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 A Matter of Fame (All Parts of Three)

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TerishD


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PostSubject: A Matter of Fame (All Parts of Three)   November 14th 2012, 4:40 pm

A Fight for Recognition
Story Twenty-Two: Part One
A Matter of Fame

Associations
I had showed up for just a company publicity announcement of finding an application for my technology. I felt that the plane landing without wheels, but with metal skids, to have been a wonderful demonstration. Not only could it assure the safety of passengers in some dire circumstances, but there was talk of other uses. I actually felt glad that my little discovery had some practical applications, and was more than glad to promote it.

I however should have known that one reporter would have other reasons for being present. “Miss Clausen, as Ballet Slipper you were helped on a number of occasions by the Minnow. We now know that the lab assistant for Doctor Jackson was the Minnow, yet you say that you never knew or actively worked with him.”

The company accepted that the reason for my fame was my history as a superhero, so it was accepted that there would be questions like this. “No. In fact I still find it hard to believe that Larry was the Minnow. My brother and I often tried to figure out who the Minnow was, and we discounted him being Larry every time. The usual reason was that Larry will talk and talk, but the Minnow doesn’t.”

“But you did suspect him?”

“Not really, but I did suspect Professor Nathan – Doctor Jackson – of helping the Minnow. You have to understand that I went to others, but only Professor Nathan was willing to help. I thus suspected Minnow of also ending up with Professor Nathan That had me suspect that Larry knew who the Minnow was, but I never suspected that he was the Minnow.”

I saw the company personnel with me smile as another reporter asked a question more on topic. “Since Doctor Jackson knows your technology, will we see the Minnow using it?”

I replied, “It would sure help the value of my stock if he did.” Hearing some silence, I went ahead and added an answer the reporter probably wanted. “I know nothing of Larry using my technology.”

As a company man pulled a microphone to him to also state his ignorance of outside uses of the technology, another reporter asked a question. “Miss Clausen, were you and Larry Kert, who we now know was the Minnow, ever an item?”

“No. I am a few years older, and not a science geek. While Larry was always nice enough, I never felt any spark from him.”

I began to wonder if any of the reporters cared about my technology as another reporter asked about something else. “Do you know Cindy Serkovorga?”

“Yes, and I can say that there was a spark between her and Larry from the first. They quickly became an item, although she just provided more evidence for Larry not being the Minnow.”

“Will you be invited to the wedding?”

“I’ll feel slighted if I’m not, and that includes if there are two weddings: one in Germany for her family and one in Knoxville for his.”

I became annoyed when another reporter asked, “Would you be asked to be a maid of honor?”

Instead of answering, I took out my phone. With some simple finger action I found Larry’s number. With a sigh of relief, I heard the man answer.

“Hello, Break Neck. Yes, I’m watching. Actually believe that your technology will work better in space, but right now we have enough to consider with my own technology.”

“Where’s the professor?”

“Taking a vacation. He has an invite to the weddings as well, but will probably be out of town. Cindy wants me to take her to the moon with me, then have a priest say the vows while up there. Both families against it.”

Everyone had gone quiet. I took advantage of the opportunity to speak of the applications of my technology. Larry proved himself as a science geek and gave me the question and answer session that those from the company were wanting from the reporters. Something about Larry however kept everyone listening.

At the end of the phone call, we closed the session. Hearing the company figures compliment me on my actions, I felt that I owed someone else a part of my fee. Once off on my own, I thus hit the number on my phone again.

“Hello again, Break Neck,” Larry said. “My plane should be leaving soon, so keep it quick.”

“I owe you, Larry. Thanks.”

“Yes, well, I think it’s funny that you are calling me to handle reporters. You were the one operating in daylight and talking with the cops.”

As I expected, the topic of money never came up. While I had set up financial arrangements with Professor Nathan, he really never bothered me about being late with payments. He and Larry were always there willing to help me. While the pair would now comment about how they would make more off their own discovery than I would make on mine, I still felt that money was not an issue with them.

“I believe that you are right. If you would have been a talkative superhero, everyone would have figured out who you were. How many people stop you now to talk to you?”

