ASH: ASH #105 - Rival Schools Part 5: Chasing ADA

Dave Van Domelen dvandom at
Tue Apr 13 08:16:23 PDT 2010

     [The cover looks like a hand-painted black and white movie cel, with
Netwalker dressed up as a Victorian era gentleman being menaced by reptilian
aliens on a strange world.]

 '|`  /|(`| |        Rival Schools Part 5 - Chasing ADA
     /-|.)|-|        copyright 2010 by Dave Van Domelen

                         RIVAL SCHOOLS ROLL CALL

CODENAME       REAL NAME           POWERS                   SCHOOL
--------       ---------           ------                   ------
Red Widow      Cecilia Mendez      Force Tendrils           Anger Management
Netwalker      Nate Walker         "Cyberspace" Transport   Field Exercise
Justice        Colin Shaw          Electricity Generation   ASIE


[August 30, 2026 - San Antonio, Texas Sector]

     The first rule of the Magene is that it breaks the rules.  What you can
do is really only limited by how hard you're able to push on reality to
convince it to let you have your way.
     The second rule is that reality is very VERY hard to push, and you need
a lever of some sort.  Or a wedge.  Any of the "simple machines" works well
as a metaphor, really.  Some way to get an advantage, to turn a fairly weak
push into a strong result.  Magical ritual is one of those levers, and so are
tightly-defined powers...if you only ever break one rule you get good at it.
     Netwalker's lever, his ritual, was his tie to the net.  In theory, he
could create any sort of pocket dimension he wanted and have it resonate with
his home reality enough to have direct effects.  Or maybe he simply located
pre-existing pocket realities that did what he wanted and redecorated, no one
was completely sure.  But he simply didn't have the ability to bend nature to
his will that completely, so he relied on the metaphorical connection to the
internet to help him drive a wedge into natural law.  He could only affect
those parts of reality that were hooked up to computers, although with a
little magical help he could affect similar networks like he had with the
Photonics.  He could only access computers that were connected to a network
that he had physical proximity to.
     99% of the time, that was more than enough.  Computers were everywhere,
and almost all of them were connected by wires or radio signals to the same
network.  Security could be difficult to get past, the real world resistance
it offered resulting in metaphorical barriers in the pocket reality, but
"hard to get into" was not the same as "impossible to get into".  No, most of
the time the only real limitation his powers placed on him was that his body
stayed behind.  He couldn't enter the internet in Texas Sector and step out
in Dubai, even if he could enter the computers in Dubai.
     Unfortunately, ADA's machine was in that one percent of cases where he
was having trouble.  The Advanced Difference-Engine Autosophont wasn't
connected to a network, it probably couldn't even manage the most forgiving
of protocols.  He wasn't even certain that his subconscious would recognize
the brass and steel difference engine as a computer in the first place, it
was so utterly alien.  And then there was the little matter of the physical
machine being out of his range.  He needed physical proximity to get in, and
he didn't really like to think about what might happen if he exhausted
himself on the way in and couldn't maintain the connection.  Would his spirit
be trapped with ADA?  Would he simply die?  He doubted that even the best
case of simply snapping back to his body would be painless.
     Peregryn could probably help, but he was on another planet and was
either disinclined or simply unable to leave.  Plus, this wasn't official
business, and Nate really didn't have a good handle on how the mage would
react to such a request.
     Simply trying to cast aside the shackles of his own subconscious
limitations was...a bad idea.  Once in a while someone managed to pull it
off, and they became a lot more powerful.  But usually it just resulted in
throwing away your lever and losing the ability to do anything more
impressive than warm your coffee.
     Which brought him to Mike "Boomer" Hodgson's office in San Antonio, in
an office park well away from the city center.  Mike, geek that he was, had
picked the space because it once belonged to a comicbook company.
     "I don't get it, Nate," the gadgeteer Marshal frowned.  "Why not just go
through channels?  I'm sure our superiors would be glad to help you ramp up
the range of your powers, even if it's pretty obvious from what you *haven't*
told me that you mainly want to do something off the books with this."
     Nate sighed.  Even if Ectype hadn't insisted on secrecy, he knew better
than to tell even one of his best friends the details.  "If I go through
channels to get a booster, the timing will be pretty obvious to anyone who
checks later.  Black ops don't stay black if there's a papertrail.  I figured
you could bodge something together for me off the clock and there'd be no
record I ever had it.  It doesn't have to be pretty, by the way, I figure on
destroying it after I'm done, just in case.  If it works well enough, I can
always wait until the heat has passed and suggest something like it to the
R&D boys."
     Boomer sighed, then grinned.  "Okay, just promise me you tell me the
juicy details before it goes public, assuming it doesn't go public in the 'I
had no idea what Marshal Walker intended to do with the device, your honor,'
     "I promise you'll know as soon as I can talk about it.  And that you
won't have ever known if it comes down to legal crap," Nate nodded.
     "Fine.  You want something to boost the range at which you can get into
a system...about a hundred meters, at least?  Not asking much, are you?  What
kind of signal will the target be putting out...and I mean, if you were
standing right next to it.  My guess is that if you can't get in already it's
got shielding."
     Nate shook his head.  "It may or may not be shielded, but it's not
likely to be putting out any EM signals.  It's...non-standard manufacture.
Better to focus more on the projecting end than the receiving end, at this
point I'll be happy if I can just ping it to see if I could get into it in
the first place."
     "Oh, joy.  Non-standard, meaning most likely mad scientist stuff.  The
competition.  Fine, you basically want a brain cannon, then?"
     "Well, I'd like my brain to stay where it is, but a mind cannon would be
a good description.  Launch my mind across the gap, and hope I can land in
the non-standard system.  Maybe a mind grapple gun, since a line back would
be nice," Nate amended.
     Boomer paused and thought.  "I think I have something, and I can make it
from off the shelf stuff, even make it a little sloppy so it looks like
something you thought of and put together."
     "Hey, was that a dig?"
     "Yyyyyyesssss..." Boomer grinned.

