Protostellar #1 – Assemblage pt. 2

Protostellar

 

 

ROANOA, THE HALL OF HERITAGE

 

Three men stood toward the back of the hall, assembled in a semi-circle around a singular book lying closed on a pedestal of ancient oak; a resource not found anywhere else on Roanoa besides heirlooms and ancient relics of their civilizations.

Cordell Abramson and his father stood with the Council Elder. The Elder was the tie-breaker in all matters related to social indecision. Only when the Council could not solve issues themselves would the Elder intervene. It was also the responsibility of the Elder to protect and open and close the Book of Origin.

“It is true, however, that nothing before now has any relevance. As you have come of age and you are the son of a Councilmember, it falls to you to succeed your Father,” the Elder explained. Cordell placed him in his seventies, noting the triangular white beard that seemed to lose itself in the large ankle length robes of white and gold.

Cordell responded with silence, the weight of the Elder’s words not yet settling in. His eyes were drawn to the ages old leather bound book. The edges of the pages within were coffee brown and rough, implying antiquity. This apparent fate that he was hearing for the first time was underwhelming but seemed to be of some higher importance to the other two men with him.

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Spellbound #1 “Rise & Shine”

spellbound

The alarm clock went off as Lucky Sullivan’s hand reached out from under the blanket to find the snooze button. After three failed attempts to find the clock to stop it, he just pointed a finger at it, muting it without even touching the device.

“Lucky, it’s time to get up!” Jerrica yelled from the kitchen downstairs. “You’ll be late for school!”

Lucky groaned as he sat up and planted his bare feet on the floor as his six foot frame stood up. He headed toward the bathroom, scratching the back of his sandy blonde hair as he started the shower.Continue reading

Protostellar #0 – Assemblage

Protostellar

ROANOA, THE HALL OF HERITAGE

Cordell Abramson was unnerved despite walking alongside the one man who had been at his side his entire life.

“Father, what is this all about?” The two men, one of senior years and the other just reaching the defining age of adulthood , walked shoulder to shoulder down the long sprawling hallway toward that led to the Chamber of Legacy.   The walls on either side of them were adorned with heritage, browning photos of families and leaders passed and ornate tapestries depicting family crests for those that rose to prominence within the Roanoa State.

“It is not enough for us to celebrate your day of birth today, my son. This will be a day of disclosure for you, the day in which all will be laid bare. You will succeed me once you embrace what the Elder has to tell you. Today you carry on our family name through enlightenment.”

“And you couldn’t have told me this earlier? I would have… dressed for the occasion?” Cordell’s attire was casual, not celebratory. His father wore the Robes of Truth with his sash of station, worn diagonally across his shoulder from shoulder to waist.

“All in due time. Anything you wore up until now is inconsequential. Once the Elder speaks with you, you will take my dressings and your life will truly begin to matter.”

“Wow. I would have thought it mattered all along…”

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Ape-Man #1

Ape-Man

“The Ape-Man!”

by Scott Casper, thanks to Lee and Kirby for Tales to Astonish #35

180th Street & Daly Avenue, The Bronx

September 5, 1962

Bernie Spengler stood at his favorite newsstand and plucked a 12-cent comic book off the rack, right out from under the big sign that read ‘cigarettes’.  The last time he’d bought a comic book, they were only 10 cents. Bernie did not balk about the price increase, though; he had a lot of free time on his hands today and much to take his mind off of.

“You read that stuff?” a familiar voice asked. Bernie looked up at Jacob Stern, his coworker as of yesterday. Wearing his gray suit and matching Fedora with his customary red tie, Jacob looked just like he was heading into work — which Bernie, supposed, he did too, just out of habit.

The newsstand was at the corner where the two men would meet every day before heading to Dr. Carter’s office in the Bronx Zoo, where they had worked as assistants, at least until Carter had dismissed them. They had letters of recommendation from Carter and his promise to help them land jobs at any zoo in the world — but their jobs were “no longer required” here.  

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Slips #1

Slips

As Cyrus expected, Viola was pissed.  Amina didn’t look happy either, but that young woman always appeared to be two seconds away from cussing you out in a mixture of bristling Spanish and English.  Considering the types of things they dealt with, the two ladies having a “take no shit” attitude probably kept everyone on the team much safer.  Viola saved his life more times than he could count.  The same could be said of everyone on the team to one extent or another.

The red corvette that pulled up behind Viola’s black truck held the last two members of Cyrus’ squad.  Azura looked serious as always stepping out from the driver’s side.  In complete contrast, Rowen’s playful, boyish expression he came out the opposite end.  The five of them to handle a Level 2 Tear seemed a bit much, but these were holes to an infinite array of dimensions.  His organization’s arbitrary classifications could be proven wrong at any time.

Night crept up on them so it worked to their favor that they were only dealing with a lower tier Tear.  Anything higher and he would have to make some calls to contain the light show.  As it was, containing Viola’s anger might be hard enough.  She leaned against the hood of her truck, a black woman with long limbs knotted with muscle.  Her eyes, golden and cat-like, narrowed at his approach.

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A Darker Light #1

ADL

Planet: Kanta (Capital World of The Quisar Systems)

The purple sky choked, rank with the exhaust fumes of slender transport ships moving precious metals from the planet.  Aluminum, bauxite and nickel carried by the tons away from the atmosphere to larger vehicles that would take the materials far away from the gleaming, metallic cities of Kanta.  Vita looked up from her throne, adorned with black and silver spikes, at the fast moving ships.  Anything to keep her mind away from present events.

