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The Adventures of "Fish Guy" (Superhero fiction)

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#1 Hermit

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Posted 02 April 2017 - 05:51 PM

This is an experiment to get my ass writing again. Whether I will ever actually use this in a published work or not remains to be seen, but I need to get myself motivated and I figure trying a bit of writing here might help. This will be the roughest of Rough Drafts. I Hope folks enjoy. I'll try to write at least a paragraph each day.

 

 

Let me tell you something about superhero costumes; they work best in certain situations. Most of us, superheroes that is, are in good physical shape. Even if your powers aren't physical in nature, you end up dodging, chasing (or fleeing), punching now and then, and generally working up a sweat just to get by. Some of us are blessed with super metabolisms and a natural physique we don't even have to work at, sure, but for most it's a matter of survival to get into shape. If you're wheezing within five minutes of a fight- you may die. And we've all heard stories of well intentioned wanna-bes who tried to pull someone from a burning building or other danger, only to find they didn't have the upper arm strength. We are not, contrary to what you might see in comic books, all runway models, ballet dancers, or power lifters in build, but we are fit.  And from the point of vanity? Thank goodness, or we might look even more ridiculous than we already do. Costumes are best in motion, or shadow. In motion, we are blurs of color coming to rescue you. We are brightly lit beacons of hope to stand against dark clad denizens of dastardly deeds yadda yadda. Motion can demonstrate power: it forces the observer's eye to grade by speed and grace rather than registering 'is that a grown man in tights'? Shadows keep you from looking garish, they dim the flaws in the stitching if you have any. There's an element of mystery. There's a reason candles are aids in romance; low lighting is a cheap beauty enhancement for the homeliest guy or gal.

 

Now, my outfit? I think it's pretty good. Essentially it's a glorified sleeveless wetsuit of green so dark it's nearly black with regular green highlights. Yes, I know I just made a comment about bright colors earlier, but dark colors are the refuge of the body conscious and that is not likely to change. Besides, the darker green background makes those lighter highlights really pop. Of course, there are added touches beyond that. Gloves and foot wear that adapt when I'm in water, a mask that is a mix of the same material as the wetsuit melded with some goggles, slightly tinted.  I keep my hair short, many swimmers do. And, of course, there's the Eel on my chest. It probably looks like a high school mascot logo to some, but it's definitely an Eel, and as Eel is my superhero handle, that's probably a good thing.

 

Why am I going on about my costume and costumes in general? Because I'm not in motion. I'm standing at a bus station feeling like a weirdo. And that's despite having sat next to some bearded guy in a fedora and a Hawaiian shirt who kept singing Saturday morning jingles the whole trip and then every five minutes muttering "No, you be quiet."

 

But no, it's me the crowds are looking at now that I've gotten off the bus and am waiting for my ride from my soon to be new team. One woman is pulling her little boy away from me slowly and shooing him behind her. Great. Two teen guys are snickering and making comments about what they believe to be my sexual orientation. Well, that's open minded. I thought things in the big city would be a bit more tolerant. Then again, the teenage years are that sweet period of time where, if there is a selfish gene, it's getting amped up to the proverbial eleven. Who wasn't a bit of a jerk at some time in their teen years?

 

"I'm a superhero," I explain to them, "My name's Eel. I'm be joining the New Samaritans. Happy to be here in Costa Sagrado"

 

The two teenagers exchanged looks, then snickered, "What ever, butt muncher," One, wearing a t-shirt with a rude gestured stuck his jaw out as if waiting for me to try something about it. I sighed and tried to ignore him, while the teen and his friend chalked it up to be a win in the 'how jerkass can we be without someone putting us in line' test that is their phase in life.

 

Really, what am I going to do?  Chuck them into into the sun? First, no can do. Second, that would be murder. Third, people already think superheroes handle every problem with violence and I'm not about to live down to their expectations. Don't get me wrong, I am super strong. I could certainly grab both, leap to the top of the second story building of the bus station and leave them there to contemplate some manners - all in one smooth motion. Hell, I can punch through steel. But, like the man said, with great power comes ...insert copyright infringement risk.

 

Superheroes need to be better than that. We need to understanding, tolerant, and polite. We should show that humility is not weakness and courtesy is not lost. We need....

 

"You the Fish Guy?" A voice piped up, "Sure as hell hope you're the Fish Guy. Because I'm late to pick him up," The voice was male, with an impatient tone. I searched the crowd searching for the source.

 

It took me a moment, mostly because I wasn't looking down.

 

About four feet away was a six inch tall man with a proportionally sized bow and quiver filled with tiny arrows. Of course, he had a costume, one of blue peasant shirt and green breaches but honestly, the detail I noticed was that he was six inches tall.

 

"I..." I blathered for a moment, I admit it, I'm not the most experienced superhero. Not counting a rather humiliating beat down from a villain team, I've fought just one supervillain, and really ruined a drug cartel's day, mostly I helped with rescue and recovery, "Yeah, that's me. You're with the New Samaritans?"

 

"Yep," He noticed my mouth was still open, "Careful, Fish Guy, someone's gonna put a hook in that. What's the matter? Never seen a costumed archer in this business? A third of the super teams in America have one, the other two thirds suck. My handle's Pinprick. Some folks only use half of that," he smirked.

