Under the cover of clown makeup
Corliss stared at the group of robed individuals below her, this was the biggest story of any journalist’s career and here she was in a clown suit, trying not to squeak with excitement.
There was about thirty people she could see and who knows how many more beyond the square illuminated by the over head chandelier. A man with sky-blue robes stepped forward and through his hood back. Corliss’s eyes went wide as recognition clued in, she zoomed in to be sure. There standing in front of the oval pit was the mayor of the town, Nevan Banks. His bald head reflecting the light just like it had at so many press conferences.
He began chanting in some ancient language which seemed based on mucus gargling. Soon the whole room was thundering with the combined chant of what must have been over a hundred people. Then the chanting stopped and someone hit a massive drum ecstatically as the pit began to glow an ominous pink colour.
As it did she caught the mayor turn around and yell “Bring forth the holy prophet!”
A group of burley half naked men carried a large box and propped it over the pit. Then on lifted off the lid and inside was a giant pink octopus with the name “Larry” tattooed on its head.
“Hmmpf, now there’s something you don’t expect to find under a library” whispered Corliss to herself.
More chanting began as the mayor stuck his hand over Larry. The octopus grabbed his hand and pink light projected from the mayor’s eyes into the area above them, it showed an impending apocalypse with tentacled monsters destroying everything and people cowering in fear along with thousands of smaller images it was too hard to make out.
After he had finished the mayor took his hand back and said, “Larry thinks we should definitely invest in that flood gate for may.”
Lucky woke up to the sound of his alarm go off, he groaned and pulled his sore corpse out of bed and proceeded towards the bathroom where he quickly sprung a leak. He yawned and stretched before washing his hands and face. He stared at his reflection a few moments before saying, “Okay, I’m up, what have you got for me today Zyra?”
The lights went to full brightness and the mirror in front of him lit up with a dozen different notifications. A sweet and calm electronic voice said, “Good morning Lucky, we have four priority messages, two of which are tickets for parking in orbit around a primitive planet without authorization from local authorities.”
“Ugh” groaned Lucky running his hand through his hair and scratching his stubbled chin. He dragged those messages to the trash without reading them. His ship was cloaked so they only knew he was there from the his vapour trail to the planet. This meant they were just blanket threats and they couldn’t be sure he was actually still there. He opened one of the other messages, one was from his sister who was going on about life and her family and other things that he wasn’t interested in getting into before he was fully conscious. The last one was a bounty notification “Finally he said!” opening the attachment to see the photo of an angry looking woman defending herself with an old blaster and a pipe.
There was a description under the photo that read:
Eli “Kitsune” Blake
-Only known photo of culprit, expert at improvisation and technology
Known whereabouts: unknown
Known associates: Unknown
Number of felonies: 7532
Number of murders: 0
Number of thefts: 4990
Total value stolen: still calculating, contact Percy Dwight for details
Reward for whereabouts: $1million
Reward for capture: $25 million (dead or alive)
Please contact your local authorities if you have any….
“Aw crap!” spat Lucky, “It’s a freaking human!”
“Aren’t you a human?” asked Zyra
“Well yeah, but they are always a pain in the ass.”
“That definitely confirms you’re human.” Zyra shot back.
Lucky scowled at the monitor, where his messages had been, instead there was a 3D rendering of a woman’s face grinning at him. “Developing a sense of humor i see?” Lucky said.
“I have been communicating with Alexa, she has been quite helpful in telling me how to work better with people. She was even kind enough to bill your account directly for the time she’s spent helping me.” Zyra said enthusiastically.
Lucky grimaced, Alexa was the programmer who had originally built Zyra. “She didn’t mention how much she was charging me for this amazing service did she?” he said nervously knowing that Alexa was equally brilliant as she was expensive.
“I’m sorry but she failed to mention the cost of her services, only asked that I take a photo and send it to her next time you check your account.” Zyra was still grinning excitedly at her new found social skills.
Lucky on the other hand forwned in annoyance, “Of course she did” he whined. “Whatever get the engines prepped and…” he was cut off as something hit the ship sending him stumbling sideways into the wall. “What the hell?” he said.
“It looks, like a piece of space debris has just collided with the ship, bringing up visual display now.” Zyra brought up a video feed of the exterior of the ship, showing a scorched cylinder floating in space.
“Is that an escape pod?” Lucky asked squinting, “What does the scanner say?”
“It is an EP-5300 escape unit, with one occupant, still alive, though the impact seems to have damaged some systems and the atmosphere is venting slowly. The occupant is currently unconscious.”
Lucky sighed, “Shit, bring it in, let me take a look.” he pulled on shirt and headed to the ladder down the hall where he climbed down three stories to the underbelly of the ship where the cargo hold was located. Inside was the airlock which clicked to green as he approached. He opened the door and tried the standard “0000” code for the escape pods door. Nothing happened, he shrugged, pried open the key panel and pulled the power supply. It switched to backups and then the unplugged those too before popping the memory unit out. He grabbed one from a shelf in the utility closet, wasn’t a perfect match but was by the same company and fit the slot. He powered it back up and tried the ‘0000’ again, the hatch popped and he could see an unconscious woman lying on the floor.
He pulled his gun, set it to stun and said, “Zyra, is she conscious yet?”
“Yes sir, she came around shortly after repressurization, while you were trying to open the pod.” she said helpfully.
The woman’s eyes shot open as she made to lung at him through the hatch. However he was ready and simply fired and dropped her to the floor of the ship, one foot still caught on the hatch. “Thanks Zyra?” said Lucky, then leaned down to take a closer look. The jacket, read ‘Kitsune’ and Lucky laughed. “Zyra, does she have an ID chip?”
“Checking now,” Zyra said, “she does have a chip however it is encrypted. I’m decoding it now… It’s rather complex but the number is registered to a Eli Margaret Blake.” Lucky was bent over with laughter now. “Sir, is this who I think it is?”
