Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Walking Shadows Book 3 Chapter 6-3

He nodded slowly. His eyes didn’t leave her as she sauntered past him and into the next room. It was a rather simple office, just a desk and chair, another two chairs across from it and a couch against the wall. A door behind the desk almost certainly led to the backstage area.

A man barely glanced up as she entered. He was in his late forties with a receding hairline and glasses a bit too dark for his current atmosphere. He did a double take after his casual glance. This time he lingered on her not unlike a fine wine. He knew what she offered. He waved her forward into a chair. “Come in. Come in. What are you interested in today?”

Another woman sat in the chair to the right, so Melinoe made a beeline for the left. The other woman was clearly a dancer here as well. She looked much less impressed with Melinoe than her boss.

“H-hello there,” the man at the desk said. He rose as he spoke and beckoned her to the open chair. “I’m Jonathan Luchesne, but you might know me as Jack Lumber. I am the co-owner and proprietor of Lumber Jacks.” His hand waved towards the other woman. “This is Sessily Bockonivitch, who is in charge of our talent here. And you are?”

“My name is Melinoe.”

He looked down at a pile of headshots on his desk. “I don’t seem to see you here, Melinoe.”

She smirked. “That is because I’m like nothing you’re going to find out there.”

“Oh, why is that?” It was the first words out of the other woman in the room. Melinoe could detect the disdain in them. A week ago, she would have made this Sessily woman suffer her most horrific nightmares until her puny human mind snapped. Now Melinoe chewed her loyal lip and tried to control her anger.

Jack interrupted the silence. “What Sessily means is that we get a lot of promises in this room, but we don’t always get a lot of follow through. You’re certainly beautiful, but we are an all nude dance club. We need to see if you have the goods for that. Not everyone does.”

“What do you wish of me?”

Jack looked to Sessily. The human woman simply shrugged.

“Well, generally that means we need to see a dance. To your music or ours. We’re having a special tryout night tonight. All the new girls we choose will get to show their stuff. If the crowd likes you, well, you get a job.”

“This I can do,” Melinoe said. “And once I do, you will see that you’ve found a talent like none other.”

“Alright,” Jack said with a chuckle. “We will see you here tonight at eight. You will have time to get ready before the show starts.”

“I will be there.”

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Walking Shadows Book 3 Chapter 6-2

Melinoe wasn’t even winded when she reached the building, just a few hundred yards off the far more tourist driven areas of the waterfront. It was long, flat and a single story with ample parking outside, though only a fraction of it was in use currently. A large blazing neon sign on the front repeatedly blinked OPEN 24 HOURS. Above it, a massive tree was falling to the axe of a curvaceous woman in a ripped flannel shirt and tight jean shorts. Blazed across the trunk in neon was LUMBER JACKS.

Melinoe walked in through the front door. She noticed the same sign she saw in the newspaper Cyrus left her as she passed. It simply said “Open Auditions Noon to Four”. About a dozen girls were already in a queue just inside the foyer. The bass beat of some heavy metal song echoed from the main floor of the club just a few feet away.

She passed every woman in the line and walked straight up to the man in front of them. He was a head taller than six feet, thick and muscled. His bald head and dour expression made him look quite formidable.

“Back of the line,” he said as she approached.

“I think not. I am here to see your boss and he will want to see me. He’s found his new featured performer. And I don’t take kindly to the word no.”

He started to raise a hand to stop her, but she was already reaching into his mind. An image of an imperious man, but one far shorter and pudgier, appeared in her mind’s eye. She breathed it out at him, let the fear of the nightmare loose on its creator.

To the casual immortal, goddess of nightmares seemed like a poor title. But access to nightmares gave her the access to both the greatest horrors and the greatest desires of those she met. It only took a tiny connection, a second’s contact and her knowledge of a person increased exponentially. With desire and horror so closely linked in the human perspective, they were just far too easy.

She watched his eyes widen and his pupils dilate. His face contorted as he looked at her. She knew he was seeing some kind of mother goddess before her, some ideal of his mother no other woman could match. It was a twisted fantasy, but every fantasy she unleashed was twisted.

“I trust I can see myself in.”