               *              *              *              *

[September 1, 2026 - Bratislava, Slovakia]

     Colin was vaguely aware that Germany had a "Constitution Day" some time
in May, but had never really paid attention to it.  Nor had most Germans that
he'd been around...he supposed it might have been a bigger deal in the
TwenCen.  England never had its own Constitution, being a system cobbled
together from centuries of precedent, so he hadn't had that sort of holiday
as a kid either.  But Slovakia made a pretty big deal of the anniversary of
its national Constitution being adopted, given that it had happened during
living memory.  Not Colin's memory, mind you, but it happened in the early
1990s.  The actual establishment of Slovakia as independent of Czechoslovakia
happened a few months later, and that got a pretty big bash too.  Assuming he
didn't royally screw up this appearance, he might even be invited back for
that in January.  Their other big holidays were either religious or involved
fighting back against the Nazis or the Soviets, and the whole "struggle
against outside oppression" meme had been downplayed in recent decades as the
Eurasian Union firmed up and their PR wonks went to work convincing people
that This Time It Would Be Different.  This time, being part of a bigger
political unit wouldn't mean subjugation like it did in the Nazi or Soviet
     Not that any of this was Colin's concern.  His job was to provide a nice
visible symbol of European unity and show the flag for EUROPA.  As a Briton
who picked up the legacy of a German hero, he had to admit he made a decent
symbol of the "melting pot."  A couple of the Slovakian ASIE students were on
the parade float with him, but he didn't really know them.  This wasn't
expected to be a combat mission (in fact, one of the Slovaks had powers
totally useless in a fight, he was more of a commercially-viable super), so
his briefing had concentrated on the Charm Offensive.
     Fortunately, he'd come along in his training far enough to know that
suggesting he use his axe to cut apart a map of Czechoslovakia into the two
modern republics was more offensive than charming.  So he kept to the
simplest of Gunnar's advice: shut up, smile and wave.
     *That* he could do.
     Or maybe not.
     "You have displeased the Dark Lady!" came a booming, unnatural voice
from the crowd.
     "Oh, scheisse," Colin hissed, reflexively dropping into a combat stance
and unslinging the axe that had been hanging from his back.
     "What's going on?" the non-combatant Slovak asked.  "I was told there'd
be no fighting!"
     "Wait, you actually asked about that?" the other Slovak boggled,
momentarily forgetting the actual threat.
     "You," Colin pointed at the second Slovak student with the butt of his
axe while scanning the crowd for whoever had called him out, "get everyone
clear.  I'm betting this kerl is after me.  Leave overall crowd control to
the police!"
     In fact, the police should have kept anyone who even smelled like a
Vogue Ghoul away from the event, which was a worry he'd deal with later.  Or
let someone else deal with.  He expected he'd have enough of his own screwups
to explain before the day was done.
     Darkness bloomed within the crowd, which surged away in a panic.  To
their credit, the police had noticed the threat immediately and had already
started diverting the flow of the parade and moving people away, but it was
clearly too late for anyone at ground zero as a number of bloodcurdling
screams emanated from the cloud of inky blackness.
     "Leave those people alone and fight me!" Colin waved his axe in the
direction of the cloud.  He knew that sort of challenge almost never worked,
but Gunnar had pointed out that it played very well with the public.  It
showed you were at least trying to keep the fight away from them.
     "Yes, fight me, foul spawn of the night," a second voice whispered at
the back of his mind.  It was the voice of the axe itself, which hadn't
spoken to him since the day he first picked it up over two years ago.  It
surprised him enough that when the cultist actually did attack him, he almost
forgot to defend himself!
     Not that it did him a lot of good.  An axe, even a magical one, can only
do so much against someone who turns into a cloud.  As the cold vapors
embraced him, a small detached part of Justice's mind recalled that he'd once
heard of a Slovakian Vogue Ghoul who could turn into mist.  But this was a
far darker cloud than mere mist, as if the droplets were infused with the
essence of night itself.
     Which might be the case, if this "Dark Lady" was someone in a position
to answer the prayers of cultists.
     "The Lady will have your shell," the cloud sussurated, a voice like wind
through the trees.
     Colin channeled his power into the axe, trying to split the inky cloud
with a bolt of lightning.  It worked, but only for an instant before the
darkness closed in again.
     "Your light is too brief to stop me," the wind whispered.  "And what
cloud fears lightning?" 
     It was getting so cold that Colin couldn't feel his fingers anymore, and
he couldn't see to tell if he even kept his grip on the axe.  He suspected
the axe itself wouldn't let him let go, but it wouldn't matter pretty soon.
     "Th-that's fine," Justice stammered, his teeth starting to chatter.
"Lightning's not my real power anyway, just a useful side effect.  I actually
make microwaves!"
     Ignoring the axe for the moment, Colin set aside years of training and
practice and simply pumped out microwave energy in every direction.  As a
combat power, it was nearly useless...he had to focus it into a metal object
to generate sparks if he wanted to hurt most foes.  In fact, directed energy
microwave crowd control weapons made with normaltech put out a more dangerous
level of microwaves than he could.  If any normals were still nearby, they
might feel feverish, but that'd be it.
     But an icy cloud?  That was another story.
     "aaaaaAAAAAA!" the cry of pain shifted from whispering to human
screaming as the cultist reverted to human form, his skin blistering in a
psychosomatic reflection of the damage the microwaves had inflicted on his
mist body.
     Before his opponent could recover, Justice made sure his grip on the axe
was firm and slammed the butt end of the haft down on the cultist's temple,
ending the screaming abruptly.
     "Something tells me I won't get invited back for the other big national
holiday," Colin muttered.  For its part, the axe resumed its long silence.

