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Nanowrimo 2017

As I write this, midnight approaches on the East Coast of the United States, bringing with it the month of November, or for me, National Novel Writing Month. During this month, also known as Nanowrimo, I will attempt to write 50,000 words along with several thousand other people. I’ve successfully managed the task every year since 2009, but each year brings its own unique challenges.Souls of the Everwood

If you’d like to join us in the attempt, please go to www.nanowrimo.org. When you sign up, you gain access to tons of support, from fellow authors to organized writing events in your area, to the website’s own tracking system. Three of my indy novels, In the Service of the King, Souls of the Everwood, and Balefire and Brimstone, were all written during past Novembers. The wonderful thing is that whether you finish or not, you’ll be closer to a completed novel than when you started. Souls of the Everwood was started in 2008, and I failed to write 50,000 words that year. While I only managed 8,000 words, I still ultimately completed the book. More importantly, I learned how much was happening in my life which didn’t help my writing, and how to make more time to write. If you have lots of ideas, there’s never enough time to write. I look on the entire endeavor as a chance to clean house on my writing efforts and become more disciplined and organized. If you’ve been looking for a good excuse to finally write that novel, please consider National Novel Writing Month. It’s a tough but great experience. Read the rest of this entry

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Nanowrimo – FS Vigilance Chapter 2

Let’s hope this keeps up… more from my Nanowrimo novel…

Chapter 2

Cori woke up the next morning and wished that she could have the day off. Her head hurt badly enough that it made her eyes ache. “I really overdid it yesterday with the fire. Maybe coffee and a hot shower will help.”

She rolled out of bed and telekinetically grabbed her yoga mat and unfurled it. “Morning practice first.”

After several sun salutations, the headache faded. By the time she got to the scorpion pose that she liked, it was gone completely. As she rolled up the mat, she contemplated her powers.

Using the telepathy always exhausted her, but she felt better after doing yoga. Maybe it was just a matter of readjusting her mind. Telepathy was reaching out, but perhaps concentrating on her muscles, her breathing and her body was like bringing her mind back home. It seemed like a reasonable concept.

Cori looked at herself in the mirror. Her hair was a mess, she had rings around her eyes and she was glistening with perspiration. She didn’t look much like Rigel of Freedom Squad, although she had to admit that they shared the same abs. That was something at least. Read the rest of this entry

Freedom Squad Defiance – Epilogue

Epilogue

Two weeks had passed since Defiance had been turned over to federal authorities. In light of private hearings which had reviewed Freedom Squad’s testimony, the testimony of Carlos Ruiz who had been believed to be Psionicist, the evidence supplied by Agent King and most importantly, a surprise confession from the Ace of Spades, Defiance was being granted a pardon.

However, explaining the existence of the Ace of Spades to the public was considered highly dangerous. Defiance’s role was also going to be difficult to explain. For now, he was forbidden to use his costume and a new identity was being constructed for him. He had also been assigned to work with Agent King.

Stacy King assumed that Defiance was the reason she had blindfolded and taken to a top secret government facility. She wasn’t sure which division of the government wanted to talk to her, but the whole thing had a very CIA feel to it. She passed through what must a have been her twelfth security door and entered a room with smooth black walls. Her escort pulled the door shut behind her.

Light came down from the ceiling panels. There was no smell to the room either, not even the antiseptic of cleaning fluid.

A black table stood in the middle of the room with a single chair pulled up to it. Stacy sat down to face a wall.
She wondered how many people were behind the wall. She felt a touch of dread. What if the Ace of Spades had somehow fooled them all?

“Agent King, in your opinion, has Defiance been completely freed from the Ace of Spades’ influence?” asked an unseen voice.

“Yes,” she answered.

“How did this occur?”

“Rigel, also known as Corinne Dandridge, used her telepathic abilities to remove the Ace’s control.”

There was a pause.

“Could Rigel establish the same level of control in others?”

“I’m uncertain. Based on my assessments of her, she is more of a telekinetic and less of a telepath than the Ace of Spades. Additionally, it wouldn’t fit her psychological profile. She’s the daughter of the hero Orion.”

There was a longer pause.

“Has she made telepathic contact with you in the past, Agent King?”

“Yes. I allowed her to see into my mind so that she could have as much information on the Ace of Spades as possible.”

“Did you also provide her information on Matt Johnson, now known as Velocity?”

“Yes. That was well within my authority.”

Another pause.

“In your opinion, if Rigel and Freedom Squad turned rogue, what checks would we have to control them?”

“I believe that the Ultra Task Force, coupled with the Megalopolis Police’s Renegade program would be able to apprehend Freedom Squad. If our abilities proved insufficient, we would call in other hero teams, such as New Citadel or the Wardens. Arguably, we could request the services of the United Nations’ hero, Defensor. In an extreme situation, Wildside, Inc. has clearance to operate as a government contractor. However, I wish to reiterate that I believe it is unlikely in the extreme that Freedom Squad would go rogue.”

