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Chapter 19 – Freedom Squad Nanowrimo

Chapter 19

“Defiance!” shouted Rigel.

She was inside a burned-out building, picking her way around fallen walls and broken columns. Bare wires sparked from wall outlets and water sprayed from shattered faucets. The floor was covered with playing cards, each one of them showing the Ace of Spades.

“Bill!” she yelled.

She came to a window and saw a single building standing across the street. It was a single family ranch-style home, beige with brown trim, fairly non-descript, other than it was in perfect shape including a manicured lawn. Oh, and it was located in a ruined city between collapsing skyscrapers. An American flag hung off the porch.

“Well, at least it doesn’t appear too hard to figure out what’s important in his mind,” she said.

The Ace of Spades opened the door and stepped out onto the porch. “Hello, Rigel.”
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Chapter 18 – Freedom Squad Nanowrimo

Chapter 18

Defiance turned his head toward the mayor.

Telepathically, Rigel contacted Matt, “Get the mayor inside the base, now.”

Defiance flew over to the mayor. “You are the one who did this to me! You can’t hide anymore!” he shouted.

The mayor’s eyes widened. He looked utterly terrified for a split-second, but then, there was a blur or a shadow, and the mayor was gone. Only a few singed grasses on the lawn indicated what had happened.

“That was Velocity,” whispered Rigel.

Defiance screamed incoherently and slammed a fist into the ground, shattering concrete and throwing everyone off their feet. “Where is he?” he said, turning to glare at Future Soldier/Nightstar. “I’ll tear you and your team apart if you don’t turn him over.”
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Chapter 17 – Freedom Squad Nanowrimo

Chapter 17

“Last night, Freedom Squad may have been saving lives, but this reporter wants to know where Protector and Rockslide were? Are they recovering from injuries in their battles with Defiance, Death Queen and the other villains rampaging through the city? And in the meantime, progress continues slowly on cleaning up the monument to the original Freedom Squad. But first, news from the Northwest, where the hero team Vanguard defeated one of our escapees…”

Click.

Rigel turned off the morning news broadcast and put her boots up on one of the consoles in the Monitor Room. She groaned softly. “Why does the press have to be so difficult?” she asked no one in particular.

Rockslide rumbled beside her. He sat down heavily on the floor.

“I know,” Rigel thought to the massive stone superhero, “And I’m sorry, but you are a little hard to disguise.”

“I know,” he sadly thought in reply.

“Besides, you’ll have Starlight around if things get out of control, and you know what you need to do,” she thought back to him.

“Protect the Protector,” he thought back. “And put on a good show.”

“Right,” she responded. “Now, remember, what we are about to do is rather mad, but I need you to make it look good. I’d also like you to trust me with something. I want to alter your brainwaves slightly. Basically, I’m trying to make you less susceptible to mental attack. It wouldn’t surprise me if the Ace of Spades tries to do something to you once he figures out my plan.”
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Chapter 16 – Freedom Squad Nanowrimo

Chapter 16

Ion had led Solaria and Snowfall on a tour of Freedom Squad Headquarters, assigned them both rooms at the base, introduced them to Starlight (who was in the Monitor Room) and Rockslide (who was working out with the mega-weight machine in the gym), made up something about Daniel Hunter being a technical advisor and had let them know about Protector.

It was the last part that had Snowfall upset.

“This is terrible. There’s got to something that someone can do to wake him up,” said Snowfall. “He took on Defiance by himself. He’s the Protector.”

“I know,” said Ion, as he finished updating the communicators that had been assigned to the two new members. “But, we’re up against some dangerous people. Dr. Lord is one of the best doctors that I’ve seen. The important thing for both of you to remember is that you don’t tell anyone unless Rigel says it’s okay. “

“I’m sure he’ll recover,” said Solaria.

“Yep,” said Ion, sounding much more confident about it than he felt.

Snowfall put his hands on his hips and lowered his head. “Protector was my hero growing up. When he died…”

“… you almost went crazy and decided that you were going to use all those ice and snow powers that you still can’t control and hunt down every super-villain in the country,” said Solaria, finishing Snowfall’s sentence.

