REPOST: RAC Challenge! #19

Arthur Spitzer arspitzer at
Wed Dec 9 18:20:28 PST 2015

Chapter by Ted "Arsenal, the Lone Warrior" Brock
who created the Starfall Imprint and also
wrote various stuff for the LNH like

From: franke at (Jerry L Franke)
Newsgroups: rec.arts.comics.creative
Subject: REPOST: RAC Challenge! Ch. 19
Date: 1 Dec 1995 16:29:33 GMT

Continuing the Challenge...


StarFall Comics

   A Division of Pullemouttayerhat Productions
   In Association with FireBlade Publications
                                 RAC CHALLENGE
Chapter 19: Screaming Dreams of wReam

   by Arsenal, the Lone Warrior
   title by Drizzt
   Dirk Derringer, also known as Paragon, the Ultimate Man, drifted
   through a black void. All around him were voices, but two stood out
   above the rest.
   "So Jerry Franke has decreed that Paragon should be given to me," one
   voice iterated. "He has been saved from the Screaming Dreams of wReam,
   who forfeited his chance because someone sliced off his nose when he
   went to sneeze. And so it falls to Arsenal, the Lone Warrior, to make
   sure that such a whiner is taken care of. God, do I hate this job
   "What's going to happen to me?" Dirk yelled out. He only heard
   "Paragon, are you awake?"
   Dirk opened his eyes, to find himself gazing at the face of the most
   beautiful woman he'd ever seen. Long auburn hair framed the face, and
   her sea-blue eyes penetrated deep into Dirk's.
   "Where am I?" he asked.
   "Rest easy," the woman told him. "You're in the underground bunker of
   the Delta Squadron."
   "Delta Squadron?" he asked, still groggy from his fatal experiences.
   "I've never heard of you."
   "That's not surprising," she stated, handing him a glass of water. He
   sipped it as he waited for an explanation. "We were formed only six
   months after you 'died'. I hate to be the one to break it to you,
   Dirk, but you've been dead for over a year. Because of a fuck-up on
   your part, the world has been taken over by Baron Jerry von Frankelin,
   and his wife, the Baroness Mary Lu Retina-Frankelin."
   At the mention of Mary Lu's name, Dirk choked on his water, spitting
   most of it out through his nose. "My ex-wife is now the co-ruler of
   the planet?! How the blue blazes did this happen?"
   "Remember reading on that weapon, 'Use properly, or the World will be
   "Vaguely," he lied.
   "Well, let's just say, you fucked up. And it's up to the Delta
   Squadron to set things right."
   A chime from the doorway caught their attention, and a man in a
   wheelchair rolled into the room.
   "And how is the so-called 'Ultimate Man' today?" the man in the
   wheelchair asked.
   "A lot better than yesterday," Dirk moaned. "Who the hell are you?"
   "My name's Roger Price. I'm head of the Squadron."
   "But you're a...." Dirk started to object.
   "A cripple?" Price finished with a smile. "Yes. Paraplegic, to be
   exact. Bullet severed the spine. Now, I lead the resistance against
   the Baron and his army of Malevo-clones."
   "Malevo-clones?" Dirk asked, puzzled. "Last thing I remember, I was
   leading an assault on the Baron's Georgian fortress, when a nuke
   exploded. How'd he survive? And what happened to Dr. Silver?"
   "I knew you'd have questions. Can you stand?"
   Dirk tried to stand, and fell against the bed. His legs had atrophied
   from a year of non-use. Price handed him a pair of leg braces.
   "Put these on. They'll help you walk until you can return to normal."
   Dirk grumbled as he did so. He tried to stand, and found he could move
   around normally. He followed Price out into the hallway.
   "Let me try to explain," Price stated. "Baron Frankelin had apparently
   cloned himself, but kept the clone unconscious in his Geneva retreat.
   When the bomb exploded, killing both the original Baron and Dr.
   Silver, the clone was awakened, and took the Baron's place. With you
   and Dr. Silver out of the way, he proceeded to take over the world."
   Dirk followed Price into a huge chamber, where combat was the name of
   the game.
   "This is our main training room," Price stated. "Here, the Squadron
   trains in the use of their powers and natural abilities in order to
   find and destroy the Baron, once and for all."
   "oh my god," was all Dirk could say as he gazed about the massive
   chamber. In one area, superhuman fists smashed against solid rock. In
   another area, a woman shot explosive arrows in rapid succession at a
   series of combat robots that looked suspiciously like Dr. Malevo. In
   several other areas, people honed their fighting skills by fighting
   against each other.
   "Dirk Derringer, Paragon, welcome to the Delta Squadron."
   Roger Price excused himself as Dirk wandered through the room.
   "Hey, newbie!" a young-sounding voice with a British accent called
   from behind him. "Heads up!"
