[ASH] ASH #76 - Four To Never Prologue: Time Enough
Dave Van Domelen
dvandom at haven.eyrie.org
Fri Jan 5 18:01:32 PST 2007
The cover shows two golden rings, intertwined. One glows with a sort of
Kirby Krackle aura, the other is is wreathed in shadow. Blurry and in the
background are a ring of light and a ring of ice.
//|| //^^\\ || || .|. COHERENT COMICS UNINCORPORATED PRESENTS
// || \\ || || --X---------------------------------------------
//======================= '|` ACADEMY OF SUPER-HEROES #76
// || \\ || || Four to Never Prelude: Time Enough
// || \\__// || || Copyright 2007 by Dave Van Domelen
ACADEMY OF SUPER-HEROES ROLL CALL
CODENAME REAL NAME POWERS ASSIGNMENT
-------- --------- ------ ----------
Solar Max Jonathan Zachary Spacetime Control AMERICA
Comet Sarah Grant-Taylor Superspeed, Ice Body AMERICA
Scorch Scott Handleman Pyrokinetic CANADA
Green Knight Salvatore Napier Strength, Regeneration MEXICO
Fury Arin Kelsey Concussion Blasts MEXICO
Contact Aaron Zander Psi, Mind-over-Body DIPLOMATIC
Breaker Christina Li Telekinesis DIPLOMATIC
Essay Sara Ana Rodriguez Gadgeteer VENUS
Peregryn Howard Henderson Jr. Elemental Mage VENUS
Beacon George Sylvester Living Light VENUS
Geode Unknown Living Crystal VENUS
Lightfoot Tom Dodson Velocity Control TRANSIT
[March 15, 2026 - Chicago, Illinois Sector]
"Gah, I'd rather be fighting Supernaut," Scott sighed after the
teleconference screens went black.
JakZak chuckled. "Yeah, debriefs are a pain. And think, eventually
you'll have a team of your very own and get to be in on all of these
sessions. At least right now, you only have to show up when you were
actually involved in an incident."
"Don't remind me. We're all doomed to be desk jockeys, aren't we?"
JakZak shrugged. "I expect we're too useful in the field to ever get
tied down to a desk permanently, but...yeah. Administrative stuff is gonna
loom larger and larger in our lives, now that we're becoming the old men of
"I think it's a clever plot to convince us that trying to set up our own
little fiefdoms would be too much work," Scott smirked.
"You're right," JakZak replied, totally seriously. "At least, in part."
"Come on, you know that we've been getting jerked around one way or
another for years."
Scott nodded, a slightly sour expression on his face.
"Well, Grind and I had a chat about this after the Doublecross thing in
Paris. He's convinced we're all being groomed for leadership roles, either
politically or militarily, on the grounds that we're likely to end up running
"Ah yeah. Better to give us the hard life experiences before we're in
charge, see who breaks."
"Exactly. But the more I've thought about it, I think it's more than
just preparing us to lead. It's also about making sure we think of ourselves
as part of the Combine power structure, instead of getting ideas about
pulling a Manhattan and setting up our own 'little fiefdoms'. The real
reason ASH was put together and *kept* together wasn't just to fight
supervillains in the TwenCen style, although we do that often enough. No,
it's to integrate us into the Combine's leadership, so that we think of it as
ours, and ourselves as part of it. Just look at the past few years, we've
gone from essentially five super-nations and neutral Australia to eight, plus
had a bit of the Combine carved off to be more or less part of Khadam.
Monaco is only part of the EU in the loosest of terms, and the Moslem
Confederation is on the verge of breaking into at least two pieces over the
failure of the war in Greece. And most of these fragmentations can be blamed
on superhumans taking power."
"And the Combine would rather that once we decide we should have a
bigger role in policy, we don't express that by splitting things up like
China," Scott nodded. "Still, they have to have realized we'd figure out
what they were doing to us, and be pissed."
"Of course. They already know that some of us have figured it out. But
they hope that, at worst, we'll take it out on the people responsible, not on
the nation as a whole. Remember, the old men in charge these days were
generally minor bureaucrats back in 1998, forced to hold things together
despite it being WAY above their pay grade. And above their inclinations.
