Thursday, December 27, 2012

GZ Legends 26: The Skull of Sphidra Pt 2

            From the tops of the buildings, the spiders surged in teeming masses.

            “Everyone into a building!” Electrode ordered as his body arced brightly.

            “What are you going to do?” Blacktide asked.

            “Just get them inside. The world’s biggest spiders are about to meet the world’s biggest bug zapper.”

            “We need a path!” Redeagle had grabbed up a car fender for a weapon, having run out of ammunition. He swung back and forth hard, clearing spiders and spraying goo.

 Blacktide and Nyhtwulf ran to assist. An apartment building was the closest they could get to. Finding the door locked, Blacktide put his fist through the lock and latch. Nyhtwulf swept chasing spiders away as they dodged inside.

Electrode started to glow and strobe as he charged himself. The spiders were forced back, unable to come near him.

The rest of them rushed inside. They all dove for cover behind furniture and the large lobby counter.

            The air between the buildings became daylight as the powerful surge flew towards the sky. Electrode then broke into a staggering run for the doors as bodies of the giant spiders fell all around.

            “Are you okay?” Atomizer said as he ran to steady him.

            “Yeah, just a little drained. I’ll recharge in a few minutes.”

            “Let’s put a bunch of furniture against the door here to try and keep any more out,” Redeagle suggested.

            “Sorry, disintegration is my only lockpick,” Blacktide said.

            “No problem. We’re safe for now. Let’s just get this blocked.”

            They scrambled to stack furniture against the doors to the building. Redeagle even pushed and broke the lobby counter loose. Nyhtwulf helped him shove it, grinding into place.

            “Okay, so now how do we go about finding this artifact and putting a stop to the spider kingdom of Chicago?” Redeagle asked as he caught his breath.

            “I sense intense psychic energy and it seems to get stronger in that direction,” Dreamseer pointed upwards.

            “I too sense this. We must climb,” Nyhtwulf said.

            “Climb? Yeah, how about we just take an elevator?” Atomizer suggested.

            “You want to get stuck in an elevator with those things?” Redeagle pointed out.

            “Okay, stairs it is. But what are they doing up at the top of the buildings? Making webs?”

            “Isn’t that what typical spiders do?” Electrode asked.

            “Let’s make sure we have a good route then,” Blacktide said. “Nyhtwulf, can you sense a safe route?”

            “Nowhere is safe, even if it seems at any moment,” his partner responded.

            “That’s just great,” Atomizer said, “I hate spiders.”

            “Let’s find the stairs,” Red pressed and they moved across the lobby carefully.  Any movement out of the corner of the eye was held suspect. Atomizer couldn’t stop looking behind furniture or at the ceiling.

            They found a sign that said stairs and an open door across from it, blocked open by a human body.

            “Well, there’s a clue as to what happened to the people,” Atomizer said.

            A really large spider compared to the ones outside crawled out the door and blocked the hall. Nyhtwulf growled and flew forward to block its approach. It turned its head up toward him and seemed to answer with a chittering challenge of its own. Then, from under its body a pair of human arms reached down and pressed against the floor along with a pair of human legs. It rose up on those legs and folded back the arachnid ones, angling its head in a more humanoid fashion. This spider had once been a large man. Nyhtwulf was the only one not frozen in terror and shock from the sight. He lunged forward and the spider answered with the same. But it froze when the lupine hero phased his arm into its chest and disrupted its life force. He kept his arm within as the man-spider’s body shook with spasms. Nyhtwulf made sure it wasn’t going to be a threat again. Finally, he let its convulsing form fall to the floor.  He turned to his friends.

            “Dead,” he announced.

            Atomizer stumbled backward, “Are you kidding me? Aw man! I really hate spiders you guys! I had no idea it would be like this! One spider dude with a freaky helmet, and I thought, sure I can handle that, but this is way out there!”

            “Hey!” Redeagle shouted, “We need you to hold it together! Come on, you’re with us and you can do this.”

            Atomizer took a deep breath, took his hat off and ran his fingers through his hair. “Yeah, yeah, I know. But, man, my power doesn’t work on living tissue. I’m going to have to blow holes in the freaking walls and stuff. And, man, I’ve never seen such a monster.”

            As the group approached the stairway door, Atomizer clenched his fist and teeth. Nyhtwulf paused at the end of the stairs.

“We can move this way safely for now,” Nyhtwulf  said.

            “Keep us posted,” Blacktide said, “I’ll bring up the rear.”

            “I’ll be up front with Nyhtwulf,” Electrode said. The rest remained between them as they started up the stairs. Every shadow demanded their attention. Knowing that these spiders could be right on the underside of the stairs made them extra wary. The stairway had open space from top to bottom and no one wanted to stick a head out to look up or down. Electrode still needed to recharge but felt he could do a few strobe bursts if needed. He could carry a massive charge and even act as his own alternator and recharge himself when running at full speed. He feared leaving his friends even for a split second however.

They made it up six floors when Nyhtwulf stopped and pointed to the 7th floor door.

            “Go quickly.”

            Blacktide covered their exit from the stairwell as spiders skittered down from above. He pulled the door shut as they moved in and Electrode stepped up. He emitted a narrow arc from his fingers and welded the door shut.

            “That should hold even the humanoid ones.”

            “Guess we need to find another set of stairs,” Redeagle said, “Probably at the other end of this hall.”

            Nyhtwulf nodded and took the lead. He led his friends halfway down the hall and then stopped with a low growl.

            “What is it?” Blacktide asked.


            As Nyhtwulf said that word, spiders of both human-hybrid and monstrous size emerged from apartment doorways. They crawled to the ceiling and walls. The friends were completely surrounded.

Monday, December 24, 2012

GZ Legends 25: The Skull of Sphidra Pt 1

            Their rest period felt far too short. It seemed that Atomizer had only lowered the brim of his hat for a few minutes when the next perilous mission was upon them. Dr. Vampire addressed them.

