Jackal and Turbo #1 : A New Kind of Justice

Turbo zipped through the back streets, laughing as the wind rushed past him. He was a blur of color to the people on the streets, but a shadow high above on the rooftops tracked his position. Jackal always knew where his partner was, always kept one eye on him to make sure he was alright. After all, they’d been together a lot longer than they’d been doing this hero thing, long before they’d made the change from friends to boyfriends. Jackal adjusted his jet black armor and lowered the visor of his helm. It was the best way to hide the glow from his eyes as the night grew darker. It was almost time to call their patrol for the evening. There were other heroes out there who stalked the night more effectively than a pair of inner-city teens who had to go to high school in the morning. And anyway, they had a nice stay-at-home date planned for tonight. Jackal began making his way down one of the fire escapes, pulling a phone out of his pocket.

“Hey, babe, ready to bounce?”

Turbo touched a button on the headset he wore under his light helmet and grinned when he heard Jackal’s voice.

“Ready. Just need a minute to get back to base. Meet you there?”

He was already turning, changing course with ease. Honestly, he’d probably be there before Jackal had a chance to respond. That was the upside to his powers. There were downsides of course. Heightened metabolism was a bitch and a half for a teenage boy. When you already want to eat everything in sight and then you need to eat even more everything? Yeah, it gets hard to explain and harder to manage.

“Yeah, sure. Mind if I borrow your jacket for the walk home?”

Turbo laughed, skidding to a halt in front of the abandoned warehouse they used as a homebase.

“Do I want my super hot boyfriend wearing my letterman? Does the moon orbit the Earth?”

Jackal was laughing as he came walking up a few minutes later. Turbo, now in his normal jeans and a t-shirt and known as Terry Walker, was leaning against the wall inside waiting for him. Jackal changed quickly, stowing his armor back in his duffle bag to take home and turned. With a grin, Max Jackson pulled Terry’s letterman jacket on and reached for Terry’s hand.

“Let’s go, babe. I’m so ready for movie night.”


They were on the train home when they heard the crash outside and exchanged a look. There was someone hovering over the tracks ahead of them. Terry sighed and unzipped his backpack.

“Looks like we’re going to have to postpone movies, handsome.”

Max looked out the window and nodded, reaching for his duffle bag.

“Yeah, this looks like the real deal. Give me a second to suit up and I’ll be right behind you.”

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Spanner in the Gardens – Part 3

It was the middle of the night and she woke to the sound of something shattering and a scream. She nearly fell out of her bed, the blankets twisted around her in her mad scramble to get to the door of the workshop. She touched the door, laying her palm flat on the wood. It was cool to the touch, despite the smoke coming from around the edges of the door.

“Evandrus?”

She could hear him coughing and drew up her courage, pulling the door open. He was on his hands and knees in front of his burning workbench. There was blood all over his shirt, what was left of it. Quickly, Dorothea moved to help him back and to douse the flames before they could spread. Then she had to turn and see him, see what this explosion had done to him. His chest and arms were burned, but not too badly. He’d thrown his arms over his face before the blast could reach him, but she knew from long experience that the wounds on arms and chest would scar. She hesitated with her fingers mere centimeters from his bare flesh. Then she overcame her uncertainties. He had to be helped and she was the one here to do it. His expression was pained but there was trust in his eyes as he looked at her.

“Evandrus, what were you doing?”

“I…I slipped. The wrong vial.”

He coughed and she brushed his hair back out of his face, quietly soothing him.

“Lay still. I’ll get something for these.” She hesitated again, the adrenaline leaving her system and being replaced with something entirely other. Fear and relief, mirroring each other in their extremes. He would be alright, he would live. But this could have been so very much worse. And she knew something else now. She no longer wished for him to deny the whims of his heart, for she shared the same desires as he. As she reached down the jar of salve, her hands were shaking. She had very nearly lost him tonight, and it was in this moment that Dorothea truly realized just how much she loved Evandrus.

