ASH: Shadow Girls #1 - All Cats Are Gray

Drew Nilium pwerdna at
Tue Dec 21 20:18:56 PST 2021

On 12/6/21 12:08 AM, Dave Van Domelen wrote:
>       [The cover shows Madelyn Chin walking down a Chinatown alley in
>        harsh contrasting lighting at night.  The darkness is peppered
>        by cats' eyes.]


> ____________________________________________________________________________
>   .|, COHERENT COMICS PRESENTS             An ASH Universe Story
> --+-------------------------------------------------------------------------
>   '|`   SHADOW GIRLS      #1 - All Cats Are Gray

Oh man, I hope there's at least one Utena riff in this

> [Editor's Note: All scenes take place in the Manhattan Autonomous Sector.]

Oh, good to know. :o

>       Jack sat on the bench, crossing the oversized legs that came with his
> paranormal power.  "Yeah, snow's not bad, but it's not safe enough for racing
> today."  To his credit, he kept a straight face for a full second before
> snorting in derision.  "Man, the scene's died off so much.  The PRRC poached
> all the best racers, it's not even worth trying to get around the Hangmen
> anymore."
>       Al nodded.  The Paranormal Road Racing Circuit was the King of Shadows'
> attempt to compete with Paraball for eyeballs and adoration, inspired by the
> utter disaster that was the Prix Ultime.  No coincidence that he also used it
> to suck the life out of the Roadrager scene once he'd gotten too "legit" for
> it, especially since he used Dice as a frontman for it.

Gentrifying road raging!? That's a straw too far >:/

>       "Ah, Vogue Ghouls were a bunch of posers anyway," Al snarled.
>       "And we aren't?" 24 shrugged.

Ouch, but I'm glad he has perspective at least. o3o

>       "I hear she's started to get serious again," 24 shrugged.  "We sent 17
> and 27 to hang out and see what was what...and she didn't immediately kill
> 'em.  We're not sure what they're doing, they're not actively in the link
> anymore.  More like a distant couple of voices on the wind, or somethin'."

ooooooh creepy.

>       24 shrugged.  "Near as we can figure?  The original was really crazy,
> but none of the clones were.  Not really.  But as long as he was in the link,
> it was like an insanity contact high, right?  Since he was excised, we've
> been stabilizing.  I dunno if we're sane by a flatscan standard, but we're
> better at leaning on each other when the brain swirlies get too heavy."

Oh, big neurodivergence-passed-down-thru-family mood. o3o

>       "Well, what's *yours*?" Maria asked, stalking over and draping herself
> across his shoulders.  It was a testament to his genetically enhanced
> strength that her cybernetic bulk didn't make him stagger or even sag.

Awwwwww cute

> For now, this city.  Perhaps more,
> once I have convinced the Combine that I'm not some cackling supervillain
> trying to leverage this into a sloppy and destructive world domination or
> apotheosis plot.

Well. o3o;

>       "Wouldn't Bathory taking over some clones technically be a violation of
> the Truce?  Let you send in the Hangmen and at least whittle away her power
> base before she gets too big?"
>       Rex shook his head.  "Oh, the list of Truce violations is as long as
> my," he raised an eyebrow suggestively, "arm, let's say."
>       Maria snickered.

Oh my god you adorable *nerds*, you're all Gomez and Morticia here.

> There's still too many who miss the wild days of the early 20's,

Remind me which of our universes is the dystopia again? @-@

>       "See you next week, Mister Li," Maddy said as one of the Grocery Store's
> regular customers walked out.  The store was actually just called Grocery
> Store, the rest of the sign got blown off decades ago and her father had just
> left it as Grocery Store.

Aw cute. X3

> The store over the secret entrance to her
> grandfather's old hideout was actually a profitable concern these days, what
> with the upswing in the island's population and economy.  It seemed like
> every day she got another new regular customer, and she'd had to hire several
> part-timers to cover things while she was off on...extracurricular
> activities.  But those had been curtailed in light of recent events, so she
> was steering her part-timers towards ideas of starting their own store.

God, I love the little random details of life in this world. <3

>       "Relax, Miss Chin.  I represent some interested breeders, if you will,

That's fuckin kinky

>       Boring was still good, Maddie thought.  Life around Warden, and then as
> part of Hellhound, had been like a roller coaster ride.  Exciting as hell,
> fun when it wasn't terrifying, but eventually you needed to get off for a
> while.

Legit. o3o;

>       New York was quieter now, she was doing good just by running the store
> and being an upstanding member of the community.  Sure, it was a brittle and
> false peace, but sometimes people needed to heal even if the wolves were
> still at the...yeah, the metaphor got away from her there.

X3 But yeah, I mean, the last five years show that. @.@

> She always stayed
> open a little late on the last day of the month, in case anyone got off shift
> and needed to spend some of their paycheck.

Awwwww, fair.

> Maddie was probably the youngest regular at Mama Cho's
> restaurant for Friday night karaoke, but it was at least something social
> that didn't run the risk of meeting someone she used to punch.
>       Other than old man Manny Xu, but that was his own fault for getting
> fresh.

Well. X3

>       "Where is it?" growled a voice from the shadows.
>       Literally growled.  As in, one of Bathory's werecritter followers.

O damn Lo

>       "What black opal?  I run a grocery store, not a jeweler's."  Not good.
> No one should think she had any connection to a black opal.  That was her
> grandfather...and he didn't have any actual black opals, just an armored
> black glass helmet and inborn powers not related to any gems.
>       Oh, she really wished she'd inherited those powers right about now.

Understandably. X3

>       "Or maybe not!  TETRA-KICK!" shouted a girl's voice from behind the
> shadowed Snow Leopard.
>       With a dull crunch, the black-furred cat-man flew into sight, followed
> immediately by a slender girl seemingly dressed mostly in dark red shadows,
> save for her eyes and a glowing gem on her right fist.
>       "You really should be more careful, Miss Chin," the girl winked,
> flashing a V-sign before jumping at the still-standing Snow Leopard.
>       Maddie blinked.  "What.  The.  Actual.  Fuck.  When did we get Magical
> Girls?"

OMG :D :D :D <3 <3 <3 HELL YEAH

>       Yes, magical girls.  Well, *a* magical girl right now.  But they do tend
> to come in packs.

:3 :3 :3

> As a result, this issue might be a little
> longer than I intend to write going forwards, the sheer size of ASH issues
> tended to make them daunting and I want to work shorter form for a bit.

Familiar. o3o

> After City of Night, I think the big
> players deserve some quiet time, if and when I return to the main ASH title
> it'll likely be after a time jump.

Sounds good. <3

> Manhattan is not the only Autonomous Sector, with Detroit and its
> surroundings ceded to Doctor Developer at some time in the past as well.

Oooooh, makes sense.

>       As RACC regulars will know, I tinkered with some magical girl stuff in
> The School and its subsequent drabbles, playing around with some ideas (see
> for those stories), but that's an
> entirely separate world.  This series is more about getting magical girl
> tropes into ASH, in the same way that the Otakuza bring sentai teams in.

Hell yeah. :D

Drew "love it love it!!" Nilium

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