Tuesday, November 24, 2015

LBV Episode 1.2


With the toast the four supervillains sat around their conference table. Dark Talon spoke up again.

“Also keeping in with tradition every five years we need to go over how we got started. To keep us humble and refresh in our memories with the real reason we are all doing this. Carl, you have the floor.”

“Thanks Ted,” Doctor Pandemonium aka Carl replied rising. “I prepared a few videos and some pictures which I saved a while back.”

Carl tapped a few buttons and the big plasma TV began to show several old newspaper clippings showing four grinning men in their early twenties holding an oversized check, the younger versions of the men sitting in the room. They were standing in front of a corner store with a blue awning that advertised “Lotto, Beer and The Best Pizza in Town” in bold letters on a sign in the window. The title of the article read “Local Boys Win the Powerball Jackpot! Record numbers for the lucky foursome.”


“That was the day we won and made the first of our pacts. That we were not going to piss the money away like so many other winners that we were going to use the money to benefit the world. And after we each banked three million dollars that was what we did. Or tried to do.”

The heads around the table nodded, with thoughtful looks on their faces.

The next slide on the screen was a collage of headlines:

“Aid Shipment Hijacked!”

“Homeless Shelter Permit Denied: Labor Dispute Main Culprit”

“Clean Energy Bill Voted Down”

“Do-gooders Tied in Red Tape”

“Animal Shelter Demolished by Animal Rights Activists”

Carl continued “It started to go bad then. It seemed like everything we tried to do got turned down or ruined by outside interference. Money embezzled by top people in the groups we set up, supplies stolen or destroyed, wrong paperwork. Paperwork. It was always freaking paperwork. It felt like we couldn’t do anything right. It looked like we were going to give up when the event that changed everything happened.”

The view of the headlines changed to a shaky home video, which seemed to have been shot on a fairly high quality video camera.

It showed the younger versions of three of the four villains in the room lounging around a living room generally grousing and hanging out like friends are apt to do. The recording was rather noisy with talking, the TV going in the background and a radio off playing in another room. The guys were complaining about recent events.

“... and then the city council piped in and said I hadn’t filed the prerequisite paperwork to change the zone from commercial to residential and paid the ‘administrative fees’. Which sounds an awful lot like a bribe to Me.” complained Carl “But two months ago they said that the homeless shelter/drug rehab center needed to be commercial because we would have people working there.”

The camera quickly zoomed in to Mike who was wearing a brand new looking Led Zeppelin T-shirt and sitting on the edge of the couch staring at the TV, trying to ignore Carl’s rantings. He waved his hand at Carl “Shhh, they are about to reveal the verdict.”

The room quieted down.

The image panned over to the screen where a suited man behind a podium was reading a pre prepared statement. “… After deliberation and much thought the United Nations Council of Developing Nations has decided to issue sanctions against the Warlord of Kraagbwei for crimes against the people of Kraagbwei and hijacking and willful destruction of relief aid. Furthermore…”

Mike angrily turned off the TV and threw the remote down. “Sanctions?! That’s it? He destroyed almost a million dollars of food, livestock and supplies that those people needed. And all he gets is sanctions? Seriously it is like honest human beings can’t do anything without being penalized and the bad guys can do anything and get away with it!”

The camera pulled out catching Ted leaning forward from the easy chair he was lounging in, tapping the gold hued rounded hilt of the sword he had resting against his leg, an eagle prominently displayed on the pommel. “Then why not become villains? Think of all the good we could do if we didn’t have to obey any laws.” It zoomed in unsteadily on his face, it looked serious and earnest. Ted paused looking at everyone’s faces. “And besides we already have what is considered by the internet the greatest of all super powers… money.”

Except for the music from the radio in the background the room fell silent. The camera panned back and forth across the assembled people.

Mike spoke first. “You aren’t serious are you? That sounds crazy. Being villains?”

“What happened to helping humanity?” Carl butted in “Villains blow up dams, take hostages, rob banks and try to rule the world. That definitely isn’t helping humanity in the slightest.”

And finally the man behind the camera spoke “I dunno guys. It makes a twisted sort of sense. If you can’t beat them join them. And get them to do work for you without them knowing it. The idea has potential. The right and legal way hasn’t worked out for us yet. What do we have to lose by looking at the idea?”

Ted nodded. “Exactly Dave. Put the camera down and let’s talk about this.”

The camera abruptly blurred and came to rest on a cushion, the picture at a ninety degree angle, as they began to talk.

The video faded to black on the monitor as Carl faced his cohorts.

“And thus after many hours and days of arguments and planning our League of Benevolent Villainy was born. As part of our long term plans we then bought all 4 houses on the end of the street. Had the connecting tunnels to our secret room constructed and set up our hidden lair. With the five chairs. One for each of us and the fifth for inevitable time traveler or discoverer of our true purpose.”


Dave aka Overwatch chugged his fourth soda and interrupted waving his hand in an impatient manner, “Bla Bla Bla, we kept that name secret and used the League of Brutal Villainy instead so everyone will think we actually were bad guys. Bla Bla Bla. And that I think about covers the rest of the history lesson. All in favor of moving on?”

Four voices as one “Aye.”

Chuckling Ted took charge. “Ok let’s get to current business and ongoing projects. Mike you go first.”

“Thanks Ted, I have good news to report. As of last month in Kraagbwei literacy rates have increased across the board. For those under twenty we are at seventy percent and for those above twenty it is at fifty three percent. Which is almost double what it was five years ago.”

He got a round of “Good Job!”s and a few claps.

“That’s not all. This year we will have our first crop of graduates from the university. All of which have jobs waiting for them. Around half of them the country of Kraagbwei is employing for infrastructure building and advancement and most of the rest Overwatch is going to use for work on the satellite defense grid.” He gave a slight bow to Dave. “Kraagbwei officially thanks you and Skyshield.”

Dave gave a small smile, gave a slight nod and raised his soda can in toast. “And Overwatch and Skyshield formally thanks the country of Kraagbwei for training the people we need for the Extra-Solar Defense Grid and other deep space operations.”

“The long range forecast for Kraagbwei looks pretty much like The Seer predicted. Some of our neighboring countries are making threatening noises and posturing. We expect an attack or provoking incident within the next 3 years. The contingency plans for that remain updated with current information. Overall the morale of the populace is good and is improving. About 6 years from now it will be time for me to listen to the people and open up the country to general elections.”

“Excellent news Mike. So who wants to be next?”

