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csyphrett last won the day on August 31

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  1. The One Million Word Project

    Revenge of the Scouts 1979- 16 Bob had requested a chopper and a pilot to aid in his search. They had a lot of ground to cover. Gaze could pick up some things but his range was about the range of a telescope. He would have to be moved rapidly along the roads until they found the targets. The Squad would have to deploy to block them from the park and headquarters. Mercer’s men would have to form a ring to keep the two intended targets inside the marked area. Some of the men had been issued nullifiers to make sure Animal Boy didn’t use his powers before they put him in a cell. Bob was confident that even if Animal Boy could use his powers, his team could take the former Hazard Scout. Summoning animals didn’t seem that special compared to a teleporter, or a multiplying monkey. Gaze might have a problem since his only power was far sight, but that was why Gaze kept to the background where no one would target him. “Ready to go?,” Bob asked his subordinate. Gaze smiled as he sat strapped into his seat. His face mask and hood covered his head so Bob couldn’t see it. “I’m ready,” Gaze said. He had one hand on the side exit door of the helicopter. “As soon as I see something, I’ll call you.” “We’ll use Puff to move around on the ground,” said Bob. “The sooner we get these two, the sooner we can take off for a bit.” “I’ll find them,” said Gaze. “I have pictures of Morgan, and a description of the other one. It should be a snap.” “All right,” said Bob. He stepped back from the helicopter. He waved at the pilot to get started. The helicopter, yellow with a big red W on the side, lurched into the air. It swung out of the big hangar at the top of the installation. It headed into the sky with the beating of its rotors. “Puff,” said Bob. “I want you to take Clown Girl to the main entrance of the park. We don’t know where they are going, so we need someone to keep an eye there. Come back and we’ll have a location for Troop to be placed.” “No problem,” said Puff. “I may need two, or three, jumps. Site is memorized and etched in my mind. Be there in a jiff.” He took Clown Girl’s arm and vanished in a puff of smoke. “Captain Mercer,” said Bob. “Since we think our targets are coming down the road from the reservation to the national park, where do you think your men should be set up?” “There are several places between the main entrances and here we can set up ambushes.” Mercer pulled a topographical map of the area out of his jacket pocket. “The problem is Animal Boy’s powers allow him to leave the road and cut cross country any time he wants.” Bob nodded. He had considered that. His team needed a flier to be more effective in situations like this. “I plan to have half my squad use a van and drive up the road toward the reservation,” said Mercer. “The plan is to see if we spot them on the road, so we can launch an offensive. The other half will set up in a partial cordon around the base with the hope of stopping the two of them if the rest of us miss them on the road.” “I think Troop will be fine here,” said Bob. “He can keep watch in that part of the park, and if there’s problem we can recall him with Puff and put him to work.” “Sounds workable,” said Mercer. “How long do you think it will take Gaze to find them?” “Don’t know,” said Bob. “If he can give us an actual target area, we can shift the plan to deal with it.” “Got it,” said Mercer. “Let me get the road party on the way.” “We’re at the eastern boundary of the park, Bob,” said Gaze over the radio. “We’re above the road. Light traffic back and forth so far. There’s nothing resembling the Scout van so far. A lot of cars and pickups.” “Start scanning the cars and trucks, Gaze,” said Bob. “Make sure our guys aren’t in them.” “Right,” said Gaze. Bob frowned as he waited. The Scout van had to have gone somewhere. It was possible they had abandoned it. That meant they were on foot, on animal, or using another car. Another car would be perfect for this. “All right,” said Gaze. “It looks like I have a partial match.” “Where?,” asked Bob. “They’re about twenty miles from the park and heading toward the front entrance fast,” said Gaze. “It’s a white Ford Galaxy with green doors.” “All right,” said Bob. “I’ll let Mercer know that we might have a fight in the park.” Bob looked around. He spotted Mercer talking to his sergeant, going over the map. He walked over and said, “Excuse me.” Mercer stopped talking to look the masked man in the face. “Our targets are almost to the entrance to the park,” said Bob. “They are going to be inside the line before you can deploy.” “Understood,” said Mercer. “Sergeant, take all the men and deploy them in a defensive line around the facility. Tell them to camouflage their presence as much as possible. We don’t have a lot of time.” “Yes, sir,” said the sergeant. He rushed off, calling orders. The men scrambled to the ground exit, running with gear and weapons in hand. “Clown Girl is down at the entrance,” said Bob. “She might be able to slow them down.” “See what she can do,” said Mercer. “We need to make sure they don’t get inside where this could turn into a tunnel situation.” “Can you hear me, Clown Girl?,” said Bob. He hoped she hadn’t taken off her throat mike. She had done that in a previous mission. Everything had gone sideways as a result. “Yep,” said Clown Girl. “What can I do for you?” “The targets are using a white Ford Galaxy with green doors,” said Bob. “Can you do something to stop the car, or distract them until we get there?” “Will do, boss,” said Clown Girl. Bob paused as Puff reappeared in the hangar. This was exactly who he needed. “Puff, get Troop down to the park entrance as fast as you can,” said Bob. “We’re looking for a white Ford with green doors.” “Come on, you big ape,” said Puff. “You might could lose some pounds, you know. Being big doesn’t mean you have to be heavy.” He pulled Troop into a puff of smoke as the simian protested the slur about his weight with some grunts. “I need to head down to the entrance myself,” said Bob. “I’ll see you, Captain.” Bob ran to the hangar entrance and leaped into the air. His rocket boots normally wouldn’t carry him to the battlefield on their own. He had rearranged them to provide a column of air to skate on when he got close enough to the ground. He could slide all the way to where he had to be. It wasn’t optimal, but it was faster than waiting