I came to the realization earlier this week as I was reviewing my year’s writing goals that I needed to spend some time focusing on Rigel and Freedom Squad. Currently, there are over 200,000 words written on the character, spread across three novels and one novella. I’ve asked Harper Voyager about their interest in her and her team, but I’m still awaiting a reply.
I keep reading that this is the time of the female superhero. As Rigel was originally created nearly 27 years ago, I think she’s ready to burst onto the scene. She even has a fantastic piece of cover art ready to go.
Most importantly, she’s meant to be an inspiration to kids like my daughter. While she’s a legacy hero, she’s not a Supergirl or Batgirl, with the powers and and identity of another character. One of her story arcs is her effort to separate herself from the legacy of her father, Orion, and prove herself on her own, while continuing to uphold her father’s ideals.
I’m currently undergoing a rework of all of the Rigel novels, with some assistance from the capable Heather Curatola (the original creator of Rigel) and my Jack Heckel co-author, John Peck.
So while many of my good friends are at GenCon or the Richmond comic convention today, I thought I’d share the current rewrite of the prologue for Daughter of Orion (formerly In the Stars). Enjoy! Read the rest of this entry
Still working on getting everything posted from November…
It had been mere hours since Rigel, Nightstar and Ion had been left defeated in front of the Superior City 1st National Bank, but Agent Sampson had orders to arrange for things to get even worse. She sat in a coffee shop waiting to be contacted.
A girl with a rainbow Mohawk in a tank top and jeans that were too tight for her sauntered over. “Mom, you forgot your cell phone,” she said, rolling her eyes. She plunked a bright pink phone down on the table in front of Agent Sampson, made a huffing noise and walked out.
Erica picked up the phone. “Teenagers…” she said to no one in particular.
Remarkably, no one in the coffee shop was paying much attention to her. They had all looked when the girl came in, but now, they were trying to focus on other things, as if they had never paid attention to her at all. Mercenary supervillains obviously had some practice doing this sort of thing.
So, I’m burning through words here on the last couple of days in hopes of still completing Nanowrimo. Currently, I’m just over 44,000 and still writing. If I get a chance, I’m still hoping to write a few regular blog posts. On to Freedom Squad…
Erica Sampson sat in a small hotel room in the Superior City suburb of Appleton. It was a medium quality room in a medium quality hotel. Her cover was that she was in town visiting her mother. Her mother’s home was a safe house filled with normal looking people who would protect her and smuggle her back to Washington, DC at a moment’s notice.
Of course, they didn’t know anything.
Erica stared at her smartphone. She needed to make one call and then report to Director Lieber. She hated this assignment, which impressed her, since it was going well.
She understood the importance. One of her mentors had told her that the difference between an upstanding citizen and a criminal was only a few seconds and opportunity. Anyone could lose their temper or fly into a rage. If they had a weapon and a target, someone could get hurt. The problem with metahumans was that they always had weapons, and not just pistols, but powers capable of causing widespread collateral damage. Read the rest of this entry
As I struggle at 37,000 words to reach 50,000 by Sunday night, I thought I’d post Chapter 6 for anyone who wants to do some long weekend reading. Look for a few more posts in the next couple of days, especially since Happily Never After has been released (written with my co-author John Peck under the penname Jack Heckel). Happy Thanksgiving to everyone in the U.S.!
Less than an hour later, Rigel was in the monitor room, scanning through images of women that fit the mental picture she had obtained from Snowfall, when Nightstar arrived with Protector.
“Since it was the woman who spoke to you and Snowfall, Protector, can you help with the identification?”
“Sure,” he said. His tone made Rigel stop her scan.
“It wasn’t your fault.”
Here’s a new chapter. It’s interesting to me how many mistakes I make writing at this pace. I keep reminding myself that there’s plenty of time to edit, add descriptions and even change whole scenes around. This isn’t the final version, but I like seeing how things develop.
A few moments later, Rigel carefully lowered two slightly melted battlesuits onto the street next to the Freedom Flyer as she landed back at the Diamond Exchange. She began carefully peeling off the armor.
“We were awesome,” said Solaria, beaming with pride.
“Nice job controlling the heat and just melting their weapons. Good flying too.”
Solaria gave Rigel a high-five.
Nightstar ran over and immediately the mood changed. His face was ashen. Cori had never seen Nightstar look so upset, and when she realized that he was going over to Solaria, her heart stopped. “We don’t know exactly what happened,” he said.
“Where is Kyle?” said Solaria, her voice catching.
“Ion’s got him, and he’s taking him back to Freedom Squad Headquarters. Dr. Lord is already at the med bay and Starlight says with his technology…” Read the rest of this entry
Once Rigel and Protector returned to Freedom Squad Headquarters, Cori wanted to do all she could to try and forget the press conference. As they walked in through the roof entrance, they found Solaria, arms folded across the yellow sun symbol on her chest.
“Rigel, you may be the boss, but you two were slow.”
“Maybe a little,” Cori agreed.
Solaria unfolded her arms and walked over. “Hey, Cori, I’m still sorry.”
“Don’t worry about it. I understand why my powers might bother people.”
“Yeah,” said Solaria, “but I can set the whole city on fire if my powers go wrong.”
“More importantly,” said Protector, “it’s time for you to head down to the pool. Our enemies will certainly try to douse you and drown you at some point, so we need to work on your swimming. I’ll meet you down there.”
As Alex took the stairs down to the lower levels of Freedom Squad Headquarters, Solaria looked over at Rigel. “Who put him in charge of our training?” Read the rest of this entry
Let’s hope this keeps up… more from my Nanowrimo novel…
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
More fun from the fast paced writing world of Nanowrimo…
Rigel would rather have been fighting a dozen supervillains instead of facing the high-rise inferno in front of her. Flashing red lights and sirens surrounded her as dozens of firefighters worked together. The police were on the scene as well, keeping crowds and the press back. There were so many distractions, but she had to keep working.
She closed her eyes and focused, using her yoga breathing to stay calm, breathing in through the nose and out through the nose. As she relaxed her body, her mind continued to race.
Using her telepathy, she was trying to coordinate her team amidst the flames and smoke while attempting to locate the minds of anyone trapped inside. Protector was staying close to a group of firefighters inside the building, using his shield to protect them not only from the debris, but from the heat and even the poisonous gases. She shook her head slightly, as she recalled him telling her that he had no powers.
Nightstar had teleported to a higher floor where Rigel had sensed a mind. Although he appeared human, Nightstar didn’t need to breathe the way most people did. She vaguely wondered about what his world must have been like, before returning to her focus. He was almost in the right place.
Nightstar, the person should be through the next door on the left.
She felt more than heard his response. He was on his way. Read the rest of this entry
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.”
“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?”
“If what we are doing gets out…”
“Sometimes sacrifices are necessary for the greater good.”
“Do we have a test subject?”
“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 she has to be eliminated.”
TO BE CONTINUED
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
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.
Read the rest of this entry