Stickmaker

Masks 12: Part 15

Masks Twelve: Part Fifteen

by

Rodford Edmiston

Jenny had just today and Sunday to relax before starting back to school. Actually, she wasn't sure she could relax. This wasn't just because of all the active and impending trouble in - and out of - the world. She'd been "on duty" for so long and so intensely, Jenny was having trouble doing nothing. Fortunately, one skill she had mastered during her tours of duty on various hero teams was sleeping when there wasn't an emergency.

Masks 12: Part 13

Part Thirteen

"I remember, now, Maldren telling me that the reason his mother sent him here was partly because they were worried about something like this happening," said Energia, as news of the events in the Shilmek Empire began to spread through the super community.

"You knew this might be coming?" said Blue Impact, irritated. "Why didn't you tell anyone!"

"Well, it was told to me in confidence," said Energia, uncomfortably. "Besides, it was all 'ifs' and 'maybes.'"

Masks 12: Part 12

Masks Twelve: Part Twelve

by

Rodford Edmiston

"Remember Timmy Thurlough?" said Blue Impact.

"Yeah," said Gadgetive.

"He's done the mask community a major service."

"What did he do? Get himself sterilized?"

"Uh, no," said Blue Impact, with a brief smirk. "He filed a lawsuit over being arrested for being a super during the Thurlin administration's pogrom. Unlike most of such suits, his was based on being mistaken for a super, rather than the pogrom itself being unconstitutional."

Masks 12: Part 11

Masks Twelve: Part Eleven

by

Rodford Edmiston

For an idea of the setting for the battle, see:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Louisville_City_Hall_3.jpg

I picked City Hall instead of the Louisville Metro Hall because the former is much more scenic. :-)

Masks 12: Part 10

Masks 12: Part Ten

by

Rodford Edmiston

"The good news is: we got reliable DNA results from the samples on the underwear those girls gave us," said Lori Savage. "The bad news is: it's from half a dozen different guys, some of whom could not have been the donors due to solid alibis."

"Great," said Template, sourly. "Some joker is on to us and playing us."

Masks 12: Part 9

Masks Twelve: Part Nine

by

Rodford Edmiston

The debriefing, back at police headquarters, was not a happy event. The DA was especially angry over the "miserable performance" of the trio. The complaints by Horton were largely ignored by the supers and the cops present; a point raised very early caused his ire to take a back seat.

"Do you have any idea how strong he'd have to be to burst out of that?!" said Gadgetive. "The tensile strength of even one strip of that thin aluminum sheet is..."

Masks 12: Part 8

Masks 12: Part 8

by

Rodford Edmiston

"Yeah, baby!" said Gadgetive, as she hovered unsteadily in the main room of the team's former bakery hideout. "See?"

She looked over to see a rather smug Energia hovering at the same height, hands on hips, as steady as a rock. Gadgetive scowled at her partner.

"Yeah, I bet when you started..."

Gadgetive let out a yelp as her moment of inattention caused her to drop and swerve towards a wall. She recovered, with some fulminous swearing in at least three languages.

Masks 12: Part 7

Masks 12: Part 7

by

Rodford Edmiston

"Sorry to interrupt your sleep but we have a small - or maybe not so small - crisis," said Sievers.

She looked tired. Well, they all did. Except for Howers. Brade had a sneaking suspicion he had a power which allowed him to go without sleep. Or maybe just always look rested.

Sievers made a brief announcement about the reason for the meeting, then turned to Brade.

"Before we have any discussion of this event, I want you to review the current situation regarding Constantine."

Masks 12: Part 6

Masks 12: Part 6

by

Rodford Edmiston

"Well, well, well..." said Constantine, smiling as I entered the large, ornate audience chamber. "I wasn't sure I believed it. However, there you are, Lawrence."

He and I were the only ones present who were smiling. All the other members of his court were scowling. At me. My empathy told me things weren't as dire from them as they wanted me to think. However, it also told me that one of the most powerful beings who had ever lived wasn't as pleased to see me as he was pretending.

Masks 12: Part 5

Masks Twelve: Part Five

by

Rodford Edmiston

"Why iron?" groused Hazel, as she scrubbed at a patch of rust. "Why not stainless steel?"

"Hygiene troubles?" said Allessandra, as she watched the grey-toned girl sitting naked on a (fortunately very sturdy) bench in the locker room, worrying her left shin with a handful of steel wool.

Masks 12: Part 4

Masks 12: Part 4

by

Rodford edmiston

Paul watched the shapeshifter board his helicopter with a strange sense of loss. In spite of various unflattering comments he had heard about Lawrence, Paul had been very impressed with the man, and repeatedly amazed by casual reminders of just how old Lawrence was. Of course, Brade was even older, and looked even fitter.

