Suddenly, the window frames quivered, and she heard increasing howl, which seemed to reach the threshold of noise pain and then quickly died away. Super Queen-Mother heard her father’s voice:
«Come here, quick! Look, how beautiful it is!»
He was standing on the terrace, pointing with his hand to an object in the sky. A white trace of the flying bolide was quickly dissipating. Super Queen-Mother silently looked into the sky above the horizon.
Was it a call for a battle from the Galaxy civilizations?
Or, was it a phenomenon of nature?
The stars were silent, and only twinkled mysteriously in the sky…
Suddenly, the second bolide rushed in from the left. It was flying over the sea, along the horizon, followed by hissing and an unpleasant crack.
The bolide was shining in different lights — now green, then red or yellow. It was giving off whirls of sparks, which soon disappeared, having left a white trace, which was gradually changing its shape and dispersing. The bolide’s speed was very high; it did not fall on the ground, but flew away into space.
Her father was watching the bolide with admiration and was already going to leave the terrace, when Super Queen-Mother detained him: «Don’t go away… The third one will come now.»
The third bolide did not make them wait for long. It was silently flying at high altitude, like a ghost. A bright fire tail was following it. Having flown to the middle part of the horizon, the bolide exploded with the bang of a nuclear bomb, illuminating the night sky. The sound that reached them reminded them of rumbles of thunder during a severe thunderstorm.
Her father was overwhelmed with emotions. He was pulling at her hand, repeating again and again:
«Do you see this? Do you see? Isn’t it great?»
«Yes, dad, it’s very beautiful», and, having kept silence for a while, Super Queen-Mother added:
«It’s the call for a battle.»
His shoulders sank at once, and he suddenly grew older. Super Queen-Mother embraced him:
«Please, don’t worry so much, I have to manage. And I will manage.»
She kissed her father, and they came into the house.
«When are you leaving?» — he asked.
«I have a day after the signal», — answered Super Queen-Mother. They sat in the armchairs in the living room, «for a good road», according to the tradition. In a minute, she lightly got up.
«Dad, invite the Chief Security Officer to me, please!»
«Connect me with all country leaders, please. It’s an urgent gathering», she ordered the man.
In a short time she was accompanied to the command center. A big screen was ready for the press conference. It was displaying her — in the middle of it — and the invitees — at the edges. They were staring at her, barely concealing their internal disturbance. Super Queen-Mother looked everybody over and announced:
«Today, at twenty-one sharp, a signal from the civilizations «Milky Way» was registered on Earth. It was in the form of the three bolides, flying to Earth one after another.
My battle for the right to preserve civilization on the Earth planet will start in twenty-four hours.
With reference to the foregoing, I order the following:
— To impose «military readiness number one» for all armies and fleets on the territory of Earth.
— My departure is the signal to transfer «military readiness number one» into the regime «combat alert» for all armies and fleets.
— Watch for an attack from the asteroid belts.
— All available nuclear delivery vehicles attack and destroy any offensive weaponry from space.
— All available carriers of conventional weaponry destroy offensive weaponry in the air area of the planet.
— All available airborne vehicles must be in the air at maximum allowed altitude. Conventional weaponry must be substituted with nuclear.
— I will address the population of Earth at seventeen sharp of local time.
— I impose martial law on Earth.
— In my absence, I impose the responsibility for everything that is going here on the Management Headquarters of Dual-Purpose Forces.
God save us all!»
After her address was over, the listeners began to act. They gave one and the same command in different languages. Ministers of defense were hurriedly leaving convention rooms.
Here it comes.
Super Queen-Mother left the command position and took to her house. The surroundings sank into tangible silence. Even the grasshoppers’ chirp was not heard.
A sense of alarm was coming from the trees, filling the whole information field of the vegetable kingdom. She involuntarily noted that, besides weak electromagnetic pulses, trees were exchanging scents.
Dramatic change of chemical composition of excretory volatile components — scents — is their voice, only people don’t smell it, while all animals, birds and insects know this. That’s why they became silent.
Information transfer takes place at lightning speed; that’s why the wild nature knows about oncoming events. Super Queen-Mother sat on the bench, gave a glance around the house, the bay, buildings, mountains, and… disappeared.
The voice of the Earth Keepers met her in the hall:
«We know about the call. You did everything in a right way. The battle is not far off. Have a rest here. Tomorrow you will have a hard day.»
Sitting on the metal cube, Super Queen-Mother started reclining and stretching her feet. The metal gently enveloped her from all sides.
A thin sound of a pan-pipe came from afar, followed by small bells ringing. Some spinning spirals appeared on the ceiling, sputtering many-colored snowflakes; and Julia fell asleep.
This time she had no dreams.
When she got up she felt rested to the full. The morning was at its height.
The Earth Keepers transferred her to the training center to give her an opportunity to get used to a new place on another planet, and switched on the recordings of her trainings, so that she could analyze her mistakes.
Only her mistakes were shown. The picture changed every three seconds.
Super Queen-Mother was watching with surprise how many blunders she had made. She would never forget them after such «lessons».
All her way from an ordinary girl, like millions of girls all around, to a trained, experienced fighter came before her eyes. Everything was real for her, and all her feelings during those trainings were also true.
In the meantime, something grandiose was happening on Earth.
