Being Watched: Part 1

On Monday night, Vaughn, Cassie, and I sat together in “Criminology 101.” We weren’t alone. Julie and Shannon were with us.

We sat in a darkened room, looked up at the screen, and watched the professor talk. This would have been normal for a distance learning class except for a few details. First, we were sitting in League HQ. We could have been sitting in a room at the University, but then we’d have been sitting together with Sean, Dayton, and Jody.

It would have been a little awkward for all of us in a variety of different ways. Awkward for me, because Sean and I didn’t get along especially well. Awkward for Cassie and Vaughn, because they were friends of mine and knew Sean. Awkward for Julie and Shannon, because they had been on a team with Sean.

The other detail that made things a little different from your typical distance learning class was that the professor on the screen was in costume—specifically, a brown costume with a texture that suggested feathers.

Before he’d retired, people called him Chicago Hawk. In class, people still called him Chicago Hawk.

The lecture hadn’t been bad either, but it had also been three hours long. Presumably that saved the program money—they only had to set up the equipment in the various universities once a week, right?

“Remember,” he said, his voice scratchy, “that’s eighty pages to read by next week. I’ll know if you’re not prepared. And don’t forget that next weekend we’re all meeting in person. You should have already received your instructions.”

After the screen blacked out, Julie threw back her head, leaning back in her chair. “Eighty pages? Doesn’t he realize we’ve got other classes?”

“I’ll take the reading over calculus any day,” Vaughn said. “I’ve got problems due on Wednesday.”

Pushing herself up, and out of the chair, Julie said, “I haven’t even touched calculus yet. Hey Shannon, are you ready to go?”

She grabbed her books, and stuffed them into her backpack.

Shannon smiled a little, and said, “Almost.” She turned toward the table where Cassie, Vaughn, and I were still sitting.

“Thanks for telling us you were having classes here. It would have been really weird to sit with Sean and the guys after everything.”

Julie picked up her backpack, and hung it over her shoulder by one strap. “I don’t even want to think about that. At least I can avoid him when we’re meeting in the big group.”

As Shannon and Julie walked away, I reflected on how different they were. They were cousins, but they weren’t much alike. Shannon had dark hair, wore clothes that never registered in mind, and seemed to be in a good mood most of the time. Julie had light hair, wore clothes that seemed to show a little more skin than average, and complained a lot.

Okay, maybe that wasn’t fair to her, but that was my impression.

Once the elevator door closed and started carrying them to the surface, Vaughn said, “Did you know Julie and Sean were dating last year?”

I turned toward him. I don’t know the expression on my face, but Vaughn grinned as I made it. “No,” I said. “That’s about the worst couple I can imagine.”

Vaughn threw up his hands. “Not my fault, but yeah, it was pretty bad.”

Cassie shook her head. “Over. Topic closed. Let’s move on. My mom’s practically got me under house arrest since the attack last week. Nick, do you know anything?”

“Nothing I haven’t told you. We’re being watched by the Feds, and they’re keeping us safe, I guess. At least that’s what Isaac says.”

Cassie snorted. “Just like we were when Ray or Prime’s people came after us? I’m not impressed.”

I sat up a little straighter in my chair. “I know. I told you what he said.”

Vaughn looked over at each of us, “Who do you think the Nine are sending? There are a lot of those guys. Could even be Dr. Mind, right? That guy was permanently after your dad.”

Cassie frowned. “Vaughn, Dr. Mind’s dead. He died in the same raid where Dad and the League found me.”

“Right,” Vaughn said. “I forgot.”

I tapped away at the keyboard, calling up Dr. Mind’s Wikipedia entry, and displaying it on the twenty foot tall screen. “That was always really bizarre. The original Captain Commando versus a brain in a jar? Usually he had piles of minions or powered armor, but it was still pretty weird.”

Cassie stared at the table, not listening to me. “I heard him talk about someone called Six or Sixer. I’ve been thinking about it all week. Who’s that?”

I searched for the Nine on Google, but didn’t find anything I didn’t already know.

“It says here,” I said, “that the Nine call the higher ups by number to confuse outsiders.”

“It’s working,” Vaughn said.

I skimmed across the entry, and decided I’d have to look at the Feds’ information to get anywhere.

“It might be their powered armor guy,” I said. “I’m pretty sure Rook was one of Dr. Mind’s followers.”

