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 Coming Up to Speed (All Parts of Three)

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TerishD


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PostSubject: Coming Up to Speed (All Parts of Three)   December 24th 2012, 1:03 pm

A Fight for Recognition
Story Twenty-Five: Part One
Coming Up to Speed

The news about Sir Soldier stopping the new guy with the laser eye had it sound like he was again facing a major super-villain. They also reran the story of Minnow fighting the activists in Germany as if to keep the viewers thinking that the superheroes were working together. I knew that there was also the report of the ghost lady helping capture the kidnappers, but due to the children and privacy issues concerning them they did not use that for promotional purposes. What perturbed me was that there was no mention of any of my exploits, which made it sound as if I were not one of the active superheroes.

The major problem was that I did not have any real exploits to suggest for presentation. Ghost lady gets kidnappers. Minnow manages to stop drug smugglers and activists. Sir Soldier tangles with someone using sophisticated science. Me, I get men in suits that act like mafia hit men. There is no story in that, as even basic television series consider them stale. I had real superpowers, so could tackle some important bad guys, but as yet I only got regular crooks.

Being in the news business did nothing to help me find the bad guys. Maybe if the villains would send riddles or clues of other kinds, I could get a heads-up on their activities. Maybe if the police actually sought our presence to fully present criminal activities to the populace, I would know to change into my superhero uniform. Maybe – well, maybe a lot of things, but the truth was that none of those happened.

I would spend time downtown and catch those dealing drugs, but none that could be said to be the major sellers of the narcotics. Moving between the parks had not revealed anyone attempting to threaten children. Watching the business districts only made me aware of the movements of those doing the legal dirty dealings of high finance or slimy back-scratching of government regulators. While I could thus say that I had tried to go out looking for trouble, I felt the joke was on me in that I had not found it.

One thought was to change professions. I really had no skills as a private investigator, although I felt it would provide the connections to warn me of trouble. There was even the possibility that I could do my superhero stuff and bill the customer for solving their troubles. No other job offered such a possibility, but also I felt stuck in that I had earned some accommodations, promotions, and a decent benefit package. I thus could not help but think that I had no choice but to continue in my present profession.

Abe came from the regular meeting with the reporters with his eyes darting back and forth as if worried about something. Considering that he had been with the main producers of the news programs, I suspected that there was a major event coming. The reporters would get assignments, then seek ways of making their spots especially notable. I thus looked at Abe thinking that he was just planning on how to out-perform his fellow reporters, and not that he had his own plans.

“Andy, I hope that you are not doing anything tonight.”

I really wished that I did have a date, whether hot or not, but I had to admit the truth. “No. What’s up?”

“Tell you tonight. Take the van and pick me up about four. I’ll buy you supper.”

Free meal – yes, I was a sucker for a free meal. About the only way my mother could get me to visit. She lived up outside Kingsport, so a little too far for regular visits. People however did not fuss at me for not visiting, but only for making my mother cook.

I went home and took a nap. Not much of one, as I really did not sleep well. Got my best rest when sleeping off a hangover, but I did not have that much time. I thus was doing what I could to find trouble on the internet when I realized it was time to go get Abe. Actually hoping that the nap I got would not be enough rest for whatever he would have us check out, I left the apartment.

“Okay,” said Abe as he climbed into the van, “how much gas do you have?”

That was the wrong thing for him to say. When I hoped that I would not have enough rest, I did not mean because I would be driving all over the place. I thus grumbled out my response.

“I filled it up.”

“Good. Head to Chattanooga.” He did not look at me to check my opinion of that command, but handed me something. “Do you know how to use this?”

“A Geiger counter? Turn it on and listen to the clicks.”

“Okay – get driving.” I did, so Abe went back to talking. “Now, Mr. Smart Man, some idiot stole nuclear testing material from the university. Now that is just pure red-neck dumb. I mean what can you do with that stuff? There is a plutonium and uranium sample, but no more than a speck and definitely not weapon grade or even reactor grade.”

“Speaking as a red-neck, the stuff we do often is not thought out that far in advance. Often, if it seems like a good idea – what the heck, go for it.”

Abe was from Ohio. Had that lack-of-an-accent voice, which made him good as the talking head. He often also thought that it made him smarter. He could at least explain how he why he considered doing what he did.

“Yes, so what were these red-necks thinking?”

“Hold it,” I interjected. “Just asking, but are you certain that we are after red-necks?”