            “Dreamseer is my team’s best chance against anyone wearing the Skull of Sphidra. After allowing my scanner to analyze your powers I think that Atomizer, Redeagle, Electrode, Blacktide, and Nyhtwulf should be the ones to back her up. She will need your protection while she concentrates on our foe.”

            “You scanned our powers?” Atomizer said, “You could just ask.”

            “I’m sorry, but we have little time and I needed to know as much as possible about all of you. This way I can advise the best course of action for each artifact we will face,” Dr. Vampire responded.

            “Don’t worry about it, partner,” Redeagle said, “Let’s just take care of this thing.”

            “Since you know so much about what these things do, I’m going to allow you to make those suggestions,” Commander Larratus growled, “But don’t you dare get any of my people killed.”

            “Understood, and I assure you, I will share an equal risk at all times,” Dr. Vampire said, “Now Traveler will open a portal to Chicago. She will try to land you as close to the artifact as possible. Dreamseer will be able to sense it from there. Good luck and be careful.”

            With a wave of her hand, Traveler summoned a portal of bright light. The friends stepped through with confidence, even though they had no idea where they would appear.

            The Chicago city street they stepped onto was drowning in silence. In the eerie glow of the street lights, no one could be seen. Cars cluttered the streets at odd angles. Even stranger was the sight of women’s purses or men’s briefcases lying scattered on the street. Sacks of groceries lay abandoned. It was as if everyone simply dropped all they were carrying and vanished.

            “Everyone stay put,” Electrode said, “I’m running a recon.”

            Electrode vanished for only a second or two before reappearing with a grim expression.

            “Every street in the downtown area looks just like this one, guys.”

            “I guess this means our artifact is active, but this doesn’t make sense,” Atomizer said.

            “Yeah, I thought Dr. Vampire said it gives the wearer psychic powers. Even if that person is controlling every person in Chicago, how would you hide them all? I don’t even see anyone in windows anywhere,” Redeagle said.

            “Unfortunately, there may be more to the skull than we know,” Dreamseer explained. “We know it can possess the wearer. We know it can control the minds of others. That’s all we know about it.”

            “Great,” Blacktide said, “So, no one knows how it makes a whole city of people go missing.”

            “Not missing,” Nyhtwulf said, “I can sense them. I sense life all around us.”

            “Actually, I sense it too,” Dreamseer said. “The people of Chicago are definitely here, but something is wrong with their thought patterns.”

            “Suddenly this is going into bad news land, I can feel it,” Atomizer said. “I don’t see anyone anywhere.”

            “I hear something, a tapping sound,” Redeagle said. “It seems familiar somehow but I can’t place it. It’s getting louder though.”

            “I agree,” Nyhtwulf said. “They are coming closer from all sides.”

            “I don’t see anyone,” Blacktide said, keeping his aura active around his body and stepping away from his friends. He wouldn’t want to accidently hurt any of them with his disintegrative energy.

            “Yeah guys, I don’t see anyone either. What’s…” Atomizer stopped short on the sight of Redeagle’s pistol, seeming aimed for his head. “Hey!”

            “Duck!” Redeagle shouted and fired his weapon with an echoing shout. The bullet sped past his partner’s head and splattered into its target.

click on image for larger view
            The spider stood two feet off the top of the car roof it crawled over. It’s leg span could challenge Redeagle’s 7 foot height easily. It was about to sink its six inch fangs into Atomizers shoulder. The bullet splatted the spider’s head in all directions, and coated Atomizers right sleeve.

            “AHHH! Geez!” Atomizer ripped off his jacket and threw it on the ground. He wiped some goo from the side of his face and jumped around in a panic, “Cripes! Freaking criminy gawd! Are you kidding me! Spiders? Really? I hate spiders!”

            Redeagle’s pistol thundered again, destroying another spider from the top of a nearby truck.

            “Get it together, partner, there’s more!” Redeagle shouted.

            The men made a circle of defense around Dreamseer as the horde closed in. Electrode launched bursts of lightning that danced between cars and lampposts. The air immediately reeked of burnt spider flesh. Nyhtwulf savaged an approaching group with a roar. He shredded them with claws and smashed them against walls and cars. Blacktide pushed his aura outward, disintegrating any that came near. They were quick to learn not to approach him, however and worked to get around him. Blacktide struggled to make that very difficult. Atomizer saw more coming over the car he had been standing near.

            “Oh no you don’t!”

            He concentrated on the opposite doors of the car. When the doors exploded they destroyed all the spiders on that side of the vehicle.

            “Die, spiders, die!”

            “Electrode!” Redeagle shouted as he kept shooting, “I thought all the streets were clear!”

            “They were! I don’t know where these things are coming from!”

            “Oh no,” Dreamseer said in realizing horror.

            “What is it?” Blacktide asked.

            “We have to run. We need to get inside a building, right now.” Dreamseer looked upward toward the darkness, past the shine of the streetlights. She could see them, hundreds of them. Spiders were lowering themselves on their silken threads, eager for a meal below.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Artist(s) wanted for Galaxy Zento project

I've got the writing so who has the art?

As many of you know I just got back from the New Orleans Comicon. The prime mission of the trip was to take my son to meet his celebrity hero Stan Lee. Many people donated to that cause and it happened. I'm forever grateful. My son has a wonderful memory that may shape his future.

Since we achieved that mission on the first night of the convention, that left all day Saturday to just fun around. Well, we had lots of fun but there was quite a bit more than that. I scouted an article for HCRealms on HeroClix. After that, I went networking.

My third mission at the con was to meet artists. I can't tell you how many of you wonderful people, including a couple of agents, have mentioned that my stories should be graphic novels. I agree!

I'm looking to form a partnership that will bring GZ to life. I'm looking for someone I can work with for these projects.

I know what some of you are thinking. "Dave, you're a pretty good artist, why don't you do it?"

I have to be honest, there are some skills that I lack and small details with my hands are virtually impossible. Having MS has made it so that I have to literally use both hands to do any small details. My hands shake so badly, that my only hope is digital. Even then, I have problems with some forms. I've gotten better at drawing women over the years, but I'm not good enough at it that I want it in a graphic novel. I'm better as the writer (not that I'll give up drawing).