There's still a few power-hungry politicos in the mix, but most of the older
ones went the Godmarket route and vanished in the False Rapture. So we're
left with the competent but unambitious types who really just want to do
what's best for the people, even if they end up meeting unpleasant ends.
Noble, if uninspired and uninspiring. And sometimes misguided and amoral. I
sometimes wonder if they're such jerks to us just to make sure we have a
negative role model to rebel against."
"Hah. They're doing a good job of it, in that case. I mean, really.
Sending us into that organlegger ship had to be...hey, you know? I never
really thought about it, but why do the Santari need to buy black market body
parts anyway? Shouldn't they be able to clone replacements?"
"I asked about that once. Something about their weird genetic
bottleneck situation even causes rejection of cloned tissue most of the
time. Their scientists have never been able to figure out why. They can
make full clones, use the bits in their Scytharian borgs, but not in
"Weird. Anyway, do you suppose we'll need to be total assholes to our
kids too, to make sure they don't grow up to become tinpot tyrants? Hell,
Radner's already got kids, you can be sure they're gonna be a terror by
JakZak frowned. "Unfortunately, that doesn't look like something Sarah
and I'll ever have to worry about ourselves."
Scott winced. The Taylors had been pretty successful at getting around
most of the problems that came with Sarah being made of ice, but not all of
them. "Gah, sorry man. I wasn't thinking."
"Yeah, well. Maybe we'll adopt...."
* * * *
[March 16, 2026 - Falcon Bay, Venus]
"Stop squirmin', Sara!" Clara chided her older cousin. "I know you're
all butch mosta th' time, but for once in your life you're wearing a dress,
so get used t' it!" The southeast-facing windows of the prefab building let
in plenty of the "afternoon" sunlight, and the wedding dress shimmered in the
"Are you sure Mama wore this?" Essay asked Clara. "I mean, this is
"Psssh. It's what Mama remembers wearing. You know th' real thing got
burned up along with all th' wedding pictures in th' Big One. But that mind
reader hunk you work with pulled the memory outta Mama, so you get t' wear
it, even if it *is* a bit...embellished." Clara was an Ybarra, related on
Sara's mother's side, but the massive quake that hit the Los Angeles area in
2013 had taken so many chunks out of the extended family structure that
Essay's mother had ended up becoming just "Mama" to most of the kids who
"Did it have to be let out so far on Mama?" Essay patted her belly,
clearly showing she was in her ninth month of pregnancy.
Clara laughed. "I can't picture Mama ever fitting into this, 'letting
out' or no. But I guess even she was flaca once. I bet she was about as
entitled to wear white as you are, though."
Essay shuddered. "Ai. I don't wanna think about Mama having sex.
Ever. It's just one of those things you know hadda happen at some point,
The two laughed.
* * * *
[March 18, 2026 - San Francisco, California Sector]
"Okay, we got five Rodriguezes, seven Ybarras, two Martinezes, and one
Matsui," Tom ticked off the names on his list and compared them to the
passengers strapped into the shuttle. "Anyone else I don't know about
supposed to show up at this pickup point?" The one Japanese man was a bit of
a surprise, but apparently the extended Rodriguez clan had "adopted" several
orphaned kids after the quake, and weren't too picky about racial
background. There was more diversity among the Rodriguezes than there had
been in his entire hometown growing up, if you ignored the college students.
"Nope," an older hispanic, one of the Martinez family, replied. "Jaime
was gonna show up, but he made it on an earlier flight."
"Right, I remember that one," Tom nodded. "Okay, everyone strap in.
This baby uses gravitics, so the ride is usually smooth, but the upper
atmosphere sometimes has a few surprises."
In fact, it almost never did, not really. But he threw in a few jinks
and wobbles on purpose for the younger kids, who loved every second of it.
This was the first time any of them had been into space, and other than the
trip back, might be the last. Why not make it a little more memorable?