Sanctum Annual #5 – The Fall of Crusader

“Hey Photon, catch!”

Crusader grinned brightly behind the faceplate of her helmet and chucked the mugger upwards with all her considerable strength. Photon grabbed the petty criminal around the waist and laughed.

“Got ‘im, hun. I’ll go drop this one off at the precinct. Meet you in a flash.”

Crusader rolled her eyes as her husband and crime-fighting partner raced off across the sky in a blur of light. Then she glanced at the time in her HUD. It was almost time to go get Jessica from school and go through a few rounds of training. Spark was almost ready to take to the streets as a new hero and Crusader wanted to be absolutely sure her daughter would be ready. This life could be tough, as the many scars crisscrossing her body could attest. Well, either way, she had some time to finish their patrol and check in with the Sanctum.


Patrol done, Crusader dropped her armor off at the Sanctum and had a quick chat with Maria at the desk.

“Yeah, it was a quiet enough day. Photon should be in soon. I’m headed out.”

“See you tomorrow!”

Then she was Angelica Morrow once more and headed off to go pick up her daughter, Jessica, from school. Her subcompact was in the employee lot for the Sanctum, where her papers said she worked in a medical capacity. Which was, of course, technically true. She just also happened to be a hero. Pulling out of the lot, she waved farewell to the young man in the security booth. He waved her through with a smile.

“Have a nice evening, Doctor Morrow.”


She was a block away from the school headed through a four-way intersection. Her hands were both on the wheel, her phone away. That didn’t do a thing to stop the truck that came careening through the intersection and slammed into her car, knocking it into a telephone pole.


They had to say it on the news. Even though she had died out of uniform, even though it was Malcolm Morrow and his daughter, Jessica, who stood at the funeral. They had to say that Doctor Angelica Morrow was Crusader. They had to say what this had truly been. Because the city had lost one of its heroes that day and they deserved to know. She deserved to be remembered. And if anyone noticed that Malcolm and Jessica disappeared just before Photon and Spark arrived to pay their respects, well, no one said a word.

Clara

He set down his tools and flipped his goggles back onto his forehead. Done. Absolutely perfect and done. Now to fire up those circuits and see how this guy ran. Something like speaker feedback ran through Tiernan’s mind as his other-senses, the ones attuned to machinery and moving parts, blazed to life and he looked at his latest creation again. Not a male…not a guy… He’d built a girl. This robot was very definitely and decidedly female. He pulled his goggles back down and grabbed his tools. He couldn’t fire her up until she was really ready. Moments later and he’d completely retooled her chassis. He set his tools on the workbench again and moved around to activate her. It didn’t take long before the whirring of gears filled the air and she soon stood on her own. She turned slowly and gave him a smile. It was only then that he realized two things. She was naked…and she didn’t have a name yet.


“Mama! I need your help!”

Tiernan burst into the wagon, cheeks purplish from blushing and breathing hard. Brannagh just looked up from her washing the dishes and smiled at her son.

“Calm down, calm down, what happened?”

“I…in my workshop…and I don’t know how to make dresses.”

“…Why do you need to know?”

The Elven woman stepped back from the sink, drying her hands on her apron as she went to the shelf to take down the pattern book.

“I built an automaton and she feels like a girl, so I made her a girl, but now she’s naked and…and I left her alone…oh shit.”

“Tiernan, language.”

“Yes, Mama.”

She smiled at her son as she flipped through the book.

“Well then, let’s make her something quick and simple so you can get her dressed and then later I’ll help you make her a much better dress. How does that sound?”

“Perfect! Thanks, Mama.”

The Mechanist hugged his mother tightly, calming rapidly as she chuckled and told him to fetch her sewing kit while she went for the fabric.