“Yes, well, and then the current Protector took up the shield and joined Freedom Squad. I was skeptical at first, but he made me believe.”

“Was it the time he stopped Laserfist and his gang from robbing the Megalopolis National Bank?”

“No,” said Snowfall, “It was when the Dark Gladiator was fighting Freedom Squad. He was on one of the buildings and knocked over the water tower. Protector was on the ground and thousands of gallons of water poured down. A family had run out of the building, and Protector made it over to them and somehow, his shield…”

“His shield deflected the water, which shouldn’t have been possible,” said Solaria.

“Were you there?” asked Ion.

“No,” they both said together. Snowfall finished this time, “I saw it on the news. There was something about the way he made sure those people were okay after he saved them, even though the battle was still going on. It made an impact on me.”

“Yeah, well Protector can do that,” said Ion. “He’s my friend.” Ion glanced in the general direction of Protector’s room. “He’ll recover.” This time he was trying to convince himself.
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Chapter 15 – Freedom Squad Nanowrimo

Chapter 15

Matt Johnson sat in a tired old recliner and stared at a feature article about up and coming American Olympic athletes. His photo was in the middle of page. He was holding a medal in one hand and wearing his Penn State colors.

That all seemed to be gone now.

He kept wondering how it had happened. Was it the diet? The training? Had someone slipped something in his drink?

The speed was one thing, but he had broken his own weight lifting record without breaking a sweat. He felt indestructible. He also felt healthier than he ever had. It was as if some magical genie had given him everything he had ever wished for when he was training.

And that meant he would never be allowed to win an Olympic gold.

The doorbell buzzed. Angrily, he got up. The reporters were wearing him out. It was late enough that he could be asleep. He wished that the whole thing had never happened. Stupid other coaches started going crazy. Coach Hudson, his coach, hadn’t said anything. He just seemed sad.

The last look Coach Hudson had given him stung him. It was betrayal along with dashed dreams, mixed up in a confused whole.

The doorbell buzzed again. “I’m coming,” Matt said, doing his best to move slowly.

Swinging the door open without checking the peephole, he didn’t know what to do when he found himself face to face with Rigel and Nightstar of Freedom Squad.
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Chapter 13B – Freedom Squad Nanowrimo

More writing… Chapter 13 continues

An alert blared. “Unauthorized personnel at front gate,” announced the computer.

Solaria could be seen standing at the front gate, flames swirling around her. She had her arms folded in front of the sun symbol that she wore on her red bodysuit. Snowfall was clearly recognizable standing behind her and to the left, despite the fact that he wore a black trenchcoat over his costume and a black hat on his head.

Telekinetically, Rigel activated the front intercom. “7… 8… 9…“ said Solaria while flames crackled in the background.

“Solaria, this is Rigel. What are you doing?”

“It’s about time. We need to talk, and don’t I get a ‘G’Day’?”

“Sorry, it hasn’t been a good day. I’ll let you both in and meet you at the front door, assuming you’ve passed all the scans,” said Rigel. “Oh, and stay on the sidewalk. The grounds have mines.”

Rigel clicked off the intercom.

“I can talk to Solaria, if you’d like,” offered Ion with a grin. “I don’t mind.”

“I’m sure you don’t. Fine, you can come.”

After Solaria and Snowfall passed retina scans and made it up the sidewalk, Rigel and Ion greeted them at the front door to the mansion. Solaria was no longer projecting flames, but she seemed irritated enough to do so.
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Award Received! Thank you, Becka!

Hi everyone,

I was nominated for the Liebster Award by Becka from the blog Sweet Stuff by Becka. Here’s the link. Additionally, I’ve added her to the links on my sidebar. She’s a brave soul doing Nanowrimo right now (and very well, I might add). Unlike most of us, she started the month with a vacation, but she pushed through so far. Here’s hoping she gets to celebrate a victory.