He shrugged before admitting, “They were wearing masks. What skin we saw however was white. There is also the fact that they drove off in a red pick-up truck.”

That was enough evidence for me as well. “Okay, red-necks.”

“Now, back to our angle. What were these red-necks thinking? Did they seriously plan on making a bomb? Honestly, I believe they could have stolen weapon-grade plutonium and not know how to make a bomb. I then thought of this Geiger counter. This stuff won’t register unless we are close. Thus, what they wanted was nuclear material that they could get away with.”

“Thinking it might help give an extra kick to their moonshine?”

Abe laughed for a time before saying, “No – well, maybe. That’s our problem, Andy. We do not have the time or resources to track this thing far. No one is really getting upset about this nuclear material going missing. There is a lot of regulation and such for certain people to go through, but other than that this matter is going under the rug. I am thus going to follow this lead to Chattanooga. Oh, I owe you lunch, so pull in there. If it works, we might be looking at a Pulitzer. If not, I will buy something for us on the way back.”

Pulitzer was a word that got tossed about a lot in our business about like the Rapture in the Baptist churches. “Really, Abe?”

“It’s a chance, Andy, so – really. Honestly, this thing could wind up big. My source says that there is a nuke out there. This material is part of the plan to throw the federal agents off the trail. What we should find are thus the samples and some connections. I figure that if we find that, we can play our involvement toward seeing this story to the end, which means Pulitzer.”

“What type of source would tell you something like that?”

“Wisdom of the Ages.”

I usually park the van in the back where it would not be easily seen. I however jerked the wheel into the parking space immediately available, then shoved the gear into Park while staring at Abe. He just grinned back at me. Seeing that I was waiting for him to say something, he pointed while giving directions.

“Let’s go through drive-through, as we need to keep moving. However, yes, it was Wisdom of the Ages.” Hearing that a fellow superhero called Abe and not me had me feeling betrayed until Abe added, “He said that with my cameraman we would make the perfect team.”

Yes, Abe was the man in front of the camera. He was thus the one that people would call. If I came up with such a lead, everyone would question it – even Abe – as well as maybe make a connection about some of the things I did in my spare time. Wisdom of the Ages was thus correct to contact Abe.

I got excited however realizing that I would finally get my chance to stop a major crime. This would not be another evening of convenience store punks and alcohol fueled pranks. While I might have caught the story of the stolen samples, my investigation would have surely started and stopped in Knoxville. Even if I thought to chase a hunch, I would not have gone south. If I were to detonate a bomb, east or north were the directions to go. Agreeing with Andy that we had a good lead worth chasing, I ate my burger while easing the van up to slightly over the highway speed.

Coming into Chattanooga, Abe gave me instructions to drive on a road a distance from the railway yard. He then used binoculars. I did not mind being cautious, but with the sky being dark I did have to ask what he could be looking at.

“Conspiracy,” he answered. “I want to know if someone broke in or were let in. We might have to be careful about this.”

Feeling that the knowledge was known to the public, I said, “Wisdom cannot see the future, so just how much did he tell you?”

“I got a number to call if we get stumped. I want this to be entirely my story however. I don’t want to just be the face in front of the camera, but the one that did the legwork and made the story come together. Seriously, this is a chance at the Pulitzer, and I am taking it.” He then turned to look at me as he said, “And there is a category for pictures as well. There is no way that you are not a part of this.”

He did not have to ask. We had worked together enough to have that much knowledge of each other. All that he did not know was that I did not want a Pulitzer, but simply the notoriety for being successful against a major bad guy. Larry had set the standard in being active even without his Minnow uniform. I could thus go into action as News Cameraman, and still get credit among the superheroes. Abe thus got a definite nod in response to his unasked question, as I was definitely going to be a part of this.

_________________
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 January 3rd 2013, 3:34 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Part Two   December 29th 2012, 6:12 pm

A Fight for Recognition
Story Twenty-Five: Part Two
Coming Up to Speed

Abe saw no sign of someone having cut a hole in the fence. Upon moving on a closer road to the railroad yard he saw the red pickup truck in the main parking lot. He had us stop and make a short piece presenting an opening for possible use later along with a longer section where he actually detailed some facts, our progress, and the evidence of the red truck. As I put the camera back in place, Abe told me that we would need to do a piece showing the Geiger counter reacting to the truck.

