The Valerian Invasion
By John Hammersmith
As the dark night crept in, Meg and Magnum strolled hand in hand within the lush green clearing at the outskirts of the forest. In her left hand, Meg held her open computer, studying the terrain map with expert skill. Limping slightly as he followed, Sergeant Magnum smiled as he asked, “Are you sure it’s still over here?”
Meg turned to him in concern, saying, “I believe so, darling. Look around… do you see anything familiar, yet?”
With an exasperated groan, Magnum replied, “I can’t see anything in this thick darkness.” Almost as if on cue, Magnum landed flat on his face after tripping on a sprawling root. As he picked clumps of grass out of his mouth, Meg laughed boisterously before gingerly stifling herself. Magnum held a wounded look on his face as she swooped down to assist, tufts of long blades still clinging to his lips and chin.
At last, Meg couldn’t contain her giddiness any longer, and she burst into laughter again upon seeing the pathetic look on her lover’s face. “I can’t help it,” she sighed as she paused to catch her breath. “You look so hilarious with all of that grass in your face!”
“Yeah, I’m quite the rugged wilderness man, huh?” laughed Magnum as he grabbed Meg’s leg and pulled her down to the ground on top of him. They rolled around in the damp grass for several minutes, exuberantly celebrating their passionate desire for each other.
As they lunged around on the ground, Magnum let out a holler as he felt an icy-cold rock brushing up against his arm. Once they cleared away the camouflaging debris, they both quickly realized they had found the prize they were searching for. “There she is,” moaned Meg as she saw dollar signs in her eyes. Now sprawling next to them was a sculpture so rare and unique, they both could only stare in wonder at the crystalline figure hiding within the tall blades of grass. “Are you sure we brought enough levitators?” asked Meg in concern to her nearby partner.
“I hope so,” concluded Magnum as he scratched his head. Reaching into his bag, he pulled out four handheld devices, handing two of them to Meg. However, before they could power up the contraptions, a scurrying commotion began to drift in from within the forest.
“Who goes there?” asked a familiar female voice harshly as a floating shadow come into view, illuminated by the moonlit sky.
Sergeant Magnum quickly crawled out of hiding as he asked, “Is that you, Godiva?”
Immediately, the hovering woman lowered herself to the ground as she asked playfully, “Now, what are you two up to out here?” As she landed delicately within the blowing field of grass, she could see a glistening statue reclined next to them. “Is she one of the competitors?”
“Oh no,” offered Meg assuredly. “This one is a villain named Plastique. She was responsible for countless captures, until Magnum took her out of action.”
Quickly assessing the situation, Godiva smiled as she realized what Meg and Magnum had planned for the incredibly valuable monument the vile tormentor had become. With a motherly tone Godiva said, “So that’s why you two are wandering around out here in the darkness. You are hoping to sell this one to make some cash, aren’t you?”
Meekly, each of the discovered looters bowed their heads respectfully. Godiva smiled discretely as she watched them squirm. With a sweeping gesture of her hand, she lifted the incredibly heavy sculpture back into an upright position, then walked around the vinyl-clad woman, appraising the frozen woman’s stance and countenance with a critical eye. Deep down, Lieutenant Godiva had to admit this woman certainly appeared to be a menacing personality, even in her stiffened condition. Reaching out to Plastique’s soul, she suddenly realized that this tyrant felt no guilt or shame for her participation. In fact, the frozen dominatrix seemed to take a great deal of pleasure in recalling her various conquests as an accomplice for Pure Adrenaline. Sergeant Magnum quickly halted the uncomfortable silence, saying in a halting tone, “Listen, Carrie, we don’t want to commit any crimes or anything, but this lady got just what she deserved.”
Likewise, Meg stated her case, saying respectfully, “I promised my uncle I would help him raise some money to save his cattle ranch. When I signed up for this crazy contest, I planned on offering any earnings to my uncle. But, then I discovered the ten million dollar prize was merely a ruse to trap me, and I was totally enraged once I realized I had been cruelly tricked.” As she pointed to the shimmering statue, she added, “If we go back empty handed, then the bank will foreclose on my uncle’s ranch. However, if we return with this masterpiece, I’ll finally be able to restore my family’s heritage.”