So what do I want from an artist?

If you are one of the awesome artists I met at the convention (or you just came across this out of curiosity); the first thing I want you to do is take a look through my universe. Check out the characters and see if they appeal to you. Do they look like characters you can really get into? Check out the stories. GZ Legends is actually taken from my novel, Chaos Rising and it could make a good graphic novel. The short stories could make for a compilation piece. I would like to have someone who can really become a part of the GZ universe.

Also I would like someone to bring more than just drawing and coloring to the table. Experience is nice. I would like to take our work to agents or publishers and get GZ out there and mainstream. What ideas and experiences can you bring to the table?

Approaching other artists is fairly new to me. I have quite a few questions that I will be asking soon. But if you are reading this and you like what you see of GZ, talk to me.

I also still accept guest artists. If you want to do a picture for the blog (for GZ Legends) let me know because I will promote you as an artist!

GZ Legends number 1

The Showcase short stories

Friday, November 2, 2012

What is the plan for Galaxy Zento?

After all, to try and take it all in, Galaxy Zento is huge. So I want to take a little time out of the schedule to address my plans and goals. I post this especially for anyone who may want to join the Galaxy Zento project. If that pertains to you or you are an agent I recently contacted; THANK YOU for visiting!

Goal #1: Publish a book. Yep, just one book to get started. I'm sending my novel, The Chessmen out to agents for this purpose. If any agent sees this, I want them to know that I don't expect them to try and take on all of Galaxy Zento in a big fell swoop. Let's publish a book to light the fuse and then see what comes next.

Of course, I can't just sit here on  my hands while I wait for an agent or publisher to answer me. Consider this, dear readers; I just sent out an exclusive (means not under anyone else's consideration at this time) to an agent who's website tells me it make take a month to respond. These guys are busy and I'm trying to be the beacon that stands out in an ocean of paper. In the meantime, I have to keep building and working.

Goal #2: Catch up and keep posting the online story of GZ Legends. The first installment promises to be long with lots of action. I need to not only write but do the illustrations. Right now, I'm a one man band. My hands can't do the panels for full comic book style, but I can still provide some entertaining pictures. I promise you, that is coming!

Goal #3: Even more illustrations! I actually have a list of character and alien race illustrations to do so that Galaxy Zento is as complete in its online form as possible.

Goal #4: Short Stories. I've been looking at doing a compilation of short stories. I already have quite a few. One of them even won honorable mention in a writing contest! I don't know if it will hurt me with agents if I do a compilation and put it on say... Amazon? More homework needs to be done here.

Goal #5: Be ready to rip into writing Chessmen 2. I'll still be working on it between all else and I'm 10,000 words in. But if the first book takes off, I gotta be ready to deliver on part 2!

At the end of it, I want to revise the role playing game and develop the card game, but these things are admittedly on the back burner and as time allows. The possibility of graphic novels is always on the table for discussion too!

Remember folks, you are on board with the growth of a new universe. I told you it would keep growing and you can see all the evidence of that on the Facebook Page. If you really like the artwork and would like to support GZ in some way, most art is available for purchase in one way or another at DeviantArt, CafePress, and Zazzle, all under the Galazy Zento name. Feel free to browse and see what all is available and and what prices. Each site carries some things that the others don't. For example, a while back, I bought myself some King Falcon postage stamps from Zazzle. How awesome of a marketing tool is that?

Okay, time to get back to creating!


Saturday, October 20, 2012

What is this "Galaxy Zento" anyway?

There has been some confusion as to just what Galaxy Zento is or is about. Wonder no more! I'm here to clear that up.

Galaxy Zento is a science fiction/fantasy universe. It boasts heroes, villains, monsters, magic, aliens, dragons, demons, crazy technologies, and a whole lot more. It has destinations and locations galore. It has over 400 original characters and 200 alien races.

And some out there wonder, "Well, that's great but what is it for?"

I have many plans for GZ and I'm going in several directions. The bottom line purpose is to entertain and gain exposure. In the age of the internet what better way to share, network and get started out anyway?

Here are the things that are going on in GZ meant for entertainment purposes:

ART: I'm doing as many illustrations I can while my hands will still do them. I have MS, arthritis, and carpal tunnel. I'm losing the dexterity in my hands. So I'm doing as much of my art as I can and I really hope it's enjoyed. Yes, it's for sale in places, but I hardly intend to shove that down anyone's throat. Besides, doesn't everyone have to get by somehow? And it costs absolutely ZERO to look and enjoy a piece of artwork.

STORIES: I have a novel completed that I'm seeking publication for. I have lots of short stories I want to put into a book. And, on this very blog, there is an ongoing story called GZ Legends that is free to read online and follow along with. I plan on doing more than one ongoing book series for GZ once I can get it off the ground.  I want to get into doing GRAPHIC NOVELS, but I need a good illustrator who can commit to the team. My hands just can't do the panel work and I know there are better comic artists out there than me.

GAMES: There are all sorts of plans for gaming systems for GZ. There is already a Role Playing Game that was self published in 13 copies. With revisions planned, I hope for much more and a cool playing system that a lot of people can enjoy. I also have plans on the table for a card game.

CONVENTIONS: I hope to bring GZ in all sorts of these forms to conventions. That's why I post GZ material in group pages that are conventions.

So, it's not about just one thing. It's not just about being a game or storyline, it's both. The GZ universe has a fully written and established history. Characters have in depth backgrounds and personalities.

I've been sharing my universe on various Facebook groups, Google and other media. I welcome guest artists and fan art ( have even had some!).  Unfortunately, some people don't think it belongs and they mark it as spam. I don't understand that because it's not like I'm pushing glow in the dark shoes or hacking accounts. It's just meant to be shared and enjoyed. If you don't like it, do me a big favor and just ignore it or hide it from your time line. You can drop me from your media (Facebook) if you're so inclined. I'm sorry for anyone who's been offended.

