So, with a long wait ahead, the odd gathering of humans and Valerians sprawled along the floor within the preparation room. Some of them took some much-deserved rest, while a few of the more anxious ones simply chatted excitedly about what this new lease on life would be like. Niko spent many hours consoling her darling sister, making certain that her precious friend was content, even though her sister still remained trapped within a monument of solid gold. As Sergeant Magnum finally slept, Commander Kari silently worked on mending the damaged sergeant’s brutal wounds. Lieutenant Godiva considered it a priority to disconnect each of the trapped competitors from their elemental generators, so she endeavored to lift each grim helmet using her amazing psychic abilities. Once that duty was complete, she focused her energy on making room for the massive cylinders that would be arriving soon to ensure each unmoving contestant’s recovery.
Meanwhile, Lieutenant Tatiana sulked in the corner, despondently worrying about her dear friend, Lady Hydra. Well aware of the flooding that occurred as a result of the spacecraft’s surfacing, she hoped that poor Lady Hydra was safe from harm within the water-soaked cave below. ‘How are we going to reach you now, Lady Hydra?’ fussed the Russian beauty as she bit her nails in pure anxiety.
Suddenly, the roar of helicopter propellers shook the massive craft in an instant. Loud cheers rang out as the hopeful occupants anticipated a speedy resolution to their watery hideaway. Before long, they could feel themselves being lifted high into the air before being lowered delicately onto solid ground. Lieutenant Godiva wasted no time, instantly blowing the hatch door with her powerful thoughts. Bright sunlight streamed in through the gaping hole left my Godiva’s non-verbal urging. One by one, each of them departed the docked craft, each of them ecstatic to be finally departing the looming space vessel.
Reporters surrounded by camera crews belted many questions at them as they filed out, and many of the confused Valerians didn’t know what to think of all the clamorous activity closing in around them. Immediately, Lieutenant Godiva stepped in, making certain the scared aliens didn’t get trampled or lost within the melee.
On every channel, news of the attempted Valerian insurrection circled the globe at the speed of light, casting a bright spotlight on the secluded island where it all nearly fell apart for humankind. As Eddie explained the horrifying scenario to the roving band of journalists, Lieutenant Godiva sped over to the distant cave on the other side of the island. Using a powerful sweeping motion, she cleared the entrance without any difficulty, then ventured inside. Still perched within was Lady Petula, completely unchanged from her seductive frozen expression. With a calm stroke of her hand, Lieutenant Godiva said, “I’ve come to bring you home, Petula!” Within the glistening statue, Godiva could feel immense relief radiating from her adored companion. Remembering to retrieve the stowed computer further inside, Lieutenant Godiva then returned with her precious bounty, gliding across the rugged terrain with renewed strength and determination.
Now possessing enough evidence to reveal the true nature of the Valerian invasion, Eddie, Godiva and a few senior Valerian officers sat down at a press conference. With a great deal of effort, the liberators and co-conspirators explained in detail just what was planned for the trapped competitors, as well as how Emperor Titus planned on using that human energy to return to his home planet. Lieutenant Godiva also revealed the insidious project named Project Genesis, which garnered loud and angry shouts from the stunned press corp. Just as the brief televised event was wrapping up, a large aircraft sped over to the island, landing along a flat stretch of land nearby. Once safely secured, a fair-skinned woman of about forty stepped out. Turning to Lieutenant Godiva and Eddie, she introduced herself with a bold handshake. “My name is Rochelle Ginsberg.” Each energized human took turns offering warm embraces to the skilled woman, genuinely grateful for her assistance during this trying crisis. Likewise, Rochelle thanked each of them for helping her in her efforts to reclaim Lillian’s once proud company.
Immediately, both Eddie and Godiva beamed with hopeful anticipation as she stepped closer to the mysterious spacecraft. Sweeping behind her was the familiar ghost of Lillian, yet she only remained visible to them alone. Without saying a word, Eddie projected to Lillian, “Have all of the preparations been made?”
Effortlessly gliding up to her mortal buddy, Lillian replied, “All set! Now we can restore all of those precious lives!”
It took quite some time to get all of the materials into place, but with Godiva’s incredible skills and Lillian’s advanced knowledge of molecular morphology, the first group of stiffened combatants were loaded into a dozen large cylinders filled with orange restoration solution. Among the first to be restored were Niko’s darling sister, Esper, as well as Sergeant Magnum’s beloved Meg. The instant they were both lowered into the glowing fluid, they both sank like stones to the bottom of the towering canisters. However, after several hours of soaking within the fluorescent solutions, each of the ladies began to float up to the surface, their bodies quickly returning to flesh and blood.
With precise control, Lieutenant Godiva guided the reanimated bodies out of the curing bath. In utter exhaustion, each of the first twelve restored competitors let out a collective sigh as they suddenly realized they could once again move about freely. Niko and Magnum immediately ran up to their adored partners, gleefully sharing warm embraces with the shivering girls huddled along the floor.
Flashbulbs snapped from all around them as the ecstatic reunion brought tears to their eyes. With a proud voice, Rebecca Anders shouted, “Mom, we’re coming home!”
Magnum and Meg shared a passionate kiss which lasted several minutes, but for those looking on, the lengthy expression of joyful passion was a delight to behold. “See, I told you I’d wait for you,” played Meg as she gently ran her hand across Sergeant Magnum’s cheek. After a few minutes, twelve more rigid bodies were lowered into the restoring cylinders as long towels were brought in for the newly restored contestants. All around the world, people celebrated the liberation of these poor prisoners, cruelly halted and used as mere objects of power.
