Saturday, April 30, 2016

Walking Shadows Book 3 Chapter 20-2

Alli didn’t care for how Kaihime brushed off the question, but the cyborg didn’t pay attention to her annoyance. Her focus turned to the computer. Kaihime worked her fingers across the keyboard, but even as she did so, thin strands of wiring emerged from beneath her blouse. They snaked into every access point on the computer tower. Alli felt her skin crawl at the sight of it, but she restrained herself from stepping between her new ally as she went to work.

The screen flickered across several screens as Kaihime worked. It quickly switched to a run menu as Kaihime started to input hundreds of DOS commands faster than Alli’s eyes could follow. She was no computer expert by any means, but she didn’t understand the first thing Kaihime was doing.

I’ve came this far already. I might as well trust her now.

“What are you doing? This all looks like gibberish to me.”

“I’m accessing the encryption of the files. It is set in layers, each one more complicated than the last. The keys are different for each one, and in order to access each, I have to first unlock the one before it. It is an ingenious system, designed by a master cryptographer. The first two layers are already open, the ones containing your friends’ names as well as the second layer with information on Ian and the man you knew as Smith. The third layer seems harder to access than it actual is. The key here is a complicated substitution cipher, but I am already well on my way to unlocking it. Give me just a moment longer.”

Alli didn’t even know what to say to most of that. She only knew what cryptography was from movies. She certainly didn’t have any clue on the nature of how to use it, nor of breaking codes. She didn’t have a clue what a substitution cipher was, nor did Kaihime seem to have any intention of explaining it. The mysterious woman certainly was knowledgeable, but she didn’t seem to understand most people didn’t know as much as she did. It made her talk over people easily, and did little to make Alli feel like an intellectual equal. She had to remind herself Kaihime didn’t do it on purpose. Her knowledge of human interaction was based on television and film, far from reality.

Cut her some slack and remember I’m smarter than I feel right now.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Walking Shadows Book 3 Chapter 20. Alli

Spirit Cop Headquarters seemed eerily quiet as Alli and Kaihime stepped into it. As night fell over the city, the loss of Peach and her friends seemed even more poignant as Alli walked into the empty building. She still wasn’t sure about the mysterious cyborg. She felt lost without Marilyn or Peach around to talk her questions out.

But Kaihime had revealed secrets about their attackers. Doppelganger was part of a far larger conspiracy and they would have to do something to stop GENESIS from bringing to fruition everything Kaihime claimed they had planned.

Alli walked her new ally up the stairs to the secondary computer Ian and Peach had used to try and unlock the files he stole when he first escaped GENESIS. Alli didn’t know how Kaihime planned to access them, but a cyborg certainly seemed like a go-to source for computer expertise.

“Are you sure we can’t take this to F.O.R.C.E.?” she asked as she pointed the desktop out to Kaihime.

“I am sure. The Court of Shadows have a long reach. I cannot be sure they do not already have agents in the Federally Organized Response for Critical Engagements. If they do, they could hide GENESIS long before they could be stopped. Our only hope is to work against them ourselves and for that we will need the assistance of others.”

“And you think the hard drive has more names on it. How have GENESIS not accessed those names?”

Kaihime stared down at the tiny flash drive extended from the computer’s USB port. “This drive does not simply contain an archive of GENESIS’ work. GENESIS may be part of a larger conspiracy, but even they don’t have the means to track a large number of metahumans and supernatural beings over the course of a city or beyond. These files were taken by them, but even they don’t have access to all of them. They only have bits and pieces of a greater set of information. The encrypted files on here are older than you think. Far older than they should be. If they are what I think they are, these files date back to before you and your friends were born.”

“That doesn’t make sense. Everyone’s name was on them but mine. If they were written before we were born, how could that be the first file open here.”

“Indeed. But that is a mystery for another time.”