But, if you do enjoy the artwork and want to watch the project grow (you can say you saw it from about the beginning and that's cool right?) then add it to your circles or "like" it on FB. Bookmark or share with friends who like original content or whatever it is you like about it. If you're an artist, feel free to become a guest! I would love it!

The ongoing story will be revving up as soon as I catch up with edits up to number 25. Then, things are going to get hairy and scary for the heroes. I hope you'll follow along. For all of you already following along, THANK YOU! You're awesome people and I'm glad to have you.

That's GZ! I hope you'll be sticking around for more art, stories and updates on publishing as they come about!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Still working on re-writes and goal for my son

GZ Hero mash up
As you can see, I finished and digitally colored that hero mash up from the last posted GZ Blog.

We are still working on the rewrites of GZ Legends and they are looking really really good. I want to have at least three done so that I can post one at a time while reworking the next one. This is actually awesome writing practice for me. I'm getting better at it and that feels good.

Another project has come in on the front burner and that is the project to send my 10 year old son with autism and child bipolar to meet his hero Stan Lee. We started a fundraiser and it is slowly taking off. Slow is okay, the comicon isn't until November. You can read all about that in my other blog HERE.

I know this could be the achievement that shapes his growing view of the world around him. It will show him that good things can and do happen. It will show him that he can be successful in great things. It will help him to say "I can" instead of "I can't".  It will show him that our medical conditions do not have to stop us.

Doing homework last year
My son has had a hard time and a lot of tough things to deal with early in life. He's overcome great hurdles but had to learn about  things like death a bit too early. He was born in 2002 3 months early.  In 2008 we lost a dear 19 year old friend (considered my Godson), Zak D. to a car accident. He still thinks Zak is his guardian angel. He dealt with a divorce (even though amicable it was hard on him).  In 2009, we lost my Father to cancer and attended his funeral.  About a year later his Grandmother on his Mother's side died.
This year, (he only met my Uncle at my Dad's funeral but still) my Uncle died. As if that weren't enough, he's always worried about his older half brother. That one has been on a bad path (lives no where near here and doesn't have any direct contact) and recently committed a crime in Florida that has him facing 7 years in prison. Denver is very disappointed in his 18 year old brother. He feels like he should help get his brother out of gangs and trouble, but has had to learn that his brother must be and adult now.  Now he has to be on a special diet and isn't used to it yet and he's going through changes that make his condition an issue.

For a 10 year old to be screaming at himself, huddling up crying because he says his "brain" is bothering him (possibly racing thoughts) or slapping himself, is heart breaking. I hope this makes more sense on why he needs such a morale boost.

Year end Award for B average
Now, on the flip side, this is not a child who doesn't try or wallows in misery. Last year, for all his difficulties, he maintained a B average in school for the whole year and received an award for it. He was invited to the school spelling bee last year for being in the top ten of his grade. It was confided to me that he was actually within the top 4. He's highly creative and surprises people often. This year, he's also the only kid in school who has a special school poster for anti-bullying, framed on the wall donated by his Dad. Talk about making you one of the cool kids right from the start. We keep every achievement among our parenting tools to remind him of what he can do, but this would be the star on top of the tree.

Donations have been received and special thanks go out to those who have given. Heck, special thanks to YOU just for reading this. You know, I create heroes, but Denver is a hero, he's my little hero.

Donated to his school

Monday, August 20, 2012

Working on the pieces

What I'm working on. Click for full image.
I know it's hard to see the pencil work in the photo. I'm working on what they call, a "mash up". That's where several characters are drawn in a single picture. Most really big mash ups have a hundred or so characters in them. Imagine a poster with every single hero in Marvel or DC standing in one big group. That's a  mash up. I doubt I'll have that many characters in this picture but it's coming along pretty good.

I've had some really great feedback on my last post and I appreciate it. I seems to me that the "run on" sentence is more of a tool than something to be banned. They have to be used properly or they can become awkward. I can understand that. So as we go through to take a look over the story as posted so far, we'll weigh these things.

Truth of the matter is, once all is said and done, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. No one can write in a manner that will appeal to everyone. Yet, plenty of authors who mastered the run on sentence, are very well known. JRR Tolkien and Lovecraft are prime examples of the use of run on sentences.

So the run on sentence by itself is not to blame for a work not being "tightened up" after all. I have to look at it from another perspective. Is my work flowing well? Are there awkward spots that need to be "tweaked" a little? Numbers on my blogs are rising and most say they enjoy the story. So I can't be doing all bad, right? Big smile following that sentence!

I have also been asked if I consider the postings of GZ Legends as "chapters". In a way, yes. I prefer to call them "blog chapters". They aren't as long as a chapter from my books as I write them. I aim at a size that's more apt to suit readers of blogs. I can make them longer if people would like, but I thought between 1000 and 2000 words was more digestible. I figured the size easier to take in, low on time consumption, and hopefully enticing for more.

Really though, GZ Legends as you've seen so far, is just the tip of the iceberg. I have hundreds of characters, many alien races, and scores of adventures swirling in my head. So it's back to the writing desk and art tablet  for me!  As I go through a resharing of what's been done so far, I'll be preparing what comes next. I promise it will be extraordinary!

Oh, and in other news, more guest artists may be popping in! I'm still waiting for some news on that myself. Guest artists are welcome!

Friday, August 17, 2012

What's happening with GZ Legends

King Falcon
My aim with the stories has been to put a new part up about every three days. That has worked out pretty well. A long time ago, I asked if there were any folks out there who could critique. No one really stepped forward until recently.

The main suggestion was that I need to tighten up the writing. What is this "tighten up the writing"? I've heard it before. I've sought out answers on the internet. Like many things in writing, not everyone agrees on a solid definition.

Elimination of run on sentences is a  common suggestion. Creating more active writing is another.