Masks 12: Part 2

Part Two

by

Rodford Edmiston

"That cat is going to kill you," said Energia, that evening.

"Ah, I'm just playin' with him," said Gadgetive, as she shut off the laser pointer after using it to guide the former tomcat which had adopted the team into a box. She quickly moved in and closed the flaps, trapping the feline. "Besides, I'm the one who made the automatic feeder and waterer which keep him alive when we're on long missions."

"Kill you in your sleep," said Blue Impact, with a knowing nod, as she stepping in from the kitchen.

Masks 12: Part 1

Masks 12

by

Rodford Edmiston

Part 1

For a former teacher like Brade, being called to the President's office was accompanied by some interesting emotions. Fortunately, Sievers immediately asked Brade to sit, and in a manner which suggested something far removed from a chewing out.

Masks 11: Part 27

Part Twenty-Seven

There was a bit of disturbance in the hallway outside the room. Brade went to the door to see Paul standing there, trying to get in.

"It's okay," she told the guards. "He's with the Assembly."

"Hello," said Paul, gently, looking around at the injured supers. "I'm glad to see so many of you still alive."

Masks 11: Part 26

Masks 11: Part Twenty-Six

by

Rodford Edmiston

The team's vehicle had been remodeled by a gadgeteer with suggestions from other, more experienced gadgeteers. Rotary and the others used the oil slick dispenser, the caltrop dispenser, the strobes, the smoke screen, the nitrous injection and several other measures. None of which did more than inconvenience their pursuers. Even when it seemed they had lost their pursuers, the vehicles somehow relocated them.

"Do they know what we have or are they just well prepared?" said Doro, wondering.

Masks 11: Part 25

Masks XI: Part Twenty-Five

by

Rodford Edmiston

Ray was at his job the next day when his cell rang again. He wasn't particularly busy at the moment so he checked, saw it was Rotary, sighed, and answered.

"Hotfoot and Buster are dead," said the leader of the Irregulars, without preamble. His voice was flat, exhausted.

"What happened?!"

Masks 11: Part 23

Masks Eleven: Part Twenty-Three

by

Rodford Edmiston

Paul found himself on the vague, hazy plane - or perhaps state - he had encountered a few times before. He was standing naked on a flat, grey, featureless landscape which stretched to infinity in all directions. Just as he had when Atana spoke with him. The meeting room in the Sanctum was hazily visible, filled with frozen figures. However, the figure which he saw here, now, was definitely not Atana.

"Artemis?" he said, startled.

Masks 11: Part 22

Masks Eleven: Part Twenty-Two

by

Rodford Edmiston

"She's dying!" cried Susan. "Isn't there anything we can do?"

"Turn off the base lights!" Paul said over the coms.

That took a few seconds. As if by a miracle, when the lights went off the throbbing and flashing stopped.

"They must have been heterodyning somehow with the old, high-voltage fluorescents!" said Adams, looking up at the now-off lights.

"She's still out. Paul, she's very weak."

"Okay," said Paul, thinking fast. "We carry her back to the main room."

Masks 11: Part 21

Masks Eleven: Part Twenty-One

by

Rodford Edmiston

Beat Red finished his briefing of Template on things political, then started in on more productive matters. Much of this was to catch her up on things which had been delayed because of the hectic few weeks following the attack on the President's conference at the mountain lodge. When he got to how Brade had uncovered the location of the lair Energex had been using to store his stolen items, Template gaped.

Masks 11: Part 20

Masks 11: Part Twenty

by

Rodford Edmiston

Paul was giving the new arrival a tour of the place. He was also making a point of telling Brade what they didn't know.

"Hell. We still don't know how this place got here. How it was built or by whom. We don't know where most of the stuff in the cases came from. We don't even know how Energex located it."

Masks 11: Part 19

Part Nineteen

"You're going to be all right," said Dr. Thurber. "We got the chelation started in time. However, some of the dioxin has soaked into various tissues where it cannot be easily dislodged. It's a relatively tiny amount, but even that could - Only potentially! - cause trouble."

At least this time she was sitting in an office, and had a robe on over the hospital gown. Unfortunately, neither of those factors were making the news any more palatable.

"So... what does that mean?"

Masks 11: Part 18

Masks 11: Part Eighteen

by

Rodford Edmiston

Rotary came charging out of the van in an obviously unnecessary hurry, to find Ray and Doro standing there, arms across their chests, glaring at him. He slid to a stop.