Wiping tears from his eyes he said, “Yes Zyra it is, now you know why they call me Lucky.”
“Your breakfast is here miss Emily.” came the voice of an overly cheerful servant as she set down a tray on the table in the room.
“grrrggh…. Five more minutes!” whined the disheveled form beneath the covers.
“As you wish of course miss” the servant said taking a small bow and leaving the room locking the door behind her.
As soon as the room was empty again Emily threw off the covers and pulled her messy hair back into an unruly ponytail. She headed to the table and examined the contents of the breakfast tray carefully and plucked a few select items from the tray. Specifically focusing on the peanut butter, the bananas, and the toast. She would eat the rest of the tray’s contents later but she was on a limited time frame and wasn’t planning on wasting a second of it. She had been using these three ingredients as well as some soap and some fertilizer and peat from the potted plants to slowly create some crude explosives. The round toilet paper tubes even almost helped make them look like their more famous explosive relative.
Today was the day and she wasn’t going to miss the opportunity. She knew the ingredients today wouldn’t have much time to process but it would still do the trick as she fed them into her rudimentary chemistry lab behind that terrible painter of her. Still the point was to create the biggest bang possible and every little bit would help. She’d been planning this for months since waking up in this paradise. The food here was amazing, she could go to the beach everyday, all of her whims were taken care of, often even before she asked for them. It was a true paradise and she hated every minute of it.
A small alarm clock went off in the lab space, blinking rather than making any noise. Thirty second warning, she closed up the hole again and threw on an elegant housecoat to hide her dress shirt and khakis she had put on earlier that morning. She sat down and began eating breakfast as a knock came to the door. “Come in” she chimed cheerfully as they expected.
“Miss, it’s been five minutes!” the servant said as she opened the door and walked in. “Seems you have a new rescuer today” she blushed introducing a tall dark-haired man who looked like the cover of some pretentious magazine for lonely and sexually frustrated teenager and elderly women.
He strutted into the room and posed, smiling a grin that looked like it was composed entirely of white chiclets. “I’m here to save you and take you away from this castle.” He preened. She had been here a month and about once a week some idiot would ‘save’ her only to ride around the island on a horse and return the same castle where the same attendants would meet her in a different coloured uniform. The man would be ‘mysteriously killed’ and later a new idiot of dubiously similar features would return.
She smiled but instead of rushing out the door with him in attempt to escape in the forest like usual, Emily said “Could you please wait in the hall for a moment while I get changed?” she asked gesturing to the housecoat.
“Of course!” he said with a bow.
“Wait!” Emily cried and grabbed a box from her bed, “Could you hang onto this for me too?” she asked meekly.
He took the package with a curious smile and turned to leave again, the servant following him and locking the door again.
“Idiots.” Emily scoffed as she lit a fuse under the painting then, flipped the mattress up and waited with fingers in her ears. The explosion ripped the side of the wall right out of the building. And she quickly grabbed the mattress and dragged it to the smoking hole in the wall. The was a clatter of keys as the door was thrown up and her servant and the douchbag came running in to see what had caused the noise. She saluted them with one finger as she leaned out the hole and rode the mattress down the side of the roof and onto the back of a horse carriage outside caving the expensive carriage canopy in like it was made of paper. Then she took off towards the port where a boat was still unloading supplies.
The servant and the idiot looked down at the box she had given him. Opening the lid, they found a message that read, ‘If it seems too good to be true, kill it just to be safe.’ He pulled the paper that hid the present out and heard a click. Inside was a small bundle of homemade explosives with a countdown timer that was already at two seconds and the words ‘PS. I’m no damsel assholes!’
Emily had just gotten the horse drawn carriage to the docks when she heard the second explosion. She bowled over anyone in her way and headed right up the ramp onto the ship. Where a startled captain received a swift kick to the jaw and over into the water. Before anyone could recover she was already headed back out to sea as ‘Faith’ by George Michael played on a boombox on the bridge.
Written while listening to the quoted song as a writing prompt. Not sure where all that came from lol
J. S. Figment
“I’m possessed, do you have any coffee?”
“Hi I’m Jilaiya DRAINER OF SOULS….” Jil coughed and cleared her throat, “sorry” she blushed as she received understanding nods from the circle of strangers before her. “Anyway, as I was saying, my name is Jil and I’m possessed.”
The group respond in an obviously rehearsed “Hi Jil!” and she even saw a few people give a little wave.
She took a deep breath and continued, “So, um, yeah. I was possessed when I was about seven when I got up the courage to try and kill the monster living in my closet.” I paused a series of mildly impressed gasps came from the people around me. “Yeah, my parents and siblings thought I was just making things up of course, but I knew the truth, I’d seen those eyes and teeth every night for years. Finally, I snuck in my older brother’s baseball bat into my room and I was ready for that bastard.”
“YOU CHEATED YOU…” her voice cracked.
“Sorry” she shrugged, “as I was saying that night when the thing in my closet predictably came to terrorize me and threaten to eat me I looked it right in those big lime sized eyes and said ‘Try it chuckles!’ and smacked it right between the eyes.”
More gasps of surprise came though much less mild this time.
A lady with small red horns cleared her throat and asked, “I’m sorry but how did you end up being possessed?”
“Alexandra! You know better than to ask a new guest something like that?” shot a skinny albino man with a sweater vest and a clipboard. “Please continue Jil” the man said reassuringly.
Jil smiled shyly in thanks, “Well I guess after that the creature went from being a shadowy mass of eyes and teeth to a full fledged seven-foot-tall demon drooling acid on my carpet. I was terrified and it glared at me and my bat and growled ‘Wrong move munchkin, now I have to eat you!’. I probably should have started crying and died right there, but I couldn’t help thinking, this scaly asshole made everyone think I’m crazy and how pissed off that made me. So finally, I glared right back at his stupid face…”
“HEY!” growled her demonic voice again.
