[ASH] Derek Radner's Private Journal #3 - Assets

Dave Van Domelen dvandom at haven.eyrie.org
Sun Feb 24 16:18:12 PST 2008

[December 2, 2023]

     It's good to be putting pen to paper again, and not have to be so
guarded about what comes out.  Sure, they'd give me simple writing materials
in prison, reasoning correctly that there's limits to what even *I* can build
from what's at hand.  But I had no illusions that anything and everything I
wrote was being scrutinized...the puzzles I wrote for my watchers to scratch
their heads over could make for an interesting game show some day, though.
     I expect I'll be writing later in a format more suitable to my eventual
memoirs, but for now I just want to set down on paper some of the ideas I had
while "paying my debt" to a society that owes me more than I'll ever owe it.

(underlined)It's good to want things
(double underlined)It's better to GET them

     A while back, I decided that when I grow up, I want to be a strategic
superhuman asset.  I suppose I should step back a few paces and explain what
I mean by that, if only to order my thoughts.
     Prior to the 20th Century, warfare was marked by sea power and land
power.  Last century introduced air power to the equation, and later atomic
power.  But treaties signed in the 1960s ensured that this was as far as the
progression went.  It wasn't until the collapse of most world governments in
1998 that those treaties suddenly became, well, powerless.  And with all the
supernormals vanished along with global stability, there didn't seem to be a
huge rush to re-establish the agreements.
     Of course, the old men who were in charge of what remained of the world
weren't idiots.  They saw that superhumans would return, and no one really
wanted to tie their own hands militarily.  The 21st Century is clearly going
to see air power and atomic power supplanted by a new battlefield king, super
power.  You can see it in ways subtle and not so subtle at the Academy, the
way that even the ones without obvious combat powers still have mandatory
"phys ed" style courses that teach military discipline and chain of command.
How our history classes seemed to be more focused on international politics
and the history of warfare than on other matters.  Although, come to think of
it, I think most history classes focus more on wars than anything else.  Wars
are sexier than peace.

     (Doodle in the margin of an atomic bomb wearing a cape)

     Like air power and atomic power, super power can't do everything.  With
the exception of a very few supernormals, they just can't hold territory the
way that land and sea power can.  I think my mysterious partner Mr. Strings
might be one of those exceptions, but I really hope he isn't...the thought
that the only reason humanity still has any individuality left is that
Mr. Strings prefers it that way is...unsettling.  I really hope he has some
hard limits, and that those limits are significantly lower than "2 billion
     But getting back to the analogy, super power is, militarily speaking,
much like air power.  Very concentrated, able to reduce assets very
efficiently, but not as good at holding territory.  We're too concentrated
and can't be everywhere at once, even speedsters like the new Mrs. Taylor-
Grant.  And like air units, we can be divided into tactical and strategic
     Tactical units win battles.  Fighter jets, air cavalry, that sort of
thing.  Strategic units win wars, even if there's not going to be anything
left worth having when you're done, as the case would be if strategic atomic
weapons were used.
     Nose is an example of a tactical superhuman resource.  He can't topple
nations or destroy planets, but he can certainly sneak around in a battle and
turn the tide.  Drop him naked behind enemy lines, and in a week he'd have
sabotaged their most effective units and found himself a really nice pair of

     (Note in margin) Remember to drop Nose naked somewhere if I get the

     Johnny-boy Taylor has the potential to be a strategic resource, though.
He controls a fundamental force of reality, and it wouldn't take much
training or equipment to let him do things like orbitally bombard entire
nations into submission.
     As for me, my electrical generation powers are purely a tactical level
threat.  I didn't even rate a Fetter, from what Rebus tells me.  And while my
inventive genius is certainly impressive, if I do say so myself, I'm more of
a tinkerer.  I doubt I'd ever come up with something on the level of
Doublecross's photonic conversion process, or true AI like Doc Droid
     Tactical resources tend to get thrown into fights with little say as to
whether they go.  Strategic resources, especially ones that can think for
themselves, have a much better bargaining position.  If the guy who can toss
mountains around thinks the battle plan is a bad one, you have to listen to
his opinions.  And I want my opinions to matter, which means I need to find a
way to upgrade myself from tactical to strategic.

     Now, I'll give the Senate credit for having half a clue here.  They
don't seem to have any program in place to try to pressgang supernormal
prisoners into the military.  That sort of tactic works reasonably well when
you're dealing with poorly trained peasants or socioeconomically
disadvantaged draftees from the inner city.  Not great, but not horrible.
But loyalty matters when you're talking about the equivalent of a fighter
pilot who can't have his jet plane taken away.  A loyalty officer isn't of
much use against someone like me, unless he's a psi of some sort, and then
you're just concentrating your resources more heavily.

     (Note in margin) Rebus as loyalty officer?  Loyal to whom, though?