I knew enough to say, “This is not television, Abe. That Geiger counter won’t show anything.”

“Uranium and Plutonium, and maybe a couple of the other samples, are alpha emitters. We thus could get something.”

He was right about alpha radiation being the one that could cause other elements to break down, but I still felt a need to voice a problem. “Weak.”

“Anything and everything, Andy. If we can get anything then we are on the road to getting everything.”

Those were words that I would not argue with. My faith was actually in Wisdom of the Ages and not Abe, but he had spoken the proper words to inspire me to follow his plan. I climbed back in the van only hoping for words to settle some concerns before we got into potentially serious trouble.

“Why did we wait, Abe?”

“Because they lied low. Wisdom of the Ages said that I needed to wait for them to go into action. Not only would it prove their guilt, but they would be focused on their operation and not simply waiting for trouble to possibly come to them. We’re news men, Andy. We want the story, and not just the apprehension of the bad guys.”

Again the words met my qualifications for gaining my support. I thus started the engine with the attitude of getting Abe his Pulitzer. When we came near the front office to the train yard, I allowed him to hold the wheel as I aimed the camera while driving by. We then stopped on the side of the road, and ran back believing our footsteps to make less noise than the vehicle. I had the camera running as we crossed the distance, and upon coming on the parking lot Abe signaled me to stop and give visual support for his actions.

It surprised me when the Geiger counter began signaling the presence of radiation, but I held the camera steady as Abe softly spoke into his microphone. “In the back of the truck is the container that held the radiation samples.” I moved and adjusted my focus to get a clear picture of what he pointed at. “Here is the usual radiation warning along with the tags for what I believe are some high-level threats levels. Why they did not take the container I cannot say, except that they are going to use the samples and not just move them along to someone else. My cameraman and I thus could be walking into danger.”

He gave me the signal to cut, then told me to transmit the file. The railroad yard definitely had a tower, as they had updated some of their equipment to get regular weather reports and warnings of any trouble along the tracks. I thus went back to our van and sent the video file to our network. Going back to Abe, he gave me the signal to follow him as he moved up to the door.

“Hey! We’re closed!”

The man that yelled was standing in the room holding a cup of coffee. With my eye to the camera lens I could clearly tell that he was agitated. Luckily, he did not pull a weapon. He did however almost spill his coffee as Abe walked into the room.

“What do you mean, ‘we’re closed?’ The trains always run. We have a story for late-night concerns for the railroad system. It’s up to you. We can interview you now, but we would prefer going out on the yard and getting some basic footage first. It will save us from having you take time from your busy schedule to sit and answer more questions that come up.”

“No! You can’t go into the yard. Uh, uh… insurance reasons.”

“Oh, come on. We’re in the news business. We regularly go where most others can’t. I have our insurance forms with us.”

Honestly, Abe did. I would do some close-to-foolish things at time to get the needed picture, and to have himself appear to be actually on-the-spot Abe would get closer to some things than he should. To assure the people we were doing the story on that they would not have to take responsibility, we had special forms from our station stating that our own insurance would cover any costs.

The man moved to the counter as if to look over Abe’s paperwork. I believe that the man was pleased to set down his cup of coffee, as it allowed him to better hide his nervousness. I was watching him to see if he pressed an alarm, but wondering if I would care, as I expected the signal to go to the police. I did not see his hand do anything improper, but as if he did the door to the railroad yard opened.

I saw the machine gun, and softly said, “Boom.”

Abe had the microphone, so I knew there would not be any evidence of my superhero action. How the door suddenly slamming back would be explained, I did not care. My concern at that moment was for my life and that of Abe.

It would have been nice if the man had let go of his weapon. At least Abe saw it, so he turned to the door telling me to run. I used my power one more time to have the door slam shut, then followed making certain not to let go of my camera but kept it focused on the scene we were fleeing.

We heard shouting as we rushed back to our van. Abe took out his cell phone and called the station. As I listened to him get some instructions, I found myself having to face a decision. Reaching the van, I made a decision and only set the camera down without putting it in its station.

Superman would have claimed some ailment, then rushed off to do his heroics. Abe would not have bought such a story from me. Further, he would recognize that our location would not provide any assistance for whatever excuse I dreamed up. I thus did not claim anything, but simply moved to where I had stashed a certain costume.

Abe was heading to the co-pilot seat, but stopped upon seeing me no rush to drive away. “What are you doing?”