Looking at some of the story entries now, you might wonder how I can have a novel going out to agents. Is my novel written the same way? Well, here's the catch. I have been doing this blog without the assistance of any editor but myself. On my novel, The Chessmen, I had the help of an editor who's very good. That editor is none other than my awesome wife, Lisa. Not only is she a published author, but works in radio. She does the fun work of making sure that radio ads fit time slots and get their message across. On top of that, it's her voice in the ads, well most of them.

My problem is that I have a big ol story in my head. I can get it on paper, but miss some things. Even in the re-reading I miss them again. Lisa has been priceless in helping with those things.

I've given Lisa my offline copies of all the GZ Legends work so far. She has agreed to read them over and jot some notes on what she sees. That would be just like she did with Chessmen. I will also be mulling them over from part 1 on up. Once touched up, they will be re-shared.

I would really like to get some of you to jump in and give your thoughts on the improvements. I know I can do this. I know that I can make this work.

For all of you following along, thank you! As always, more to come!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

GZ Legends 24: The Strykeforce Guard

            Commander Larratus almost bit a chunk off his cigar as he was introduced to Dr. Vampire and heard about the new threat of mystical artifacts set loose on their world.

            “Is there anything else this nutjob wants to throw at us today?” Larratus shouted, “We just got the location of Professor Zombie. We need to get to him and take him out of all this. He’s the one who probably knows who turned off the sky!”

            “Unfortunately, I can assure you; you don’t have that kind of time,” Doctor Vampire said apologetically. “These items can do anything from killing thousands to destroying your world. My team of guardians and I would be glad to help you. In fact, you will need our help.”

            “Why don’t you just tell us what these items are and let us decide for ourselves if we need help that we don’t know from Adam?” Larratus said.

            “Because even the time it takes to introduce ourselves may be too much of a luxury, Commander.”

            “You know, let’s just do this and get it out of the way,” Sandstorm said, “Bring in your team so we can get to know each other at least a little and lets go get these things.”

            Sandstorm looked around to his team who all nodded their agreement.

            “Oh fine!” Larratus growled. “Well come on then, where are they?”

            Dr. Vampire touched the colorful latch button for his cape and a portal of light appeared in the room. As his teammates of the Strykeforce Guard came through, each was introduced.

            The first man to step through gleamed in silver armor with a black star that centered on the right side of his chest with points that reached from up across his visor to his right knee. A white falcon stood on his shoulder and he held a dazzling sword with a pair of four pointed shuriken attached at the hand guard; Lonestar, the Starknight. Starknights served the good side of the balance to far reaches across galaxies under the guidance of the entity, the Crimson King. Each knight travels with a mystical animal companion that is impervious to damage and cannot die until it’s owner does. The falcon could not only fight by his master’s side with devastating precision, but also carried the ability to heal others. The sword and armor also carried mystical properties to protect the knight on his missions and travels. The shuriken could fly straight and true and also be sent as a beacon for aide.

           Next a woman stepped through and dropped men’s jaws at the sight. None of them had ever seen an Elven woman before, slender and beautiful in colorful leather garb with light pink bloused sleeves. A silvery tiara held her fiery red hair in place as she walked. Dreamseer could enter men’s minds and do a variety of things, to include invoking dreams or nightmares.

           The man who next came through regarded the room with a scowl and slightly fluttered his huge black wings. His long black hair was tied back in a pony- tail and his sideburns went clear to his rigid jaw. His fists clenched in leather gauntlets as he strode to a far corner of the room. The Kyte wasn’t known for being particularly friendly. He was a warrior and saw little use in small talk or frivolity.

            Finally a woman in a long tan trench coat carrying a red staff stepped through and the portal closed. Lady Traveler could open portals to nearly anyplace anyone wanted to go. Electrode almost couldn’t take  his eyes off her long wavy black hair and her mist blue eyes could pierce a man right through. 
             With short introductions out of the way, Dr. Vampire brought out a hand held monitor.

            “This will tell us when the first artifact appears. I suggest keeping this monitor here and that we split into smaller teams. That way we can hopefully reclaim the items maybe two or three at a time. Until then, I can tell that several of you are exhausted. You should get some small amount of rest while you can. The monitor could go off at any time.”

            “I just have to point out, how do we know we can trust any of you?” Atomizer asked.

            “I can vouch for them,” Nightfall said, “Council Interpol knows the Strykeforce pretty well.”

            “And I can only assure you, my friend, that we are here to help,” Dr. Vampire answered.

            Atomizer nodded and he wanted to rest but having so many new faces made that difficult to do, especially that of the Elven lady. All the same he decided to sit back and lower the brim of his hat. In his mind, it never worked to show too much interest in a woman too soon.

            Agent Redeagle was already laying back on a table across the room with his eyes closed. He was exhausted. Redeagle didn’t have the energy reserves of people like Sandstorm and Electrode. He was glad to gain a little rest period after so much action.

            Nyhtwulf approached Blacktide, “Shall we talk away from the others for a moment?”

            “Sure,” said Blacktide and suddenly found himself on the roof with Nyhtwulf. “Okay, they might wonder about that.”

            “We made a deal,” Nyhtwulf said.

            “Yeah, we did,” Blacktide answered slowly.

            “I am ready to uphold my end of the bargain now that I can communicate again. I have a new life, new freedom.”

            “Where will you go?”

            “Actually, I would like to stay with your team and continue on this mission.”

            “Well, we could sure use your help,” Blacktide said.

            “I am glad to help. So, are you ready for me to sever our connection?”

            “Um, you know, actually, what if we were partners?”


            “Yeah, everyone on the team has a partner to work with and we could be partners. We could team up on jobs against the bad guys. And if we were partners, maybe it would be better if we didn’t lose that connection, you know?”

            “I think I do know. If this is truly what you wish, Larry Blacktide Peters, I will honor it and be your partner.”

            “Yeah, I think that would be alright,” Blacktide smiled. For the first time in his life, it looked like he had someone he didn’t have to worry about hurting.

            Inside the building, Anubis stood next to Nightfall, looking in on the Vagabond.

            “How’s it going with stinky sourpuss in there?” Anubis asked.

