Thursday, February 23, 2012

Spotlight: Ankhforce!

Around the time of the Black Death, the gods of Earths many pantheons grew restless with each other. A war broke out that spread to the stars. As a result of this, many of the gods once known, are now dead. Of the Egyptian pantheon, only Seth, Thoth, and Ptah remain. The missing gods create a gap in the balance that Destiny decides, must be fixed. Destiny and Thoth create the Powermid, a pyramid of blue cosmic crystal that will seek out worthy beings. It floats in the air one point and rotates with it's glowing power. When it finds someone worthy, it gifts them with the power and likeness of one of the lost gods of Egypt. Those chosen will be Heralds of Destiny and entrusted with protecting the balance and the lines of fate. Over the years, the Powermid has made many choices, resulting in a cosmic team of heroes:
(each person chosen is also given the artifacts of the lost god in question, including armor and headdress and a powered ankh- they also each have a special high powered maneuver for times of great need that will summon the original spirit of that god)

Anubis: The Powermid found Hakim lost in the desert and dying of exposure. It found him worthy and saved his life by transforming him into Anubis. Another aspect of the Powermid is to gift each person with the powerful artifacts once carried by the lost gods. Anubis's armor, lance and shield are all very powerful. His lance obeys mental commands and he has learned several nasty tricks with it. Unlike the original Anubis, Hakim is a comedian. He uses his wisecracks and humor to distract villains. He once used his cosmic abilities to cover a burglar in peanut butter. He co-leads the team with the first other Powermid chosen he met, Horus.

Horus is actually Keitro, a being from the Core of Time and Space. These beings are the oldest in the universe. Horus took to Anubis's sense of humor right away and they became fast friends. Horuse uses a sonic sword. The two of them have many special attack moves they created and quite a few other things. Keitro finds his age to be a humorous thing but never reveals it to anyone. Through Keitro the two also have become Guardians of the Core, each with a special artifact to assist them. One thing is for sure, when Anubis and Horus are around, it's never boring.

Ra: No one knows who Ra really is or where the Powermid chose him. He's the most serious member of the team to the point of being nearly emotionless. Ra doesn't care for the humor of Anubis and Horus, but once said it was their destiny to lead the team. Ra is detail oriented and highly intelligent. He is also dedicated to the team more than anyone and will fiercely defend his teammates. Anubis and Horus like to play pranks on Ra to try and get an emotional rise out of him, it never works. It is possible to make Ra angry, but that is a time for all others to clear the immediate area.

Anhur and Seker: were chosen at the same time. They are of a race called the Galaxians and the two friends were out working on a satellite station when the Powermid chose them. Anhur represents the god of war and is a powerful combatant. Seker represents the god of truth and light and is a speedster who cannot be deceived. The two friends never use their former names and have put all of their past behind them to dedicate themselves to their new role. The Galaxian military seeks them as deserters to this day. (Sorry, but I have to redraw Seker)

Isis: Rhana was a warrior woman of a distant world who was captured by the shaman of an enemy tribe. He was about to sacrifice her in a bloody ritual when the Powermid chose her and transformed her on the spot. Isis has command over anything magical to include magic itself. Anubis and Horus make it a priority to seek out anyone chosen by the Powermid to help them learn their new powers and role. Headstrong Isis, had no problem stepping into her new abilities and learning them for herself. At times, her stubborn independence keeps her form being an efficient teammate. Only Horus with his wise and ancient patience has managed to get through to her. Isis combines her warrior attributes well with the magical powers of Isis.

Bast: (needs to be drawn) Bast was an Elven maiden chosen while she traveled the stars. As the cat goddess, Bast uses luck powers to protect others and has the agility of a cat. Because of heightened senses, it's also difficult to sneak up on her. Bast is almost as fast as Seker and may use her dagger or claws in high speed combat. Still, ever the Elven maiden, Bast has a gentle and nurturing side. She's interested in Osiris, but hasn't shown him the interest yet.