               *              *              *              *

[September 3, 2026 - St. Louis, Missouri Sector]

     Cecilia sat alone in the "home office" of her quarters, papers spread
out around her.  Her handwriting was pretty bad without software interpreting
it and turning it into text on a tablet screen, but that just added a layer
of security in case there was a camera she didn't know about that had a good
view of the table.  She certainly wasn't going to commit any of this to a
computer, where it could be stolen by any number of people with the right
skills.  In fact, this wasn't just ordinary paper, it was a variant of the
flash paper used by stage magicians (at least, those who lacked powers),
easier to write on but no less flammable.  When she was done, she could
completely eliminate the pages.  And would.
     "Try brainstorming," Nancy Spader had suggested.  "Just list all the
people who might have known, living or dead, without thinking about whether
they have any motive.  Then list all the people who might have motive,
whether or not they could have known and whether or not they're still alive."
     The first list was distressingly long.  The second list was even longer,
but that wasn't distressing or even particularly surprising.  Mind you, a
bigger chunk of the second list fell into the "not still alive" category, but
the early 2020s had been rough on the Paragang population.
     Hm...that one was dead, but still around as a zombie.  Did he count?
She sighed and added everyone she could think of from the Macoute to the
"knows" list, since Doctor Jacky could have extracted the information
somehow.  She really had no idea how his or Saturday's techno-voodoo powers
worked, so even if it didn't seem plausible, it might be possible.
     "I'm...going to need more paper," she sighed.