 

"Well, yes I've seen... just never heard..." This was getting out of hand, "Sorry for staring. Oh, it's not Fish Guy, it's Eel."

 

"Whatever you think will fit on a cereal box, sport," The diminutive archer said, "Follow me, the vehicle is waiting to fly us to the base." He noticed the two teenagers. If they had been snickering at me, they were outright laughing at him. Jokes about him being just 'right sized' as a sex toy were crudely made. My brows knit. I guess I'm worried weird. Give me crap, and I guess I'll take it. Give someone else crap? And I get a bit guarded.

 

"Pardon me, please, you're blocking my way," I said politely to them.

 

"Your way to your boyfriend? " One snickered, "Does he fit up your..." before the comment could finish, Pinprick's tiny hands drew an arrow and fired in a motion so fast I almost didn't see it. The needle sized arrow stuck into the obnoxious teenager's shoulder. Right in front of my eyes, the teenager dwindled, collapsing shorter and shorter until he actually a bit smaller than Pinprick himself, and terrified looking.

 

Not that his friend wasn't freaked out too, "Victor!"

 

Pinprick drew another arrow and looked at the still unshrunken one, "Now, are you going to move or do I need to make is so Fish Guy can step over you too?"

 

"Jesus!" The still normal sized teenager retorted, moving to the side as if expecting a cobra bite. Victor, his now five and a half inch tall friend was running in circles in a panic.

 

I was appalled, "You can't do that to people."

 

"Just did, come on, it won't last forever," Pinprick said and began to walk away from the bus station, presumably towards whatever team vehicle awaited, "He'll be fine. I just cut him down to size- literally. If you want to get technical about it, they were making a public disturbance, nuisance, and loitering. Pick One. One the less legal mumbo jumbo side of things, nobody but me gives my team mates hell. C'mon Fish Guy, you're part of the asylum now."

 

I followed, calling back to the diminished Victor and his friend who had recovered enough to lift his friend up like an action figure, "He says it's temporary." but I kept going after, "I can take care of myself."

 

"If that was the case you wouldn't be doing the strength in numbers thing, relax, Fish Guy. Like I said, I got the timer set on ten," Pinprick shook his head, "Frankly, ocean front city or not, I'm not sure we needed a Fish Guy, but you have a great record in rescue , got the super strength bullet proof thing going, and we're short a muscle man. I can't tell you how much your connections with Atlantis are going to help us out if we do get some water guys invading."

 

"Ah," I paused, "I'm not from Atlantis."

 

"Yeah yeah, sure, you're from one of the Carolinas.." He shrugged as if they were interchangeable , "But I mean heritage. Mother or Father's side?"

 

"Neither side," I said, "I've got some Scott-Irish I can trace, my grandmother said her grand mother was Cherokee, but other than that I'm just your standard white guy," I tilted my head, "You're pulling my leg about Atlantis, right? It's not like that 's real?"

 

We had arrived at a hovercar. I knew it was a hover car because -look ma, no wheels. Any other time I'd have been more suitably amazed. But I was still hoping that I was getting a new guy hazing here.

 

"You don't know about Atlantis?" Pinprick winced, "Tell me you can at least talk to fish?"

 

"Yeah," I said nodding, "I can talk to fish... "

 

"Great, at least you can calm their battle beasts down if they... " He started to say

 

 "Like you can talk to your hamburger," I finished, "Does your hamburger talk back? Because my fillet never did."

 

Pinprick put his face in his palms, "But your resume said you were an aquatic hero."

 

"Yeah, I can breath underwater, go down to depths that would crush most people, see in lower light easily, a few other tricks.. but I don't talk to fish. That's... weird."

 

The door opened on the passenger side and Pinprick shook his head again, "Just.. just get in the car, Fish Guy."

 

"It's Eel," I said irritated, and also a bit worried that I was about to have my membership revoked pretty darn quick, "I'm not Fish Guy."

 

"Yeah, no kidding!" He said getting into the driver's seat, "Doesn't know about Atlantis or any of the other under sea kingdoms, doesn't talk to Fish... hell, you don't even carry a trident," Disgusted, Pinprick spoke to the car, "Take us home, Mabel."

 

A husky female voice emanated from the car, "Right away, Tiger... "

 

And the sultry voiced vehicle shot up into the sky vertically like an elevator on steroids.

 

About fifty feet up, I finally found the focus to ask, "Wait,  other undersea kingdoms?"

 

(To be continued?)


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The Adventures of "Fish Guy"


#2 winterhawk

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Posted 02 April 2017 - 08:50 PM

Up to the usual standard :)


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#3 Marcus Impudite

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Posted 02 April 2017 - 11:00 PM

Well written. The "I'm not a freaky fish guy" stuff is amusing.


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#4 csyphrett

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Posted 03 April 2017 - 01:02 AM

pretty good hermit

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#5 Logan.1179

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Posted 03 April 2017 - 07:52 AM

What? I talk to my hamburgers all the time confused.gif


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#6 Hermit

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Posted 03 April 2017 - 11:01 AM

Thanks for the encouragement, folks.

