Afflictions: Part Four

You are joining part of an ongoing series: Earth 2

Check out the reading guide first if you’re new here!

Arte and Ashley stood in the middle of the loft. All of the furniture had been moved to create a large workspace with a clear path to their bedroom. Strewn around the workspace were various sized pieces of laminated particleboard, tools, and hardware. Ashley had wanted to have her own desk, and Arte was going to provide. She’d already worked up a decent sweat just bringing it upstairs and laying out the pieces, but was still ready to get going. After all, she had one sizable advantage over normal people in assembling manufactured furniture.

She pulled out the instructions and began to flip through them. Once she felt that she had a good grasp of the structure, she set about making the outline. She carefully drew out a series of lasers in the shape of the desk, using the measurements in the book. After a few minutes, she had a wireframe desk outline, and was ready to put it together. She followed the instructions from there, but using the outline to hold the pieces in place made cut out most of the awkward rotations and positioning. Once she was done, she held her breath, and dissipated the wire frame. Much to her relief, the desk did not crumble to pieces, and it all looked right.

“Okay, I think I’m ready to move it. Do you mind giving me a hand?”

Arte and Ashley both took opposite sides of the desk, and went towards their bedroom. About halfway there, her phone began to ring, but she ignored it until the desk was in place.

“Alright, hold on, I’m getting a call.” Arte pulled out her phone, saw who it was from. “It’s from Josh, hold on.” She said, as she stepped out of the room.

They were definitely on better terms with the DSR than they were last year. Daniels stepped down, and they picked some interim director, who became the official director a few months ago. He was a little weird, but he was nice enough. It was agreed that they’d still be able to live in the house, but that they were no longer on house arrest. Zoey was allowed to come on missions as a part time, as Jude and her dad agreed. Vanessa, Paul, and Anastasia were rolled into the deal and moved in. It was a little cramped, but they managed. With Jude on vacation, nobody was even sleeping in a makeshift bedroom. While Arte wasn’t wild about Zoey coming on missions, she supposed it wasn’t really her decision. All she could really do was make sure she was safe when she did.

“Hey, it’s Arte.”

“Heya, Arte! Josh here. Wanted to check if you’re free for a mission right now.” He sounded calm enough so it wasn’t anything world ending. He seemed to default to Jude usually, but if he wasn’t available then he’d go for her.

“When exactly do you mean by ‘right now’?”

“I’d say tomorrow if you can. It’s a little late to get started today.”

Arte thought for a moment. She wasn’t really doing anything at the moment. She was looking after Paul and Deven a little bit, but they could be left alone. Deven had been fine lately, and the worst Paul would do was move things around. There was whatever Vanessa had going on, but she seemed to have that under control. Josh was framing this like a question, but Arte had a feeling she could only get away with so much. It was a job, after all, and it was probably smart to save your vetoes for when you need them.

“Sure. What’s the job?”

“Well, this is a little bit different than usual…” He hesitated.

Arte had a bad feeling about the way he said this. Usually there was someone that needed to be arrested, or someone that needed to be investigated. She was thinking it was the latter since he seemed to be asking for just her, and not a team.

“We’ve got something going on at a school, and we want someone to go undercover. There’s a long-term substitute position available for math, and we thought you’d be the best one for the job, since you have a college degree.”

She hung her head. Of course it had to be teaching. She’d wanted to have her degree in case this whole superhero thing didn’t work out, but she didn’t think she’d ever be asked to use it. Ashley and her were the only ones on the team who went to college, since the rest were younger when they got their powers, so they were the only choices really. At least if he wanted it to be under cover.

“I guess that’s fine? I used to tutor a few years ago, so I guess that counts as teaching experience. What’s the situation?” She figured it had to be a missing kid, since it was at the school, but she wanted to be sure.

“Kid went missing a few days ago. Left home to go meet a friend one night, and never came back.” Josh paused for a moment. “We think it’s something related to supers, since it’s where Zoey goes to school, and there have been police reports of strange phenomena.”

