The Cronian Incident – The Inspiration Process

Saturn's moon Titan, which figures prominently in the story. Credit: NASA
Saturn’s moon Titan, which figures prominently in the story. Credit: NASA

Good news from my escritoire people! That’s writing desk for those of you who don’t speak French and/or are uncultured ;). The story, which I recently talked about, is coming along nicely. The other night, I put the finishing touching on Chapter 5, am now busily writing Chapter 6, and am starting to feel like this idea has legs. Now, I just need to make sure it can walk on its own. Because believe it or not, good ideas write themselves.

So here’s one of the biggest issues I’ve been wresting with so far for the story. And it’s an issue so very difficult and controversial that it deserves to be in all-caps and have line all to itself…


In this story, I’ve made a big deal about the fact that the main character – Jeremiah Ward – is a former investigator who was disgraced. The reason for this has to do with an addiction that he developed as a result of his work and living the Extro lifestyle. Basically, I decided that he began taking a narcotic substance which, in his day and age, triggers feelings of euphoria and a sense of being “outside of time”. All it needs is a name…

While discussing the idea with a friend, they surprised me by saying that what i described sounding a lot like their own experience. As I put it, the character of Ward developed a substance abuse problem in the course of his career because after living for many decades with implants, neural augmentation, and biomedical enhancements – all of which were required in order for people to “keep up” with the rapid pace of change – he routinely felt the need to balance himself out. In the words I have planned for the story, he claimed that the drugs “made him feel more real”.

She immediately understood what I meant, and went on to tell me about how in her own previous job (a very high-stress and difficult profession) she had developed an addiction for opiates. Like so many people who work in fields like the military, police work, medical care, emergency services, criminal justice, counseling, etc., drugs, alcohol, and other substances can become a crutch. Something you take just to get through the day and forget that tomorrow, you have to go back into it.

I drew that inspiration from stories I’ve heard about people who need to take medications regularly in order to avoid becoming erratic, depressed, or manic. I know a little bit about this myself, and have friend who require it to a far greater extent. The difficulty of taking anti-depressant, anti-psychotics, and the like is that while they help balance you out, you can sometimes feel like you’re not feeling natural or normal.

Many a time I have wished I could remember what it was like when I was younger, before I began struggling with OCD. While I can’t remember a time when I didn’t exhibit the symptoms of this disorder, there was a time when things like panic attacks, depression, high-anxiety and worrying over nothing were not a going concern. Things that set me off today were mere bothers back then, and I didn’t worry about half the things I worry about now. Truth is, I wish there was a pill that I could take that would make it all go away…

And that, I think, is the mentality behind substance abuse. It’s also what I think makes it so dangerous.

In any case, that’s the characters back story. It explains his fall from grace, his current circumstances (at the beginning of the story, he’s on a penal colony on Mercury) and offers a chance for redemption. All that’s left is to write about his journey from darkness to light, and come up with a name for the drug.

Seriously, any suggestions?

Calling All Revengers!

Hello to all members and all applicants! As I’m sure you’re all aware by now, the Revengers have come together and been declared an official force for justice and crime fighting. However, we still await the paperwork of a few standouts, people who have yet to fill out their bio work, submit photos, and provide other details. I hate to name names, but we’re all anxious to begin fighting crime and doing good in the community. And we’d hate to do it without a full compliment.

So, the following people need to submit the following info to HR forthwith:

Joaco (aka. Joaquin Barroso) – backstory and catchphrase

Pax (aka. Lance Schaubert) – backstory and catchphrase

Typos (aka. Greentree) – Alter ego, backstory, appearance, catchphrase

And please note that pictures are not a problem. Just let me know what you’re costume is and I can design a profile pic for you. Or, if you want to do it yourself, just follow this link and tinker til you like what you see:

Looking forward to hearing from you and completing our justice team! Soon, we should choose our first mission. My colleague, Veiled Tsunami and I were talking, and we figured our first mission should be to take down this cities drug peddlers. However, the floor is open to suggestions. We could always do something socially conscious, like clamp down on polluters, political corruption, or even take down a mass murderer! We’re the Revengers, we can do anything so long as its (technically) within the law and reason… sort of.

