Stickmaker

Masks 17: Part 1

Masks XVII: Part One

by

Rodford Edmiston

Fallout

This story is partly a catch-up with folks and events in the Masks universe following the War and partly the culmination of a subplot which has been brewing for several years in both real and story time. There will definitely be more on this in later stories.

Part One

Masks 17

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This story is partly a catch-up with folks and events in the Masks universe following the War and partly the culmination of a subplot which has been brewing for several years in both real and story time. There will definitely be more on this in later stories.

Masks XVII


by
Rodford Edmiston

Masks 16: Part 4

Masks Sixteen: Part Seven

by

Rodford Edmiston

"This is more private?!" said Gadgetive, as they seated themselves around the weathered picnic table. "There's dozens of folks watching us!"

"You'll notice, though, that they're keeping their distance," said Energia. "That's an unspoken rule; if folks come out here that means they want privacy, and that means they get it. That includes folks keeping their distance, too. It's sort of a school tradition. So, what's going on?"

"You checked for bugs, right?" said Ike.

Masks 16: Part 3

Masks Sixteen: Part Five

by

Rodford Edmiston

"Why would someone say that?! I mean, yeah, Maldren and I are lovers, but so what?! We both fought to defend Earth!"

She was sitting in the office of President Sievers' assist Gompers, a few blocks from both the White House and the Capital. He had personally invited Energia to stop by later in the day as she was making ready to leave the awards ceremony.

Gompers paged through the folder on his desk until he found some loose cards. He selected one and handed it over the desk to the upset super.

Masks 16: Part 2

Masks Sixteen: Part Three

by

Rodford Edmiston

"Could you do some narration, please?" said Schmidt, still recording as he walked at the rear with the camera, which now had the large, top-mounted lamp turned on. "I am not a veteran videographer, and wish to concentrate on this process."

Masks 16

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"I know, we're all tired," said the President, in a sympathetic tone. "I think the worst part of this recovery is the people who feel honor bound to take advantage of all the problems, rather than to help with them. Hell, this afternoon I have to meet with a member of Congress who thinks that an alien invasion and a war which cost tens of thousands of lives and caused billions in damage is no reason for him to stop advancing his personal agenda. Which is to fight against everything I do."

Masks XVI


by
Rodford Edmiston

Masks 15: Part 8

Masks Fifteen: Part Fifteen

by

Rodford Edmiston

Suddenly, Energia collapsed. Not because she had failed; because she had succeeded. There was Zeep, casually taking the load which had almost killed her. The President quickly moved to help the girl.

"Sorry to take so long," said Zeep, looking at Energia. He turned to the President. "I am limited to the speed of light in traveling."

He turned towards the trio of scientists.

Masks 15: Part 7

Masks Fifteen: Part Thirteen

by

Rodford Edmiston

"How's Moldaria doing?" I asked, tiredly, of both Gazer and the masterminds, once Rocker was back with us. Like most of us in this little task force I had created, he was wasted from fatigue, but exultant. Six times in six hours had stressed him to his superhuman limit, but each foray had been a major success.

He wasn't the only one feeling upbeat over our work. All of us were surprised at both how much need there was for it, and how much it was helping.

Masks 15: Part 4

Masks Fifteen: Part Seven

by

Rodford Edmiston

Pine Island was among the few places on Earth with a force field which was holding.

"We are getting pounded!" said Lori Savage, looking at the large video display of the attack. She turned to Junker.

Masks 15: Part 3

Masks Fifteen: Part Five

by

Rodford Edmiston

"Congratulations!" said Brade, when she encountered the President the morning after the election.

"Thank you," said Sievers, with little enthusiasm.

"What's wrong?"

"Oh, she's just now realizing this means she has to keep working here," said Howers, with a laugh. A few of the others in the room gave tired laughs or chuckles.

Masks 15: Part 2

Masks Fifteen: Part Three

by

Rodford Edmiston

Besides the President and her staff, others were also planning for the upcoming attack. Many of them were nowhere near Earth. Some of them were currently in a cavernous storage chamber which was part of a research and development facility on a major asteroid in the Shilmek home system.

"This device interferes with graviton manipulation," said the Shilmek scientist, gesturing with pride at a construct about the size and shape of a large locomotive. "That will greatly reduce the ability of their flying supers."

