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 The Game Changes (Both Parts of Two)

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TerishD


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PostSubject: The Game Changes (Both Parts of Two)   November 4th 2012, 10:29 am

A Fight for Recognition
Story Twenty-One: Part One
The Game Changes

My Fame Spreads
I saw the flag, but did not bother checking the time. I simply clicked the link. It actually surprised me when I saw the connection light up.

Break Neck did not appear to be wearing much. She did appear sober, but also very relaxed. If she had done drugs, she did the right kind. I appreciated the view as she opened up the conversation.

“Hello, fellow superhero – well, ex – nope, as you’re not the ex-superhero, but I am.”

I looked at the date on my computer screen, realized that I had missed something, then coolly made what I felt was the proper reply. “Yes, I was told that you did not want to be called Break Neck anymore.”

“Twenty thousand an appearance now. Almost worth keeping the name. Came in from celebrating being a millionaire, and what did I see but you stopping a kid from shooting up his school.”

“Yes, but just the usual story of being in the right place at the right time. Flying some Top Gun nimrod around in my plane showing him what it can do. The kid was not in school, and he should have been. Saw the guns. Pretty easy to see that he was heading to the school. Barracuda goes in low and takes the legs out from under the kid. Plane comes in and does a forty-five degree nose-stop right over the kid – something no plane can do. Helicopter might, but not without wind wash and rotor noise. By then police are arriving and do the processing, but I get the credit. Top Gun nimrod highly impressed, so I suspect that I will become a bigger millionaire than you.”

She laughed before saying, “Brian will say that it is just because you are white.”

“Tell him that he is right. Tell him that there is a white boy bonus when they determine the value of a contract.”

She laughed some more, then asked, “Is Professor Nathan with you?”

“Oh, yes, with everyone calling him Doctor Jackson. I don’t mean that he is in the room though. He has his own suite. Not exactly that happy. Something about having done all the work. The two of us would argue theory, compare equations, and work, work, work on things. Now it is just regurgitate it and show it off for the people around here. Not nearly as fun.”

“The moon is not giving you problems?”

“No. The technology works. Everyone is telling me that I don’t need to go. I do though. I need to say that I did.”

She moved up close to the camera, which gave me a good view of cleavage. “Yes, Larry, that is what I need. I really did not have my dream set on becoming a corporate icon. I don’t know. The money is nice, but I really no longer feel important.”

“So, I might as well keep calling you Break Neck, as you are going to keep doing things to earn the name?”

It was nice hearing her laugh. “Listen, Larry, don’t lose your dream. I want to keep hearing you call me Break Neck, simply because I want you out there risking your own neck.”

“I have my own Waterloo coming up. Head to Germany in about a week.”

“Then you go to the moon.”

“Yeah, but then my plans tend to get boring as well.”

Her face smiled in a wide girlish fashion as she said, “You can join me putting on little performances.”

While the action was silly, the words actually touched something serious. “Professor Nathan and …”

“Doctor Jackson.”

“Nate and I…” She fell out of screen with the sound of laughter filling the speaker, so I waited for her to return before continuing. “spoke about that little performance bonus, and are seriously considering having it put in our contracts. The only problem is that you did not intend to go back out as Ballet Slipper, while I fully intend to keep playing with my technology.”

“You do that, Larry. You owe me a ride.”

“Since when? You never gave me ride on your motorbike.”

“You rode it.”

“Oh, yeah, I did. Okay, I owe you.” I guess I made some expression with my face, as once again she fell down laughing. “What drugs are you doing?”

“No, drugs, Larry. Really, I am just overly relaxed. No more crime fighting. No more working for Mr. Owens. I have all my hours. I was actually still working for him because I needed the money.”

I hated to spoil he mood, but I did feel the need to give some good advice. “He’s a good man, Break Neck.”

“Yes, that is what my mother is telling me. I don’t know though. This is just nice. No worries. It won’t last, but it is nice to have this moment.”

Knowing that we both had other things to do, I sought to end the conversation on a good note. “Thank you for sharing it with me.”

“Thank you for being there. The news showed the footage of me being hurt that time. I don’t know how things would have turned out without you. There were other times as well. Really, Larry, thank you.”

“Well, I don’t care if your brother is black, you will always be welcome at my house, mansion, space station, wherever it is that I am calling home.”

I could see the smile on her face as she focused on a racial reference, “I just have to use the back door?”

“Well, yes. Gee, Break Neck, I’m from the country. Only strangers use the front door.”