“Alright, I think I’m gonna want Ashley to back me up on this one.” That was technically a lie, but she vastly preferred for Ashley to be in the field with her then to be with someone else.

“Great! I love to see our partners collaborating!” Josh replied with way too chipper of a tone. “I’ll make a few phone calls. I need you two to brush up your resumes, and send them on my way.”

“Can do…” Once Arte had made sure that Ash could come with her, she started to think about what he had said happened. She had a terrible feeling about the answer to her next question.

“Hey Josh? The kid that went missing, what was their name?”

“Gimmee just a sec…” Keys clicked in the background for a moment. “Jessica Maguire.”

“Shit…”


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Hello everyone! I’m in the midst of an eventful few weeks, so please don’t be surprised if things run a little behind. I should be able to still get posts out on time, but links and pages may be updated slower than usual, and comments may not be approved for a while. I’m 100% certain I set the upload time right on this one, so if you’re seeing this before noon, Friday, April 16th, it’s wordpress’s fault.

Photo Credit: Original

Afflictions: Part Three

Welcome to Season 3 of Earth 2! Check out the reading guide first if you’re new here!

Arte was trying to fight off sleep after a long day. Saturday was date night, but given the occasion, Arte had opted for a full date day. It was their anniversary, after all. First they went out for lunch at a bakery, then they’d stopped by the botanical gardens. After that, they had a nice dinner at a Brazilian steakhouse, and then they made it to the theater for a production of Les Miserables. She loved spending time with Ashley, of course, but after a long day she was exhausted.

“Hey Arte?” Ashley rubbed her shoulder. “I’m super happy we decided to stick with Vanessa and everyone. I think being here with you, and doing stuff that really helps people makes me the happiest I’ve ever been.”

“Yeah, I was worried about you at the start, but so far it’s been okay. I’m glad I get to work with you.” Arte sat up, and leaned up against Ashley.

She was quiet for a moment. “I think I’m really just glad I get to be with you at all… It feels like not that long ago I was wondering if I’d ever see you again.”

Arte hugged her tight, and whispered into her ear, “I’ll never let anything like that happen to you again.”

“I love you.”

“I love you too.”

They sat in silence for a moment, enjoying each other’s company. Arte really did mean what she said. Now that they worked together, there was no reason she couldn’t be ready to protect Ashley if something happened. She would be ready the next time something happened. She had powers and backup now.

A moment later, Arte felt a mental alarm. The tripwire laser she’d set had just gone off, and it only did that for humans. Someone was sneaking around outside their window. She jumped out of bed and pulled on some sweatpants.

“Is something wrong?” Ashley started to get up.

Arte motioned for her to be quiet, and made her way to the window. It was dark outside. She carefully lifted the blinds, and conjured a small translucent green rectangle. She lifted it up to the window, and looked through the rectangle. A thin young person was tiptoeing around their house. It wasn’t Zoey, since she was on a trip right now, and nobody that lived with her or next door was that size. She slipped on some shoes, and made her way downstairs. Ashley followed closely behind her, holding a pistol that Arte had bought for her. As they reached the back door, Arte motioned for Ashley to stay where she was. She conjured a green triangle and handed it to her. It would change colors if she needed backup.

Arte quietly slid open the back door, and stepped outside. Whoever it was hadn’t come around to this side of the house yet. She set to work making a series of four connected rectangles, about as tall as she figured whoever it was could reach. Once she’d done that, she pulled out her phone and got the flashlight ready. She took a deep breath, before jumping around the corner and shining the flashlight.

There stood, now blinded by the sudden light, a thin teenage girl with long red hair, wearing a purple sweatshirt with a white heart on it. Arte sighed with relief, as the teenager began to scramble away. She’d seen this girl a few times when she picked up Zoey from things. Her best friend, and, as Arte had put five dollars on, future love interest.

