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by Justin Teerlinck
(In Part I, a skull discovered by archeologists high up in a Tibetan cave proved to have supernatural powers—for example, it glows in the dark!)
Back at the Science Lab, the scientists puzzled over the ancient skull. They ran a Geiger counter over it and discovered it was radioactive. No one had ever seen anything like it. Not even the strangest glowing ancient skull ever found had been radioactive.
“I suppose we should put on some protective suits to block out these gamma rays,” said Ashworth.
“Hey, that’s a great idea. Alright ancient skull,” said Danforth, sizing it up. “It’s about time you told us what’s going on in that head of yours.”
The skull seemed dangerous, but no one could say how exactly. Was it the menacing red lights peeping from its vacant eye sockets? Was it the mocking grimace issuing forth from its inhuman visage? No one knew.
A telephone rang on the wall of the lab. Danforth took off his radiation mitts and picked it up. “Science Lab, this is Danforth speaking.”
“Danforth, this is Director Yanomoto from the Science Council. We’re worried about that skull you found. What can you tell me about it?”
“Well sir, it’s not like anything we’ve seen here on Earth. We think it comes from another planet, one where the people have larger heads and are made of radiation.”
“Wow. What do you make of that?”
“We aren’t sure yet, but don’t worry, we’ll keep a close eye on things down here.”
“Let us know if you see anything suspicious about it. We’re quite concerned.”
“Roger that, sir.”
“Alright then, be careful.”
They left the skull in the care of the night security guard. It was locked behind triple-steel doors in a polycarbonate titanium-alloy case. In the morning, the box was smashed, the skull was gone, the security guard was found dead from laser burns, and every refrigerator in the building containing milk had been gutted.
The skull was seen rolling from building to building, crying “milky, milky,” and shooting red lasers at anything that attempted to block its path. It grew larger, until it was the size of a bus. Nursing mothers were urged to stay inside, lest the skull decide it wanted to breast feed. Cows were locked in their barns for their own safety. Dairy farmers sat outside their homes with shotguns loaded and ready.
“Do you think we ought to notify Science Command?” Dr. Ashworth asked the director.
“I think it’s imperative we know what the skull is doing at all times. It’s been growing bolder and more decisive, striking out at anything in its path. This is no longer a matter for the Science Council. We now must contact Science Command. I’m calling General Ishihama.”
“That’s a wise move, Director Yamamoto. Hopefully, we won’t need to active the Lithorobotron.”
“Hopefully not, because the last time we woke him from his 1000-year sleep, he was quite angry. He is the helper of humankind, but only when he feels like it. Now go and find out what that skull is doing.”
At first the evil skull kept to the shadows, trying to hide its movements through the city on its quest for the juice of mammals. Then it grew bolder, robbing convenience stores and grocery stores, looking for the only thing it craved: milk and dairy products. It appeared to have no preferences, eating and drinking yogurt, milk, cheese, goat milk, or anything that came from a cow. It was even seen milking the cows. Eventually, it was seen hobbling around on a pair of skeletal feet, then a pair of legs, then an entire torso. Ordinary citizens were posting video taken with their phones all over Mootube. Now it was impossible to hide. It roamed and killed anything in its path with its red laser eyes of death.
Finally, it was seen marching toward the Moo Two Milk Industrial Dairy Complex, the largest milk processing facility in the country. Over 10,000 cows lived there. General Ishihama’s troops blocked the skull’s path with tanks and troops, and sent out a negotiator to try to reason with it.
“Ancient glowing skull,” said the negotiator. “Begging your pardon sir, but we are here with peaceful intentions. We’d ask you to go back to your cave but we know you won’t fit in there anymore. Instead, we’d really appreciate it if you would go to the bottom of the sea. There are plenty of caves down there, and a lot of monsters you can be friends with. We know them pretty well and believe you’d get on with them like kindred spirts. You’ll have much in common with them. You’ll fit in better down there. You don’t have any buddies right now, so you’re depressed and angry. What do you say to that?”
The skull paused for a long while, as if carefully considering the offer. “I think we may have achieved a breakthrough,” the negotiator whispered to General Ishihama. “As an alien intelligence, I’m sure that the skull is much smarter than us, and is therefore amenable to reason.”
