Chapter the Fifth; In Which The Title is Non-descriptive.
Stunner won the next hand on a full house; threes and eights. The bet wasn’t nearly enough for her to break even after a night of betting the limit and having more tells than a campfire story.
At least she was gracious about it. Go figure; she could spend the good end of an hour complaining or chastising us about every little aspect of heroism, but she loses money without a cross word.
Improv raked in all the cards and pushed the cards over to Urban, but she raised her hands and scooted away from the table. “Sorry, guys, but I think that’s it for me for tonight.”
I almost teased her about quitting while she was ahead. After all, she and Improv were the night’s big winners. But before I could, Improv grunted in agreement. “Yeah. Time to go.”
“And here I was going to try and raise the staked now they you’re all tired and lied with alcohol.” Owl, ever the good host laughed and got up, headed for the bar. As he did, he stretched, working out the kinks from sitting so long. “So. Same time next week?”
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Chapter the Fourth; In Which Barn Owl Does A Favor.
Owl passed the cards to me so I could deal while he went to grab another beer. He came back with one for Improv and Stunner too who had empties in front of them from their third and second beers respectively.
He took his seat just in time for me to start dealing. “Okay, so. This story doesn’t leave this place, got it? It’s just between the five of us.”
“You’re being pretty dramatic about this.” Urban laughed. “I thought this was going to be a funny story.”
“Way over dramatic.” I said. “It’s not even embarrassing, it’s just… cute.”
“Cute?” Asked Stunner.
“Yeah.” I said carefully. Her tone sounded incredulous for no apparent reason. “What about it?”
“Nothing.” She said, trying to sound innocent. “Just surprised to hear Mr. Super-cowboy talking about ‘cute’. Didn’t think it was manly enough for you.”
“Okay.” I finished dealing the cards and pointed at her. “First, I’m not a cowboy. Do you see a six-gun? Do you see spurs? Do you even see a lasso—which would be really useful if I knew how to use one—but I don’t because I’m not a cowboy.”
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Chapter the Third; In Which Improv Encounters Travelers From Out of Town.
There was a party going on on Broadway. The third big brouhaha of the month and probably the eighth since New Years. The Tricentennial encouraged people to take any excuse to party and run with it and the college kids around Morningside Heights could run with the best of them.
And it sounded like they were marathoning that night. Improv could hear whoops and the beat of the music from blocks away, in a man made valley of brownstones in the shadow of a towering student apartment building for the nearby college.
In addition to his armor, helm and goggles, he wore a long, wool coat with lots of pockets, not only for his various devices, but for the potentially useful pieces of scrap of hardware he picked up during patrol. And he carried the Big Stick over one shoulder.
It had started life as a baseball bat but now looked like a knobby club made out of curved ceramic tiles with a rounded steel cap. There was a row of pressure sensitive triggers in the handle.
It was near the end of his patrol, just a quick … Continue reading
Chapter the Second; In Which Urban Amazon Tells Her Tale.
It was nearly three o’clock and a sullen, warm rain was falling and pooling into rivulets that ran down every hard surface, making them treacherous. Aboard the boat, just putting in at a private mooring on the Hudson, the inexperienced crew were having a hard time on deck.
A miracle, or more likely, a large sum of money had gotten them past the coastguards stationed at the boat locks in the New York and New Jersey Oceanic Wall. The Wall, as it was simply called by, was a colossal ceramic levee built across the Narrows to help protect the harbor from rising ocean levels that, thanks to better regulations and technology weren’t going to come. The shortsighted, many of whom lived in the first places that would have flooded, were already calling it a waste of money.
Money had to be involved. The way the crew stumbled around without a sea-leg between them, grasping desperately for anything to keep themselves steady, anyone could tell these weren’t sailors. And a bunch of very-much-not-sailors manning a boat that was supposed to have come in all the way from the Bahamas was completely … Continue reading
Chapter the first; In Which Libations Lead to Boasting.
In the city of New York, I would assume there’s around four or five dozen folks who go out and, with the help of innate gifts, great skill, or a bit of weird science, try and make life in the Big Apple just a bit better under an assumed identity.
Writ large, the press calls us prelates; more and more often, the public just calls us heroes (whether they add ‘super’ or not depends largely on if they have a stick up their derriere.), and among ourselves? Well…
“Have you hear about the new weekender working the Bronx?” Asked Barn Owl as he passed me a bottle of beer. Like me and everyone else in the room, he was in full crime fighting gear; his golden bird mask with sharp, hooked beak that hid his face, a pair of wings constructed of whirring clockwork of some kind with ultra-lite ceramic feathers, and taloned gloves that same color of the mask. At night, it was bizarre and unnerving, In the full light in the room though, he looked… well, like a man in a bird mask.
Despite looking like a lost extra … Continue reading
Chapter the Fourth; In Which Our Hero Learns the Dastardly Plot
Pursuit. If tooling around the city by leaps and bounds is my way of relaxing, chasing down some low life in the same way is my daily recommended exercise. The thing is, it’s not just exercise for my body (which, thanks to the nanites probably doesn’t need it), but for my mind as well; calculating distances and angles over scant seconds, judging the stability of a landing point, or whether my static grips will adhere to a given surface.
Of course, I don’t think of all that in the heat of the moment, I mostly think things like ‘god, I hope he doesn’t cross any wide streets I can’t jump across’ or ‘huh, they really do look like ants from up here’. As I chased Tank’s red jeep, trying to keep an eye on Barn Owl above and Stunner’s ridiculous custom painted black and blue coup, I could only think that there was no way Tank couldn’t tell we were following him.
While he’ll never win a Nobel Prize in the sciences, Tank is no fool; he’d notice the blue tinted headlights from Stunner’s car or catch either Barn … Continue reading
Chapter the Third; In Which Our Hero Engages in Fisticuffs with a Ruffian
Being a superhero generally doesn’t pay unless you’re willing to shill for a private security company or a city. No one pays for your costume and gear repairs, your self defense classes, the sick days you have to take when you’re waiting for your broken ribs to heal, or the pizzas you have to pay Nermal in.
More idealistic people would go on and on at this point about the good vibrations they get from helping people and I’m not going to deny that that’s nice. But sometimes, simpler pleasures abound. Like for example, the very act of being ‘super’ itself.
I have to remind myself sometimes that even with the grip boots and gloves I built, a normal person would shatter their legs running sideways across buildings and making those street spanning leaps. After the first few months of it, I can’t imagine how I’d live without it.
It was all the better that night after leaving Nermal’s place though. After days of waiting and worrying that the city would go straight to a computer chip instigated hell, I had a destination; a recently vacated United … Continue reading
Chapter the Second; In Which Our Hero Seeks Assistance and Explains Superhero Sociology
“Comes at a cost?” Janine asked, pausing in what she was doing. Specifically, she was holding my head in her lap and braiding my hair. No, I don’t know why she was doing it. I’ve learned not to question it on top of putting away any hope of actually being able to cut my long, girlie man hair. Hey, if a beautiful woman likes your girlie man hair, you keep that hair, or else you’re an even bigger girlie man. “You’re exaggerating, aren’t you?”
“Hey, thirty bucks in a great cost with my income.” I defended. “Not to mention leapfrogging all over town trying to keep a pizza warm.”
“You had to deliver pizza for information?” She gave me a confused look and went back to molesting my hair.
“Well, a pizza. The best pizza in the city – probably the world. Mama Cecily’s King Kong special.”
“The one you and Slush are always talking about? The one that’s basically a meat and cheese casserole?”
Slush is my best friend since middle school. Other friends may come and go, but our exploits are legendary. He’s also the … Continue reading