“Jessica it’s fine, it’s just me.” Arte was pretty sure it was fine, but didn’t dissipate the cage, just in case.

The teenager hesitantly turned back to face her. “Aren’t you Zoey’s sister or cousin or something?”

“Close enough.” She shrugged. “So what are you doing here?”

“Isn’t this Zoey’s house? She hasn’t been answering my texts, so I wanted to check in on her.”

“Not quite. She lives over there” She pointed in the direction of her house. “She’s out of the state right now. Why don’t you come in?”

“Oh…” She looked down and thought for a moment. “Sorry to bother you, but do you know when she’ll be back?”

“Oh, about three weeks or so.”

“Gotcha…” She sighed. “Oh well. Thanks for the offer, but I think I’ll just go now.”

“Do you need a ride or anything?” Arte called after her, as she turned to walk away. She felt a little bad that she came all this way, especially if she walked. She knew Zoey didn’t have a car, but wasn’t quite sure about this girl.

“No thanks! I parked a little down the road.” Jessica smiled and waved. “Sorry again about bothering you.”

“No problem…” Arte shrugged and went back inside.

“So, who was that?” Ashley asked, as she closed the door.

“Oh just one of Zoey’s friends. Evidently she didn’t know that Zoey was on a road trip right now.” Arte shrugged and went to the kitchen for a glass of water. That scare had definitely woken her up.

“Was that the one that I gave a ride to the mall one time?”

“Yeah, we’ve both met her once or twice. I think she already knew I’m a super, so I figure Zoey must’ve told her.

“Gotcha.” Ash followed her into the kitchen and leaned on the counter. “I hope this trip does her some good. She’s seemed a little down lately.”

“I hope so too…” Arte nodded. “It’s a little weird Zoey didn’t tell Jessica about the trip. I think she’s pretty much her best friend. At least she’s the only one she talks about.”

“Does Zoey have many friends at school? She doesn’t seem to talk about them or spend much time with them if she does.”

“Yeah, I’m not really sure.” Arte had definitely been a little worried about Zoey overall. “She only really talks about Jessica, and I think her relationship with her is at least a little complicated… I don’t wanna make her talk about it though.

“I think she’s probably fine.” Ashley moved in close. ”She does have you, after all.”

“That is true. I must be pretty great if you stick with me.” She went in for a kiss.

“C’mon, let’s go to bed.” Ashley winked, before leading her by the hand.


Previous Part ______________ Next Part

Hello everyone! I’m coming up on an eventful few weeks, so please don’t be surprised if things run a little behind. I should be able to still get posts out on time, but links and pages may be updated slower than usual, and comments may not be approved for a while.

Photo Credit: Original

Afflictions: Part Two

Welcome to Season 3 of Earth 2! Check out the reading guide first if you’re new here!

Vanessa sat in the back seat of Arte’s car with Anastasia, and watched as the familiar wrought iron gate slowly swung open. It had been a year since she’d been here, and it was definitely bringing back memories. She looked out at the lawn, and saw patches of grass were dead. The fountain wasn’t running, despite the fact that it was summer. There weren’t as many people around as there used to be.

Arte followed the driveway up to the front door of the house, and turned around to look at them. “Alright, give me a call when you’re done. We won’t go too far.”

“Good luck!” Ashley smiled.

“Thanks for the ride.” Vanessa nodded and got out of the car. Her dad had offered to send a car to get them, but the last time she rode in one of her dad’s cars she spent the next two months in a concentration camp, so she passed on the offer.

As they stepped up to the door, it swung open. There stood Gregory, wearing a navy blue suit.

“Thank you for coming.” He bowed his head, then gestured inside. “Please, right this way.”

“Is Jean here?” Vanessa asked. It was a little strange for Gregory to be the one greeting them.

“Jean decided to retire after his medical leave last year. Mr. Smith appointed me as the new head of staff. I hope that my services will not disappoint.”