“You know how to work the camera. Get what you can.”

“What? We are leaving.”

“Hell, we are. This is our chance. You take the pictures, and I will give you something to talk about later.”

Abe did have a good eye, so recognized what I held as he spoke. “Those guys got guns. How do… you – oh, Hell, Andy!”

“It’s up to you whether you tell others or not. Still, this is my chance to take on something important. You get the pictures, then we can work to get your Pulitzer even as I get my recognition as a serious superhero. I mean, I have a real superpower.”

“Real superpowers? What the Hell, hurry up and get into action.” As I moved to the side of the van away from the road to change, Abe said, “I know that Boom can stop bullets, but this is radiation.”

“You and I both know these are testing samples, and nothing of any serious purity. Still, whatever these guys intend to do with them cannot be good. Let’s put a stop to them and get the story.”

“Hell, yeah! Listen, Andy, I don’t have any reason to tell on you.”

“Until you drink too much and begin blabbing. I know you, Abe. You are paid to talk. Still, most of the other superheroes have come out.”

As I put my regular clothes in the hole that I had kept my costume, Abe said, “I think it would be best for both of us to keep this a secret.”

“We can talk later.” I stepped out, put on my mask, then said, “Boom.”

I shot high in the air. Hoping to keep my identity should Abe actually stay silent, as well as hopefully make my arrival from a direction the bad guys were not expecting, I propelled myself across the railroad yard before sending myself back to the ground. Coming down from the air, I saw flashlights and directed myself toward them.

Of course, those with flashlights were moving. They were going to the office however, so I felt a need to take them out. Landing, some turned at the sound of my boots hitting the rocks, and I saw weapons. No longer worried about anyone see me work my powers, in fact I was now wanting everyone to see me in action, I focused my mind and released a blast while uttering my magic word.

“Boom.”

Two men suddenly had their bodies pushed back. One hit the end of a railcar, and dropped in a manner that I felt actually hurt him. The other slammed into the side of the railcar, but with it being at an angle his body rolled slowly descending until it came to the ground. He might have been hurt more, but it did not look as bad as the other man.

Others now turned to me, and I had a decision to make. I could either go toward the office to protect Abe or seek out the radioactive samples. While I did desire to have video of me in action, I felt it more important to have the distinction of actually accomplishing something. I thus made the decision to stay out in the rail yard.

I listened for who was simply providing information and who was giving the orders. Idiots shouting that they saw me I relegated to only being hired thugs. It was the voices that sounded out orders telling the gunmen to take me out that I felt needed my attention.

Men pointed at weapons at me and told me to hold completely ignoring the fact that I could work in three dimensions while they were limited with two. I blasted myself into the air, then did a body flip that I wished Abe would be able to catch on the camera. I landed near a man speaking to a cell phone with a few of armed men I considered his bodyguards. He took the cell phone away from his face just long enough to tell those with weapons to take me out.

“Boom. Boom.”

One guy was slammed against a rail car. Two others were struck at their feel and dropped. As I quickly went to kick their guns away, the guy on the cell phone spoke.

“I can detonate the bomb right now, so back away hero.”

_________________
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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PostSubject: Part Three   January 3rd 2013, 3:39 pm

A Fight for Recognition
Story Twenty-Five: Part Three
Coming Up to Speed

I really did not see the bomb, but I accepted that it existed. There was a doubt in my mind about the bad guy willing to kill himself, but it really did not bother me if he did. What I was scared of was the blast sending the nuclear sample material all over the area. I thus made an assumption about how the bad guy was going to activate the weapon. Again wishing that Abe was somewhere he could see me in action, I did what I could to prevent the bomb from exploding.

While the blast shot me up, I flipped to keep what I felt was the lead bad guy in my sights. My attack not only knocked his cell phone from his hand, but had it smash against the rocky ground. I then directed another surge of energy at the device to assure that it broke. When I landed back on the ground, I waited for what the bad guy would do.

“Don’t think – “

“Boom.”

He went against the side of the railcar. I saw the man that I previously slammed against the carriage try to turn a gun upon me, and he went flying. Honestly, my blast was to just send him back, but his thighs hit the connectors between the cars causing him to flip. Looking at the two I sent to the ground, I spoke to both even though only saw one attempting to crawl to his weapon.

“Don’t even think about it.”

The lead bad guy was picking himself up, and I believe was about to say something when we all reacted to the sound of gunfire. The rotors of helicopter could also be heard approaching. I thus decided it was my place to say something.