Osiris: Melvin Hauck was beaten fatally by bullies and left by his broken wheelchair to die. The Powermid saved him and transformed him into Osiris. With the powers of the god of nature, he controls weather, plants and some animals. He also has better resurrection powers than Anubis and can summon the flames of the underworld. Melvin's life has changed more than any member and he still has much to learn. Going from a wheelchair to a cosmic hero has been quite a transition.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Showcase: The Target

            Special Agent Harold Rathbone was no stranger to high risk situations. It also wasn’t the first time someone he watched wouldn’t heed advice. The Senator wanted to go to a magic show with his son. Security was going to be a nightmare, but the Senator had promised his son the outing. No matter what Agent Rathbone had to say, they were going.
            Agent Rathbone briefed his team on the concert hall and best exits to take depending on where a threat might come from. The concert hall had no cameras and far too many ways in and out for the comfort of any agent. If it weren’t part of a historic district, the place would have been torn down years ago. Still, with intense preparation, they loaded into the limousine and SUV’s to go to the show.
            To Rathbone’s chagrin, the concert hall was packed. He and his team had to push an opening into the crowd to get the Senator and his son to their seats up in the balconies. A crowd like this set his teeth on edge. He scanned the crowds for anyone who might be staring up at them. Then he looked across at other balconies to make sure that no one seemed to be hiding or acting strangely. All he saw were smiles and laughter. The smile on the face of the Senator’s boy was almost comforting in light of it all.
            His earpiece radio crackled to life with his team checking in from various positions. Twenty men were watching from various angles throughout the hall. Agent Rathbone went through the paces of hearing from each of them. As the crowd quieted for the show, it almost seemed like all would be well.
            The magician took the stage and Rathbone couldn’t remember the last time he saw someone who looked like such a slob. Maybe it was part of the act and he was supposed to be some kind of clown or hobo. The magician wore a top hat with tuxedo, but his shirt was dirty and his pants were ragged. His assistant was beautiful, however, with a shiny outfit, tuxedo coat, and fishnet stockings. Her rainbow colored bowler hat was a bit distracting, yet somehow familiar. For his looks, the magician wowed the audience time and again with his tricks. Birds flew from scarves, cards appeared from his fingertips, and orbs of flame floated around him like old friends.
            After several tricks and check-ins his ear radio crackled.
            “Sir, I have something near the stage exit you need to see,” came the voice of one of his men.
            “I’m on my way,” Agent Rathbone nodded to another man in the balcony who moved forward to take watch.
            Rathbone moved quickly down the corridors and stairs to get to the point he was called to. He would have to go across the main floor, through the crowd, and to a back stair for the stage. He pushed his way through standing patrons to get into the main seating area and walked down the wide aisle.
            “And now for my most famous trick of all!” the bearded magician shouted, “I’m going to blow myself to smithereens!”
            There wasn’t even time for the words to sink in as the blast rocked the concert hall and filled it with smoke and screaming.  Agent Rathbone hit the floor hard from the concussive force and scrambled to move. If he didn’t get to his feet fast, he would be trampled by panicked patrons.
            “Get them out of here!” Rathbone shouted into the microphone on his collar as he ran through the smoke. No one could see more than a foot or so in the dense choking clouds and Rathbone pushed past several people who were going for the door.  He had to meet up with the Senator and get the two charges to safety. Once he was sure he made it back into a corridor, he turned right and shoved his way through the surge of bodies. He stumbled over steps and ran as best he could. All the while he barked orders over the microphone and could hear his men struggling to comply. He thought he heard that the Senator was on the move. He turned again in the smoke, thinking he found his way to the balcony, but as he stepped through, the smoke cleared. He drew his weapon and kept aim ready. He was standing on the center of the stage.
            Through the dissipating smoke, he could see that the seats were empty and a few bodies were lifeless or severely injured on the floor. A single sound of hands clapping distracted him to look up at the balconies.
            “Bravo! Good show!” the man shouted from the same balcony the Senator once sat in. He stood tall with black hair and a black diamond shape painted over his right eye. He was sharp dressed and Rathbone now knew why the girl had seemed familiar. He read reports about the Carnival of Fear and how they took down targets under these guises and shows. He cursed himself for missing it earlier.
            The man stepped out of sight from the edge of the balcony and came out from behind the curtain on the left side of the stage. Rathbone kept his weapon trained on the one called Showmaster who still clapped his hands a couple of times as he stepped into view.
            “Great show indeed, Special Agent Rathbone,” Showmaster said with a distinct English accent.
            Rathbone’s mic crackled again, the Senator was clear and on the way home. They wondered where he was, but they couldn’t get back in through the crowd.
            “You failed,” Rathbone said, “We got the Senator and his son out.”
            “The Senator?” Showmaster said, “His son? Who said we were after them?”
            Rathbone stared in confusion, “Me? Why would anyone target me?”
            “Oh, you’ve thwarted one too many assassination attempts in your career, Special Agent. One could say, you’ve gotten too good.”
            The magician, known as Mage, stepped into view and held out a hand. Rathbone’s gun flew to the magician’s grasp.
            “And your men, won’t make it back in time, I’m afraid. My girl has the crowd in such a panic they’ll be busy for far too long. But it really was a good show, wasn’t it?”
            Showmaster brought up a sub-machine gun weapon and it was the last thing Rathbone ever saw.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Spotlight: For Black History Month

I have been asked a couple of times, by interested persons, how diverse my universe is. Did I have any black characters, or how many female characters I had. Well, today we are going to look at my African or African-American based characters. Since February is Black History Month, it's a perfect time to do it. Let's start with New York and see where we go from there.

