Stickmaker

Masks 13: Part 5

Masks Thirteen: Chapter Nine

by

Rodford Edmiston

"So, have you had your first period, yet?" said Alex, as a freshly-showered (Finally!) Vic got back to their room.

"That's a pretty personal question," said Vic, in an irritated mutter, as she searched in her sock drawer.

She found what she wanted and sat on her bed to pull on the tube socks.

"A) Scientific curiosity, B) I saw you putting your hygiene products away, remember and C) we're rooming together so I qualify for fair warning if I have to help you deal with it."

Masks 12

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"The students from outside the mask community are a small but rapidly growing part of our campus," Eve added, nodding in turn. "The school wasn't really intended for them, though. Some of them never really fit in, there, since they weren't interested in becoming masks. They - or their parents - just wanted training in how to use their powers; not how to fight crime, wear a costume or maintain a private identity."


Masks 12


Masks 11

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The State Troopers waited at their roadblock. All other traffic was diverted. It was just them and the armed fugitives headed their way at high speed in a hot - in more ways than one - muscle car. The brigands could outrun the police ground vehicles, and even the helicopters, but not the radios. The Troopers stood in the afternoon sun, sweaty, tense and edgy, shotguns and assault rifles at the ready.


Masks 11


by

Masks 10

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The younger man quickly and concisely relayed what had been learned. The Captain went from mildly annoyed to very concerned. He turned to the radio man.

"We still got the long wire out? Good; prepare a message."

"Sir?" said the sonarman. "What is it?"

"Tritonicus is back."


Masks 10


by
Rodford Edmiston

Masks 8

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As I walked towards the deceptively simple cabin my hackles rose. There was a strange vehicle parked in front of it, a ridiculously oversized SUV. Before I could decide what to do about it, though, I saw someone. Someone familiar. I felt an odd mixture of relief and aggravation.


Masks 8


by
Rodford Edmiston

Masks 7

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"I know, you were told to come here to see if I could help you with a problem," said Piano, gently ushering her into a chair. "I believe we can help you while you help us do something good for the world."


Masks 7


by
Rodford Edmiston

Masks 6

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The Leader narrowed its pupils, just a bit... the equivalent of a slight smile for its species. The most important of the group were already supporting the plan. The others would go along, eventually. It sat back and let them plot and scheme, only occasionally asking a question or making a suggestion. Yes, this would work well...


Masks 6


by
Rodford Edmiston

Masks 13: Part 3

Masks Thirteen: Chapter Five

by

Rodford Edmiston

"Now that you're feeling better, your Mother and I have been discussing your punishement."

"Punishement," said Vic, blankly.

Her parents had called her down to the family room and sat her on one side of the coffee table, while they sat on the other. Vic was baffled, and even after hearing her father say this was still confused.

"For drinking and going to a strip club."

Vic was stunned.

Masks 3

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"I can feel the layers and swirls in the magnetic field," said Energia, voice full of wonder. "I can feel the plasma sliding through it, like sand through fingers. I didn't know space was so... alive!"


Masks 3


by
Rodford Edmiston

Masks 13: Part 2

Masks Thirteen: Chapter Three

by

Rodford Edmiston

As mentioned before, because this story runs short novel length I'll post two chapters per post.

The workout that afternoon was long and vigorous. Nothing Vic did seemed superhuman, but she could now do more, faster and for longer. She was so stunned when she finally tired and decided to get clean she was actually standing naked in the basement shower stall before remembering she was female.

Vic gave a thoughtful report on her workout discoveries at supper.

Masks 13: Part 1

While revising Masks XII before posting it on my Web page, I came up with an idea for a character whose story would begin late in that tale and continue in XIII. However, I soon realized the story worked better as a stand-alone. So, that idea and character became XIII and what would have been XIII is now XIV.

Masks XIII: The Other Half

by

Rodford Edmiston

Chapter One

"Vic! Do you have to come thundering down the stairs like a herd of elephants?!" said Alissa.

Masks 12: Part 24

Masks Twelve: Part Twenty-Four

by

Rodford Edmiston

The figure stopped at the limits of the forest, cupped hands around mouth and let forth with a perfect wolf howl. Long moments passed. There was a subtle shift in the mood of the woods, something the caller definitely noticed. Then, several small figures stepped into view.

"Why so formal?" said Pear, smiling at Tiger.

"I heard you had guests here on important business. Figured it was better to be careful."

Masks 12: Part 23

Masks Twelve: Part Twenty-Three

by

Rodford Edmiston

"Champions tend to be lucky," said Dr. Whiskers, nodding thoughtfully as she checked her patient again. "Even on my world, they were famous for avoiding or surviving what should have been fatal."

Masks 12: Part 22

Masks 12: Part Twenty-Two

by

Rodford Edmiston

Paula wanted to help with the cleanup and recovery at the keep, but Dr. Gorgeous had insisted she stay at the new base camp. She had also ordered Paula to return to the Assembly base on the first hopper going there. Given what had happened, Paula was not arguing.

"I don't look the same," said Paula, quietly, to herself, as she examined her new face in a shaving mirror. "Not the same as my Champion. Not the same as the new one."

Masks 12: Part 21

Masks Twelve: Part Twenty-One

by

Rodford Edmiston

The explosion wasn't all that large, but in the confined space of the crevice the effect on Champion was literally stunning. Dazed, coughing and blinking against the dust, she dragged herself to the opening with her hands and a bit of help from her toes. She almost collapsed with relief when she saw the gap was now easily large enough for her to get through.

Masks 12: Part 19

Masks Twelve: Part Nineteen

by

Rodford Edmiston

"Status," said Helvec, as he strode into the ship's command center. He'd had time to calm himself and think while composing the message to his commander, and moreso during the walk to the bridge. Of course, since he was a Shilmek, that still meant he was feeling quite a bit of outrage.

"I doubt the compulsion was meant for us, Captain," said his second, looking up from where he was working with the sensor officer. "More likely, it is a product of some local power play."

Masks 12: Part 18

Masks Twelve: Part Eighteen

by

Rodford Edmiston

Susan and Paul sat down at the small table in the break room closest to the security center at the Assembly base. There was a long moment of uncomfortable silence, as he waited for her to tell him what she wanted to talk about and she tried to figure out the best approach.

"Will you stop obsessing over it?" said Susan, finally, a bit aggravated but also obviously concerned.

Masks 12: Part 17

Masks Twelve: Part Seventeen

by

Rodford Edmiston

"Meddling fools," said Arnold Lampton, his voice an irritated mutter. Even that indulgence he only allowed himself because he knew he was in a place where he could not be overheard. The English weren't so bothered by rights and niceties as the Americans; his office and home and even his usual car were bugged, his phones tapped. However, they'd not been nearly thorough enough, perhaps due to fear of being caught. His private workshop, in the loft above the old carriage house, had escaped their notice.

Masks 12: Part 16

Masks Twelve: Part Sixteen

by

Rodford Edmiston

Energia was glad to be back at school and back in costume. She guessed that made her weird in some eyes, but who didn't have a favorite type of clothing? Hers just happened to be custom designed and tailored.

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?"

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