“I’m right here in an airport, and nobody is bothering me. Got stuff to read while on the flight. Cindy says that I will be bothered in Germany, so I will probably spend most of the trip studying German.”

“Have fun, Larry, and know that I will be watching you.”

I ended the call to hear one of the company men crow, “The military is interested! Big Bucks!”

Considering who Larry was working with, I found myself thinking that I would see him soon enough. While I agreed with him in preferring public companies to profit from our technologies, government grants were the more lucrative in the short run. Our careers as superheroes had advertised our technologies as well as proven its effectiveness, although also seemed to have relegated them to crime-fighting and other usually government handled occupations. I know in my case, and most certainly Larry’s, there was also the fact that we had kept our mouths shut, so could be trusted to keep secrets.

I had the fame of being recognized. It made going about interesting in that I knew who would seek to speak to me or have their picture taken with me. Having had a persona that had been completely covered by a costume and silent, Larry did not have the fame. He however had a girlfriend and a base of supporters that made me at times envy him.

Trouble Being Me
The waitress acted as if I would refuse the bottle of alcohol. I reminded her that I would be marrying the daughter of a small, but successful, brewer, so definitely would imbibe. I thus accepted the miniature bottle of rum while telling her to thank the pilot, but pointed to my computer saying that I had work to do so would prefer the soft drink.

Honestly, I expected to be legally drunk by the end of the day. Either Cindy’s father would have me lift some steins, or I would be taken out with the younger crowd who would have me do the same thing. I preferred being clear-headed, although accepted that I tended to focus too much on things that I enjoyed. Slightly drunk, my mind would wander to less in-depth topics that others could appreciate as well.

My phone rang, and I checked it expecting the call to be from Cindy. The signal did have a German designation, but was otherwise unknown. Wondering if she had used someone else’s phone, I accepted the call.

“Ah, Mr. Kert, or should I say Minnow?”

This was really the first prank phone call I had received. It was not that my number was unlisted, but just that most people did not find topics of high-energy physics worth talking about. I did get groups coming by the house, but that happened long before anyone knew that I was the Minnow. My property was just outside the area the authorities had designated as part of the campus, so free from any additional rules of alcohol and loud activities. My parties never got out of hand, as I was just not that type of person. I kept my socials to friendly gatherings where one could relax and ignore the problems of life for a time. When recognized as Lab Stooge, people began associating me with superheroes, but still those that bothered me were friendly. Actually being identified as one of the superheroes did not bother most, as most of the thrill had already worn off. Feeling that I had somehow skipped a part of being famous, I went ahead and answered.

“Whatever, dude. What’s up?”

“What’s up is a drone closing in on your plane with a bomb. Unless you act quickly, you and all on board will be blown out of the sky.”

“Yeah, right, dweeb.”

That is what I said. What I neglected to lecture the idiot about was the practical concerns for getting a small craft up to the cruising altitude of commercial planes, about seven miles, and speed, about five hundred miles an hour. While the person on the phone stuttered, I also did not speak about being one of the tech-savvy superheroes. I did not have any natural superpower, but had used special equipment. I thus knew technology, which included my phone. The call was recorded along with being sent to a web page – a military one. All of this was done before the idiot found the words to say more.

“The lives of everyone on board the plane are now in your hands.”

“The drone should be on radar.”

“No, as we built it of carbon fibers that do not reflect.”

I challenged the idiot on the logic of his statement by mentioning needing support struts, electronics, and certain things about the bomb components. Just to assure that a certain extra party understood the situation, I mentioned the bomb a few times. All that time speaking of the drone being able to be picked up on radar, I was running a routine on my computer to locate the one calling. Before my program could work, the one monitoring the webpage sent a reply that I needed to keep the idiot talking while support was on the way.

Over the phone I heard, “I don’t believe that you realize the seriousness of your situation.”

“I don’t believe that you understand my abilities. I don’t have to get into my supersuit to access my superpowers. Lab Stooge did just fine making a name for himself.”

“Lab Stooge? I thought I was talking to the Minnow.”

I heard some chuckles from others on the plane. That told me that I was recognized. It also declared that certain things about my career had been made public, so the one on the phone was as much of an idiot as I considered him to be. I kept myself from chuckling as I made a sarcastic reply.