on a vehicle to be driven out and follow the hidden road to the park entrance. He hoped his team could handle things until he got there. The second man had unknown abilities. He might be able to wipe out the whole team on his own. And Clown Girl liked to live too close to the edge for her own good. That woman from Seattle had almost overcame Clown Girl and Troop. If he hadn’t been there to sedate her, she might have escaped and started trying to find them. The boss would have lost his mind if that had happened. Someone’s head would have been on a block. Bob would have made sure to put someone else’s head on it before volunteering himself. He skated across the wilderness. He doubted he would be there in time to do anything. The place was big, and the facility was miles away from the park entrance. He just felt he had to do something instead of waiting on Puff. The teleporter might refuse to help the rest of the Squad out of laziness. If that happened, he couldn’t depend on the man to return to carry him to the scene. No matter how useful Puff was for his ability, it might be better to recommend for him to be programmed again. Maybe that would fix the problems that plagued the man’s brain. Bob slid passed a sign telling him where he was and how far to go to get to the main entrance if he stayed on the normal road. He nodded as he checked his watch. His team should be in combat. Why weren’t they reporting anything on the radio? He doubted they had beaten the two this fast. It was more likely that Animal Boy had taken them down with some kind of animal like an elephant. He tried to remain hopeful as he approached the main park entrance. There had to be something he could salvage from this. He reached the lot inside the park gate. He paused to take stock before he interfered with what was going on. The car was wrecked. The windshield had been busted out of the front. Dents covered the hood. The front had hit another car, crushing the front bumper of the car. Clown Girl and the unknown man in black danced around each other on one side of the lot. Troop and Puff had surrounded Animal Boy. The former Scout had been able to summon a dinosaur of some kind to keep the two back while he tried to figure out how to help his friend. How did he get his team and his targets away from there without further problems? At least the civilians had cleared out of the way so he could work. He decided the best thing to do was to knock them both out with darts and let Mercer pick up the targets to take back to the facility. Oscar would have to explain things to the boss about why it was done like this. He just needed an opening to use the darts. He decided that Animal Boy seemed the most dangerous. He had to be taken down first. Then they could take the man in black out. Bob raised his weapon. He pointed it at the summoner. He flipped the toggle with his thumb. The purple beam hit the Scout. The dinosaur faded away as the target looked at his hands, trying to figure out what had happened. Troop clouted his enemy in the face. That was enough to knock the man out. Bob shook his head. They were supposed to be more gentle than that. The other man locked up with Clown Girl. They tried to force each other back. That was enough for Troop to multiply and throw the man in black down. Clown Girl applied a strangle hold to put the target out. “If he dies, there’s going to be problems,” said Bob. He cut his rocket boots and dropped to the ground. “Are we clear, Justine?” Clown Girl reluctantly released her grip. She stepped away with her hands behind her back. “Puff, start moving these guys to the base,” said Bob. “We have to get out of here before the park rangers arrive. Troop, get rid of the car. We can’t leave it here.” Puff grabbed Animal Boy and whisked him away in his cloud. “Captain Mercer,” said Bob. “We have prisoners incoming. Puff should be arriving with one in a few minutes.” “Got it,” said Mercer. “We’ll regroup and take them into custody.” Troop squeezed behind the wheel of the car. He checked and found the keys. He backed out of the lot and drove away. He could make his own way back to base with the help of his power. “Return to base, Gaze.” Bob looked around. The small crowd still watching things should be taken care of, but he didn’t feel like killing a bunch of people who knew him from the papers. “It looks like we’re almost done.” “Right, Bob,” said Gaze. “I’ll see you guys when you get there.” “As soon as Puff picks up our last prisoner,” began Bob. “We should get out of here. There’s still a risk that the rangers will show up to ask us to explain everything for them.” “I can handle some rangers,” said Clown Girl. “That shouldn’t be any kind of a problem.” “We’re not handling anything,” said Bob. “We’re leaving. That’s what secret operations means.” “You take all the fun out of everything,” said Clown Girl. Her makeup had been mussed up in the fight, softening her angular features. “We’re not here to have fun,” said Bob. He shook his head. “We’re here to do a job and then go home. Anything else is failure.” Puff appeared before they could continue the argument. He grabbed the man in black. He vanished. His explaining of things to himself lingered in the air after he was gone. Bob looked around the lot once more. He wondered if he was going to get a reprimand for leaving so many witnesses alive. He decided it didn’t matter. Killing people wasn’t his thing. “Let’s go,” said Bob. He picked Clown Girl up in his arms. He pulled a ring on the front of his costume. The shoulders of his costume expanded into a balloon that lifted them off the ground. They floated away from the scene. “This is great,” said Clown Girl. “I love it.” “The landing is a bit rough,” said Bob. He drifted along at tree top level for a bit before pulling the ring again. The balloons shrank, dropping them to the ground. “That was way better than I thought it would be,” said Clown Girl. She laughed. “Let’s do it again.” “Let’s go,” said Bob. “We have a long way to walk back to the facility.” “We can do other things than walk while we’re out here,” said Clown Girl. She smiled at him. Bob paused for a second. Then he shook his head. He started walking toward home. “Aren’t I pretty enough?,” asked Clown Girl. She started after him. “You’re beautiful,” said Bob. “I know better to get involved with you.” “What’s that mean?,” asked Clown Girl. “You know what it means,” said Bob. “I remember how Jody wound up, Justine. I don’t plan to make the same mistake.” //105844
  2. What Have You Watched Recently?

