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 Levels of Good (All Parts of Three)

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TerishD


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PostSubject: Levels of Good (All Parts of Three)   August 31st 2012, 3:29 pm

A Fight for Recognition
Story Sixteen: Part One
Levels of Good

Annoyances
I looked up from the table in the lab created by the recharging Eagle. Seeing someone with Sir Soldier did not bring me relief. I however knew my identity as lab stooge, and worked to play it.

“Hello, gentlemen. Professor Nathan is in class right now.”

Sir Soldier replied, “We are not here to see the professor, Larry, but you.”

“I told you not to bother me until after finals.”

“Yes, and I told this man that, but he demanded that I introduce him. He also got one of my superiors to make that an order. I thus want you to meet Bart Silvers. Mr. Silvers, this is Larry Kert.”

I did not rise, but I did put out my hand. Bart Silvers did not look completely white. His black hair and hefty physique had me allow that he could be European, but was probably something else. His racial background did not concern me, but I pegged him as having a different kind of history, which he proved to be correct.

“Mr. Kert, I directly represent Dow Chemicals, but that is a large company connecting me to a lot of other interests.”

“Which if you don’t own now, you will by the end of the day if you feel it is necessary.”

“Well, uh… How about if I offered to hire you a tutor.”

That set me off. I threatened the man for insinuating that I could not learn the material on my own. I then reminded him that the university was an institution for learning, which would not happen if someone else told me the answers. I finally let him know that he was here because of what I figured out on my own, so in the interest of continuing my success I would work at figuring out on my own the subjects whose classes I was taking. The man listened to my tirade, and did not speak until he felt certain that I was winding down.

“Mr. Kert, please, I would like your help resolving a problem of which you might not be aware.”

Considering the amount of abuse I had just heaped upon him, I had to give the man credit for still standing. “As you can see, I have a bunch on my table already. Still, go ahead, load me up with more.”

“The cops are finding a lot of people ending up dead. We believe that there is another superhero in town.”

Wondering just how up-to-date the man was, I asked the obvious. “Could it be Boom?”

“No. We really do not know much about Boom, but this problem is not in the style of what little we have seen of him. It seems to be internal, as the reports are of the independent groups clearing out untrustworthy members. Problems like this are not unusual, but the number of such occurrences have marked the situation as unusual.”

“I am sorry, and this involves me how?”

“You seem to be a focus, Mr. Kert. Not just Captain DeStran has made themselves known to you. It seems that Ballet Slipper has as well. We are thus wondering if you would know of others.”

Considering that I figured that I had enough on my mind, I easily passed over the compliment and duty. “Sir Soldier and Ballet Slipper did not come to see me, but Professor Nathan.”

“As the – (ahem) – lab stooge, it seems that they mostly deal with you.”

Just out of curiosity, I had to ask, “What about this other unknown superhero interests you?”

“Nothing, but the intent is to let you know how much we have studied the local situation. I am not here because of connections in the military. I have read your patents, and your papers to gain the grants. My company does have military connections, so once certain facts came out I was directed to get into contact with Captain DeStran.”

Hoping to get rid of the man, I replied, “Listen, I am the wrong person to contact. Ballet Slipper would be the right person. You are just going to have to trust me that I will do that.”

“My company, Dow Chemicals, is directly interested in her technology.”

“You should be, as it is mostly a chemical process. Honestly, once I let her know about you, she will probably want to meet with you. Her brother is driving her crazy about selling her technology. Professor Nathan could use a cut of the funds as well, as he is the one that has perfected the application. I am however not going to make it a priority.”

Bart Silvers took out a wad of bills, then tossed down a copy of a famous portrait of Benjamin Franklin as he said, “Well, let me buy you some pizza and beer to help with your studies.”

I picked it up while saying, “No beer until after finals. The pizza is appreciated however, although the beverage will probably be coffee.”

“Just as bad for you.”

I had to chuckle at that, and the good vibrations caused me to offer the man a bone. “I am going to the moon. I went into space, and the next step is the moon. Your company better have something to offer me after I do that.”

“I will let them know.”

Captain DeStran saw me point at him as I said, “That goes for the military as well, although you know that I want the public to have access to the technology.”

“They are already making plans, Larry.”

The men turned as Cindy walked in complaining. “Oh, Larry, Professor Nathan is so… I am sorry.”