“The Minnow does not talk, doofus.”

“Well, you need to contact him and …”

Suddenly another voice with a much stronger German accent spoke over the connection. “Is this Larry Kert?”

“Yes,” I replied, “and I am glad to hear someone with a brain in their head. I assume that you have the situation under control.”

“Well, don’t get your hopes up, as it seems that there is a problem here.”

_________________
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.


Last edited by TerishD on November 23rd 2012, 1:59 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Part Two   November 19th 2012, 2:51 pm

A Fight for Recognition
Story Twenty-Two: Part Two
A Matter of Fame

While I usually complimented German technology, I had to state my disbelief in the level of the threat. “You cannot tell me that there is a drone headed to us.”

“No, Mr. Kert, but this place was just a re-transmitting station. We did not yet catch the person.”

On my phone I saw a text message from the military, ‘Now that I am aware, will be more cautious next time.’

I verbally spoke to assure no panic to those listening, “Well, there should be no threat to those of us on the plane.”

“No, Mr. Kert. Enjoy the ride, but we will be waiting for you upon your arrival.”

I had no idea why they needed me, but I guess that German law would require that I place charges as in America. I thanked him for his help, and closed the connection. I also typed in a message to those monitoring the webpage, and they responded that they were just doing their job before I exited that application. Having no idea about how the rest of the day would go, I relaxed simply hoping that at least Cindy would be there to keep me company.

From a couple of seats behind me and across the aisle a man asked, “Do you get calls like that often?”

“No,” I replied. “Those in Knoxville know where I live, so just drop in to chat.”

“No threats from the mob?”

“The mafia knows better than to attack someone at their home. Just like in the movies, it raises the antagonism of the good guys.”

A lady sitting across the aisle said, “Yes. If they attack a person’s home, they do not deserve to live.”

I did not want to get too involved in the topic, so simply replied, “Well, if they can attack me at home then I can attack them at home. Bad guys like having a safe and happy home as well.”

The man tried to keep the conversation going by asking, “But surely there are laws that you need to abide by.”

“What laws? If you speed on the highway, the cops can speed to catch you. If you break another law, there are usually illegal methods that quickly get authorized to be used against you.”

“Like allowing a vigilante to stay free.”

That was a strange turn to the conversation, but one that Break Neck and I had discussed a number of times. “I was never a vigilante. I never took the law into my own hands. I acted as a concerned citizen, but always allowed the law to have precedence. The Minnow never destroyed property, beat criminals to a pulp, or continued to act after law enforcement arrived on the scene. I never had to appear in court to convict a criminal, because I was never the primary or sole witness to a criminal activity.”

“So, no one is in jail because of you.”

“No one is in jail due to my testimony. I might have done things to assure that people were identified and connected with a crime, but no one is in jail solely because of my claim of their guilt.”

Before the man could say more, I brought out more evidence. “There is no law against dressing up in costume. There is actually a responsibility upon a person to report crimes and otherwise work to prevent illegal activities. As a citizen, it is not in your best interest or the best interest of your community to be passive. I might have pushed some boundaries, but I worked to never cross them.”

An elder lady from somewhere behind me said, “You did well, young man. I hope things continue to go well for you.”

I thanked the lady, then found myself once again able to lose myself in my work. There were limitations on my technology, but with it being something different everyone, especially me, felt that we did not know enough to feel constrained. Professor Nathan even hinted that my discovery opened up a way around the light speed limit. While Mr. Lorshein had taught me the basic science behind our technology, he really only paved my path to working with the real laws of Newtonian and Quantum physics. Now advancing to a junior, I could truly begin working with the high-order equations to understand my discovery. It took time to get my mind in the proper thought processes, but the plane ride was comfortable enough that I managed to lose track of time as I pondered doing more with my equipment.

Arriving at the airport, I found those in military uniforms separating me from the other plane riders even before I reached customs. “Uh, guys, I don’t really have anything on me that cannot be claimed.”

An Air Force colonel replied, “Possibly not, but we observed two objects separate from the plane about the time the plane started its final descent.”

I looked at the men and one lady, a second lieutenant, then made an observation. “You are not here about that.”

“No, Mr. Kert. Consider this just a courtesy. We want you to know that you will be under observation, as there is a situation that could involve you.”