Once he was out of the atmosphere, he took readings from the navcomputer
and poured on the speed. "We should be at Venus in about an hour, it's safe
to unbuckle. But don't horse around too much, or you might throw off the
ship and we'll miss Venus," he said with a wink to Mr. Martinez. Actually,
the navcomputer could compensate for anything short of a full-on superhuman
brawl inside, but it'd keep the smaller kids in line. Hopefully.
About ten minutes in, one of the teenaged boys came over to talk to
him. "Heya...Javier, right?"
The boy nodded. "Are you excited about the Prix Ultime?" Javier asked.
"Oh, you a racing fan?"
"Yeah! Mostly Formula One and some NASCAR, but *everyone's* talking
about the Ultime on the racing groups. Mostly about how Chambers got rooked,
though. You ever talk to him?"
Tom smirked. He could tell where the real racing fans' priorities
were. Not with the johnny-come-lately paranormal drivers, but with one of
"their own" who was eligible. "Once in a while. He didn't start until last
Fall, and I was already most of the way out of the Academy again. I suppose
I can tell you now, since it's due to go official tomorrow anyway, but Bobby
got an outside sponsor, so he'll be in the Ultime too."
Bobby Chambers had been a promising racer on the Formula Junior circuit
when his reflexes went from impressive to superhuman. A few tests later and
he'd been ejected from the normals-only circuit and enrolled in the Academy.
However, while a paranormal race like the Prix Ultime would be just the
thing to let Bobby get back into his chosen career, the Combine government
had decided against sponsoring him. Taking place on the Grand Prix course in
Monaco, the Ultime was just too likely to draw supervillain activity to risk
an untried paranormal like Bobby, so Tom had been sponsored. He had less
real racing experience, but if things got hairy, as they were almost
guaranteed to with Conflicto as one of the racers, Tom was a lot better
equipped to survive.
No need to tell Javier that Bobby's "outside sponsor" was Derek Radner,
though. Bobby had almost turned it down, and a lot of people in the
government would have been really pleased if he had. That bit of info
getting out even a day early would get Tom in hot water, so better to just
keep it to himself.
"Bobby's gonna kick your ass," Javier smirked.
"He can try," Tom smirked back, mimicking Javier's tone. "There might
be speed limiters on the cars, and he might have super-reflexes, but for me,
moving at a hundred meters per second is like a gentle stroll. I'll eat him
alive in the cornering."
"Just keep tellin' yourself that, 'Lightfoot'...."
* * * *
[March 20, 2026 - Falcon Bay, Venus]
It was a beautiful late afternoon day, and had been for a few weeks.
The weather on Venus had settled down, with the most severe storm systems
staying mainly at the day-night terminator, and only occasional brief showers
roaming across the day side.
Thousands of people were gathered in the natural amphitheater facing the
bay, repesenting nearly the entire population of the settlement, plus guests
flown in from Earth or even from other settlements on the planet. A pair of
centaurs represented the "ruler" of Venus, while Conflicto of the CSV was
present and actually behaving himself.
But the places of honor on either side of the main stage were taken by
friends and family of the couple. To one side was most of the membership of
ASH, as well as those agents of STRAFE who had gone to school with Peregryn
and Essay, and a scattering of North American Combine government officials.
To the other were the dozens of Rodriguezes, Ybarras, Martinezes and other
members of the extended clan Essay called family. Foremost among them was
Mama Rodriguez, matriarch of the clan, who radiated enough force of
personality to match the entire other side's luminaries.
Peregryn and Essay stood together on the central stage, flanked by
JakZak Taylor and Clara Ybarra as Best Man and Maid of Honor. Peregryn wore
robes that evoked his usual uniform, but were fuller and longer, and billowed
in the light sea breeze. Essay wore the elaborate bridal gown that her
mother swore was the spitting image of the one Mama Rodriguez had been
married in. JakZak wore his fanciest dress uniform in russet and gold, while
Clara had on a light blue dress similar to Essay's, but less elaborate.
There was no priest, for this was not to be a Catholic ceremony,
something that had caused some friction on the bride's side, but had been
settled eventually. Instead, JakZak added the role of master of ceremonies
to his other duties.
"Friends, family, fellow citizens of two worlds," JakZak started, but he
paused as a shadow passed over the crowd.