Cold Night Out
Before he left, Larry told me that you have to be out and looking to find anything. He was correct that he and Ballet Slipper would make patrols, but they found things. I was in the news business. I regularly went around looking for oddities and trouble to report upon. Abe and I did have a good reputation for finding such things, but trouble never waited for reporters while those with life stories usually did. We had never found ourselves on the scene for anything more troubling than a fender bender.

I felt that one difference between me and those two superheroes was that they had methods of moving about. Ballet Slipper had her motorbike, and Minnow flew around on those strange machines. Of course they had no true superpower, but relied upon technology, which included their methods of travel. I could use my power for traveling, but in being a real superpower it took my own energy. It tired me to moved about.

Superman could fly and get to places really fast. He could thus sit around the Daily Planet listening to the police scanner or waiting for someone to call with a news worthy development, then rush to the scene of the occurrence. Police dispatches however do not scream out for all units to rush somewhere. They will blandly speak some code with the cops suddenly sounding their sirens or calmly proceeding depending on a number of factors that I never fully understood. When I did comprehend that there was trouble, if I was working then I had to get a visual recording of the event and could not rush to change into costume in order to save the day. I could move through the sky, but I was not Superman.

Abe Lagamire had given me an assignment for the night. The job came with four hundred dollars cash. I was to visit a tittie bar, more than one if I desired, and take notes on what I saw. Abe was a family man, so did not want to be seen – or have his wife learn about him being – in such a place. I could not say that it would help my reputation, but I was single without any serious prospects, and it was effectively free money with benefits. I thus took the assignment.

There was one relatively close to my apartment, but I did not visit that one. Another one in a black area of town, and I did not visit that one either. The next one out was a biker bar. I actually did not expect the sights to be of any quality, but I felt that I might find trouble. While I did walk in with my notebook, I was thinking of my costume relatively close in my car.

The bartender asked me, “What’s with the notebook.”

“Andy Bryant, cameraman for KNOX. Actually here on assignment. Oh, beer, not a lite.”

He moved to get me a bottle while asking, “Wanting to take pictures?”

“No – wanting to take notes. I don’t know what angle those at the station have, but they sent me to get some notes.”

“What type of notes?”

“Well, I’m no artist. So, until I am told to come in here with a camera, the ladies have nothing to fear.”

I did nothing more than jot some reminders about the description of the establishment. For what I considered a biker bar, it was actually a rather clean establishment on the inside. The ladies were a little meaty, but they could dance. The men, most dressed in the leather of those who drove the two-wheeled machines parked outside, called the ladies by name as if they were part of the family. While I was no artist, I knew the type of notes Abe wanted, so did my best earn my money.

One of the ladies came up to the bar, and spoke to me. “Hey, note taker, that Asian guy back there is buying you a drink. Why guys like that come in here I don’t know. You not one of them?”

“Sometimes I think that I might as well be, as I can’t keep a girl.”

She smiled while handing the bartender a bill. I looked back to realize that I probably knew the Asian guy. It was hard to tell in the dark, but I really knew of no other Asian guy. I thus told the bartender that I felt business had come to me as he handed me my drink.

The Asian verified his identity as I sat down, “I’m Wisdom of the Ages.”

I replied without shaking his hand, “Hell of a place to find you – or me.”

“I used to wonder why I only had the power to see the past. I felt it was useless. I however had learned that the future is unknowable. I do not even believe God knows the future. He is powerful enough to guide and manipulate, but even he finds himself surprised at times.”

Not impressed, I mumbled, “So, ‘Hell of a place to find you or me.’”

“Yes, Andy. Still, glad to have met you. The man you were sent to find and report on is Darrell Morely, who also happens to be found here. If great minds think alike, hopefully his is the only one of us three that is criminal in nature.”

I could not read in the dark of the establishment, but wrote hoping that I would be able to read the words later. “Does he own the bar?”

“No. He is… laying… low.” Wisdom was looking at me when I lifted my eyes to see why his speech slowed down. “Andy, he has already done his crime. He is here to establish his alibi. There are people in danger.”

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PostSubject: Part Two   November 9th 2012, 2:19 pm

A Fight for Recognition
Story Twenty-One: Part Two
The Game Changes

I looked to the old Asian guy and asked, “That power of yours is rather flaky, isn’t it?”

“No, not at all. There however is a tremendous amount of history constantly being created. I thus tend to need to focus to learn what is important to me or those around me. Sometimes the wealth of information takes some sifting.”

Yes, I could believe that. “Okay, so can you tell me where to go?”