“Okay, guys, thank you. Honestly, though, I won’t be paying attention. I have a fiancé situation that I hope to resolve. I thus plan on having fun. Yes, there will probably be a little superhero demonstration, but that should be kept to a minimum as I am not yet ready to go public with my science.”

“Well, there does seem to be a faction that wants to go public with some cause. We want you to know that we are treating this seriously.”

Honestly, I had no reason to doubt it. The military showing up with a group of officers I however felt was a little extreme. I thus could not prevent myself from voicing my doubt at their reason for being present.

“This many shiny suits makes me feel that this is your version of publicity.”

“Little displays like this help in matters of international protocol. Thank you for being so understanding, Mr. Kert.”

I saw the lady move to open a door for me. I made certain to shake hands with each of them. I then went through the door to embrace ladies that I actually wanted to spend time with.

Mrs. Lorshein had arrived about an hour ahead of me. She was thus there with Cindy and her family. Reporters were present as well. I however made certain to greet those I considered important before moving to speak to those of a larger audience.

Luckily, I had been working on my German, so managed the interview. The questions were mostly about connecting my earlier visit with this one. Someone however did ask about the situation while in the plane, to which I worked in a national quip.

“You Germans, always interested in the boring stuff. Something did happen, but nothing requiring any superheroics. It was handled by the proper officials, and I appreciated the diversion. Overall, however, it was a nice, pleasant ride.”

I then turned the conversation back to my earlier trip here. I wanted everyone to know that I was handling personal business before my technology pursuit. The intent was to present myself as a common guy instead of some advancing corporate figure. As hoped, the conversation did turn to Cindy and my desire to spend time with her family.

Right then an explosion sounded. I ducked and foolishly sought cover behind the podium while wondering about the event. If they were attacking me, they did a horrible job. There was the option that they were having trouble getting to me. Bringing guns and explosives into an airport surely was as frowned upon in Germany as it was in America. I thus looked around the podium to see if there was a mass of people heading toward us. There were, but I quickly assessed that they were fleeing the explosions and not rushing to attack.

Mrs. Lorshein yelled from her chair, “Larry, into your suit.”

“My suit?”

“Surely you have it inside your larger wing.”

I had just stressed to people that my superhero identity was not a vigilante. I saw security personnel attempting to direct those fleeing, and felt that other figures of authority were taking more assertive positions. It was thus not my place to supersede their authority as those superheroes in the comic books would do.

I however spoke of a more sensible response. “That costume is not easy to get into.”

Cindy grabbed a satchel behind Mrs. Lorshein’s wheelchair, then came to me saying, “I will help you.”

There was more to being the Minnow than a change of clothes, so I spoke of another problem. “I don’t know the locale – not even the airport. I thus cannot direct my wings to me.”

A security person that had just been enjoying being seen standing near the podium declared that he had more substance than just being a figure of authority. “Your wings are over there. I can direct them.”

My computer was still running, as I had loaded an extra battery pack. While Cindy helped to secure my pants, I typed in the password to unlock certain routines. Mrs. Lorshein then helped the security guard work with my software to bring my wings to me.

Luckily, I did not need to take off all my clothes. Outer wear, like my jacket, needed to go into the satchel, but otherwise those taking pictures saw nothing even remotely immodest. I kissed Cindy before putting the mouthpiece in place. I then donned my mask. People cheered as I stood I saluted everyone, worked my mouthpiece to assure that my wings would respond, then called Barracuda to me to go into action.

_________________
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PostSubject: Part Three   November 23rd 2012, 2:02 pm

A Fight for Recognition
Story Twenty-Two: Part Three
A Matter of Fame

I was in an enclosed space – not good. I was not in a place that I was familiar with – not good. The bad guys had guns and explosives – really not good. There were innocents in harm way – not good at all.

My first move was to head to the ceiling. It was rather high in the central area where I had been conducting the interview. The conflict however occurred in one of the connecting corridors that was not as spacious. As I moved near the ceiling, I tried to determine the strategy that I would use.

The voice of Mrs. Lorshein said, “Take them out from the back.”