14 thoughts on “Being Watched: Part 1”

  1. @Jeff…..Here you go bud 😛

    1/ They are many(or at least have many employees), but are led by 9 high level individuals. Whilst some of their predecessors were, it is unknown if the incumbent 9 are powered individuals or simply baseline humans.

    2/ They are presumably evil, or rather, there objectives are usually at odds with the gov’t/police/etc. (Note, this does not necessarily mean they are wrong….look at “V” from v for vendetta & Tank girl for instance….)

    3/They have a thing for capt. commando clones – presumably because of the abominator tie-in in cassies DNA(and her father’s? if not, why does cassie have it? If he did…….just what were the Gov’t experimenting with to create him?)

    4) They don’t appear to act like a gang of criminals, or an organised crime association – from what has been written of them so far, they more resemble “virtucon” (Dr Evil’s outfit in the Austin Powers films) in that they seem to be more of a shadowy corporate entity doing non-defined dastardly deeds behind the scenes, rather than a drug pushing/bootlegging/gun-running gang that most criminal organisations seem to be.

    5) They are credited with bumping off a fair few “supers”. However, at no point is it mentioned whether these individuals had it coming or not (Excessively violent/uncontrollable/sadistic streak/etc), nor has it been mentioned whether they have restricted themselves to killing off the good guys, or have targeted criminals also. Furthermore, although we’ve assumed that their kills have been those who got in their way, it’s not yet been confirmed – it may be that these slayings were a little more targeted that they appear at first glance, but nobody has spotted a pattern yet.

    Just a few thoughts.

  2. Interesting few chapters.

    Found an error in this one though;

    “This would have been a normal for a distance learning class except for a few details.” – the first “a” shouldn’t be there and there’s an extra space between “for” and “a” that shouldn’t be there either.

  3. Rook?

    I can’t help but imagine a cheesy chess themed villain.

    Nice update, Jim. Keep up the good work!

  4. Psycho Gecko turns to the meeting table in his chair, an eyepatch on over half his helmet’s visor. A white comedian in a turbin and a jackbooted woman sit at the table with him. A pale, bald man with a cat stands at the head of the table. Stopping his compulsive petting of the cat, the bald man raises his pinkie to the corner of his mouth and speaks, “Alright, this parliament of Rooks is officially in session. Number Six, what do you think are our chances of getting this ‘Mr. The Rocket’ packed into our hidden silo.”

    Gecko looks up at him, having switched the patch over to the other side of his head when no one was looking. “Doctor, it’ll be hard, but we’ll just have to grin and bear it. It’s not going to be easy to convince him to service us. We might have to lubricate him with money or alcohol, but I think he’ll give us what we want in the end. Mustafa here has been after something tied to goats, and I know the Frau over there has had her mind set on something with pump action. When he realizes how far we are willing to go to get our hands on him, he’ll just have to take it like a man. I have a base set aside for accomodating his wants and needs. This base, this Gecko Spot, is a bit of a mouthful, so you’re welcome to shorten it. I might wind up sweaty, and tired, you might even say spent, but imagine I can wrestle him into my G Spot.”

    The Doctor just stares at him for a moment before responding, “Riiiiight, maybe it’s time you took a break. Go on vacation, go catch a few musicals, see San Francisco perhaps. Then you can keep your mind just on business around here, okay?”

    The eye patch is back to the other side now, “Excuse me, doctor?”

    The doctor rolls one finger in the air, “You know, take some time off to go see Greece and their sculptures of naked wrestlers. You said you wanted to kidnap that Marcus Bachmann guy, you might go have some private time with him, or even that Ted Haggard hypocrite.”

    The patch is reversed once more. “I just don’t understand what you’re meaning is.”

    “We can all see what you’re meaning is, Super Liberace! Go do what you need to do, 50 Foot Robot Elton John, get a load off and come back when you don’t want to screw the teenage superhero we’re trying to capture!”

  5. So a typo has finally forced me to come and post a comment! I usually read the story on my cellphone, and it would be painful to comment that way. Anyways, I noticed a mistake.

    “I skimmed across the entry, and decided I’d have look at the Fed’s information to get anywhere.” You’re missing a between have and look. It should be “decided I’d have a look at the Fed’s…”

    I’d like to say that I’m loving the story. I always look forward to the days when it comes out, and I also love the comments. There’s some pretty creative folks hanging out in the comment section (Yes, I mean you Gecko). Keep up the good work!