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Walking Shadows Book 3 Chapter 6. Melinoe

Melinoe hated when life got serious. It was bad enough she had to walk in the human world, but to treat them like equals was horrific. And to actually think she would have to ask one for a job made her skin crawl. The mortals were nothing, mere playthings, and now to act like they were in anyway her equal made her sick.

But the thought of the consequences should she fail to follow Cyrus’s lead was even worse. Pluto could have blasted her from existence, but he let her live out of love for his wife. She doubted he would be so kind as to do so again. She would have to walk a careful path and toe the line set for her.

She didn’t have to like it though.  

Just have to wait. I just need to stay here until Caelus resurfaces. He won’t make the same mistake to betray me a second time. Next time, he will understand how important I am to him.

The thoughts ran through her head again and again as she put on her clothes. While her mother hadn’t bothered to send any monetary care with her, Persephone did at least forward Melinoe’s wardrobes. Three massive trunks of clothes now sat in the corner of the apartment’s living room. She went through them and found the right outfit.

A crimson blouse, just form-fitting enough to reveal her curves without revealing too much, and a pair of slacks tight around her waist but loose around her legs. A pair of inch and a half heels, one of a hundred pairs from two dozen designers, completed her ensemble. She combed her long black hair into a tight bun, donned a pair of unnecessary glasses and admired herself in the mirror.

I believe that is professional enough. Now let’s see what I can find. If I must work, I shall at least find something that speaks to me and pays me. I will not work for some paltry nothings like my brother.

She gave her reflection a sly smile before she turned away. She scooped up her handbag and sauntered out of the apartment.

A few minutes later, she was out on the street. With no money, she couldn’t afford to hail a taxi or even take a bus. She didn’t let it bother her. Instead she walked with a smile. It was only a few miles.

Nothing to a goddess.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

ICONS Character Profile: Doppelganger

Name: Doppelganger

Real Name: Seamus Bryan

Origin: Birthright

First Appearance: Book One, Chapter 7


Prowess 3

Coordination 3

Strength 6

Intellect 4

Awareness 3

Willpower 3

Stamina 9

Determination 1


Martial Arts


Power: Power Mimicry


Suit of Armor (Damage Resistance) 3

Power Mimicry 9

(Extras: Specialties Duplication, Unlimited Targets, Visual / Limits: Weakness Absorption)



Epithet: “The Power Master”


Weakness: malformed skin makes him severely susceptible to hot and cold

Seamus Bryan grew up in New York City, but he was never loved.  Born without ears and with white, bloodless skin, he was the child of a drunk that murdered his wife on Seamus’ third birthday. Seamus entered the foster care system, but only managed to move from one abusive situation to another. It wasn’t until his twelfth birthday, that he learned the secret of his appearance. He was an epsilon, a deformed figure with superhuman powers. When a local supervillain robbed a store he was shopping, he suddenly mimicked the man’s powers. Seamus quickly murdered the robber and set out on a new quest for power.

He soon realized with proper training he could be an assassin and hired gun of massive renown.  Over the years, he quickly gained a name as the go-to guy for battles against units of metahuman crime-fighters. And his bloodlust only grew.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Walking Shadows Book 3 Chapter 5-6

Rosa was about a hundred yards away from them, on the other side of the wreckage. She sifted through an area that seemed like one of the most devastated, perhaps the source of one of the twin explosions that destroyed the building. She had little more than dust at her feet, but she shifted it around as if she would find something in its midst.

“It’s time, Rosa. We can’t stay here forever. Phoebe thinks it was a professional job. Maybe we can use that somehow. Find out more information about the man that did this.”

“No,” Rosa said. “There has to be something else out here. This can’t be all of it. I need something of his. Something to help me figure out what’s going on with all of this.”

“We will find who did this somehow,” Ian said. “Phoebe and I will both help, but we have—”

The flash of lights brought his attention back to the street in front of Whitey’s remains. A police car was pulling up. It was a lone police officer, but Whitey’s was naturally closed off by the water on one side and the river rocks on the other. They had nowhere to go.”

Ian turned to the others. “Run. I’ll create an illusion and—”

Rosa shook her head. “I know him. Just let me talk to him.”