Bart Silvers said, “No, dear lady, excuse us.” He turned back to me, tossed me a card, then said, “Larry, after finals I expect to hear from you.”

I replied, “I told you what my plans are, so leave me alone until then. If another does not contact you, it will not be my fault.”

Captain DeStran put an arm on the man’s shoulder to have him turn while saying to the lady, “Cindy, I hope to have another one of your meals this weekend.”

“Oh, no, Sir Soldier. I will be studying. The only thing to eat will be pizza.”

I provided the information, “Bart Silvers gave me money to buy some, so thank him, Cindy.”

“Thank you, Mr. Silvers.”

He turned to bow to the lady, then said, “I wish both of you the best with your finals, and hope to speak with you further.”

As the men left, Cindy asked me, “Who was that man?”

“Somebody wanting to speak to Break Neck. Would you call her while I look over the problems Professor Nathan assigned you?”

I had not actually taken the class that Cindy was taking, but had tested out of it. The problem I had with my studies was that I needed to secure the credits in the classes that I was not that good in, and really had no desire to become good in. While looking over Cindy’s material, which I actually found enjoyable, I saw in her eyes a desire to take the classes that I tried to understand.

Seeing her hand the phone to Professor Nathan when he walked in did not surprise me. As he began to bee-line to his office for privacy, I waved to have him stop and gain the business card. With him knowing as much as I knew about things, I felt able to again lose myself in my studies. As Cindy came to sit beside me, I reminded her that the professor was using her phone, and with a nod we got to work.

We did not need to retrieve the device, but Professor Nathan came back out of his office to hand Cindy her phone while speaking to me. “Sherita has finals as well. She is taking a class, but mostly has to worry about gaining credit for her work with the Owen law firm. She said that she would probably have Brian call.”

I replied, “That may be good or bad.”

“Yes. I don’t believe Brian really knows the technology. Still, the man does have his sister’s best intentions at heart. Oh, yes, speaking of big corporations, I received word last night that your grant has already been approved for another phase.”

That piece of information was news to me, but something that I did not consider immediately worth my time considering. “That is a matter for Mrs. Lorshein. She will track down the cause and let me know what to think about it.”

“I agree that she has your best interest at heart, and she does understand the technology.”

Assuring that Professor Nathan understood something, I said, “She also agrees with the timing. I am telling everyone to wait for my announcement from the moon.”

Cindy asked, “The moon?”

I replied to her, “That is not the only thing that I have to tell you, but let us get through finals first.”

She repeated, “The moon?”

“Mars is too far away.”

Professor Nathan chirped, “Way too far away to even consider at present.”

Cindy asked, “American joke?”

I answered, “No, my joke. It deals with what I talk about with Professor Nathan and Mrs. Lorshein. You need to get more interested in science to understand.”

“I like science, just not the math.” She looked at Professor Nathan as she said, “This science has a lot of math.”

The man pointed to the black boards surrounding her as he replied, “Yes, little lady, a lot of math.”

I put us on topic by setting a book and some paper in front of her and saying, “So, get to work.”

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PostSubject: Re: Levels of Good (All Parts of Three)   August 31st 2012, 6:46 pm

I've skipped a bunch of sections being this was the easiest to click on. Reading this however makes me want to jump back into the continuing story line. I love that you are continuing the 'Break Neck' storyline throughout each part.

This particular part, I must say makes Cindy look like something of a nitwit. She doesn't like the math, I get that, I don't care for math either. But the last line says to me that she's allowing him to boss her around. (Just like a man, ha!)

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PostSubject: Reply   August 31st 2012, 9:59 pm

Kellycakes wrote:
I've skipped a bunch of sections being this was the easiest to click on. Reading this however makes me want to jump back into the continuing story line. I love that you are continuing the 'Break Neck' storyline throughout each part.

This particular part, I must say makes Cindy look like something of a nitwit. She doesn't like the math, I get that, I don't care for math either. But the last line says to me that she's allowing him to boss her around. (Just like a man, ha!)
First, thanks.