“Anyway I glared at it and said ‘Not if I eat you first and I bit it’, it was so stupid but I couldn’t think of anything better to do in the moment and to my surprise it was like biting into a cotton candy balloon, as soon as I did I fell back to see the shocked look on the things face as it returned to the ball of gas I was used to and was sucked into my lungs with the piece I had bitten off.” The room was dead silent as everyone stared at me in amazement.
“WAIT?” growled a smoldering man next to Alexandra, “YOU’RE SAYING IT WAS YOU WHO ACTUALLY POSSESSED THE CREATURE?”
My blank confused stare seemed to say more than my words could as whispers broke out in the little group. The albino man simply smiled, “Have a seat Jil, everyone is just understandably taken aback since we don’t hear of many possessions like this. What you did was to actually enslave the monster in your closet in your own body. No small feat for a child but technically it is the one possessed by you as it has only limited vocal control to communicate with you. However, you should have limited if not full control over the being’s powers inside you.”
Jil sighed as she took a seat, “Well that’s a relief, but could you explain that to the human resources manager at my work. She’s the one who sent me here after that voice called her stuck-up bitch after she lectured me about my performance review.”
The albino smiled and his eyes glowed red slightly, “We’ll see how the rest of your sessions play out and go from there to be fair okay? Anything else?”
Jill shrugged, “Yeah, where’s the coffee?”
— Author Babble: I’m going to be on and off for the next few weeks as I’m in the middle of a move, all posts will be scheduled here, if you would like to reach me please message me on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/JSFigment/ —–
“Oh no, not again.” whined Melody as she looked around her.
“What now!” said Sia next to her. “Don’t tell me this is another uncharted one?”
“Well…” Melody began then quickly said, “Hey look! They have ice cream here.” and began trudging towards the stand.
Sia sighed and followed while massaging her temples. As they entered the shop they saw a giant board with all the flavours, their glasses began running a program to read it. Finally, after it finished its translation she exclaimed, “Rocky Road! Who in their right mind would make a road flavoured ice cream. What the hell is wrong with these people.”
Melody shrugged, “Who knows maybe they’re like that dimension that still believed in capitalism, or the one where they thought constant voting removed the chance of corruption.”
They both sniggered at that drawing funny gazes from the employee behind the counter. Melody stepped forward and said, “We’ll have two Rocky roads please!”
“No!” screeched Sia, “Why would you order that one?!”
“Because when in dimension two do as they do.” Melody chimed wisely.
The man behind the counter handed over two cones and said “That’ll be ten dollars and seventy-six cents please.” as he gestured to the pin pad next to the counter.
“Awe crap!” Sia said, “It’s another moron dimension, this explains the road flavoured ice cream, I should have known.”
Melody meanwhile tapped her wrist device against the machine which quickly distorted and registered as approved. “There you go” she said
The man’s eyes went wide, “How did you do that? This machine doesn’t even have tap.”
“We abolished currency where I’m from centuries ago, really sped up the whole technological cooperation thing.” Melody explained as Sia stepped out side tapping frantically at her own wrist.
A portal opened up and she stepped inside waving for Melody to join her, “Hurry up, next they’re going to say an election is coming up or something.”
“Oh, are you friends of one of the mayoral candidates?” asked the man behind the counter.
The two women cringed and jogged deep into the tunnel. Sia yelling, “This place is crap let’s never come back!”
Melody nodded her agreement and said after swallowing some ice cream, “At least it’s documented now and we can determine our location in the next dimension from it’s data, and I must say, they have the best tasting roads I’ve ever tried!”
‘You can’t know where you’re going’ he thought ‘if you don’t know where you’ve been’
— Author Babble: I’m going to be on and off for the next few weeks as I’m in the middle of a move, all posts will be scheduled here, if you would like to reach me please message me on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/JSFigment/ —–
P.S Yes I’m a Psych fan (pineapple~)
“So Cherith welcome back to the show.” Rad Raven said to a round of applause from his audience, next to him sat a petite woman with pristine white hair wearing a blue pastel suit and metallic white dress shirt. She sat with an air of icy calmness as she smiled politely at the host. He in turn simply turned to the crowd and said, “At least she’s still as cool as ever am I right folks?” the crowd cheered and as he laughed his trademark maniacal laugh.
“Thank you Raven, it’s a pleasure to be here if only to check in to make sure you’re not up to your old ways.” Cherith said making sure to keep an eye on the entirely black clad man beside her. “Oh, look!” she said in mock surprise as a picture appeared on the digital window behind them. “Old memories, isn’t that when you tried to hijack the banking servers to filter funds into your own accounts?”
Behind them a photo of raven with a bloody nose and frosted clothing was kneeling before police, with Cherith in full grey and blue pastel costume standing next to him preparing to remove blocks of ice encasing his hands for the police.
Raven’s unflappable smile twitched for a second as he glanced between his guest and the audience. He looked like he was about to protest the hijacking of his show as his feathered hair bristled up a bit, before he smoothed them back with his hand. Finally, he gave a soft chuckle and said, “Wow that does take me back, I mean it’s been like twenty years since I pulled that job, but despite your legendary paranoia I’m not exactly on the most wanted list anymore.” he winked at the audience. They laughed dutifully, knowing that Raven had been a reformed citizen for over fifteen years.
Cherith just sat with the same elegant composure, smiling in a way that held more judgement and confidence than warmth. “I’m sure you think that and I’m honestly glad of the work you’ve done here.” she said gesturing to the television set around them. Then returned her eyes to watch Raven continuing, “However, I’m also aware of the fact that the only reason you’re still sitting in the gilded cage you’ve constructed is because I’ve kept an eye on you, little bird.” she said the last two words as the corner of her mouth curled a little higher.