Photon and Spark – Issue #2

Spark didn’t like bleeding. It wasn’t something she had a lot of practice in, after all. So having a trickle of blood coming from her nose after a punch left her more than just a touch cross. Jackal growled low in his throat and launched himself off a building at Photon, aiming to grab him. Photon moved out of the way but Turbo was there with a blinding series of punches. It did nothing. They could barely land a hit on him. He was the greatest superhero the world had ever known, a paragon of good and right and justice. How were a group of teenagers supposed to beat him? Spark wiped the blood off her face and threw a shield around Turbo before her dad could do anything to hurt her friend.

“Dad!” She hovered in the air, cape flapping behind her in the breeze. “Is this what Mom would want?”

Photon rounded on Spark, abandoning his pursuit of the smaller speedster.

“She wouldn’t want you fighting me, pumpkin. You know that as well as I do.”

“Would she want you doing this?”

She gestured around at the city. The three teens had been trying to contain the damage, keep the civilians clear of Photon’s rage. It had only worked so well. A fire was ripping through the city now, started by one of Photon’s attacks, and there was nothing Spark could do about it. The time it would take to fight the fire was time taken away from stopping her father from causing more of the same in the pursuit of his mad goals.

“I get it, Dad. I really do. I miss Mom. I miss her like crazy. But you can’t just…what? Kill people until you get killed or get her back? That’s not how it works.”

“You don’t know what I’ve done, what I have to do. But I will get your mother back home with us, Jessica. Even if I have to go through you to do it.”

Spark froze in midair. He’d used her real name. In costume. Her real name out where anyone could hear it. And who wouldn’t be watching the throwdown of the century? Photon and Spark, everyone knew they were father and daughter, and here they were brawling at high noon over the city. Then a fist connected with her chest and Spark flew backwards, slamming into a building. She smashed through the window, glass spraying everywhere. And this time, she didn’t get up. In all her years of combat training, in all her experience with villains and heroes alike, nothing had ever hit her like that. Laying there, Spark was pretty sure that she had broken something. What, she didn’t know. She’d never broken any bones before. The sensation was wholly new and she didn’t like it one bit. Then a new thought slammed into her mind fully formed. What Photon had said. She couldn’t think of him as Dad right now. Not until this was over. But he’d said something. What he’d done. He’d made a deal with someone, that had to be it. Gritting her teeth against the pain, Spark tried to focus on the list of names. Who could have the power to raise the dead? Or at least be powerful enough to convince Photon that they could. Then one name rose to the surface. The sorcerer who called himself Faust. Slowly, Jessica called Spark got to her feet and winced, one hand holding her side where the pain was focused. She would have to find Faust. And hope Photon didn’t kill her friends while she searched. As she flew out and zipped off, she coughed and stared in horror at the blood on her hand. It looked like she would have to worry about a few more things than that. Like not dying before she stopped Photon.

Too Small, or The Tale of a Hat

Bran and Charlie were in no way big enough to help with building the new barn. Lily Everett was absolutely sure of that. She was also sure that she was, despite only being a few years their senior. So when Papa had gotten the neighbors out to help and sent his eldest son, Stefan, up a ladder to help ride the roof-tree into place, he hadn’t been expecting his eldest daughter to scramble up the ladder as well and get into position opposite her brother. He’d been expecting her to stay on the ground and mind the twins. Stefan raised an eyebrow at his younger sister.
“You sure you can do this, Lils? Don’t you think you’re a little small?”
She nodded, holding tight to the wood.
“I got it, Stef. I can do it.”
She remembered what Stefan had taught her about riding a horse, about using your legs to hold on, and hoped it applied to really big pieces of lumber. It had to, right? It wasn’t like lumber was going to buck. Either way, she had to. She had to show she was as big and tough as Stefan. The roof-tree moved suddenly, the people on the ground lowering it into place. She held on tight, locking her eyes on her brother as they moved. The wood jolted suddenly as it fell into place and she moved to go and make sure it was wedged. The ground was a long way off, but that didn’t bother her at all. Truth to tell, Lily kind of liked it up here. It was exciting.