    I saw Shetland on PBS with an antenna. Luther and Dr Blake are also on. They ran Death in Paradise too but it's off the air. Luther is pretty gritty and deals with psychological problemed villains, and a troubled hero. Dr. Blake is an Australian medical doctor in the fifties helping the local police solve crimes. Death in Paradise are fair play mysteries but the first two head inspectors were quirky as Columbo, the third guy isn't as quirky as his predecessors, but he's just as smart. CES
  3. What Have You Watched Recently?

    Watched Shetland. It's a police procedural set in Scotland. The original crime is the killing of a man in witness protection. The investigation causes a lot of other secrets and deaths to happen. CES
  4. The One Million Word Project

    Revenge of the Scouts 1979- 14 Marty Morgan scanned the horizon as he drove through the reservation. He had a compass to keep him on path built into the dashboard of the Scout van. The ring sat above it on the dashboard. They agreed which way he should be going. “Do you think we’ll be there tonight?,” asked Ren. “I don’t know,” said Marty. “We might have to take the last part on foot. I think they’ll have security looking for us since Mercer’s dad called him.” “The thing that bothers me the most is why did they take Mr. Robot’s body,” said Ren. “They left his skull and took the rest of him.” “So?,” asked Marty. “What does it matter?” “It suggests in my mind that he was the target of the ambush.” Ren pulled out a piece of paper and unfolded it on his side of the cab like a large map. “It explains almost everything.” “How could they use a headless body?,” asked Marty. “I don’t understand.” “I don’t see the whole picture but I am sure they wanted his mechanical body,” said Ren. He looked at the piece of paper before writing on it with a finger. “We should have asked Mr. Marston to trace what he could about William Watson.” “The only reason to take Barry’s body is to use it somehow,” said Marty. He looked in the mirror. Something flashed behind them. “If they tracked down Cortez first, would they have taken his body too? He had a robotic tank and life support.” “Maybe they took him first,” said Ren. He pressed one section of the paper. Cortez and disappearance were highlighted. “Maybe,” said Marty. That flash happened again. “Do you think Watson cared enough about me to try to have people follow me around?” “Why wouldn’t he?,” asked Ren. “You’re the last survivor of the Hazard Scouts. You control their resources to a point, and you know many of the people they knew. I was surprised to find you still alive. I would have had you killed a long time ago to cover my tracks.” “If I told you that I think we’re being followed, what would you say?,” asked Marty. “I would say let’s make sure,” said Ren. He folded up the piece of paper and put it away in his bag. “Give me a second to look before we come up with some plan to waylay the other car. They might be innocents going the same way we’re going.” Marty made a head gesture to acknowledge the logic. He could be paranoid. Watson might not know anything about Mercer’s involvement in what was going on. Once they had Mercer, they could reach for the next link in the chain. He didn’t like the thought that Barry’s body could be used by someone else, and that someone was behind killing all of his friends. He planned to extract some answers from his only clue. Ren walked to the back of the van. He looked out the back window with his hand over his eyes. He pulled a spyglass from his bag and used that to look at the other car on the road. “Red pickup,” said Ren. “Pretty common. The passengers are white, dressed casual.” Marty grunted. That didn’t mean anything. He slowed to a crawl and pulled over on the shoulder. He put on the hazard lights. “Are they still coming?,” Marty asked. He pulled the switch to open the engine cover. “No, they pulled into a driveway,” said Ren. “What do you want to do?” “We can pretend I am working on the engine, while I send something to spy on them,” said Marty. “Or one of us can go back there and ask them in person.” “I’ll go talk to them,” said Ren. He took one last look before putting the spyglass away. “Maybe they are harmless people who live and work here on the reservation. That driveway might have been where they were going.” “How much time do you need?,” asked Marty. “I don’t know,” said Ren. “The doctor said I needed work on my stealth. I’ll be back as soon as I can.” Ren opened the side door and stepped outside. He disappeared into the landscape as easily as a shadow at night. Marty stepped outside and walked to the front of the van. He raised the hood and looked at the engine. He smiled at himself. There was no way he could do anything to fix Barry’s engine if it was really broken. He doubted anyone but another scientist could do anything. He fiddled with the thing, wiping the top off the parts with a rag. He checked his watch. He shook his head. He needed to give Ren more time. He decided to fake start the engine to pretend he was trying to fix things. He climbed back into the cab. He hit the brakes a couple of times. He got out and went back to the engine. He sent a bird back to check on the pickup crew. Marty paused as the bird reported that Ren was questioning the two men. He had apparently put them to sleep so he could check their memories. The bird landed on the ground and watched. Ren nodded when he was satisfied he had gained all the answers he needed. He turned and nodded at the bird before vanishing again. The bird flew back to Marty so it could be dismissed now that its job was done. It landed on the roof of the Scout van as Marty closed the hood on the engine. He pulled it back inside as he climbed into the van. He started the engine so they could start rolling again. Ren appeared and entered the van. He smiled as he took his seat. “They work for Watson Security,” said Ren. “They were supposed to keep an eye on us. They have forwarded reports on our interest and location to Watson. I expect when we reach the facility that houses Mercer, we will be given a warm welcome.” “I’m surprised they have put up with our prying so far,” said Marty. “If I was Watson, I would have guys coming out of the woodwork to kill us.” “I think they want to talk to us,” said Ren. “Our tail was unsure. They were given a hands off order until someone took over for them.” “That sounds like they were waiting for a decision,” said Marty. “What kind of decision?” “I don’t know,” said Ren. “Either they want to talk to us so they can learn how much we know, or bury us because we already know too much.” “We need to hide the van and take something less conspicuous to get close to the place.” Marty frowned at the chain of thought. “We need to do it now that we are clear of their spotters.” “How do we do that?,” asked Ren. “I don’t see any where we can get another car.” “We’ll have to improvise something,” said Marty. “First, we have to hide the van.” “I can do that,” said Ren. “Pull off the side of the road.” Marty looked for a place. He saw a gravel driveway leading to a trailer in the distance. He pulled into the driveway. “Get what you think you need,” said Ren. He got out of his seat. “Then get out. I’ll hide the van from being spotted.” Marty grabbed his coat and followed Ren out of the van. He stood back, pulling on his thin coat. He didn’t see how the apprentice was going to make the Scout van vanish. Ren took a bottle out of his bag. He pointed the mouth at the van. A cloud surrounded the vehicle. When it cleared, the van was gone. The bottle held a tiny replica. Ren corked the bottle and put it back in his bag. “That was impressive,” said Marty. “How did you do it?” “I hypnotized you into believing the van has been shrunk to fit inside a bottle,” said Ren. “Okay,” said Marty with lifted eyebrows. “Sure.” “Now how do we get to where we need to go other than riding a griffin to the forest and being seen from the air?,” asked Ren. “We just ask the owner of this trailer if he has a car we can borrow,” said Marty. “Maybe you can hypnotize him.” “Maybe,” said Ren. “After you.” Marty walked up to the trailer door. He looked around. Nothing moved in the yard. He knocked. Maybe no one was home. It was the middle of the day. Marty knocked on the door again. Someone moved inside. He waited for the door to open. A young woman answered the door, dark hair pulled back with a scrunchy, tank top and jeans. She held a baby on her hip. She frowned at the two scruffy individuals on her threshold. “What do you want?,” the woman asked. Dark eyes conveyed suspicion as she kept a hand on the door. “We were wondering if you had a car we could buy,” said Marty. “You’re kidding me,” she said. “No,” said Marty. “I’m willing to pay cash if you have something, or know someone who has something we can use.” “I know someone who has a car for sale down the road.” She looked at her baby. “I’ll call him.” “Thank you,” said Marty. “I know this seems strange, but we need a car because we had to leave ours behind. If the car runs, we’ll be glad to pay for it.” “Hold on,” said the woman. She closed the door on them. “Do you think she will call her friend?,” asked Ren. “Who knows?,” said Marty. The door opened. The woman had the baby in her arms. “Billy said he would bring his car around,” said the woman. “How long can you wait?” “A few minutes,” said Marty. He looked around. “This is a nice place here.” “It’s all right,” she said. “I haven’t seen either of you before. What brings you to the res?” “We’re passing through,” said Marty. “We’re heading south to Phoenix.” “Good luck on that,” said the woman. //101557
  5. 2017 NaNoWriMo thread