            “Well, he gave us the location of Professor Zombie and thinks we won’t send him back to his home planet. Too bad for him, he’s wanted for a lot of interstellar crimes.”

            “Peach of a guy,” Anubis said. “But he can’t use his powers, huh?”

            “Not with those handcuffs on. They were designed by an inventor with the FBI, Anthony James. They suppress powers of anyone they’re on.”

            “Handy,” chuckled Anubis, “get it? Handcuffs? Handy?”

            Nightfall groaned, “Oh that’s terrible.”

            They were interrupted by a beeping noise from the other room.

            “We have the location of an artifact, no; we have two!” Dr. Vampire shouted from the other room.

            “Well, what are they? These men don’t go into missions without at least a quick briefing!” Larratus said firmly.

            “Well, Commander, one is in Chicago and it’s called the Skull of Sphidra. It can be worn as a helmet and grants it’s wearer great psychic powers while possessing them with the spirit of Sphidra, the Spider God.”

            “And the second one?” Commander Larratus wasn’t sure if he even wanted to know.

            “One of the Scythe’s of Death himself.”

Thursday, August 9, 2012

GZ Legends 23: Doctor Vampire

            Not everyone appeared on the New York sidewalk and street standing up. Agent Redeagle and Atomizer picked themselves up with notable moaning and groaning for aching body parts. Even Electrode seemed to have a kink in his neck as he leaned against a wall.

            “I punched Death’s brother,” Anubis said, still in a state of wonderment.

            “His little brother,” Nyhtwulf said.

            “Oh that’s even better,” Anubis tossed his hands up.

            “Well, you heard him,” Nyhtwulf said, “You face no penalty and it could be worse. Just be glad you didn’t try to hit his Mother.”

            Anubis dropped his hands by his side now in sheer disbelief, “He has a Mother? Oh I have to know, who is that?”

            “Mother Nature.”

            “Of course it is.”

            “I do not understand why you are so surprised, you work for his Uncle.”

            Anubis shook his head, “And it just gets crazier and crazier doesn’t it?” Anubis looked around for his lance and saw it leaning against a car. He opened his hand and it flew to his grasp. In all the excitement and distraction, he didn’t notice he carried something new. No one did. On Anubis’s right hand was a golden ring with a red gem. I had slipped on his finger from out in the sands of the beach. Now it waited.

            “We need to get in there and find out what’s next,” Sandstorm said. “We still need to find Professor Zombie and finish business with him.”

            “You may not have time for that just yet,” came a voice with a Romanian accent from across the street. The man stood in a dark blue bodysuit with  the winged Caduceus medical symbol the left side of his chest. He had on dark glasses, strange for days without sun, and a long cape. The cape stood up around the collar like something from an old Dracula movie and almost made his short cropped black hair invisible.

            Everyone reacted instantly. Electrode charged up and lit the area while Anubis spun and aimed his lance. Everyone tensed and readied to deal with whoever this was. The man put up his hands gently waved the them slightly to try and show he meant no harm.

            “Please, I understand your stressful position, but I am not here to fight. If you would permit me to introduce myself?”

            “Alright guys, ease up,” Sandstorm said as he stepped out in front of the group towards the stranger. “Things have been nothing less than insane, so forgive us, Mister…?”

            “I am Doctor Vampire, an agent, not unlike yourselves. I need your help.”

            “Well, as you can see, Doctor, the whole world needs our help,” Electrode interrupted.

            “Yes it does,” Dr. Vampire agreed, “That’s why I am here. I am from the Galactic Museum where the most dangerous and exotic artifacts in the universe are kept. Recently, seven of the worst of them were stolen from the museum. We have good reason to believe they have been brought here.”

            “Just how bad are these artifacts? What can they do that we should detour from stopping a madman from destroying a city,” Agent Redeagle asked.

            “A city?” Dr. Vampire responded, “My friend, these artifacts, unchecked, will destroy the world. I believe that the person behind your current predicament is responsible. If I can come in and speak with all of you, I can explain further.”

            “I guess you better do that then,” Sandstorm said.


Jonathon "Stormy" Knight
            Far across the city, in his hidden lair, Professor Zombie watched as the man with the top hat appeared on the screen.

            “I have great news for you,” Stormy said.

            “That would be good about now, considering they’re likely to be here anytime,” the Professor grumbled.

            “Oh, they won’t be doing that for a while yet if at all. They’re going to be very busy. At that time, I am going to send you a signal and then you will have what I promised you.”

            “You promised I would rule New York.”

            “And you will. On my signal, you may do with New York whatever you desire,” Stormy smiled.

            “You know, you’ve gone some very strange ways about this, Mr. Knight.”

            “Some things, Professor, require a scale of ritual for the desired outcome. Right now it looks like I’m taking over the Earth. I will confide in you this much, I have no intention of doing that. So, on my signal, Professor, do take over New York with all the zeal you please.” The screen flickered out.


Glowing to life
            In another location, far out in the Gulf of Mexico, the living hurricane had still unsettled the waters for hundreds of miles. Even without making it across Florida into the Gulf, the storm had long reach and shook sea beds in all directions. Deep in the waters of the Gulf, systems of high technology hummed to life. He had placed himself in stasis for so many years to avoid detection by his race. Now it seemed that there was activity abnormal to the area. What else could trigger his sensors? In a few seconds he knew it was more than just a stormy sea. He registered the field of darkness around the world and things beyond it. He registered that the people of this world suddenly had little way to communicate with each other. He easily scanned the surface world and registered the fires and discord. He had no idea that this world could become such a playground. It was time to wake up.

Monday, August 6, 2012

GZ Legends 22: Enter Death!

Glaring with fury

            “Okay,” Electrode said as Cyclone approached with menace, “We need a plan and we need it now.”

            Blacktide tightened his fists, “My power could kill him and we aren’t supposed to do that.”

            “So we don’t. I want you to make a deep hole under his feet.”


            “You heard me, and hurry, he’s about to lunge at us,” Electrode moved into speed mode and couldn’t be seen any longer.

