Gunther glanced back to the field, and then turned back toward everyone watching him. “But here’s one of the major things you need to get out of this. Fairness is completely irrelevant. This is combat. Fairness is for games. The whole situation is unfair from the beginning. You’re all a bunch of heroes in training. Chances are, you’re not trying to kill them, but they are trying to kill you. Sure, some of them won’t be. Many, even. No matter how many jewelry stores a guy breaks into, he may still have a set of morals that means he won’t kill, but you know what? That doesn’t matter.”

Despite his topic, Gunther managed to sound slightly amused.


Calvin flew toward us in the air in a leap that had to be getting extra force from the wind behind him, and he wasn’t alone.

Cindy and Paula jumped after him.

It didn’t work out as well as any of them would have expected.

A beam of iridescent light hit Calvin in the air, surrounding him with sparkles that kept on glowing as he flew toward us.


Gunther continued, “The paintbot rounds stand in for the suit’s lasers, and for the explosive rounds which take out most people. Non-lethal rounds are perfectly allowable for this fight, Rocket. Captain Commando, your gun counts as a laser for this. Paint them with light, and you’ll take them out. The sword works too, but don’t turn it on.”

Gunther took in the group of us standing together. “Here’s how this will work: each group fights until there’s a clear winner between the two of you. You’ll need to think about how to do that, but I’m not going to give you time to talk about it.” (more…)

Several people stood up. None of them looked as impressive as the elite Cabal soldiers we’d fought–the reserves. Nearly immortal, constantly regenerating, they were incredibly strong and extremely tough as well.

Fighting people you could barely hurt who also regenerated had always seemed particularly unfair to me.

The Cabal had other soldiers too. They weren’t as tough, but they had a wider variety of powers. Maybe I was seeing their descendants?

Gunther looked them over, and said, “Any of you who can’t lift more than 20 tons, please sit down.”

None of them sat down. (more…)

I glanced up at the red, rocky cliff to my left, thinking about how I’d have to run into the parking garage to get to the truck, and walk back.

It wouldn’t be too bad once I got the Rocket suit, but, it looked like a long walk from here.

Turning back to Gunther, I said, “You realize that we’re tired, right? Dr. Nation’s program is all about unpredictably stressing us to the breaking point, and maybe a little past it.”

Gunther nodded. “I’m counting on it. That means you won’t be able to fight for long, and you’ll have to quick, efficient takedowns of anyone you fight.”

“Takedowns? Who are we fighting?”

Gunther grinned, revealing white teeth. “The toughest people in the first year class–at least on paper.”


Here we go. You know how I’ve been talking about the Kickstarter, and how it would be up on Wednesday. Well, it’s Wednesday. Now I’ll grant you that I’ve been trying to finish this thing since May, and so you might not have been expecting to see it after all this time.

Nonetheless, the moment has arrived. I’ve finally gotten so sick of editing the video that I’ve put up the Kickstarter anyway. Seriously. That’s what’s been holding this up. This is version number four. It’s still got noticeable problems, but there’s a time where you ignore the problems and take a step forward.

This is mine.

Oh… One more thing. According to Kickstarter, 90% of a project’s donations come from people already connected to the project owner.

That’d be you. You, and my friends and family anyway. So, no pressure, but, if you feel maybe a little pressure, well, that would help. The Kickstarter will go on for a month, ending on November 14, 2014.

This is the link if you want to click through or even promote it (please do):

For those of you who are more impatient, you can watch the video right here on my own site:

On Saturday morning, we gathered at the compound’s athletic fields. They had two football/soccer fields with tracks running around them. The first year students gathered in the middle of one and the second, third, and fourth years gathered in the other.

The first years seemed to take up most of the middle of their field, but that wasn’t really true. It wasn’t just them. Adults in costume (both superhero and medical scrubs) were scattered throughout the crowd.

I recognized what they were doing from last year—entry assessment. The program was getting a baseline of their abilities. They’d set up a walled room on one end of the field. I wasn’t sure of the material, but from here it looked like stone.

I didn’t know what kind of powers they had to work with, but an awful lot of powers had the potential to kill if they weren’t contained.



“No kidding?” I shook my head. “Well, I guess we heard her telling him that he needed to get to know well known supers. We’d probably qualify for that even if we hadn’t done much of anything ourselves.”

She glanced toward where I assumed that they were. It was too dark for me to tell at that point.

Haley frowned. “I get it. I heard her too, but isn’t it messed up? People are worth more than how useful they are to you.” (more…)


Haley said, “No.” Then she stood up to pick up her shoes from where they had fallen. She’d obviously been in a hurry. One lay next to the bench. The other hung from a bush about two feet away from the bench.

Her ears looked a little red around the edges.

Well, at least they hadn’t caught us in the middle of anything.

Diva’s smile hinted that she likely understood what they’d interrupted. She didn’t let the moment stretch into an embarrassing silence though. She said, “Pardon me, but are you Nick?”

“Um… Yeah.” I wouldn’t have chosen to tell her that.

She walked closer to the bench with her son following a little behind and looking uncomfortable.



I could see that. Haley always had been worried about her powers. The fact that she shapeshifted into a version of herself with fangs and claws probably didn’t help.

It wouldn’t be like discovering you could fly. It wasn’t a cool power. Fangs and claws just said monster.

The combination of that with strength and poison filled dewclaws that were still there even when she hadn’t shifted couldn’t have made her childhood easy.

Actually, I knew it hadn’t been.