"Gee," he quipped, clumsily, after taking a moment to recover. "Thanks for waiting for us!"

"Don't you give me that!" snapped Doro, advancing on the gadgeteer in a menacing fashion. "I hurt all over! From the fight you missed!"

"Well, you should have..."

"Not one more word," said Doro, jabbing a finger in his face.

Masks 11: Part 16

Masks 11: Part Sixteen

by

Rodford Edmiston

Inside the odd aircraft the hastily assembled team was sitting tensely. They dealt with their tension in different ways.

"What is this thing, anyway?" said Blackjack, looking around uneasily.

"A Coandă Effect airship," said Helen Frye. "As maneuverable as a helicopter, but much quieter and as fast as a business jet."

"Why aren't we there, yet?!" said Die-Ox, sounding much less like a petulant child than a neurotic monster.

Helen leaned closer to Blackjack.

Masks 11: Part 15

Masks 11: Part 14

by

Rodford Edmiston

Naturally, the red alert came when it was least expected: In the middle of the afternoon.

"Why couldn't they come at Midnight!" raged Template, trying desperately to clean the residual milk from her breasts and put what she had managed to extract in the cooler while simultaneously pulling her costume into place. "Or Dawn! At some reasonable hour! Have they no respect for motherhood?! Damn! I bet I leak through..."

Masks 11: Part 14

Masks 11: Part Fourteen

by

Rodford Edmiston

As TAL and Tiger were in their guest cottage, packing to leave via the subtrain the next morning, they were interrupted by a knock on the door. They found one of the school security guards there, looking distracted.

"Excuse me," he said, hand to his ear as a message continued. "Principal Hind has asked if you could delay your trip and meet her for lunch, to discus something important."

The two supernaturals looked at each other for a moment. Then both grinned.

Masks 11: Part 13

Masks 11: Part Thirteen

by

Rodford Smith

The government issue helicopter landed near the two other aircraft. The clearing was getting a bit crowded; fortunately the pilot was very good. As the rotors slowed Brade stepped out. She definitely crouched well down to avoid the blades.

Masks 11: Part 12

Masks 11: Part Twelve

by

Rodford Edmiston

"Local sheriff's office has a deputy on the way," said Blue Impact, putting her cell back in its hidden pocket. "State Police are also responding but will be a while."

"The Assembly is sending some of their security people in a hopper," said Energia, likewise stowing her phone.

They turned to Gadgetive, who was still holding her cell phone to her left ear, looking perplexed.

"I'm not sure I've got the right number. I keep getting one of those automated call handling systems."

Masks 11: Part 11

Part Eleven

They took a security flitter to the Pioneers' reserve base, landing in the hangar where indicated by a staff member. A team security guard met them and escorted them to where the techs inside a circle of stand lights were working frantically on a very strange looking vehicle.

"That's one of the old Bluegar combat transports," said Blue Impact, alarmed. "You need special dispensation just to start the engines! Because they're nuclear!"

Masks 11: Part 10

Masks 11: Part Ten

by

Rodford Edmiston

"So that's what was going on," said Template, once the Black Mask contacted her that evening. "I wondered why they were calling on me for help when there were others much closer."

"Classic 'spread confusion' tactic," said her former teammate, sounding almost admiring. "They had anyone they thought might be able to help either in the dark or diverted to other concerns. Though why they went to the trouble of diverting messages to inappropriate individuals and teams instead of simply deleting them baffles me."

Masks 11: Part 9

Masks 11: Part Nine

by

Rodford Edmiston

Doro very enthusiastically piled out the rear door, with Freep close behind her. Thunderer - physically a normal human - was taking longer to recover from Mr. Rotary's Wild Ride. Rotary tried to exit through the driver's door, but found it and the front passenger door blocked by shrubbery, so he had to also come out the back. Which meant he was trapped behind the slower-moving Thunderer. Fortunately, his dramatic entrance with the Van had given them plenty of time for a less-dramatic exit from it.

Masks 11: Part 7

Masks: Part Seven

by

Rodford Edmiston

"Okay," said Beat Red. "That's new. What the Hell was it?"

"An area-effect burst neutralizer," said Brade. "I bet there's one in every room in this building."

"Wait... Why aren't we affected?"

Brade angrily shushed him, then looked over at a super in a full-face prankster's mask and a costume of hideously clashing primary colors.

"Emp? Time to shut things down."

Masks 11: Part 6

Part Six

The only official function that evening was a soirée which started with supper and lasted through cocktails and a nightcap. Brade was surprised that all the invited guests had arrived in time for this. She was even more surprised to realize just how much real socializing was going on, late into the night. There was still much unease and even suspicion on all sides, but those in each faction were making an effort to give the other the benefit of the doubt.