Many world powers studied the events on that remote island, struggling to bring those parties responsible for so much human suffering to justice. In America, a special committee was assembled to discuss ways of preventing this sort of conspiracy in the future. Also, the plight of the Valerian officers was argued for many weeks, and eventually, the Valerian refugees were allowed sanctuary on Earth. Using the latest in scientific technology, a team of doctors devised a way to remove the crippling brain implants that Titus had used to control the dutiful officers for so many years. After corrective surgery, each freed Valerian was able to focus his mind with more clarity than ever before.
As for the tyrants that sought to enslave the human race, young Byron and Scientist Turner were left in stasis permanently as examples of impropriety and treachery. Years later, the island would prove to become a popular tourist destination, and the two scoundrels would remain on the island indefinitely. It is now considered tradition to spit in their faces as travelers enter the park.
The entire Nil Corporation was also studied with unyielding scrutiny, which led to the arrest of dozens of corrupt senior officers. Within a court of law, the proof of Lillian’s demise would prove to be sufficient to reorganize the massive media empire previously known as the Nil Corporation. Out of respect for Lillian, the once tainted Nil Corporation came to be known as the McAlistar Corporation, and Rochelle Ginsberg was announced as the new CEO. Allied Cleaning was also thoroughly investigated, and everyone working for the criminal organization was arrested in a massive sting operation. Rochelle used her new political sway to insure that all involved in Lillian’s murder received the maximum penalty for their crime.
Still hampered by the meager supply of restoration solution available, only a limited number of stiffened people could be given curing baths at any given time. Adamantly, Lieutenant Godiva and her staff worked without rest within the control room, struggling to return each competitor to flesh using whatever supplies were available to them. Yet, with so many contestants still to be restored, the process would prove to be a lengthy one. Eventually, several of the world’s top artists were brought in to make casts of the most desirable of sculptures, in an effort to preserve the haunting beauty exhibited within the many stunning static poses. Before long, twelve additional cylinders were set up inside, only these cylinders would be used to preserve the most seductive of statues, captured at the peak of their allure. However, before any of the lovely women were chosen, Lieutenant Godiva reached out a probing question, seeking consent from the silent ladies. There were no objections to the flattering procedure, especially once considering none of them actually needed oxygen in their static conditions, so genuinely no risk was involved whatsoever. Besides, despite the horrifying nature of each of their captures, the reproduction of their bodies would prove to be a once in a lifetime opportunity, one that none of them could refuse. At least sixty or seventy of the precious sculptures were chosen for duplication, including the adorable Milla Rivera, and the beautification committee humbly went to work on replicating these archetypes of feminine loveliness.
Lieutenant Tatiana supervised an excursion team to plunge deep into the underground cavern. Using deep-water gear, it took nearly forty men to dislodge poor Lady Hydra from her underwater location. A special underwater jackhammer was used to free the golden base of her sculpture from its embedded anchor along the stony floor of the cave, and it took many hours to completely loosen the maiden from her heavy mounting within the rocky ground. Another few hours were spent trying to exhume her dense figure from the water, but eventually, Tatiana’s gorgeous friend was effectively excavated from her trapped location. Lieutenant Godiva smiled brightly as she lowered the rigid damsel into an available tank of restoration solution, thrilled to see Tatiana’s once anxious expression changing from pain to relief.
As more and more contestants became restored, Rochelle got to work organizing the troops for the long process of scouting the island for more possible victims. With grateful concern, the many ladies and gentlemen gladly welcomed their new duties as they planned a strategy for combing the large battlefield. Before long, ten teams of five were sent out on hovercraft to reclaim any unfortunate victims still left frozen out in the field. Commander Stealth, finally free from her stony slumber, chose to lead the first excursion team into the thick forest, hoping to put an end to the suffering once and for all.
Lady Petula could feel herself being lowered into an empty vat as the artisans carefully worked to preserve her timeless grace for all to see. Much deliberation had been made regarding the type of pedestal to use under her sitting position, and even more care was taken to ensure that she rested securely to the base already lowered inside. As her diamond derriere landed with a muted thud, she could see dozens of smiling faces watching her from outside of her enclosure. ‘Well, look at all this attention,’ thought Lady Petula giddily, absolutely thrilled to be exhumed from her solitary cave. After confirming that her rigid body was positioned properly, the crew swiftly began to fill the large matrix with a thick paste. As the clear, gelatinous fluid began to envelop her, she could feel every inch of her body becoming covered in the sticky concoction, which slowly began to harden around her unmovable form.
After ten hours of patient waiting, the artists used a massive winch to lift the entire block of hardened material out, gently lowering the precious cast and model to the ground. Then, a crew of three began to carefully carve the mold using a surgical laser, slicing a precise vertical line to bisect the set cast in an instant. Once Milla Rivera was freed from the durable shell, Lieutenant Godiva expeditiously lifted her into an available restoration tank.
From inside the orange tinted cylinder, Lady Petula could see Lieutenant Godiva smiling and waving, truly pleased to be seeing her adorable friend being returned to flesh. Even after Godiva turned to assist more captured victims, she still seemed to be attentively watching the statue of her friend with rapt interest. Before long, Milla could feel her once solidified body slackening, the tense muscles beginning to return to partial mobility. As she began to float up to the surface, she could feel every delicate particle returning to normal, finally freeing her from her prison of diamond.
With dedicated skill, Lieutenant Godiva lifted her exhausted ally out of the restoration tank, then lowered Petula until she rested within her strong arms. Using a forceful grip, Godiva hugged her dear buddy tightly. “Welcome back, Lady Petula! How do you feel?” asked Lieutenant Godiva with rapturous concern.
Lady Petula merely smiled brightly as she planted a wet kiss on Godiva’s
cheek. “I’m feeling much better now, thank you. Tell me, did
I miss anything while I was away?”
To be continued...
On to Epilogue