The Revengers Starting Lineup!

Happy Halloween everybody! In honor of this momentous occasion, I have decided to release the starting lineup of the Revengers! And here they are, a new superhero team to save the day, and with none of that sissy Avenger stuff neither! No, these are the Revengers! A dark justice league for the new era, taking on the scum and villainy of the world, and doing it Revenger-style!

Atrum Auditor:
Alter ego:
Kevin Roussy, beer advocate
Appearance: Black slacks, black button down long sleeve shirt, combat boots, utility belt.
Abilities: Telepathy, Teleportation, Precognition
Backstory: Atrum Auditor was the product of a corporate warlord’s mistress and genetic manipulation. He was raised in secret to be a master at corporate espionage, but defied his father to go rogue and began using his powers for justice instead of peersonal gain. Now, he seeks the world secrets, releasing government and trade information to the public in order to manipulate public perceptions. To what ends, no one really knows for sure… All they know is, if it’s a secret, it won’t be for long!
Catchphrase: “No More Secrets”

Alter ego: 
Victor, movie critic
Appearance: Black and grey skin-tight top, red pants, grey and balck mask. Nuclear emblem on the chest, golden cuffs and flaming hands.
Fire control, Telekineses, Healing
Backstory: As a teenager, Victor I was identified by a Corporation as a Level 5 mutant. They sent men to his home to abduct him, and during the course of the abduction a Superhero came to interrupt their plan. In the ensuing battle, Victors home was destroyed and his brother paralyzed. The Superhero’s code of conduct prevented him from killing the principle leader of the group before he injured Victor’s brother, and then as the police were taking him away he was able to escape and killed my mother. From that moment on I vowed revenge against that man and the Corporation, but knew I could never be entirely on the side of the angels. Because in the end, I planned to murder the man who destroyed my family.
Catchphrase: “It’s your time to burn!”

Captain Smackdown:
Alter ego:
Matt Williams, mild mannered educator/writer
Appearance: Molded armor suit, dark gunmetal grey, fist logo on the chest, utility belt with tons of guns, smoke grenades, incendiaries, and assorted gadgets. Cigar in mouth, eye patch over one eye. Expressions range from shit-eating grin to a scowl
Abilities: Mad Fighting Skills, Gadgets, Guns
Backstory: Once an educator with inner city youths and part-time writer, Matt was traumatized when a student of his was murdered in front of him and he was left mortally wounded. Saddened, angry and broken, he joined a private security firm and learned the art of weapons and tactics, but soon became disillusioned with their methods. Realizing that the world was full of evil and that the line between right and wrong was something one could easily find themselves on the wrong side of, he began trekking across the world, learning martial arts and philosophy in East Asia before returning home to fight crime on his own. After many years of battling scum and criminals in the streets, he rose to become head of a new order for fighting evil wherever it reared its ugly head. The Revengers!
Catchphrase: “Here comes the Smackdown!”

Erotica Girl:
Alter ego:
Casey Sheridan, bookish, shy librarian
Appearance: Black and purple skintight suit, zipper in the front leading up to partially exposed cleavage. Mask, half black and half purple, thigh-high black leather boots.
Abilities: Invisibility, Mad fighting skills, Super strength
Backstory: Casey was given a formula by a Crime Kingpin, a man who, before becoming a Crime Kingpin, worked in a lab for a company that developed organic weapons for the government. After his lab partner caused an accident and left him for dead, Mr. Kingpin declared vendetta against him and developed a formula to change his lab partner’s girlfriend (Casey) into a super villain. Since she was super hot and erotic, he gave her the name Erotica Girl
Catchphrase: “Feel the love!”