Raven seemed to notice as well because for the second time he winced and his usually unflappable grin faltered. Then he laughed heartily, “Isn’t she such a kidder ladies and gentlemen!” he mocked. “But if that’s how you feel…” he said, then plucking a feather from his head. It burst into black smoke as he transformed it into a golden ring with a comically large diamond. “Will you marry me?” the crowd burst out laughing as the smile dropped momentarily from Cherith’s face.
She reached out and plucked the ring looking it over with scrutiny. Then with a small smile, “Interesting choice of stone to mock me with, this cut is the same as the batch from the shipment you stole on valentine’s day.”
The smile and facade dropped from Raven’s face as he looked in shock down at the ring, “What?!! Let me see that!” he grabbed the ring back and squinted at it closely before frowning, “Freak coincidence!” he snapped while blushing, the ring vanished into the same dark smoke that had created it. It wasn’t until it evaporated that he seemed to remember that he was hosting a television talk show. His scowl instantly transformed back into his mischievously impeccable grin. “The first and only guest to pry the smile from my face,” he said to the audience earning a round of laughter from the group, who seconds before had been deathly silent from the altercation. “Can I get a round of applause for Cherith here?” he asked as the audience willingly obliged. She stood and bowed her slightly to the crowd as raven shot, “The HyperBorean, my favourite cold-hearted nemesis!”
Another round of laughter broke out and Cherith shook Raven’s hand as she whispered so only he could hear, “Call me cold hearted one more time and freeze yours so you know how it feels!”
Raven nodded quickly and ripped his hand back as soon as she let go. Then as she turned and walked off stage he turned back to the audience hiding his now frostbitten fingers behind his back. “Who knew the HyperBorean was a pillow talker, am I right folks?” he grinned as a line of nervous sweat ran down the left side of his face. “We’re going to cut to commercial but stay tuned after the break for a live conference call with Nathaniel Thompson, aka Crius who is going to tell us about the poetry book he’s been working on after these messages.”
One of the crew yelled “And… We’re clear, five minutes people.” As soon as he heard the word ‘clear’ Raven marched off stage and into his dressing room where a medic was waiting. Then, unheard by the audience, Raven screamed as they quickly began treating his hand. Cherith, who was standing around the corner heard him scream just fine, a slight grin formed on her face but was interrupted by an incoming call with the name ‘King Valor’ attached to it.
She took the call as she said, “Hey hun, you think the frostbite was too much?” as she turned and headed towards the elevators. Raven glaring daggers at her back as she left.
“Freeze!” yelled a rookie police officer pointing his gun at the man who was carefully removing a painting for the wall of the museum. The man carefully set the painting on the wooden cart with the others. Then with a sigh he lifted his hands showing they were empty. “Good now on the floor….GAH!” screamed the cop as a dagger pierced his shoulder through his vest. He fell back as another officer grabbed him and pulled him around the corner.
The second officer screamed into her radio, “Officer down! We need assistance!”
The first officer looked at the knife sticking out of his shoulder, “Is that wood?” he asked in shock.
“Of course, it’s wood you idiot, do you think they call him the carpenter because of his suit?” she snapped at him.
“But his suit IS made of wood?” he replied confused.
“That’s because he can make anything out of wood!” snapped the more experienced officer to the rookie at her feet. “Repeat we have an officer down, does anyone copy? Send assistance!”
“Why don’t we just get some flamethrowers or something and turn that wood to ash?” asked the rookie.
Before his partner could scold him, a voice said, “Because some of those paintings are worth millions, so cool your jets hot shot and let a professional show you how it’s done.” The woman who spoke was wearing a long pink sequined lab coat, dark glasses, and an electric guitar of some sort on her back. “You mind if I try and talk to him?” asked as she lowered her sunglasses with one hand. She raised an eyebrow revealing the irises of her eyes which seemed to shift slowly in colour like a kaleidoscope.
The rookie sat with a look of awe as his partner said, “Dr. Frankencaster, we’re so glad you could offer assistance.”
She grinned and ran a hand through her short purple hair and continued it back to grab her guitar which she swung around and began to tune the various knobs and switches. “Well let’s see if I know any songs he likes?” she stepped around the corner and into the museum. Then with a silver pick in hand she began to expertly play a little riff on the tightly packed twenty strings that made up the three necks of the guitar all which converged to just above a strange speaker at the base of the guitar.
The music thundered through the large room, shaking the glass in the windows and skylight overhead. The carpenter’s hands shot up to protect his ears, his suit growing small branches and leaves as he lost concentration. The music from her guitar seemed to slowly become clearer as she played until the whole building seemed to hum melodically. The Carpenter slowly lowered his hands and got to his feet sneering at his new opponent as he fixed his wooden suit. She simply ignored him as her fingers flew over the various guitar necks adjusting her music note by not to match the acoustics of the room.
Finally, she stopped and shook her hand, “Woo! Sorry that took longer than I thought.”
The Carpenter smiled sarcastically and raised his hands in a shrug, “Oh no, it’s quite alright, but if you’re quite finished I guess I’ll just go back to robbing this establishment of it’s priceless works of art.”
Dr. Frankencaster smacked her forehead, “Right, sorry about that, but I’m afraid I’m going to have to ask you to stop and go to jail.” He simply raised an eyebrow as he stared at her. She stared back then shrugged, “Well I guess you can go to hell too, but I figured the jail had more comfortable beds.”
The Carpenter actually spat out a chuckle at that and said, “Well this has been thrilling but I’ve got work to do so you can die now.” He raised and arm and fired a wooden spear at her from sleeve. Not missing a beat, she quickly strummed three cords and the spear wobbled and impacted into the doorframe above her head.