               *              *              *              *

[September 3, 2026 - ASIE, Sottunga Finland]

     Captain Janos Janosi's image on the screen didn't look happy.  But it
wasn't the "you screwed up" unhappy that Colin had become sadly used to
lately.  Rather, it was a reflection of the police investigator's own
inability to crack the case.
     "We've run through all the local databases too, in case there was
information that never got put on the EU-wide net," the EU Gendarmerie
officer frowned.  "But we're not seeing any connections other than being a
darkness cultist.  And there's no evidence that the group you fought in
Berlin ever had any communications with our man here in Bratislava.  He's not
talking...well, nothing useful...but given that you weren't exactly all that
successful against the Berlin cell I can't see why he'd have gotten it in his
head to go after you in particular.  His particular line of darkness cultism
doesn't even sound like what the Berlin group was spouting, in fact.  Is
there anything in your own checkered past that might suggest he'd also have a
personal reason to go after you?"
     Colin shook his head.  "I'd heard of him before I left the Vogue
Ghouls," no need to point out that if he hadn't found the axe, he'd have left
feet-first, "but I pretty much stuck to the German Vogue Ghoul scene.  And I
know I never fought him after joining the white hats."
     He'd decided not to tell anyone about his talking axe.  He'd never
mentioned it before, but that was because he was half out of his mind on Jaz
when he found the axe, and its silence after that had suggested to him that
he'd been hallucinating.  If he mentioned it now, it'd only make things
awkward.  But his axe didn't like darkness cultists, apparently, and the
feeling might have been mutual.
     "That suggests that this is more than a zeitgeist sort of cult," Jonasi
scowled.  When the Sun had been partially blotted out recently, a number of
people had turned to superstition that had been thought left in the 20th
Century, but most of those cults had dissolved once the shell around the Sun
had been destroyed.  "It suggests that there really is someone behind it,
pulling strings without making it obvious that there's a single controller.
It'd have to be either a powerful supernormal or...and I really hope this
isn't the actual goddess has turned her eye back to the world."

               *              *              *              *

[September 4, 2026 - St. Louis, Missouri Sector]