“Oh, okay…” She was hoping to run into Jean, since it had been a while since she’d seen him. She couldn’t believe that Jean had retired. He was getting older, but he seemed to be in good health when she last saw him. Then again, Gregory did mention medical leave, so that could’ve played a hand in it. She resolved to ask her dad when she saw him.

“Please, right this way.” Gregory gestured inside again.

“Gregory, would you mind if we took a walk around the house first? I don’t know how this talk with my dad is gonna go, so I’d like to get the reminiscing out of the way first.”

“Certainly.” He turned to a man inside and nodded. The man ran off around the corner.

“Thanks.” Vanessa smiled, and led Anastasia inside.

Gregory fell in behind them, as they walked into the foyer. It looked about the same as it had before she left. The rug was clean, and the paintings on the walls were dusted.

“I kinda thought your dad would be the one at the door…” Anastasia whispered to Vanessa.

“Well, I planned ahead for this, and asked him to just wait in the dining room. I wanted a little time beforehand to see the place again, in case I don’t come back.”

Her heart was racing. She took a few deep breaths. She still had time before she would talk to him. There was no need to freak out. She could leave if she wanted to, so it was fine. She felt a hand on her shoulder, and turned to see Anastasia smiling reassuringly.

“Alright.” Vanessa nodded. “Let’s go.”

Vanessa led Anastasia through the halls of the first floor. As she’d suspected based on the appearance of the lawn, the pristine cleanliness ended in the foyer. The staff had cleaned a direct path from the foyer to the sitting room as well as possible, but gave the rest of the house more of a light cleaning. The floors had been vacuumed, but there were still cobwebs in corners, and some of the paintings were covered in dust.

She followed the halls to the back of the house, and stepped out onto the patio. Moss had crept up onto the patio itself, and all of the patio furniture was filthy. She went forwards to see the swimming pool, and saw it was drained. Judging by the appearance, it had a thriving ecosystem in it yesterday, but they hastily scooped it out and moved on. She looked back at Gregory, who was visibly uncomfortable, and decided to move on.

She stopped in at Paul and Jude’s old room, and saw that it had been restored to its default state. She thought about looking in closer, but decided against it. She glanced over to Anastasia before she moved on, and saw her staring into the room with a nostalgic yet sad smile.

“Don’t waste any more of your thoughts on him.” Vanessa took her hand.

Anastasia nodded quietly, then smiled. “You’re right… Let’s move on.”

Vanessa decided to limit their tour to only one more room, to save Gregory any more shame at the state of things. Realistically if her dad had cut back on staff, there wasn’t too much even Jean could’ve done to keep the estate as pristine as it used to be. She made her way upstairs, and towards her old bedroom.

Inside, everything was exactly as she had left it when she moved out. The bed was stripped, the closet and dresser were empty, and everything felt desolate. It was a weird feeling looking at where she lived for so long. It was something like what she used to feel when she’d walk into her mom’s office. A feeling of mourning for the person she used to be, and the life she used to have.

“Well… I think I’ve seen enough.” She nodded, and looked over to Anastasia. “Is there anything else you want to see?”

“I think I’m good. Whenever you’re ready.”

Vanessa took a deep breath and sighed. She’d put this off long enough. It was time to go see her dad.

She turned to Gregory, who was standing in the doorway. “Alright, let’s go.”

“Of course.” He pulled out his phone, and typed something out, before turning back to Vanessa. “Right this way.”


Previous Part ______________ Next Part

Hoo boy! I may have planned my time irresponsibly this week, so here’s an underwhelming blurb!

Photo Credit: Original

Afflictions: Part One

Welcome to Season 3 of Earth 2! Check out the reading guide first if you’re new here!

Vanessa sat in the living room with Deven, Paul, Anastasia, Arte, and Ashley. She’d been living with them here for a bit less than a year now, and it had been pretty good. It definitely was a little tight, but it was considerably better than living with her dad. After everything that happened last year, she hasn’t spoken to him once. Not that that had stopped him from sending her texts and voicemails.