The work was humming on all spaceports — spaceships were being adjusted on launching pads.
As soon as the crew settled in the ship, the command «Key to start!» was given, and the rocket left Earth’s orbit.
All rockets ready to be launched into space, were launched without delay, one after another. The basement of the pad did not get cold.
All land and overwater spaceports were used.
Spaceships were launched to a maximum distance from Earth.
Ground control centers gasped at the surfeit of information. The main task was to withdraw launched spaceships from Earth as far as possible and transfer them into the regime of temporary information conservation, until all spaceships were launched.
Next in turn spaceships, ready to be launched, were standing compactly on railways leading to launch pads.
All plants operated on a three-shift basis. Rockets were not only being completed; all unnecessary equipment had been taken off, both civilian and military. Only oxygen cylinders, water and food were being loaded.
Only the equipment, necessary to land a spaceship on Earth, was left.
Separate modules were filled with seeds and genetic material, together with the equipment, necessary to reproduce Earth’s flora and fauna.
Crews were completed with men and women. In case of trouble, they would be able to spend five years in space, then land and try to continue living under the ground, in dugouts, which would remain after the destruction.
Each crew was provided with a code, marked on thin titanium plates, to open any well-fortified underground bunker and even towns, available on Earth. Their exact location was also pointed out on the plates.
The codes to open state depots, filled to the brim with food, water, oxygen, and scientific literature, were marked on the other side of the plates. It was a small chance, but still a chance.
Under special control, in each depot there were sealed laboratories, fitted up with extended, or to be more exact, Earth’s full flora and fauna gene pool. Scientists from all over the world had collected it.
Books also took a lot of space. Standard libraries contained descriptions of all knowledge and technologies of the sixth civilization of Earth people. They also included fiction and enormous photographic material on arts.
In addition to the above, huge basic depots contained working models of conserved machinery.
Reservoirs with fuel were not far from the dugouts. They were deep in the ground, only pipes with faucets were on the surface.
Powerful war ships were hurrying to designated points to launch a nuclear strike.
Submarines emerged to the surface of the seas and oceans and also took to jump-oft lines.
Their crews were urgently changing active point positions to empty ones, which were in standby mode, to be filled in with new data they would receive from the headquarters on nuclear and conventional weaponry control.
Heavy silo-based missiles were undergoing the last dispositions before the start. Heavy covers, shielding them, were ejected with a bang. Firing pins of warheads were looking into the sky, ready to scorch out the target by intense nuclear charge after the «Start» button would be pressed.
All special trains were driven off into dead-end tracks, carriage decks were moved off, and the missiles were directed up.
Radio detection stations, accompanied by working engine roar, were performing the dance of death, quickly spinning about their axis, looking for a target in space.
They started their round-the-clock work.
Large-tonnage quad carriers, with powerful nuclear missiles on them, scattered all over the planet. Like centipedes, they were slowly moving on their wheels to the strategic locations, known only to them.
Power-actuated missile launchers were racing along the roads to evenly protect the territory against air attack. They could get through everywhere, but the military tried to set them on treeless altitudes.
Missile carriers were slowly whirling high in the sky. From the ground they seemed to be small silver stars.
Flying around the part of the sky in charge, missile carriers sometimes changed their closed loops to figure eights. They made their maneuvers at one altitude — maximum permissible for the flight.
A fuel dispenser was flying not far from each group. It was flying very slowly, circling at one speed.
Every other minute was registered in its flight assignment — where and when it had to be, and when a plane had to be fueled from it.
Each piece of Earth was equally important — everybody would perish, wherever an asteroid would have fallen.
Military pointsmen and military vehicles were everywhere on the cross roads. The troops were controlling any displacement of vehicles or people. The main goal was to prevent panics and, in case of danger, to direct people to safe places on foot and by cars.
The rest was in God’s hands.
Soldiers were also at factories and plants. They were responsible for the order, safety, and product release. The enterprises worked around the clock. Everything was important, clothes and food in particular.
People had to lay in stock all things might need for a long duration. Supplies were immediately carried to army depots and underground bunkers.
All abandoned bomb shelters were being restored. Though people had little hope to survive, it was better than nothing. At least they dealt with the matter, and did not have time for gossips.
Children were carried away to the mountains, where shelters were being built in deep gorges. Warm clothes and food were also sent there.
All houses of God reminded one of overcrowded stadiums. People were coming there in an endless stream, filling the whole space in prayer rooms.
When the trouble came nobody tried to find out nationality or faith; it did not even cross anybody’s mind; the main thing was to survive, and it was not important at all whose shoulder would support you.
It appeared that the emphasis on seeing signs of difference between people had been the work of fanatics and rogues who lived on stirring hatred.
All appeared to be similar, only forms differed — different languages, different buildings, different praying gestures — but the essence of prayer was the same: people were asking to save their lives.
Super Queen-Mother’s portraits were in all public places. There were many small portraits in particular. People fixed them on their breasts or wore them as badges.
Super Queen-Mother felt a surge of energy at the background of people’s enthusiasm. Now she was waiting for a minute when she could prove their right to live on Earth.
Super Queen-Mother’s waiting for the approaching mortal battle increased her agitation.
The mortal battle was inevitable. Little was observable externally, but inwardly her feelings were burning.