The award is a little like a chain letter, but it’s from the heart and I’ve never gotten an award for my blog. So, I’m honored.

liebster-award

 

“The Liebster Award is given to up and coming bloggers who have less than 200 followers. So, what is a Liebster?  The meaning: Liebster is German and means sweetest, kindest, nicest, dearest, beloved, lovely, kind, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing, and welcome. Isn’t that sweet? Blogging is about building a community and it’s a great way to connect with other bloggers and help spread the word about newer bloggers/blogs.”

Rules:

  • Link to the person who nominated you
  • Answer their questions
  • Nominate new blogs for the award
  • Ask them 10 new questions
  • Let the nominees know they have been nominated

There it is: The Liebster Award. So, I have the link, and here are Becka’s questions for me:

1)What was the best thing that happened today?

My daughter hugged me.

2)Where do you find your blogging inspiration?

Hmmm…. my inspiration to have a blog or my inspiration for stuff to write about on the blog? Everything on this blog basically flows from my writing. I blog about everything that inspires me from Doctor Who to miniatures to events in my life that impact me. I don’t blog nearly as often as I’d like, and I usually have 5 or 6 drafts of posts floating around at any one time. The reason that I have the blog is to keep in touch with the amazing people that I’ve met in this life and to find others.

3)Do you consider yourself a glass half full or half empty kind of person?  Why?

I always consider myself a glass half full sort of person. Basically, if the glass is half full, there’s no sense in being upset because it’s all going to work out in the end. If the glass is half empty and things don’t work, there will be plenty of time to be disappointed later. Why let yourself be miserable beforehand? Furthermore, I never cease to be amazed at the power of positive thinking. We all have a great ability to create self-fulfilling prophecies. I think if you keep your mind open and realistic but allow yourself to believe, magical things happen.

4)What’s your favorite childhood memory?

This is a really hard question to answer. I have a lot of happy childhood memories. I’d probably put going to see Star Wars alone with my father at age 6 right at the top of the list. I felt grownup and important and that night I learned that I wanted to be a Jedi Knight. 🙂

5)Where do you want yourself and/or your blog to be a year from now?

I want another book published by a major publisher, and I’d like to have three more indie published books out. I want to have my first audio book down. As long as I keep writing and the numbers of people visiting my blog continue to increase, I’ll be happy.

6)What’s your favorite home cooked meal?

My wife makes a beef and cheese casserole which she created during our university days. As she invented it during some massive Vampire: The Masquerade roleplaying campaigns, it’s known in our house as “Diablerie in a Pan.” As it won the recipe won a cooking competition at our church, I’m not sure how much I’m going to spread that name. Basically, it’s meat with some chili powder, a few onions I think, some Emeril’s seasoning, and cheese and some kind of sauce and more cheese and more meat. I’m really not exactly sure, but I know that it’s good. I’m also sure that my arteries got a little more clogged thinking about it.

If I’m going to cook, I really like making Thanksgiving turkey and usually get rave reviews.

7)What is a goal that you have that may be hard to achieve?

I want to lose weight. I’ve struggled with my weight for years, and I’m tired of it. I’m going to try to apply the same standards to my waistline that I do to my word count during nano sometime in the new year and see how that does. In the meantime, I struggle every day to try and eat healthier.

8)Who do you look up to?

I’ve always wanted to inspire people the way that J.R.R. Tolkien inspires me. I also have a deep admiration for Stan Lee, for all the great comic book characters that he created. I look up to Daniel Greenberg, my mentor, who gave me a chance to be published. I have a friend, Cathy, who is pursuing her dreams overseas. My grandfather simply amazes me, both for his spirit of adventure and his intellect. I could write a long list, but generally, it’s filled with people who inspire me to dream of new worlds and have fun.

9)Why do you keep writing/baking/sewing/(insert hobby here)?

I’m going to cheat. I wrote a blog post about why I keep writing not too long ago. Here’s the link.

10)What is your favorite ice cream flavor?