Second, I will say that IF you had been reading, you will find Cindy to have a little more to her. Still, I am intentionally walking the line with her. She is NOT the girlfriend constantly needing to be rescued. She is NOT the girlfriend who is also a superhero. She is NOT an evil hussy creating additional problems for the hero. She is just a nice, fun, lovely addition to the cast. Attempting to do more with her will actually make her cliche'. Yes, she will probably be cliche' for other genres, but for a superhero tale I find her actually refreshing. However Larry treats her, he is attempting to do right by her, but has his own projects that demand his time and attention (and now finals on top of those). Still, Kellycakes, if you think I get too far out of line, let me know.

This is story sixteen, so I am over the planned halfway mark. The stories are getting tougher, but I am keeping the faith. Thank you again for reading.

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PostSubject: Re: Levels of Good (All Parts of Three)   September 2nd 2012, 3:36 pm

Quote :
I will say that IF you had been reading, you will find Cindy to have a little more to her. Still, I am intentionally walking the line with her. She is NOT the girlfriend constantly needing to be rescued. She is NOT the girlfriend who is also a superhero. She is NOT an evil hussy creating additional problems for the hero. She is just a nice, fun, lovely addition to the cast.

I will have to go back to my place in the list to find the 'more'. I'm so glad that she isn't the needy, hang on to his every word, did he look at the girl' drama queen type character. Thanks for sharing looking forward to more.

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PostSubject: Part Two   September 5th 2012, 3:14 pm

A Fight for Recognition
Story Sixteen: Part Two
Levels of Good

Trying to be a Friend
Annette felt bad as soon as she had said something. Her mother could however be very annoying. Annette had left her home completely agitated at her mother who stuck her nose into every part of her life. The strange thing however was that Annette had to admit she always did things to cause her mother to notice, and felt bad that she had done that very thing one more time.

“A superhero, you?”

Annette quickly worked to retract her words. “No, mother, but somebody will want to take advantage of the fame our superheroes are getting. I am thus hoping to get my body into shape to try and get the part.”

“The female superhero is black, Annette, and you are not black.”

“I am sure that there is some racist producer out there wanting a white version.”

Annette heard her mother sigh as if desiring to end the argument, but true to form she went right back to talking. “Why even bother, Annette? I am sure that Donald will get you pregnant soon enough – those pills don’t always work – and all that work to get yourself into shape will be lost.”

“I cannot just sit around the apartment all day, Mother.”

There was another sigh, but the words this time were actually of the lady giving up the argument. “I guess not. Any cute men at the club?”

“I think they are gay, Mother. Not that I am giving up Donald.”

“Are you sure that he is not giving up on you?”

“MOTHER!” Annette knew that her mother never liked Donald. “He loves me, Mother. He works and works to try and make our life better. He keeps telling me that he needs me to maintain a daily discipline as well. Well, I am doing that by attempting to do more with my days beside sit around the apartment.”

“Well, I agree that you need to make certain that he thinks twice about dumping you. Okay, Annette, so work out in your little gym. Maybe there is one guy in there that is not gay.”

Annette ended the phone call, then went to the closet where she kept her outfit. It really was nothing more than a hooded shear robe originally lined with fake fur to be used for enticing one’s lover. Annette had removed the fur, then added lace and yellow tassels. Donald had seen the outfit, but not as something to hide her identity. Honestly, it hid little, so when she had stepped out only being covered by the gossamer gown he quickly wanted to do a certain thing. Annette however knew that it fit her needs perfectly in acting as the costume for her spectral self.

She left her house wondering if she should speak to Ages. She had called the number he left, and had found the man to be helpful. Annette had thought that Peter was his secret identity, but then met him one day. The Army sergeant did not look anything like Wisdom of the Ages, so she accepted that when he set down the phone to get the superhero that he did indeed go into another room of their house even though it almost never sounded that way.

Those at the gym had learned her name. Annette did tend to show up, although her husband’s schedule and her own needs did not allow her to make it at a regular time. Ages had said that once she developed to a certain level of physical ability he would get Peter to train her in combat. While her spectral form could not fight, the Asian man felt that she might get into situations where she felt a need to act in a physical form. Annette had to agree with her mother that getting pregnant was a definite possibility, so entered the gym wondering if she would ever reach the point where Peter could train her.

She did not allow herself to do the simple machines. She would do some weight lifting, simply because she could do them properly while she felt that she stressed her back lifting things during the day. She did not work on the treadmill, because she walked enough. Her apartment was not on the first floor, so Annette also avoided the stair-climber feeling that she could do that at home as well. The simplest machine she worked with was the punching bags, but usually sought to stress her body in methods that she felt only the gym could manage.