Mugandi, The Spirit of Africa: He's the title pic for this spotlight. Mugandi summons animals spirits of Africa to fight evil. As you can surmise from the picture, he can summon an elephant or a giant snake. He can also summon a lion, or even smaller animals, even a mouse. Mugandi has some natural magics he can also use to defend himself and can communicate with animals as well (though not control them). He works with World Legion based in New York, but takes trips back to Africa to deal with his most hated of criminals, poachers.

Railroad, thug for hire: Railroad used to work for, guess what, the railroads until he became a criminal. He used his super strength to lay track, no tools needed. Now he uses a long piece of steel track like a super baseball bat. Crimelords have a tendency to arm with cool gear to help him get in the heroes way. In my novel (pending), Chaos Rising, he almost beat Blacktide to death by wearing shield gloves. That way Blacktide's disintegration aura couldn't hurt him. Nyhtwulf rescued Blacktide however and put Railroad in a coma for six months.

Polaran: I didn't get his pic done yet, but I will still tell you about him. He also works for World Legion. His power can instantly reverse any moving object at the exact same speed it was going (just in the opposite direction). As you might imagine, bullets are a bad thing to use on Polaran. He can also reverse any polarity and the hold of gravity on any person or thing. Polaran loves kids and takes a lot time for kid issues and to help the underprivileged.

Mr. Zism, Voodoo master: Hailing from Jamaica, this guy has even been to other planets and dimensions to cause trouble! He completes horrifying spells with blood. If he manages to taste a persons blood, he can control the movements of their body. If he gets a person to taste his blood, he possesses them in a trance state. Mr. Zism is loaded with dark sorcery and extremely dangerous. There are good sorcerers who put themselves on call for a sighting of Mr. Zism.

Isiiah, man of many faces: Now we travel to South Africa and meet a very dangerous man. Isiiah has a condition of multiple personalities with a twist; he actually changes into all of them. Anthony James of World Legion was captured by Isiiah and managed to discover a few of the personalities, but not all are known. Isiiah is hard to track and the most powerful crimelord of his corner of the world. Of the faces you see in the pic from left to right; Spectro, Wreckage, Isiiah, Sheila, and Smiley. Smiley is a serial killer who's too friendly for your own good.

Jaman, the ninja: You can read about Jaman in my recent spotlight about the Free Agents. He and Polaran were my first black characters.

To be a complete universe, it's important that all sorts of races and styles are represented. That's not easy, but it's a task I gladly take on. So far, I think I've been fairly successful and creating a diverse world. As always there is much more to come. Hope you enjoyed today's spotlight!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Spotlight: Carnival of Fear

Today we look at a special crew of assassins  who operate under the guise of entertainers until close enough to their targets. Their killer show can draw massive crowds, great for panic issues. They treat onlookers with everything from the beautiful to the horrifying. Crime families and syndicates around the globe look to the Carnival of Fear for those tough jobs that require a special touch. The Carnival is always looking for new talent too, but be careful. If they think a new recruit is a wannabe or less than effective, that person becomes cannon fodder and gets sacrificed for the job. So who are these terrifying miscreants? Follow along:

Showmaster; the leader: William "Billy" Chesterfield likes to watch things die. While talented in several entertaining arts, killing is all he ever really wanted to do. "Mother always said to find something I'm good at and this is my very best." Showmaster is pure diabolical psychopath who demands utmost loyalty from his team. You don't make mistakes on his team until you've earned the right to do so. Showmaster doesn't often get into the thick of a fight, but that doesn't mean he can't handle himself. He's full of nasty tricks and a submachine gun with energized bullets that never run out.

Antimatter; the marksman: Maxwell Romonoff started out long ago as a sniper for the KGB in Moscow, Russia. Because of his unique powers, he was also called in to clean up large "problems". Maxwell can generate and convert antimatter energy. With excellent control, he can destroy any size of target from a person to a city block. He carries a special antimatter rifle with long range capability. The worst of this is that, once he fires a shot, he can control it's direction with his power. Few targets have ever escaped (usually heroes of significant power or sensory). As Showmaster's right hand man, Antimatter has proven to be ruthless and deadly, leaving a trail of bodies anywhere he goes. Thanks to the destructive effects of his energy, those bodies are usually scattered smouldering remains.