Lunchtime rolled around and people were excitedly eating and talking about the rest of the day of work they had ahead of them. Stefan Everett lay in the grass with his eyes closed, resting. That was when his sister decided to strike. If he was going to say she was too young, even after earlier, then there was only one thing left she could do. She grabbed his hat right off his head and bolted. She’d noticed that they’d left a ladder propped up against the unfinished roof so folks could get up later and finish up the work. It wasn’t a bad climb at all, even with a hammer slung in her belt and his hat on her head. When she got up to the top, she lay on her stomach and reached, nailing the hat into position on the underside of the roof-tree, right where everyone would see it.

Years passed, and seasons with them. Until the day that the undead came. The day that Lily called to the goddess of death and heard her answer. She had run to the barn then, hoping to find something she could use as a weapon. As she pulled the scythe down off the wall, she had looked up and seen the old hat still up there. She grinned at the sight. She hadn’t been too small then. She certainly wasn’t too small now.

Photon and Spark – Issue #1

Spark hovered over the city, uncertainty showing behind her mask. This was one of those turning points where you have to make a decision. Are you the hero or are you the villain? When the chips are down and your father is holding out his hand to you saying he has the power, with you at his side, to fix everything. He can bring your mother back, he can put the city to rights. Photon’s cape fluttered in the breeze and Spark took a deep breath. He could probably do it too. She knew his powers inside and out, they were the same as hers after all. For a long moment, Spark looked at her hands.

“Dad…”

“Just think about it, Princess. We could have your mom back. We could have everything back.”

His hand was still outstretched, hoping she would take it. She could see it in his eyes behind his crimson mask. Then she flew back a bit.

“You hurt people, Dad. Innocent people. You told me heroes never do things like that.”

Photon’s hand dropped to his side and he sighed.

“Spark, how can you call them innocent? They took your mother.”

Electricity flared around Spark for a moment.

“They didn’t, Dad. It was an accident. A stupid accident. And you’re scaring the shit out of me right now.”

Photon raised his hand again, flying towards her. But Spark pulled back again.

“Are you turning on me?”

“What?” Spark’s voice cracked on the single word, confusion evident on her face. “Dad, you’re… you’re not acting like you.”

“I don’t want to fight you, Spark.”

There was lightning whipping around Photon now and light building up around both of his hands.

“Fight? What?” Spark threw a translucent shield up just in time as Photon swung his electrically charged fist at her. “Dad! What are you doing?”

He bounced off her shield, spinning for a moment in the air before he righted himself.

“The right thing.”

He growled the words before throwing himself at her again. Spark dropped out of the air as quickly as she could, positioning her shield over her head. She couldn’t take Photon in a straight fight. He outweighed her, outclassed her in experience. But she had one advantage he didn’t have. She was fast and she had friends he didn’t know about. And today, he was going to learn what she had really been doing on Saturday nights when she said she was out partying. Spark spiraled in the air, using it to control her speed as she dove between buildings at breakneck speed. She had to make it to the south side. She had to find…. There!

Slamming into the ground, Spark barely caught herself to prevent a crater and ran.

“Jackal! Turbo! I need backup and I need it now!”

The two young heroes exchanged a look and then looked at Spark.

“What’s up?”

She looked into the sky nervously.

“My dad. He’s…gone rogue. I can’t get ahold of anyone at the Sanctum. I tried that earlier. It’s just us.”

Jackal’s eyebrows shot up, his glowing red eyes wide.

“Well, shit, Spark. We gotta fight Photon?”

Turbo shoved Jackal teasingly.

“Yeah, hot stuff, and we gotta win. You ready?”

Jackal took a breath and adjusted his armor before stopping to check Turbo’s equipment. Turbo was a speedster, sleek and muscular in his lightly armored spandex. When he was certain that everything was settled right, Jackal leaned in to kiss Turbo gently.

“Don’t let him hit you, Turbo, or you’re gonna be a skidmark.”

“Yeah, I know. Duck, dodge, weave, right?”

The three teens exchanged a shaky smile and looked up into the sky as a shadow fell over them. Photon was here.