 

While Pinprick didn't go into details, it turns there are other Undersea Kingdoms. Somehow I had been hoping this whole 'Atlantis' bit was just some hazing ritual new guys went through, but while I wouldn't put it past Pinprick to 'give his team mates hell' as he'd said earlier; it was increasingly clear he was dead serious. This was a problem, if I had been selected for ties I didn't have to a kingdom I didn't even believe in, I might be getting a real quick heave ho. What was I going to do? Sue a super team? I mean, I could try. It had been done before, but usually for property damage or the like. Even that had changed. New York City was the first to write laws protecting superheroes from certain lawsuits as long as it could be proven they were saving lives in doing it or preventing greater damage. In 1973, a giant robot rose out of the Hudson and began to demolish some very expensive real estate in Manhattan.Well, the Vindicators, the Superteam in the area, who had been sued a year before for damage to a bridge (That they did break so a ship wouldn't smash against it) decided they'd save the people, but after evacuating them, let the robot have at the property of the very well to do. They explained to the authorities they could not take the legal risk for "mere property" especially with the city having sued them before. After the first penthouse crumbled, some say it was the fastest piece of legislation the city had ever signed. The team got around to trashing the robot, coincidentally finishing it off over the stately home of the guy who had sued them a year before. They swore it was just a fluke. Me? I think if some team has a name whose root word is 'vindictive' then you have no right to be surprised that they hold a grudge.

 

Incidentally, that's why New York City has more superhero teams than almost anywhere else in America today. It has the laws most forgiving to superheroic acts of destruction; be they the result of blunders or necessary firebreaks or what not. Many New Yorkers take pride in their superhero teams now, but in '73? I'm told the Vindicators got labelled everything from 'The X-tortion Men' to the 'Got us by the Short Hairs' Six. Even some superheroes at the time went on record saying they did not approve. But if not for them, and the laws in other states they inspired... who knows how many villains would have conquered a chunk of the nation all because the only ones who could hold them back were in prison or so in debt they couldn't afford a paper bag over their head let alone a mask? History has always interested me, but I'm a dabbler rather than a serious scholar.

 

Somehow it felt wrong to be even contemplating a lawsuit if I got thrown out, even if the New Samaritans and I did have an agreement of sorts. I glanced down below the city of Costa Sagrado. It wasn't like New York City (Which I did visit once for two weeks), and it sure as hell wasn't like any place in North Carolina. Costa Sagrado got its name from the mission some Spanish priests had set up here. Before them, some Native American tribes had fought each other and bleed over the place, until diseases from Europe came over and devastated them. Then Mexico, and then finally the United States became chief rent collectors of the place. Even in the 21st century, there were touches of history and change both. The shore was most prominent, it was the city's prize jewel, even from the car I could see figures racing along the sands in swimsuits and running into the spray. Further north of them was where the more industrial shipping went on. I had heard strong efforts had been made in the last fifteen years to keep the waters as clean as possible. Good thing, I would be swimming there. When you're the Fish Guy on a team, that's where your team mates expect you to patrol.

 

 Damn it, now I was doing it.

 

"Yeah, that's where you'll be working most like," Pinprick said noticing where my gaze had fallen. The car seat he was in had an arm rest he could hop up on and look out the window from. Mabel, it seemed, was doing all the driving.

 

Pinprick continued, "It's like any city.... you get your ethnic neighborhoods, your poor neighborhoods, which are often but not always the same. You got your gated communities where every place has a pool if not a freaking mansion. You've got a batch of sky scrappers down town and in the financial district but it flattens out fast outside of them.  A few parks of green, one you do not go out at night if you're a norm, the other quite nice 24/7. There's the college districts, a theater / cultural district, a few malls on shaky grounds, and some pretty decent restaurants scattered through out. We're the only Superteam in the city, but there are one or two independents. You may run into them. Watch out for Bloodwatch, he's a psychopath."

 

"Bloodwatch?" I blinked.

 

"Man does not know the 90s are over," Pinprick answered, "Vigilante type. Carries a big gun."

 

"He shoots people? " I blurted before I thought it through.

 

"No, genius, he caresses them, tenderly," Pinprick snorted, "Yes, what part of psychopath with gun don't you get? He's a wanted man for his bull#### judge jury and executioner crap.

 

I flushed a bit at the jibe , though I guess I couldn't blame him for it completely,  "Why haven't you guys caught him yet?"

 

"First, he doesn't exactly hang around. Second, we did ... more than once. He's escaped. He's a nutbar, but he is an extremely talented nutbar and there's a segment of the population that cheers him on," Pinprick frowned, "He makes it sound easy and clear cut; people like easy and clear cut. It means they don't have to think as much. Last time we think a prison guard helped him slip out. We can't prove it," His tone was frustrated.

 

I decided to change the subject, "So.. how did you get to be?" I brought one hand down closer to the other in a reducing motion.

 

"Part of the Smurf Village?" He raised a brow.

 

"Uhm, yeah," I answered, "Just curious."

 

"You're going to get really bored with origin stories around here after about the third one, trust me," Pinprick said, "But I'll give you the Reader's Digest version: Don't go drinking around mushroom rings if you ever take a vacation in certain parts of Europe."

 

"Fairies?" I sputtered.

 

"Yup. At least, I think it was. Mostly I remember waking up with a splitting hang over after a black out you wouldn't believe. I was wearing this get up, this magic bow and quiver which never seem to run out of arrows, and had a tune of hunting horns that I couldn't get out of my head for a week. I figure...fairies."