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

River City History: Duel with the Red Hawk

With speed and cunning on her side, Tomboy tracked down the Crime Crusader and Gail Porter just minutes ahead of her own father’s hit squad. Some accounts make out Charles Jackson to be a reluctant hitman at best and credit this with his daughter’s ability to get ahead of him. But Janie Jackson’s career in River City for decades after her career as Tomboy might mark a different story. Jackson never revealed the extent of her father’s association with the Red Hawk Gang, nor did she ever reveal the incriminating elements of her father’s activities for the Red Hawk.

With Tomboy’s warnings, the Crime Crusader and Gail were able to outrun the police hit squad without a gunfight. Though Jones was reluctant to trust a young girl, he knew Tomboy also offered him a chance to finally set a trap for the Red Hawk. They set out to lure the Red Hawk’s men into a false feint. Tomboy dressed in a wig, a dress and an over-sized pair of shoes to trick the gangs into thinking they were trailing Gail Porter.

At the same time, Jones and Porter used Tomboy’s knowledge of the Red Hawk’s whereabouts to confront the gang boss. No one exactly knows what happened for certain in the Red Hawk’s penthouse apartment. Porter’s news story says both men took gunshot wounds from one another, but the fight ultimately turned in Red Hawk’s favor as they both struggled to overcome the other. In the end, the Crusader perhaps only saw one way to beat the warrior known as Red Hawk. Both men tumbled from the twentieth story of the building and plummeted to an ignominious death.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Walking Shadows Book 3 Chapter 19-3

They finally pushed through the last few people and into the parking lot of Lumber Jacks.

Keith pushed her out, but kept a hold on her arm. She turned to meet his eyes. She kept her face impassive as if she was too overwhelmed by the situation to know what emotion to feel.

“You and I will talk about what’s going on here later. You have a lot to answer for here, but I have to find Rosa. She could still be in there and I won’t lose her.”

Melinoe reached up to the side of Keith’s face and just barely brushed her fingertips down his cheek. Minutes ago she wanted to be rid of him, but now she saw an opportunity by keeping him around. And with so many men in authority, it would take only a little bit of her magics to enthrall him.

“Rosa will be fine, but I need you here now. If you leave me and they find me, I’ll have no one to protect me.”

He looked at her. She knew his mind was trying to come up with reasons to go help the other woman. But Melinoe knew she had him enraptured. The intensity in his eyes made his answer clear.

“You’re right. Come on. We need to get you back to the station. We can find out what we need to know about those two there.”

She nodded. Squad cars were already filling the parking lot around Lumber Jacks. The assassins would not be foolish enough to stick around to fight dozens of police officers. They would run, lick their wounds and strike again.

But this time, she would be ready for them.

He pulled her towards one of the squad cars on the edge of the lot. His gun was already gone from his hand. He was quicker than she thought. She hadn’t even seen him holster it. In its place, he held up his badge.

“Sergeant Keith Kenwood. This woman may help us learn a bit about the people that caused this. We both need a ride to Central right away.”

The young officer, a man barely out of his teens from the look of him, studied them for a moment. Keith was already impatient, his drive from her touch in full gear. He shoved the badge in the young officer’s face.


The poor young cop nodded as he quickly threw himself back into the driver’s seat. Keith pulled open the back door and helped Melinoe in before he climbed in himself.

Seconds later, they were flashing out into the River City night.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Walking Shadows Book 3 Chapter 19-2

They ran out towards the doors, but the fleeing crowd slowed any progression outside. Melinoe and Keith turned to see the woman closing on them. Worse, the seemingly unkillable man followed behind her. Melinoe glanced back behind her. They had no chance of escaping before both assassins were upon them.

Keith raised his gun, but Melinoe simply closed her eyes. She reached into their minds and searched their thoughts. Echoes of images flashed through her head. She wasn’t sure she could use them to stop her foes, but she certainly could slow them down if only she had time to work her power on them.

“Stop!” Her voice echoed over the din of the crowd. “Who are you? Why are you doing this?”

