So I’m submitting a short story

It’s a story about a man who fails his family, but his family doesn’t fail him. It is for Silly Tree Anthologies which can be found here. The theme is:

 “As one year closes and another begins, you realize that some things need to be left in the past for the next year to truly be new.”

1500 to 3000 words. New authors welcome.

Not much in the way of compensation, but I’m doing it to be published (hopefully).

If any are interested, follow the link and happy writing!

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Federal Bureau of Superhuman Affairs: Power Profile #006-Ice Diamond

Beatrix Kalte aka Ice Diamond

Gender: Female

Power Classification: Machinist/Enhanced

Sub-Category: Elemental Gadgeteer

Power Level: C-Class

Location: Operates in the Midwest. Currently at-large.

Affiliations: Solo Operator

Powers: Various devices that allow for the creation of various cold-related phenomenon. Her main weapon is her “Ice Gun”.

Synopsis:

Ice Diamond (hereafter referred to as I.D.) is a 30-year-old former weapons researcher for BranTech Industries. Her area of expertise lay in using cold-based phenomena as a means to shape and control future battlefields. On her 26th birthday, her family surprised her in her lab. It is unclear exactly what happened, but footage shows that her youngest son, Jakob, went unsupervised long enough to mix some volatile chemicals.

Ten people died in the ensuing explosion, and I.D. fell into a coma. She awoke two months later with a marked shift in personality and physiology. The chemicals leached all pigment from her skin and left her with enhanced strength. When informed of her family’s and co-worker’s demise, she went on a rampage in the hospital, injuring several doctors, nurses and security before making her escape.

She appeared five months later with her current nom de guerre in an attack on a BranTech research facility. She attacked at night, as her skin is now pained by sunlight, and murdered whomever she found, mostly security and janitorial services. After that attack, she fashioned a suit that would protect her from the sun’s harmful effect.

I.D. directed her next attack BranTech corporate headquarters, located in Chicago. She was foiled in her attempt by the hero, Boost (see Power Profile: Boost). During her trial I.D. was found mentally incompetent and was sentenced to The Ravenswood Institution for the Criminally Insane, the maximum security mental institution for powereds.

I.D. recently escaped and her whereabouts are unknown. It is believed she is heading back to Chicago for a second attempt on BranTech Industries or a confrontation with Boost. Possibly both.

Relationships: Johann Kalte-husband (deceased), Katrina Kalte-daughter (deceased), Jakob Kalte-son (deceased), Karl Astor-father (not believed to be in contact), Hilda Astor-mother (not believed to be in contact)

Threat Level: Orange

I.D. is an active threat targeting research and industry vital to our military infrastructure. Her strength is formidable, but it is her engineering genius that serves as the biggest threat. All due caution should be exercised when trying to apprehend her. Powered backup is advised when possible.

The Perils of Piracy

“Mayday! Mayday! This is Captain Megan Hurley of the trade-ship Horizon Chaser. Pirates are attacking my vessel. Any Stellar Navy vessels, please respond!” 

Erin hit the starboard thrusters and the ship jolted as the inertial dampers struggled to keep up with her maneuvering. A beam of azure coherent light flit briefly through the view screen.

“Sammy, broadcast that distress call on a continuous loop,” Captain Hurley told the navigator. “Not that it’ll do us a damn bit of good.”

Beads of sweat dripped down Erin’s face. She had kept the pirates at a distance for a good twenty minutes now, but they steadily crept closer into point-blank range. Soon she wouldn’t be able to dodge the laser blasts aimed at their engines.

She was good, but nobody was that good.

A voice crackled over the comm. “Trade vessel, this is the free-ship Nebula Shark. Stop maneuvers, disengage engines and weapons, and prepare to be boarded. This doesn’t have to be…nasty.”

Captain Hurley swore at the name Nebula Shark. Erin looked at her. “What should I do, Captain?”

Hurley rubbed her face in frustration and moaned. “Better do what they say. We can’t outrun them, and if they cripple us, we’re dead. I just wish it wasn’t these guys.”

Erin felt confused. “What does it matter who is robbing us?”

“I’ve heard about these guys. They take cargo and any women they find. The lucky women are sold into slavery. The unlucky ones they…use. There are twenty crew on this ship, all women. They probably have a minimum of fifty. Understand?”

Erin’s face paled, but she complied with her Captain’s orders.

Hurley opened up the ship’s channel. “Attention, crew, this is the Captain. We are about to be boarded by hostile forces. I want all personnel not on duty to lock themselves in their bunks. I’m going to try to negotiate the situation to where they only take the cargo. Hurley out.”

