Friday, November 25, 2016

Schism (yet another superhero story)

“Ok, team, let's try to maintain the element of surprise for once,” Palidin said to the others. “They probably don't know they tripped the alarm so--”

There was the distinctive sound of someone punching through a cinder-block wall, complete with brick facade, and audible alarms started blaring.


“What the Hell!?” came Mishap's voice.  “Are you following me?”

They rounded the corner of the store and saw Mishap standing with a cheap soda in her hand, looking at a hole in the wall.

“Unlucky accident,” Mastodon said as he walked through the hole.  “I know you want your space.”

“Traitor!”  Mishap flinched.  Mastodon's palm met his forehead.

“You'll pay for shooting Tinker in the back!”

Three more villains came through the hole in the building's wall, Tinker in the lead.

“Quit yelling, we're all right here,” Pathfinder said.

“Multiplicity recommends against referring to yourself in third person, Tinker,” Multiplicity said.  “That is Multiplicity's trademark.”

“But is it a registered trademark?” Mishap asked.

Mastodon sighed.  Then he noticed something too far away for the heroes to see, “Why do you have that out?  The heroes aren't even here yet.”

“Actually they are,” Mishap said.  Mastodon looked to her, and she must have signaled him somehow, because he then looked directly at the heroes.

Paladin raised his hand as if to wave and said, “Hi,” in a confused way.

“Ok, they are here,” Mastodon said, “So you should be pointing the raygun that way,” he pointed to the heroes.

“Did you not hear me say that the traitor would pay for shooting me in the back?” Tinker asked.

“You call that shooting?” Mishap asked.  “It was more like a shove from a distance.”

“Even if it had been strong enough to be classified as a shot,” Mastodon said, “provided it stayed non-lethal it's not like you didn't deserve it considering some of the stuff you said to her.”

“Silence your insolence!” Tinker said.  “She must pay.”

“Ok, how about this:” Mastodon said.  “Let's do some math.  Ten people here.  One neutral party,” he pointed to Mishap, “leaving four of us and five of them.  Not bad odds considering all we need to do is escape, not win.

“However, if you hurt my friend, I'm definitely going to be against you.  That would leave you outnumbered two to one.  Much worse odds.”

“You threaten me!?” Tinker shouted.

“Enough with the loud,” Pathfinder said.

“While we're on the subject of stupid,” Mastodon said, “'Kill the witch'?  Seriously?  Since when are we killers?  We're thieves.  Of course she disobeyed.  Who wouldn't?”

“We're villains, they're heroes,” Tinker said, “it comes with the territory.”

“Actually,” Pathfinder said, “I don't remember 'killer' being on the job application either.”

“Turncoat,” Tinker growled.

“You'd better think over whether you really want to alienate me,” Pathfinder said.  “If I'm against you, and you bring Mishap into this by attacking her, that leaves you outnumbered four to one.  Your odds keep getting lower.”

Tinker made a wordless sound of frustration, then shouted, “Retreat!”

Multiplicity followed him.

“He never stops with the loud,” Pathfinder said.  “I hate the loud.”

“We're going to need to find a new team,” Mastodon said.

“Let's make sure the name doesn't include a number,” Pathfinder said; “I hate having to do a full re-branding effort every time we gain or lose a member.”

“We can figure out the name later,” Mastodon said.  “There's a more pressing matter: whoever gets back to the lair first is going to loot it and leave nothing for the others.”

“It's a race,” Pathfinder said, “and we'll win.”  He paused a moment.  “But it would be too easy if I didn't give them a head start.”

A few moments passed in silence, then Pathfinder started to jog away and motioned Mastodon to follow.  Mastodon did, but just before he disappeared down an alley he turned back and shouted, “Keep in touch,” to Mishap.

“Well,” Mishap said to the empty air, then sipped her soda, “that was weird.”  Then she walked away.

The heroes were left alone.

“So,” Erratic said, “that did not go at all how I expected.”

“Aren't we going to chase?” Errant asked.

Paladin sighed.  “Even with Mastodon slowing him down, Pathfinder's too fast for us to catch.”

“I meant Mishap,” Errant said

“Our legal authority is very restricted,” Paladin said.  “It only applies to what we were called in to do.”

“She wasn't part of the robbery this time,” Page said, “so she's outside our jurisdiction.”

Paldin nodded, then said, “If we go after her because of her outstanding warrants, without being specifically tasked with that, we're just vigilantes.”

“So, what do we do?” Squire asked.

“We patch the hole in the wall,” Paladin said, “wait for the police to arrive, and tell them the bad guys got away this time.”

~ ⁂ ~

I'm going to have I have a post going into more detail about the characters I've worked out (the villains and the hero Tinker previously ordered Mishap to kill) and the events leading up to the villains' team breaking apart, but for now here's the names of the the people on or previously on the two teams:

The Knights Errant and Erratic

Whether anyone is cis or trans I haven't worked out yet, but they're all gender conforming.

Other than Mishap, team villain is all male.
Paladin and Errant are male, the other heroes are female.


  1. The more superhero stories, the better.

    (How do people even manage to come up with heroes' and villains' names that *work* and aren't *too* ridiculous? I fail at it forever.)


    1. Thanks, and I lost everything I wrote about hero and villain names.

      After looking up the "Just relax, pal. It's cool to have a code name. It's not that weird," quote and everything.

      I know that THE powers that be in comics (DC and Marvel) have come up with a lot of bad names. Some are silly, some are "meh", some are "Seriously?"

      Cloak and Dagger are a pair in Marvel where his power only comes out when his cloak is lifted, and she has the power to create daggers. Very imaginative, those names.


      Some questions I ask are:

      Is this a given name or a chosen name?

      If given...
      - did the person giving it know about powers or whatever?
      - did they care about that?
      - why were they giving the name?

      On that last one, "Because my child had to have a name" isn't the same as "Test subject 24601 had too many syllables" which isn't the same as "Calling him 'Flordia man' doesn't make for catchy headlines."

      If it's a chosen name:
      - why did this person decide to chose a name other than the one they were given?
      - did this involve their powers / [hero/villian]ing activities?
      - do they care about what others think of their name?
      - what did they think about when picking a name?


      Corvida of the Outland Reach, Corv for short, was raised with the name. The only change she made to it is that she created a short form.

      Mishap is part of a team with a public face where it's expected that you take on a public name that's related to your powers. You can make a guess at her powers if you like, though the write up will be up soon.

      The heroes in the above are part of a theme-team, so all the names relate to knights in some way.

      Downburst wanted a name that evoked fast winds, but "Straight Line Wind" isn't a good villain name so he ended up going with the thing that caused straight line winds. Podarke's process included focus group data. Both felt constrained because "all the good names were taken".

  2. I'm interested in these characters, but this was too dense for me. Had a hard time staying with the story. Might be better when placed in context so that I'm used to the speaking styles of the characters, but even so, it feels too talky for scene that seems to be set in the middle of an action sequence.

    1. I agree with this, tho I appreciate the big font and lots of space...

      Breaking it in to smaller sections would help, and I have some suggestions there, but more breaking it up and wrapping it around...stuff? Pictures would be ideal...

      It might read better as a script. Part of the excessive amount of words is things like "she said," and stage-direction-type description that might be better backgrounded in parentheses.