Feeling a need to work off the stresses that she had forced her body to undergo, she thought about places she might check to better herself and her neighborhood. Annette now had her own bank account. While the amount of money was not much, it did assure that Donald’s money would not be spent on frivolous purchases. What she had bought for the house she had explained as finding it on sale, but Annette wanted to have enough to help cover the expenses of a child. She thus thought about activities around her neighborhood and which ones she might be able to remove while gaining some of their illicit wealth.

She felt good having heard people speak praise for her work. Of course, they did not know it was her. What appeared as a gossamer covering added a shimmer to her spectral appearance that had none associate what they saw with anyone alive. That not only prevented the criminal element from targeting her, but also kept people from associating her extra funds with certain activities. Annette liked the praise from her husband for her work to improve their lives.

Walking around the neighborhood however had none of the problems that it once had. When she had first come here, there were a number of things that caused her concern. The sky was however turning dark without any of the gatherings of young men that usually did nothing but cause trouble. The sidewalk was also free of the wandering individual usually desperate for some quick opportunities for gaining a transfer of wealth. Annette found herself able to walk around without any of the fears she once had.

It surprised her to see another person leave their building to take a walk. She considered Thomas to be a rather good person in spite of his business selling drugs. He protected himself by limiting his clientele, and Annette had not targeted him due to him not targeting the innocent. Feeling that he retained a little spice in what was becoming a dull neighborhood, she freely smiled and greeted him. It surprised her to find him to stop as if to chat.

“Annette, hello. What has you out so late?”

“Coming home from the gym.”

“Getting yourself in shape for your husband?”

She considered that a strange question, but went ahead and provided the answer. “Yes. Honestly, though, it is just something to do while he is at work.”

“Uh, well, you are not in need of anything to make your time with him special?”

Annette caught the phrasing. She however did not take offense, because she did not consider herself innocent. She however felt that the question could be turned to her own advantage.

“No, Thomas. Those days are behind us. Especially for me, as I plan on having a child, so – Thomas – I want you to promise me that you will tell me if Donald asks for something from you. I don’t want him following a certain path again. He needs to stay with me and be a father to his child.”

“Yes, well, don’t you worry there. He almost bashed my face in when I asked him. It seems that he stills feels the urge, so gets uptight.”

Those words cheered Annette, so she freely passed along some wisdom. “It was the gambling that really got him in trouble, but everyone focused on the drugs. I don’t want him doing either.”

The man nodded, then passed along some of his knowledge. “He is trying, Annette, but, like I said, he does still feel urges.”

“Well, you sell to someone else.”

Instead of nodding in agreement or moving off, Thomas stepped closer. Annette tensed her body with the fear that he was about to take some action. She relaxed however upon simply hearing some words better said in private.

“Okay, Annette. Business is just kinda up-and-down right now. A lot of the dealers around town have run into trouble. Most of their business I don’t want, but some of those I would appreciate are moving elsewhere along with some of my usuals. I’m thus having to work to re-establish my customer base. I did not mean to imply anything by asking.”

“No; it’s okay, Thomas. You provide a service, but just understand that there is a danger with your goods. Those other dealers were not caring about the danger, but I’m asking you to care.”

He stepped back from her as he said, “No problem, Annette. Those words are good advice, as selling to the wrong people can be dangerous for me as well. I will let you know if Donald comes to me.”

“Thank you, Thomas.”

The man nodded and acted as if he was going to move on, but then stopped as if searching for something to say. “Uh, Annette, you haven’t seen any ghost, have you?”

“Ghost?”

“Yeah, those people coming from other dealers are talking about some ghost making the dealers do stupid things.”

“I thought that you did business with Madame Occultine.” Seeing him only nod, Annette went on with her thought. “Well, trust in her. She should keep the ghost away, and you keep trouble away.”

He continued to nod as he said, “Well, thank you for the advice, Annette. Have a good one.”

As the man left, Annette considered going on home. She did want to have a hot meal waiting for Donald when he came home from work. Accepting that all she would be doing was walking around looking for signs of trouble, she decided it best if she allowed the criminals to have another night of freedom, which would hopefully make them easier to detect on later evenings. She thus turned for her apartment.