    I haven't hit the halfway point and feel that I will run out of story before I hit the goal CES
  6. The One Million Word Project

    Revenge of the Scouts 1979- 13 Cog had his drone ready when they brought in the third prisoner. He watched quietly as they took her leather clothes, mask, and weapons. They dressed her in a hospital gown and retreated from the room. Lusts were denied by the senior officer. The word Becker was used as some kind of warning. They locked her in and went about their duties. Cog went to work sabotaging the security, using the cameras and microphones to play a loop of their victim sleeping. He ordered the drone to take vitals as he thought about the next step of his plan. He had to wake the prisoner up. The drone scanned the room. They hadn’t left anything that might be used as a weapon except the blanket on the bed. That meant there weren’t any drugs present. Cog ordered the drone to administer a small electric shock. It was the best he could do at the moment. The woman woke up instantly. She snatched up the drone before it could flee out of reach. She looked around at the cell. Her face was expressionless. That didn’t bode well for her mental preparedness. “Can you hear me?,” asked Cog through the drone. “Yes,” said the girl. She stared at the drone, noting the cameras for eyes it used. “We are prisoners in a facility in an unknown location,” said Cog. “I have a small plan to bust out of here. Do you want to come along?” “Yes,” said the third prisoner. She put the drone on the ground. “Do you have any powers that might be helpful in an escape?,” asked Cog. “No,” said the woman. “Why did they bring you here?,” said Cog. “They are going to try to change our minds so we will fight for them.” “No,” said the woman. She stood and looked at the door. “When do we leave?” “I don’t know,” said Cog. “The other prisoner has been put under a nullifier to turn off her powers. I am waiting for her to generate enough power to fight. Can you fight?” “Yes,” said the prisoner. “When we get ready to go, I will open the door. There is a motor pool three levels up, and south of your cell. Can you get there on your own while we break out of our cells?,” asked Cog. The drone registered a small trace of amusement on her face. “Yes,” said the woman. Cog noted she was compacted muscle compared to the other human woman. She also held herself as stiff as a board. Dark hair was messy from her handling. “There are powers here too,” said Cog. “I will do my best to draw them off so you can escape without anyone noticing you.” “No,” said the woman. “Excuse me?” said Cog. He mentally braced for an argument, and then wondered how he could have an argument with someone who only spoke in binary. “Kill them,” said the woman. The monotone was the same, the expression the same, but menace had crept into her bearing. “Kill them all.” “No,” said Cog. “We escape. Then you can come back and do whatever you want. Once it goes in the pot, the objective is out.” The woman didn’t say anything for a long time according to Cog’s chrono. She stared at the drone. She sniffed the air. “Will wait,” was all she said. Cog took that for a victory for the moment. She could obviously do something. They wouldn’t have secured her if she couldn’t. He put the question in the back of his mind. He had to check on the other prisoner to see how much longer she needed to charge up. “Finch,” said the woman. Cog paused. What did that mean? Finch was a Earth bird. It was a songbird. It was deemed harmless by the humans. “I am Finch,” said the woman. “I will wait.” “Don’t worry,” said Cog. He placed Finch in for the placeholder he had been using for the drone. “They want two more of us before they do anything to us. We’ll be gone before Four and Five get here.” “Yes,” said Finch. One hand clenched into a fist. “Now that we understand each other, I am going to check on things and make sure we’re ready when the chance comes,” said Cog. “Yes,” said Finch. She relaxed her hand as she looked around the room once more. Anything could be a weapon if you had the right attitude. And she was trained to have that attitude. Cog ordered the drone back to the communications. He needed to do a check on what their captors knew. Then he had to get over to the other prisoner and tell her what was going on. He didn’t like that Finch didn’t have a usable power. It would make things easier for them if she could walk through walls, or had some kind of lightning speed. She might be useful as some kind of distraction. He didn’t like that she wanted to kill the people here. She might break from the plan to satisfy her urge. That placed him in danger and he didn’t like that at all. He sighed. He didn’t have a choice. He had to work with what he had. If she started killing everyone in the place while roaming around on her own, there wasn’t much he could do about that. He was giving her a chance. That was the best he could do. He had to look after his own tentacles before he worried about someone he was planning to use as a distraction. He didn’t like the fact that she could be using him as a distraction so she could commit mayhem when she was let loose. She didn’t have any powers. What was the worse she could do? He decided not to think about that. Chicago had several masks without powers on both sides of the fence in its past. The damage incurred by their battles was not something to sneeze at. He hoped he wasn’t unleashing a monster. The drone fitted itself into the tap it had made in the enemy’s communication gear. The chatter was not good. Somehow Four and Five knew they were looking for Watson Security, and for Captain Mercer. Observers had them to the east of the facility. They acted as if they knew where they were going. Cog winced. Did he wait until Four and Five were captured, or did he break out now and cause enough problems that the last two prisoners weren’t that important. Things were getting way too complicated for his liking of simplicity. Performing a rescue in hostile areas was not something he wanted to contemplate doing. His shipmates were better at that sort of thing than he was. He was just there to make the engines run. And now he was on his own with two humans who might be able to get him out of there so he could head back to his nest under Chicago. Getting out of his cell seemed more advantageous than waiting for the last two to be captured and then the mind warping to start. In his opinion, it was better to be able to run away than being pinned in a room. And running away seemed better than being magnetically depowered by the lunas running the place. Cog ordered his drone to inform the other two what he was doing as he thought about how to take down his own door. It should be as easy as having his drone open the door from the outside. He didn’t want to depend on the other prisoners to free him from the magnetic cage if he didn’t have to do that. They might not be able to get to his cell. On the other hand, if he could get to the security center after getting out of the cell, he could shut down all the mechanical aspects of the building which would make his escape all the more easier. He wouldn’t have to depend on the others to follow a plan. The gadgeteer might find a way to force him from the command center and cage him up again. Cog considered the problems ahead. His first inclination was to run. That was the way of his people. He knew that was opposite of the other two prisoners. He could tell it in the way they carried themselves. The nameless woman sat on her bunk, trying to summon her power. Finch waited by the door with blanket in hand. He wondered what she could do with a blanket. He decided that an escape attempt would be better if the powers were out chasing Four and Five. That meant only normal humans would be in the base with them. That would make things easier for an escape. The others agreed with his assessment. The nameless woman felt it would make it easier to ambush the powers when they came back. Finch just said “Yes,” when he told her about the change in plan. Cog wouldn’t be surprised if she killed one of the humans before they overcame her again. So they had to wait a bit more. He could do that. He decided to have the drone work its way to the edge of the command center. Plugging into the system there would give him realtime information about what their captors were doing. And he could use that against them when it was time to go.
  7. (Superdraft) The All Star Holiday Defenders