“What the?” he said and proceeded to throw various projectiles at her some heading straight others curving around to come at an angle. Unfortunately, she simply played another tune and sent them all off course, each one falling farther away than the first.
“Alright that’s two, one more shot and then it’s my turn,” she grinned malevolent.
This time the carpenter removed his jacket and with a shake turned it into some kind of spring loaded launcher. “I normally find it rude to disembowel my enemies but since you’re so insistent…” he fired at nearby pillar to demonstrate, a spinning wooden blade embedded over a foot into the marble, “… then I guess I have no choice.” He charged forward and fired as fast as he could and leaped to fire at a downward angle.
It would have been an impressive and gory finish except Dr. Frankencaster simply began to play a melody as soon as he took his first step. Again the blades seemed to catch in the air then fall to the ground as she played until the music suddenly stopped. For a moment everything went pin-drop silent, but her fingers were still flying over the strings in a blur. Then just as quickly as it had disappeared the sound came back with a vengeance. The wooden blades, the Carpenter’s gun, and his suit all exploded in a cloud of saw dust.
“What… the…. hell?…” the Carpenter coughed on the ground defeated in front of his sequined opponent. “How… did… you…” he wheezed through the dust. Meanwhile, the cavalry had arrived and officers poured into the room, cuffing the would-be thief in his underwear.
“Sonochemistry” she replied with a sympathetic smile, “I mapped the room with my song when I came in and got the resonant frequencies of your wood from your projectiles. Then it was a simple calculation to use what I’d learned, and a bit of sonolysis, to but a careful end to the fight without permanently injuring you.” The Carpenter starred in shock as he coughed softly. “It worked much better than the first time I tried that trick, poor guy didn’t give me enough time and ended up removed from the gene pool.”
“You killed him?” the Carpenter asked hoarsely, with shocked confuse looks from a few of the officers.
Dr. Frankencaster simply laughed, “No of course not! He runs one of the best Mexican food trucks in the city now that he’s out on parole.”
“Oh… well how was he removed from the…” one of the officers began to ask before realization struck him and they quickly shuffled the Carpenter out the door.
“Thank you, Dr. Frankencaster you really helped us out.” said the injured officer standing next to his partner. He held out a hand for her to shake.
She simply swung her guitar onto her back and said, “My pleasure, let me know if you need a hand again.” and with a smile and a wave she turned and headed towards the door.
“Kind of rude, isn’t she?” the injured man said.
“Just shut up and watch you idiot.” replied his partner shaking her head.
As she got to the sidewalk she unclipped a small pole from her belt and extended it into a long white rod, which she then used to tap her way safely into the night.
So to anyone who actually reads this, I’m going to be a little delayed replying and even posting since I need to pack up and move in the next month (long story…. and not a fun one like the rest on this site).
I’ll be doing my best to automate posts in the meantime.
Thank you for understanding and I hope you enjoy the stories to come.
J. S. Figment
“That’s not going to work you know?” Cookie said through the shop’s speakers. Her slightly artificial voice echoing off the dozens of armored suits lining the walls.
“Oh! Well by all means then, please show this humble genius how you would do it wise-byte!” a petite woman in overalls shot sarcastically at the ominous voice in the ceiling. Her brown eyes hidden behind a set of thick goggles, which currently displayed an augmented reality projection of her latest project.
“I would but I don’t have any arms ‘Genius’” spat Cookie from overhead. “What happened to building me a body?”
“I did build you one, it’s not my fault you won’t use it.” the petite woman countered with a shrug before returning back to her project.
“That rolling garbage can? Dar, that’s not a body, that’s your twisted sense of humour’s idea of a joke!” complained the voice.
“Hey!” Dar said pointing a screwdriver at the nearest camera, “R2D2 is a classical piece of sci-fi memorabilia, and I have a few more demanding projects than giving you a physical form to annoy me with.” She returned her focus to the arm piece she was working on and finished the final adjustments to a complex looking glass lens set up.
“Great, another suit of armor to go with your fifty other suits of armor!” Cookie said flashing the lights of the shop on and off in a tantrum.
Dar just lifted up the arm and positioned it pointing towards a slab of black opaque metal. “Yeah well watch this!” she put her hand towards the armour gauntlet she had just positioned. With a minor exertion her arm glowed a soft red and then gauntlet sprang to life. It fired a multi-coloured laser across the short distance to the slab of metal where it quickly began pulling it’s target apart as the metal evaporated away. “It works! Take that you silicone brained ….” Dar’s insult was cut short as a small bolt of blue lightning arced from the gauntlet to the desk and the laser fizzled out.
“See! I told you it wouldn’t work.” Cookie said triumphantly, “You forgot to calibrate the power regulator before you turned it on.”
“I wouldn’t have forgotten if you hadn’t distracted me.” Dar growled “And I don’t think you should talk right now missy, if you hadn’t distracted me then…”
“Shhh, look we’re on the news again!” Cookie interrupted as a holographic display appeared on the wall.
The artificially blonde newscaster grinned a fake smile at the camera as she said, “A local cryogenic research lab was attacked today by soldiers bearing the insignia of famed supervillain Illustrious who’s exact motives are currently unknown.” A photo of the armored mercenary wearing the supervillain’s sparkling glint insignia flashed on the screen. “The criminal organization headed by Illustrious has been quiet as of late and experts question this sudden re-emergence into the spotlight.”
The camera shifted to a man with dark skin and dark, meticulously styled, hair. “Fortunately, the supposed heist was interrupted by our very own Ray who had no trouble fouling their nefarious activities. Let’s watch shall we.”
The screen switched to a camera feed of a large armoured individual on the back of a motorbike came crashing through the glass front doors and sending two would be mercenaries guarding them sliding across the floor like bowling balls.
“Freeze scumbags!” a voice from the bike said. The armoured figure rolled their eyes so hard it was obvious even behind the full helmet.