“Hey, Thomas, get in.”

The words were not said loudly. Annette stopped, but more to determine whether she heard anything. She did not turn, although saw Thomas as he settled in the seat of a large car between two much larger men. Annette did not know what she could do, but felt that she needed to do something to help a friend besides exchanging kind words.

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PostSubject: Part Three   September 10th 2012, 3:05 pm

A Fight for Recognition
Story Sixteen: Part Three
Levels of Good

Energy and Curiosity
I actually needed sleep, but Cindy did not provide the physical release that she usually provided. I could not complain, as she was quite willing most of the time. When she made an excuse, I had to agree. It was only proper. My parents and Mrs. Lorshein would both fuss at me if did not allow the lady some space. I however felt a need for some action. Going out as the Minnow was probably a bad idea, but that was what I did.

Honestly, I was not out looking for trouble. I did not fly low, but stayed in the air where I could perform my maneuvers without any fear of quickly meeting the ground. I actually would have liked getting my plane and doing some stunts with it, but I feared getting into trouble with those who knew that I should be studying or sleeping.

Moving between Eagle and Pirahna was not a hard maneuver, but I was attempting to imagine the larger wing as my plane when I heard the gunshot. Looking far below I could make a car swerving. Realizing that the city probably needed a superhero, I secured my hold on my smaller wing while giving the command to descend.

The vehicle suddenly screeched to a halt in the middle of the road, and a door flew open with a voice loudly commanding, “Okay, Thomas, run!”

“Yorkie, I have no idea what you are doing, but, Thomas, you start leaving and I will shoot you.”

Having no idea of the situation, I simply dropped on the road near the front left corner of the car. The man in a business suit sitting in the copilot seat let the driver know of my arrival. The one in the open door had a gun. A man dressed in a casual manner sat in the middle of the back seat. The other one the back seat had gold around his neck, and on the fingers of the hand he pointed with.

Something was said to the driver, and he had his window go down, although it was the man with the gold on the back seat that spoke. “Nothing here, Minnow. Just a business transaction. I will have the driver move out of the road.”

Yes, I know sign language, but I found almost no one else did. I thus simply used my fingers to show three numbers. The one on the back seat decided that he needed to speak again.

“That really is not necessary, Minnow. We can handle our affairs quite fine without involving the cops.”

I looked with those in the car as the one in the open door suddenly got out. He threw the gun into an alley, then ran a few more steps. Seeing me, the others with guns decided not to make them so obvious. After the man ran for just a short distance, he stopped.

Something came at me. All I really saw was a faint mist. The next thing I knew I had my hands on the front bumper. The one that had left the vehicle, along with the others were looking at me strangely. Wondering what had happened, I saw the mist, almost looking like the form of a lady, enter the car.

The one with gold now said, “Okay, Thomas, you can go. Here, let me give you some money for your time.”

It was now my face showing confusion, probably visible even through my mask, as I heard those on the front seat question the orders of their boss. The one that had fled now returned asking what had happened. The one casually dressed, being called Thomas, got out of the car due to the urging of the one wearing gold. The one that had left was then ordered to get back inside and shut the door. I did not know what power the leader had over his men, but when he gave the order to drive off they did not question him.

There were a number of good things about my mask, one of which was the fact that others could not see my expressions. Thomas watched the others drive off, then calmly moved to the curb. I walked with him. We both then looked up with shock, although my expression could not be made out, when a lady came running from the alley.

“Thomas! Thomas! I was so worried about you!”

I thought the lady was the man’s wife, but he did not act toward her in such a manner. “Annette, I’m fine. Listen, I need to go away.”

“No, Thomas! The good people need to stay. You don’t do anything wrong. We need you to stay.”

“Annette, I have to deal with people like that. When they lose their confidence in me, it is time for me to go to different pastures.”

“No, Thomas. We good people have to stick together. You will be protected. Just like right then, you will be protected.”

The man looked to me, thanked me, then looked back to the lady. “Annette, I will think about it. I cannot just up and leave. I thus will be around awhile. Look out for me, please.”

“Donald and I were going to go to a movie tomorrow night. He’s off. Do you want to go with us? No drug talk, Thomas, just let’s be friends. We are friends.”

“Yes, Annette, that’s fine. Tomorrow night. Let me know when.”