Near the horizon flew a great ibis of golden metal, circling lazily to
the southeast, its mighty wings blocking out the Sun intermittently. But
that wasn't enough, for below it rose the titanic head of the Leviathan
herself! And from the west a deep thrumming could be heard as the stone
beetle Heraclius appeared atop the hillside, as if from nowhere.
None made any move to advance further...they merely watched.
Clara elbowed her cousin. "Idiota! They were listening!" she hissed,
referring to Essay's jesting invitation to the giant monsters to attend the
"Everyone stay calm..." JakZak started to say, but he didn't sound as
sure of himself as he'd have liked.
"There is no reason to fear," added the voice of a woman, which seemed
to be coming from everywhere and nowhere. "There is a truce today, for the
joyous event," she added.
And then, as if merely ascending a staircase cleverly hidden inside the
solid rock of the stage, a dusky woman with glimmering, sun-bleached hair and
robes that shifted like sunlight on the water rose up between Essay and
The groom fell to one knee, and in the crowd, Yvan Viau let out a gasp.
"Stand, Peregryn," the woman said, motioning with her hand. "You owe me
no honors, it is I who owe you. And, indirectly, you as well," she fixed
Yvan with a smile.
JakZak furrowed his brow and turned to Peregryn as the mage regained his
feet. "Who is she?"
"She is the spirit of this world," Peregryn replied. "Venus incarnate."
"Call me Inanna," she laughed. "I know you two had planned to have no
one officiate over this marriage, but would you allow me the honor?"
Essay blinked. "Sure?" she replied, a bit shocked. Peregryn simply
Inanna turned to face the crowd. "And welcome, all of you. If it
helps, you may think of me as a native-born superhero," she smiled, setting
the people at ease with equal parts charm and what amounted to the
supernatural charisma of a demigod. "As I said, I owe a great debt to this
man," she gestured to Peregryn, "and I have a feeling that their child," she
now turned her hand to Essay, "will play an important role on this world.
So, how could I resist coming here and helping them have a wedding that
everyone will be talking about for years?"
The tension somewhat drained from the scene, everyone resumed their
places on the stage.
"I believe you two wrote your own vows?" Inanna asked, her smile never
* * * *
The rest of the ceremony had passed in a bit of a haze. Perhaps it was
a bit unfair of Inanna to upstage the bride on her day, JakZak thought, but
it also helped draw off some of the ire Essay's more devoutly Catholic
relatives had at the fact Howard wouldn't be joining the Church. At least
Essay had sworn in her vows to raise their daughter Catholic...unfortunately,
Inanna had almost giggled at that, which *definitely* didn't go over well.
It was still a bit worrisome that the kaiju hadn't left yet. Sure, the
reception was set up in a cleared area farther from shore, so the Leviathan
was barely visible on the horizon, but Heraclius continued to loom over
everything, and Bronzewing was flitting around almost randomly through the
"Yep, Sultry will definitely have a hissy," Conflicto smirked, then took
a sip of his punch as he walked up to JakZak. "Totally upstaged."
"Hello, Eugene," JakZak replied, his best diplomatic smile pasted in
place. "A little more drama, this time, too."
"Oh, I don't know about that," he winked. "We're just better at keeping
the drama off-camera. Ask Coulter about it in, oh, five years or so."
Whatever JakZak was going to say in response was cut off by a commotion
from the dance floor, where Peregryn and Essay had been leading the fifth or
sixth dance...JakZak had bowed out after three to mingle.
"The baby's coming!" someone shouted from the knot of people that had
clumped around the couple.
"Heh. Okay, maybe it's a tie," Conflicto chuckled as JakZak rushed
* * * *
"The head's out," Doctor Poell said. Essay had been moved to a cot at
the edge of the reception area, and privacy barriers of posts and curtains
hastily erected. The OB/GYN had insisted they be on hand in advance, just in
case. And she'd been right.
"Does it hurt?" Clara asked.
"Not...really," Essay replied. "A lot less than I thought it would."
"Hah, we Rodriguezes are tough," Mama smiled, holding Essay's hand.