“Uh, yes. Brian’s house.”

“Brian? Brian who?”

“Sherita – Ballet Slipper’s brother.”

I had met the man. Did not really like him, and felt certain that I gave him no reason to like me. Except for the fact that I had saved his sister, but that was all in the line of being a superhero. I really did not know where he lived or if he would be thrilled to meet me again.

Wisdom told me the location of Brian’s house, then commanded, “Give me your pen and a piece of paper.”

I had not written the address down, as I was just going there. No reason to provide Abe with any connections between me and a certain superhero rescue. I thus wondered about the request as I did not want Wisdom leaving any clues either.

“Why?”

“I need to leave Peter with instructions. He will see about notifying the authorities.”

I tore out a sheet of paper from the notebook, told Wisdom to keep the pen, then left. Going to the car I tried to think of the best place to change into my costume. I had gone around one day looking for fast food joints and convenience stores that had restrooms in places most would not want to go. I chose my target as I left the tittie bar.

There are no street signs in the air. I also did not have enough control over my flight to stop and read. No super vision either. I had however learned the streets driving around with Abe. I thus put myself in the general area. I checked a street sign when I landed, then launched myself back into the air rather certain about arriving near the right place.

I ran up to the house and banged on the door. I found myself surprised to see Sherita answer the door. Understanding that I possibly had little time, I did not consider explaining myself or being polite.

“Listen, black bitch, I’m not here to be an asshole.”

She let me pass while saying, “I know that I have gone public, Boom, but that does not give you a reason to barge into my life.”

Brian rose from an easy chair while saying, “Listen, white boy, I didn’t hear Sherita…”

I felt the reaction, and put my concentration upon containing it. My power actually had a rather limited area, although I did practice with it. Luckily, the house was not that big. Without the second floor, there would barely be enough floor space for the necessities of life. I could not contain the blast, but did my best to save the foundation of the house.

The area around the house lit up as fire and gases shot out of the windows to the basement. I had worked to protect the stairwell to the lower level, but smoke poured up once I released my concentration. Hoping that everyone inside the house understood my reason for being here, I turned to go.

“I did what I could. You’re alive.”

I felt a hand tap the metal place before my face as Sherita said, “If I could, I would kiss you, Boom.”

“Yes, well, maybe I do deserve it. Still, we would both hate ourselves later for it. Let me go. Maybe I can find someone acting responsible.”

“I will be checking with my brother about who might have been about the property. Do what you can, and I will do what I can.”

“Okay. The name I was given was Darrell Morely. I doubt that you will directly connect the dots to him however. Let me go.”

People were showing up as I rushed out the door. I stopped to scan those in the crowd for signs of weapons or just suspicious glances. Almost everyone backed up when sirens sounded. I continued to hold my place until I saw the lights coming down the street, then I used my power to rush me back up into the air.

I had not looked up. Somebody had to have gone into the basement to set the bomb. I was thinking of the perpetrator as being on the ground. As I gained height, I however felt my powers perform an act of self-defense as something tried to strike me before I heard the retort of a rifle. I turned to look, and up even higher than I was presently I saw a marksman in a helicopter.

With a focus of concentration I propelled myself even higher in the air toward the aerial vehicle. My metal faceplate not only helped keep my looks from being spoiled or even recognized, but it also acted as a good wind-breaker. Still, rushing through the air without any real control does not make it easy to focus on things.

Two more shots tried to hit me. I sensed the bullets as they passed, but neither came close enough to cause my power to activate. I had to give him credit for getting as close as he did. I was moving, and he was moving, and yet the bullets came close enough for me to notice. When I came in contact with a runner for the helicopter, I spoke quickly before he could try and hit me with a close shot.

“You know, a real assassin only needs one bullet. Magazines are for those who expect to miss.”

“Yes, well, asshole, you…”

That was all the time I needed to concentrate. “Boom.”

The shooter was slammed up into the compartment of the helicopter. I used the time to climb onto the runner and give me a better position for taking action. As I put one hand on the doorway into the helicopter, I noticed a man wearing a suit in the copilot seat pointing a revolver at me.

“Boom.”

Blood splattered on the glass front panel of the cockpit. I really did not intend to kill the man, and honestly did not believe that I did. Might have cracked his skull, if it was a weak head, but probably just have him one massive headache. I looked at the blood and considered that things were getting too dangerous.