She walked towards the police officer, a tall uniformed cop with light brown skin and closely cropped hair. He actually reminded Ian a bit of Stomp.

“Keith, hi.”

“Rosa, is that you?”

Si. I needed to have a look for myself. I wanted to see if I could find anything of my friend and—” She shook her head. Ian could only guess she was crying.

Keith rushed forward and took her in his arms. “Oh, baby. I’m sorry. I know it’s hard. But you can’t be here. It’s still an active crime scene.”

“I know. I just wanted—I just thought if I could find something, maybe I could help in some way.”

Ian and Phoebe crept closer to Rosa and the police officer. The presence of the police worried him. Neither he nor Phoebe would be on any official records. That wasn’t the kind of thing easy to explain.

Rosa looked back at both of them as they approached. She wiped her tears away and quickly introduced them to Keith. “They came here to help me look. I hope I didn’t get them in any trouble.”

“No, it’s okay. Let’s just get you out of here, okay?”

Rosa nodded. She let him keep an arm around her as he walked her away.

Ian looked to Phoebe. She works fast, he thought. He wondered if Phoebe picked up on it when she gave him a knowing smile.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Walking Shadows Book 3 Chapter 5-5

Ian looked around, but saw no one around. “I did. But we’re alone. The entire pier is empty. The police haven’t even opened it up for businesses to come in. The only people we have to worry about are the cops if they decide to have a look and they’re not going to arrest someone coming back to grieve. And let’s be honest, that’s why we’re here. Stomp died here. He died a hero, but he still died. I can’t quite believe it. It may have only been a few days ago, but he helped me when he didn’t need to do anything. He kept me alive when Doppelganger and his men were after me. And those few days are all the memory I have. It seems crazy but he’s the closest thing to a friend I had in this world. Now in a matter of days, I’ve lost a friend and a lover. And I would be lying if I didn’t say it pissed me off. I’m fucking sick of this.”

“Control your anger, Ian.”

“I don’t want to control it anymore. I spent so much time in fear, but the anger makes it go away. Now I just want to make those monsters pay. So if they want to come for me that’s fine. I’ll fight them with everything I have. I’ll suck the damn life out of them if that’s what it takes.”

“This is a new side of you, Ian Page.” Phoebe stared at him as she said it, as if analyzing him. “It intrigues me. But it doesn’t change the fact that we invite trouble as this location. I sense no signs of life outside the tiniest insects and rodents. They have nothing to tell us. But I can tell you the explosion was deliberately set. Someone wanted to destroy this building, though I cannot say for sure if they sought this Stomp’s death. It’s hard to read anything in this destruction, but I sense no sign of malice here. But without malice, why would someone destroy this place?”

“Money,” Ian said. “There’s people out there that will do anything for it. Even kill a dozen people in a sports center. Alright, I think I’ve seen enough. Let’s get Rosa and get out of here.”

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Walking Shadows Book 3 Chapter 5-4

The bus slowed and pulled to a stop on the side of the road.

“This is our stop,” Rosa said. “Unless you two have too much going on to join me.”

Neither Ian nor Phoebe said anything about Rosa’s jab. They simply followed her as she got to her feet and stepped off the bus. Moments later, the bus pulled away and left them standing on the pier. In the cold November air, the streets were empty. Food stands lined the street, but most were closed up and locked.

Rosa started down the street with a clear path in her mind. Ian gave Phoebe a sideways glance before he moved to follow her. He suspected he would receive more of a cold shoulder before the day was done. But for Stomp’s sake, he would take it. Stomp helped him against all common sense. Ian knew he owed the man a modicum of justice in return.

The walk was a short one. In the cold air, Ian was thankful. In just a matter of days, River City had cooled sharply. Winter was near and though the city rarely saw massive snowfall, it still offered real winters. Within a few weeks, Ian suspected they would see a white Christmas.

The remains of the building were little more than some burnt out walls and a few heaps of melted plastic. He didn’t see how they could find anything here.

Rosa didn’t wait for him to question her choice. She stepped up into the burnt frame and started to walk through the mounds of remains.

“Are you sure that is safe?”

She turned and glared at Ian, but said nothing to him in response.