Post Mortem; the undead monk: No one knows Post Mortem's real name. The only thing that is known of his deep past is that he is a corrupted and tainted Tibetan monk. As a mystical undead, Post Mortem is hard to contend with. He's Showmaster's "big gun" capable of more death than even Antimatter. Post Mortem has the power to drain the life force of anything around him at as far as 100 yards in any direction. Once he's done this, he can convert that life into supernatural energy blasts. If defeated in combat, all anyone has to do is sacrifice a drop of blood on what ever remains of Post Mortem and he's back again. Post Mortem handles collections on clients who fail to pay. The only thing Post Mortem can't do, is change his appearance, even with magic. Some think this is because of some form of curse.

Mage; the magic act: Charles Prestwick looks like a washed up magician with no where to go. His clothes may have been neat at one time, but now are shabby and dirty. He's also something of a drunk. So why would Showmaster keep him around? Mage has a power called 'magic control'. He can command magic to do anything he wants, without the training of a real sorcerer. Mage is very good at it, even when drunk off his heels. Mage loves to pull monsters out of his hat and throw them into the crowd when they need a good panic to cover activities. Showmaster knows that people underestimate Mage because of his appearance. That mistake has cost many lives.

Four-Score; the muscle: You have to admit, a Teri-Moor warlord makes for a great strongman act. Add in the power to teleport and mastery in all sorts of combat and you get a killer for sure. Four-Score can wipe out a large number of security personnel in seconds. He's also a military strategist capable of out-thinking any human security force on Earth. Four-Score has also gotten into many a hero's path while the rest of the team escaped. Since Four-Score can teleport from planet to planet, he could also easily escape once his team was clear. His main reason for being with the team is his rage. Four-Score is angry with his own race for stopping their war with the Orcanians. The last thing he wanted was peace with a race he hates. He would kill Orcanian targets for free, but Showmaster won't allow it.

Wildcard; the gambler: Wildcard shakes up any situation he gets into because he's a power mimic with some serious luck. His real name is Ethan Saint James and he comes from Las Vegas. Any power his team or opponents can use, he can too. He's not as good a mimic as Major Xeroh of the Chessmen, but still effective enough for the job at hand. Ethan also carries a few strange gambling items of high technology. He has trick cards, dice, and a slot machine belt that you never know what they'll throw at you. Wildcard's power of strange luck has a tendency to shift things where you least expect it. Of course, that almost never turns out bad for him or his team. On jobs, Wildcard likes to set up gambling to score some extra cash before making a kill. Gambling also serves as a great distraction to crowds and targets alike.

Videotron; the walking arcade: "Would you like to play a game?" If you hear that from this dark robot, you need to run. The reality warping technology of Videotron sucks people in to play deadly video games. The only way out is to beat the game. If that doesn't work, Videotron is loaded with high tech weaponry for a fight. Videotron serves as a form of security for any hideout the team holes up in. Videotron doesn't give the team much in personality, but has proven to be a useful tool.

Carousel; the show girl: Lief Leonne is a psychopath's dream girl. She often poses as Mage's sexy assistant during magic shows, but she has a nasty trick of her own. She can cause vertigo so bad that it causes victims to have strokes and heart attacks. It's dizziness that does direct life force damage. While she works with Mage her heart is only for Showmaster. Showmaster allows her to be "his girl" but may only be using her. Even so, Carousel is quite happy in her position even though it puts her at odds with Antimatter.

When the team is off duty, they frequent hideouts in places like Hawaii, the Virgin Islands, the Bahamas, and Jamaica. For this they have a moving hideout filled with automatons and carnival deathtraps. It's very difficult to find them and they move location at random. It's thought that they have other locations not yet discovered. If discovered, they are on a "do not approach" list for standard law enforcement including FBI or CIA. They've killed off too many standard human task forces to count. Only powered teams should approach or attempt to handle the Carnival of Fear.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Spotlight: The Free Agents

Today’s spotlight is on a special team, discovered by the Chessmen in their second book (in process). They are the Free Agents.  The original team consisted of Argas, Ojo, and Jaman who fought for their lives in space arenas. They were slaves to an interstellar bloodsport organization who called themselves, “the Gamers”. The Gamers underestimated Argas’s strategic genius and the three friends escaped during a bloody riot. The Gamers seek revenge to this day. 