     Hence the Academy tries to inculcate loyalty along with training.  The
Eurasian Union has a similar program, and you can bet that China's been
indoctrinating all those superhumans they claim not to have.  They were
content to keep me out of circulation in maximum security until such time as
I either demonstrated I'd gotten over my "youthful rebellious streak" or
proved I should never be let out.
     Or, you know, let myself out.

     So, each nation is working to build the nucleus of the new "big stick"
of warfare, a superhuman cadre, without being blatant about it.  A treaty
barring superhumans in warfare is unlikely to happen now, Khadam would
certainly never agree and everyone else would insist they needed their own
superhuman resources to defend against Khadam.  But something like the old
SALT and START treaties does seem likely, once people stop being able to
pretend there's no superhuman military units.  And with that sort of thing,
the more you can build up before the treaty starts, the better your
bargaining position.
     The Combine has the Academy of Super-Heroes, the Eurasian Union has
something called EUROPA in the works.  There's a few superhumans in the
Moslem Confederation, but last I heard they hadn't put together any sort of
organized force...too hamstrung by their religious prohibitions against

     (Note in margin) Eurasian Union Ruling Order Paranormal Authority?  Who
comes UP with these things?

     Looking back at how my academic advisor was steering me, it's pretty
obvious my career path was to be a tactical resource in this cadre.  Like
Srta. Rodriguez, I'd make gadgets for the soldiers to use, or maybe even join
Nose in the occasional sabotage mission.  No matter how well I did or how
high I rose in the ranks, I'd still be a grunt on some level, leastwise for a
long, long time.  
     But if I could make myself over into a strategic resource, I'd get to
say what my missions were.  I'd jump-start my career path, as it were.
Triton had been one possible path towards that...not just training on the
side, but also practicing for a shot at Haven.  There's bound to be usable
technology down there that even a mere "tinkerer" like me could use to become
powerful enough to write my own ticket.  And I still think Haven's a target I
need to hit, but now that I'm decidedly outside the system as a criminal,
that pushed me onto the second path.

     (Doodle in margin of the artificial island of Haven)

     The other way to be a strategic asset is as a commander, you see.  If I
could gain control of existing strategic-level superhumans, or at least
enough tactical-level people to collectively pose a strategic threat, then
I'd make the policy and the battle plans.
     While I have other motives for founding the new Conclave of Super-
Villains, I must admit that one of the more selfish ones is that it gives me
the global reach I crave.  Even without a nation of my own, the CSV lets me
wield the power of a nation.  And there's plenty of opportunities to set
myself up as ruler somewhere, even if it's just one of the devastated parts
of South America or sub-Saharan Africa.  Strategic superhuman assets make for
excellent warlords, after all.
     A sufficiently potent non-governmental group could find themselves
invited to become a governmental asset, as well.  While inside I heard
whispers about something called the Otakuza in Japan.  Like the Paragangs of
Manhattan or the Vogue Ghouls of Europe, but far better organized than
either.  The Otakuza is quietly recruiting a great number of tactical
superhumans and may even have a few strategic ones...Japan's government could
find themselves at some point in need of superhuman defenders and be forced
to make a deal with the nominally criminal Otakuza.
     So, I have many options.  The stronger a team I can make the CSV into,
the more easily I can exercise those options.  Set myself up as a warlord and
finesse that into international respectability?  Convince the Combine they
need my services more than they need me behind bars?  Find some other smaller
nation willing to make a deal, perhaps one not so enamored of their current

     (Note in margin) Several smaller EU nations feel left out, might be
worth exploring alliance talks.

     Yes, I have definitely improved my position since those first heady days
as Triton.  But the higher you fly, the easier it is for enemies to get a
bead on you, so I'd better be extra careful....

            This has been a Conclave of Super-Villains Special:
   ( )                Derek Radner's Private Journal                 ( )
    I           An Academy of Super-Heroes Universe Comic             I
    I               copyright 2008 by Dave Van Domelen                I
                              #3 - Assets

Author's Notes:

     Just some musings that came to me while driving.  Typed up offline,
since my cable (and hence cablemodem) was down all weekend.   Then I used a
jumpdrive to transfer it to my EEE, and cut and pasted it into a Konsole
window hooked to my Eyrie account.  Technology is grand, even when parts of
it are sucking.  Anyway, I'd just finished up with this when the cable guy
came and fixed the problem, so I'm actually posting using my regular
     I figured this one would work better as a post-prison entry, since it
seemed a little too sophisticated for Derek in 2017.  And he did eventually
write those memoirs, as seen in Time Capsules #2 among other places.
     Of course, writing a 2023 story from the perspective of having already
written up into 2026 means I can have Derek be extraordinarily perceptive,
seeing things coming that I know will happen, since I've already written
about it.  But Derek *is* a supergenius...he should be able to see things
coming.  :)


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