   Dirk spun around, and saw a young man, not more than seventeen years
   old, toss what appeared to be a frisbee at him with amazing speed.
   Dirk barely had time to duck, as the "frisbee" whizzed by him,
   exploding against the wall behind him.
   Dirk breathed deeply, then thought about his position. Wasn't he on
   the other side of the room a few minutes ago? He noticed the kid with
   the frisbees on the far side of the complex. Then it struck him. He
   could teleport!
   Dirk was so elated, he leaped into the air, trying to fly. He fell on
   his face, hitting it hard on the floor.
   "You forgot the most basic rule of flying," a man with artificial
   wings hovering next to Dirk stated. "Throw yourself at the ground, and
   Dirk felt pain where he'd never felt pain before. He was no longer
   invulnerable. He couldn't fly. He guessed that he wasn't superhumanly
   strong, either. Dirk had learned how to teleport, but at the cost of
   his other powers.
   Dirk felt a tapping on his arm. He turned to see a man with a wrinkled
   face and silvery hair near him.
   "Dirk Derringer? I am Doktor Headzhrinker. Ve need you to have yer
   head zhrunk." Dirk looked at the doctor quizzically.
   "Private yoke," Dr. Headzhrinker stated. "Ve need to know how yer deth
   affected you, ya? Please, vollow me." Dirk realized he had no choice
   but to follow the doctor to a separate room.
    Three hours later...
   Dr. Headzhrinker sat at a table with Roger Price and the woman who'd
   greeted Paragon when he'd awakened.
   "Zo Paragon zufferz from a mild form of zychoziz, vich haz rezulted in
   very vivid halluzinationz, vich haz led Paragon to believe hiz life iz
   being written by a zeriez of 'authorz', the current of vich iz Arzenal
   zee Lone Varrior."
   "Any idea what led to this problem, doctor?" Price asked.
   "It appearz to be rooted in hiz problemz vith hiz ex-vife, the
   "Thank you, Dr. Headzhrinker, that'll be all." The doctor left the
   "Where did you dig up that old fossil?" the woman asked.
   "Robyn, you know our job is dangerous. Dr. Headzhrinker happens to be
   the best I could find."
   "He certainly seems to fit in with this crowd," Robyn Leighton
   Price pulled out a map of a city area. "Let's get to work, shall we?
   Dixon City needs to be liberated. What's the team we selected?"
   Roger Price rolled into his quarters in the bunker, and opened a
   closet. There, before him, was a suit of armor based on the leg braces
   he'd given Dirk. His mind drifted back to that fateful day....
   He'd been a police officer, back when he still had his legs. He and
   his partner, Robyn Leighton, had just busted open one of the biggest
   crackhouses in the Big Apple, and secured the evidence, when a
   retreating gang member took at shot at him. The bullet sliced his
   spinal column in half, paralyzing him below the waist.
   But Roger Price was not a man who would sit by lazily as he lost his
   legs. With the help of his sister Ayla's firm, Price Industries, a
   little ingenuity, and a lot of hard work, he'd managed to put together
   a working set of leg braces that enabled him to walk again.
   Then that bastard Frankelin had taken over the world, and Price had
   been forced to drastically upgrade the leg braces to enable him to
   run. Not just at normal speeds, but at speeds of up to 200 miles per
   hour. Then he'd added a portable flamethrower and a cryogenic device,
   as well as some lightweight, high durability body armor, and founded
   the Delta Squadron, taking the name Blackfoot for himself.
   Price donned the various pieces of armor, then slowly, as if for the
   first time in ages, rose from the wheelchair, and left the room,
   headed for the combat room.
   Dirk was finally getting used to teleporting when he noticed a man
   dressed in black armor enter the room. It took a good look and a run
   through his perfect photographic memory to realize that the newcomer
   was Roger Price. Dirk, being no dummy (despite some previous authors'
   opinions), realized that the armor must contain leg braces similar to
   the ones he currently wore.
   "Attention!" Blackfoot called out, getting the attention of all 200+
   people in the room. "The time has come for an attack on Dixon City. I
   personally will lead a small group into the city to take out the local
   command center, with the rest of the Squadron to follow after a
   pre-designated signal. My team will include: Artemis, Shield,
   Silverhawke, Frisbee, Waterfall, Esper, Blacklight, and Paragon."
   "Me?" Paragon asked himself. "Wait a second. Dixon City. That's my
   stomping grounds."
   "We leave for Dixon City in two hours. My team, report to my office
   "We're in the middle of a war, Paragon!" Artemis, a lean Hispanic
   woman, spat into Dirk's face. "I don't care if Blackfoot's plan