Then, the skull spoke up and gave its answer. It was a terrible roar that shook the bones of every soldier present. “Milky, milky!” it screeched as it unleashed its red lasers of death. All the guns, tanks and cannons fired everything they had, but the skull and its lower half stomped them all, crushing tanks like soda cans, and using its skeletal feet to punt the helpless soldiers through the air like tiny bugs. It stormed onward, pulling down power lines. It temporarily disappeared from sight. Its handiwork could be heard in the death-moos of thousands of helpless cows, who were too fat to run away. Then, a giant shadow emerged, blocking out the sun. It was a fully formed skeleton with hands, feet, a torso, and everything. The remaining troops, farmers and cows all fled for their lives in one helter-skelter herd.
The members of the Science Council convened a meeting with Science Command to decide what to do.
“Everyone is terrified,” said Director Yamamoto. “We must act now, before the skull grows a complete body.”
“We aren’t having any luck with our large guns,” said General Ishihama. “What do the scientists think is causing the skull to grow a skeleton?”
Dr. Ashworth stepped forward and spoke. “We believe the skull is consuming all the dairy products it can in order to stimulate bone growth. Now that it is a complete skeleton, we believe it to be almost unstoppable. We have decided to call this menace by the name ‘Ossibus.’ We have developed special guns that shoot legumes (peas) and salt at the demon in order to destroy its bones and accelerate osteoporosis to weaken it.”
“You mean like in old people?” asked Director Yamamoto.
“Yes, exactly. Then, when Ossibus is weak and frail enough, we will capture it and lock it up in a nursing home, where it will receive a bed and be forgotten, seeing as it probably has no family here.”
“A brilliant plan!” said the General. “Are the guns ready?”
“The peashooter and saltatron are tested and ready to go. Use them now while there is still time to save the city.”
“Roger that,” said General Ishihama.
The soldiers raced to meet the skull with their new weapons, specially fitted tanks that fired only peas, and fighter jets that dropped salt bombs. Ossibus understood what was going on, and began to kick massive amounts of dirt over every salt mine, and ravaged the pea fields, nearly wiping out next year’s crops. The guns slowed it down, but were only partially effective. Eventually, Ossibus grew itself a giant bone club which it used to bat jets out of the sky like flies, and to destroy skyscrapers like splintered match-shaped things.
Then, without warning, Ossibus sallied forth, moving forward to attack the city in full force. It seemed to be on the war path. It was moving forward with great speed. Millions of people evacuated to the countryside as the glowing red eyes shot their death lasers into everything.
“We no longer have any choice,” said General Ishihama. “We must activate the Lithorobotron if there is to be any future for humanity.”
Calling on the Lithorobotron was no easy task. He was a robot made out of a mountain, and he was difficult to awaken. To do so, they had to first contact the Small Crystal Helpers, Wishy and Mishy. They were quartz crystals half the size of an average human with arms and legs. As the servants of the Lithorobotron, only their digital singing could awaken the monolithic creature from the depths of its 1000-year slumber.
Once the order was given from Science Command, Dr. Ashforth pressed the button that opened a hidden panel in the science lab to reveal a secret blue phone that also had a single button that Dr. Ashworth pushed. It was the Crystal Helper Phone.
“Hello?” came a squeaky, robotic voice.
“Are you one of the Crystal Helpers?”
“Yes, I’m Mishy.”
“Hello Mishy, this is Dr. Ashworth with the science lab. We’re having trouble with a giant skull that turned into a full skeleton. It’s shooting red death lasers from its eyes and wrecking everything. We’ve decided to call it Ossibus.”
“Yes, I see. That sounds quite frustrating. I suppose you want me to wake up my master, Lithorobotron.”
“Yes, we do. We’d like that very much indeed.”
“And I suppose you want me to ask my master to completely obliterate Ossibus?”
“Well, we would certainly appreciate it.”
“Very well. In order to do the things you ask, I must toot my invisible, digital whistle. Then I must amplify the waves and through my singing, change the wave-length so that they are translated into the language of ancient mountain robots. Then I must activate the infrared lunar telebeacon which will wake him up for fully.”
“Great! Could you please do that for us at your earliest convenience?”
“Hey thanks! And what about Wishy? What does she do?”