This is another tough question, but I’m currently leaning toward Graham Central Station at Bruster’s. However, since I mentioned issues with my weight, I’ll note that there are very few flavors of ice cream that I can’t appreciate. 🙂

I’ll be nominating a few new blogs and asking them questions soon, but since I’m in the throes of Nanowrimo, I’m going to wait a couple of days. Freedom Squad needs me.

All the best,

Harry

 

Chapter 13A – Freedom Squad Defiance

Chapter 13

Protector was asleep. More importantly, he was alive.

Rigel knew that Dr. Lord was going to stay at his bedside, and that whatever the Ace of Spades had done, Alex’s mind was doing its best to heal. She wanted to try and go into his head, but she convinced herself that she needed to trust that the best thing for him was to let him heal.

Whatever the Ace had tried to do, it had failed.

There were other matters that Cori needed to address. She was determined that she was going to redo the code on the Freedom Squad servers and create the world’s greatest firewall. The Ace of Spades wasn’t going to get into their systems again. Afterwards, she was going to check every log file imaginable and determine how the Ace had accessed their systems. She sat at a keyboard with her hands folded under her chin as she watched code flash by on the monitor. The keyboard beeped as it tried to keep up with the speed of her telekinetic typing.

Daniel Hunter came up behind her. She mentally sensed him before she saw him. He seemed a little shaken by the attack, but he was otherwise okay. Like everyone else, he was more concerned with Protector. Though, at this point, she knew that he was worried about her. He had been a team leader in the past, and he had been the one who had supported her when she decided to join Freedom Squad.

Daniel put a hand on her shoulder. In a gentle voice, he said, “I can do that.”

“No,” she said. “This is my responsibility. The mayor even told me to do it. There was an error with our security system before the cameras showed Protector convulsing. I should have taken care of this. Someone’s been accessing our systems. I’ll let you follow up and check the log after I’m done. If there’s another crisis, I’ll even let you take over, but for right now, I’m going to catch the person who’s been causing all the trouble.”
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Nominated for an Award and some Updates

Hi everyone,

I’m still chugging along in Nanowrimo, running over 34,000 words. Charming, my fairy tale fantasy novel with the amazing John Peck, is still being considered by a major publisher. HeroNet Files looks good to be published before the end of the year, although I’m feeling guilty as the one who has slowed the project down. I’ve still got some roleplaying stuff going as well. For Crimson Hawks fans, the second book is still really close. I’m hoping to have it out first quarter next year.

I want to say that I’m really pleased that another blogger, Becka, nominated me for an award. I’ll do a full post on that as I want to do it justice, but I want to say thank you. I’ve added a link to her site on the links on my sidebar. She’s a very nice lady, and I encourage everyone to cheer her on as she tries to complete Nanowrimo.

All in all, things continue, and I’ll be trying to post on a regular basis. With all that said, there should be a new Freedom Squad post up in a short while.

All the best,

Harry

Part 12 – Freedom Squad Nanowrimo (long one)

Okay, this is a long section and my personal favorite part of the book so far. Like everything else, it needs a solid rewrite and I’ll work on getting it polished for publication later. As always, I’d love any comments, thoughts, feedback, etc. I’d especially like to thank my old Champions groups with an extra shout to Wayland Smith, Mr. Gambino and Jeff Smith for some of the inspiration.

Chapter 12
Protector had run all the way to the Monitor Room. When he sat down in the central chair, he felt strangely tired. His skin seemed warm, and he felt flushed. Maybe Dr. Lord had been right to keep him off duty.

He watched the Freedom Flyer take off on the roof camera. Despite how he felt physically, he wished that he could be with the others. It was what he was supposed to do.

He was the Protector.

With a heavy exhale, he tried to replay the battle in the park in his head. He considered how he might have been able to stop Defiance. Perhaps if he had maneuvered in front of a shattered statue of one of the heroes of the original Freedom Squad, it might have triggered something in Defiance’s mind. There was a hero still inside that angry caped man in red and white. He had ordered the villains not to kill Freedom Squad. He had tried to talk to Alex about the Protector, Defiance’s Protector.
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