Leaving Rosa to her own dangerous choices, Ian turned to Phoebe. “Are there any impressions? Anything at all that can tell us who did this?”

Phoebe said nothing as she slowly circled the burnt out shell of the building. She moved around it for nearly a minute, Ian just a few feet behind, before he realized her eyes weren’t open. Her movements were clean and crisp, even without her sight.

She stopped short after another minute of uninterrupted concentration. Slowly, Phoebe raised her head and opened her eyes. She looked at Ian.

“We should not be here. It is too dangerous for us. It is too exposed.”

“I don’t understand,” Ian said. “There’s no one here.”

“You told me before people seek you, is that correct?”

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Walking Shadows Book 3 Chapter 5-3

He certainly hoped not. He didn’t consider himself any kind of hero, but he didn’t want to bounce from one bout of insanity to another. But with an unknown organization still out there and after him, with Caelus still loose in the world and with nothing but a whole in his memory, he feared his destiny was not unlike hers.

“So many fossil fuels,” Phoebe said. “Why don’t you use simple power cells to fuel your cars? I have seen your homes. You have the capability to channel electricity anywhere. A simple battery could hold a charge for hours.”

Rosa looked at her with eyes wide. “You really are an alien, aren’t you?”

“More accurately, I suppose I would be called a demigod. My DNA is much like your own. The ancients spread humanity across the galaxy a thousand thousand years ago. Even the oldest elder us does not remember that day. Some of us are just more evolved.”

“I’m not sure if I’m supposed to be awed or insulted,” Ian said.

Phoebe smiled. “Why not both?”

Rosa turned to her window and left Ian to answer Phoebe’s question.

“Our cars mostly run on fossil fuels, as do most of our power plants.”

“I cannot believe a civilization this advanced has yet to unlock nuclear power sources.”

“We have,” Ian said. “We just don’t use them.”


“A lot of people consider them unsafe. They would rather seek solar or wind power.”

“Both are excellent backup generating techniques,” Phoebe said. “But they are impractical for an entire power grid. Nuclear fusion, even fission, would be cleaner and far safer than fossil fuels. I must say your people are strange, Ian Page.”

“I’m not quite sure they are my people. But humanity is built on a bunch of strange dichotomies. I don’t see why energy policy would be any different.”

“I sense much doubt in you, Ian. Even if you once were the monster Rosa fears, you must know you are not that creature now. Whatever took your memory also freed you from that darkness. Now it is up to you to make your own path, whether for good or ill.”

“What if the memories return?”

“Memories are just past experience. They may return, but you have the experiences of the past week as well. Let those guide you.”

“You remind me of Peach, you know. She always had the right things to say. I hope she’s alright.”

“Your friend is resourceful. I believe she will be safe. She was near my own home. With little trouble, she should be able to survive her imprisonment. The world was made to contain, not to kill.”

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Walking Shadows Book 3 Chapter 5-2

“You think of us as a unit?” Rosa shook her head. “We barely know each other.”

“We know each other well enough to accuse me of being a killer. And I know so little about my own past that you may very well be right. But when you’ve got a week’s worth of memories, you hold on to everything you can.”

Rosa stood still, silently contemplating Ian’s words. He remained silent, worried the wrong word might set off her fears of him again.

“I suppose,” Rosa said. “I have never really thought about your plight. I don’t know where I would be without my memories. Without their guidance, I would be lost. Perhaps I have judged you too harshly. But I have also learned in my time to not give trust too easily. Evil will use whatever means it can to strike. I won’t let that happen to me again.”


Rosa fell silent. Ian realized he touched on something she didn’t want to talk about. He knew it would be prudent to change the subject.

“Where do you want to go? You’ve got us for the day at least.”

“I want to go search for something at the scene,” Rosa said. “I feel like the police have missed something. I need to see for myself.”

“I am not sure that would be wise,” Phoebe said. “I can feel your emotions racing. You’re not thinking rationally in this affair. You’re letting your guilt control you. We can look into this friend’s death, but you must be careful not to put too much hope.”

Rosa said nothing in return to Phoebe. Instead she turned back to Ian. “Who is this person again?”

“Phoebe is an empath and a psychic. She can read your feelings, especially if they are strong. She can feel your pain and your stress over Stomp’s death. And she has some history in law enforcement.”

