Thursday, February 26, 2015

Lucas Donovan's Last Favor (Binding Universe)

This is an early draft of a short story, or possibly the prologue to a longer one. The author hopes to revisit and expand it at some point, to clarify a few details, but at the moment it's an attempt to write a scene clearly with dialogue alone.

“What did you do?

Ah. I see. That shouldn’t be possible.”
“At a baby’s level of development, their souls are still incomplete enough to add bits without breaking the Absolute Rule. Naturally, you can’t force it, but they will instinctively reach for simple ideas that shape their nature. It’s the creche principle. They won’t develop in quite the same way as a proper Nephilim, but they come remarkably close. The proper term  for them is Changeling, I believe.”
“I said that it shouldn’t be possible, not that I didn’t know how it worked. Turning a child into a Sleeper King is, if you’ll pardon the use of an idiom, sick.”
“It will protect him. It isn’t my prettiest work, but his safety is all I really need.”
“He’s hardly human anymore. He may well never develop language, if he sleeps for too long in between his waking periods. Is his safety really all that important if he isn’t capable of living a proper life?”
“You, of all people, should think before you condemn life outside of civilization.”
“I rejected the majority of it’s trappings because I knew enough to realize that they were wrong! He wouldn’t even have that much.”
“For a shaman, you’re quite hung up on human upbringings. He’ll have a nanny, and I can trust her. She should live as long as he does, if she’s careful, and she can raise him during his waking periods.”
“A lonely existence, to be sure.”
“She’s willing. If nothing else, she’s willing.”
“You offered her immortality. But no, it was another favor, immortality alone wouldn’t have been enough, not for you. You saved her life, perhaps?”
“Her mother’s. She knew the type of favor I would ask in return, and came to me of her own free will.”
“So may I meet this illustrious girl? Considering how she’ll be using my home for the next several centuries?”
“She’ll be here soon enough. I agreed to let her live out her mortal lifespan before I took her. It was her condition for agreeing.

And how did you know what I was going to ask you, by the way?”
“Don’t be stupid. I knew what you wanted as soon as I saw him.”
“Then your complaints earlier?”
“All true. Only slightly exacerbated by grumpiness.”
“This makes us even, then.”
“Even? I suppose it does. But with you, that’s tantamount to saying we’ll never meet again. Feeling your age?”
“You know I’d watch over my child rather than leave him to another’s care if I could. I made a promise, and It’s one I’m not willing to break.”
“I see. Even that you’d consider it speaks volumes. I presume it was one of the conditions of your deal with the demon lord?”
“Yes. I am not to make myself immortal, nor live longer than my natural lifespan, lest he return before his exile is complete. I harbor the hope that by the time he awakens, he will no longer be so great a threat.”
“A thousand years can be a long time.”
“And yet so short, as well.”
“Fare ye well, old friend.”
“God by ye.”

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Character Bio: Johann Hexenhammer (Awesome Normal Universe)

The author is sorry this is so late, and hopes he'll actually remember to schedule the post next time. Oops.

There is no official record of when Johann first appeared. Conspiracy theorists can trace a series of arsons and unexplained bombings back more than two thirds of a century, but he certainly seems extremely spry for someone who’s lived that long. Most guesses put him down as starting twenty years ago at the earliest, but they all have conflicting ideas of where, as well as his exact methods. What the evidence does confirm is that for some time, a man in a black trenchcoat appears at the sites of major fires, always accompanied by explosions, and miraculously survives unharmed. Some witnesses report that he’s spoken to them, usually warning them to run, and he has been connected to the confirmed deaths of two experienced Slashers.
Theories as to his origins abound, including: him being the product of a decommissioned supersoldier program, an alien invader now stranded on earth, an angel sent to punish mankind for its sins, a fallen angel, a former bomb disposal technician on a crusade against crime after his family was killed by the mafia, a high school chemistry teacher in desperate need of a hobby, a displaced volcano god, Death, a wannabe superhero, a freed Prometheus, a time traveler, a mercenary, and the former partner of Slasher Academy’s headmaster. One or two of these is probably true, if only due to the sheer variety of guesses, and the multiple sources stating his chosen name has only added to the metaphorical fire. Nevertheless, his past, and his personal details, remain a mystery.
As a social phenomenon he is almost more interesting; he is an established part of urban myth across north America and parts of Canada, but too much fairly reliable evidence exists to all be faked, and therefore his popularity has stayed consistent and even grown, rather than forgotten with the next fad. It also provides a number of interesting case studies in the genesis and spread of urban legends, as the reliable evidence can be compared with the retellings fairly easily, and both the speculation and even the unmentioned facts can be isolated and tracked.
The most consistent details are listed as follows:
  • A man in a black trenchcoat, sometimes closed but never buttoned. The coat is sometimes described as moving oddly, and seems quite a bit less flexible than it first appears.
  • His hair is dark, as are his clothes, but the exact colors vary for each. His shoulders are a bit too broad to be feminine, as is his jaw, but his build is neither slight nor stocky.
  • An apparent sense of extreme ease in the presence of fire, likely related to the fact that it never seems to burn him, even when he walks through it.
  • Some significant expertise with explosives and incendiary compounds. This is less often reported, but widely believed, as there would naturally be fewer things that witness it and survive to tell the tale.
  • Moderate benevolence toward bystanders. There are a number of reports of him warning unaffiliated people to leave or going out of his way to save them.
Anything else is limited to speculation, at least until he arrives in St. Halsburg.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Walpurgis Base (Awesome Normal Universe)