Alter ego:
Rami Ungar, student and freelance writer
Appearance: Long white hair, black skin with gold designs, yellow-orange eyes, super-sharp teeth. A pair of pants that somehow survive the transformation
Abilities: Absorb Energy, Energy Blasts, Telekinesis
Backstory: One day, he fell in love with a girl whose father was a police investigator. Her father got too close to something that involved an unknown corporation working with a terrorist group. He was murdered for his troubles and his daughter left disabled. He took her in and tends to her as his alter ego. But as Judgement, he fights corruption within the corporations, government, and anywhere else he sees it going unchecked.
Catchphrase: “Feel my wrath!”

Alter ego:
Kristy Halseth,
Appearance: Jeans, Tank top, Leather jacket, Doc Martins.
Abilities: Flying, Invisibility, Telepathy
Backstory: While browsing a fine jewelry store, Kristy witnessed an armed robbery that went horribly wrong. During the commission of the robbery, the criminals caused an explosion that killed half their crew and the store. Taken as a hostage by the part of the crew that managed to escape, they took out their anger and frustration on Kristy and left for dead. When she woke up in hospital, she realized she could read minds, avoid detection, and even levitate and fly about. In her search for the the people who nearly killed her, Styka discovered that one of the city’s crime bosses had been responsible for the robbery. His orders were to kill the hostages but the robbers were as incompetent at that as they were at following the plan he had ordered. Her vendetta against her attackers became a vendetta against his as well.
Catchphrase: “Justice is on the way!”

Alter ego:
Phyllis Moore, mild-mannered fantasy-fiction writer
Appearance: Indestructible close-fitting fiber suit, toga skirt, and a concealing mask. When Panacea, her air changes from blonde to burgundy
Abilities: Flying, Acrobatics, Healing
Backstory: Phyllis was on vacation in India when a terrorist attack blew up a nearby chemical factory. She wasn’t close enough to be killed, but was exposed to the chemical traces picked up by the winds as she fled. She leapt over obstacles, climbed up walls, and ran across rooftops. It first, she thought her abilities came from years of yoga and marathon races, but as she ran faster, she noticed that she could even fly. After everything had settled, she returned to see the horror of the wounded and dying and became furious. But instead of retaliating against those who committed such acts of terror, she decided to undo their hate by healing the wounded and loving them back to health.
Catchphrase: “Stop the hate!”

The Veiled Tsunami:
Alter ego:
Hawa Ali, mild-mannered nurse
Appearance: Chocolate brown leather duster over Black jeans, black T, and a black hijab. Black combat boots and black shades of well.
Abilities: Alien Technology, Super Smarts, Telepathy
Backstory: Hawa grew up in New Haven Connecticut, two blocks from Yale University. She never knew her mother, but her father was a university professor and scientist named Dr. Eesa Ben Ali. His work in human mutagenics was quite controversial, due in part to the fact that Dr. Ali shared a name with another man on the NSA’s terror watch list. He was on the cusp of creating a substance that would successfully, and without adverse effects, create the first human with super capabilities. Unfortunately, his work was cut short when a disgruntled student – Calvin Cur – broke into his lab and tried to take him prisoner. When his daughter interfered, Cur shot her and sent her falling into some of her father’s lab equipment. The serum spilled on her and ran into her wound, and Cur shot her father shortly thereafter and fled. Hawa was changed, and from that point onward, was known as the Veiled Tsunami, seeking out injustice and looking to avenge her fathers death, all the while trying to unlock the mystery of what she has become. For it is rumored that her father’s serum contained alien blood that was retrieved by the government, and remains kept in some secret facility somewhere…
Catchphrase: “You won’t see me coming but I will blow you down.”

FYI, still waiting on key details from Freedom Fighter, Joaco, Pax and Typos. If you want to join, you gotta file the requisite paperwork. I guess that doesn’t sound too superhero-y. But hey, you wanna play in the big leagues, you gotta pay the big dues! Happy Halloween Everybody!