“Oh,” Rosa said. “Where?”

“Now that’s a very long story,” Ian said. “We can fill you in on that one on the way, though I’m not sure you will believe it. Come on.”

A few minutes later, a River City Metro Transportation bus sped down the freeway. Ian sat with Phoebe and Rosa in the back of the bus. Rosa took the story of Ian’s adventures in space in stride. She seemed easily accepting of every detail. Ian knew she had a past as a metahuman hero, but he would think the story would be extreme even for her. Perhaps he was wrong about that one. Maybe this was how every hero lived.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Walking Shadows Book 3 Chapter 5. Ian

With only a short trip between the Spirit Cop Headquarters and Rosa’s apartments, it didn’t take long for a bus to drop Phoebe and Ian in front of the building. Ian wasn’t sure he was ready to face Rosa again. He walked into situations several times in his week of memory that could have caused his death, but facing her seemed far harder.

It wasn’t simply her suspicion about his identity before the amnesia. Ian felt responsible for Stomp’s death. Maybe if they would have communicated with him, even stopped to find him before going after Marilyn and Cyrus, he might still be alive.

“You couldn’t have known,” Phoebe said. “I’m sorry, but your guilt is strong, Ian. You cannot take the weight of the world on your shoulders. Your friend’s death came at the hand of someone or something evil. You were a universe away. Even if he came with you, chances are he would be stranded alongside Peach.

Ian knew Phoebe was right, but it didn’t make things any easier as they waited at Rosa’s door. The front door offered no security for the building, but he felt it was probably best to ring her apartment. He didn’t want to push in too close on the woman that still saw him as a killer.

She met them at the door. She wore a heavy jacket, something far warmer than necessary for the early November weather. But Ian knew the climate here was far cooler than she was used to in Mexico. Coupled with her ability to run at supersonic speed, perhaps she needed the heavier attire.

“I thought we were coming up,” Ian said as she pushed out on to the street.

“I don’t want to just sit around the house. I want to go back to the scene. I want to figure out why someone would blow up the building. I want to know who wanted Stomp dead. It’s time I finally get some answers.”

“I might be able to help with that.”

Phoebe’s words brought her to Rosa’s attention for the first time. Ian watched the two women take each other in for a long awkward moment.

“Who’s this?” Rosa’s words were defensive. She didn’t trust Ian already. He hadn’t contemplated she might take Phoebe as an ally of El Sanguijuelo.

“My name is Phoebe.”

“Phoebe what?”

“Just Phoebe.”

“It’s a very long story,” Ian said. “One that I’m not sure even I believe. But Phoebe is another member of our merry band of misfits, I suppose.”

Saturday, September 5, 2015

River City History: The threat of MEDUSA

Yankee Doodle Jones would equate himself for months as a daring agent for the Allies in the early days of the war. But like his predecessor, the monster of Frankenstein, his mental stability would not last.

As war loomed closer, Yankee Doodle Jones and Dandy uncovered a specially designed unit of Fifth Columnists known as MEDUSA (Military Echelon for the Downfall of the United States of America). They fought the agents of MEDUSA for much of 1942.

Whether by the nature of his multiple bodies or as a result of Stein’s serum, Yankee Doodle Jones grew more and more paranoid about MEDUSA’s activities. He started to see Nazi agents in everything, from street crime to inside the police precincts. He became increasingly distant from Dandy as his paranoia increased, even accusing his young ally of being a Fifth Columnist himself.

Dandy would start to work less and less with his partner. Uncle Sam assigned him to a new unit alongside Georgia hero Johnny Rebel and the New York based Yankee Boy.  As the Young Americans they would become a popular group working to build support for the Allied soldiers while also working as crime-fighters and attempting to uncover the masterminds behind MEDUSA. By mid-1943, Dandy would leave River City and Yankee Doodle Jones permanently to work with the Young Americans. The unit, soon joined by Nathan Hale and Canadian heroine Jetgirl would work together regularly well into their twenties and the next decade.