Lieutenant Godiva looked deep into Meg’s eyes before asking, “How much do you think you can get for her?”
Meg batted her eyes for a moment before remembering Godiva’s uncanny psychic abilities. Immediately realizing she couldn’t pull the wool over the silver warrior’s eyes, she replied, “Well, I’ve been offered fifty million dollars for the statue already. An art dealer in London is extremely interested in this piece, and he says he’ll buy it without even seeing it first.”
Godiva whistled as she heard the massive amount of money the sculpture would fetch. “That’s a pretty penny… are you sure you need that much?”
Sergeant Magnum stepped in, saying, “Look what these bastards did to me, Godiva. I’m a total mess! I consider this statue to be a proper settlement for all the pain and suffering we’ve been through. Besides, it would make a fabulous engagement gift, wouldn’t it?”
Godiva’s face immediately lit up as she asked, “So, you guys have decided to tie the knot, then?”
Meg squeezed her burly friend tightly as she exuberantly nodded affirmatively. In a loving tone she said, “Yes! He asked me to marry him, and I said yes! I can’t wait to introduce him to my little sisters and brothers in Scotland.” Gently nudging Magnum in the ribs, she added, “I bet they already know who you are, Magnum. Heck, it’ll be like bringing a celebrity home to visit the folks!”
“Well, let me be the first to congratulate each of you,” said Godiva as she beamed with utter pride. Warmly, she hugged each of them in celebration, thoroughly amazed that love could indeed blossom during such a tremendous time of adversity. With a sly smile, Lieutenant Godiva said, “I remember hearing about Plastique from Niko; her entire team had been captured by this wicked woman. I think I would rather have a public trial for this one, but what you propose seems to be an effective punishment for her. Besides, I doubt anyone will miss her.”
Meg instantly leapt up and kissed Godiva on the cheek, wildly cheering in excitement. “Oh, thank you so much, Lieutenant Godiva!” shouted the wound up maiden in pure rapture. “Please tell me you will come to the wedding, will you?”
“Of course! I wouldn’t miss it for the world! When is the big day?”
Magnum quickly stepped in, saying, “September ninth, later this year. I promise, we’ll send you an invitation!”
Lieutenant Godiva tapped her forehead with her index finger as she said, “Don’t worry, Magnum. I’ll be able to track you guys down for the momentous occasion.”
With a toothy grin, Magnum said, “That’s right, I forgot about your incredible abilities.” Gently, he nudged Meg in the arm as he said, “You know, when I first met her she was just an ordinary woman.”
“Yeah, and when I first met you, you were ogling me like a piece of meat,” interjected Godiva with a laugh.
Magnum stammered for a few moments as he felt daggers piercing him from his betrothed lover. Blushing uncontrollably, he immediately struggled to change the subject, saying hastily, “Wait a minute! Wasn’t Commander Marietta also abandoned out here in this glade?” Quickly, the embarrassed sergeant leapt into action, removing any debris from the lush ground below them. Eventually, a seductive mannequin was unearthed from the pile of camouflaging leaves and sticks. Lieutenant Godiva winked at Sergeant Magnum as she scooped up the light plastic sculpture in her arms. As his self-conscious blush began to fade from his face, Magnum said warmly, “We should probably get going. We still have a lot of work ahead.”
Meg nodded, with a slight hint of jealousy on her face. As they activated the four levitation beams, the radiant sculpture began to lift into the air. Before flying away from her close allies, Lieutenant Godiva smiled brightly. “Take good care of him, alright Meg?”
“I promise. I’ll keep him on a short leash.”
As she flew away from her departing friends, Lieutenant Godiva wondered
what their offspring might eventually look like, which brought a sunny
smile to her face. With balmy air blowing through her long strands
of hair, she thought warmly, ‘So, the cycle of life comes around full circle.
Won’t they be surprised when they find out she’s pregnant!’
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