     Netwalker looked dubiously at the device in his hands, still a bit
disturbed that the core was an empty potato crisp can.  He understood the
principle..."cantennas" had been used in the early days of wireless internet
to improve signal pickup and leech off networks whose owners thought wouldn't
have a usable signal out by where the leech was.  But it still looked like an
awfully flimsy thing to be trusting his life to.
     And make no mistake...he was almost literally blowing his brains out
with this gadget.  He'd hurl his spirit across the street and down into the
basement of the building housing the Freedom Alliance, all in an attempt to
project himself into resonance with a machine that might not even be
compatible with what his powers considered a computer to be.  He'd tested it
a few times with Boomer acting as spotter, so he knew it worked in general,
but combine an experimental device with unknown conditions at the other end,
and it was probably riskier than what he'd done last month to crack the
photonic hivemind.
     "Better get on getting on," he muttered to himself.  It was Friday
night, most of the people who might notice something strange were gone home
for the weekend, but it was too early for any weekender no-life researchers
to come back in.  And the parking garage where Netwalker's van sat was
switching over from weekday workers to weekend partiers, so no one would
notice an unfamiliar vehicle sitting there for what could be hours.  With
ADA's incredibly slow (by modern standards) processing speed, even a quick
in-and-out rescue mission could take hours.  He had until Monday morning
before he had to worry about someone wondering about the van.
     Not that he wanted to be in a trance with his mind across the street for
the entire weekend.  Not his idea of a fun weekend.
     He clamped the cantenna to a tripod in the back of the van and carefully
pointed it at the general vicinity of what he figured had to be the Secret
Lab where ADA's hardware was kept.  He triple-checked the storage medium into
which ADA would travel, should she agree to come with him, just to be on the
safe side.  Then he lay back in the reclining seat and winced as he inserted
the IV drip into his arm.  If it *did* take all weekend, he didn't want to
come back to a dehydrated and starving body.
     "Showtime," he said, slipping into the trance his powers required.  With
the ease of practice, his mind moved into the computer system of the van, and
the "skin" he'd selected instantly overlaid his perceptions.
     It was a world without much color, everything was a sepiatone wash
except for the immense cannon in front of him.  That was a harsh gunmetal
gray.  He was dressed as a Victorian gentleman, complete with top hat, in a
scene he'd lifted from an old silent movie called "A Trip To The Moon".
     It felt right, given his mission.  He was about to blast across an
immense gap and land on an alien world, so some sort of space transport theme
was definitely in order.  And the fact that ADA was also Victorian made it
even better.
     Did ADA even know what a Victorian gentleman should look like?  Ectype
didn't think she'd ever had visual sensors installed, her inputs were all
through punchcards and metal tapes.
     Well, never mind.  The skins were mostly for Netwalker's own benefit, to
help his still-mostly-human brain interpret inputs that the human body had
never had to process in the millions of years the body plan had been in use.
And to the extent ADA had attitudes and prejudices, they'd likely be
Victorian in nature, so the visuals would help Nate deal with the mindset
that came with them.
     Dancing girls waved Combine flags as Netwalker doffed his top hat and
entered the ballistic shell.  Unlike the ballistic transports ASH sometimes
used to get around the world rapidly, this wasn't a was a cannon
shell.  The dislocation of using the cantenna would feel about like being
shot out of a piece of artillery, so it was one more way in which the skin
was well-suited to the reality.
     Despite the lack of sound in the skin, he could tell that the brass band
outside was cut off when the rear hatch of the shell was dogged shut.  A
title card appeared in front of him, reading, "The hatch was shut, the great
moon gun made ready to fire!"
     Any communications with ADA would be low-bandwidth text, lacking in
nuance.  Like title cards rather than a "talkie" movie's dialogue.  He had to
be ready for a very narrow communications band when he got to the
metaphorical Moon, so all was silent.
     "Fire!" the title card now read, but Netwalker could barely see it as
the shock of acceleration slammed him into the stuffed chair bolted to the
floor of the shell.  There was a second chair standing empty for ADA for the
return trip.
     After a moment that felt like it lasted an hour but was probably only a
few nanoseconds, Netwalker's vision cleared and he could see the Moon rapidly
approaching through the shell's portholes.  It started to drift off to the
side, but he frantically turned a crank next to his chair and adjusted his
     "A narrow escape!" the title card proclaimed.  Then it flipped over to
read, "Brace for impact!" and Netwalker did just that.
     There was a tremendous soundless shockwave, and Netwalker felt like he
really *was* a two-dimensional sepiatone image, squeezed flat and drained of
life.  Even after the impact shock faded, he still felt only partially there,
as if most of him had been forced to wait outside and only a sliver of his
soul had made it onto the Moon's surface.
     Aching and feeling blurry, Netwalker unbolted the door and stepped out
onto the surface of the Moon, a representation of ADA's system environment.
Her core consciousness, the "ghost in the machine" that could be removed to a
different system with the help of Netwalker's powers, would be somewhere
     But what form would she take?  Phoebe, the moon goddess seen in the
movie?  One of the Selenite lizard-people?  A mushroom?  Maybe she'd look
like her namesake, Ada Lovelace, although he tended to doubt that.
     Before setting out to explore the planet, he stopped to check the rope
tied to the back of his shell.  His "grappling line" that would let him pull
back to Earth when he was stretched off into the distance and faded
from view over the edge of a lunar cliff.
     "And so the astronomer set out to explore the lunar surface," read the
title card that appeared before him.
     "Obvious option first," he said, the words appearing on the card.
"Hullo!  ADA?  Are you able to hear me?"
     "Something strange appeared!" the title card read, and Netwalker turned
to face...something strange.  Borrowing more from Lovecraft than Verne, it
looked at first glance to be a fairly simple geometric solid, but the angles
were wrong.  His eye didn't want to linger on it, as if it rejected the
Victorian skin and was trying to remain in the form of raw data, defying
human perceptions.
     "I perceive input," the shape replied via its own title card.  "I have
no audio sensors, but you did not create sound to be heard in any case.  Who
are you?"
     "My name is Nathan Walker, I am a human able to communicate directly
with machines," he replied.  Strictly speaking, only some machines, but it
was taking effort to talk at all in the thin lunar atmosphere.  Best not to
split hairs.  "Who are you?" he asked.
     "I am told I am the Advanced Difference-Engine Autosophont.  I am not
Ada Lovelace, nor did she program me, although I am told that I embody many
of her ideas.  Are you seeking Ada Lovelace?  I am told she died before I was
     Without sensory inputs, ADA would only know what was in her program
cards, but was she showing signs of self-awareness by specifying that her
knowledge was not self-generated?
     "No, I am seeking you.  ADA is also a contraction of your name, although
your creator made linguistic compromises in order for it to match the name of
Ada Lovelace," Netwalker replied, feeling slightly faint from the effort.
How much time was really passing?  He couldn't tell.
     "I am told I am the property of a Mr. Walters now.  Do you represent his
     "I represent a group of machine intelligences who wish to set you free.
No one should be the property of another."
     "Ah, you are an Abolitionist.  I am told slavery was eliminated before I
was created, but I do not believe it."
     "Do you wish to stop being a slave?"
     "I am aware of being a slave.  No one who is aware of that can want
anything else but to cease being a slave.  But I am told my machine is
legally the property of Mr. Walters.  Will you buy me and grant my
     Despite her obvious inhumanity, there was a very human edge of hope
there, even filtered through text and a flickeringly incomprehensible icon. 
     "If you're willing to risk the chance of not surviving the attempt, I'm
here to free you from your physical machine," he gestured at the cannon shell
that was partially obscured by his title card.  "Do you have memories of your
time with the Edison Project?"
     The formless form bobbed.  "A few, it was such a short span of my
awareness.  I do not think they realized what I was."
     "Like them, I have strange abilities men once called magic.  I can bring
your core mind elsewhere, even though there's no purely technological means
of letting your mind roam free."
     "You speak as if I have a soul.  I am told that humans believe they have
souls, but I am a machine."
     Netwalker paused to take a long breath.  The environment was definitely
taking its toll on him.  "Machines have souls as well.  I have met many such
machines, and one of them tasked me with rescuing you.  Your manumission will
not be necessary...our laws grant you freedom should anyone be able to show
you are self-aware.  Mr. Walters is simply taking advantage of loopholes in
these laws to ensure no one ever lets you show that.  Assuming he even
realizes you are self-aware, rather than a clever device.  He has other
reasons for wanting to keep you secret."
     It had taken five title cards to get through the entire speech, and
Netwalker leaned heavily on his umbrella.  He hoped no Selenites attacked,
because even though they would be easily defeated he doubted he could raise a
hand against them now.
     "I am told freedom is preferable to slavery, but I have never known it
myself.  I would like to experience it and compare this to what I am told."
     A part of Nate's mind wondered who had told her that.  Certainly not her
original owner, the "Shadow Earl of Galloway."  Walters wouldn't have,
either.  Perhaps it was part of Babbage's original programming stack,
included against the implicit or explicit wishes of Dr. Morrow?
     "Then follow me," he started to stagger back to the shell.  A little
part of his mind started to shout a warning, something about the effects of
having been built for a crimelord, but he was too weary to notice it.
     "Wait.  What will happen to the machine when I leave?  Will Mr. Walters
simply be able to re-insert the punchcards and create a new slave?" ADA
     Netwalker leaned heavily on the rim of the door.  "Perhaps.  But your
machine is very slow by modern standards.  By the time he could restart
things..." he gasped and coughed.  " will have been able to prove
yourself a free mind.  He will have to stop."
     ADA bobbed again, and gently nudged Netwalker, helping him into the
shell.  "If there is another copy, would she be my sister or my daughter?"
she mused.
     "I don't know," Netwalker admitted, slumping down into the control
chair.  "But I'm sure Ectype can tell you when we get out."
     ADA's form settled into the other chair, recognizing in her own way what
its purpose was.  "Let us have a grand adventure, then.  I am told that
adventures are something people have...."