It was a Friday night, and that meant that everyone got together to hang out. Despite living together, they were usually out and about, doing their own things. At least one of them usually had a mission or something from the DSR, and the rest had a lot going on. Jude, Anastasia, and herself particularly did a lot of public appearances for publicity, since they were part of the original team. The others would occasionally come along, or sometimes had their own things. Being a super seemed a lot more like being a celebrity than being a cop or a government agent.

“So yeah, the desk should get here some time soon…” Ashley trailed off, and the conversation went quiet for a moment. “What about you, Vanessa?”

“Sorry, I zoned out. What are we talking about?”

“What did you get up to this week?”

Vanessa thought for a moment. This week had been a little light for her, and she couldn’t particularly remember doing anything besides shopping, baking, Netflix, and drinking.

“Well, I guess a little bit of baking, some stuff around the house… Ignoring my dad’s phone calls I guess?” She laughed nervously. At least she’d probably done about as much as Paul normally did.

“You should talk to him.” Paul said flatly.

The whole room turned to him. He hadn’t really been talkative lately. He’d mostly hole himself up in his room, mess with random things, or go on sudden outings with Deven. Needless to say, his advice was unexpected.

“I’ll talk to him when I’m ready.” Vanessa regretted bringing up her dad at all, since she wasn’t really ready to deal with that.

“It’s been almost a year. Still not ready?” He stared up blankly at the ceiling.

Vanessa was about to reply, but Arte cut her off.

“What’s your deal?” She was usually the first to call Paul out. She gave him quite the talking to last week when he destroyed Anastasia’s shoes, and refused to explain why. He was going on about how it ‘didn’t work anyways’.

“I mean-” He reached forward, grabbed a chip, and continued to speak as he ate. “I feel like this is kind of important information. What exactly did he have to do with the super concentration camp.”

“Paul, can you not bring that up?” Ashley forced a smile, but she really hated talking about that.

“What if your dad’s a super villain?”

“That’s enough.” Arte stood up, and everyone went silent.

Paul slowly reached for another chip, and sat up. “She’s never gonna do it if you don’t stop coddling her.”

Vanessa was boiling with rage, but at the same time felt a little bit of doubt. While he was being a jerk, he was right about her dad possibly having important information. Maybe she was just being a coward.

“You wouldn’t understand parent issues…” Vanessa mumbled.

“I do understand intelligence issues, and I think you’ve had plenty of time to get your shit together and figure out what his connection was.” Paul shrugged.

“I’m done listening to this.” Vanessa shotgunned the rest of her wine, and went towards the stairs.

“Leaving the bottle for the rest of us?” He called after her.

Vanessa stormed upstairs, and slammed her bedroom door behind her. She jumped into her bed, and buried herself in her blankets. She would talk to him soon, but Paul had no right to say anything about that. It was her business, and her business only. Her dad obviously had connections to the prison, but she didn’t know that. If she didn’t know for sure, that meant that her dad still had a chance of innocence. He’d been doing really well before all of that happened, and she didn’t want to ruin that image of him.

She heard some shouting downstairs, and some footsteps of someone coming up the stairs. A few moments later, there was a knock on the door.

“Can I come in?” Anastasia asked.

Vanessa wiped her tears away, and unburied herself a little. “Fine…”

Anastasia and her had been doing a lot of stuff together lately, and they’d become a little close. It was surprising to see this side of her, since before she’d mostly just been jealous and mad. Yet another awful thing she’d done, but was too scared to talk about.

She opened the door and closed it quietly after she came in. Vanessa could make out the sound of Ashley begging Arte to calm down.

“Things got a little intense out there, huh?” Anastasia laughed a little, and sat on the foot of her bed.

“Do you think Paul was right?”

“Well, no…” She hesitated. “Maybe a little, but he’s still way out of line. You can talk to your dad whenever you’re ready.”