She did not have a signal yet, which could make her muscles, brain and abilities a single whole, working as one harmonious mechanism, turning Super Queen-Mother into a beast.
All she had seen and felt was becoming important and vital.
The longer people prayed the more positive energy flew out of the rooms of prayer. People felt it faintly, but it was almost tangible for Super Queen-Mother.
The energy was slowly filling the whole Earth.
Streams, flowing out of each prayer room, joined into rivers, running into lakes. Energy filled everything to the brim, and overflowed, forming large bays.
The bays also ran over and joined, forming huge seas of energy.
The seas, covering the whole Earth, were forming a single ocean of energy, which people gave Super Queen-Mother for her victory.
For the continuation of life.
People were waiting for a meeting with her, and Super Queen-Mother could not refuse them this. With the last sound of the bells she appeared before the audience.
It was a short meeting, but it helped to them to understand the main thing.
People were silently looking into her eyes, trying to understand if she would be able to protect them and their kin. She also kept silence, looking keenly into their eyes. Did they believe in her and her victory? It was very important to Super Queen-Mother.
People understood what Super Queen-Mother was telling them. They lifted their heads up, and their eyes were telling her they believed in her victory. Super Queen-Mother slightly raised her arms with her palms turned to the people. They repeated her gesture.
They were transferring their firm belief in her victory and in their general strength to Super Queen-Mother as a gift. She was their LAST HOPE for their life.
Super Queen-Mother bowed to the people, and they bowed to her. The next moment, she disappeared. The squares resounded with alarm bells and drumbeats.
The hall of the Earth Keepers was filled with bright sun beams and birds’ singing.
Flowers were growing all around Super Queen-Mother, waterfalls were jetting here and there.
Numerous animals were peacefully grazing off in open areas.
Motley birds and butterflies were flying and fluttering on the screen.
People were walking in the parks, moms were sitting on the benches, and their kids were playing in sandboxes. Seas were full of fish.
Plants covered the most part of Earth.
The variety of shapes and colors was surprising.
Life was in full swing even in deserts, lifeless at first sight. Small animals, reptiles and insects animated endless sand dunes.
This beauty of Earth was shown to her as a reminder of what she would be fighting for.
The voice of the Earth Keepers said:
«It is time. We won’t say „farewell“. We believe in you. Come back. The Galaxy’s spaceships are here to take you.»
Super Queen-Mother came up to her diamond bed and stopped. Her live body was lying quietly, as if it was sleeping.
Super Queen-Mother left her combat body for a moment and entered her live body.
Having opened her eyes, she saw herself, near the bed. Super Queen-Mother said:
«I do not say «goodbye». I will come back by all means. Wait for me!», and, having left her live body, came into her combat double. This time she really said goodbye». Super Queen-Mother looked over the Earth Keepers’ hall once more and left it. The rock closed behind her, and the big adjacent room quickly filled with water. Water muscles enveloped her body; part of the rock went aside and let her out into the waste of waters.
In a minute, Super Queen-Mother was already swimming in the sea, calling for her friend to come. Having looked back, she saw the dolphin nearly flying to her on wave ridges.
It stopped sharply and pressed its body against Super Queen-Mother. Then not turning off, it started swirling around her. It understood why she had called it and was trying to tell something to Super Queen-Mother.
We don’t understand dolphins yet, but Super Queen-Mother felt the meaning: they were the words of support to her. It was enough for her.
If she received something from the dolphin, very important to her and to it, she was very grateful. May be, sometime in the future, she would understand it. Super Queen-Mother embraced the animal, kept it in her arms for a while, and swam to the shore.
At the road turn she looked back — the dolphin was not far from the shore. It was swimming there until she disappeared at the turn.
Her parents were waiting for her at home. Her mother kept silence and fixed her eyes on her daughter, and her father said only two phrases: «You’ll be back. You’ll be back, whatever it might cost you».
Super Queen-Mother went up to the veranda and looked at the bay. It seemed everything was as before — the motion of the waves, and the lights of dwellings. Cars were rushing along the highway; a regular train was coming up to the station, warning careless passengers about arrival with its whistle.
Only birds’ singing and grasshoppers’ chirring were not heard any more. Super Queen-Mother understood the reason for such behavior.
A yellowish-waxen tint colored the surroundings. This confirmed the Earth Keepers’ words.
They were here already.
Suddenly four round spaceships appeared above the bay. They were slowly flying towards her house.
Super Queen-Mother went down, closed the dogs in the house and came into the yard. The dogs also felt the presence of something incomprehensible and started barking all together.
Three ships formed a triangle, and the fourth one, in the middle, began to slowly go down to the terrace.
Their external lights slightly illuminated the whole slope.
Silence settled all around. Cars and people stopped. From time to time a dry electric crackling was heard. Many-colored flashes went over the sea and the mountains, surrounding the house.
One more moment and Super Queen-Mother was pulled inside the ship on a light lift. The next moment her ship disappeared in the vast cosmic space.
The other ships disappeared after it…
Thousands of position-radar stations tried to detect where she ships had gone, but failed. Deep space did not want to share its mysteries…
Nobody knew how long the battle would last.
The work of all ground services reached its heights.
Shelters were being filled with people, water, food and other things, indispensable to life.
The military arrived at their positions and put their machinery on an alert, not paying much attention to their personal comfort.