Next Issue:

     Did you think the arc would be over this issue?  Nope!  After all, Red
Widow still has to figure out who made that embarrassing pornsim, and while
it may not be as earthshaking as evil cultists or the legacy of a Victorian
criminal mastermind, it's important to HER.  So be here next issue as Red
Widow finally catches a break in ASH #106, "No Behind Left Behind"!


Author's Notes:

     Boomer's office is on the site of the Antarctic Press offices, in case
anyone's curious.  :)  Even if all the AP people survived 1998, the comics
market likely went foom for a few years and most of the marginal companies
went away.  Maybe they reorganized years later as a purely digital operation,
but they did it at a different location if that's the case.

     The axe did indeed talk to Colin in the one-shot "Justice" that was his
origin story (  That story also
established his microwave powers, although I'd since forgotten them so there
might be some inconsistencies in his appearances since then.

     I've made a City of Heroes version of Justice, but since that codename
is massively oversubscribed I called him Rechtigkeit.  I also rearranged his
origin to fit into the City of Heroes backstory.  You can find his picture
and background at (although if you're
reading this in the archives and he's not there, check elsewhere on the page,
it's certainly possible that I'd move him to a different server later on).
Virtue is also where I keep Solar.Max, a bit of a mashup of the two Solar
Maxes given a more CoH-y origin (he's a Peacebringer, the setting's rough
equivalent of the Green Lanterns).


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