“I’ll go.” Dave cleared his throat, “Skyshield is on schedule with its construction of the components for the defense grid. Our estimates show that we will have enough for minimal Stage One dispersal in about nine months and coming up to the fully synced Stage Five grid in two years. Those numbers will of course change if we get a major breakthrough or get some additional support up there.”

Ted nodded “I’ll look into it and see what I can do. Zeeros did me a favor and might need a place to lay low for a while.”

“Thanks, she would be a big asset up there. And in other news. The Cretaceous project’s security is holding and the project is almost ready for unveiling. The slush asteroid has almost been towed into position and the moon impact trajectory has been calculated for impact on Mare Humorum, with boosters placed and coordinates tracking accordingly. In about two months I can make the ransom demands and issue the threats about dropping the asteroid on Washington DC.”

“All your airtime has been paid for already and the interruption devices will be on standby starting a week prior to your estimated date of unveiling.” Interrupted Ted.

“Good. One less worry. And I think you guys will appreciate a few of the modern takes on the classics that my team incorporated. My personal favorite is the motion activated timed detonators. The detonator is inert until it gets a reading of a human sized object approaching it then its timer starts with a forty five second countdown. If no action is taken it resets after thirty seconds and triggers again at forty five seconds when another object approaches. And another nice touch is cutting any wire will disable it. And it has nice big bright wires including the classic red one.”

The room burst out laughing at his description.

“So when enough are disabled there is a terrible explosion sending the slush ball,” He made quotation marks with his fingers “’off course’ to impact on the moon. Providing the moon base that Skyshield is building, and will” finger quotes again “’abandon’ when someone comes to stop foil us, with plenty of ice and hydrocarbons for water and air. I have something else but I will let Carl unveil that bit next.”


“Thanks Dave.” Carl began rubbing his bald spot as he talked. “Our tech development continues at its estimated pace. But other than in one major area we have had no real breakthroughs, just a few small upgrades to existing tech here and there. “

He checked some notes on his phone. “Liquid Turtle, our body armor project, is ready for sale to governments through our normal front, Global Technical Unlimited. Our final figures on the armor is that it is thirty percent lighter, fifty five percent better protection, gives the wearer more mobility and it costs one third of the price to manufacture than current US issue Kevlar. Which will be great for keeping people alive. And it will boost our legal income.”

“And keeping you all current on the Foiled Again plans for my area, I am fairly sure that one of the members of Development Team C will betray us in just under a year if things go to schedule. It looks like we hired the right woman to have a crisis of conscience. My forecasts at this point predict her using the chemical formula for the Resistex material to build some ‘symbiote’ style body armor, ‘liberate’ some of our portable tech and join a super team in the Boston area. Our betting pool today is whether she is going to snag the freeze tech, the somnolence tech or go the adhesion route with the expanding goop, which incidentally was an offshoot of Resistex research. Who wants to place a bet on what?”

Mike leaned his head on one hand while his elbow leaned on the table. With is other hand he counted off his questions as he listed them. “Four questions. Where is she from originally? What did she do before she got recruited? Does she have family? What is her personality like?”

“Good questions. She is from the Boston area. She was a senior going for her chemical engineering degree. Her parents are both alive and she has an older brother. At recruitment she was the intellectually superior wallflower type. Now she seems more driven.”

The other three around the table made appreciative noises.

Carl looked to Mike, “You spoke first. What do you think?”

“I have a dollar on adhesion. The chemical engineering means I think she can reverse engineer it. And the Resistex connection is a pleasant bonus on that.”

“I’ve got a buck on freeze tech. Intellectually superior wallflower? Definitely a chip on her shoulder. Probably arrogant. In my book ice user typically equals arrogant.” Dave piped in with a grin.

Ted just sighed and shrugged. “I guess that leaves me with somnolence. I’m not going to take it and offer a different option. I think she has someone else on the inside with her. I’ve got a dollar on none of the above.”

Carl continued “With that out of the way I think I can talk about one of our super long term goals. Early last month we solved the unsolvable. By we, I mean Dave’s and my people working together solved it.”

Ted and mike looked at each other and each shrugged and took turns listing off the plans they knew of.

“Mind uploadable Cloning?”

“Nope. But closer than you think on that one. This time next year I think we will be up to 50% success rate.”

“Finding Hitler’s frozen head?”

“Sorry, nope. Just the usual whispers nothing new or concrete.”

“Stage two of the power detection array?”

“No. Still stage one. We are having some delays on that one.”

“Cracking Tesla’s broadcast energy transmitter?”


Ted rolled his eyes. “I’m out. Can you guess anything Mike?”

“I’m out too. Unless they somehow managed to crack cold fusion. But that one is eternally ten years away.”

Dave and Carl quietly smirked and said nothing.

Mike looked sharply at them. “No way. You did it? Seriously? You two monkeys figured out cold fusion.”

“Yep we did.” Nodded Carl. “Apparently you can get the atoms to react properly in zero gravity.”

Ted started clapping. “Incredible. I can’t believe you did it. That will solve so many problems. Pollution, natural resources, the energy crisis.”

Dave looked a bit sheepish. “Yeah, don’t get so happy. It’s worthless. It is completely unusable. It costs too much to do. The energy output does not equal the energy put in to kick start it. And it can only be replicated in zero gee.”

“Yeah. Sorry guys but cold fusion is a bust for us. Zero point energy looks more promising. Unfortunately I think we are ten or more years out on that one... So, yeah... No cold fusion energy. The documents and research involved will of course be leaked on to the internet in the usual places. Hopefully someone can take our work and build on this.”
All the disappointed heads around the table nodded sagely

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

LBV Episode 1.1

The room had a feel of a windowless two car garage converted into a private rec room. A mini-fridge sat quietly humming to itself off to one side of the nice entertainment system under the large plasma TV. Several posters of women in a bikinis at the beach or on top of classic cars hung on the beige painted walls. A neatly organized electronics work bench was ready for use along the opposite wall from the TV next to an industrial strength coat rack. The dark brown carpeting was decent and clean thanks to the small robot vacuum that skittered across the floor. The whole thing felt like a guy’s rec room that his wife allowed him. His well-kept man cave.

Except for a few things.

One of the most instantly notable differences was the high tech conference table in the dead center of the room surrounded by five well-padded comfortable looking chairs. Another odd thing was the number of doors entering the room, there were four identical solid looking wood doors on one of the walls instead of the one that would seem more normal.  And the most subtle difference was how quiet it was. Other than the quiet whirring of the vacuum’s wheels and the hum of the fridge it was dead silent. In a normal garage/rec room you should have been able to hear an occasional bird or the sound of traffic rolling by outside.