"Are you doing something about this?" Peregryn asked Inanna, who stood
just inside the curtain.
"No, I'm merely bearing witness," the planetary spirit smiled. "I'll
leave it to you new parents to discover all the wonders of this birth
"Shoulders now...a little narrower than I thought they'd be," Dr. Poell
commented. "Now, one more pu...she's out!" the doctor said, surprised.
"Congratulations! It's a...boy?"
"WHAT?" Peregryn and Essay said in unison.
"Yes, many wonders," Inanna smiled knowingly, then vanished.
* * * *
Claudette Viau landed gently in the open-air reception area, next to
Conflicto. "Good day, Eugene. You're looking well."
"And you're looking a lot smaller than last time I saw you," he winked.
"You're late for the festivities...the wedding *and* the birth."
"I tried to get her earlier, but that damned bronze-winged monstrosity
up there wouldn't let me past until just now," she turned to point at the
ibis, but it had vanished. "So, is the mage's child a boy or a girl?"
"Well, from what I heard, all the prenatal tests, including genetic
ones, showed it was going to be a daughter. But she's got the wrong
equipment for that to be the case."
Claudette laughed, a somewhat harsher sound than Conflicto cared for.
"This should be interesting. Well, I expect the happy couple is going to be
rather busy, and confused, for a while. Could you tell them I have a gift
for them when you get the chance?"
"Oh, what would that be? A unisex baby onesie?"
"No, I've decided to let Peregryn visit the Dorval Airport and see if
he can undo one of the many things he regrets having been unable to fix.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to talk to my brother...."
* * * *
"Is our baby a boy or a girl?" Essay demanded of Dr. Poell.
"The chromosomes still test as XX, Mrs. Henderson," the doctor shrugged,
looking up from her diagnostic computer. "And the external genitalia were
not present in the scan I performed last week. But I think I have the
answer. Look at this," she swiveled the display screen around to show the
parents. "This is backscatter scan taken during the actual birth. Remember
how I seemed shocked at how quickly your daughter was born? Look at this, in
"The skeleton...is shifting?" Peregryn frowned. "She's a shapeshifter."
"Dios," Mama Rodriguez gasped. "Even poor little Carlos didn't show any
talents until he was five...my grand...daughter is born paranormal?"
"That's how it looks. Obviously, the Magene doesn't show up in any DNA
tests, but there's precedent for paranormal expression in utero, especially
for children of paranormals."
"As happened to Arin Kelsey," Peregryn nodded.
"Exactly. Fortunately, this time it was totally benign, if initially
confusing." Arin's son had been born with time-twisting powers that
accelerated his gestation and nearly killed Arin in the process, and an
Anchor had been required as a wetnurse to keep him from dying of old age
before his first birthday. Any obstetrician working with paranormals worried
that their patient would be another Christopher Kelsey.
At this point, Sarah Grant-Taylor stepped into the curtained-off "room",
bringing a chill with her as a byproduct of her icy form. "Peregryn, could I
talk to you? Conflicto just passed me a message from Caryatid that you
really need to hear. NOW," she added with a mixture of hope and desperation
tinging her voice.
* * * *
[March 21, 2026 - Montreal, Venus]
The shuttle settled down on the somewhat cracked and ill-maintained
taxiway of Montreal's Dorval airport. Lack of care combined with the
occasional subsidence had rendered it unsuitable for the large jets it was
designed to support, but gravitic-drive craft like the ASH shuttle only
needed a clear space the size of the vehicle itself for their VTOL operations.
"I still don't trust her motives," Solar Max noted cautiously, shooting
a glance at his wife, but referring to Claudette Viau.
"*I* don't trust her motives, and she's my sister," Yvan countered.
"No matter what she tells us, you can be sure there's at least one more
reason hidden under the surface."
"I was going to say you're being paranoid, darling," Comet smiled
weakly, "but if Labyrinthe thinks it's a trap..."