 

"But you don't really know because it's all a blur?" I clarified.

 

Pinprick pointed at me, "Hey kid, the amnesic tough guy is a staple of song and legend."

 

"But, from drinking? That's more a staple of frat parties."

 

"Sigma Pi, mother####er!" He mimed chugging a beer.

 

I guess I blinked and stared at him a bit too long because he followed it up with a shake of his head, "Relax, Fish Guy, I'm yanking your chain."

 

"Ah, so the fairy tale thing was made up..."

 

"Are you kidding? No that part's real, I think.... I was just never part of a frat. You know," He observed, "You're going to need to lighten up a little if we're going to work together."

 

"Sorry, still finding my feet and hoping I'm not going to get kicked out because I'm not an Atlantean on my mother's side or anything," I looked out the window again. Mabel had been giving us something of a guided tour, "Where's the headquarters for the New Samaritans anyway?"

 

"We're almost there, Tiger," Mabel purred, catching me off guard. I wasn't used to a flying car, let alone one that sounded like torch singer. We moved over a large parking area that had been sealed off and towards a ....

 

"Is that a mall?" I inquired  surprised. It sure looked like a mall, heck, there was even a faded sign.

 

"It was a mall," Pinprick clarified, "It closed. One of us bought it, converted it, and now it's a base with loads of room, plenty of safe space around it where nothing but parking spaces and lamp posts get hurt if some villain finds out where we are and attacks. And the inside looks so much better than the out. Trust me, you're going  to love it."

 

The heavily tinted skylight split open, and we lowered down into the base. You could tell it had been a mall, sure, the layout was the same. But the tiles and patterns had been shifted. It was like a mix between Byzantium styles and the interior of the Enterprise D;  and they managed to do it without being garish. Mabel opened the doors to let us out, and I stepped out onto the spiral designed floor and I couldn't help it.

 

"Wow," I said louder than I intended, and my voice echoed. Did you ever notice how when you really want a good word to express wonder, you're too caught up in the wonder to use it? Yeah, I have a vocabulary, I swear. It's just, at that moment, it had failed me. Guiding sci fi lights flickered between ancient designs. A half dozen drones, made of high tech plastic so they almost appeared to be glass, were paroling down the length of the floors. Now that the skylight was sealed, I glanced up to feel the light pour through in a prism like pattern. I guess somehow it was more tinted from the outside than the inside because the sun was gloriously bright if somewhat diffused as if going through a million clear rain drops.

 

"Glad you approve," The response was warm, older, genuinely pleased. I turned to pay my respects and was once again surprised. I wasn't surprised to see a woman in her sixties, or that she was African American. Lady Obsidian may have worn powered armor from the start, but she'd never hidden her sex or race from anyone. Indeed, she was quite the civil rights Icon to some though a few thought she should have done more. I was more startled at how classy, even down right attractive she still looked at her age. It wasn't a matter of looking that much younger, it's just she appeared to be one of those lucky women who had not only stayed in great shape, but time had decided to refine rather than wither. She wasn't wearing her namesake hued power armor but instead was layered in a shear indoor kind of jacket of light blues over a darker blue blouse. She had been outed some time ago, her secret Identity was Vivian Vernon (Yeah, more heroes were alliterative back then), Doctor Vernon actually, as she had more PHDs than any five cans of alphabet soup put together, but to many of us, she'd always be...

 

"Lady Obsidian," I gave a nod of respect, "Ma'am, it's nice to meet you. I'm a big fan."

 

Pinprick rolled his eyes at the 'ma'am' but at least he wasn't calling me a kiss ass, "Boss, Fish Guy. Fish Guy? Lady Obsidian aka Doctor Vernon."

 

"Please, call me Vivian, young man," she motioned me to start following, "Lady Obsidian: You know why I first took that title?"

 

"Civil Rights movement was strong in play," I answered, "Your armor was still in its early stages, but you wanted folks to know you were a woman and African American. Your autobiography also stated you had grown up listening to your father, a man you admired, getting called 'Boy' by people half his age. You decided you'd take a title that would include an element of respect."

 

"You read my autobiography?" She was surprised and perhaps a bit pleased.

 

"I like history," I started to explain, "You know, the stories from way back when are so rich and complex. I mean, supers in those days were the real pioneers and they were so often zeitgeists for their times. I..." It took me a moment to realize my mouth had run off, leaving some filter in my brain to chase after screaming 'wait, stop... it needs a rewrite'.

 

A slim brow rose on her still lovely face, "History...way back when? My time... mmmmm. Do go on."

 

I am not a complete idiot. My brain finally tackled my mouth to the ground, and it sank into me how what I said might have been taken. Finally, I managed, "I'm really not sure I should. Go on that is."

 

"How's that size 12 tasting, Fish Guy?" Pinprick stage whispered.

 

"Size ten actually," I shrugged.

 

"Well aren't we petite?" the six inch archer smirked.

 

A smile crawled across Dr. Vernon's face , perhaps in spite of herself, "Leave him alone, Pinprick. We need a little enthusiasm on this team. Poise? Poise will come later, won't it young man?"

 

"Yes, ma'am," I assured her, "Lots of poise."

 

"That said, you might want to get some tips from our public relations specialist before you start talking to the press," She advised leading me further on, "Especially if we have you being our spokesman to any unruly Atlanteans..."