    It's saturday. I'm going to do the final rosters and put them up during the weekend. Then I will put up a poll on monday. CES
  8. The One Million Word Project

    Revenge of the Scouts 1979- 12 Marty drove south from the Mercer homestead. It was just as good a direction as any. He wanted to be in motion while he waited to call Marston back. He hoped that Petey hadn’t attracted attention to himself with any inquiries. He had already lost four friends. He didn’t want to add a fifth to the total. Ren kept his own counsel. He checked the ring once in a while as they rode down the road. He didn’t seem concerned about Mercer knowing they were looking for him. He seemed to be bothered by something else. “I’m going to call Petey and see if he found anything.” Marty looked for a gas station or diner where a telephone would be there for him to use. “That will give us something to go on.” “Mercer’s ring changing position implies that he is in transit to where his father called.” Ren showed him the ring in the sealed specimen dish. It slowly rolled along the inside of the dish’s wall. “He is west of us and heading south.” “We might be able to catch him on the road if we hurry,” said Marty. He saw a gas station ahead. “Barring that, we’ll have a good idea the general location of the place if Petey came through for us.” Marty pulled into the gas station. He didn’t see a booth. Maybe there was a phone inside the place. Once he called Petey, he would get back on the road and work his way south and west in the hopes of catching up to Mercer on the road. Marty planned an ambush to disable the vehicle that Mercer was using. Then he planned to let one of his animals do all the talking for him after that. He wanted to know what was really going on, but ultimately considered taking Mercer apart better than nothing. An explanation would not make that objective any more unreasonable than what it was already. Ren probably wouldn’t like Mercer’s limbs being torn from his body, but that didn’t matter. Ten years was a long time to wait to get even with someone wrecking your life. And Marty planned to get even before things were done. Marty walked inside the gas station. A black phone rested on the wall next to a barrel of peanuts. He checked his pockets for change and didn’t have any. He pulled out two dollars and approached the counter. “Can I have change?,” Marty asked the guy behind the counter. “I have to make a call.” The counter person took the two dollars and handed back a handful of quarters. “Thanks,” said Marty. He went to the telephone on the wall. He hoped Petey had something. He dialed the number and waited. “Marston Investigations,” said Petey’s secretary. “This is Marty,” said Marty. “Is Petey in?” “Yes, he is,” said the secretary. “Hold on.” “Marty,” said Pete Marston after a few minutes and some more dropped change in the phone’s slots. “The number traces back to Watson Security. It goes to a switchboard.” “So it’s a dead end,” said Marty. It looked like the ring was their only lead to Mercer. “I did some digging,” said Pete. “The number went from the switchboard to a place in Arizona. The location is some kind of set up in the mountains north of Phoenix. I don’t know how the roads are down there. You might have to come at the mountain on horses.” “Can you give me some kind of spot to aim for, Petey?,” said Morgan. “Not really,” said Marston. “The closest I can put it is Prescott Forest. There are a lot of towns where they could put out spotters for people getting too close to where they have their outpost.” “We’ll handle it, Petey,” said Marty. “Thanks for the help.” “I can get out my gear, Marty,” said Marston. “It wouldn’t be a problem.” “This is a personal thing, Petey,” said Marty. “I’ll call you when we’re done.” “Don’t make me come down there and look for you,” said Marston. He hung up with a small click. Marty hung up the pay phone’s receiver. Ten years ago, Pete Marston had worn a mask. Now he was retired from the game. He had a chance at a normal life. There was no need to drag him back into the trenches over this. Personal business needed to be kept as personal as possible. It was better to let Pete get on with the rest of his life. And he wouldn’t approve of what Marty planned to do. Marty bought a bottle of Coke and left the gas station building. He had enough fuel for the Scout van to get to Phoenix. After that they would have to look around for fuel. They should be on top of Mercer by that point. Then he would worry about the rest of the Watson Security people and how they fit in to the murders of his friends. He walked back to the van, and climbed behind the wheel. He sipped his soda as he thought. “Petey said the number tracks back to a facility down in Arizona.” Marty capped the Coke and placed it in his seat between his body and an armrest. “What do you think?” “The ring is pointing generally south,” said Ren. “My impression is Mercer is moving from a location to the facility. Do we try to intercept on the road, or follow him home.” “We should follow him and see what his place is like,” said Marty. “Trust me, I want to catch him on the road, but maybe it’s better to see everything we might have to deal with before this is through.” “And we know where he is going, so we can take our time,” said Ren. “It gives us a chance to seize records and other evidence.” “Let’s head down the road,” said Marty. “We’ll grab something to eat before we try to head across the state and then into Arizona. Petey said there were some little towns we can use as cover for a bit before someone tries to turn us in to Watson.” “How long do you think it will take before we are close to the site?,” asked Ren. “I have no idea,” said Marty. He started the engine. “I plan to stop before we get to the border so we can look for the place before we do something dumb, then go in at night to better our chances.” “I’m going to move to the back and take a nap.” Ren slid out of his chair. “Wake me when you want to get dinner.” “No problem,” said Marty. He pulled on the road and headed south. The ring rolled in its cage to point where Mercer was in front of them and to one side. They were on parallel roads that would meet some time in the immediate future. Marty smiled at the thought. He hoped Mercer had some explanation other than he was just following orders. He had heard that a lot when he was in the Scouts. It didn’t cut any ice when he was a kid, it sure wouldn’t now that he was an adult. Marty drove for hours, watching the signs on the side of the road. He pulled into a little place north of the border. His stomach growled at him for making it wait for so long. He cut the engine. He glanced at the plate and lid makeshift compass. It still pointed southwest. He could cut across to get behind Mercer. Then it would be a slow chase to his hole. Marty walked back to where the maps were kept. He nudged Ren as he passed. His passenger had sat down at the small booth the Scouts had used for planning. He had leaned over in his sleep, but he had remained mostly in place. The nudge snapped him back to reality. “We’re at the Colorado-New Mexico border,” said Marty. He searched the files for a map of Prescott National Forest. “We’re going to have to turn west to get to where we need to go.” “Seems reasonable,” said Ren. “Is there a problem?” “We’ll have to cut across the Navajo reservation to get to where we need to go,” said Marty. He pulled out a sheaf of papers. He smiled when he confirmed that they were what he was looking for. “Is it doable?,” asked Ren. “If it isn’t, we’ll have to go around,” said Marty. “Let’s get some grub and walk off this driving.” “I agree,” said Ren. “What are those?” “Maps of the local area.” Marty opened the side door of the van and stepped outside. He held the maps under his arm. “Barry always had a collection in case we had to operate in the area.” Ren pulled on his black jacket as he followed the other man. Marty paused to lock the doors before they headed into the diner. Ren hoped his mentor would be happy with his performance so far. He had most of the puzzle in his hands. All he had to do was put the perpetrator in custody and close the case. That last part would be easier said than done in his opinion. They were hoping to arrest a man employed by a huge company with the resources to hide him anywhere in the world. If they missed in Arizona, then they might not get another chance until they tracked the man down and took him from his protection. Marty led the way into the diner. He settled into a booth where he could keep an eye on the van. He put the folded papers on the table top as they waited for the waitress. “How far ahead do you think Mercer is?,” Ren asked. He had an eye on the other customers and staff. “If he doesn’t have to stop, he’ll be home before the night is done,” said Marty. “If he takes off before we get to where we have to go, we’ll wait for him to get back so we can finish tracking him down.” //98287
  9. The One Million Word Project