Moved by their experiences, the three friends decided to form a team to stand against oppressors and other victimizing types across the stars. While they expect to be paid, they have a tendency to accept various forms of trade or just whatever a client can afford. Because of this, the team has a hidden base where they have livestock, tools, weapons, and a vault of odd items given to them.  If a threat is particularly evil enough and threat to enough innocent people, they will do the job for free.  They also will challenge the Gamers for free because the Gamers have a tendency to raid villages and resort to kidnapping.

Since their escape and formation of the team, several others have joined up, making the Free Agents a truly formidable force.  Now, for the member of the Free Agents:

Argas Metrax, the leader: Argas is a genius strategist and builds his own weapons. He carries four Metron Slammers that look like sawed off shotguns with similar loadable shells. These high impact energy shells can blow an unarmored man in half.  Once he’s fired all for, he resorts to a rifle and sometimes a sword. His starcycle is also loaded with weapons and tricks. Argas has learned to be a ruthless combatant and strives to end fights quickly. As an arena fighter, he’s capable of defending himself from nearly any position. Despite using weapons like the slammers, Argas is a deadly marksman. In all, Argas doesn’t believe in the word ‘helpless’.

Ojo, the sorcerer: Ojo is a Charak. The Charak are a race of people about 5 to 6 inches tall. They have a variety of artifacts to protect themselves and most are adept sorcerers. Ojo is no exception.  Ojo stays on Argas’s shoulder (which is amazing in combat) and supports the team with a variety of powerful spells. He mostly does healing magics with a few well-placed energy bolts, but he’s stood his ground against the likes of Maestro by himself.  He makes great use of his race’s artifacts, such as the atomic marble. You guessed it, BOOM. Ojo is a bit of a joker and his sense of humor gets inappropriate at times. Argas taught Ojo to count on others underestimating him and to use that as a weapon.

Jaman, the ninja: Jaman was a human black man from the Bronx before a spacial anomaly sucked him into the Twilie dimension. The energies of that dimension altered him forever. He can travel through shadows and even control them to a degree. While he was there he was trained in combat arts similar to, but more powerful than ninjutsu. When he finally escaped the Twilie dimension he did it on a barren rock of a planet and was picked up by the Gamers. Jaman rarely speaks but when he does, it’s best to listen. Jaman is a lethal fighter, capable of using almost anything as a weapon. His best tactics are in stealth with bladed weapons. 

Warhorse, the muscle: Not only is he strong, but he has some special attributes. His horn has the same powers of healing and curing as a regular unicorn. It also has the tendency to repel or cancel magical attacks, powers, and energies. Argas designed Warhorse’s giant hand cannon. This weapon creates large blasts that scatter enemies and make big doorways wherever needed. Warhorse, was already a good fighter, but since joining the team, he’s been tutored by Argas and Jaman both. Warhorse is very bold and fearless, which often gets him into trouble.

Lypsi, the Althamite: Althamites are the smallest race known at just 1 centimeter tall. What’s amazing about their race is the ability to auto-equalize their strength to anyone else within 50 yards. So Lypsi can punch just as hard as anyone else she is with.  Since she can fly over a hundred miles per hour, she can be highly destructive. Lypsi doesn’t bother with weaponry very often and carries quite a chip on  her shoulder regarding size. Lypsi feels she has to teach the giants that size isn’t everything.

Grand Commander Surok of the Telki: The Telki people are aliens with elongated heads and three eyes. They have four digit hands and feet and a lanky build. Despite their light appearance, they are agile and durable. One endearing issue is that they don’t take damage from heat or fire. Part of this is thought to be because they developed their technology around the fiery gemstone, pyranium. Most of their weapons are either powered by it, or made of it. Surok is a decorated officer of his race and a knight to boot. He’s equally deadly in combat as Jaman, if not more so. Surok became a member of the team when they joined forces against the Gamers on another world. Unless summoned by his people, Surok is always close to the Free Agents. Surok’s  attitude is lighthearted and refreshing to his friends.

Talachek, the demon:  Another quiet member of the team is Talachek. He will speak more often than Jaman but prefers to remain unheard and almost unknown. His power is control any magical item or artifact within 50 yards. This won’t work on blessed items, but that hardly matters with all the enchanted weapons enemies like to bring to a fight. Talachek mentally rips the weapons right out of enemy hands and commands them to go on the attack. Talachek protects his true identity with his helmet that never comes off, if he can help it. He doesn’t want anyone to know that he is a demon or especially what kind. Talachek follows the god of Dragons, Zanakar and has a few powers like a dragon as well. When asked about them, Talachek mentioned he preferred  commanding some fool’s enchanted armor to run them off a cliff.

So, that’s todays spotlight on the Free Agents. Hope you enjoyed it!