"I don't think it's a trap," Yvan interjected. "There's ulterior
motives, and then there's the hidden dagger. I've known my sister long
enough to tell the difference. No, if there's a trap involved here, it's not
immediate, and may not even be to your detriment. For all I know, this is
part of some complicated diplomatic ploy, and she's using this to gain points
against a rival. The Sans Rouge claims to follow her loyally, but I've known
most of them for a while as well, and I doubt all of them have given up on
being at the top of the hierarchy without at least some regret."
Peregryn, who had been silent up to that point, shrugged. "There will
be a cost. There always is. Whether part of that cost goes to pay Caryatid
is, at this point, immaterial. You have both suffered long enough because of
my inadequacy," he nodded to Solar Max and Comet, then led the four out onto
"Hello my brother, and guests," Claudette beamed from the doorway of the
"Greetings, sister. We have come in response to your invitation," Yvan
frowned slightly. "Your uncharacteristically generous invitation."
"You wound me, but you are essentially correct, Yvan, it isn't much like
me, is it?" she continued to smile. "You have not been here since we were
released from our duties," she referred to the months they had spent holding
back the then-lethal environment of Venus, "but I have had time to
reacclimate to our city. And the link between this one," she pointed
casually at Comet, "and the place of her transformation has been a nagging
thorn in my side. One I would prefer to pluck out. And if it improves
relations with our neighbors, and between us, my dear brother, so much the
Peregryn seemed to reflect on this for a moment. "A plausible motive.
Your soul-link to Montreal is deep, and the reason the city followed you into
banishment. The fact that Comet yet lives proves that her link to her body
is intact, despite the intervening time and distance."
Yvan turned to the others, as if to remind them that there must be
another layer, then nodded. "Very well. Shall we get started? Peregryn has
a bride to get back to."
* * * *
"Move your arm down just a little bit more," Yvan advised, focusing on
the faint spatial distortions caused by the link between Comet and the plane
of elemental ice.
"Oh...I can feel it. It's like settling into a...groove in the couch,"
Comet finished somewhat weakly. She had disrobed so that nothing foreign
would "swap" along with her body, and stood on an inch-thick layer of ice to
raise her up to the level of where her boots had held her before Cockatrice
had turned her to ice.
"Now stay exactly in that position," Claudette advised. "Peregryn, you
will have to pull at her flesh and blood, Yvan will push at the ice that now
forms her body, and I will seal the rift behind you both so that there is no
disastrous intrusion. On the count of three?"
The other two nodded, focusing on the tasks at hand. Peregryn held a
lock of Sarah's hair from before the accident, allowing him to use
sympathetic magic. Labyrinthe focused on the rippling edges of reality that
grew ever weaker the longer Comet overlapped herself. And Caryatid...was
prepared for what she was to do.
There was a blast of wintry wind that blinded everyone for a moment and
a cold howling that ripped at hearing.
When it was gone, Comet stood there, a statue of ice.
"No!" Solar Max gasped.
Then the layer of rime cracked, fell away all at once, revealing Meteor,
shivering but alive, unchanged since that moment in July 2024 when JakZak had
thought he'd lost her forever. She was even clad in her old uniform of green
There were no words. None were needed. He gathered her up in his arms
and didn't let go for a long time.
* * * *
The "heroes" had left, Yvan with them. But he would be back, Claudette
reflected. The rift between them had healed a great deal today. She had
spoken truth, as far as it had gone...the irritating splinter in her spirit
had been removed, and she had won a nice public relations victory.
Claudette snapped her fingers. A column of ice in the form of a woman
appeared before her, a caryatid of purest elemental cold that aptly
symbolized her new link to that plane.
"But there's always fringe benefits, too."
* * * *
[March 22, 2026 - Imdr Regio, Venus]
Imdr Regio was in the early to mid-morning of the year-long Venusian
day, past the morning storms but not yet into the full oppressive heat of
midday. The Sun hung warmly in the west, with only the occasional thin cloud
passing in front of it. Waves churned by storms hundreds of miles away
lapped gently at the pebbly beach, and wind blew the trees in gentle swaying
motion. The occasional bird could be heard, but the small island off the
main Regio was devoid of any larger life.
All in all, about as idyllic as it got on Venus. Perfect for a
honeymoon. Or a second honeymoon.