    Revenge of the Scouts 1979- 11 The creature called Cog by the Chicago press floated inside its confinement. The electromagnetic pulse had damaged some of its systems. Repair packets worked on bringing its artificial body back to capacity. It wondered what was going on. It decided that perhaps this had to do with the help it gave to the Chicago authorities. Maybe there were other reasons, but that seemed the most likely. How did it get out of the cage? That seemed the next step. Once it was free, it could start doing things to make sure it remained free. Luckily, Cog had dropped a drone when they had taken it down under the city. The tiny machine was supposed to follow the commander around until it was sure of its terrain. It should help the bigger robot get free of its cell, and then wherever it was. Rebooting had not worked against the pulse. A lot of the core programming had been protected from the blast, but the workings in the limbs had been fried to a certain extent. Internal repairs and rerouting had restored eighty percent of its mobility. The most important part had been the flight systems. They had been the easiest to fix. The drone signaled Cog that it was inside the facility and still working. It had dug into some wiring and was raiding the command communications at random. It sent over what it thought was relevant to the problem. Cog didn’t like what its drone reported. It was the second prisoner of five, the enemy planned to rewrite its programming to serve them, and they didn’t know he was a cyborg. He pondered his predicament. Their first capture was in a cell on the other side of the facility from his. If he could free her, then he could use that as a distraction to free himself. He needed to know more about the first captive. Then he could decide if she would go along with his plan when he came up with one. And he did plan to escape from the situation. It was obvious the enemy wanted to use his artificial body for a war machine. He couldn’t let that happen. He had run away to Earth to avoid being used in that way. The Mark was the defender of the planet. Every tell knew what it meant to take on the Mark. And his furry pet monster was even more dangerous to confront. Cog knew tells that shuddered if he even said the word SPIFFY. Some screamed and ran for their lives. Having dealt with the furry monster, he could understand that reaction. How did he get to his fellow captive? He doubted he could get out alone as long as they had electromagnetic guns ready to shut down his operating system. He needed a big distraction if he wanted to escape his confinement. Breaking his fellow prisoner free might do the job if she had some kind of power. How did he do it? He decided that his drone had to do some of the work. He couldn’t get out of the cage he was in. If he tried, more of his systems would go down. His drone seemed to have free run of the place. It had to initiate contact. If the other prisoner could help him, then maybe the both of them could escape. His escape was foremost in his mind. Helping the other prisoner was secondary. If she got free, he was neutral to that. He didn’t plan on making friends with her. The drone reported an uptick in communications. A third prisoner was being brought in. She seemed to be a normal. That wasn’t much use to his plan. He had to make a decision. The best thing he could do was try to negotiate with the prisoner he could get to at the moment. If he couldn’t reach an agreement with the human, then he would try to talk to the third prisoner. He was getting out of the cage. He was smarter than any human. He was more capable. He had a hundred limbs filled with tools that was coming back to life. The drone picked up some chatter about two of the intended targets poking into company business. They had identified one of the key players and were looking for him. They had tripped some kind of warning sign and were being designated for a cell in the complex. Cog couldn’t wait that long. The humans would try working on him before they captured the other two. He had to get things started before they figured out where they should started investigating his inner workings and found his brain. He planned to be out of there before they figured out how to cut him open. He ordered the drone to locate the cell. He could proceed from there when it sent back an in position click. He would lose the intelligence gathering but that couldn’t be helped. He had to start his shaky plan before they moved against him. He worked on bringing more of his body back online while he waited. He wanted to be more than eighty percent ready when the time came. His drone reported that it was in position. It had secured a nest in a vent over the cell. Microphones and cameras reported on the captive to security. They didn’t want her doing anything without them being able to alert the rest of the compound. Cog ordered the drone to record and reroute the recordings to hide what he wanted it to do next. He didn’t want them to know anything about what he was capable of doing. He wanted to keep as many aces as he could. His helper was one such ace. The drone reported that it had captured and rerouted all the signals so that the watchers thought their captive was pacing and looking for a way out. He carefully raised a dish so he could talk through his drone without the watchers of his own cell knowing what he was doing. He didn’t want to broadcast his plans to anyone who thought they could stop him. “Can you hear me?,” he said through his drone. The device nested above the cell. At his command, it could free the other prisoner. Then it could come back to free him from his cell. “Yeah,” said the prisoner. “What do you want?” “I want my freedom.” Cog extended some minor sensors. He couldn’t detect anything sounding the alarm at what he was doing. “I’m a few hundred meters south, southwest, of your position. I’m trapped in a magnetic cage.” “I’m sorry,” said the other prisoner. “I’m trapped in a room that is nullifying my powers. I don’t see how I can help you.” “I can shut off the machinery in your room with a little work.” Cog thought that was doable. His drone was fully capable of mechanical work. “When that happens, I’ll need you to free me from my cell.” “Deal,” said the other prisoner. “How much time do you need?” “I don’t know,” said Cog. “I only have the one drone. It should get the job done in a few minutes.” “Do you know what’s behind this?,” asked the prisoner. “They want to make us servants.” Cog played his dish around. No alarms meant they couldn’t detect his drone wandering around. “They are waiting until they have secured the other three people on their list before they start.” “How do you know this?,” said the other prisoner. “I have broken into their communications net,” said Cog. “They are bringing in the third prisoner now. After that, they think they can capture the last two as easily as they have caught us.” “So they aren’t going to do anything to us until they have all five of us,” said the other prisoner. “Before we blow this place up, we need to get the one they have away from them.” “I don’t think that’s necessary,” said Cog. “No one asked you, did they?” The other prisoner took on a tone of obstenance. “I’m not leaving anyone in the clutches of these monsters. We all go, or none of us do.” “Are you going to be stubborn about this?,” said Cog. He didn’t have time to argue with someone who didn’t want to go along with his plan. “You can get out by yourself,” said the prisoner. “I’ll take my chances without my powers.” “You will be turned if you stay,” said Cog. Humans. They all thought they were special. “That will be too bad,” said the woman. “At least you will be free.” “All right,” said Cog. “We will wait until the third prisoner arrives, then we will go.” “All right,” said the other prisoner. “Thanks for seeing things my way. Watch out for their masks. They already have powers working for them. I don’t know what they need with us.” “How many?,” asked Cog. He didn’t have an accurate picture of what had happened to him under Chicago. “At least four,” said the other prisoner. “A multiplying monkey, a teleporter, a clownette, and some kind of gadget guy.” “The gadget guy explains how they had a pulse gun around to cripple me,” said Cog. He didn’t like the implication that they watched him until they saw an opening and went for it. He had thought he was hidden under the city. No one should have been able to track him down. The thought he might need help bothered him more than he wanted to admit. Any human armed with a pulse gun was more than a match for his mechanical capabilities. He couldn’t run into that and hope to keep going. “Don’t fall apart on me.” The woman’s voice cut through his calculations. “As soon as they bring in number three, we have to be ready to move.” “Cutting the power to the nullifier in your room,” said Cog. He issued the order to his drone. “I’m going to have to leave you alone for a bit while I try to monitor when our third escapee will arrive.” Three against four wasn’t good, but it was better than him trying it alone. //96600
  10. (Superdraft) The All Star Holiday Defenders