Thousands of position-radar stations targeted their antennas into space, carefully listening out to what was happening far from Earth.
Space battle stations and orbit satellites were turned to space. The astronauts were defending not just their ship or country; they were protecting the whole Earth — their common house.
They had no enemies on Earth now, but got many new friends. The whole Earth became their safe guard. In case of trouble, they could rely only on each other.
All orbit stations and satellites were transferred to manual actuation. They became directly subordinated to astronauts. The Department of Military Cosmic Alignments on Earth reserved the right to assist and control.
Astronauts got all the codes to use the weapons. There were no previous events in the history of the sixth civilization on Earth when such enormous power was concentrated in several hands.
Dark secrets that countries had kept for a long time, opened now.
Orbit stations and satellites were only shells hiding weapons inside them. Dozens of the most powerful thermonuclear bombs, nuclear-pumped lasers were turned off from Earth and directed into space, ready for actuation.
Military cosmic alignments formed the first safety layer of the Earth planet.
Millions of people were looking into the sky through their telescopes, and even binoculars.
Religious services never stopped — one followed after another.
Hundreds of millions of people did not leave squares, united by one goal — to help Super Queen-Mother to win.
3D images of the external world sheltered the space cabin. They were around the whole spaceship.
In the middle of the cabin were two armchairs. One of them was very big; the other was a usual one, as in a good office.
The lights on the big armchair switched on, and Super Queen-Mother sat in it. The 3D views made an impression that there was no ship at all, as if her armchair were hanging in space.
Super Queen –Mother was watching as below the roof of the house and «dog ground» were slowly moving away from her. Then she saw her town, which was quickly becoming smaller and smaller.
Suddenly, the armchair tightly enveloped her body. Thousands of cold suction cups stuck to it, and the ship sharply picked up the speed.
She could judge about this from the space view: flat, as it was seemed from Earth, it was becoming extensional. All stars were becoming stretched and thinner, turning into light lines. She did not hear the noise of the engine unit, but felt the vibration of the ship’s corpus.
She felt as if she had jumped into a cold swimming pool after the steam room in a bath house.
Soon after the start — or it seemed so to her — the process of the spaceship speed-up reversed, and the deceleration began. The spaceship speed decreased, and, in a far, Super Queen-Mother saw a huge planet, nearing her.
There were no other planets near it. It was a lonely wanderer of the Galaxy. Being unremarkable, it was chosen to take part in decision making on Earth’s fate.
It suddenly struck Super Queen-Mother that she was not afraid of the battle; she was more curious than frightened. She at once pulled herself up:
«Notice and analyze everything. They did not invite you for a cup of tea…»
Super Queen-Mother shook her head and switched attention to what was happening around her.
Suction cups fell off from her and went into the armchair. It recovered itself and switched off its lights; the small armchair became lit.
Super Queen-Mother sat into it.
She saw a lever in front of her, like the one for computer games. She understood it was a manual guidance of the ship to bring it to the landing point at a low speed.
The landing point lightened on the 3D map of the planet surface, and Super Queen-Mother directed the ship to it.
The spaceship was easily controlled and readily obeyed all directions of Super Queen-Mother. At the planet’s surface it stopped.
She got up from the armchair and came into the light circle on the ship’s floor. The light lift instantly brought Super Queen-Mother to the surface of the unknown planet, which had to become the place of the mortal battle.
Super Queen-Mother saw that her spaceship had disappeared. The three escort spaceships had also vanished.
The lighted path was leading to a tunnel cut through the rock. Super Queen-Mother looked back and decisively went ahead.
The wide and tall tunnel was not long — in the distance a light was seen. Its walls were trimmed up with metallic silver tiles, very small, looking like large fish scales.
The appearance of the yellowish-waxen picture got Super Queen-Mother’s attention. She came into the tunnel and took some steps.
The «fish scales» revived, coming down to her and baring the dark walls of the tunnel. Keeping on walking, Super Queen-Mother sent a high voltage discharge at the insects around her. Lightning bolts came off her one after another, everything around was sparkling and crackling.
The insects fell on the floor, heated to bright crimson color, and then burst, like sunflower seeds. With her every step there were more and more killed insects. They crackled under the soles of Super Queen-Mother.
«So, this is your way to say «hello», she thought. «Then, this is my warm greeting to you.»
Her energy blow evaporated the mountain together with the tunnel.
Only the light path left, on which Super Queen-Mother was walking in a measured tread, not slowing down. The remainder of the energy she had produced flew away into space.
Instantly, several dozens of spaceships appeared above her. Super Queen-Mother looked up and smiled:
«Now you’ve done everything right. You have to stand up when a woman comes in. Or weren’t you taught to do this in your childhood? Now I have to teach you to respect a woman.»
Having walked a bit farther, she paid attention to numerous spaceships beneath, to the right and to the left of the light path.
The ship, she had arrived in, was also there. Super Queen-Mother recognized it at once. It was just a relief for her, as if she had met an old acquaintance.
Just in case, Super Queen-Mother remembered its location, and, at the same time, viewed the surrounding landscape.
At a distance, very high mountains were seen. Endless, rough stony fields, set with boulders of different sizes, spread before them. Small, flat stone chippings dominated the landscape.