After finishing a final sweep of the room the vacuum robot docked at its charging station made a few beeps and shut down. The room was once again silent and still except for the humming of the mini-fridge and the air circulating from the ceiling vents which became apparent after the humming of the carpet robot stopped.

An indeterminate amount of time later one of the doors opened up and a fit looking light haired man in his late thirties dressed in a dark blue polo shirt and jeans walked in. He put the gold pommeled short sword he was carrying down, leaning it against the entertainment center. He grabbed the remote, settled back in one of the chairs around the table and proceeded to watch a football game. A little while later a different door opened up and another man walked in, a fit black man, he was dressed much more casually with an old faded Led Zeppelin t-shirt on and a pair of beat up jeans. His dark hair sat under a plain black ball cap. He called out to the man in the chair.

“Ted you’re here early. The meeting is not for another twenty minutes.”

Ted grinned from his chair, “I wanted to watch the game. I like this TV better than the one I have back in my house. Hey Mike, can you beer me? I pre-stocked the fridge yesterday.”

“No problem.” Mike headed over to the mini fridge and grabbed a pair of brown glass bottles, throwing one underhanded to his seated friend. He looked at the plain label. “Ooh, I don’t recognize these, Special Stock #32. Is this a new brew you found?”

“Even better,” He chuckled popping the top and taking a drink “This was brewed specially for me from some contacts in Germany as a thank you for helping them out. I have the full run, only 10 kegs. They thought I’d like dark beer.”

Mike snorted almost choking on the beer as he tried not to laugh and drink at the same time. “Dark beer, really? Did they actually say that when they gave it to you?”

“They didn’t but I can read between the lines when the brew they made just for me is darker than a Guinness. Somewhere there is someone having a good laugh thinking I wouldn’t figure it out.”

Mike shook his head as he took another pull on his beer and dropped into another of the chairs to watch the game. “Who’s winning?”

“The Giants right now, but the Titans are going to win this one.”

“Ahh, but I read that the Giants are favored by 2 touchdowns.”

“True, but the Titans biggest fan is Makalu. And he wants the Titans to go to the playoffs. I happen to hear through the grapevine that he is going to do his best to make sure that happens.”

“This is going to be a really good game then.”

Both the men sat back in their chairs and watched the game with rapt attention occasionally commenting on a good hit or pass.

One of the two remaining un-used doors opened and a thin balding man in glasses hustled in.  “Sorry I’m late; I had to take care of some last minute work stuff. You know how it is.”

Mike and Ted both nodded knowingly.

“Ooh it that beer?”

Still staring at the TV Ted gestured to the mini-fridge, “Help yourself Carl. It is a limited run just for the four of us. Once it is gone it is gone.”

“Thanks,” Carl grabbed a bottle and downed it in a single pull without coming up for air. He burped loudly and smacked his lips appreciatively and obnoxiously. “It’s good. Too bad it is a limited run. I don’t get much chance to get out of the lab to find anything worth drinking. And I definitely don’t trust anything they have been brewing in there. Even if they call it beer.”

He grabbed a second beer and looked around the room. “No Dave?”

“Nope, but you know how he is, he likes to work up to the last possible minute more than you do.” Mike remarked.

At that moment a low pitched humming filled the room. The sound amplified into a bass rumble then went up the register higher pitched and ended with a loud pop, similar to what you’d hear when you popped a piece of bubble wrap, if the bubble was the size of your head.

Standing in an empty part of the room stood a nine foot tall suit of power armor. The armor was colored in hues of blue and black steel. Its lines were heavy and sharp. If it could reasonably come to a point anywhere on the armor it did, from spined ridged gauntlets to a set of swept back demonic horns across the top of the technoskull shaped helmet. It felt very inspired by the villain in a popular fantasy trilogy that was released in the early 2000s. Except the villain didn’t have the small rocket packs attached to his forearms and glowing yellow eyes behind the slits of the visor which stared menacingly at the others in the room.


It called out in a deep harsh voice. “Tremble before the impeding might of your doom fools! For I Overwatch have arrived!”

The three men in the room looked with shock at the unexpected visitor before them.



They all started talking, yelling and hand waving all at once, in anger more than frustration.

Ted “This is completely against the rules!”

Mike “Do you have any idea what will happen if they track you here!?”

Carl “The rule is no spandex at these meetings! Not cool man, not cool! These rules exist for a reason!”

The armored figure held its gauntleted hands up placating, trying to calm the 3 angry men before it.  “Whoa, Guys come on,” its harsh voice still booming mightily in the confined area. “Oops, the voice, sorry about that. Let me fix it.”

There was an audible click and the voice that spoke was nothing like what was heard before. It sounded fairly normal and a bit frustrated. “If anyone managed to track my telebouncing they will think I teleported to the Canadian Rockies to a point two hundred feet below ground and then vanish. I made sure this would be untraceable. And besides I have a very good reason to be doing this.”

Mike frowned at the fearsome armored figure that loomed before him. “OK Dave, spill. What was so important?”

Overwatch aka Dave clapped his metal clad hands together and a bubble of energy began to form between them expanding in size as he moved them apart. He twitched his hands and the glowing crystals in the palms shut off leaving a pair of stacked cardboard boxes that steamed gently. “This is what was so important. Fresh deep dish Chicago style pizza strait from the windy city itself, stored safely in the stasis field generated by the suit.”

Carl inhaled deeply savoring the scent that floated through the room. “No way, is this from the one place...”

“On the corner, with the blue awning, next to the nail salon. Yes it is.” Dave finished for him. “The place this all began.”

The power suit walked forward and set the pizzas on the table. “Don’t wait for me, dig in. I need to take this off.” He walked over to the corner with the coat hanger and powered the suit down. Its chest plate clam shelling open revealing a thin pale man with a few days stubble wearing a wet look grey and blue bodysuit that had wires and other connections plugged into snap fittings at dozens of different places across it.

It took Dave a few minutes to extract himself from his suit properly and secure the fittings, giving his friends plenty of time to dive into the thick pizza, quickly eating with the occasional sounds of a bite that was too hot and mouth fanning motions.

Ted gestured to the fridge. “I have plenty of soda for you in there. All the good stuff, lots of different small operations that use real sugar. I know the suit drains you and lowers your glucose levels.”

With a thumbs up and a grin Dave walked over stretching and working out kinks as he went to help himself to his choice of beverage.