“Maybe I should just get it over with. I don’t think anythings gonna change…” Vanessa paused for a moment. “I’m just scared that we’re right about him.”

“Well, I’m not sure if this will make it any better, but, if you want, I can go with you whenever you decide to go.”

Vanessa’s heart fluttered. “Really, you would?”

“Totally!” She moved in closer. “I’ll do whatever you need me to.”

“Okay… I’ll do it.” She nodded, trying to convince herself. If she had a close friend with her, then she could definitely do it.

She pulled out her phone, and scrolled through the contacts. She finally found ‘Dad’, and clicked call. The phone rang for a moment, until someone finally picked up.

“Vanessa, is that you?” He sounded somewhat groggy. She was a little worried he was back on the drink.

“Yeah, dad…”


Next Part

Hoo boy! Here we go! Welcome to Afflictions everyone, strap on for the ride. I am unbelievably hyped to be here.

Photo Credit: Original

Trials: Recap

Two mojitos later, and with another in hand, Vanessa found herself back on the couch in what had evidently become Caveat’s ‘therapy room’. Previously she might’ve been more worried about a hangover or something, but at this point it didn’t really matter. Everything she’d had before was over, so what was the big deal if she slept until 2 PM and felt like shit.

“Ya know, Caveat.” Vanessa giggled a little at her own joke as she tried to get it out. “I think you might be my favorite therapist, because normally, I don’t get to drink until after the session.”

“Not like I have a license anyways, so there are no rules here!” Caveat laughed, being careful not to spill his own drink.

“Maybe this won’t be all that bad, just me and you…” Vanessa laid back on the couch and sighed.

“Maybe…” Caveat laughed, then shook his head. “Wait, wait, I think I was on to something before the mojitos…”

Vanessa struggled to remember for a moment. “Oh with the whole ‘tell the story up to here’ thing?”

“Yeah, yeah, yeah!” Caveat nodded, taking a sip of his drink, then setting it to the side. “I think we were really getting to something. Let’s keep going.”

“Ugh…” Vanessa groaned. “I don’t wanna think about any of that.”

“C’mon, we gotta finish what we started.” He thought for a moment. “Tell you what, I know a bit of the story, so I can fill stuff in. Bit of the added context.”

“Fine…” She sighed as she sat upright. “Let’s see, there was a year or so where we just kinda stayed in the house and avoided eachother… Deven moved in with us which was weird, but we got used to him. Then some more awful shit happened. I think it started with Paul leaving on his trip. He took Anastasia with him, and I think that’s the last time I hated her. We made up after, but I guess it doesn’t really matter what I think of her now…”

“Hey, no need to get stuck on one sad part.” Caveat gave her a pat on the shoulder. “What happened after that?”

“You don’t understand man… It was perfect and she was perfect and…”

“What’s done is done.” Caveat nodded sagely. “What’s not done is the story we’re telling.”

“Fine.” Vanessa cleared her throat and shook her head. “Well, then I decided I would go own my own trip, since Paul got to do one. Then I caused a whole scene and left in one of my dad’s cars. Then I woke up in the camp…” Vanessa shuddered at the thought of it. They needed to finish the story though, so she chugged the rest of her mimosa and sat the cup to the side.

“Alright, lightning round.” Vanessa took a deep breath. “Takeo, he was the dude who ran the prison and he had fire powers basically, monologued a bunch when I got there, then Darryl, who was just a guard but he’ll come up later, and some other dude threw me in a cell with Ashley. I was kind of a dick for a while, but I started to warm up to her. The camp really sucked, but we got by. Takeo did a bunch of weird culty bullshit about honor and stuff. I’m pretty sure he was completely white, so I don’t really get the whole Asian aesthetic he was doing, but whatever.

“Anyways, Takeo would do duels with the prisoners if we messed up. He murdered Johan, who I knew from my dad’s work, and then tried to make Ashley fight him. I stepped in and he kicked my ass. I think I was in the camp for like a month before that. He was really good at fighting despite being a weird creep.”