“She’s sleeping. I’m the Crystal Helper on duty. When it’s time for her shift, she’ll wake up. Don’t worry.”
The city watched enrapt as a mountain in the distance that had slumbered for 1000 years shook off some rocks and stood up 400 feet high, with the giant, boulder-covered shape of a humanoid that had an active volcanic cone for a head, and clear robot eyes and mouth filled with supercomputers that made the human brain seem as small as a worm brain. It held its arms aloft, one fist holding on to a diamond blade, doubled-edged battle axe. The sun glinted off the diamonds of the axe, causing them to reflect the brilliant light, but not shine from it.
Once he was on his feet, he took a few tentative steps, each one causing tremors in the earth. His volcano head turned this way and that, surveying the land. Some fighter pilots flew by in jets, giving the Lithorobotron a thumbs-up for encouragement. This seemed to annoy him however, because he just waved them off dismissively. Seeing Ossibus wandering around smashing everything, the Lithorobotron reared back and let out a roar as old as the earth itself, as long as a cosmic ray, as loud as a megaton bomb. Half the windows in the city shattered at once. Thousands of helpless citizens rushed to ear clinics.
Ossibus turned, and seeing his challenger, he shook his bone club in the sky. Seeing as they couldn’t do anything else, the fighter pilots amused themselves by making up dialogue between the two warring creatures.
“Alpha Run One to Alpha Run Two, do you copy?”
“Roger, coming in loud and clear, over.”
“I’m Ossibus and you get to be Lithorobotron, over.”
“Copy that, Alpha Two.”
“Hey, look at me. Look at my bone club. I’ll burn you with my lasers, lava brain, over.”
“Don’t be too hasty there, anorexic bone pile. I’ll wait for you to eat a sandwich, put a little meat on your bones so it’s a fair fight, over.”
“You’re not thinking clearly, rock head. Maybe because you’re stoned all the time, over.”
“Better stoned than boned!”
“Alpha Run Two, that made no sense. Try another one.”
“Copy that, Alpha Run One. Hey, you like to dance? How about we go clubbing sometime…like with my head-crushing bone club, over?”
“Come closer so I can axe you a question, over.”
“Alpha Run One, Alpha Run Two, this is Science Command. Cut it out fellas, General Ishihama is coming unglued down here. You’re creating too much tension. Time to grow up, boys.”
Ossibus seemed to be gaining the upper hand. He was burning holes in the Lithorobotron with his laser eyes of death. The Lithorobotron squealed and writhed in pain. Ossibus came closer and started pounding on his adversary’s head, sending chunks of rock flying everywhere, cracking one of his supercomputer eyes. But the Lithorobotron wasn’t through yet. He bent forward, aimed his head at Ossibus and fired a lava blast at his skeletal opponent, charring the bones on his chest black, and causing his red eye holes to flicker out. Slowly, the Lithorobotron staggered to his feet. Ossibus swiped at him with his club, but the mountain robot met the club with his diamond axe, severing it in half. The skeleton staggered backwards toward the coast line, stumbling into buildings and snapping power lines. When he was touching the sea, the Lithorobotron raised both of his arms in the air like a triumphant, fake wrestler, and stomped his foot so hard that a massive earthquake split the earth in half.
The Lithorobotron leaned forward and spewed more lava, covering and melting Ossibus from the neck down. A tidal wave rolled in like an angelic hand of doom, sweeping the demon skull out to sea. They heard it cry, “Milky, milky!” as it sank beneath the waves, its glowing evil eyes sinking in the darkness all the way down to Davy Jones’ Locker.
Director Yamamoto made a big speech when it was all over. “I think this is a day we can all celebrate,” he said. “Just remember, don’t spoil a mountain with litter, because you never know when you might need it to come to life and conquer your enemies.”
A large blue ribbon was placed around the Lithorobotron with a gold medallion to honor his work here in saving humanity. He tried to smile for the pictures, but it felt forced. He wasn’t typically ever this social, and he became easily tired. Finally, when he’d had enough, Mishy blew his digital whistle again, and the mountain resumed his place of slumber, closing his supercomputer eyes until the next time he was needed. The Small Crystal Helpers shook hands with the General and the Director, sipping a gin and tonic with them. They all agreed that the day had been rather taxing, but they’d all got through it in the end.