A long pause followed.

“Thank you, Agent King. You are dismissed.”

Stacy King stood up and quietly left the room. As her escorts rejoined her, she told herself that the questions were well within reason. Once she had a new identity for Defiance, the Ultra Task Force should be ready to handle almost anything.

After she had departed, one of the men hidden behind the one-way glass wall spoke, “So, what did you think of her answers regarding Rigel and Freedom Squad?”

“I didn’t like them. The President should have let us seize that alien, Starlight, in the first place, and I certainly don’t like the thought of anyone with the power to alter minds running around. Especially not in charge of a superhero team. I don’t care who her Dad was or what he did.”

“So, have we decided how to solution this?”

“Project Cain.”

“If what we are doing gets out…”

“Sometimes sacrifices are necessary for the greater good.”

“Do we have a test subject?”

“Yes.”

“And what are the chances that something can go wrong?”

“Go wrong? Almost zero percent. Remember, the prototypes for this were invented by the CIA. But as a precaution, we need to make sure that this Rigel character never gets close to one of our operatives.”

“Unless…”

“Unless she has to be eliminated.”

TO BE CONTINUED

Chapter 27 – Freedom Squad Nanowrimo

Nothing but Epilogue left after this. Thanks for coming with me on the Nanowrimo journey. I know the writing’s rough, but I hope everyone’s enjoyed. I especially want to thank all the new visitors who’ve come from the various WordPress.com sites. I wish you all the best in your writing. – Harry

Chapter 27

In another section of Ace’s under-mall base, Defiance was struggling to defeat his invisible foes. A metal wrap surrounded him and it was being using to spin him around while thousands of volts of electricity surged through him. He couldn’t keep himself oriented enough to find a way to fight back.

Nightstar watched Defiance spin even as he dodged energy blasts and missiles. Fortunately, he had a psychic sense that made him aware of dangers and tended to have an unnatural luck in these matters.

Coupled with the ability to teleport and lots of combat training, he was still standing.

Velocity had been the first victim of invisible electrical enemies, smashing into an invisible force field at full speed. Nightstar had gotten him out to the parking lot via psychic sword teleport. Solaria had fallen to a sonic blast next, but Nightstar had retrieved her as well. The only other member of his team standing was Defiance.
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Chapter 26 – Freedom Squad Nanowrimo

Chapter 26

“How could you?” shouted Cori’s dad. “You let all those people in the mall die.”

Cori looked around. She was at home in Australia, a place that she hadn’t lived for years, but she was Rigel and in costume. “No, Dad, this isn’t you. I’m in my own mind being attacked.”

She felt a hand on her shoulder and turned. A black-gloved fist slammed into her jaw. She fell to the ground with the taste of blood in her mouth.

The Ace of Spades stood over her.

“You think I’m afraid of a fistfight?” she asked him.

“No,” he said, drawing a pistol from his belt, “but you’ll be traumatized by this.” He pointed the gun at her father and fired three times.
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Chapter 24 – Freedom Squad Nanowrimo

Chapter 24

After what felt like an eternity, Cori clambered out of the tube. She wondered if she had briefly drifted off to sleep. As the air hit her, her skin felt slightly sticky. Solaria had been right. A second shower was a requirement after spending time in the healing tubes.

Dr. Lord handed her a warm towel. She wiped off the residue from the tube. Strangely, she felt surprisingly clean afterward. She wondered if she had been wrong about the second shower. When she touched her hair, she decided that Solaria had definitely been right.

Nightstar was gone. She looked around, slightly surprised that he had left.

“Dr. Lord?” she said.

“Cori, call me Jake.”

“Okay, Jake. Where did Nightstar go?”
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Chapter 20 – Freedom Squad Nanowrimo

Chapter 20

The mayor rubbed his temples. He couldn’t believe what had happened. He was inside Freedom Squad Headquarters in Protector’s room sitting in a chair. Protector was lying in a bed only a few feet from where he was sitting, and Starlight stood over him.

“What just happened?” asked the mayor. “Defiance was about to crush me. Now, I’m here?”

“As mayor of this fine city, you should know that you are in safe hands. The noble heroes of Megalopolis are currently outwitting the foul villains outside,” stated Starlight flatly.

The mayor stared blankly at Starlight.

“Mr. Mayor?”

The mayor stood up. “Starlight, how did I get here and please use standard English?”

“My apologies, sir. Velocity brought you. I am to defend you if the battle goes poorly, however, it appears that Freedom Squad has triumphed.”

“Who is, no, wait, by Velocity are you being scientific or… never mind, I need to make a call. Afterwards, I want a full explanation from Rigel,” he looked over at Protector. “What happened to him?”

“I believe it was the work of a super-villain known as the Ace of Spades.”

“Fine, Starlight, stay here with Protector. I’m going to have a talk with Rigel.”

The mayor stepped out into the hallway and began walking toward the front. As he walked, he typed a single word text into his encrypted phone. “Nuclear.”
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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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