 

I winced.

 

Pinprick coughed and then spoke up, "Boss? About that Atlantis thing...." and then he filled her in. Within moments, she was told that not only was I not Atlantean in any way, shape, or form, I had not even believed it was real until now and if they had taken me in because of that, well, they were in for a world of disappointment.

 

"Well," the older woman frowned, "I guess that's the problem with assumptions. It makes an ass out of you and me."

 

"I'm sorry," I explained, "I had no idea this was such a common expectation... I'm hoping you're not going to kick me out right away, I have stuff being mailed here as we speak and a hotel for a week that I can't cancel..."

 

She held up a hand, "Young man, don't be silly. You are welcome here, if you've got the stuff and you're willing to do the work, and the fault of this misunderstanding is more ours than yours. If you can do right by our rules and look out for us, we'll look out for you. You may not be the Fish Guy we expected, but you are the Fish Guy on our team, and the New Samaritans look after their own."

 

Relief filled me, "Thank you so much, I mean it I.." Another thought occurred, "But it's Eel, not Fish Guy?" With Pinprick I was more firm, maybe even snappy, but with an icon like her? I think I came across as more pleading, or maybe even wheedling.

 

"I'll try to remember that, though you know us relics... so forgetful," A quirk of her lip "Follow me, there are other team mates who will want to meet you."

 

I hung my head and followed. Oh yeah, this Fish Guy bit was not going away anywhere near soon enough.


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“I've looked at the world for quite a few years now and I've found that if I don't laugh, I'll probably end up crying."
- Prince Kheldar of Drasnia aka Silk

 

Meet the People of Campaign City

 

The Adventures of "Fish Guy"


#7 BoloOfEarth

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Posted 03 April 2017 - 01:06 PM

Great stuff.  Keep it coming. 

 

I love the characterizations.  (I'm definitely a character-driven guy - I'll forgive plot holes of many sizes if I really like the characters involved.)  Each has his/her own personality without being overly quirky and two-dimensional.

 

The dialogue doesn't sound stilted or forced.  Nice descriptions that don't go on and on and on.  Overall, well written.  (Not that I expected anything else from you, Herm.)

 

And Fish Guy ain't so bad.  At least the team isn't calling him the Water Boy.  :winkgrin:


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#8 Starlord

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Posted 03 April 2017 - 01:12 PM

Or Mermaid Man.  Or Barnacle Boy.  :)


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#9 aylwin13

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Posted 03 April 2017 - 02:43 PM

Great stuff, oh reclusive one. :hail:

 

I would buy this book.


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#10 Tom

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Posted 03 April 2017 - 06:54 PM

You're reminding me I need to try and write more often (and I kind of, sorta, had something half in mind regarding a certain Fish Guy who was Atlantean on his Mother's side)...


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#11 Hermit

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Posted 03 April 2017 - 08:26 PM

Great stuff.  Keep it coming. 

 

I love the characterizations.  (I'm definitely a character-driven guy - I'll forgive plot holes of many sizes if I really like the characters involved.)  Each has his/her own personality without being overly quirky and two-dimensional.

 

The dialogue doesn't sound stilted or forced.  Nice descriptions that don't go on and on and on.  Overall, well written.  (Not that I expected anything else from you, Herm.)

 

And Fish Guy ain't so bad.  At least the team isn't calling him the Water Boy.  :winkgrin:

 

"One day I shall be a Water MAN...." :) 

And thanks, I too am a Character First kind of guy, probably why I have trouble wrapping up my plots :o

 

 

Or Mermaid Man.  Or Barnacle Boy.  :)

 

Okay, if I ever make a follow up perhaps I should put Barnacle Boy in the title of that one *G*

 

 

Great stuff, oh reclusive one. :hail:

 

I would buy this book.

 

That is what i need to hear for my ego.

Of course, I might owe you money back if I didn't at least edit it. I see a lot of flaws... but my goal right now is moving forward instead of fixing.

 

You're reminding me I need to try and write more often (and I kind of, sorta, had something half in mind regarding a certain Fish Guy who was Atlantean on his Mother's side)...

 

Ah shucks. :) As you know from Joe, I'm fond of aquatic supers. (Never could get sub Mariner though...feet wings are weird!)


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#12 Lawnmower Boy

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Posted 04 April 2017 - 08:13 AM

"One day I shall be a Water MAN...." :)

And thanks, I too am a Character First kind of guy, probably why I have trouble wrapping up my plots :o

 

 

 

. (Never could get sub Mariner though...feet wings are weird!)

 

No, you're weird.

 

Keep up everything except the part where you're wrong about the Avenging Son.


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#13 Hermit

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Posted 04 April 2017 - 11:11 AM

And Lo, my anti-feetwing bigotry crushed any chances of my works ever becoming a best seller! Meh, we carry on.

 

 As I followed Doctor Vernon further along the mall turned base, I admit it. I rubbernecked something fiercely. You have to understand, to those of us new to the whole team set up, bases are a rare thing. Oh sure, we have homes, and maybe we squat in deserted buildings, but unless you're independently wealthy or have powers that allow you to whip something up - most of them are dumps. It's easy to turn some hole in the ground into your Hero Cave if you're a billionaire, or sculpt a fortress out of ice if you have fire eye powers and the ability to lift mountains. 