Erin swiveled her pilot’s chair. “Captain, how many EVA suits do we have?”

“One per crewperson,” Hurley answered without thinking. “Why?”

“I have an idea, but I’ll need MA Gillian. And everyone needs to be armed.”

Captain Hurley listened and a predatory grin grew.

***

Five women floated through the distance between the two ships, an occasional burst from a thruster pack the only sign of their passing. They were too small to show up on the enemy’s sensors as anything other than minor space debris.

Erin followed Gillian’s lead. Two of Gillian’s best students and the first shift engineer floated along with them. Erin could see the docking tube extend from the Nebula Shark and connect with her ship.

One of the women, Alice, broke off and thrustered underneath the tube. She attached a cylindrical device to the tube and made haste back to the group.

Erin could see the aft airlock loom nearby. Gillian reached it and motioned for the engineer, Hayley. Hayley pulled out her torch and cut through the lock, opening the Nebula Shark up to them. Gillian climbed inside the lock and readied her rifle that she kept from her days as a Stellar Ranger. Alice and Kendra readied plasma rifles, while Erin and Hayley gripped their pistols.

The women burst through the door into the corridor. A pirate gaped in surprise until Gillian stroked her trigger. Surprise turned to confusion then blankness.

Alice and Kendra took the lead and headed aft toward engineering, Gillian and Erin covering the rear. Twice more shots echoed and pirates died.

The quintet reached engineering. Several men sat around a table playing cards. The stakes were who would get the first turn with their new plaything. Alice and Kendra settled the bet and their charred bodies smoked in the sanitized air.

Hayley moved around engineering, pressing some buttons and disconnecting systems, while the other four women watched. Erin found herself glad for her EVA helmet. The sight of the bodies sickened her. If she had to smell them, she thought she would lose it.

The ship’s alarm triggered just as Hayley gave the “all done” signal. Gillian activated her comm and said one word. “Now.”

An explosion rocked the Nebula Shark as Alice activated the bomb on the docking tube. Captain Hurley and the other women on the ship would be exiting their bunks and taking the fight to the boarding party.

“Contact!” Gillian yelled. She sighted and unleashed her full fury down the hallway. Alice and Kendra joined her at the entrance and added their fire to hers.

“Get to the airlock,” Gillian ordered.

She suited action to words and moved as she fired. Erin and Hayley crouched and followed behind Alice and Kendra.

Most of the pirates hadn’t expected any resistance and weren’t mentally prepared for the ferocity they faced. More and more of them retreated as they watched their fellows fall.

The five crew-mates made the airlock. Hayley went out first, propelling herself back to Horizon Chaser. Erin started to exit when she heard a scream. She whipped around to see Kendra on the ground, a blade in her back. A pirate playing possum had waited until their backs were to him.

He dove for Kendra’s rifle and Erin’s finger reflexively tightened. Her plasma blast caught him in the skull, making his death real.

She paled as nausea surged through her. Gillian grabbed her shoulder and pulled her out of her stupor. “MOVE!” Gillian shouted at her.

Erin jumped out of the airlock.

***

“Three casualties,” Captain Hurley said at the debriefing. “Ten captives and salvage claim on the Nebula Shark.

Erin sat quiet as the Captain spoke. Kendra’s face vied with the man Erin had killed for a place in her mind.

Gillian noticed Erin’s face and chucked her under the chin. “You did good, kid. You did good. Meet me later for a good drink.”

Erin nodded as her eyes moistened.

“Only fools believe tears are for the weak,” Gillian said.

Erin let them fall.

The Feds Send A Visitor

Hey all. This is Stephanie aka Lady Aether (my brand-spanking new super-name. Like it?). Douzeper is taking his shower before we head over to Torrie’s apartment and has no idea I’m doing this. So, sssshhhhh!

I have to tell you, he is really taking Torrie’s death pretty hard. If he wasn’t friends with Stargazer, I don’t know if I’d want to be around him in this mood.

To tell the truth, I’m kind of wondering what I’m doing here anyway. I’ve never been in a powered battle before today and Douzeper is out for blood. I’m thinking I should have stayed at school and maybe done some research at most.

Oh, well. I’m here now and might as well make the best of it, even if he does act like a jackhole (seriously, this swear replacement thing kills me-in a good way). I think I might ask Stargazer if she can make me one of these.

So we have a missing girl, Lisa, the most powerful magic-user in the world foisting the case on a low-power Empowered, necromantic magic, and a flying bully with delusions of relevance and a team of sycophants. I am so making Douzeper buy me dinner for helping.

sound identified as knocking

Who in the world could that be? Maybe it’s the guy who owns this place and he and I can have a discussion about washing…everything in this room.