No, that was the Batman style of fighting. He however had writers and artists that could make that tactic work. While my uniform could take bullets, these guys were not firing the usual packets of lead. Like Batman, I did want them not considering me actually in the fight.

Bumble flew down and into one of those in the back. It jostled the guy forward causing him to spray bullets, a few into his own associates, as well as disrupt the stance of others. That gave the opposing forces an opportunity to take a few shots as well. Bumble thus came back with the bad guys worried about those opposing them and not me.

Some tried to pull back either wounded or helping wounded. I came down on Baracuda, grabbed the free arm of one providing assistance, then did a martial arts move to flip him. The one wounded went down, as the one I attacked went into a wall. Before he could respond, I attacked with a kick to the stomach to wind him, then removed what firepower I could see. Seeing a cop come up, I again grabbed an arm and spun him. The officer thus gained the man unarmed and dazed. He however spoke of wanting the wounded body that had been relying on a comrade for support.

Bumble was directed to come against the side of those falling and pushing them toward the wall where rescuers were secluded. As the second one was being moved, bullets flew toward us. I had Barracuda come get me, then take me to the ceiling. That turned the eyes of the bad guys up. Not only did the act take their focus off those attempting to provide aid, but away from my other wing. Bumble was again commanded to accelerate and rush the bad guys.

One of those on the side of the attack tried to grab my large wing. I had the machine rotate, then do a programmed flip action. More of the bad guys were disrupted, and Bumble was released to flee the attackers.

The bad guys now had to fall back as those on the other side took the advantage of the disruption I had caused. I considered that bad, in that those I was protecting was in the direction the trouble was now heading. After finding a place on the roof where I could secure myself, I worked my controls to send both of my wings into the bad guys.

Seeing a wall collapse as a tank moved into the hallway had me recall the wings. The rumble of collapsing structures prevented me from hearing things, but what I saw told me which side those in the tank were helping. The bad guys began moving to the hole as the main gun of the tank turned to the good guys that thought they had gained the advantage.

Yes, I risked my life, but one has to remember that I always wanted to be a superhero. The reason that I was the Minnow was that my young mind saw the opportunity to act for truth, justice, and the American way. Mr. Lorshein wanted to do the usual process with a new discovery, but recognized that we had found something that would be outside the usual developments. Our own ignorance could cause us to lose any advantage, as others would take our discovery to places we could not comprehend. Mr. Lorshein thus agreed to allow me to be a superhero in order to fully learn about what we had. Accepting that the presence of the tank would force a grand action, I made my decision on the best risk to take.

Riding Barracuda, I flew to grab a fire extinguisher. I then picked up some insulation. Hoping that I had time, I then flew to the tank.

People just looked at me strangely as I pumped fire retardant down the tube of the main gun. I believe a couple of bad guys thought to shoot at me, but the opposing good guys shot at them either wounding or simply convincing them to leave me alone. The nozzle on the fire extinguisher enabled me to keep my hands from the dangerous end of the barrel, but I did risk my limbs stuffing some insulation into the tube of the main gun.

I did not know if my plan worked, but not wanting to be near the gun when it fired in any case, I grabbed Barracuda and flew out the hole to see the bad guys loading up in an armored troop carrier. I gained height while the bad guys got into the vehicle. One reason for the maneuver was just to put distance between me and whatever might happen when the tank fired its main weapon. The other was to give the time for the bad guys to huddle all in one place. When the troop transport started moving, I hoped that not seeing an explosion of any kind from the airport corridor to be a good thing while I put another plan into action.

I called Bumble to me as I descended to the troop carrier. I opened a compartment in my larger wing to pull out the hook connected to a steel line. I then moved down to a rear wheel of the vehicle, and set the hook in the body above the tire. I then told Bumble to lift.

The troop carrier was a large heavy machine, even heavier with the people inside. Bumble did not however need to lift it much. As the tire on one side lost traction, the vehicle spun causing it to wreck. Those giving chase suddenly rushed in, and I let others take charge of the people inside.

Cautiously looking in the hole, I saw the good guys taking charge of the tank. They cheered upon seeing me. Feeling that things had gone well, I flew back in through the hole to again join the ladies that I cared about.

