “your reign of terror is about to end!
The Chariot of Air soared once again over the city. The chariot had a more angular, “arrow-head” design tonight, to reflect its’ mistress’ angry state of mind. Her escape had taken her too long; Choma was gone. She did, however, find the “room” that he had used as his work place, scattered with all kind of bizarre equipment. The most important thing she found, however, was the map. It took her a few minutes to decipher the mark on the map, but she finally realized that it was the main broadcast/receiving dish array for Ropersville Cable Television.
RCT, like many companies, got it’s feed from satellites, and then pumped it out over the cable into its subscribers’ homes. But those dishes and satellites could easily be used to broadcast as well as receive. If Choma’s plan depended on a radio signal to be broadcast throughout the world, what better place to do it than through that satellite link? Golden Goddess urged the Chariot to greater speed; she had to reach the dishes before that monster uploaded those launch commands.
Swooping over the crest of one of the mountains at the outskirts of the city, Golden Goddess spotted the array of 12 radar-like dishes that received and broadcast the RCT signals. The dishes were largely automated, and she was sure that nobody would be working this late. Therefore, the light coming from one of the windows of the small, concrete equipment bunker attracted the divine daredoll’s attention immediately. The Chariot swooped in towards the window. Golden Goddess waved her hand towards the wall and summoned “The Gateway of the Void.”
The Gateway could operate in two ways. One was as a doorway into the strange, void-like dimension that Golden Goddess used for healing or storage, or even escape or hiding. The other was as a “tunnel” through that dimension, beginning and ending in normal space. That was what Golden Goddess had summoned this time, as the Gateway opened a large, circular “hole” in the wall of the bunker. The Chariot swooped through the hole, and into the small building.
The walls of the room were covered with equipment to monitor, descramble, and channel the signals received from the dishes outside. Choma was in the far corner, attaching a small laptop computer to one of the consoles. Golden Goddess wasted no time.
“Bow of Water,” she said. At the sound of her voice, Choma spun and leapt upwards towards his foe. Golden Goddess drew back the string of the blue bow, and an arrow of blue liquid energy shimmered into being. She released the arrow, which streaked over Choma’s shoulder towards his computer. At the same time that the arrow struck the computer and caused it to short out into a shower of sparks, the beast-man from a lost age tackled his golden-garbed nemesis, knocking her from her transport.
As the two plummeted to the ground, Choma covered Golden Goddess’ mouth with his hand and forced her head back, exposing the soft flesh of her throat to his fangs. The heavenly heroine used her own strength to hold him back but she was no match for him. Instead, she twisted in the air, so that the beast man landed first, taking the brunt of their fall. He released his grip on his voluptuous prey, who sprang away from him.
“Sword of Fire, Shield of Earth,” Golden Goddess said. The flaming blade appeared in her right hand and the large buckler, seeming created from half a globe, protected her left arm from the elbow down. She held the Shield in front of her, with the Sword at the ready.
“I should have known better than to leave you alone,” Choma growled as he sprang to his feet and squared off against her. “I won’t make the same mistake this time. I’ll just rip out your heart and have it for a snack!”
The humanoid giant charged at Golden Goddess with a roar like a wounded lion. The heroine swung her Sword downward, sending a burning pain into his leg. Her Shield swung up, smashing the creature in the jaw.
“Not THIS time,” she said grimly as she danced away from his massive arms. “This time I’m ready for you.”
Choma grabbed a chair and threw it at her, but it bounced off the impenetrable Shield. He dove at Golden Goddess feet while she deflected the makeshift missile, but she used the Sword to leave a burning sensation across his back.
“My Sword doesn’t cause any PHYSICAL damage to living things,” she explained as she jumped over his fallen body. “But it will sure hurt like hell for a while!”
“You don’t know what hell is,” Choma growled. “I’LL show you HELL!”
He leapt upward, swinging on a light fixture, to carry him over Golden Goddess’ defenses. He dropped behind her, grabbing her in a bear hug, and squeezed as hard as he could. Golden Goddess couldn’t draw a breath. She knew her ribs couldn’t stand too much of this punishment. She slapped the Sword against Choma’s leg and held it there. He roared in pain, but tried to hold on. Eventually, he dropped the heroine.
Golden Goddess’ head was swimming, but she couldn’t rest. As soon as she hit the floor, she grabbed the Shield in both hands. She felt the energy of the earth running up through her, from her feet to her hands, and into the Shield. She swung the coppery disk with all her might, smashing it into the side of Choma’s head. The monster looked at her for a second, before his eyes rolled up into his head and he collapsed.
“Now, to take you to the authorities,” Golden Goddess said as she summoned the Chariot around the huge man-beast. “Then, I’ve got some reading to do!” If creatures from Golden Goddess’ earlier incarnations on earth might still be around, the heroine needed to reacquaint herself with these foes and her powers. Besides, those adventures sure made good reading!