Cassie: Part 3

Mom wasn’t putting up with it. “I’m not going to talk about classified information here. It’s too easy to hear us. I’m not trying to get out of it, but we can’t talk here.”

“Where can we talk about it? Should we set up a secret meeting in a park? We’ll pretend we barely know each other, and feed the ducks. That’s how you do it, right?”

“Cassie! We’re not having this conversation.”

“No, Mom, this is important. Who’s using it? Are they running soldiers through it? Like, a lot of soldiers? Because that could get really bad.”

“Do you have to be like this? Your father didn’t know when to let go either.”

“Well, he wouldn’t have had to be like this if you told him what was going on.”

From there it became the same argument we’ve always had, and one where we always say the same things. My part is, “Mom, here’s how you’re ruining my life by not letting me do what I want.” Her part is, “You’re a naive child. You don’t have any idea what you’re really asking for. It’s more complicated than that.”

There in her apartment just like at home in Grand Lake, the argument got really loud, and stopped being classified because it included everything she’d ever said no to ever, and a few things we’d only disagreed about.

Mom didn’t approve of me dropping sports my senior year to focus on martial arts and hero work. She got royally pissed when my grades slipped after my acceptance into Grand Lake University.

Come to think of it, she got pissed at my acceptance into the Stapledon program too. She’d seemed okay with it when I said I wanted to do it.

Really, she got more angry the more steps I took toward becoming like Dad. It was kind of weird, considering that one of Mom’s officially paid for duties was to push me into the work Dad did.

We weren’t done yet when someone knocked on the door. Mom opened it to find a short, balding guy in a button down shirt. “Sorry lady, you two are too damn loud, and if you can’t keep it down, I’m calling the super, and then the cops.”

After she’d said something to him, and shut the door, she said, “That’s enough. We’re not talking about this any more. I’ve got a supper meeting. You need to stay here, okay? I’ll give you money for takeout. We’ll do something together tomorrow night.”

And that was totally typical. When she was in D.C., they pulled her into every meeting they could.

After she left, I sat around and watched television in her apartment for an hour. It was boring.

Mom didn’t decorate the place at all. It was furnished with exactly the furniture it came with—bed, futon, table, and chairs… Mom had to have bought the TV, but nothing felt personal. She didn’t have pictures of Dad or me. Aside from her laptop, she didn’t even have anything from work there.

Knowing her, she expected someone to break in.

We’d gotten back around three something, so it was close to five when I decided I’d had too much of watching the SuperTV channel over the hum of the air conditioner. I knew Mom wanted me to stay in the apartment, but I wasn’t in a listening mood. I grabbed the money she left me for supper, put it in my pocket, and I changed. I put on my costume under my clothes. Not my standard costume—the small one that fit under shorts and a t-shirt.

I wasn’t going to wear more than that in Washington D.C. in August.

I grabbed my backpack in case I needed to ditch my clothes. It was one of the small ones the League had for that. I didn’t have the sword, or utility belt, but I did have my staff, shrunk to be only a little wider than my fist, and disguised as a flashlight.

Not that I planned to use any of it. I wasn’t going out to fight crime. D.C. had its own supers. I was going dancing downtown.

22 thoughts on “Cassie: Part 3”

  1. Nice to get more detail on Cassie.

    Also interesting to know what she treats as “minimum equipment”. The question of what supers do about equipment (without access to storage magic or equivalent super science) is something many stories and comics have dealt with inconsistently – sometimes it just seems to stick to the hero like it’s held with existential glue. I think you deal with this problem well.

  2. No, Dreamer, its not existential glue. Its all done with magnets. Honest!

    This is getting better 🙂 I’m not really a huge fan of Cassie to be honest. I can’t put my finger on why though. But this chapter was good, I rather enjoyed it.

    Also, another error! I’m getting good at this!

    “Not that planned to use any of it” should have an I in it.

  3. come on down to the implausible emporium: we’ve got existential glue for your superhero costumes, plus we are located near all the old style phone booths a hero will need for all you bad guys out there don’t despair the implausible emporium also carries giant lasers on a discount, evil rays of doom, and make up which makes you look deformed, act now and we’ll throw in “heroic catch phrases and evil monologues” the handbook.