 

But for most solo heroes? A classy, well furnished lair is a pipe dream.

 

Teams are another matter, teams increase the odds you've got at least one member with a major piggy bank, or someone with enough technical knowhow or mystic might that they can just whip some place up for you all to crash at. Usually a mix of resources: The Tech guy (or gal) gets funding from Captain Moneybags and the others use super strength or speed or what not to save on labor costs. Most unions let it slide. Superheroes stay out of the construction business and we can make our own bases. It's all good.

 

So yeah, I was constantly looking to my left and right at the various once shops now being used as medbays, workshops, laboratories, and more.  Heck, they had an entire area for costume creation, design and repair! 

 

"Do you guys even need this much room?" I had to ask.

 

"Not really," Vivian admitted, "But I have some robots that help with the cleaning, and once we turned some of the rooms on the top area residential that took up some space."

 

"Whoa," I was surprised, "You guys live here?"

 

"For most of us they're backup rooms; after a long day of patrolling and a superbattle, some folks just want to hit pillow and so we arrange for them here when that comes up. A few of us," She paused, nodding to Pinprick who I had forgotten was there (Sorry, did I mention he was very small?) "have more trouble fitting in and their room here is a place they don't get harassed by the public."

 

"Appreciate it, Viv," Pinprick said without breaking stride, "It's a nice set up."

 

"Well, that's great!" I beamed, "I mean, do you have any idea how much I'll save in rent?"

 

The older woman frowned, just a little, but I noticed it.

 

"It's not great?" I paused.

 

"Young man, you are welcome here, and that includes a place to stay if you need it, but..." Her frown remained, "I've seen what happens to superheroes who never interact with the people they save. Its like what happens to some police men who only get out of their car to deal with a crime. If all you see is Humanity at its worse, then soon you start to think the worst of humanity. If you only see ordinary people as victims, soon you start to think of them as weak, or worse, sheep. You start rationalizing that you know what's best... and that can get dangerous. Not just to them, but to you. It blinds the spirit to how we're all in this together. Am I making sense?"

 

Yeah, she was making sense. Further more, she said it with such quiet dignity and resolve, some part of me felt like I should be writing this stuff down, preferably on stone tablets so I could carry it to the other rookies in the world, "Yes, Ma'am, and... thanks."

 

"It's just advice, it's cheap to give, hard to live, isn't that the way?" She motioned, "Set up a room here, then that'll buy you time to get the best apartment or house for you outside. Save up a little cash and all that. Come on."

 

We came to the area that must have once been the food court, and two figures came into view. 

 

One of them was a latino gent with a kind of swashbucker flare to him, one of those masks that tied in the back? He wasn't really my focus, I'm embarrassed to say.

 

Remember what I said about how not every superhero guy has the physique of a body builder? And not every superheroine is a runway model?  Well, that's true, but I will say that , on the typical 'visually pleasant' scale, more superheroines are in the upper reaches than is normal. Of course, tastes vary, and I honestly believe that every woman has something beautiful about her. Heck, the first girl I dated had a smile that lit up a room and she seemed completely unaware of it.

 

But the young lady we were approaching seemed to have blended the best elements of swimsuit model and dancer. Yes, she was stacked. I'm sorry, but she had that classic hour glass look that many of the XY type are drawn to. She was toned as well, and it showed off in strong shapely legs. She had eyes behind her own strip of a mask that were so light brown they appeared almost amber hued, and she wore an outfit of silver and off white that resembled a tasteful but form fitting one piece swim suit. Her costume had both boots and gloves of similar color. I suppose it should go without saying, but the boots were flat. If you see a superheroine with high heels, she's either really new to the game, or has some non walking power like flight or teleportation. Her medium length hair was brown with white streaks skillfully applied.

 

She turned those amber eyes on me ,and I could tell right away....

she really wished I would just go away. In fact, she looked at me with resentment, "So," She said coolly, "You're the Fish Guy."

 

I cast a look at Pinprick, but he shrugged, "Hey, don't look at me. She came up with that on her own."


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- Prince Kheldar of Drasnia aka Silk

 

Meet the People of Campaign City

 

The Adventures of "Fish Guy"


#14 BoloOfEarth

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Posted 04 April 2017 - 01:40 PM

I should have mentioned before, but I thought it was a great idea turning an old, unused shopping mall into a hero base.  I'm ashamed to admit the idea never occurred to me.  I'll have to unashamedly steal borrow that for an NPC team in my Champions campaign.

 

Might I suggest them keeping a wing of the mall as-is, for use in training?  Racks of clothing and other merchandise to use as cover or makeshift weapons, borrow the robots to act as innocent bystanders, etc.  Just an idea.


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#15 pinecone

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Posted 04 April 2017 - 03:50 PM

This is really nice stuff. :bounce:  I hope to see more of the adventures of Fish Guy, and his amazing friends! :winkgrin:


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#16 Pattern Ghost

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Posted 04 April 2017 - 05:12 PM

Lots of good stuff here, Hermit. Keep 'em coming.


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#17 Hermit

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Posted 04 April 2017 - 10:09 PM

I should have mentioned before, but I thought it was a great idea turning an old, unused shopping mall into a hero base.  I'm ashamed to admit the idea never occurred to me.  I'll have to unashamedly steal borrow that for an NPC team in my Champions campaign.