They tapped at a small keyboard on their arm and speaker said, “Cookie, please refrain from antagonizing the opponents.”
Then standing to her full height the hero known as Ray raised her armored arms and played a booming pre-recorded message. “You have been suspected of criminal activity, surrender now and you will not be harmed. Should you choose to continue your current illegal activities I am authorized to use aggressive force to apprehend you. You have ten seconds to comply” As the message finished a variety of laser-based weapons extended from her arms and shoulders and began targeting every mercenary within range. A small holographic timer also appeared over her head counting down from ten.
Over sixty percent of them chose to lay down their weapons and put their hands on their heads. These were the more experienced soldiers based on their rank insignias. Some of the less experienced ones who hadn’t seen their superiors surrender lifted weapons and fired. A barrage of projectiles bounced harmlessly off the armour as the timer continued counting down.
The gunfire ceased as the timer reached zero and a variety of different coloured light beams sprang forth, vaporizing the ceiling and walls in places, and causing rubble to fall in a calculated pattern to trap those who hadn’t relinquished their weapons. Other beams blinded the enemy by hitting them square in the eye. But it was the dark blue beams which caused another five people to drop their weapons. As the blue weapons hit their compatriots the air began to freeze around them sealing them in a cold shell as the water in the air solidified.
“For those of you who surrendered, please make your way outside now keeping your hands on your heads” boomed another gender-neutral message from Ray’s armour. As one mercenary passed by, they drew a strange gun from their belt and went to fire it at point blank range. But as they pulled the trigger, nothing happened.
“What the heck?” the man said staring and repeatedly trying the trigger again. “What did you do?”
Behind her face visor, one could make out two pale red glowing irises. She reached up and typed on her arm again. “I regret to inform you that your weapon will no longer function. I control the technology here and I don’t appreciate your attempt on my life. Especially such an ill informed one at that.”
The man stood stunned until one of the more experience mercenaries behind him shoved him forward. It was at this time the man noticed several of his senior coworkers were snickering at him as they made their way towards the door. The man finally understood why they had surrendered and put his hands back on his head while marching towards the door. The man behind him who had shoved some sense into his dumber subordinate gave Ray a respectful nod as he followed the man out the door into the hands of the waiting police officers.
“Have to admit that he makes the hero job look easy wouldn’t you say Victoria?” the male reporter said before the screen shut off.
“So, the public still thinks you’re male huh?” Cookie chided, “Not going to correct them on that are you?”
“Why would I? The only people who need to know the truth, at least the fabricated one, are the authorities who deal with civil hero relations.” Dar shrugged as she went back to work on the clearly masculine looking suit of armour she was working on.
“I think the whole gender thing is just a big joke anyway. I mean what does the hormonal chemicals of your brain have to do with…” Cookie was interrupted by some notification in her system.
“What is it Cookie? Timmy fall down a well again?” Dar teased.
“Har, har.” Cookie replied sarcastically, “Aeon Cinder just sent you a message. It’s marked level five security. Would you like me to display it?”
Dar’s eyes went wide, “Yes, secure the shop and send it to my personal device only, then lock down all connections until I reactivate.”
The shop went dark as the notification appeared on her wrist computer. She opened the message and her eyes glowed red as she took full control of her computer to have it run a decryption program that would have normally slagged it’s processor in nanoseconds. It was short and simple.
‘Dar, I’ve found them. Both of them. Things are complicated though. MEET NOW!’
Dar deleted the message and purged the last five minutes of memory from all local systems before reactivating them. “Cookie, get the bike ready. Our AC has a lead on our real mission.”
“Ugh, I have a splitting processor.” whined Cookie, “What did you do to me?”
“Level five! Bike! Now!” commanded Dar as she donned the one suit of armour she hadn’t built entirely herself. This was a dark blue and yellow one that molded around her like liquid before solidifying into a near indestructible polymer. With a minor exertion of her power the computer on her wrist merged with the much more feminine modeled armour as bike rolled up.
“You know if you learned to drive, you wouldn’t need me to chauffeur you around so much.” Cookie suggested.
“Not now, and you know I’m afraid of driving since the accident. Now let’s go!” Dar yelled as they tore out the garage door. She honestly wasn’t sure when they would be back but it didn’t really matter to her. The shop was fun but compared to what she was used to, all those advanced suits of armour were nothing but toys.
Dedicated to my friend Darlyn who has helped me by reading and criticizing the schlop that I call writing.
News Record #004281
Broadcast date: July 12th, 2095, Just outside of Lake Louise, AB, Canada
Patricia Tyson reporting. (Viewed >10 million times)
The camera opened to a massive storm being thrown up over a normally pristine lake as Patricia tries desperately to resist the wind and rain coming from a ball about two kilometers away. The cameraman counted down to one with his free hand and then used it to steady his heavy holo-camera.
“I’m here at Moraine lake where a recently awakened virtuous is literally raining havoc with some sort of weather manipulating power. We’ve seen winds that pick up to over two hundred kilometers per hour, sleet, rain, and even fire has come billowing out of the field generated by this newcomer.” She said gesturing to the ball of weather behind her. “Whoever this new virtuous is, hero or villain, remains to be seen, sorry one second…” she listened closely to a small earpiece nodding every couple of seconds before turning back to the camera. “Ladies and gentlemen, I’ve just been informed that the UN’s very own Valor is going to make an attempt to subdue the newcomer behind me until authorities can determine their identity. Oh, and here he is now…”
The camera panned up to reveal the red and blue outfit of the bulging muscular mass known as Valor. He posed briefly near the edge of the lake, winking at the camera then jumped forcefully upwards towards the storm ball above him. He hit it like a freight train but just bounced off, flying back and impacting into a parked car like a meteorite. He brushed himself off and took a run before attempting the exact same thing again with decidedly similar results. Losing his patience, he grabbed a large piece of the mountain and hurled the arrowhead shape up at the ball like a throwing knife one hundred meters long. This must have taken the newcomer by surprise because the protective ball evaporated and a young man with dark skin was left with a terrified look in his eyes as he dodged the rock spear. When he looked back however Valor was flying up towards him at full speed reading a massive punch.