  4. Wow! Cassie’s mom’s a PITA! I’d put on a costume and fight crime just to get a way from her, too. How long has she been using that apt. in DC, and she hasn’t personalized it? A couple of minor editing nit-picks:”Really, she got more angry the further the more steps I took”, and”I did have my staff, shrunken, and disguised as a flashlight.” should probably read: “I did have my staff and shrunken, disguised as a flashlight.”Love where you’re taking things, Jim. I’m getting back into this after having a bit of bad luck (laid off, ran out UI, lost internet access, almost lost car, house.) The ‘Omnisphere’ arc was awesome! I loved the contrast and reflection it brought to your characters. I hope you collaborate with RR again on future chapters. Also, I nearly hurt my self laughing when I read the line “I hope they’re not from a parallel dimension, cause that would suck” in ‘Under 30’!!

  5. Hey! Where’d my formatting go? I thought these comments were HTML-friendly? There’s supposed to be some line-breaks and underlining in there. Sorry for the clutter.

  6. Psychlone Ranger: I beleive you’re confusing ‘shuriken’ (a throwing weapon) and ‘shrunken’ (an adjective used to note the miniaturization of her staff). I’ll agree that it’s phrased rather awkwardly. Perhaps “my shrunken staff, disguised as a flashlight.” I might go even further, and change it to “my collapsible staff, disguised as a flashlight.” Granted, I’m just assuming that it’s a telescoping staff and not actually ‘shrunk’ with some sort of matter distorting technology.

  7. Dreamer/Luke: What she’s got is basically what I could imagine her getting away with taking. She and her mom went by plane to Aruba. I imagined she might get away with a staff that looks like a flashlight. It’d be harder (without government help) to get away with a utility belt that includes grenades and a grappling gun or two.

    Silas: With any luck, you might like Cassie more by the end–or at least understand her motivations more. That’s good enough.

    Captain Mystic. I’d like a giant laser myself. Not sure what I’d do with one though.

    Psychlone Ranger: I’d been wondering what was up with you as it’s been a while since you last commented. It sounds like you’ve been having a lousy year–hopefully the next will be better.

    As for the story… I think Robert’s story was great too. It was fun to see what he could do with my characters.

    With regards to the current storyline, I tend to see less of Cassie’s mom being a PITA naturally as much as having one’s husband die, and ending up raising his clone could create some unpleasant family dynamics.

    Hg/Psychlone Ranger/Luke: Typos fixed, and hopefully the screwy sentence too. Thanks.

  8. Ah, there you are Double-0 Something or other. Here we have your new watch. It has a laser, tranquilizer darts, and it can activate and drive your car. Unfortunately, we put in too much stuff to tell the time, luckily we have this pair of earrings. They don’t tell time either, but they can be used as smoke grenades so you can beat up someone and steal their watch. You’ll look ridiculous wearing two watches, though, so we’ve actually got you a purse to hold it in. We needed something expensive to spend the money on. Incidentily, since we have earrings and a purse for you, we’ll need you to cross dress for this mission. Now, the right fake boob is a computer that you can use to hack into and download files from the enemy’s advanced computer network. The left boob has a compass. Also, we’re fitting you with fake female genitals that feature a prominent camel toe. Inside the camel toe, we will hide a flashlight as well as a few packs of cigarettes just in case you somehow get arrested in your mission.

    Oh, and if you need to call us, we put the phone inside your shoe.

  9. Ahem, not to burst any bubbles, but with enough advance notice adequate “equipment” can be placed at anyone’s disposal. It also can be done with no outside help.

    Scenario: Character knows they will be arriving at destination X on such and such day. This date is a week from now. Assumption is that the character is a “good guy” so any package will not be intercepted. Simply pack up necessary “equipment” and send it UPS, FedEx, etc. to a pickup point at the destination. Character picks up package and “Voila”, character is as ready as they would be at home. Just no access to replacement equipment.

    I know people who use this method to avoid paying horrendous baggage fees. When it is something you do not need every day, or is duplicated, why not send it ahead? If you do it early enough, it beats the hell out of airline baggage fees and negates security screenings.

  10. Thanks for the kind words, Jim. It’s good to be back.

    I’ve got a neat little something I’d like to show you. But first, some backstory.
    Last year sometime, somebody on another board I post to commented that Psychlone Ranger sounded like some sort of super hero. That stuck with me, and I ended up writing a character description for him.
    Let me take a minute to dig it up and post it to Google docs….