After the four of them had gotten fresh drinks and had mostly sated themselves on fresh pizza Ted stood up holding his beer high.

“As is tradition whenever we get together for our yearly meeting and project review we need to open with our toast.”

Every one stood up from their chairs brandishing their drink of choice, with various looks on their faces, from grins to stoic thought.

“To the League of Benevolent Villainy! Long may the world be fooled!”

“To Evil!” toasted Dave aka Overwatch

“To Evil!” toasted Mike aka The Crimson General

“To Evil!” toasted Carl aka Doctor Pandemonium

“To Evil!” toasted Ted aka Dark Talon


They all drank.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Emerald City Defenders Episode 1.3

The Present


Engines revved and roared as the Mighty Metal Mechanoid took the Crab-topus to task. It was like watching a professional wrestling match supersized to an impossible size. Tendrils met metal and Pincers met techno-organic carapace and rock and roll met bellowing in a thunderous duel. Each of the titans gave as good as it got.

With a mighty heave the MEGAS threw its aquatic foe down the block through several parked cars and into three storefronts.  The MEGAS posed dramatically Painkiller starting again for the third time in the musical loop. The Grab-topus lurched upright one pincer mangled and useless from its fall. It thrashed its oversized tentacles angrily against the surrounding buildings as it charged its latest enemy.

The battle was joined again as claws, tentacles and fists met each other in great fury.

The Emerald City Defenders took cover around the corner out of the way of the brawl.

The team held a tactical meeting using their coms due to the overwhelming volume of the battle in progress. Harmonic sat panting on a curb drinking a bottle of something Necessity had concocted earlier at the base for him to rehydrate. She hovered over him occasionally glancing at a wrist mounted monitor that had a live feed from a drone she had sent around the corner to spy on the two tussling titans. Expresso stood next to Forever Knight and AI-leen out of the drizzle under an overhang.

Expresso started the conversation “This is crazy. That guy is doing more damage to the city while fighting the Crab-topus than it was doing on its own.”

“Agreed,” began Forever Knight “We need to get him to take it down a notch and let us give him a hand. The two of them have nearly destroyed a whole block and a half. AI-leen, can you interface with his system so we can talk to him.”


Expresso and Forever Knight both looked sideways at her.

“Did you say compliance?”

“That is correct. Studies have shown that a light hearted humorous comment about a topic vaguely related to the task at hand in a stressful situation can increase team cohesion and lower mental fatigue by fifteen percent. Was my movie reference erroneous or inappropriate?”

Forever Knight shook his head. “No darling, that was perfectly appropriate. I just never figured the member of our team who was an Artificial Sentience would ever quote Flight of the Navigator.”

“The Collective and I strive for improvement. Your connection to Dale aboard the Mechanoid has been established.”

The loud heavy metal cut off. Just the sound of the beast and the rumble of the monster truck engines could be heard.

“Dale? This is Forever Knight. Can you hear me?”

A very surprised voice came over the linked team coms.  “Yeah I can. How did you guys do that?”

“AI-leen. Bluetooth. But that is not important now. Dale about your fight against the Crab-topus…”

“I’m whooping it good aren’t I?” Dale interrupted.

“There is no denying that. But Dale you are causing more damage to the city than the creature. We need you to tone it down a bit. We need to save the city not destroy it. If you back off a bit we can jump in and help you finish it off without causing too much more damage.”

“What? No way! I can take this thing on my own. You want me to do all the work and you guys to take the credit for beating it. I’ll be the hero this time. You guys had your chance.” With an audible click he cut the connection. Moments later Painkiller started blearing from the speakers for its fourth repeat of the battle.

Harmonic looked up and sighed. “I’m really starting to hate that song.”

Forever Knight addressed his squad. “No good. He is going to hot dog this one. And we are pretty much helpless.”

“We aren’t as bad off as you think.” Necessity stepped up to the huddle “Look at my view screen. Both the MEGAS and the Crab-topus are pretty bad off. I think we can with a combined effort stop them both.”

As the team examined the images Harmonic stood up from his seat on the curb and spoke up. “I think I can do it. I’ve got a new song that I have been practicing. But, if I do this it is my last song. You guys aren’t getting an Ave Maria from me.”

AI-leen’s eyes flashed. “My calculations state that you would need to perform at a level that is forty five percent stronger than your current best to have a strong degree of success in finishing both foes.”

Seeing Necessity’s concern he chugged the last of his drink and put his hand on her shoulder. “Trust me I have this one. Everyone needs to set their ear protection settings to level ten. This one is going to get loud.”


Harmonic shook out his arms and rocked his head back and forth popping his neck. Just like a fighter getting ready for an important match. He closed his eyes, took a few deep breaths and calmly started walking toward the street that the two titans brawled in.

As he walked he positioned his hands in the classic air guitar pose and started strumming. The ambient noise of the battle and the city combined into a very distinct and memorable guitar riff. And he began to sing over it softly at first but then steadily increased the volume.

“Oh wowowowowowow.”

“Oh wowowowowowow.”

“Oh wowowowowowow.”

The rest of his team looked at each other. And each dialed his or her ear protection all the way up.

Forever Knight commed Necessity and AI-leen “Can you get a recording of this. I think it might be one for the archives.”

“My drones are moving into position right now.”

“The collective is cashing it in an isolated cluster as we speak using all available sources that they can access to give a three hundred and sixty degree view of the battlefield in full HD. Necessity a request has been sent to access the microphones in your hover drones to get the highest fidelity sound.”

Necessity tapped a few buttons on her wrist comp. “Granted.”

The way all the sounds came together and amplified it now sounded like a whole crowd was joining in.

“Oh wowowowowowow.”

“Oh wowowowowowow.”

“Oh wowowowowowow.”

 “Oh wowowowowowow.”

His slow walk finally took him to the main street, the music swelled and his hands didn’t cease their air guitar playing.


“Oh wowowowowowow. Thunder!”

“Oh wowowowowowow. Thunder!”

“Oh wowowowowowow. Thunder!”

Harmonic stood in the center of the street in a wide stance strumming his air guitar and staring at the two oversized combatants before him as he increased the volume and force of his voice. What sounded like a hundred voices joined in, all singing in complete harmony and synchronicity along with him.

“Oh wowowowowowow. Thunder!”

“Oh wowowowowowow. Thunder!”

“Oh wowowowowowow. Thunder!”

Expresso stood in the shadow of a building behind Harmonic. With his enhanced speedster’s eyes he could see the drizzle react to the sound waves emanating from the man who stood before him. “Man I love this song.”