  6. @ Mycroft

    Concerning point 3 I don’t think it’s the nine that have it specifically for Capt. Commando clones I think that was Dr. Mind, but I’m not sure if he was hired by the nine to make the clones or if he started making the clones himself. I am pretty sure he was part of the Nine near the end though.

    Also I think it’s Casey specifically that has access to the Abominator tech because when she was being made with additional DNA. I think the extra DNA is what gives her the “key”

    I Just thought of something, does anyone know if Jim said that Dr. Mind was a man or woman before it became a brain in a jar? Maybe the constant fighting was because of a love hate thing on Dr. Minds part and she combined her own DNA with the captains so that she could finally have their child?

  7. Piccolo, that’s possible, but not necessarily the case. It could have been a male Dr. Mind wanting to have a kid with Commando. It’s even possible that some of the differences aren’t from the addition of any other person’s DNA. To get a female, they need the two Xs. Guys may only have one, but maybe Mind hit copy and paste with one of them so that she wound up with a pair of big Xs rather than a dangly Y between her legs. Recessive genes could start acting up, or weird mutations as a result of the cloning process.

    Or just Mind, female or male, tosses an X into the bunch and DNA starts acting strange. There is, unfortunately, a precedent for female clones of male heroes. Like X-23, Wolverine’s teenage female clone. No word yet on if she has a problem with body hair, but at least it’s her own mind and not a copy of his personality. Ultimate Spider-girl is a female clone of Ultimate Spider-man from their version of the clone saga, supposedly. Going back to our discussion some time back about having sex with a clone of yourself, she supposedly told him before she left, “For the record, I would have considered it masturbation.”


    Some female superheroes also seem like little more than physical clones of a male hero, as far as powers and apperance goes. Personalities certainly change and stories go different ways, at least. I’m not sure yet if that’s anything more than the reliance on a few main characters as templates and moneymakers, considering the vast number of Spiders, Hulks, Supers, and Bats, and leaving out clones. Spider-man even has a couple of enemies defined by being evil copycats using alien symbiots, plus Scarlet Spider, the MVP clone Scarlet Spiders, Spider-man 2099, Steel Spider, and who cares there’s too many to remember Spider. Superman has Supergirl and Ultragirl, then the whole remade planet Krypton, and even has a Super dog. Batman has Robin, Nightwing, Red Robin, Batgirl, Batwoman, and tried to start up a Bat-franchise around the world in various countries before DC Romneyed. The Hulk line has Hulk, She-Hulk, Rulk, She-Rulk, Abomination, Abomination 2, Doc Samson, Skarr, and way too many other people who didn’t die from too much Gamma radiation. Don’t forget the Marvel family in DC comics. Captain Marvel, Captain Marvel Jr., Mary Marvel, the Lieutenant Marvels, and Hoppy the Marvel Bunny.

    After all, with some of those extensive casts of ripoffs, why should we feel bad about stealing a theme or two away from the big names in comics? Spider-man references an animal in name and powers.
    Superman was influenced by apparently a lot of things, though there’s not one he’s just a new name of. Though the name Superman was itself used by his creators in story about a bald man winding up with incredible mental powers and becoming a villain. But I’m sure there’s no lasting impact of a supersmart villainous bald man on Superman’s comics at all.
    Batman steals from animals too, but not in powers. While not a ripoff per se, there were many regular humans as dark or semi-criminal heroes before him, some of whom did influence his creation like The Phantom (possibly rich, inspired fear because those he fought thought him supernatural), Zorro(Rich man who wore a costume and used a distinctive vehicle), and The Shadow(wealthy man about town who knew what darkness lurked within the hearts of men, with a dark costume. Notably used pistols, like Batman did at first). Captain Marvel was considered enough of a ripoff of Superman that a lawsuit is how DC gained possession of the character.
    I’m not even going to bother to see if Hulk used a lot of other people’s ideas. I don’t want to make him angry, and I happen to be getting hungry. You wouldn’t like me when I’m hungry(itself a ripoff of a joke from the Edward Norton Hulk movie). At the risk of being smashed, perhaps it was suggested by Stan Lee that Frankenstein and Jekyll and Hyde were combined into one character.