    I don’t ever expect him to show up in your stories; it was just a bit of fun mental exercise for me. But I did keep your story framework in mind when I created the little bugger.

    To see, follow this elegant and finely crafted link!

  11. Since there will of course be super hero shenanigans on this clubbing trip anyone want to place bets on what will happen? I’m kind of fond of the idea that she will uncover a plot for world domination by brainwashing the future of America with bad club music. Though that’s probably a little campy for Jim’s style.

  12. Well, D.C. is full of all kinds of criminal activity and I’m not just talking about the obvious stuff they do in politics. The city has a bit of a problem with conventional crime as well. Could be a bit of both. Could even be something where she meets some younger Representative or a teenaged son of a politician or something. Heck, maybe even a member of Congress is a superhero. Easy enough name to go with.

    The Representatives, D.C.’s mightiest legislative heros! There’s Congress-man with his sidekick The Page! The super-voiced Speaker of the House! The Minority Whip- wait, no, that’s a PR disaster waiting to happen. The Majority Whip! …crap, not much better. And, of course, the Professor X figure…The Chair of the Committee on Science! He’d be stuck in the chair, you see.

  13. I swear I read this stories as much for the Gecko’s comments as the stories. Jim, when even the commentary is interesting you’re doing something VERY right.

    Welcome back Ranger.

  14. the Gecko rockx! also what about her counter parts in their teenage years? there might even be a d.c. heroes alience juniour division.

  15. Thomas/Bill/PG/Cap: You know what would have happened if I’d really thought ahead? If you look off to the side under the “Superhero Fiction” links, you’ll notice a piece of web fiction named “The Urban 30.” It’s set in Washington D.C.

    If I’d really been thinking ahead, I’d have found a way to do a crossover.

    Psychlone Ranger: That’s an interesting character idea. Oddly enough, while I’ve thought about the German supers during WW2, I haven’t given much thought to the Japanese. That’s not good because, I’m going to have to give a lot of thought to the specifics of the better known international supers in the near future–particularly to their names.

    Names open up a lot of potential for disaster because you never know (as a non-native speaker), the nuances of a word or phrase. When I was learning German, I remember a (female) classmate responding to the question, “How are you?” with “Ich bin heiß.”

    My prof (a native German speaker) blushed. Apparently that’s not a way to express that you’re feeling warm (literally, “I am hot.”), but is normally used to say, “I’m sexy,” or “I’m feeling horny.”

    I’m hoping to avoid similar mistakes while naming characters.

    Antonious: A good point. You can do that if you plan ahead. In this case, I was pretty sure Cassie wouldn’t be. That said, I’m curious as to whether a utility belt with grenades, lockpicks, and so on would make it through the mail.

  16. Thanks for enjoying my keyboardingness, though I feel bad if I’m taking away from some attention to our esteemed author.

    Now then, back to my comic book nerdiness, which has a reason to speak up once more:

    There is a precedent for a superhero being in U.S. politics(outside of the controversial Civil War series), and at least one who was in Congress. Senator Steward Ward, aka The Sentry (not the Superman ripoff one) was a former S.H.I.E.L.D. agent even if he wasn’t superpowered. The name is considered an alias as well since both Steward and Ward are terms for guarding or protecting something.

    There was also the time Red Skull was Secretary of Defense, and there was the leader of the Secret Empire group known as Number One who was only known to be a high level official, though it was supposedly heavily implied that it was the president. His face was never shown, but he unmasked himself to Captain America, committed suicide, and shook Cap’s confidence in the U.S..

    That storyline took place during the Watergate scandal.

    The only one that might count as a hero in U.S. politics that I can remember off the top of my head is in the Marvel Zombies universe where Corporal America is asked if he can find any more of the hidden bunkers the government has so they can find more to eat, seeing as Corporal America had been president in that universe. Given that he spends that series as an undead cannibalistic terror, that shows a fairly negative view overall of supers in government.

    Once again, not going to touch Civil War or we’ll likely start one of our own, and I really don’t know enough about DC to know if they had anybody like that aside from President Lex Luthor and the one multiverse briefly shown where Superman is both black and the U.S. President.

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