    That's right. Everyone should have there ten picks right now. I still need two. I'm going to option the Funky Phantom as a good guy, and Chernogbog as a bad guy CeS
  11. (Superdraft) The All Star Holiday Defenders

    9, and the last pick is tonight CES
  12. 2017 NaNoWriMo thread

    Finished Chapter Ten. I'm about 4k behind and don't know where to go from here. I need to sit down and think on it before I write chapter eleven CES
  13. The One Million Word Project

    Revenge of the Scouts 1979- 10 Marty drove the Scout van across country to the address they had been given. He wore a light blue shirt with an H in the shape of an hourglass on the front near his collarbone. It drooped on him, but he didn’t mind. He concentrated on the road, searching for street signs to point him in the right direction. He wanted to get to the house and deal with Mercer as fast as possible. Once he had some answers, maybe he would feel better about leaving his friends alone after they had died. Being able to punch the man responsible would certainly feel good in his mind. “I think we are on the right street.” Ren folded the map he had been consulting. He put if back in a pocket of maps in the roof over his seat. “It should be just ahead according to the mailboxes.” “How do you want to handle this?,” said Marty. He slowed as he read the numbers on the mailboxes on his side of the van. “We knock on the door and make sure this is the right Mercer,” said Ren. “Then we ask him why he was at the scene of the crime.” “What if he doesn’t want to give us answers?,” said Marty. He stopped in front of a small white house with a small porch in front of a green door and a single window. “He will,” said Ren. “Even if he says nothing at all, I am confident I will be able to learn something we can use to find out the parts we don’t know.” “Let’s see if he’s home,” said Marty. He pulled into the gravel driveway, stopping behind an old pickup truck with blue paint and patches of rust. “Then we can see what happens after that.” “Remember to keep an eye out,” said Ren. “Anything could be waiting for us inside there.” “I’m ready.” Marty cut the engine. “If he so much as raises a hand against us, he’ll regret it for the rest of his days.” “Don’t kill him,” said Ren. “We still need what he knows.” “I won’t kill him,” said Marty. He got out of the van and shut the door before he said in a lower voice, “He’ll just wish he was dead.” The two men walked up to the porch. Nothing seemed out of place. Ren paused before he knocked on the door. He looked at the window. A shade and curtain blocked his view inside the house. He knocked on the door three times with the back of his hand. He listened, but heard nothing. He walked down to the end of the porch and looked down the side of the house. Nothing moved in his view of the backyard. He decided to knock again before he entered. He didn’t want to get caught trespassing when he just wanted to clear up some questions. If no one was home, that made looking around that much easier. The presence of the truck said that someone lived in the house. That didn’t mean the resident was Mercer. Ren knocked on the door. He frowned as he listened. He thought he heard footsteps. He stepped back from the door and to the side. Many criminals would shoot through the door to avoid answering questions. Marty took the other side of the door. He held a mental image of a dog in his head. If someone opened the door, and he had a gun in hand, then he would suffer some holes in that same appendage. The door opened. A thin man who had seen better days without alcohol glared at the two younger men on his porch. He wore overalls over a long john shirt but no shoes. His eyes were bleary and bloodshot. It was difficult to say if that was sleep, or drink. Marty held himself from releasing his animal. This guy didn’t look capable of committing murder. He didn’t look capable of checking his own mailbox. “What you want?,” the resident demanded of Ren. “I don’t got time for a gook and some bum.” “We are looking for Captain Steven Mercer,” said Ren. His eyes seemed to glow in the shadow of the porch. “Does he live here?” “Naw,” said the elder man. “He’s been gone since he joined the Army. He was no good as a kid, and he was no good in the Army. It didn’t surprise me when they kicked him out.” “You haven’t talked to him,” asked Ren. “Not in a long time,” said Mr. Mercer. “He said he had a job with some kind of company. He wouldn’t be coming home again.” “Did he give you some way to talk to him in an emergency?,” asked Ren. “We have some questions we need answering.” “Not my problem,” said Mercer. “He’s not here, and I don’t know you two from Adam. Get off my property.” “Thank you for your time,” said Ren. He nodded as he turned to leave. “Come on, Marty. We have other places to look.” Marty glared at the old man before walking off the porch. It would have been so easy to set the dog on the guy. Then he would know what a questioning really looked like. Ren waited until the door shut before stepping back on the porch. He waved