Week 127

The great space pyramid of Mantis smashed into the wall of rock, fell hundreds of feet, crashed, and lay still, with no signs of life.

Then, like some hideous parody of Venus, the dread elder god Cthulu rose from the inland sea, called forth by the destruction of its effigy.

The water was thick with the bodies of its orange-robed acolytes, of giant Insekts and kaiju, of humans and some random animals.

These were as nothing to Cthulu, who hungered for the destruction of worlds.

Now it was risen, unleashed upon the Earth; surely there was no power in all the universe that could stop it—but Putin would have to try.

Slowly, painfully, Putin got to his feet and stood in the giant saucer of silica glass. “Where is my War Bear?” he groaned.

Snowy staggered to her master’s side, followed by Murder Cat. Pulpo Paul, in his walking suit, began creeping toward them, too.

Great Cthulu looked about it. It did not matter that it had awakened on Earth, or that it had lain in the City of R’lyeh for millennia.

Time and place were meaningless constructs to the trans-dimensional Elder God. Only its great hunger mattered; only worlds could sate it.

The many tentacles about its face pulsed at the thought. It raised its arms high and stretched wide its prodigious claws.

Without hesitation, Putin stepped forward and addressed the hideous elder god, shouting to make himself heard so far above.

“Cthulu! I am Put-in, the Pathfinder, Defender of the Earth! Return now to the City of R’lyeh beneath the sea, or you shall feel my wrath!”

Although words were meaningless to the dread god, the sense of the words reached it. It turned its attention to the puny being at its feet.

He was as nothing, yet challenged Dread Cthulu, Destroyer of Worlds? “Oh, crap,” thought Murder Cat, staring upward at the huge god-monster.

The Pals looked upward helplessly as Cthulu appeared to swell even larger, growing even more menacing. “This is it,” Snowy thought grimly.

Suddenly there was a blinding light, as if all the energy of the universe were concentrated in a single point the size of a Toy Poodle.

In that moment C-4 transformed into its true Self, the Great Elder God C’Furh, Power Above All. Its form on Earth dwarfed that of Cthulu.

Without words, or even thoughts, C’Furh used its Power to command Cthulu back beneath the sea, to sleep again in the sunken city of R’lyeh.

The Pals watched in awe as Cthulu sank once more beneath the surface, disappearing back into the inky depths.

Just then, Black Ops crawled up out of the water and onto the shore, coughing and spitting. “Wait—What just happened?” he sputtered.

Week 128

Black Ops stood up on his hooves and tottered forward, blinking his weird goat eyes. “Seriously, what’s going on? Where’s the space ship?

“What happened to the Order and the Insekts? Where’s C-4?” The pygmy goat tech expert chattered—until he walked into Snowy’s stern glare.

It was like face-planting into a wall. He fell in next to the Pals, followed their gazes upward, and was awestruck by the sight of C’Furh.

Toki was the last team member to join them, his detached arm thrust through his sash like a katana. He bowed deeply to the Elder One.

Snowy stole a glance at Putin. His face was as blank as the alpine snowfields surrounding them, and she wondered what he was thinking.

“My little C-4.” The words drifted through Putin’s mind as he remembered his playful pup bouncing and barking, happily wagging her tail.

Paul felt Putin’s confusion and sorrow, and the clairvoyant cephalopod was reminded of a line of poetry. “Mais où sont les neiges d’antan!”

With all the surviving Pals assembled, and Cthulu vanquished, C’Furh dimmed its glow and shrank to a size comprehendible to mortals.

The Elder God did not speak and used no words, but its message rang clearly in the Pals’ heads, as soothing as the tone of a singing bowl.

C’furh began with a montage of scenes, examples of friendship and kindness from simpler times, when it had assumed the form of C-4.

Snowy felt her eyes tear as C’furh acknowledged the death of either Peaches or Herb. Murder Cat gazed out over the water and sighed deeply.

The Pals felt C’furh’s appreciation for their service to Earth. The Order and the Insekts were disharmonious; C’furh was a being of balance.

The next thoughts were only for Putin. C’furh looked directly at the man, and in an instant all his memories returned.

He saw his creation in an Insekt laboratory, a desperate escape from the Brood ship, crashing on Earth, the bears, Ursa, the White Room …

There was pain, but also liberation. C’furh returned its focus to the group, who saw that, though Cthulu was gone, other threats remained.

Soon C’furh would leave and not return. The Putin Pals were the guardians of this world, noble sneeze guards on the salad bar of Earth.

The Pals understood that C’furh was saying goodbye. Then there was a bright flash, and they were back in the Fortress of Opulence.

In the rubble of the Cthulu Cult’s shattered temple, Dr. Antonosky saw the flash, emerged from his hiding place, and approached the shore.

He knelt and gingerly picked up a wet lump, carefully turning it over in his hands. “Doctor,” said Stalin’s head, “nice seeing you again.”

Antonosky sighed and looked up at a distant mountain pass. It was easily two days’ walk to the nearest village, with snow all the way.

He turned up his collar, cradled the head, and trudged off toward the mountains. “I knew she should have kept the dog,” Stalin said.