Oh, smurf.

“DOUZEPER!”

Douzeper: “What?”

“You need to get out here! Like now!”

Douzeper: “I only have a towel on!”

“I don’t care, and I don’t think our visitor cares either!”

Douzeper: “Fine.”…”What are you doing?”

“What?”

Douzeper: “Why do you have my glasses and communicator on? Are you-are you on my blog?”

“Never mind that! Boost is outside!”

Douzeper: “Boost?”

“Pick your jaw off the floor and answer the door! And quit glaring at me like that!”

Douzeper: inaudible whisper “You and I are going to have a discussion about personal property, young woman.”

“Whatever. You’re like five minutes older than me.”

Douzeper: “Gimme that!”

Better. sound identified as door opening

“So, Boost is it? What can I do for you?”

Boost: “The local FBSA office called me. Are you two the ones that took part in a skirmish at Abbott Park earlier this evening.”

“Um. No?”

“Wow. You even roll your eyes at super-speed, huh? Okay, yes. Why?”

Boost: “Care to explain what happened?”

“Sure. Aeromancer got all butt-hurt over the fact he couldn’t beat a confession out of me for something I didn’t do and decided on some payback.”

Boost: “Is that the whole reason?”

“I might have beat the snot out of him for his presumption and threatened to kill him if he didn’t retire. It was really quite minor.”

Boost: sound identified as a sigh “I need the two of you to come with me to the FBSA and file a report. The Preservers aren’t quite able to talk just yet.”

“May I get dressed first?”

Boost: “Please do.”

“Well, come on in. It isn’t much, but a least it’s filthy…I mean free.”

Boost: “I have to admit. I’m a bit surprised. Most people try to fight their way out.”

“You could punch me two hundred times before I could say “Ow!”, plus we were defending ourselves, so there’s really no reason to fight. Be right back out.”

Oh my Utu! I am so fan-boying out right now. Imagine a 5’9 athletic Latina, her silky black hair flowing out of her half-mask, brown eyes you can drown in, and a skin-tight blue and white outfit.

I love Jules, but Boost has been a secret crush of mine for years. Of course, even if she weren’t married or gay, she would be so far out of my league I might as well be a T-Ball player trying to hit a Major League 95-mph fastball.

sound identified as knocking

Boost: “Not that I don’t appreciate the sentiment, but could you hurry up a bit? I’d like to tuck my daughter in tonight. And who are you talking to?”

Oh…flit. Remind me to beat myself into unconsciousness later. Preferably over my open grave so I can be buried right away.

Until next time,

Douzeper

Federal Bureau of Superhuman Affairs: Power Profile #005-Boost

Tara Jean (TJ) Acevedo-Torres aka Boost

Gender:  Female

Power Classification: Innate

Sub-category: Speedster

Power Level: B-Class

Location: Chicago, Illinois

Affiliations: The Keepers of the Gateway (affiliate membership), Equality NOW

Powers: Super-speed. Boost has been clocked at speeds of up to 500 m.p.h.

Synopsis:

An 24-year-old Innate, Boost is one of the rare true speedsters in the world (speedster being defined as self-propelled movement of 250 m.p.h. or greater). She originally comes from Los Angeles, but her family moved to Chicago when Boost turned 12. Her powers manifested at age 14 during a robbery of a store she was shopping in.

Boost’s parents immediately enrolled her in the Academy, where she joined with the TeenTeam (see Power Profile: TeenTeam). She served with that team for three years and graduated from the Academy with Honors. She moved back to Chicago, where she acts as a solo hero.

With her speed she also serves with The Keepers of the Gateway (see Power Profile: K.O.G.), based out of St. Louis, as an affiliate member.

Boost also actively works with Equality NOW, an non-profit organization that deals with a variety of civil rights issues, but focuses mainly on LGBT issues.

Boost has made many contacts in her 10 years as a hero and is a respected member of the Powered community.

Relationships: Maria Acevedo-Wife, Reyna Acevedo-Daughter, Professor Quark-Leader of K.O.G., Rockslide-Member of K.O.G., FastTrack-Member of K.O.G., StormCell-Member of K.O.G., Flora-Member of K.O.G., Fauna-Member of K.O.G., numerous contacts with various heroes (see various Power Profiles for more analysis).

Threat Level: Yellow

Boost’s speed makes her a tactical planning nightmare. Her reflexes, heightened to a level able to deal with super-speed, make her almost impossible to hit. Her speed makes her almost impossible to defend against. Add in her activism and her contacts in the powered community, and her potential to cause trouble for the government is high.