   doesn't suit your approval. You're now in the Squadron, and that means
   you follow orders, like everybody else!!!"
   "Yo, Diana, take a chill-pill or somethin'," the youth known as
   Frisbee exclaimed. "I'm sure this bloke's got a better way into the
   Federal Building than through the sewers."
   "Actually," Dirk admitted, "I'd prefer to use the front door."
   "And it's that kind of thinking that got you killed in the first
   place," Artemis retorted.
   "This is getting us nowhere," Shield, a man of about twenty stated.
   "Unless anyone else has a better idea, then the sewer entrance is the
   way we go."
   Dirk took a long look at the blueprint of the Federal Building.
   Something puzzled him about it.
   "Unless they've found it," Dirk muttered, mostly to himself, "I used
   to park my Ultimate-Mobile in a sub-basement of the Federal Building.
   And it was never shown on any blueprints."
   "You know a way in that's not on the blueprints?" Waterfall, a sleek
   young girl, no older than sixteen, remarked. "Where is it?"
   Dirk placed his finger on the map. "The entrance to it was right
   "Totaled. Blimey! The A-Team couldn't put this thing back together!"
   Standing around the rusted out hulk that had been the Ultimate-Mobile,
   the Delta Squadron wondered how Paragon had managed to survive.
   "Got any more bright ideas, Yank?" Frisbee snorted.
   "There's not much left," Silverhawke commented, stooping to get a
   better look at the vehicle's under carriage.
   "Well, let's see if she still runs." Paragon said. Opening the door,
   he inadvertently slammed Silverhawke in the face. Pulling himself off
   of the floor, Silverhawke found himself playing stare-eyes with a
   human skull. A second skeleton sat in the passenger seat.
   "Yuck!!" Esper and Waterfall sounded together.
   "Who were they?" Blackfoot asked, turning to Paragon for an answer.
   "From the remains of their clothing, I'd guess Tito and Tina," was his
   "The Ultimate Twins?" Blacklight asked. "What were they doing here?"
   "Taking a joyride!' Paragon replied, exasperatedly. "How should I
   know! I've been freaking dead for the last three hundred sixty-five
   days!! Missed all my unbirthdays, too. Gribblefritz!"
   "Actually, as this last year was a leap year, it was three hundred
   sixty-six days," Esper commented. "And Happy Unbirthday."
   "Thank you so much, Miss Spock," Dirk grumbled.
   "You said there was a way into the Fed Building from this room,"
   Blackfoot told Paragon, deftly changing the subject. "Do you remember
   "Of course," Paragon stated, heading over to the inner wall of the
   garage. "With my Ultimate Memory, I remember everything."
   "Even the fact that you're the Ultimate Loser?" Frisbee grunted.
   Waterfall elbowed him in the ribs.
   "Let him work."
   Dirk found what he was looking for, a loose brick in the wall. He
   pushed it until it clicked, and a man-sized opening slid back from the
   back wall.
   "Those kids better not've changed my office," he muttered, stepping
   though the door.
   A hand reached out, grabbed Dirk by the shoulder, and dragged him into
   the office. A blood-curdling scream was heard by everyone in the Delta
   Squadron, then a dead silence.
   A woman with blood dripping from her lips walked out of he door,
   carrying Dirk's inert form. Dirk bled profusely from his jugular
   artery. She dropped Dirk unceremoniously onto the floor.
   "I'm Bloody Beth," she stated, her fangs gleaming with an evil glint.
   "Who's next?"
   "Not the Ultimate Vampire!" Frisbee moaned, igniting a frisbee.
   "C'mon, boss, let me have her."
   Is Paragon dead? Is he still alive? Or is he something else? And,
   what's this about him being dead for over a year? Who the hell is
   Bloody Beth, and what's her connection to Dixon City? These questions,
   and many others, will be either answered or avoided in a tale by Chris
   Bird entitled:
     * When The Sky Hits Yer Eye Like A Big Pizza Pie, It hoits!
   Well, I felt that things were getting a little too out of hand, so I
   decided to make sure Dirk's life took some really bad turns on a windy
   road in the dead of night during a thunderstorm. Also, I noticed that
   Dr. Malevo had been relegated to a supporting villain, so hence only
   the mention of him.
   I pity Chris Bird. And yet, I can't wait to pull my Ultimate Trick on
   the guy who follows me the next time around. ;)
   No StarFall Comics title would be complete without a "Coming Soon"
   blurb, and this one is no exception. City Streets #4 will be out next
   week, with Swamp Patrol #3 and Metal Fire #2 to follow.



Jerry L. Franke                        franke at
Computer Science Dept.                 Indiana University
formerly from Florida State University

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