The rain rippled out in front of him momentarily halting its fall. Three hundred voices.


The volume increased as did the dispersion of the rain. The cone of sonic dryness almost reaching the legs of the MEGAS that had a tentacle in an arm bar. Five hundred voices.


Rain splashed buildings on both sides of the street as it was thrown back. Eight hundred voices.


One thousand voices. The entire street went dry for a moment.

AI-leen sent over team coms. “That was his previous maximum recorded volume.”

“It is going to get loud folks, brace yourselves. AI-leen can you get some hard light to reinforce the surrounding buildings.” Forever Knight’s mind worked busily “If this gets as loud as I am thinking it might structurally damage them.”

“It is possible; I will attempt to add some sound baffling on the back side to reduce the sonic damage to the buildings.”

“I was caught. In the middle of a railroad track. THUNDER!”

Rain was now splattering on a bubble of pure sonic energy that covered the whole street centered on Harmonic. At each cry of Thunder the Crab-topus staggered and shook as if it was hit by a gigantic fist.

A pearlescent white energy barrier sprang up in front of the buildings up and down the street as AI-leen sprang into action.

“I looked 'round. And I knew there was no turning back. THUNDER!”

The already damaged front carapace cracked nearly in half under the sonic barrage. A sickly green ichor and ooze seeping from the fractures. Rain vaporized above the buildings lining the street along the sound barrier, covering the whole length of the street from view of satellites by a thick low hanging cloud.

“My mind raced. And I thought what could I do? THUNDER!”

It was like listening to the greatest concert ever given by AC/DC except at a volume that could drown out a whole airport. The sound level proved too much for the already hurt sea monster. It collapsed with a twitch its nerve endings shorting out and internal organs pulping from the reverberations within its two shells. Glaring angrily through a spider web cracked windshield Dale spun the wheel in his cockpit causing the giant robot to face back down the street at the person who stole his victory.

“And I knew. There was no help, no help from you. THUNDER!”

The roar of the sequenced engines surged as Dale drove the MEGAS at top speed toward Harmonic. The giant robot leaned forward in a crude mockery of a runners form as it pounded down the street picking up speed as it ran against the pure onslaught of sound.

Harmonic stood his ground his arms outstretched no longer playing the air guitar. The music swelled around him to greater levels than before. The hissing of the vaporizing rain was incorporated into the sounds of the crowd cheering and singing along.

“Thirty two percent louder than previously recorded.” Noted AI-leen

“Sound of the drums
Beatin' in my heart
The thunder of guns!
Tore me apart
You've been  ...”

“He is actually going to crush him!” Necessity screamed into her headset

“I’vegothim!I’vegothim!I’vegothim!” Shouted Expresso as he sprinted forward, his form blurring, to save his friend.

He never got to see who was faster, a mutant speedster or a metallic monster. Because mere moments before either got to him Harmonic played six dramatic beats on an air drum kit. And made the loudest noise he had ever made in his life.


Quietly, just barely audible, in everyone’s coms almost as an afterthought AI-leen sent “Sixty two percent louder.”

The air itself rippled in a perfect sphere with Harmonic as its center point. The shockwave caused the pearlescent barrier that protected the buildings to shatter into minute dust-like fragments of light that sprinkled over everything like a slow motion glittery snow. Both the MEGAS and the supersonic speedster went flying as Harmonic’s wave hit them.

Expresso was better off as he had less surface area to catch the explosion. He tumbled through the air wind milling his limbs at high speed to stabilize his accidental flight, looking much like an erratic coffee colored cyclone. He managed to slow his speed enough in time to crash into and through the second story display window of a women’s boutique. He sat up with a pained grimace holding his side; it seemed he had only cracked a few ribs. At his previous speed he might have broken his neck at the very least on impact.

Dale and The Mighty Metal Mechanoid didn’t fare as well. The force of the sonic barrage caught the giant robot square on. It didn’t fly nearly as high as Expresso but it was hit with greater force none the less. Dale, being a smart maniac, had actually worn his seatbelt, a modified racing harness. That and his emergency trauma system saved his life. The MEGAS carved up a long section of city street as it flew down the center of the road for two city blocks, tumbling and twisting limply as both the pilot and primary control system were out. It ended up lying limply, with an occasional fat orange spark shooting out, half piled into a parking garage pillowed up by a pile of asphalt, concrete and late model sedans.

When the pearlescent dust had begun to disappear and the rain had begun to fall again everyone looking out of windows and out of their hiding places all along the street could see a still blue haired form sprawled unmoving in the center of a perfect half sphere indented in the center of the road. A sparkling rain slowly washed over the body, and began to pool in the crater, as people ran from all directions in what seemed like slow motion in his direction, led by a girl with a fan jet backpack.



For those of you who want to listen to the whole song. Not just the text version of it in your head.




Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Emerald City Defenders Episode 1.2

Two days previously at the Emerald City Defenders headquarters.


* Do do Do De do. Do do Do De do.* A five toned chime gently rang through the halls of the ultra-modern building.  * Do do Do De do. Do do Do De do.*

A calm pleasant artificial female voice followed “Attention; we have a non-urgent briefing in the main conference room. Please assemble there as soon as possible. Please acknowledge receipt of this message.”

About thirty seconds passed. The voice continued “Expresso, please check on Harmonic and Necessity. Neither have responded. Harmonic is in training room four and Necessity is in her workshop.”

A pale brown blur zipped through the polished white corridors stopping at a thick metal door that had a reinforced window inset in it. The blur, now that it stopped, turned out to be a decently tall man with a handsome aquiline face, café-ole skin, and tight braided black hair. His neck to foot spandex costume showed off a runners build. His costume was unique among most supers because of its polarizing design. It was patterned and colored like the local coffee chain. The arms and legs were white ending with separate matching dark brown and white thick leather gloves and boots. The chest and torso were mostly dark brown with a filled in white U that stretched from shoulder to waist to shoulder.

The colors of the suit weren’t what made people talk about it. The most polarizing part of his costume were the logos. Right in the dead center of the white U was the coffee company’s logo of a green mermaid about the size of a dinner plate. And on either shoulder was another company logo and the latest drink the chain was pushing. Making him a running, talking billboard extolling the virtues of coffee.