Masks 15

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Randy sighed and stretched as he entered the shower. These days, he was Template more than Randy. If he hadn't retired the Revolutionary he might even be spending more time as her than himself.

Myself, he thought, as he washed. Why is that pronoun so complicated for me?

Masks XV


by
Rodford Edmiston

Masks 15: Part 1

This story takes a very different tone. It is also fairly short.

Masks XV

by

Rodford Edmiston

Part One

"Some things carry over," Randy muttered, as he examined his bruises in the bathroom mirror of the island bungalow. "This would be one of them."

In a very real sense, they were actually Template's bruises.

Masks 14: Part 8

Masks Fourteen: Part Fifteen

by

Rodford Edmiston

"We have gadgeteer and mastermind inventions," said Dr. Device, chatting with Energia as he worked on the old computer tape drive. "We have things reverse-engineered from alien technology, and gadgeteer and mastermind inventions. We have things developed through standard research... these are generally less capable but more reliable, and we have a lot more of them, since they're more easily reproducible.

Masks 14: Part 7

Masks Fourteen: Part Thirteen

by

Rodford Edmiston

Deep under a low mountain, in one of the most secure sections of the Assembly's base, a bizarre ritual was performed. A ritual days in the making, due to the esoteric and unusual preparations involved. The participants were both serious and uncertain.

"Frankly, this is beyond me," said Sharma, finally. She looked over at Dr. Piano.

"It's a god complex," he said, nodding. "Rather, a demigod complex. Indeed very much like a Gift, as Paula guessed."

Masks 14: Part 6

Masks Fourteen: Part Eleven

by

Rodford Edmiston

The two men were long-time friends, though they were normally separated by an ocean and a continent. It wasn't often these days that the Guardsman - who was based in California - and the very British Walrus met in person. This was one of those times and they were putting it to good use.

Masks 14: Part 5

Masks Fourteen: Part Nine

by

Rodford Edmiston

"Ugh," said Energia, as she considered the problem one more time. Then, more loudly, "Anybody here able to help me with an electronics question?"

"I thought you were electrical," said Alex, smirking, as she looked away from the wide screen TV in the common area towards the young super.

Masks 14: Part 4

Masks Fourteen: Part Seven

by

Rodford Edmiston

"That is one slick looking bike," said Mel, more than a bit envious. Coming from a super inventor type, that was quite a compliment.

"Yeah. The guys in the engineering college really did a good job on this. The design of the suspension and gearing and such are fairly conservative - and very reliable - but the materials..."

"Carbon fiber, most of it," said Alex, rapping the structural tubing.

Masks 14: Part 3

Masks Fourteen: Part Five

by

Rodford Edmiston

The return of Monstro from its trip for maintenance attracted a small audience. The car was actually a bit famous around campus. Most of those interested, of course, were simply checking up on their favorite way of bumming a ride.

"Ooh, shiny," said Alex, when Vic got back from her maintenance trip.

Masks 14: Part 2

Note that Masks 14 follows the characters through about a year, skipping long periods of time.

Masks Fourteen: Part Three

by

Rodford Edmiston

"'Teen defenders'?" said Energia, after hearing a local news segment that evening on her team's work at the factory complex. "I'm the only member still in her teens, and that just barely."

"Yeah, but I'm only twenty, and teach has regeneration, so we all look like we could be in our teens."

"Could they have confused us with another team?"

"Not likely," said Blue Impact.

Masks 14

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"Well, it's official," said Energia, sourly, as she and the others managed to enter the upstairs hall at about the same time on the way to breakfast. "I'm a C-cup. Knew things were getting tight around the chest, so I measured, first thing this morning."


Masks 14


by
Rodford Edmiston

Masks 14: Part 1

A partial timeline for the Masks universe:

http://www.dcr.net/~stickmak/Stories/MasksTimeline.html

This story runs around 50k words. As with Masks XIII I will post two segments per submission.

Masks XIV

by

Rodford Edmiston

Part One

Masks 13: Part 21

Masks Thirteen: Chapter Forty-One

by

Rodford Edmiston

Vic sat on the bleachers pretending a calm she didn't feel. She knew what Dorton looked like, of course, having seen photos of him. Vic was surprised, though, when he came on stage; he seemed older, more worn. Less energetic. Less there. Once he started talking, though, those changes seemed to reverse. He was one of those speakers who was energized by an audience, even an unfriendly one. This one started mostly neutral, but soon warmed to the speaker.