The atmosphere resembled the one on Earth in its composition. She did not see any seas, lakes or rivers. There were no plants or animals either.
«Maybe, the territory had been cleared off for the battle», she thought.
Super Queen-Mother knew that millions of eyes of all the inhabitants of the whole Galaxy were examining her.
She was walking with her head up, vigorously stepping on the lighted path, down the ridge of a small hill.
Super Queen-Mother switched on all her abilities and skills at full. She was preparing herself for a battle, a mortal battle.
There were only her enemies around her. There would be no mercy from them for her and for her civilization. But, could it happen that they would reverse roles? Everything was possible.
Super Queen-Mother was waiting for an internal impulse, when all her strength, abilities and possibilities would join into one whole.
And this happened. Super Queen-Mother not only felt as a beast, she became a beast.
Her soul and body were compelled to solve only one task. It was a difficult task — to save the life of her civilization.
She did not know what was in store for her, but the state of a nervous strain abated.
A real Super Queen-Mother was walking down the stream — a composed, unpredictable and deadly fighter.
There was only one most important thing in the surrounding world — the life of her civilization. Let the rest of the galaxy defend itself on its own.
At the end of the descent Super Queen-Mother ran into a stripe of dense fog, but the light path was still visible. She was not in it for long. The fog border ended abruptly, and she found herself on the stadium field.
Super Queen-Mother carefully looked around.
She was in the middle of the stadium, but there were no stands around it.
All judges were hanging in the air, one above another, forming a triple level ring around the stadium.
Everybody had a piece of the map of the Galaxy «Milky Way» above him; the planet, he had arrived from, was lit on it.
Super Queen-Mother lifted her head up — there was also a piece of the general map of the Galaxy above her, with the shining Earth planet on it.
She reduced her weight to zero, rose above the field, slowly turning around with her whole body, and surveyed all of them.
Their looks varied: curious and business-like; some were indifferent, but there were also glares full of hatred.
Judging from these looks, she instantly defined the degree of danger.
She did not care what looks they had. If she had such an opportunity, she would have torn off them all, without fear or regret.
The appearances of the representatives of the Galaxy were also different:
— They were short and very tall;
— Some had suckers all over their bodies, as on an octopus’s feelers;
— The bodies of some of them were quite hairy; the others had no hair at all;
— Some were twinkling in the dusk, and some were quite transparent, as if filled with water;
— They were of different colors — red, blue, yellow, white, purple, black, and others;
— Some had huge heads and eyes, but small bodies;
— Some looked like elongated flames of cold plasma;
— Others resembled dense fog, taking different shapes.
«On Earth we call such creatures ghosts», thought Super Queen-Mother.
— Some looked like big smooth stones, moving by over rolling;
— From afar, some judges resembled plants of different shapes, colors, but in a state of flux;
— Many of them looked like earthly lizards or insects;
— There were also quite exotic species — spiraling saucers, pulsating balls, and the bundles of energy, changing their colors.
No one was like her, except, perhaps, distantly.
Many of them did not have eyes, but she felt the look of everyone.
The preparations for the battle began. Though there was no discharge of the starter’s pistol, everybody understood this.
A white film covered all participants. A white cloud wrapped up the judges. They were not seen any more.
The stadium floor had also changed. Now it reminded her of thick glass in its structure.
Super Queen-Mother jumped several times on it — it appeared to be an exact copy of the floor in her training center. The familiar place strengthened her assurance in the victory.
Super Queen-Mother did not want to wait for them to kill her.
«If the judges attacked me before the battle, why can’t I attack them here the first in response? The final word will rest with me in any case», Super Queen-Mother thought.
She jumped up and launched such a powerful energy strike around her that it could destroy the continents, as the Earth Keepers had said. The effect of unexpectedness was in the suddenness of her actions.
The energy discharge was so powerful that it threw Super Queen-Mother up still higher, and she saw the aftermath of her blow beneath her.
The nearest mountain on the horizon just disappeared; huge layers of cracked and splayed ground were coming over each other, creating blockages of many kilometers.
Something started gurgling inside the planet, and big columns of smoke and flame erupted together with white-hot lava and ashes. The roaring of the planet and the howling of red-hot stones, flying at great speed, filled the surroundings.
«It’s your mistake to get in touch with an angry woman», Super Queen-Mother thought, going down to the field. «I will spoil everything here».
She imagined the feelings of the observers. They did not expect such agility from her, and on some reason there was no response from them.
«An encore blow», Super Queen-Mother thought, and sent the energy of the same power once more.
This time all her energy was blocked. Super Queen-Mother saw that the energy she had released seemed to come to some barrier and began to flow along it in flame tongues, rising up from the ground and forming a ball a mile in diameter.
Bright reddish-yellow balls with energy enclosed in them were flowing down from the walls, slowly floating in the air. When they touched each other, a directed explosion tore off the planet’s surface, forming narrow but bottomless chasms.
Super Queen-Mother shifted her look to the stadium field. It did not exist anymore. After her first blow it was covered with concentric fractures. After the second strike it disappeared. Super Queen-Mother was on a small islet, which had remained intact under her. The limiter on her weapon had gone off, creating a dead zone around her, to prevent her from wounding herself. It worked as a guide block of cannon, creating a small safe circle around her. Farther there was a bottomless abyss, or, to be more exact, emptiness.