 

Might I suggest them keeping a wing of the mall as-is, for use in training?  Racks of clothing and other merchandise to use as cover or makeshift weapons, borrow the robots to act as innocent bystanders, etc.  Just an idea.

Please, feel free. I'm ashamed to say I have used Malls as bases partially because it saves so much time on floor plans for your base. :)

 

And I was thinking of something like your suggestion for one of the big stores... "There's more for your LIFE at Sears" -Tim Allen

 

This is really nice stuff. :bounce:  I hope to see more of the adventures of Fish Guy, and his amazing friends! :winkgrin:

 

Heh. "Amazing Friends" ..man, would that set Pinprick off.

 

Lots of good stuff here, Hermit. Keep 'em coming.

I will. Though eventually I'm going to hit one of those "I got a paragraph out. Done for today." :)


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“I've looked at the world for quite a few years now and I've found that if I don't laugh, I'll probably end up crying."
- Prince Kheldar of Drasnia aka Silk

 

Meet the People of Campaign City

 

The Adventures of "Fish Guy"


#18 pinecone

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Posted 05 April 2017 - 01:09 AM

A few "small" objections? Not to worry..... :winkgrin:


"Remember, with super power, comes super responsability" The mighty Strobe

#19 Hermit

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Posted 05 April 2017 - 08:04 AM

The very rough drafts put on here as it comes to my mind continues. Typos inevitable...vlonks will reign and rain...if you can continue to endure that, enjoy. :)

 

"Arctic Fox, Tornado," Dr. Vernon made introductions smoothly, perhaps trying to move things along from the resentful glare and cool tone I was receiving from the aptly named Arctic Fox, "This is Eel, our newest member," Arctic Fox sniffed a little at that, but the older heroine either didn't notice or acted like it and continued on, "Eel, this is Arctic Fox and Tornado." 

 

She pronounced Tornado in the Spanish way of "Tor NAH do" and I took in a better look at the fellow. There really was something familiar about his dark blue costume. with black touches. The mask covered the eyes and top part of his head and tied in the back leaving strands that dangled jauntily. The costume had a slightly open chest but with crosswork which reminded me of a pirate.... no, not a pirate exactly. Something else. Then I realized who he would look like, albeit in the wrong color, if he just had a hat and cloak.

 

"Tornado?" I said stressing the syllables as she had, "Like's Zorro's horse!" 

 

About two seconds after I said that, I regretted it. Had I just compared a new team mate to a horse? Oh geez.

 

To my surprise, Tornado's eyes lit right up, and he offered me his hand with a huge smile, "Hey, man, you're the first one to get it right first try! Yeah, I mean my power is flight and superspeed, I mix it with a little marital arts so I like to boast I move and hit like a human tornado.. I couldn't take Zorro, trademark stuff, and truthfully it didn't fit my powers, but you better believe I wanted to pay respect in my way to one of the first Latino Masked Adventurers in fiction."

 

Pinprick sighed, "Here we go."

 

Vivian smiled.

 

Arctic Fox hadn't lost her, dare I say it, frosty demeanor. 

 

I shook Tornado's hand warmly, he had a good grip, and there was nothing adversarial in it, "I know right? I mean, I've actually got the old TV series in its original black and white, the trade comic books, and of course the movies..."

 

"Man," He grinned as the handshake ended, "I got a Zorro movie that was never released to the public. Saved a studio and we can't take money, but when the guy found out I was a fan...."

 

I felt a sting of genuine geeky envy, "You're kidding right? You lucky dog. Is it any good?"

 

His smile widened, "Oh god man, it's terrible, I've seen Middle School productions with better acting but who cares right? It's a Zorro movie!"

 

"I hear you," I laughed, "Maybe sometime I could..."

 

"Sure, these clowns don't appreciate fine theater," Tornado lamented.

 

Arctic Fox sniffed, "Tornado, we just met Fish Guy. Don't you think it's a bit soon to arrange a date at the movies?"

 

"Hey," He shot A.F. a look, "Don't give the guy wrong ideas about me," And he turned back, "Though, if you're into fellows and feel I led you on, I have a cousin ....his mother doesn't know so you'd have to be discreet."

 

I tried not to choke, "Ah, no. I'm into women, I mean... I like women. Sometimes I wish they liked me more back..." 

 

Pinprick barked a laugh.  Lady Obsidian kept her amusement carefully confined to her eyes. Tornado chuckled, "I get you, man. Shame though. Diversity is  easy points with the public now a days."

 

"We've got a black woman leading us, a Latino guy, and me- a person who makes Peter Dinklage look huge, how much 'Diversity' does one team need?" Pinprick snorted.

 

"Don't forget," Arctic Fox added, perhaps to cut off Tornado who looked like had some opinions he'd be happy to debate with Pinprick, "We also now have an Atlantean American," She tried to make it a joke, but that cool dislike of me still slipped out. What had I done to piss this woman off?

 

"Actually, I'm not connected to Atlantis or any other Under Sea Kingdom in any way, shape or form," I said, and it felt like I'd been saying it a lot, so I info-dumped fast, "I don't 'talk to fish', telepathically or otherwise, and I wouldn't know an Atlantean from Shriner if it wasn't for the funny hats."

