Gus Jerusalem and the Konja Gum
by Joe Hacking
illustration by Kevin Banks
Gus Jerusalem threw his unfinished Cuban cigar to the dry earth as the Valkyries leaped into battle. Swinging their mighty broadswords and singing their war songs in clear, beautiful voices, the golden-haired warriors cut their way through the field of religious fanatics like gruesome farmers reaping a bloody harvest. At their head was the mammoth female form of Maxina Wellworth. She was blasting away at the members of the Konja Gum Groupmind cult with a Hitachi M-440 plasma rifle. Blood and gore burst in plumes, and throats gurgled their last breath with each blue-white blast from the gun’s freon-cooled barrel.
“Let’s rock, Bogey,” growled Jerusalem down to his comrade, Bogan Chun.
But Chun was already dancing among the religious fanatics, his twin katanas flashing silver death as he decapitated and disemboweled their fear-struck would-be aggressors. His training as a personal guard for the Emperor of Japan on his Asian-dominated Earth made him untouchable to his horror-ridden enemies.
The shock of the Valkyrie attack was wearing off now, however, and the thousand or so psychically linked Konja Gum disciples were beginning to realize they still outnumbered the nine soldiers at the center of the market square where the ambush had occurred. Weapons were again trained upon the biggest target — Jerusalem. His seven foot tall, gorilla-like build towered above the mass of beings. Jerusalem saw it, grinned as he set his auto-cannon to full automatic. It was just like the Worker’s Rebellion in Mexico back on his war-torn Earth.
Before the first trigger was pulled, Jerusalem’s over-powered gun thundered, unleashing wholesale death upon the portions of the market square where his allies were not fighting. The noisy cannon’s wide blast pattern and hollow-point shot ripped through flesh, bone and exoskeleton, dropping hundreds of the fanatics before the drum clip ejected the last 70 mm plastic shell. By then, the survivors of Jerusalem’s attack were running for cover behind trees, shop stands and buildings. But rather than allow them to pick away at him from their concealed positions, Jerusalem charged them head on, bellowing like a beast.
The Valkyries’ singing and carnage increased in volume with his war cry, their arcing swords dripping with the blood and entrails of human and alien fanatics. All who faced those six visions of nordic beauty shrank in fear for their mortal souls, for they knew that they were invincible and that death was with them. Maxina’s gun was out of juice and she was now scything her way out of the thickly bunched group of fanatics towards Jerusalem’s position. Though she thought him an abomination, Maxina saw Jerusalem as an equal upon the battlefields, worthy of fighting beside. Chun was taking on the last twenty cultists who were still fighting in the open, dodging, ducking, jumping, stabbing and slashing at the clumsy, poorly trained disciples. He cursed them in Japanese even as he hacked off heads and kicked in rib cages.
Guns cracked off rounds at the frightening bulk of Jerusalem as his small, angry face grew closer with each step of his huge feet. The bullets impacted off of his kevlar overshirt, ripped at exposed flesh, but the gargantuan Jerusalem had been engineered for this type of assault. Even as the damage was done, his body worked to mend the wounds, stop the bleeding, regenerate tissue. He was a human tank, and fear gripped his enemies as they realized that this was the creature that would help them meet their gods.
His shadow passed over their horror-stricken features and then Jerusalem was rending them to pieces with his huge, bare hands, snapping spinal columns and smashing skulls like nut shells. He gripped the one who had issued the commands and used him as a gruesome club to beat the rest of them to death, moving from position to position, swinging the broken and splintered corpse with his herculean strength until the remainder of his enemies broke and ran. Blood dripped from his fists and gore covered his torso as he roared with blood fury and pursued the survivors. The Valkyries’ singing was deafening as they joined him in the chase. Linked to Jerusalem by the bloodlust which possessed them during battle, the Valkyries’ cruel sword strokes ended the lives of the healthy and the wounded without regard for age or gender.
Maxina and Chun were running after their comrades, trying to staunch their battle rage, knowing the unnecessary violence about to be wrought. But now the six bright she-warriors and the one gargantuan man-monster had the last three fanatics cornered, cringing against the wall of an alien church. Mercy was asked for, but none was to be given. They moved in, bloodied hands and blades thrust forward.
Suddenly, between the prey and the hunters, a flash of white light appeared. The blood-drenched warriors covered their eyes against the brightness until it dimmed to reveal a small, young woman clad in white robes. She was golden haired with sharply alert, dark eyes. She seemed to shine with a light from within, as if a sun had been housed within her gracefully beautiful body.
“Stop,” she commanded in a powerful voice. Against their wills, the six warriors obeyed, stopping in their tracks.
To Be Continued…