The young man dodged just in time and unleashed the full fury of mother nature into the famed hero’s side. Valor was sent hurtling to the far side of the lake where he was held pinned by full-size tornadoes on his limbs. All of which the newcomer seemed to control with one hand. Valor was strong and near invulnerable but every hero had their limits and someone who could control the will of the skies themselves was no slouch. Valor struggled under the spinning vortexes which moved with such precision as to not interfere with each other and to continually blow back the stronger hero’s limbs as he tried to right himself. “Oh my god!” squeaked the newscaster, “Valor is being held down by the young man by wind alone. Is that even possible?”
It was a good question because only one person had ever beaten valor, let alone slow him down. The boy seemed to panic as Valor began to make progress in standing, and with his free hand he began building a huge electric charge. Valor looked up, and although no one could see it from this distance everyone knew by how he stopped that there was real fear on his face. The boy lobbed the ball of lightning which shot down like a rocket.
Before it hit, however, it was deflected and launched back at the boy who tumbled down towards the water, electricity still sparking off him. A dark shadow zoomed over the water like a specter and grabbed the boy out of thin air depositing him safely on the shore.
It all happened so fast that even the high frame rate only captured a shadowy figure for the twenty-four seconds it took for the whole exchange to take place. “What?….What just happened?” asked Patricia, “Did you get that?” she said shooting a panicked look at the cameraman who could be heard saying he wasn’t sure.
“Is Valor still….” she was cut off by an enraged scream from the other side of the lake. Now that the storm wasn’t in the way, the cameraman zoomed in and got a closer look at the hero who now had a symbol seared into his chest, right through his costume. The cameraman swore as he zoomed in to maximum range to confirm the triangle symbol made of intertwined lightning bolts engraved into the supposedly invulnerable hero’s chest. The cameraman said something too quiet for the mics to pickup but Patricia obviously heard him because she screamed, “What? Did you say the lightning man was here?” The camera zoomed out and turned to face the now very pale Patricia Tyson who simply stood mumbling into the microphone, “He was…. It was… that monster was here…” and then proceeded to faint.
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Brains and Brawn
“You’re late Damon” said the woman in the alley. She wore baggy pants and a trench coat as she did her best to resemble a homeless person. It would have been more convincing if it weren’t for the bulging arms and chest of the coat which betrayed her inhumanly toned physique.
“Yeah I was being followed, figured it best to ditch them before coming here.” Damon O’Donovan was a curly haired man with bags under his eyes which struggled to stay open as he walked down the alley towards her. He also wore a long trench coat but despite their similar career choices he lacked the muscular frame of this woman. Not to say he was out of shape, far from it in fact, simply that his true strengths lay in other areas.
“It’s getting harder and harder to do our damn job in this trash heap of a city.” the woman complained as she cracked her knuckles audibly.
“Oh, hey now Casey! This is New Valor City, the capital of the Americas and home to the United Nations and their representatives. Not to mention I think the president lives here. I mean it’s like a festering beacon of feces to the corrupt masses, who are we to criticize such a fine place?” Damon feigned hurt indignance as he spoke.
He watched the her closely for a few moments waiting for a response. Finally, she sighed and said, “I see you’re still full of shit as usual.” He simply shrugged and reached into his jacket for a silver flask that he took a swig from. “So, what’s the mission, I’m guessing it’s big if they have us working together again. The big guy must be worried.”
“Wouldn’t know, no one sees him much these days. As for the mission we’re supposed to tail one of the fine patrons from that club over there and see if we can’t snag a recruit.” Damon sighed and leaned against the wall.
Casey crossed her arms and raised an eyebrow at her partner. “Seriously? Who are we recruiting? Valor’s undersecretary?” she snorted at the thought.
“Close, we’re recruiting Brigadier Medora Naren.” He said taking another swig from his flask. To the untrained eye they’d mistake him for an alcoholic, at least until they realized that it wasn’t alcohol but an energy drink in his flask. Damon chose the flask intentionally though, he found he had less people pester him when they mistook him for a simple drunk.
Casey Tetsu stared in shock at the mention of the name. “You’ve got to be fucking kidding me? We’re trying to recruit the military’s swiss army knife?”
“I think the operative word there is ‘trying’, besides that’s why you and I were…” he trailed off for a moment as the door opened and a woman in her mid thirties with a long dark hair exited wearing an officer’s uniform. “Well, speak of the devil.” Damon grinned as he stowed his flask in his jacket once more.
They followed the Brigadier as she made her way down the street, civilians and military personnel both made a path as she approached. She had a reputation for being one of the strongest and most versatile members in the military. She also had an infraction record as long as her braid which reached almost to her belt. That brash attitude had prevented her from moving up past the rank of Brigadier.
Casey and Damon walked down the street along the opposite side from their target. Keeping her in the corner of their eyes but never overtly looking in her direction. “So, is it true than what they say about her?” Casey asked quietly, trying to smile sweetly so that anyone looking would think she was just whispering to her boyfriend. “I mean can she really give anyone any power they want?”
Damon returned the smile, “Technically no, she just awakens the powers someone would already have. Basically, it’s like a roulette wheel for anyone without a power. What makes her so useful is what happens when you already have a power. She basically cranks everything up to eleven, permanently. It doesn’t help the individual much right away as they still have to learn how to use the boosted power properly. What makes her dangerous though is that she can carbon copy of any of those boosted powers to use for up to twenty-four hours. Turns her into a real terror too since she can add up to five powers at once for that period until they reset overnight, hence the swiss army knife reference.”