            “Nyhtwulf, I hope you’re guiding me man!” Blacktide fired his disintegration power at the sand under Cyclone’s feet and he dropped. The hole only came to his waist.

            Electrode raced around Cyclone blasting at the sand and spraying all over the cosmic being while infusing the entire arrangement with lightning. In all but a second’s glance Electrode stood next to Blacktide again. They both stared at the furious Cylone, completely encased in glass.


Further into the air, and now at the eye of the hurricane, Sandstorm put his will against that of the storm. As Cyclone fought the group below, the storm weakened slightly and that was the knowledge Sandstorm needed. The hurricane resisted him, howled at him, and even tried to throw him out. Sandstorm would not relent. Sandstorm’s elemental link to the Earth didn’t just allow him to sense weather patterns on the other side of the world. Sandstorm could draw power from the Earth to limits even he didn’t know. It was Sandstorm’s will against that of the living hurricane to force it out of existence. The tug of war pulled at the very molecules of Sandstorm’s being and the face screamed at him from the inner wall of the eye.

“You aren’t going another ten feet into Florida!” Sandstorm thought through the pain, “I’m not going to let you!”


“That was impressive,” Blacktide said as they stared for the moment at Cyclone in the glass. “Lighting glass.”

“But will it hold him?” Electrode asked.

“Looks like we’re about to find out,” Anubis said as he now hovered over them, “Man, he can hit back!”

Cracks raced across the glass surface. Anubis put up a barrier of energy that stopped the glass shards from reaching them as Cyclone burst free from the torso up. From his waist down, Cyclone was still encased in the hole filled with glass. Cyclone raised his fists up to bring down and free himself. At that moment, behind the cosmic entity, Nyhtwulf rose from the ground. No one had seen the demon move from where he was resting, especially not Cyclone.

Nyhtwulf  phased his fingers into either side of Cyclone’s skull. Cyclone screamed and a wave of energy burst out and threw everyone back. The winds of the hurricane surged harder and louder.

Tell Anubis to strike now and strike hard!” Nyhtwulf called into Blacktide’s mind.

“Ahh! Don’t shout!” Blacktide looked to Anubis and relayed the message.

“Well, okay, if he says so,” Anubis charged both his fist and flew in for a high powered punch aimed for Cyclone’s face.

Anubis punched Cyclone so hard that there was another explosion of force. Glass and sand flew all around. Electrode quickly moved Redeagle and Atomizer behind Blacktide. Blacktide extended his aura forward and all sand and glass that would hit them was disintegrated.

As the glare from the attack faded, so did the hurricane, leaving only rough dark seas in its stead. Sandstorm materialized on the beach, bent on one knee and gasping from exhaustion. In the new crater, Anubis and Nyhtwulf stood over the unconscious body of Cyclone.

Electrode rushed over to check on Sandstorm who waved off to signal he was okay.

Blacktide turned to Redeagle and Atomizer who started to stir. “Oh, good, you guys are moving around.”

“I’m soaked and caked with sand,” Atomizer spat some sand from his lips.

“What happened?” Redeagle asked as he did similar, “And did you move us over here?”

“We won. And no way, man, I could never risk that. Electrode moved you.”

“So what do we do with him now?” Anubis asked as he and Nyhtwulf stared down at Cyclone.

“I really don’t know,” Nyhtwulf said and then gasped at the sound of his own voice.

“Uh, you just talked, dude,” Anubis pointed.

“Yes! I did! I can speak again! The spell must be broken.”

“Broken?” Blacktide rushed to the crater’s edge. “Does that mean you’ve completed your mission?”

He rose from the sand
As if in direct reply a new figure rose from the ground at another edge of the crater; much like Nyhtwulf had before. This person towered over them all shrouded in a black cloak with a great hood blocking facial features. Everyone except Nyhtwulf took a defensive stance as he rose. In this skeletal hands he held a great shining scythe. The figure moved the scythe out to his right side and brought the end of it to the sand. The ground shook and knocked everyone to the ground; for none were allowed to stand against him. The head raised from its downward angle to reveal a glaring skull laced with more shining metal. Death stood over them.

The gaze of Death turned to Nyhtwulf who knelt with head bowed while everyone else looked on in horror and awe.

“You have done well, my servant,” Death’s voice boomed and echoed.

“Thank you, my master!” Nyhtwulf responded still bowed.

“Rise, for you are my servant no more. You have earned your new life and freedom. You may go where you wish, but there is one more thing.”

“What is your will?” Nyhtwulf stood as commanded while Anubis sat back, still in shock.

“You now carry my favor. I will not tell you more about it than that.”

“Very well. What of Cyclone?”

Death gestured and Cyclone’s unconscious body floated up out of the crater, “I will take my brother to where he may recuperate before returning to his duties in the universe.”

Anubis jumped to his feet, “What? Your brother?”

Death turned his gaze to Anubis who immediately fell back to sitting in the sand.

“Aww, man, I never would have hit him if I knew he was your brother. I mean, I didn’t even know he was your brother. And, man, I hit him really hard too…”

“SILENCE!” Death’s voice boomed.

“Okay,” Anubis responded meekly.

“None of you need fear my wrath today. You assisted Nyhtwulf with his mission, for that you have my gratitude. Now you are charged with an even greater task. Seek the one capable of this spell on my brother and you will the master of all your current problems. On this, I have nothing more to say.” Death and Cyclone vanished from sight leaving everyone blinking for sake of what they weren’t sure they saw.

Just as suddenly, they all found themselves in the street and on the sidewalk in front of the FPA office building. Death had seen fit to return them and all they could do for several moments was stare at each other in amazement.

Dear reader: Wondering how all this happened? Catch up in the side bar or go HERE

Saturday, August 4, 2012

GZ Legends 21: Cyclone's Rage


            “We have to get to Florida now, I’m sorry, but I’m out of here,” Sandstorm looked to Electrode, “Meet me on the beach in Palm Bay.” Sandstorm dissipated into air and went out the window. Before anyone could say anything, Electrode was also gone.