Still confused, I watched as Thomas walked away. I did take glances to notice the lady. When she finally turned to me, she asked a question that confused me further.

“You don’t have super strength?”

I shook my head. I then pointed to Pirahna that floated nearby. She looked, then shook her head as she said something else that confused me.

“Yes, I don’t know how you work those. Anyway, thanks, Minnow. Thomas is a good man. If you find him in trouble again, please help him.”

I heard things that I would have liked to have discussed, but as the Minnow I could do nothing more than nod. She accepted my response, wished me a good night, then began to walk away. I really had not done anything, but suddenly felt drained, so I called Pirahna feeling that it was time for bed.

Made it to my house safely, but I was still getting out of my costume when the phone rang. It surprised me that I had left it in the basement, but I went to pick it up realizing how tired I was. I thus put it on speaker, then sat to take off my boots.

“Larry,” Mrs. Lorshein said, “is Cindy with you?”

“No. She says that she can get us copies of the tests from her sorority. I don’t think I need them, but a couple extra past tests would help me prepare.”

“You are going to tell her?”

“Yes, after the finals. Her parents will tell her if I don’t.”

There was a moment of silence, then Mrs. Lorshein asked, “Did you go out?”

“Yes. I needed to blow some steam. Something weird happened. I would like to discuss it with you.”

We did not get to open over the phone. The period of silence thus did not surprise me. As expected, she was coming up with a plan when I next heard her voice from the phone.

“When is Cindy coming back?”

Those words sounded a little humorous to me, because it would be like the lady to find a moment to be there when I told Cindy about my other life. Of course, the other problem was that when I revealed my alternate identity, I would need to propose to the young lady as well. It had come up in the discussion with her parents. I however needed to do something before making that step, so I did nothing more than smile before answering Mrs. Lorshein’s question.

“Whenever the noise level of celebrating sorority members gets to where she cannot study. I figure that she will be moving in with me Friday. She will leave for Germany a week from Tuesday.”

“I will be over tomorrow evening, late. I will assume that you will stay in the lab, so let me know if you go home or if Cindy is with you.”

Those were the usual plans, so I easily replied. “Will do. Thanks.”

“I am glad to be here for you, Larry. You’re a good young man.”

While I could not get blatant with discussing my alternate identity, her words gave me the opening to speak of something on my mind. “Do I have to stay here? I’m not talking about moving to Germany, but simply moving. I was told that the good people need to stay.”

“Somebody told you that?”

“No, not exactly. The words were actually told to a drug dealer, at least the person was told in a manner as if they were a drug dealer. It seemed that he was considered a good drug dealer – if there is such a thing.”

Again there was a period of silence, then Mrs. Lorshein said, “Well, I want to hear the whole story. Thus, focus on your studies, Larry. Rest your mind knowing that you cannot leave right now.”

“Sounds like a workable plan, Mrs. Lorshein.”

“Larry, let me say that neither one of us knows the future. No, you need to go where you feel led to go. I will want to be there with you, however, as you are the only family that I have. Thus, don’t do anything rash. Please keep talking to me.”

“You got it, Mrs. Lorshein.”

I hung up with the lady, then began going up the stairs to the main house. As I checked the doors and windows before going to bed, I thought of something else. Wondering how much another would enjoy being put in the loop, I punched another number on my phone.

“Larry? Problem?”

Sir Soldier sounded awake, and I felt certain that noises in the background indicated that he was in a bar. “I think I got a hint on what’s happening with the bad guys. There is a lady going around possessing people. She thought Minnow had super strength. I don’t, and she did not know how to operate the wings, so she worked on the bad guys.”

“You want to talk about it?”

“No. I want to go to bed. Mrs. Lorshein is however going to come to the lab tomorrow evening to discuss this with me. If you want to be there, there might be food. Usually pizza, but Mr. Silvers gave me money for that. I thus will probably have Mrs. Lorshein pick up chicken.”

I was worried that my train of thought would have confused him, but Sir Soldier was quick to return a counter. “Tell you what. I will pick it up. See you then.”

“Sounds like a plan.”

_________________
Fantasy puts more requirements on the writer than any other fiction, because the world must be made as real before anything else can be real.
Adult Christian fiction quite different than all the usual lame stuff in that market.  "Dilemma of Dreams" now in hard back.
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