She grew tired of the long line of executions carried out in the Social Districts of Kanta’s metropolises, but the traitors had to be rooted out and cleansed like the sea scum that washed on the borders of her capital.  Those who stood against her could not be tolerated and the hundreds of Quisan gathered here wanted confirmation of that.  In so many ways she agreed with their sedition, but they did not know the trouble they would bring to their people if she allowed them to succeed.  So she found her middle point and watched each death out of respect for their noble intentions.  The least she could do for them.  Her close proximity to the executed worried her advisors, but a curt word kept them at bay.

As Malkia of The Quisar Systems many demands required her attention.  This swath of death came from darker voices that Vita could not choose to ignore. So she watched as three Tax Captains, resplendent in blue, each walked up to buzzing circular platforms.  Towers of iron, glass, and steel surrounded them, but not a single one looked up.  They knew the freedom that the sky provided and just a glimpse would be a terrible reminder of what they did not have.  Vita wanted so badly to give them what they desired, but it could not be.  She could not lose billions to save a few.   She could not preserve a finger and lose the entire body.

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A Darker Light #0

ADL

The door to the bunker closed behind Zari, sweat dripping down his brown skin.  Traversing two miles of forgotten underground sewers on foot took more effort than expected.  Thick, old air in the bunker didn’t go far to help his recovery either.

Standing in front of him as he wiped away fresh sweat were Wordshaper As’Dina and his two nieces, Jarisay and Kedis.  As’Dina’s deep, round brown eyes already knew the truth of what Zari couldn’t bring himself to say.

“They’re coming,” As’Dina said to a stifled nod from Zari.  The Wordshaper turned to his two nieces, five and three.  He bent down to look at them with a smile of necessary comfort.  Zari wondered how he could manage such expression when death wanted all of them.  Despite all the misfortune that befell them, the girls smiled with genuine happiness.

“So my beautiful Princesses, remember how I told you that you going for a ride?” As’Dina asked, his voice full of charm and kindness.  Zari fell in love with the kindness in that voice many times over.   By all the planets in the galaxy, he didn’t want this moment.  He didn’t want any of this.

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Slips #0

Slips

Cyrus twisted his silver wedding ring around his finger.  That symbol of commitment weighed heavy on him.  As a child in southwest Louisiana, better known as Acadiana to the locals, his Father always imparted on him the importance of follow through. With a gruff voice born from time in the Army, his Father would look down on him with blazing brown eyes and say, “Son, a man can be stripped butt naked, but he’ll still have his word.  It’s one of the few things in this world they can’t take from you.”  In the rural South anytime a black person said “they” you could be almost sure they were talking about white people.

Five years tomorrow and he had yet to buy a gift.  Cyrus could see his Father shaking his head in disappointment.  A happy wife made a happy life or in his case a happy husband.  Davone never placed his worth in a material good, but in this insistence the gesture held importance.  You had to make your partner feel like a priority and flat out forgetting to buy them a gift didn’t convey that.  Standing up from his swivel office chair, Cyrus closed the tan blinds.  “Dad, I wish I had your knack for this whole marriage business.”

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Spellbound #0 – Welcome to the Family

spellbound

“One more push!” the old nun shouted as the young woman in the bed, drenched in sweat and tears, did as she was told. The woman screamed in pain, giving one last good push until the screams of a new born baby boy were heard over his mother’s cries.

The new life was quickly cleaned in a wrapped in a blanket as the young woman in the bed finally started to relax as the nun carried the baby toward the door.

“My… baby,” the young woman said. “Let me see my baby.”

The nun looked at the young woman’s father standing out in the hall, giving the nun a stern look.

“Please, I need to see my baby,” the young woman said with sadness in her eyes, already knowing the answer. “Please.”

The nun just stared away, knowing she’d be facing those eyes every day for a very long time as she walked out of the room with the child.

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Ape-Man #0

Ape-Man

The Ape-Man — who is he?  What is he?  The startling answers to these questions could be found, one night, in the laboratory of Dr. Raymond Carter.

On this fateful day, Dr. Carter stood alone in the office, brooding, his long shadow cast over the room as he faced the twilight outside his window. In his hand, he clutched a letter from the administration of the zoo that housed his lab. The zoo wants to see results! Raymond thought. My funding depends on it. The future of my research depends on it!  If I am to save both, then I must succeed tonight!

Raymond Carter carelessly tossed the letter towards his desk and exited the room, bound for the test subject cages that lined the corridor outside his private lab. The familiar tread of his shoes on the tile floor signaled a chorus of chattering from the caged animals.

“Plato,” Raymond said, touching the bars of the cage holding his prized orangutan. Plato was suffering from hepatitis. “Johnson,” he said, reaching over to the cage of the strong, healthy, but troublesome gorilla in the next cage over.  “Let’s see if my newest adjustments produce any results.”

Circling the cages to the entrance to the lab, Raymond unlocked this inner door, turned on the lights inside, and opened the back gate to Plato’s cage. He coaxed Plato with a banana onto the titled gurney that would be the receiving end of the ray. Plato was conditioned not to resist when being strapped down by being rewarded with food before and after. Johnson was more problematic; instead of being strapped down, Raymond had needed to devise a smaller cage that could hold Johnson in place while the ray was passing through him.

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