            “You better get there too,” Nightfall said to Anubis, who nodded and ran from the room.

            “I’m not sure where Palm Bay is,” Anubis said to himself, “but if I fly south and head for the ruckus I oughta find it!”

            “Oh this is just great!” Larratus shouted.

            “Actually,” Blacktide said, “Nyhtwulf says this is part of his mission here. That hurricane was created by a being called Cyclone who’s under some kind of spell.”

            “And the mission is to stop this Cyclone guy huh,” Larratus grumbled, “Fine, how do we get the rest of you down there?”

            “He says he can teleport a few of us but it will strain him,” Blacktide said and Nyhtwulf nodded.

            “Alright, hurry up and deal with this so we can get back to Professor Zombie!” Larratus ordered.

            “I’ll stay here in case there’s any trouble with Vagabond,” Nightfall said.

            Atomizer took off his hat and put it on a table, “Don’t want to lose it in a hurricane.”

            Atomizer, Blacktide, and Redeagle all put a hand into their midst like a team about to do a rallying cheer and Nyhtwulf grasped them all from above and below with both clawed hands. The group of them flickered and vanished from sight.

            “Just great,” muttered Larratus.

            The group appeared on a beach currently torn by wind and water. All of them fell to the ground under the force of the gale. They could see Sandstorm and Electrode standing against the wind, looking up at the raging storm. For all of them to see, a face formed in the side wall of the hurricane and howled at them all in carnal fury and strobes of lightning.

            “You must go and help them, I will join you soon but I am taxed from carrying the three of you,” Nyhtwulf said into Blacktide’s mind.

            “Was that Cyclone?” Redeagle shouted over the wind.

            “No, just the monster he created!” Blacktide shouted back.

            “Well, I can’t punch that! What do we do now?”

            “We get over to Sandstorm and Electrode!”

The raging and living hurricane
            The three men struggled against the wind to reach their friends. Sandstorm had no problem keeping his footing against the high winds and Electrode uses his speed powers to maintain his position. The rest had to stumble and hold on to each other to reach them.

            “You may as well stay back and find something to hold onto!” Sandstorm said when he saw them.

            “What are you going to do?” Atomizer asked.

            “I’m going to merge with the storm to try and push it away from the beach. I’ll try to stop it,” Sandstorm explained.

            “What about this Cyclone guy?” Redeagle asked.

            “If he shows up, pound him!” And Sandstorm vanished.

            “Great advice,” Redeagle commented as he looked around at the bending trees, blowing water, and distant buildings about to be blown away if they failed.

            Anubis landed a few feet away.

            “Welcome to the party!” Atomizer said.

            “Hey, how’d you guys get her so fast?” Anubis asked.

            Sandstorm could feel the mind of a sentient being as soon as he entered the swirling forces of the hurricane. He could feel that it didn’t want him there. Sandstorm couldn’t help but be carried in the high winds’ circulation as he tried to make his way toward the eye. The eye felt like the epicenter of the hurricanes life force. He hoped if he could reach that, he could take over and dissipate the storm before it destroyed not only Palm Bay, but all of Florida. The storm resisted him, but Sandstorm pressed on. Suddenly, something ran into him and carried him right out of the sidewall of the hurricane. Sandstorm was shocked that anything or anyone could grab him from air form, but this person did. They crashed into the beach and sprayed sand into the wind. Sandstorm struggled to raise himself from the ground as he looked up into the angry glowing eyes of Cyclone himself.

            Electrode struck Cyclone with a barrage of lightning bolts. Cyclone waved him off with one hand and a wave of force threw Electrode to the sand. Sandstorm vanished into the sand as Atomizer threw a rock and detonated it a few feet away from Cyclone. The blast staggered Cyclone off balance and Redeagle delivered a spectacular kick to the head followed by a series of punches. Cyclone growled as he caught Redeagle by the arm with unexpected reflex and flung him at Atomizer, knocking them both unconscious.

            Blacktide raised a hand to fire a disintegration blast but was interrupted in his mind by Nyhtwulf, “We mustn’t kill him. He is under a spell.” Nyhtwulf still struggled to regain his strength from teleporting three people into the stormy area.

            “Well what do we do?” Blacktide asked and then turned to the fight still in progress.

            Anubis charged in with his lance on an impaling strike, but Cyclone caught it and tossed both it and Anubis aside. Electrode was back up and using his speed to appear in different places to hit Cyclone, but the lightning had no effect on the cosmic elemental. Anubis landed near Blacktide.

            “Nyhtwulf says we can’t kill him,” Blacktide said.

            “That’s nice to know,” Anubis jammed his lance into the sand and charged his fists with energy. “Well, let’s get him!”

            Anubis flew back at Cyclone, but Blacktide didn’t dare move. He couldn’t see Sandstorm or Electrode and one thing his powers did very well, was kill. He feared even getting too close for sake of hurting a teammate. Blacktide had no idea what to do. He even feared trying to drag Redeagle and Atomizer away for sake of hurting them with his disintegration aura.

            Anubis started landing punches as fast has he could. He staggered the muscular being backwards and knocked Cyclone’s face left and right.

            “Man can you take punishment!” Anubis shouted as he kept on with his attack, “Why don’t you just fall down and take a nap!”

            Suddenly Cyclone started blocking those punches and reacting. Anubis found himself slowly being forced back with a series of parrying attacks that he found himself having to block. Then Cyclone landed a punch to Anubis’s midsection that actually made him wince. Then a blast of cosmic force threw Anubis across the beach, past Blacktide and Nyhtwulf.

            Electrode stopped near Blacktide.

            “Where’s Sandstorm?” Blacktide asked.

            “I don’t know. We aren’t doing so good and Cyclone looks really ticked off.”

            Blacktide’s mind raced. Nyhtwulf wasn’t up yet, Anubis could be in any condition, two of them were knocked out, they couldn’t kill Cyclone, and the best bet at stopping the elemental was missing.

            Cyclone came towards the two of them glowering with rage.