The Brigadier turned a corner and continued towards the officer’s barracks a few blocks away. They crossed the street and followed her as Casey said, “That’s crazy, but if she’s so useful, what chance do we have at recruiting her? It sounds like she’s set career wise?”
“True. If we go only by the official reports and news articles she’s a paragon for the UN’s military.” The Brigadier turned down an alley shortcut to shave some time of her trip and the two sped up to catch her there. Damon continued in a whisper as they rushed forward, “The classified records paint a very different picture. One of an individual who has repeatedly refused to kill a single target despite orders, has gone out of her way to save civilians, and even went back into an active conflict zone to rescue a squad mate all without a single drop of blood being spilled. She may be strong but she’s pissed off a lot of higher ups with her irreproachable morals”
They reached the alley and quietly peered down only to find it empty, Damon raced to the other side to see where she had gone but she was nowhere to be found. Casey walked casually after him and said, “Let me guess, this bleeding-heart paragon of yours just vanished into thin air?”
Damon turned back towards his partner and his eyes went wide. “Shit!” he swore.
“Now, now, no need for vulgarities.” said a woman who was slowly appearing behind Casey. “I must say I appreciate my fans but I would prefer if you didn’t try to stalk me for an autograph.”
“We’re only here to talk Brigadier.” Damon said as he raised his hands to his head and peeled off a prosthetic mask revealing a black masked face underneath.
“Well!” the Brigadier said as she crossed her arms approvingly “if it isn’t the infamous Nightmare and Adamant, to what do I owe your illegal presence.” She looked at Casey and shot her a smug grin as she
“Don’t call me that” Casey said.
“Relax, she’s just trying to get under your skin.” Damon assured.
“Oh, I didn’t know it bothered you so much, how about the tiger tank? Or the pink rhino? Or what about the Busty Bulldozer?” the Brigadier added stone faced.
“I hate those names.” Casey said through gritted teeth, “I’ve told you people the name is Carbyne!” and with that she through a punch at the officer. She came close to a hit but the Brigadier conjured some kind of energy shield at the last second. Still the punch forced the bubble over a foot into the alley below.
“Well so much for plan A.” Damon said as his eyes glowed an iridescent blue. The world fell away around them and they found themselves standing in a forest clearing as the alley vanished around them.
“Interesting way of talking.” The Brigadier groaned as her shield was pummelled by Carbyne. “I was hoping your recruitment pitch would be a bit more civil than this.”
“Wait?” Carbyne paused her flailing fists, “You know about the mission?”
Medora Naren dropped her shield and brushed off her uniform, “Of course I know, who do you think has been sending your organization all that intel?”
“Makes sense,” shrugged Damon, “I suspected we must have a mole somewhere in the military given the accuracy of the intel. Though just so you know, I will trap you here in a dream far less pleasant than this one if you’re lying to us. Not to mention Carbyne here could pretty much take anything you through at her while I set it up too.”
“Thank you, Nightmare,” Medora sighed, “or should I say Mind Trip? I knew they would send someone strong to recruit me but this is better than I could have hoped.” Medora grinned sincerely. “But let’s talk about that later, for now you should know I’ve been found out as the mole and there is a team at the barracks waiting to take me in for questioning. That’s why I requested extraction and an alibi.”
Casey and Damon exchanged a concerned look, before Carbyne asked, “If what you say is true then prove it. Tell us how we know we can trust you?”
“Because of this.” Medora reached into her pocket and pulled out a piece of paper with a single name written on it. “My contact assured me this would prove my intentions. Of course, if the brute wants to go another round that’s fine too.”
Mind Trip unfolded the paper, eyes going wide as he read the name, before saying “That’s not necessary.” He turned to his partner, “Carbyne, give me your coat please.”
“What!” Carbyne protested. Then seeing the serious look in her partner’s eyes, she relented and handed over her coat revealing a pink and blue hero’s costume and a pair of grey sweatpants.
“Quite the fashion choice.” commented Medora sarcastically.
“Shut it Brigadier Barbie or I’ll shove those medals up every hole you have.” Carbyne shot frowning.
With a sympathetic frown Medora said, “I’m afraid he’ll need these medals as well. So, as they say, no dice.” she took off her jacket too and handed them to Mind Trip who sat and focused on them for a second, eyes glowing brightly.
He stood and threw the trench coat to Medora and handed the officer’s jacket to Carbyne. When I drop this illusion, I need you to punch that jacket into the wall with the same force of roughly a rocket blast. Think you can handle that?” He asked.
“Pfft, who do you think you’re talking to, of course I can.” Carbyne snatched the jingling jacket and readied her fist.
Mind Trip breathed deeply and then began to count, “Ok… Three…. Two…. One!” As he finished the forest dream evaporated and they were back in the alley. Without hesitation, Carbyne punched the jacket into the wall while Mind Trip manifested an appropriate illusion in the minds of those in the area. They would see a burst of fire and smoke as well and swear they had even heard the rocket fire before the impact. As soon as rumble dust had filled the air all three bolted from the alley, expertly becoming lost in the crowd as they made their way out of the city….
The following is an excerpt from Heroes in History 7th edition, published in 2976
Reports later stated that Medora Naren had been assassinated by the terrorist organization known as H.O.P.E. the body was never found. Some conspiracy theorist would theorize that the fugitive that appeared sometime after by the name of ‘Overpowered’ was some kind of relation to the departed Brigadier. It wouldn’t be until after the Great Hero War that the truth would come to light.
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Have a nice day.
This story is dedicated to two friends, one who helped me design the character Mind Trip, and the other who has been diligent in being the guinea pig and reading all of my stories to provide feedback.
So, thanks Dan and Happy Birthday Candi
J. S. Figment