The darkness in the ship became thicker until I could perceive it as a swirling ocean of very dark energy with billows on top billows. I could feel its touch even when clad in my spacesuit like all others.
I sensed an eerie silence and turned to look at my father who was barely visible in the darkness. To my horror I found him in a state of stupor. I looked around but could hardly see the others but I knew they were in the same state.
Then the darkness deepened and the sensation of sound ceased. I relaxed on my seat and focusing on a point between my brows started chanting one of the names of the Origin as advised by my father. Hu.
I did not finish six chants before a bright flash appeared within my mind followed by the sound of chains. Then the Cragto appeared in my vision!
That was the last person I expected, since he was an acquatic entity but any help was welcome in this situation.
‘Um…you have to be smart, Shoram. Go after Jul-wan now. Her name is not Julian but Jul-wan which means the Queen of Dark Energy. She’s…um…a stowaway on this ship and she is the Last of the Trrrpalogu, the creators of dark torrents of rain, poisonous gases and the Doldrum. There were about one hundred of her species in existence about a thousand years ago at the edge of the Universe, but the Forces of Good hunted them down and annihilated ninety-nine. The whereabouts of Jul-wan had remained a mystery to us till I heard your call. Stand up, render yourself invisible and go after her with your laser-beam. Make sure she does not bite you. Shoot her in the middle of her brow, for that is where the metal she uses in controlling the doldrum is. Shoot her there and keep off. Keep your wits around you and do not forget your martial discipline’. Then the Cragto faded off.
I grabbed my laser beam and stood up but the darkness was almost crushing. The ship was moving in an uncontrolled manner but I had my Stabiliser on and gradually groped my way back to the restaurant where I last saw Julian, as she falsely called herself. I relied on my Extra Sensory Perception to guide me there because by this time I had started feeling the effect of the Doldrum as if it was hot pepper poured on my body. I saw flashes of Jul-wan still seated at the table laughing with her colourless eyes fixed at a spot in front of her. Despite her awesome powers she had no idea I was approaching. Or so I thought.
‘Shoram!’ I heard a telepathic call from her and I was slightly startled. ‘Do you think you can stop the Doldrum?’
‘Easily’, I replied calmly, ‘ Easily, Jul-wan!’ It was her turn to be startled.
‘How did you know my holy name? This is blasphemy! It is not supposed to be pronounced by any mortal’.
‘Well, I have done that and you’ll soon be gone from history’, and so saying I fired the laser beam. She threw herself to the other side, making me miss widely. Apparently she could not see me physically but her psychic impressions were excellent. I saw her clearly although camouflage was not working perfectly due to old age. She was over a thousand years old, even though she was disguised as a young Terran of twenty-five.
Suddenly I saw her flying at me, her fingers turned to claws and her teeth to fangs. Balancing on the sole of my right foot I sent a powerful kick to her face with my left foot catching her on the jaw. I perceived the sound of her heavy fall as well as another cracking sound. I must have broken her jaw. As she struggled to her feet I pulled the trigger again, this time hitting the target, which was space between her brows. Something like a small metal ball fell out and as I looked, undecided about what to do, the welcome voice of the Cragto came into my mind, ‘Pick it up now!’
As I picked it Jul-wan began to transform to an old shrivelled humanoid creature. Suddenly the darkness gave way and the choking grip of the Doldrum was loosened. It all happened so fast I just stood there bewildered. When I turned to look at Jul-wan, she had become a tall, slender, ugly, twisted, freaky humanoid defying any decent description. I so was horrified I nearly dropped the round metal. That was the source of her power and if she got hold of it again it would be a disaster. I looked through the window and found the Doldrum receding and reducing in size.
‘It’s all over, Shoram. You won’, Jul-wan hissed like a serpent. ‘The Doldrum will soon implode and I’ll be dead…congratulations…you saved your race..’
I heard a stir behind me and found the Security Personnel headed by the Commander gaping sleepily at the scene before them.
‘This creature’, I announced to them, ‘is the infamous Jul-wan The Trrrpalogu, wanted by the Goverment of The InterGalactic Confederation for crimes against all beings. She is the embodiment of the Doldrum and here is her Source of Dark Power. The evil metal ball!’
Soon everyone came out of stupor to gaze at the monster lying there. I saw my dad grinning widely.
‘I’m proud of you, son’