Expresso looked through the thick glass and saw Harmonic standing in the room with his back to the door. Looking past him he could see the targets down range fall apart as if sliced or crumble into nothing and the dust in the room shake with sonic ripples. He typed into the keypad underneath the room number next to the door and the lights flashed briefly and a message popped up on the scrolling sign at the far wall letting Harmonic know about the meeting. A couple of moments later the door opened up and Harmonic walked out in his filthy, sweat stained, band t-shirt, toweling off his face and medium length spiky, naturally sky blue hair.

He and Expresso bumped fists. “Thanks for getting me man.” His voice a bit hoarse from his practice “So what’s this meeting about?”

“No Idea, AI-leen didn’t say. She just called for the meeting and wanted me to check up on you and Necessity. And to kick your buts into gear if necessary.”

Harmonic laughed “Oh, I’m sure she used those words.”

“You want to grab Necessity for me?” Expresso said with a small grin. “I wanted to go grab a drink. Gotta keep up the caffeine levels.”

“You don’t need to sell it to me. I’m a sweet lemon tea guy. I’ll happily go get Ness. Go get your drink.”

Expresso laughed and zipped off down a hallway, his form blurring as he accelerated. He paused just before he turned the corner and looked back with a slight smile. “Don’t take too long.”

Harmonic walked down the hall toward the section of the base that housed Necessities workshop. He brushed his black denim pants off, scrubbed his teeth with his finger, checked his breath, tried to fix his hair by combing his fingers through it, the usual things a guy does before he meets up with a girl. After a minute or so of walking he came to another thick metal door. This one had a sign duck taped to it that read “Geinus at Work” with a smiley face the word genius misspelled. He knocked on the door, which swung open at his touch.

“Ness? You in here?”

The room was covered in work benches, walls full of overflowing shelving, bins, winches, motors, generators, lab coats, goggles and odd little glowy things. In short all sorts of random things an inventor would need to create to her heart’s content. The smell of ozone and grease filled the room the further Harmonic moved into it.


He rounded a corner that seemed to be made out of bins full of circuit boards and saw a pair of legs with tight grey cargo pants and a pair of scuffed up almost knee high tan boots covered in buckles sticking out from underneath a large quasi-aerodynamic vehicle looking thing.

“Harm? Is that you?”

“Yeah Ness, are you stuck? You need help?”

“Nah, I’m good. Can you hand me the 3/16th auto rotating pneumatic lance driver?”

“The what?”

“The thing attached to a hose that looks like a skinny hammer crossed with a wrench.” A small grease stained hand and arm stuck out and made grabbing motions.

Harmonic quickly found the item attached to a red hose hanging from the ceiling and slapped it into the waiting hand. The hand went back under the vehicle like a turtle retreating into its shell. A few quick seconds later the sound of metal grinding and sparking came out.

“And done! Here give me a hand and help me get out of here.” The hand appeared again fishing for something to grasp.

With a grunt Harmonic pulled the miniature mechanic out from underneath her latest creation. Necessity got to her feet, and pulled the bandana off of her shirt pixie cut blond hair. She adjusted the welding goggles from eye protection to stylish headband and smiled.  Her oversized band t-shirt was filthy with grime from the floor and loosely hung off of her small frame past her waist.

“Thanks Harm. I was at a spot I couldn’t stop working on when AI-leen called. It was sweet of you to come get me.”

“It was nothing.” He scratched his head with a bashful smile. “Hey isn’t that one of my shirts?”

“Ummm yeah, it is. You left it here at the base a week or two ago. I’ve been using it 'cause I didn’t want to get my clothes too dirty. I’ll wash it and get it back to you!”

“No no no, don’t worry. You can keep it. I don’t mind.” He grinned “It might have helped your uniform but it didn’t help your face stay clean. You’ve got grease smudges all over your cheek.”

Necessity pulled the oversized shirt off, exposing the blue tank top underneath, and tried to rub the grease spot off of her cheek using the cleaner inside fabric. And smudged it worse. “Did I get it?”

“Umm actually no...”

She tried again, and just spread it all over.

“Here let me. “ He took the shirt from her and cleaned off the grease spot. Smiling at her.

The both looked into each other’s eyes.

“Thanks Harm. You didn’t have to do that.”

“It was my pleasure Ness. You can always count on me for that sort of thing.”

She smiled back “I’ve noticed, In fact…”

* Do do Do De do. Do do Do De do.* The five note musical chime interrupted them. The soft female voice spoke “Necessity and Harmonic please report to the main conference room. The rest of the team is waiting.”

They both jumped guiltily. Necessity jogged over to a wall panel and hit a button on it.

“Necessity and Harmonic acknowledging the page. We are on our way.”

They both nodded at each other, shrugging slightly and started jogging to the door. Neither of them wanting to be any later than they already were.

“I wonder what it is this time. “Necessity mused.

“I have no idea, but you know it will be interesting."


Harmonic and Necessity hustled to the conference room and discovered everyone else was already assembled.  They both looked a bit bashful at the looks and half smiles that greeted them from most of the people in the room.

Expresso made eye contact with Harmonic and wiggled his eyebrows in addition to his smirk, who in reply rolled his eyes.

A middle aged black man with wavy salt and pepper hair and a thin solo mustache gestured them to the empty seats at the conference table. He looked like a former professional athlete gone slightly to fat.  His Emerald City Defenders jumpsuit was neat pressed and somehow managed to make him look like a scoundrel. His surprisingly blue eyes twinkled at the two latecomers.

“Have a seat you two, AI-leen was about to introduce our guest.”

The woman in question faced her team mates. Although she looked human her positioning and body language gave off an alien and unnatural feel. She looked like a normal business woman in a white jacket and green pleated dress. Her red hair was perfectly styled in magazine like perfection and her skin and makeup were airbrushed levels of flawless. The irises of her green eyes had an unusual sparkle to them, almost like a stylized version of firing electrons. She walked to the head of the table but when she stopped moving she completely was completely still, almost like a mannequin, not even breathing. She nodded in a formal manner toward the jump suited man.

“Thank you Forever Knight. “ The woman’s voice was the same one that paged the team through the base intercom. “We have two gentlemen with us today here to appraise of us of a problem expected to hit Seattle in approximately two days, four hours and seventeen minutes.  We have Captain Arnold Sherman from the Seattle branch of the MCTF and Lieutenant Commander Nathan Oliver from the US Coastguard. Lieutenant Commander Oliver will begin our briefing today.”

Lieutenant Commander Oliver stood up from the table and adjusted his uniform. Looking at his short sleeved light blue shirt an observer could see his corded muscles that spoke of the fact that he was a ships officer not a desk jockey. He ran a hand along his square jaw and up the side of his blond high and tight haircut. “Thank you AI-leen, and thank you Emerald City Defenders. It is a great honor for me to be here although I wish it wasn’t under such circumstances.”