“I don’t understand what you intended to do with nuclear samples, but I’m not the person who should care anyway. You were just doing something wrong, and you have been stopped. I will leave it to the authorities to determine if you were doing a crime or I was butting my nose in where it did not need to be.”

“This is bigger than you, Superhero,” the bad guy said. “You really do not know what you are up against.”

“Yes, well, Minnow is in Europe, as is Ballet Slipper. Sir Soldier is with the Marines, so will be wherever he needs to be. I however believe that the home front is safe in my hands, and the others can handle their end wherever they are at.”

“Don’t wager your entire paycheck on it.”

I might have said more, but federal agents came upon the scene. They told me to back away, so I shot up into the air. In no time I was back at the van. It took me a little bit of time to change clothes, but soon I was back looking for Abe. He was glad to hand the camera to me, then waved his press credentials while getting us on the scene.

While Abe might not get his Pulitzer, I did what I could to get the images of the situation while he worked at relating the information to the viewers. Abe did not mention Wisdom of the Ages, but simply said that he got the tip from a reliable source. The agent in charge did ask him if the tip came from the superhero Boom, which got an answer that even I liked.

“From Boom? That asshole? I would say that he probably got the information from the same source that I did. Can’t trust a stoolie to keep their mouths shut.”

“I guess not.” The agent did not appear happy, but then asked another question. “How much do you know about this situation?”

“I know about the radioactive samples. I was already attempting to follow the story when I got the tip. They are just samples however.”

“Yes. We believe that they were intending to frighten someone. That is what I want you bring out in your report, that whoever is doing this is not really capable of making a serious strike. They however want the populace to believe that they can. If the people keep their heads and report anything suspicious, we can keep everyone safe.”

Abe then gave the reply that those of us in the news industry like to say, “You just did. Thank you for your time.”

That really was not the end of the interview, as the agent had us shown around. He made certain that we saw the bomb, all of the radioactive samples, and actually discussed what they had gained about the plans of the bad guy. They let the two us know that they did not expect us to blab all the information out, but did want us to speak with confidence that things were being handled. Andy and I assured the agent that we would put together our report to let the people know that the matter was truly stopped.

It took us a while to put our report together. As I worked with the editing software, Abe asked some questions about what I was doing. I honestly thought that he knew, but did not mind speaking about the steps I was taking. When it was done, we had a federal agent give his approval of the report before sending it to the station.

We were barely on our way home before our station president called with congratulations. He mentioned that it was a little long, but a full report that he would do what he could to find time for. He also mentioned that other stations were asking of the report, so there might be a bonus in our paycheck.

Abe had to ask, “How about a Pulitzer?”

“Dream on – maybe. It’s a good piece. Let’s see just how far this thing travels.”

After he closed the connection, Abe said, “Let’s find time where you can teach me some camera tricks. There are some blurs that could have been Boom, but I think that if I had more knowledge of the camera I could have gotten some good scenes of him in action.”

I just had to ask, “You’re not going to tell?”

“Hell, no. If I do that then you will be the one in front of the camera. I’m not going to put myself out of a job.” He smiled, then said, “Keep your secret as long as you can. Until you do, we can do that camera trick again.”

I actually wanted to apologize to Abe, but instead said, “Listen, this is just the first time we have came upon the scene of a crime. I mean, I kept hoping to go into action like that, but it just never happened.”

“Yeah, I know. We do usually end up with local filler crap. Maybe with us handling this we can start getting more action. Whether or not I win the Pulitzer, I think what we did tonight will end up being good for us.”

He then just proved himself as the reporter that I knew he was by asking, “What about Boom? Where did you get those powers from?”

“I don’t know. Psychics run in our family. At a family reunion there are number going about with their ghost stories or tales of seeing angels. My powers seem to be something like that. I believe that it is supposed to be telekinesis, but my mind just does not have the control for it. Explosions? Well, I guess that I just sorta a pyro at heart, except that I don’t start fires.”

He laughed, then asked, “So, it’s not a device?”

“No. If it was, I might could improve it the way Minnow and Ballet Slipper did.”

“Or sell it.”

I heard the promise of a possible bonus, and knew that I could really use some extra money. “Yes, or sell it. It’s nothing like that however. It is a real superpower.”

“Glad to have you as a cameraman, Andy.”

_________________
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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