Jones remained in River City though, intent on rooting out MEDUSA where it originated—and everywhere else as well. The massacre of three off-duty River City police officers and their wives in early 1944 would be the last straw. His paranoia had morphed into a murderous rage that threatened everyone in the city. The city’s other heroes would have to unite to defeat the super-powered threat.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Walking Shadows Book 3 Chapter 4-4

The driver shook her head and opened the door. As soon as she stepped out, she brandished a weapon, an oversized pistol. Kaihime knew she dubbed it the Sticky Gun.

Alli Finch’s words were cold and calculated towards Kaihime. “I don’t know who the hell you think you are, but you’ve messed with me on the wrong damn day. Stand aside or I’ll blast you where you stand.”

Kaihime lowered her hand. She knew these people were violent and she wanted to give the woman no cause to shoot. “I mean you no harm, Allison Finch. But I do need your help.”

“Yeah, well, I’ve got a phone number. I don’t respond well to freaks that try and destroy the Spirit-Mobile.”

“I would not let have let that happen. But I needed your attention. You and your friends are in grave danger. And that danger could change the entire course of human existence. You must stop, before it is too late.”

Alli stared at her. Kaihime didn’t know what to make of the other woman’s expression. She seemed confused at Kaihime’s proclamation. Alli stood up and slowly lowered the weapon.

“Look, I don’t know you at all, lady. You’re some kind of electric laced freak that just dropped from the sky, nearly caused me to crash into you and that wants me to ‘go with you if I want to live’. You’re like every bad cliche I’ve ever seen on the television set.”

Now it was Kaihime’s turn to be confused. Is she saying the television signals we received were wrong? I have to be careful what I say. I’m not sure if I can trust the Spirit-Cop.

“I am sorry to have disturbed you or to have interrupted you,” Kaihime said. “But my warnings are dire. I’ve seen things and I fear that only you and your friends can help me.”

“What kind of things? Falling buildings and doomsday scenarios? Skynet conquers the world?”

“Skynet? I’m not sure of this term. As to falling buildings and a doomsday, I can only say perhaps, but not yet. I see a future where you and your friends are dead. And you have been used to create a monster unlike the world has ever seen. You will raise a true demon to walk the Earth and ravage every ounce of its surface. And unless you are prepared, unless you are ready to face your own mistakes, Doppelganger will lead you to your own demise.”

“Doppelganger is dead.”

Kaihime shook her head. “He lives. He hunts you again, even now. It’s only a matter of time.”

Alli sighed. “You better come with me then.”

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Walking Shadows Book 3 Chapter 4-3

She put her fear aside and used her natural cyberpathic abilities to connect to the cellular connections that flew across River City. They were everywhere, just as she suspected from the programming on the cable. Though always around one another, the humans couldn’t stop from making even more connections.

In a matter of seconds, she unlocked the simple encryption of their signals. She immediately called up her positioning software and started looking through the systems for the vehicle she wanted.

Even with her tech, it took nearly three minutes to find the right localized GPS in the tens of thousands of cars throughout the city. Kaihime found it interesting that while no one was alone here, anyone could find anonymity if even for a short time among the crowd.

The vehicle was on the move. Within seconds, she shot out to follow it.

Her antigrav generator didn’t allow her to speed through the air as fast as she would like, but Kaihime easily covered the length of the city far faster than the cars stuck in their traffic patterns below. She caught up with the vehicle as it made its way through the morning traffic that congested River City’s main thoroughfares.

The tracking showed her the automobile traveling below her, but it was moving at a clip well over fifty kilometers per hour on the bypass. She would need to slow it in order to speak with the contact inside.

Kaihime shot downward, straight for the automobile. It took her only three seconds to reach the ground. She stopped about six hundred meters in front of the car. She threw up a hand and let the energy flow into it. She held it there like a beacon as the automobile careened towards her.

The tires of the oncoming vehicle squealed as brakes suddenly shot down with full force. Kaihime stood her ground and watched the automobile barrel towards her. The systems in her brain calculated the stopping distance based on a thousand variables. At the current deceleration, she knew it would stop short of her by nearly two meters. No need for concern.

Seconds later, the automobile came to a halt in front of her. The woman in the driver’s seat looked at her with shock. Kaihime wondered if she somehow mistimed her arrival. Perhaps the woman hadn’t yet encountered metahuman activity.