Sarah rolled over on the beach blanket and sat up, closing her eyes and
enjoying the warmth on her face. "I feel a little guilty about this. I
mean, Howard and Essay are the ones who got married, but they're stuck back
in Falcon Bay while we run off here."
"They've got little Evangelina to keep 'em busy, this would be wasted on
the proud parents," JakZak smiled, running a hand along his wife's leg.
"Besides, someone may drop us in the middle of a plot to destroy the world
tomorrow, let's not waste time worrying right now. There's time enough for
"I suppose there always *is* tomorrow," she winked, and leaned over to
kiss her husband warmly.
* * * *
[April 14, 2026 - Monaco]
Lightfoot watched as the scale-covered mage Glyph cast her spell on his
silver and white formula racer. While the car's own speed limiters would
cause parts to break if he tried to use his powers to go too fast, there was
always the concern that he could use his abilities offensively. True, he had
to be touching something to make it go fast, but even Chambers was getting a
glyph on his car to prevent his powers from working more than a meter from
the car...and Chambers's only power was super-reflexes.
Then again, you never knew when someone might manifest a new ability in
the heat of action. And, of course, if there were exceptions made, he *knew*
Conflicto would manage to get himself made an exception too. He could just
make out Eugene's garishly-painted car at the other end of the pit, and
Eugene was probably underneath it, tinkering. They'd both come back to Earth
a week ago to prep for the race, but Tom had managed to avoid the Conclaver
most of the time since then.
All in all, it had been a quiet few weeks. Not much had happened once
he got all of Essay's relatives back to Earth. The weather was even nice,
although he knew that was Sultry's doing more than anything else. Races
generally weren't scheduled for April, on account of April showers and all
Still, he couldn't shake the feeling that someone was walking on his
grave. That there were storms on the horizon that Sultry couldn't hold
back. Maybe it was just a byproduct of his lifestyle, but it really felt
like the other shoe was getting ready to drop, and it was a 14EEE....
The Prologue to "Four to Never" continues in CSV #26, "Time Trials," the
first issue of CSV to come out since 2003! And then come back here for Lap
1 of "Four to Never," as time itself fractures in ASH #77, "Time Traps"!
Grind and JakZak's talk happened in ASH #41.
Yes, the Santari cloning bit was in response to Saxon Brenton's review
comments about #75. :) I've decided on the root cause, but it's not
something I want to bring up in-story until I'm ready to do something with
"Formula Junior" is not actually a circuit for minors, it's just a lower
cost/experience circuit. Kinda like minor leagues for formula racing.
Most of the events surrounding the wedding of Triton and Sultry in CSV
#25 are unknown to those not personally involved, and Coulter's wedding gift
to Triton was to promise to not leak the photos or story until seven years
after the wedding. He kinda bent that when he gave up Gimble's location.
Dr. Poell is a semi-Tuckerization of my own physician, and while he's
not an OB/GYN, he does share space with several (which makes for an odd wait
in the waiting room for me, since the door is labeled OB/GYN). Maybe he has
a daughter or niece who took up doctoring. :) BTW, the name is pronounced
"Poor little Carlos" is Carlos Rodriguez, Essay's younger cousin, and
one of the final victims of the Burnout Killer (see the Academy miniseries).
Sarah Grant-Taylor was turned to ice during the Battle of Montreal, in
CSV #15. She regained her ability to move despite still being made of ice in
ASH #33, and soon after took the codename Comet.
"Four to Never" is one of those ideas Tony and I have been kicking
around in one form or another for years, pretty much since CSV #25 came out,
if not longer. Since then, Tony's been busy writing professionally,
including being a finalist in the Writers of the Future competition with one
story and then coming in second in the first quarter of 2006 with another.
An earlier draft had it kicking off at the Grand Prix in May, but Tony had a
burst of writing earlier than I expected, and rather than try to jump ahead
an extra month, I suggested a paranormals version of the race in April, which
Tony dubbed the Prix Ultime. And, of course, given that Lightfoot was named
after a racecar Transformer, he *had* to be involved. :)
For all the back issues, plus additional background information, art,
and more, go to http://www.eyrie.org/~dvandom/ASH !
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