The Android Princess Warriors from Neptune

A 15-Chapter Star-Spangled Serial in Space!

by Mike Ferguson
About the author

Previously: Dixie Sterling and Agent 18 are given a spaceship and asked to deal with an alien menace.  The Scorpio One is shot down on Mars where Butch Murdock and Jack Coogan are taken prisoner by aliens in stiletto heels.  Our heroes blast to the rescue and rescue Coogan from a fiery death...Searching for the missing Proto-analyzer, Dixie and Coogan are captured and threatened with torture...Escape only to encounter Karkaz, Soviet Agent Number Four, who they knock out with a drug...

Chapter Eight -The Iron Claws of Cleopatronica!

THE WINDING CORRIDOR EVENTUALLY twisted to an end.  An open elevator capsule, brightly lit, sat patiently at the far, deep corner of the passageway.

Mister Gunn grinned and lit a Lucky Strike.  "Finally," he muttered, blowing a ring of smoke over his head.  "Lousy no-goodnik aliens . . . hiding behind boulders and rocks like a bunch of sissies.  Why can't they come out and fight like normal human beings?"

Sighing, Mister Gunn stepped into the elevator capsule.  It was full of a bunch of buttons, all inscribed with funny-looking symbols.  Impatiently, Mister Gunn jammed the topmost button.  The capsule doors closed, and the elevator started to rise.  Mister Gunn leaned back against the elevator wall and tried to relax.

"Even the buttons are weird," he grumbled.  "Don't these aliens speak American?"

A scraping noise started to float down from the elevator ceiling.  Mister Gunn looked up towards the noise, and saw a loose panel, open only by a few inches.  Human eyes stared at Mister Gunn through that opening.

"Mister Gunn . . ?" asked the person hiding behind the panel.

"That's the name, son, don't wear it out," said Mister Gunn.  "You're Murdock?"

"Yeah."  The panel opened a little more.  Mister Gunn could see part of a scared, tired, freckled-faced kid.  "I was hoping you'd get here soon."

"Well, the cavalry's here now, kid," said Mister Gunn, his voice brimming with confidence.  He blew a fresh plume of smoke through the open grating. Murdock coughed violently.  "Just point me towards the gizmo doohickey from the proto-something-or-other, and then we can blow out of this bowling alley."

"I've got it up here," said Murdock.  "With me."

"Well, dip me in hot fudge and call me a sundae," said Mister Gunn.  "Pass it on down here, then!  Better yet, bring it on down yourself!  Stop sitting up there like a bat in the belfry already!"


"Son," said Mister Gunn, "you okey-dokey up there, or you got a case of the bad uh-ohs?"

"We're going in the wrong direction," Murdock finally said after a long, long pause.  "The Scorpio's been taken to the main fleet hangar of the Empress, and that's far below ground.  Stop the elevator."

"What?"  Mister Gunn squinted up towards the grating.  "What're you talking about?  You been mixing whiskey with your Wheaties, son?"

"Just stop the elevator," Murdock repeated.

"Right . . . sure."  Mister Gunn stared at the panel of buttons.  There were over a hundred keys to choose from.  "Which one do I hit?"

"Press the khallasi again, then the drogo."

"The which then the what?  Speak American, son!"

"The topmost button, which you pressed the first time," Murdock said patiently, "then the bottom button on the left, the one with a backwards-S symbol."

Tentatively, Mister Gunn obeyed.  The elevator smoothly switched directions, gliding downwards into the deepest recesses of Mars.

"You sure about this, Murdock?" asked Mister Gunn.

Abruptly, the elevator capsule stopped.  The doors opened, revealing a large hangar full of spaceships, and a few waiting guests . . . namely, the Empress Cleopatronica and several hundred Android Princess Warriors, armed to the teeth with big guns pointed in Mister Gunn's direction.

"Yes," the Empress said to Mister Gunn, striding towards the open elevator doors.  "Murdock is quite sure."

Mister Gunn pointed his pistol up towards the grate in the ceiling.  "A trap," he said in disgust.  "Come on down here, Murdock, so you can see the shot that kills you."

Slowly, Murdock emerged from the ceiling . . . or something like Murdock, anyway.  From the waist up, he looked quite human.  Murdock's legs and feet, however, were pure mechanical mayhem, clicking and whirring.  As Murdock made it into the elevator capsule, he snatched away Mister Gunn's pistol, crushing it like tinfoil in an impossibly inhuman grip.  Murdock smiled . . . then tore away the artificial flesh from his face, revealing the chrome skull beneath the skin.

"Try to kill me," said the android Murdock.  "Just try."

"Now, now," said the Empress, "no need to fight.  Yet."  The Empress reached for Mister Gunn with her slender, spectacular hand, and led the All-American hero away from the android Murdock.  "Walk with me," she said.

"Sure thing, toots," said Mister Gunn.  He walked side by side with the Empress, holding hands, moving past legions of female android killers and intergalactic fighter craft.  "What's on your mind besides your electric bill?"

"I have the neutronium mini-reactor," said the Empress.  "Doctor Warlock is putting the finishing touches on my Planetary Disintegration Ray as we speak.  I'm hoping that it won't be necessary to use such a terrible weapon, however.  Help me."

"Help you?" Mister Gunn snorted.  "No way, sister."

"Convince your leaders that war is futile," the Empress continued, speaking as though she hadn't heard Mister Gunn, "and your planet shall be spared. You shall rule at my side, Regent over Neptune and the Nine Kingdoms of Moons.  You shall be the most powerful human in the galaxy.  Fail, and your planet shall be atomized into gradient molecules."  The Empress gave Mister Gunn a dazzling smile, and then kissed him lightly on the lips.  "What do you think?"

"What do I think?" mused Mister Gunn.  He scratched his chin thoughtfully, then swept the Empress up off her feet.  He planted a long, deep, hard, passionate kiss squarely on the perfect mouth of the Empress, one hot enough to split the heart of a newborn star asunder.

"I think," said Mister Gunn, putting the Empress gently back on the ground, "that nobody ever taught you how to kiss, baby.  Spend a night with me, and I'll make you my robot student of love."  Mister Gunn lit up a fresh cigarette.  "Also, forget about the consort stuff.  Victor E. Gunn doesn't betray the U.S. of A."

"Foolish man," snapped the Empress, her face flushed, "you will regret your insolence!"

"Kissing a sweet broad like you?"  Mister Gunn laughed.  "No ma'am, I won't regret that at all, sister."

A club whistled out of the shadows, striking Mister Gunn in the head and knocking him unconscious.  The android Murdock stood over Mister Gunn, anger engraved on his metallic face.

"My Lady," said Murdock, "let me slay this worthless human.  His life serves no purpose."

"But it will," purred the Empress.  She straightened her chemise, and then gently patted Murdock's chrome cheek.  "This human, he shall entertain us tonight.  He will entertain us for long, painful, excruciating hours . . . until his worthless corpse finally falls to the ground."

"Do you mean . . ?" asked Murdock.  His android eyes blazed with joy.

"Yes," said the Empress.  "The Dueling Zone."

The Empress and Murdock began to laugh, their evil merriment growing louder and louder, until it rang madly through the underground hangar, completely unnoticed by the unconscious Mister Gunn . . .

Previous episode: The Red Badge of Treachery!
Next episode: Duel at the Gates of Dawn!

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The Android Princess Warriors from Neptune is copyright Mike Ferguson.