Cindy tried to rush getting me out of my uniform, but I had to stop her as the process was not exactly easy. I had to have her undo some steps so things could be done properly. Finally, my mask was off, my wing controls taken out of my mouth, and Cindy planted a warm sign of affection upon me.

The media already had people present. While some human interest people suddenly found themselves doing hard news, all began asking me questions. I told them that I had questions, and they would have film while all I had were my memories of what idiot thoughts of risking my life passed through my head. I told everyone that I would go relax with beer, friends, and potential family while waiting for the actual facts to be reported. The media wanted to badger me to say more, but various officials moved to surround me while telling me that I had made a good decision.

The Serkovorga’s property, including the brewery, was protected by military troops for a couple of days. It came out that the bad guys had not even considered my arrival to be important. A major terrorist had been captured, and they were attempting to grab him before he could be locked away. The government felt that my aid would target me or the Serkovorgas by activists, but enough of the major supporters of the terrorist had been captured that no one considered them to be a serious threat any longer. There was also the unknown of who had called in the drone threat. The military however had to admit that we were free to do as we pleased, so after a couple of days pulled back to a less noticeable position.

While the visit was enjoyable, I found myself having to track three conversations. Of the three, marriage plans I considered to have the least priority, although it took up a good bit of my time. I enjoyed being with Cindy, so endured the conversations of decorations, what we would wear, and other topics related to our wedding. My trip to the moon also took up some of my time, even though I felt that everything about it had been covered. Those conversations I found boring. The final topic that I had to track was who was going to gain my technology and at what price. Seeing how I played a decisive role in disrupting some very committed people to causing damage and loss of life, a number of military forces wanted what I had. I tracked the bids, the requests for information, and other conversations of money and technology feeling that they would do the most to affect me and the world.

The phone ringing early in the morning did not bother me, as I was already up enjoying the aroma from the brewery as I did my exercises. I knew that it was a foreign call, as the Europeans were nice enough to give one time to wake up. Most I had come to ignore, but only cleared my message later in the day. The name showing on my phone however had me pick it up.

“Hello, Break Neck.”

“Hello, Larry. Got my invitation, and I want you to know that I will be there.”

“I’m sorry to hear that, as it means being rich is boring.”

She laughed before saying, “No, not boring at all. I can now travel to Europe without any problems. How about your family?”

“Same story. I can afford to bring them, so that is why the wedding will be over here.”

She mentioned having a passport. I had my family begin the accelerated process to get passports about a month ago, and felt that they would arrive in time for them to be present at the wedding. Hearing that more than simply Professor Nathan and Mrs. Lorshein would be sitting on my side of the aisle, Break Neck felt able to speak about something else.

“Are you thinking of staying active as the Minnow?”

“I told you, Break Neck, that I will stay active moving my technology into space. Probably will be in an outfit, but I plan on it being a spacesuit and not my Minnow uniform.”

She smiled in what I could tell was her being pleased with me mentioning a topic. “You looked good. My superpower would not work in that situation.”

“Especially not once the wall came down and rubble covered the floor. Still, I am hearing some motorcycle people speak of wanting to put your technology on their bikes.”

“Oh, every time I do a promotional display I have motorcycle people wanting to talk to me. The company I sold my technology to actually is talking about allowing the process to be released to a tire company, but the insurance people are very much against it. I am expecting all sorts of regulations, possibly even denying me performing certain stunts.”

To prevent the conversation from going into general complaining about certain institutions, I resorted to preaching some practical advice. “Don’t ever actually break your neck, Break Neck, or you will find everyone not letting you do your stuff again.”

“Everything could have gone a lot different. I need to now find me a man. You make Cindy a fine husband, Larry.”

“And father, Break Neck. Yes, I plan on it. You find a man that will do the same with you, even if he is white.”

She laughed again, then said, “Brian will not hear of it. Still, I believe that I upped my game there. I am now getting offers from an elite group of men – black men.”

“I wish you the best, but I will try to keep watching.”

“And calling.”

No, she would not get me to make promises that I might not keep. “And calling, but we are making history, Break Neck. I am not going to stop. You thus might find yourself needing to continue to make the calls, as you are the one that can take the time.”

_________________
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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A Matter of Fame (All Parts of Three)
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