Walpurgis Base is located in Antarctica, and hides the heat signatures of both it’s geothermal and nuclear power generators with a local volcano. It has several purposes, the first being as a very well protected shelter, as it is buried deep enough in the ice that it could probably survive a direct hit from an intercontinental nuclear missile, and secondly as a site for mining and refining fuel for the Orion drive stored on the base, still in construction. It has a combined internet and radio tap located seven miles away, camouflaged and under a small lake, and two backups, all maintained by remote drones. The taps are in line only, which naturally means it requires an actual signal to intercept in order to receive new data as it cannot send packet requests. Fortunately, there are several broadcast satellites that pass over it. Walpurgis also houses several redundant backups of as much of the internet as possible, as well as the majority of the US government database, which is what the local computer terminals mostly search. Two fairly large tankers and an excavation mission were mysteriously lost along with all hands in order to import the materials, and roughly twelve people still alive know about it outside the base crew. The base currently contains fifty people, but could theoretically hold as much as two hundred, and there is a plan for potential expansion, although it would require drilling through more than a mile of ice to mine the necessary raw materials.
The real interest, at least storywise, is that half of the staff are some flavor of madmen, not actually trained to be there, and/or capable of making random and wacky devices to inflict upon their coworkers, usually with some enthusiasm. The series takes place in the Awesome Normal universe, with several iconic characters getting minor references in the background, but the actual time it takes place is uncertain, and any influence it has on outside events is far from obvious. The base is known to have been in the works since well before the St. Halsburg bombing or the formation of the Idle Hands, although either of those may have contributed to the frankly ludicrous amount of secrecy surrounding the base, and it is strongly suspected that Walpurgis is not the only base of it’s kind, or even the only one operational. There is a reasonable chance that Fergus did find out about it, though, based on a short scene where he mentions the optimal positioning of several boat disappearances and a geothermal power source to his colleagues. This scene takes place after he embraces his persona as a supervillain, and probably assumed de facto command of the group.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Early Cast (Complexes Universe)

Hi. I'm still alive, I haven't forgotten to post this, and I actually have another character in the works for this already, so this is only the first section of what will hopefully be several.
Still hold out hope to see your input!

The Black Rival-- A Hero who made ornate armor, based on Rival Complex, out of on hand materials. He stored it inside his body, and figured out how to use his powers to generate or absorb force, albeit in a different manner than actual Rivals. He may not have known how his real powers worked, merely trying to copy someone he’d seen, or he may have had another reason, but either way he disappeared after a few months of frequent operation.

Solomon Vance-- Second in command of the government team formed to investigate the powers. Partially responsible for the San Micheles fiasco, and expressed as an Overlord as a result. Keeping his powers secret, for the moment, partially due to his Overlord induced duplicity.

Priscillia Mannings-- A new Hero, she was trying to investigate the powers on her own before the investigation team contacted and hired her. Good at running, climbing and making blades and spikes with her power, but still new to the job, and is having some trouble staying within the bounds of the law thanks to her power induced recklessness and penchant for testing authority.

Dwayne Arbuckle-- Official leader of the investigative team. A desk jockey, known for being trustworthy and really good with paperwork. Often feels the pressure to work in the field, but the severe diabetes have ended that period. Realized he’s proof that there’s more to Rival triggers than previously thought, as he wants his mobility back quite desperately. Has heard most of the possible jokes about his name, but retains a remarkable sense of humor anyway. Passes off most of the actual leadership to Solomon, and is the first to realize that something’s off after Solomon triggers.

Ian Jackson-- Rival, joined the team after the San Micheles disaster, had armor for most of one arm and his feet at the time. Remarkably calm and insightful, he found clever ways to use his initially limited abilities and was also the second person to recognize Solomon’s condition. Joined the team because he wanted more information on his abilities than he had been able to get himself, and was the first to realize that Rival armor formed when they was striving for something.

Clair Geraldsen-- Came from an only somewhat messed up background, expressed as an Overlord when she turned around to try and help others out of her burning apartment building, and thereby betrayed promise to herself that she’d be smart and leave heroics to the qualified. Only discovered her powers after half a day in the hospital following the event, didn’t try especially hard to hide them, and is probably the most stable Overlord on record. Seems to be trying to live a normal life with some success, but narrative causality suggests this won’t last terribly long.