Masks 13: Part 20

Masks Thirteen: Chapter Thirty-Nine

by

Rodford Edmiston

"Looks like you got hit here, too," said Doro, removing the wire from Vic's costume while Ray bandaged her leg. "Here and here, too."

"Thought those were punches or something," said Vic, poking the holes with a fingertip. "They were all into the composite plates, fortunately."

"Those guys must have been shooting center of mass," said Ray, nodding. "Just like they're trained. Which is why trauma plates are put there."

Masks 13: Part 19

Masks 13: Chapter Thirty-Seven

by

Rodford Edmiston

Vic popped out of the hatch onto the roof of the dorm and took off running, quickly gathering speed. She leapt, pitching forward and straightening until her fingers pointed to her landing spot and her toes pointed towards the sky. At impact with the lower roof of the Hall Classroom Building she went smoothly into a tuck and forward roll. This was as much to prevent damage to the roof as to prevent damage to her.

Masks 13: Part 18

Chapter Thirty-Five

Monstro wasn't all that badly damaged, but it was ruled by both one of the FBI men and Vic herself to be unsafe to drive until repaired. Vic was pretty sure her insurance wouldn't cover that. She didn't regret her actions. She'd stopped the man who was stalking her!

Oddly, now that the van had lost its cameo pattern it appeared to be a sort of light gray.

Masks 13: Part 17

Masks Thirteen: Chapter Thirty-Three

by

Rodford Edmiston

The insurance agent replied in kind to Joline's texted message, saying he was glad they weren't hurt. He told Joline to bring the car by his office the first working day. That was one concern dealt with, at least partially. Meanwhile, Vic called Agent Gordon, who set up a conference call with Ray. Vic's call took a little longer than Joline's texting, but was still completed quickly. Another concern partially dealt with.

Masks 13: Part 16

Masks Thirteen: Chapter Thirty-One

by

Rodford Edmiston

"Oh, there's no place like home for the holidays!" Vic sang, as they walked towards the rear entrance to the mall.

"I swear, if you sing that the whole two weeks until Christmas - like you did when you were twelve - I will smother you in your sleep," said Joline, direly.

"Sorry. Forgot how much you hate that song."

"I don't hate that song. I hate hearing it over and over. So don't play it, either!"

Masks 13: Part 15

Masks Thirteen: Chapter Twenty-Nine

by

Rodford Edmiston

Vic was rather surprised when contacted by Dr. Feldman just before lunch on Sunday.

"I apologize for the lack of notice," he explained, "but I only found out an hour ago, myself. An old colleague who is an expert in certain areas of powers - she developed some of the tests I've given you - called to let me know she could be here today. If you can be in my office at One, she will be glad to spend the afternoon with you, testing and analyzing."

Masks 13: Part 14

Masks Thirteen: Chapter Twenty-Seven

by

Rodford Edmiston

As they rode along Ray called ahead. Vic was directed to an isolated townhouse in a failed subdivision. She drove the Corolla up the drive and around back, into the two-car garage built into the basement. By the time she shut off the car people waiting in the garage had hit the button to close the door.

Masks 13: Part 13

Masks 13: Chapter Twenty-Five

by

Rodford Edmiston

Vic wasn't surprised to be called out of her first class the next morning. Physically, she was feeling fine. All her injuries from the fight were healed, and she had actually slept well. Until the call, though, she had heard nothing from the school administration. Both the delay and the call - when it finally came - gave her some cause for anxiety.

Masks 13: Part 12

Chapter Twenty-Three

by

Rodford Edmiston

Vic wasn't surprised to see light coming under the door to her room as she approached. She was surprised to find more than Alex waiting for her.

"Well?" said the youngest of the three all-too-eager inquisitors.

Vic looked between her, Candy and Melanie. She sighed, stepped in, and closed the door behind her.

"Let's make this quick. I really, really want to take a shower."

"Wow," said Candy, shocked.

"Was it really that bad?" said Melanie.

Masks 13: Part 11

Masks 13: Chapter Twenty-One

by

Rodford Edmiston

Not surprisingly, the whole campus we still in a slowly diminishing uproar hours later. Those who had actually been at the scene of the fight were especially affected by the excitement. Though one of them for reasons not immediately obvious.