Marty to the van before he blended in with the slight shadow on the porch. The former Scout took the hint and got behind the wheel of the van. He started the engine and backed out of the driveway. He backed out on the road and slowly rolled down the road. Ren listened at the door. What he heard confirmed his suspicions. The Mercers were in contact, and the father was on the phone with the younger to warn him about their poking around. The old man sounded more bothered by the visit than what he had let on at the door. Should he go in and confront the elder Mercer? He decided not to. He stepped off the porch. He put the piece of the puzzle in its place as he walked to the road. It was time to chase the ring. They had enough circumstantial evidence to talk to Mercer. It was time to find him and see what he had to say about things. Ren expected a lot of lies when they did catch up with the man. That didn’t matter. Something would show up to give him one more clue to put in place to make his case. It would be up to others to try to prosecute the man for a ten year old crime that no one saw happen. He saw the blue and white Scout van waiting down the road. He walked to the passenger door. He knew Marty wanted to follow the ring, and he had to agree. They had exhausted most of their normal lines of attack. “Mr. Mercer was trying to call his son as soon as he thought we had left.” Ren climbed into the passenger seat and closed the door. “The number called can be checked for a location.” “How do you know that?,” asked Marty. Ren pulled out a pad and pen. He wrote the phone number down. He tore the paper off and handed it over. “I heard him dial the number,” explained Ren. “Since I have no way to check it, I thought we should follow the ring and see where that leads us.” “Hold on,” said Marty. He stared at the number for a second. He looked around. “I need a phone.” “We can try at one of the gas stations we passed,” said Ren. “One of them must have a public telephone.” “This might give us a destination quicker than following the ring,” said Marty. He pulled away from the grassy shoulder and headed to the next cross street. “It might get us to the guy’s front door.” “This will probably lead to some kind of operation for Watson Security,” said Ren. “Exactly,” said Marty. “It ties Mercer to Watson as part of a conspiracy if the number pans out.” “And we already know he worked for Watson ten years ago because of the two cases handled by the Scouts,” said Ren. “It’s enough to develop a theory. We still need some kind of proof to fill in the motive. That’s the hardest part of a case to prove.” “We have enough for probable cause, but not enough for an indictment,” said Marty. “I can see that.” “There’s a gas station up ahead,” said Ren. “I think it has a phone booth next to it.” “That’s fancy.” Marty aimed for the lot in front of the booth. “I only expected a thing on the wall. Let me make this call. We might have to wait a while for Barry’s friend to call back.” “Can he help us?,” asked Ren. “He’ll know someone who can check the number,” said Marty. “That’s better than the two of us can do.” “True,” conceded Ren. Marty got out of the van and walked over to the phone. He fished some change out of his jeans and put that in the phone. He dialed the number, listening to the clicking of the dial as he waited. “Marston Investigations,” announced a cool voice after a few rings in the line. “How can I help you?” “Is Petey in?,” asked Marty. “I would like to talk to him.” “Petey?, Mr. Marston?,” said the secretary. “Who’s this?” “This is Marty Morgan,” said Marty. “Petey Marston used to be friends with a friend of mine. I need to talk to him.” “Hold please,” said the secretary. Marty fed more change into the slot at the top of the phone. He didn’t know how long he was going to be holding. He smiled when someone new asked him who he was. “This is Marty Morgan,” said Marty. “How’s it going?” “Everybody thinks you’re dead, Marty,” said Marston. “What’s going on?” “I would like for you to reverse direct a phone number for me, and give me some kind of location, Petey,” said Marty. “I want to know what’s there.” “I can do that,” said Marston. “Where do I call you back?” “I’m on the road, Petey,” said the former Scout. “I’ll call back in a few hours.” “Give me the number, and I’ll get to work on it,” said the detective. Marty read the phone number off the sheet of paper. “Be careful, Petey, and warn anyone you have look into this,” said Morgan. “This is about Idaville.” “I got it,” said Marston. “Are you going to need help?” “Just confirm the number,” said Marty. “After that, I’m just going to look around and see what I can find.” “You need me, I’ll come down and put a bullet in somebody,” said Marston. “It won’t come to that, Petey,” said Marty. He hung up the phone. “I plan to let bears do my talking for me.” //94901
  14. (Superdraft) The All Star Holiday Defenders

    I need three picks to catch up. I'm going to go with Egon Spangler to round out my team. I'm going with Samhain as my villain. I am optioning Jack O' Lantern. CES