“The honor is ours Lieutenant Commander. All of the ECD have the utmost respect for the members of our armed services. Thank you for your service.” Forever Knight said with a sincere smile.

The Lieutenant Commander looked a bit more at ease. “Thank you.” He picked up a clicker off of the table and aimed it toward the large screen on the wall behind him. “As you all know The United States Coast Guard’s duties are not limited to rescuing drunk boaters or stopping the random smuggler. Those are our secondary missions. That frankly could be done by the Hardy Boys, if their books are remotely accurate, or a well-equipped Boy Scout troop. Our primary job is to monitor coastal waters of the United States and her territories for Mega-Fauna incursion.”

Harmonic held up his hand. “Pardon me Lieutenant Commander Oliver. But what exactly is Mega-Fauna?”

The rest of the team looked a bit embarrassed about the question.

He nodded to Harmonic “Mega-Fauna is the more scientific term for large mutated creatures. Or Godzillas to use the layperson’s terminology.”

Harmonic gave a low whistle that sounded like the mix between a foghorn and a slide whistle; somehow he made that sound very impressed. “We get to fight Godzilla? Man I love my job.”

Necessity shushed him and elbowed him playfully. “Please continue Lieutenant Commander.”

“Thank you. To clarify for those who are un aware Mega-Fauna come in five classes.” He hit a button on the clicker advancing the image of the Coast Guard logo to a grid chart almost like a police lineup.

“Class one is your standard tiny creature made big on purpose using genetic tampering, a growth serum or any number of other techniques. They are not usually larger than a very large dog no matter what their starting size. These are pretty common guarding remote isolated lairs of the criminal elite.” He advanced the clicker and a small hairy fanged creature appeared on the line up in the lower left hand corner with the label: Shrew – South Pacific - 1959

“Class two is a creature about the size of a sport utility vehicle. Once again the creation is usually not natural in origin. No one tries to make creatures of this size, mostly due to the difficulty or training and housing them. These Mega-Fauna are almost entirely created by accident, sometimes meteorites or a radiation leak. Creatures of this size are usually quite vicious due to their super charged metabolism. They are typically less than ten tons.” A new image of an insect appeared next to the shrew, nearly ten times in size. The label read: Ant – Florida Everglades - 1977

“Class three is where things start to get interesting. This is the class where the Mega-Fauna start to show their diversity. They can run from a T-Rex defrosted from a glacier, to an industrial accident come to life, to the just hatched offspring from one of the larger classes or even a cheap doomsday weapon to destroy a super team. More often than not they are ‘natural’” He made quotation marks with his fingers. “They stand from twenty to thirty nine feet tall and mass solidly in the double digit tonnage range. As with the Class four and above their senses are many times greater than they should actually be. And modern signal transmission like radio, cell phones and television seem to agitate them.” The slide changed to an amorphous blob in the stock menacing blob position, the one that looked like a guy in a sheet trying to scare someone. The blob dwarfed the ant by nearly six times. It was labeled: Chemicalismo - Calcutta – 1987

Everyone around the table stated in rapt attention at the Lieutenant Commander as he presented the information that he seemed to know intimately.

“Class four are the classics. The giant moth that cocoons a tall building, a giant gorilla, a strange hybrid creature from the depths of the ocean, a kraken, all are good examples of class four. As an aside I had the misfortune of encountering a kraken on the north Atlantic on my second cruise. I got lucky and only caught the tip of one tentacle. I have a scar from my neck to lower abdomen from what was just a glancing blow. If we hadn’t had the help of the Dwellers of the Deep we might have lost more than five ships.”

He received various nods at his warning from everyone assembled.

Lieutenant Commander Oliver continued. “If it is forty feet tall or taller it is considered class four. There is no upper end to the size of this category. A single class four is more than capable of destroying a good portion of a city. And just like class three cities seem to aggravate them and frankly they seem to seek out the source and try to destroy it before wandering away. Most Class fours can’t actually be killed or stopped. The best tactic for these is to make it too annoying for them to want to continue or direct them to places where they can minimize the damage until they get bored and leave.” A giant ape overshadowed the blob. The label simply said: Kong – Spider Skull Island - 1933

“Class fives are the grand daddies of Mega-Fauna. They are the most fearsome of all. One class five can do the damage of three class fours. A class five is any Mega-Fauna of class three or four with extraordinary abilities. Like the flying turtle that harassed Japan in the late seventies and any fire breathing creature. They are tougher, stronger and meaner than any of the others. Nothing except another class five or multiple class fours, which we have video evidence of happening, can stop a class five. The only thing a city that is the target of the wrath of one of these creatures can do is evacuate and have emergency services standing by. You all of course know of the most famous of these.” He clicked one last time and bipedal dinosaur with spinned ridges on its back popped up. It was barely a head taller than Kong and its title and silhouette was un mistakable: Gojira – Tokyo - 1954

“I am pretty sure you have a good idea by now why you are being told this.” Lieutenant Commander Oliver advanced the slide to show a blurry video of a sonar scope. Multiple indistinct shapes moved as the sweep tracked around the readout. “We picked this up from our deep ocean detection station just this morning. They seem to be heading straight for Seattle. So in just over two days Seattle can plan on playing host to multiple class four or five mega fauna.”


“And that is where I come in. You all know me so no introductions are in order.” The other man stood up. The other man being Captain Sherman of the Seattle MCTF. He was fairly tall and had the look and bearing a former college quarterback. Unlike Lieutenant Commander Oliver he had the pale skin of a life-long northwesterner, which was further accented by his longer black hair and dark brown eyes.

He was dressed in the standard issue maroon and grey Mega Crime Tactical Armor. In addition to a visored helmet that sat on the table next to his armored gauntlets. He was equipped in full gear; from the armor itself, a construction of strategically placed dark maroon plates over a grey jumpsuit made of a Kevlar durra-fiber weave, to the fully loaded tactical belt, equipped with the usual pouches and devices.

“The MCTF will be coordinating the evacuation and on villain watch while you five deal with the thing or things. I made the mistake of doing a good job of dealing with the unexpected and interfacing with you folks well.” He gave a lopsided grin. “For my sins I received a promotion and get to be your liaison for events like this.”

He too used the clicker to advance slides. “Our basic plan is as follows.  When the creature enters Puget Sound proper…”

He spent the next half hour outlining the evacuation routes, emergency plans and expected scenarios. To everyone in the room it felt very organized and like they stood a chance of coming through the upcoming fight with a win.