"This is so weird," said Vic, a bit frightened, as she sat on her bed, rocking back and forth a bit. "Standing there, with Cosmic Ray, talking to him, I was feeling all those girly things from the romances. I even felt my heart flutter."

Masks 13: Part 10

Chapter Nineteen

by

Rodford Edmiston

"Rex, just because you're strong that doesn't mean you can ignore proper technique," said Trujillo, firmly, and not for the first time. Not even the first time to Rex. "If you're fighting someone with matching or superior strength, you need superior skill to win. Now, get in a proper horse stance and let's see your reverse punch again."

"Yes, sir," said the large young man, a bit of surliness in his tone.

Masks 13: Part 9

Chapter Seventeen

by

Rodford Edmiston

"What's all that?" said Alex, a couple of days later, as Vic entered their shared room with a couple of large boxes. She was long past marveling at how Vic's strength and dexterity allowed her to carry multiple large, heavy items at the same time.

"Care package from home," said Vic, happily. "Two of them, actually. I assume this big one is my guitar. The other should be some clothes."

Vic carefully placed the larger box on the bed, then dropped the smaller on her desk. It landed with a clunk.

Masks 13: Part 8

Chapter Fifteen

by

Rodford Edmiston

A month and a half into the semester, Vic's parents finally were able to bring her car to her.

"Hello, Monstro," said Vic, giving the fender of the old car an affectionate pat. "Wow, you're looking good."

"She greets the car before she greets us," said Arnold, dryly, as he climbed out.

"Hey, it got here first."

She gave her Father a warm and very firm hug which lasted until her Mother walked over from her own car; then Vic switched targets.

Masks 13: Part 7

Chapter Thirteen

by

Rodford Edmiston

"Never thought I'd see you in a dress," said Alex, not bothering to cover her grin.

"Never thought I'd be in a dress," said Vic, glaring at Melanie and Candy. "These two can be very persuasive when they start tag-teaming someone."

"Oh, hush," said Candy, sitting at Vic's feet as she and Melanie stitched a baste in the hem. "You're the only one I know here who's my friend's size. You can bear it for a few minutes."

Masks 13: Part 6

Masks Thirteen: Chapter Eleven

by

Rodford Edmiston

"You look tense," said Melanie, during lunch.

"Yeah, well, this being my second day of classes at a new school, I think I'm justified," said Vic.

Alex slid in between them, her tray sporting her usual odd mix of food and near-food items.

"Did you hear about Tigerl? I mean, Cindy?

Masks 13: Part 5

Masks Thirteen: Chapter Nine

by

Rodford Edmiston

"So, have you had your first period, yet?" said Alex, as a freshly-showered (Finally!) Vic got back to their room.

"That's a pretty personal question," said Vic, in an irritated mutter, as she searched in her sock drawer.

She found what she wanted and sat on her bed to pull on the tube socks.

"A) Scientific curiosity, B) I saw you putting your hygiene products away, remember and C) we're rooming together so I qualify for fair warning if I have to help you deal with it."

Masks 12

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"The students from outside the mask community are a small but rapidly growing part of our campus," Eve added, nodding in turn. "The school wasn't really intended for them, though. Some of them never really fit in, there, since they weren't interested in becoming masks. They - or their parents - just wanted training in how to use their powers; not how to fight crime, wear a costume or maintain a private identity."


Masks 12


Masks 11

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The State Troopers waited at their roadblock. All other traffic was diverted. It was just them and the armed fugitives headed their way at high speed in a hot - in more ways than one - muscle car. The brigands could outrun the police ground vehicles, and even the helicopters, but not the radios. The Troopers stood in the afternoon sun, sweaty, tense and edgy, shotguns and assault rifles at the ready.


Masks 11


by

Masks 10

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The younger man quickly and concisely relayed what had been learned. The Captain went from mildly annoyed to very concerned. He turned to the radio man.

"We still got the long wire out? Good; prepare a message."

"Sir?" said the sonarman. "What is it?"

"Tritonicus is back."


Masks 10


by
Rodford Edmiston

Masks 8

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As I walked towards the deceptively simple cabin my hackles rose. There was a strange vehicle parked in front of it, a ridiculously oversized SUV. Before I could decide what to do about it, though, I saw someone. Someone familiar. I felt an odd mixture of relief and aggravation.


Masks 8


by
Rodford Edmiston

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