Masks 11: Part 5

Masks 11: Part 5

by

Rodford Edmiston

Template wiped Roy's face and carefully placed the already sleeping baby in the crib. She used the wipe to clean herself, tossed it, then climbed into bed. Karen rolled over to cuddle with her. As usual, Template wore just a pair of panties, while Karen had on panties and an oversized t-shirt. They rolled face to face and hugged. The size-changer thrilled a bit at the intimate awareness there was just a thin layer of fabric between her and the love of her life. Template, though, winced and drew back a bit.

"Tits sore?"

Masks 11: Part 4

Part Four

Ray landed on the roof of the old brownstone and went down the stairs. He could hear work going on below, complete with metallic clangs and bangs. As Ray passed the second floor landing he was relieved to see that the door had been secured and warning signs put up since he had pointed out the danger during his last visit. He wasn't glad for himself; he could fly. He could also, however, very easily imagine some unsuspecting guest - or Rotary - walking through that door into empty space.

Masks 11: Part 2

Part Two

After graduating from the Pine Island Academy, Gerry Rosen - better known to the other students as Cosmic Ray - had decided to go to work instead of college. He currently had a nice job as an assistant manager in a sporting goods store. He still kept his hand in as a super a few nights a week, but for now he was more concerned with building a normal life than making a Mask name for himself.

Unwanted Child

I originally wrote this non-Masks a few years ago with the intent of selling it professionally. Unfortunately, it's a size which few publications are interested in. Hope you folks enjoy it.

Unwanted Child

by

Rodford Edmiston

"Please, Josh..." said Horton.

"I think that should be Mr. Thompkins to you," said Josh, carefully keeping his tone neutral.

"Come on, Josh! We've known each other since you were a toddler!"

"We met fewer than a dozen times before I started legal procedures against my Mother. Let's keep this formal."

Masks 10: Part 18

Masks 10: Part Eighteen

by

Rodford Edmiston

Predawn at the besieged island was very late at night at the Intrepid's base. Those working in the Intrepids' Mission Command had - under orders - gotten sleep and meals in shifts so that most of them could be reasonably fresh on duty when Tritonicus was expected to rouse itself.

Masks 10: Part 17

Masks 10: Part 17

by

Rodford Edmiston

"You moron!" Dr. Herford yelled, throwing his arms wide and splattering salt water. "You and your stupid schedule!"

"You do not speak to me in such a way," said Helstrom, in a dangerous voice.

"Or what? You'll kill me? Look around; we're already minutes from drowning. You told me this base would be ready for anything by the time they found us!"

"They are here early," said Helstrom, almost petulantly. "We did not have enough missiles stockpiled, nor enough of your augments ready."

Masks 10: Part 16

Part Sixteen

"The thing is, I remember what it's like," said Paul, later, to the other original team members at the base. He shuddered. "I even remember how good the sex was."

"After a somewhat blatant start, she's being discreet," said Lucille. "Though far from chaste. Champions aren't fertile and are very resistant to disease, so besides propriety she has little reason to abstain. I'm not surprised she made a pass at you, but I thought you were attracted to her."

Masks 10: Part 14

Part Fourteen

Primary cleanup of the disaster took the rest of the day, and that was with help from several other supers, including the Assembly. There were more on the way, as well as firefighters and paramedics from neighboring communities. By early afternoon Energia found herself wishing more supers would get there soon; she was nearly at her limit.

"Hotfoot would sure be a big help with handling these fires," said Energia, who looked exhausted. "I'm about worn out."

"Sorry; he's in the infirmary," said Champion.

Masks 10: Part 13

Masks 10: Part 13

by

Rodford Edmiston

"I want him arrested!" Hotfoot yelled.

"Actually, you attacked him," said Buzz, smirking.

The heat manipulator was in the base infirmary, a significant percentage of his body in a cast.

"Look what he did to me!"

"In self defense."

Sharma stuck her head in the door.

"Buzz, stop teasing him."

Masks 10: Part 12

Masks 10: Part 12

by

Rodford Edmiston

Paul heard voices as he approached a crossroads in the Assembly base. Two of them. A man and a woman. Thanks to his "retirement benefits" he quickly recognized the man as Hotfoot, but the woman was a mystery. As he rounded the corner he saw why: she was a civilian. That is, someone who wasn't a member of the team and wasn't wearing the uniform of the support staff, as Paul was. She also wasn't wearing an ID badge.

"Excuse me, miss," said Paul, stopping to block their way. "Where is your ID badge?"

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