    Sweet zombie jesus! The fists! They are hurting my spleen! apodskjfhpaoidugua089eurijworjlkalksfkljdsfkj Enough! You green ugly creature, I will not be bullied by you!
    AKJLFHALJSFHPOAISHJOANHLKNEMNKLKJLKjlkjskjslksjdlogfjaoiuiou32014um,la dsc,oiuknml,khyulola;

    *unidentified voice* “Puny Gecko”

  8. PS: Ripping off someone or stealing elements from something isn’t in itself all that bad if you can use it to pull off something inventive and cool all the same. Just asky my homeboy Shakespeare. Just a bit touchy messing with intellectual property.

  9. Wow… I feel like I’ve been ignoring the comments section of the blog lately.

    Here’s why, I’ve been working on stuff necessary for the story to become something you can buy at Amazon, Smashwords, or Barnes & Noble.

    This is more of a challenge than seems obvious. What I’ve been calling “Book 2: Powers” is longer than a book. It’s probably closer to two books’ worth of words, and I don’t want to cut much of it.

    I also don’t want to be selling $18 paperbacks.

    Thus, I think it’s going to become two books.


    Silas/Deejayhr: Thanks for commenting, and thanks for pointing out typos. It makes my life easier–less to find on my own.

    With regards to the Nine: There will be a fair amount of info coming, though Mycroft has caught a bit of it. There’s a fair amount in Cassie’s story if you feel like rereading it.

    Piccolo: Dr. Mind was a guy.

    PG: I still find the Red Hulks an odd addition to the universe. Actually, with any luck there’ll be as many Hulk colors as Lantern rings, allowing a Rainbow Hulk/Lantern crossover…

    I can dream of one at any rate.

    It wouldn’t be epic, but it would be silly–kind of like having that many different colors of rings/Hulks.

  10. What’s that, Jim? A free copy for any commentator with both the words “Gecko” and “Psycho” in their name? Why Jim, you should have, you totally should have.

    And yeah, the whole Rulk thing is stupid, especially given Rulk’s identity and the fact that it didn’t take him that long to build up to beating Hulk, who gave us World War Hulk just a few years back. Rulk’s kind of like the Ultimate Warrior of Marvel. Pushed hard, squashes big name faces and heels, but eventually he’ll be lucky to even jerk the curtain, ultimately winding up as a conservative blogger after changing his name legally to match that of his gimmick. As recent events have apparently shown a lot of people, Hulk can be enjoyable in the right hands. Wow, should have included that one when talking to Dr. Rook…

    Oh, and in light of the Rainbow Hulk thing, here’s this comic from 2010:

    Also, I’ve gotten the feeling that the comments are lessening up. I have a few possible reasons why:

    1. It’s summer.
    2. Settling into college and talking with Courtney isn’t quite as interesting or cliff hanging in general as big superhero fights.
    3. Zombie plague
    4. Invasion of the Marsupials
    5. They’ve grown tired/annoyed of my constant yammering.
    6. Yogurt.
    7. Continued financial difficulties eventually taking a toll and not allowing followers to own computers and have internet connections.
    8. They live life in reverse like Merlin was said to, and thus are all burnt out on superheroes due to awesome movies this summer.
    9. They just don’t feel like commenting if they have in the past/they read but don’t comment.
    10. The tubes of their internet are getting clogged, keeping responses from reaching the website.
    11. They have grown tired of the story (While the least likely of these scenarios, I figured I needed to include it for completeness).

  11. Yay! Books for the book shelf! (hmmm…that reminds me of a warcry…)

    While Gecko might want a free copy, I’m happy to buy…but being in the “with thanks to…” section would be nice hehe 😀

  12. Also, Gecko;

    1) its sadly not summer for me yet.
    2) I rather like the settling into college/courtney thing.
    3) Shaun of the Dead. ‘Nuff said.
    4) Pretty safe here. They like the other side of the world.
    5) No comment.
    6) mmmhmmm yoghurt
    7) Actually possible. I suffered that myself 2 year ago. Solution; rob a bank.
    8) Awesome movies this summer? Nothing in summer I’m looking forward to except perhaps Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Slayer. Oh wait…different summer times again. Confusion!
    9) Yeah, I often read and don’t comment. Half the time because I read 2-3 chapters at a time and comment on the last one. Unless I spot a mistake.
    10) I think I’m using the wrong bleach…
    11) It does make for a good reading before bed, enabling me to sleep, thus yes making me tired. Is that what you meant? 😛

  13. Rainbow Hulks?

    Why am I getting images of small bears with hearts on their chests saying “Don’t make us angry. You won’t like it when we’re angry.”

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