Super Queen-Mother launched the energy for the third time, having decided that «plenty was no plague». If the third blow would add to the second one, it would be a sight to behold.
But the effect of unexpectedness was lost, and the third blow was also blocked. The enormous energy she had shot went away into the space depths in the form of a lonely beam.
At the spot where the beam had hit the planet, a canyon was formed half a mile wide and a mile deep. Its edges were like fritted glass and shone in the light.
Super Queen-Mother felt the danger. It was multiple and was approaching her at a great speed from all sides. The surroundings instantly became yellowish-waxen.
Super Queen-Mother saw many bright energy arrows, flying towards her. They were portions, or bursts of light in the form of arrows.
Super Queen-Mother raised her both arms, stretched herself and started to perform a snake dance on this «stage» she had made.
«Well, let them use their brains, in the meantime the score is 1:0 in my favor», thought Super Queen-Mother.
She did not want to think that the score 1:1 was just impossible.
Lots of fiery energy arrows actually made her «dance» all kidding aside.
Her body was curving to such extent that it seemed it would break the next moment. She made a sharp bend and then fixed the movement at the extreme point. Her body worked as a stroboscope — every split second it was already at the opposite side. She was trained enough to do such gymnastics.
Arrows meant to kill her flew away into the distance.
«It’s time to stop this strip show, otherwise they can like it», Super Queen-Mother thought and substituted a room with glassy walls for herself, full of crystal ware on glass shelves.
Crystal ware also was on glass shelves of several showcases in the middle of the room. It was one of her tricks up her sleeve that she had prepared at home.
Only a woman could notice such an interesting detail while cleaning shelves with crystal ware: directional light was reflected by all crystal ware. She had tested this finding by directing a beam of the laser pointer on the crystal.
Now the natural laws she had noticed served her a good turn.
The effect was fabulous. Even she, standing next to the room, couldn’t find out in this flash of lightning if there was somebody inside it.
Each beam was broken into dozens of beams by crystal facets; new beams, falling on the facets of other crystal ware and reflecting in the mirror in addition, created myriads of beams, blinding everybody around.
These fireworks of light gave a respite to her and the possibility to return attacks, following one after another.
Using her pictures on the site of the battle — tricks, prepared beforehand — did not mean she had transferred herself to a different place. They were holographic images, which transferred only some properties, characteristic of real things.
For judges’ better moods, Super Queen-Mother began to send her energy not in all directions, but only to those who had the most evident hatred in their looks.
However, judges were of minor concern for Super Queen-Mother; the main thing was the site of the battle.
The wall they had put up protected them quite well, transferring her blows into beams of yellow-white color, bright and sharp. It caused unpleasant moments for those judges in whose direction Super Queen-Mother sent her energy.
The light around her began undulating. When the brightness reached its maximum Super Queen-Mother noticed that the surroundings became yellow-waxen. She rose a little higher and used the picture of the trick she had prepared at home and called «the wood».
…Super Queen-Mother was standing on the small edge of a wood. The branches of large ancient trees nearby were swinging in the light wind.
The wood in a moment showed her the location of the danger. It was coming from different places, spreading in circles by the trees.
The information transfer was instant, and it became clear at once for her that «something» was at this or that spot.
Super Queen-Mother did not want to wait for the enemy’s attack; instead, she directed her energy at the spot where it was. The trees split under the blows and flared up, thus pointing to hot spots.
After the blow the danger disappeared at that area, but then other spots, which her enemies had already reached, became dangerous. Unknown creatures, little by little, approached the edge of the wood.
Super Queen-Mother changed her tactics and hit only far targets, not touching the nearest ones. She increased the frequency of blows to be prepared to meet the attacks.
Super Queen-Mother’s body worked as an open wound, which informed her brains about the lightest air movement.
At the same time, she automatically launched selective energy blows at the judges on the stadium, who were actually accomplices of the attack at her.
The first creatures appeared at the wood’s edge. They were like half transparent energy bodies, constantly changing their colors of tender tints. Green beneath, the creatures were crimson at the top.
They stalked her when the bright light, illuminating the battle, was switched off, and when for a moment the light switched on, they tried to hide themselves at the spot where it reached them. The light, coming from their bodies, also switched off.
From aside, it looked like the convulsive jerking movement of unknown creatures.
Super Queen-Mother directed small portions of energy at this enemy.
The creatures sprayed apart, like jelly-fish, slapped down against a dike dam. The broken parts instantly became transparent and thawed on the planet’s surface.
Super Queen-Mother directed the fire farther and father, inland. Her shots became more often, but assailants cropped up even quicker.
She had to use the «carpeting» tactics — to make a shot not at targets, but at localities divided into areas: an inner circle, a middle circle, and a distant circle. The tactics she had chosen appeared to be effective.
There were no trees left any more, they all perished, helping Super Queen-Mother in the battle. Only the soil, turned over and mixed up with burning trunks, was around her now.
The darkness, set in when the light was undulating, was not absolute any more. Anything that was burning, gave light to this picture of death.
It seemed the enemy had understood that the fight could have been without end, and had changed their tactics.
Whatever surrounded her: stones, trunks, and ditches, started to move off; 3D images became flat. It looked like a large picture painted on the internal side of a big ball.