“And that’s the basic plan.” He summed up “Of course no plan survives contact with the enemy. But at least we have a starting point. Any questions?”

Forever Knight raised his hand. “What happens if more than one Mega-Fauna attacks Seattle at the same time?”

“We deal with it on a first come first serves basis. And if we get hit by several we then concentrating on the one that has the most potential to hurt people. Our jobs are to protect the citizens of this city after all. That takes priority over the cities infrastructure. Anything else? If not I think we should call the meeting. I know you have plans you need to make as a group and The Lieutenant Commander and I should probably head back and get a start on our tasks. I’ll contact AI-leen when more information becomes available.”

The Emerald City Defenders thanked the two men as they headed out.


“So we have to fight a giant monster.” Began Forever Knight. “AI-leen what are our options? Does your database have any tactics that we can adapt to our skill set?”

The perfect business woman pivoted her head smoothly to the team leader. “I have queried the collective. It is currently doing an all access search. At this time it has uncovered twenty four adaptable tactics for us to use. The estimated time of completion for the search is thirty seven minutes.”

Necessity shook her head. “Only twenty four? That does not give us many options. Can your forward the specs to my work room? I might have to start building.”

“Twenty four currently. The query has been running for one hour and twenty two minutes. More will be discovered before it is complete.“ She closed her eyes for a second, when she opened them the data streams of the electrons tracing through them flared momentarily “And the files requested are on your primary workstation. All additional pieces of information will be automatically updated.”

“Thank you AI-leen.”

Expresso and Harmonic exchanged glances. “I am a little less thrilled to be fighting giant monsters than I was an hour ago.” Harmonic admitted.

“Don’t worry Buddy.” Expresso smiled. “I got your back. I always do.”

Forever Knight sat up straight and looked at each of them in turn. “We all have each other’s backs. That is what the Emerald City Defenders do. We have a city to defend. We need to get busy.”


The next two days were filled with frantic activity as the team prepared for the advance of the mega sized menace.

After reviewing AI-leen’s information  Necessity tinkered almost full time in her lab trying to make anything that  had proven to help against something that normally dwelt on the ocean floor and was tall than most buildings. Freeze bombs, desiccants, heat rays, flash strobers; pretty much anything but a giant harpoon, and that was considered for about an hour before she gave up the idea after not having anything that she could mount it to that was strong and mobile enough. The rest of the team pitched in an idea or two as thoughts came to them to see if they could help in any way. As much as she was amused by it she ended up turning down Harmonic’s idea of a device that made the creature’s weak spots flash red so that they could target them easier. Something like that would require a bit more data and at least a week to prototype properly.

AI-leen remained in constant contact with the collective in Redmond and had networked herself into the deep oceanic sensors operated by the coast guard. She established an updating threat monitoring system for the team to check on the ongoing progress of the Mega-Fauna.

When not testing and performing maintenance on his suit Forever Knight spent time in the training room running through simulations and trying to develop new tactics to fight a foe none of them have ever seen anything like outside of movies and old recordings.

Harmonic meanwhile attempted to expand his vocal stamina and brute power. And while he took breaks to let his voice recover he made sure that Necessity actually got something to eat and took breaks herself. He was eventually rewarded with a thank you kiss on the cheek and a “You’re so thoughtful” which made it all worthwhile.

On the other hand Expresso kept to his usual routine of making a stop in each of his sponsor’s coffee shops for a few minutes each day. And periodically seeing what his teammates were up to.

When the creatures were twenty four hours out an announcement of their approach was made to the general public via local news and print media. The defense and evacuation plans that were designed for this sort of situation were implemented. Fortunately most of the people in the danger areas left with very little difficulty. After the announcement was made AI-leen turned to a local station and called in the team so they could see the populace of Seattle’s reaction to the news.

“This is Susan Kim Chanel Six Action News.” An attractive Asian woman in the distinctive dark green news jacket of KEWL Chanel Six was looking into the camera with her usual professionalism. Behind her next to the ornate fountain stood a gathering of people doing the usual hey I’m on TV actions. “I am here on Fourth and Pike to get reactions to today’s announcements about the Mega-Fauna menacing the city.”

She turned to a younger man in thick framed glasses and a button up shirt wearing a waiter’s apron. “Excuse me sir, what is your reaction to this morning’s announcement.”

“I’m not too worried; we have the Emerald City Defenders here. They will stop the things. They haven’t let us down yet. And I know they won’t start.”

“Thank you,” she turned to the next person standing near her an older black woman in a business suit “And ma’am what about you?”

“I pretty much think everything that other guy said. The city can’t lose especially with that sweet speedy thing Expresso on the team. Expresso, call me!” She mimed holding a phone up to her ear as Susan turned away.

“Well that about does it here I’m Susan…” she was rudely interrupted by a grimy wild eyes man in an old army jacket.

“I wanna talk!” He tried to grab the microphone from her. “It is all a conspiracy! The government don’t want you to know that they are working with the League of Brutal Villainy to take over the world. These things are coming here to kill me and take the knowledge that they are gathering from the chip in my brain!” He yelled almost continuously with spit flying out of his mouth and his eyes wild looking. “Them and the Space Men Seven from the Crab Nebula!”

Back in the headquarters Expresso looked over at Forever Knight. “She said Fourth and Pine right?”

“Pike actually.”

“OK, I’ll be right back.”

A coffee colored blur zipped out of the room, moments later one appeared on the TV next to The Action News reporter.

“Excuse me Henry but the nice lady is working here. And it would be nice of you to give her microphone back. I can assure you that neither the League nor the government is trying to kill you. You have to stop doing this man.” Expresso casually took the microphone from the homeless man and gave it back to its owner. He started to gently lead him away from the gathered throng. “We have talked about this. There is no chip in your head. We took a scanner to it. Nothing man. Have you stopped taking your meds?”

“Well they make my head feel funny. I don’t like it.”

“You need to keep taking them man...”

Soon they got out of range of the microphone and the camera where Susan already was back in the swing of things finishing her sign off.

“Thanks Expresso, and thank you Defenders for protecting our fair city. Back to you in the studio.”

There was only one small incident in clearing of the probably path of destruction, a small firefight with some gang members. The upside was that the MCTF and the Seattle PD discovered two meth labs and a sweatshop. All of which were shut down and the occupants dealt with, the former going to jail while the later were released and reconnected with their families.