The woman smiled. Melinoe felt the yearn for the lash of her whip again, but she pushed the urge back as she focused on the images in her mind.  

“I suppose you should know the name of your killers. They call me Pleasure and my partner is called Pain. Our job is simple: kill you girl.”

“What did I ever do to anyone?” Melinoe tried to sound innocent as she said it, but she doubted the assassins believed her and wasn’t sure about the cop either. Not that it mattered anymore.

The half-naked man—Pain—charged towards them. His fears were simpler and easier to evoke. Never-ending agony scared him, pain that his body would keep him alive to take forever. A simple thought caused flames to blast out of his skin, instantly blackening his flesh.

Keith recoiled, but Melinoe only watched him burn.

Pleasure looked at her partner and then back at her and Keith.

“Stop it. Stop it or I’ll kill you!”

Melinoe stepped back as Pleasure closed. “Stop? I’m not doing anything. Stop him before he burns this place down!”

Pleasure turned back to her partner. She clearly didn’t know what to do, but her worry for her partner at least gave her pause from the job at hand.

Keith’s training kicked in. Even if he wanted to ask Melinoe about the situation, his need to get her to safety overwhelmed it. He yanked her back towards the thinning herd pouring through the doors. Again, she let herself be pulled along.

But her mind was already racing. Clearly these assassins weren’t working under their own accord. Clearly someone wanted her dead. Who even knew she was here in this gods forsaken city? The answer to that question seemed necessary to her continued survival.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Walking Shadows Book 3 Chapter 19. Melinoe

Melinoe didn’t know why more super-powered freaks wanted her dead. Nor did she really care. But she would be damned if she let them hurt her. Nor would she let them threaten her new livelihood. Her options seemed clear. She needed to escape Lumber Jacks for now and then find a way to end her would be killers.

Her only problem was the man that viewed himself as her rescuer. Keith, Rosa’s police officer friend, was at her side, already pulling her towards the exit. She knew she would face great punishment should she cause more havoc to the mortals, and a dead police officer would certainly fit that category. She couldn’t kill him in order to make her escape. So she would have to get rid of him some other way—or use him to her advantage.

He yelled, “Everyone out!” The crowd was in too much anarchy to really listen. He yanked her to the door. She was strong enough to pull away, but she knew she didn’t need to raise his suspicions about her true nature.

She let him drag her along, his weapon drawn. The club had a no weapons policy—it was posted all over the doors—yet somehow the police office had his. It was something to note for the future.

A spinning figure rushed over them both as they ran. It was the woman assassin. Her outfit looked like something normal for Lumber Jacks, but she brandished a whip covered in thin metal brackets. She threw it outwards and it wrapped with ease around Melinoe’s left arm.

She expected pain, but an almost orgasmic wave shook her body instead. She could only smile at her sudden state of euphoria, even as she watched Keith raise his gun and fire at the woman.

Their attacker twisted away to avoid the shot and the movement yanked Melinoe to the floor. But it also caused the whip to slacken around her wrist. The metal brackets ripped bits of her skin away even as she pulled free of it.

She instantly wanted its touch again. Her arm ached with the pain of the bloody gashes and the ecstasy was gone.

Keith fired twice more, forcing the female assassin to dodge them again. Grabbing her uninjured arm, he yanked Melinoe back to her feet and pulled her towards the front door. She didn’t immediately want to move, still in search of the whip’s touch, but she let herself be brought along by the handsome young officer.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Casting Call: Marilyn

Marilyn is probably the most unique casting feature here, because I simply have to find the right actress to portray Marilyn Monroe today. Michelle Williams played Marilyn to perfection in 2011's My Weekend With Marilyn. She has almost exactly the perfect build for the legendary actress as well, while far too many choices to play her are often a bit too waifish for the real Ms. Monroe.

She would be a bit older than the rest of the cast, but I see no problem with her handling herself against the other stars here.