Suddenly, the whole surface cracked and crumbled, revealing dozens of small holes. The next moment a fiery ball was blown out of each of them.
All of these blown balls burst.
Small fiery balls ran out of them; they swirled, filling all the space of a big ball.
New balls were blown out of the holes and also burst. The process of ball blowing did not cease.
These small balls became more and more numerous, with every minute they approached Super Queen-Mother nearer and nearer.
Their chaotic movement became at once directed when Super Queen-Mother sharply moved her arm back. The balls flew to her hand.
«Well, you react to the movement! Then you’ll get it. I’ll hit them with the energy they had created», Super Queen-Mother decided and, having broken off a big piece from her cracked pedestal, threw it up, having imparted the strongest rotary motion to it.
The balls, like magnets, stuck to the stone and flew into each other, forming one big fiery ball. Soon it looked like a huge shining sun.
Super Queen-Mother directed it to the wall and hit the ball against it. She saw it burning a hole with a hiss and jumping out at the planet’s surface. The rest of the balls jumped out through the big hole after it.
The ball disappeared, and she again found herself in the battle hall, which now looked intact, as before.
The only thing Super Queen-Mother had time to notice was the restored field of the stadium. She was at once thrown to the ocean bottom.
The judges remembered the beginning of the battle very well. Now they did not want to leave Super Queen-Mother unattended even for a minute.
The earthly women appeared to be unpredictable, and they got a special woman — Super Queen-Mother.
Super Queen-Mother quickly took stock of the situation.
She was in front of the entrance to a big dark cave. A sandy bottom with rare stones was barely seen there, like in the dusk; long, green algae were growing on them. Fish and mussels were moving on the sand, looking for some food.
Super Queen-Mother did not notice any big sea animals. There was no danger nearby. She did not hurry — the time was on her side.
Suddenly, a waterspout began to swirl her and then carried to the cave at lightning speed.
Super Queen-Mother set herself free of the obtrusive hugs, having destroyed it by a small energy outbreak.
It was very dark in the cave. She released small but powerful bundles of energy. The balls brightly illuminated the flooded cave.
Super Queen-Mother was in a big hall, decorated with numerous hanging stalactites. Tall outgrowths of stalagmites were directly under them. Some of them joined with the former, forming stalagnates. Motionless stone «waterfall» was «flowing down» from the left corner of the hall.
Super Queen-Mother thought that this cave had been on the planet surface for a long time, because all these stone outgrowths could be formed only in the air, and then, after the continental platform had lowered, appeared under the water.
There were some passages from this general hall into the depths of the rock. As soon as she swam to the main passage, the central entrance into the cave collapsed, and the water pushed her on her back.
Super Queen-Mother glanced back and saw as a lot of strange creatures were being formed in the water. They were long and transparent.
«It looks like a nesting of water snakes», she thought.
Super Queen-Mother threw one of the balls down the cave, but did not burst it, remembering that water did not compress. Instead, she discharged it gradually.
The water in the hall boiled.
In front of the entrance to her cave Super Queen-Mother put the second ball.
Water reptiles rushed to other passages. The water killed those who did not succeed to run away.
The energy not only killed all live creatures, which could be in it; it lifted the dead bodies to the cave ceiling.
Their transparent bodies could be seen now — the boiled reptiles became white. Now Super Queen-Mother could look them over.
They were snakes a hundred feet long, with small legs but sharp claws. Their tails, strong for such bodies, were wide in their upper and narrow in their lower part, like in fish; it assumed a good speed. They had two caudal fins. The head was like that of an ordinary snake, but with a small beard, which caught vibrations and smells coming from a prey.
Super Queen-Mother noticed all that with a corner of her eye and swam inward the cave. Bright balls — her light and vanguard weapons — led Super Queen-Mother to another hall, even larger.
It was a strange hall.
She swam to the middle of it and felt that her hand was hanging in the air. Super Queen-Mother pulled her hand closer to her body and cautiously swam a bit more. Her head and hands hung over a water precipice.
It was the simplest trap, and Super Queen-Mother discerned it in time. She looked the hall over and did not see anything dangerous.
Super Queen-Mother sank in the water in full and reached the bottom. She made some steps on the cave bottom and… came out into the air.
Super Queen-Mother turned back and saw a water column in front of her, hanging in the air without any support. The water’s edge was not smooth. It reminded her of the wall of a gorge, cut out by a mountain stream in the limestone.
This interested her, and she shoved her hand into the water. There were no obstacles to it; her hand freely went into the water and out of it. There were not any special holding devices either above or beneath.
It was not clear what was holding the water. She knew — one had to beware of odd things.
Super Queen-Mother looked over the place.
The farther entrance noisily opened and closed all the time. A piece of the rock worked as a door. It was not just dark, but very dark behind it; it was absolute darkness. When the entrance opened, dry, frosty air came out, forming a tongue of the white hoarfrost, which did not thaw.
Next to it was one more entrance, and it was a model of elegance and beauty. Super Queen-Mother came up closer to it. The entrance led toward the rock.
The floor, enchased with large, polished, colored and transparent gemstones and lit from beneath, was displaying the changing images of her thoughts.
Super Queen-Mother thought about her home, and it appeared on the colored mosaic floor; one could discern even the bay in the sea in the far part of the passage. Color discrepancies looked very original.