 

Arctic Fox's eyes shifted from that resentful look my way to something more positive, like she'd actually received good news, "Wait, he's not? Let me call Je....Valorous.  I'm sure he's still hoping to join on," She smiled, and darn it, it did light up the room, then she turned to me as if much was forgiven, "Thanks for dropping by, sorry it didn't work out."

 

"Fox," Dr. Vernon said in a soft tone.

 

"Didn't work out?" I replied startled at the gear shifts going on here.

 

She continued on, "Well the only reason we needed a Fish Guy was in case of Atlantis , it's complicated, but you aren't tied to it in anyway by your own admision, well, you understand you aren't what we're looking fo..."

 

"Young lady," Dr. Vernon said in a tone that one honed in certain jobs in education, or perhaps as a mother. That 'yank you up short by your waistband if I have to' voice of authority? You know the one.

 

Arctic Fox was not immune to it any more than I was,  "What?" She asked the woman, "The Fish Guy's a flop."

 

"Hey," Escaped my mouth before I could filter.

 

"Arctic Fox," There was a touch more snap into the voice this time, as Dr. Vernon went on, "You are being rude to a team mate. Eel is staying. An offer was made and accepted. The man has super strength, high durability, and can breathe under water. All very useful. He's also got a good record, and a recommendation from the Coast Guard. He stays."

 

"He swims? Big deal, Valorous is superstrong, nigh invulnerable, and he flies!" Arctic Fox said, "I don't know why you don't like him, and insist on shutting him out. He's a good man and a true hero, and..."

 

PInprick is hard to read. Facial expressions on a visage smaller than a quarter can be difficult to make out. Yet I swore I saw a scowl forming on his face, and I realized he was about to say something rude. Possibly in my defense, certainly in Dr. Vernon's defense.

 

So I'm not sure why I cut him off with a question of, "Anyone mind telling me who the hell this Valorous guy is?" I didn't add that solo adjectives for names had always struck me as kind of lame. Okay, you want to be Captain Fantastic fine. But just "i'm Fantastic!" by itself? It smacks of desperation really, either that or an ego the size of a glacier. Of course, some superheroes get their handles from the Press, so maybe it wasn't Valorous' fault he sounded like a battle ship.

 

"He's one of the independents  I was telling you about, Fish Guy," Pinprick reminded, "He's square jawed, boy scout do gooding type, pulls kittens from trees. Me? I just shrink the tree and laugh as the cat freaks out. He's also her boyfriend," The little man jerked a thumb at Arctic Fox.

 

I had been putting that together on my own, but it was nice to have it all click together with an extra push. I gave a look over at Arctic Fox, who was fighting very hard not to blush. Her neck had lifted in that way some women get when they are trying command their face not to change color. I may speak before I think sometimes, but I do notice things when I try.

 

"That's not why I want him on the team," She said calmly. The others did not look convinced, but she went on, "And I'm really confused why we are settling here."

 

I huffed a bit at that. Sorry, only human, and for some reason the shots being taken here were bothering me a lot more than the 'Fish Guy' comments Pinprick gave.

 

"Fox," Dr. Vernon said, "You are a good hearted young woman, so when it sinks into you exactly how rude you're being to this nice young man, don't come crying to..."

 

Whatever proverbial hammer the team Veteran was about to bring down was interrupted by a sudden ringing sound that reverberated through the base.

 

"What the hell was that?" I asked.

 

"That, my new fishy friend," Tornado answered, "was the trouble alert!" He took a rather dramatic step forward as he said this.

 

"Stop calling it that," Pinprick and Arctic Fox told Tornado in unison.

 

"Everyone grab your gear," Dr. Vernon said,  "If you don't already have it. Looks like Eel is getting some on the spot training in super teams," She strode in a direction, I assumed to get her armor on, "And Tornado? Stop it calling it the trouble alert."

 

"No one appreciates the classics," Tornado lamented.


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“I've looked at the world for quite a few years now and I've found that if I don't laugh, I'll probably end up crying."
- Prince Kheldar of Drasnia aka Silk

 

Meet the People of Campaign City

 

The Adventures of "Fish Guy"


#20 Lawnmower Boy

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Posted 05 April 2017 - 08:58 AM

 

"Everyone grab your gear," Dr. Vernon said,  "If you don't already have it. Looks like Eel is getting some on the spot training in super teams," She strode in a direction, I assumed to get her armor on, "And Tornado? Stop it calling in the trouble alert."

 

 

 

Supermarket refrigeration systems are, these days, linked to a centralised alert system so that if a bank of ice cream freezers, or what have you, fail, an alarm goes off in the backroom, and in the case of our company's system, an alert light starts flashing.

 

All fine so far, but those refrigeration systems are complicated, with lots of failure points, including sensors and low-gas alerts that aren't critical enough to cause temperature failures; and the whole system comes under heavy stress during heat waves and cold snaps. Not only does everything fail at once, but the contractor has to triage problems. Sensors aren't going to be fixed, nor compressors topped up, before the melting ice cream is saved across town. If a sensor triggers every defrost cycle, that's an even lower priority. The repair guy can get it next time he's in for something important.

 

So, uhm, anyway, the flasher can be going constantly for weeks on end. It's the "Everything's Fine Alarm."


Feh. Logic is overrated gibberish.






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