I looked down to consider things. Luckily, those in the cockpit were simply cursing and not immediately threatening me. That gave me time to think. So far I had been doing things that I was familiar with. I had a simple superpower, and really felt awesome enough doing what I did. In periods while relaxing I would consider doing more with my abilities, but ended those sessions just brushing the thoughts back into my mind. Not really knowing how I did what I did, I had no idea about how to consider improving my abilities. Looking down, I however felt that I had a perfect opportunity to try.

“Boom.”

Smoke poured from the top of the craft. Helicopter engines were not the simple combustion machines even when cars had a powerhouse one could tear down and rebuild in a day. Now that wheeled vehicles were dominated by computers to enhance performance, helicopters were driven by even more technology to assure a maximum mass to power ratio. It really did not need much from me to put the vehicle’s engine out of commission. As the smoke trailed behind, I jumped off.

It was difficult, but I forced myself to equal the challenge. I usually just dropped and relied upon my power to give me a safe landing. My blast had locked up the rotors, so it fell as well with me worried about those inside the craft. I however did not just want them alive, but turned over to the authorities. I thus had to use my power to stabilize the descent of the craft, direct it, as well as keep myself alive. While the effort stressed my concentration, I forced my mind to stay focused on the challenge.

I saw a news van with my company’s logo on the side, but it was the female reporter on the scene. Lois Lane was going to scoop Clark Kent, because Superman had to save the day. That part of the comics was accurate. I however was glad that somebody would get the pictures, so brought the helicopter down where those near the news van would get a good view.

As police rushed to me, I said, “I guess that I need to file a report.”

An officer with a fancy uniform answered, “It probably will help in this case, Boom. There is not a clear connection as to what they did.”

“Can I do it now during all this commotion, instead of later when my presence could cause a scene in itself?”

“Sure, Boom. Come with me.”

I did my best to recollect events properly for the cops. My training in the news industry did help me there. Abe trusted me to accurately fill in gaps in his own recollection of events, and I worked to do the same for the officers of the law.

“Uh,” I looked at the final line and felt a need to say, “I really don’t want to write my own name.”

“Don’t worry about it, Son. Write ‘Boom.’ As long as you appear in court as Boom, it should be good. Lawyers can bitch, but what is important are the facts.”

“Thanks.” I signed my name, then gave a fact to assure that things could go properly. “I have access to news feed, so just put it out and I should get it.”

“You got it, Boom, but I doubt this will ever get to trial. Do you know who you went up against?”

I shook my head while saying, “Someone rich enough to own a helicopter and hire hit men.”

“Yes, that’s right. So take off while you can. We will do our best to let you know if you are needed.”

Follow Up
I read the report and could not help but dial the phone. Sir Soldier answered by the second ring. I looked at the clock and listened for sounds indicating that he was at a bar. What I heard over the phone sounded like he was watching a movie.

“Hey, Larry, what’s up?”

“Have you been watching the news?”

“No. I ain’t no superhero. I will wait for my update in the morning.”

I considered reminding him about his identity as Sir Soldier, and not simply Captain Destran, but went ahead and moved the conversation along. “Then a heads up – Boom went into action. Are you working with him?”

“No. I ain’t working with the ghost lady either. I have contacts, and know how to make contact, but so far my instructions are to leave them alone.”

That explained the movie, so I decided to let the man know that he had work to do. “Well, for your information, Boom did well. Should be all over the papers in the morning, so you might want to get informed before people come to you as their only known and accessible superhero.”

“Okay, but do you see any problems?”

“Yes, a big one. When the good guys score a victory, the bad guys up the game. Things were already getting rough when Break Neck and I quit the game. Boom might need you, and your Marines.”

Things went quiet over the phone. Did not even hear the movie, so I suspected that I had his complete attention. That was proven when the phone again carried his voice.

“I will relay the advice. I know Ballet Slipper will help if she can. How is your schedule?”

“I am hoping that Germany will be a rest, but I am getting word that things will be active there as well. Cannot say that you can depend on me.”

The phone again went silent for a time before Sir Soldier replied, “You are the one with the most years as a superhero, so I might need your advice.”

“You called me, and now I am calling you. Oh, there is Mrs. Lorshein. She was right there advising me all those years. You might want to give her a call.”

“Might visit.”

“That will be appreciated. Listen, Sir Soldier, Ballet Slipper and I hopefully worked to make the world better. I don’t know about Boom. As someone with a ‘real’ superpower, he might just be in the fight, but he is on the right side of the fight. Do what you can for him.”

“I consider myself just in the fight as well, so will do.”

_________________
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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The Game Changes (Both Parts of Two)
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