The walls, made of the whole mountain crystal, were displaying the most attractive pictures of the surrounding landscape, which only nature could create.
The pictures were brightly shining in her vicinity and became darker farther in the passage, or shone in fragments. Darkened parts shone with soft opalescent colors.
The ceiling was decorated with large diamonds, and it displayed bright and contrasting images. It showed morning dawn, slipping into dusk, and different parts of the universe, which seemed to be illuminated from beneath by a powerful light source. Then the dawn came again, and everything went around.
Super Queen-Mother thought:
«It’s a very strange entrance. And what if it is replaying my life, year after year, at such a speed? Each dawn adds a year of my life. Nobody will go to the end of such an entrance without growing older, till the day of his or her death.»
As if in response to her thoughts, melodious, plaintive sounds came from the depths of the entrance, and an invisible cloud of a divine fragrance covered her.
«It’s time to leave from here, and the quicker the better», Super Queen-Mother decided and walked through the wide tunnel deep into the cave.
A deep stream, flowing down, took up half of the passage. Its waters fell down from a height of about four feet.
From aside, the stream looked like a long live aquarium, though it did not have glass walls, keeping the water. Some fish was seen, swimming inside the stream, closer to its edges. The water was cloudy, with some mud in it. Sometimes, some shadows were flickering here and there. They moved very quickly, and it was difficult to make them out.
A small white fish jumped out of the stream, thrashed on the dry floor of the cave for some time, then jumped back into the stream and swam out of sight. It looked like the fish often carried out such tricks.
An interesting thought came into Super-Queen-Mother’s mind. She waited for a fish, falling out of the stream, caught it and came back to the beautiful passage. Super Queen-Mother threw the fish inside it and started watching.
Very soon the fish stopped thrashing, became stock still and then began to decay. Super Queen-Mother smiled ironically — her guess was right.
She returned to the stream. Suddenly, the picture became yellowish-waxen. Super Queen-Mother moved away from the stream to the wall, but then changed her mind and took up a position in the middle — between the stream and the wall.
A huge medusa jumped out of the stream at a great speed. Its jelly-like body was of different bright acid colors — dark-purple, dark-red, and dark-green.
At the same time, a yellow cloud of steam came out of the opposite wall of the cave. The yellow-waxen color of the surroundings became more intense, and Super Queen-Mother left the dangerous spot.
She watched the medusa slowly, like in slow-motion pictures, coming into the cloud of concentrated poisonous steam. Its jelly-like shell and feelers were dissolving as it was flying through the deathly cloud and it fell down on the floor in the form of colorful pieces and drops. Its core — a dense, bright, emerald green ball with thorns, which remained intact — hit against the wall of the cave.
The sound of cracking stone was heard, and knocked-out pieces of the rock flew every which way from the spot where the ball had fallen. The stone rain continued, followed by the noise, but the ball was not seen — it got inside the rock. The noise it was producing also went to the depths of the rock.
A stifled, continuous death cry came out of the rock, and pieces of torn flesh began to fly out of the hole, followed by a strong blood jet.
«What a bad creature», Super Queen-Mother thought and went farther along the tunnel. She could not even imagine what animal had lived inside the rock.
The passage appeared to be very dangerous. Super Queen-Mother restored the yellowish-waxen picture and went on with great care, ready to meet any lightning attack.
The stream of water ran down into a pit in the corner of a small hall. There was a small whirlpool at the spot where it fell. The noise of the falling water was not heard, because the running water took up the whole pit.
Super Queen-Mother stooped and walked under the stone, hanging above the passage. She found herself in a big hall.
At the very top numerous creatures were swinging like enormous chandeliers, holding on to the ceiling with their strong claws.
The «chandeliers» had a lot of small mirrors instead of lamps, and a lot of small wings located on the mirror pads.
Their flask-shaped heads were provided with telescopic eyes, turning round. The eyes, not used at the moment, sagged in their holes on their heads.
The creatures’ bodies were shining with different colors. The light intensified, reached its maximum and then went out. Every creature had its individual color, so the ceiling was iridescent. They illuminated the whole space with their magic light. The odor in the hall was unbearable, however. It came from their excrements on the floor. The droppings also gave phosphoric bluish irradiance.
Super Queen-Mother noticed in her mind that the light, irradiated by the creatures, changed and became very bright, undulating, of all colors of the rainbow; she at once made the picture of the surroundings yellow-waxen.
At first, they did not produce any sounds, but their sharply changing colors reminded her of a powerful light show in a dance hall. Soon she heard the noise of clapping wings.
Some reptiles left the ceiling and, lightly swirling in the air, flew to the walls of the cave. They gripped themselves on them and directed their numerous mirrors at her.
«Well, they hunt in packs, dividing the duties», Super Queen-Mother thought and got ready for the attack.
Several creatures left the ceiling and, having speeded up sharply, folded their wings and fell down like stones, with strong rumbling and howling. Hitting the floor of the cave with their axes, they sharply compressed and thus gained the energy in the form of a lonely beam, which was directed at the spot where Super Queen-Mother had to be.
All beams passed by her, but did not go to waste. They fell on skillfully placed mirrors of the reptiles on the walls. They redirected them to each other, split into several beams and struck Super Queen-Mother again. It all happened very quickly.
«Skilful guys», thought Super Queen-Mother.