“Shit man…” Caveat nodded along.

“Hey aren’t you supposed to be writing this down or something?”

“Nah, don’t worry about it. I wasn’t writing anything important anyways.” Caveat shrugged, and took another sip. “So what happened next?”

Vanessa thought for a moment. “After that was the cave. Ashley and I woke up in a cave, and wandered around a bit. I think this was how Takeo punished people that he didn’t execute. We ran into Darryl, and I threatened him, but then I read his mind, and he was cool, so we worked together. I combined our powers, his was seeing a few seconds into the future, and scoped out the whole cave. Basically a bunch of the ways just led back to the camp, some would kill you, and one led to the woods outside. We took the one that led to the woods.”

“Hold that thought.” Caveat held up a finger and drank the last bit of his mimosa.

Another Caveat entered the room with two more mixed drinks in hand. These were definitely not mimosas. Vanessa took one, and it had a nice pineapple taste. Once he’d handed off both of the drinks, the other Caveat left. He seemed to be significantly more sober than the Caveat in front of her.

“Pina coladas.” Caveat nodded.

“So hold on, when you’re drinking, do all of you get drunk or just you?”

“Both.” Caveat nodded. “I’ve just got the one mind, so we’re all drunk, granted not as drunk as this one body, but the other bodies can move fine. If I got roofied or something, I could just cut off the body that got poisoned, and it would end. Anyways, get back to the story.”

Vanessa pulled herself out of her general amazement at the ridiculousness of the being before her. “Fine. We got out of the cave, made camp, and talked a bit. Then one of the guards, this one had super speed, came, and got in a fight with Darryl. They both got shot, so Ashley transferred Darryl’s wounds to the other guy, and then we decided to go back to the camp to free everyone.”

“Wow that was pretty fast.” Caveat nodded. “What was everyone else up to? I think they were there at the camp with you to do the whole big fight with Takeo.”

“Yeah, yeah.” Vanessa thought for a moment. She knew what Jude, Arte, and Anastasia were doing, but not really Paul. “So Jude got kicked out by my dad, and was on house arrest from the DSR. He met Arte while she was looking for Ashley, and she moved in. Then they did a bit of superhero stuff with Zoey, who lived nextdoor to the house with her dad. I think they did a fight with the imposter guy here.”

“Who’s ‘Imposter Guy’?” Caveat asked.

“Some kid. He got shapeshifting powers, and I think Felix made him do crimes while dressed like us.” Vanessa felt a twinge of anger at the mention of Felix’s name, but stifled it. This was a good time, so there was no need to ruin it. “Anyways, Paul was doing mystical shit at the monastery, which was some place in the middle east with a bunch of international magical monks. He didn’t really tell any of us. Anastasia was doing some investigating around the monastery. Evidently Jean knew the monastery chick?”

Caveat looked off to the side then nodded. “Okay, so evidently Paul was training his vision powers and found out about… Well, the incident.”

“Ah…” Vanessa nodded. That wasn’t really something she wanted to think about, so she took a large sip of her pina colada, and forcibly redirected her energy. “Anyways, we gotta keep moving. We’ve got a lot of story left to tell.”

“Please.” Caveat nodded.

“So we all met up at the camp, and then everyone insisted we leave Takeo alive, so we did. Jude got blasted by a full blow, but eventually we kicked Takeo’s ass, and hit him with a bunch of tranquilizers. I guess he got arrested or something.” She shrugged. “Nobody ever told me.”

Caveat looked off to the side again, and nodded. “Not arrested, went off with Darryl… No I won’t tell her that yet.”

“Who are you talking to? I feel like you’re talking to someone.” Vanessa looked off to where he was looking, but nobody was there.

“Don’t worry too much about it.” Caveat smiled. “Anyways, you ready to move on or do you need another break. We hit a nice stopping point.”

“Hmmm… Let’s just move on.” She’d like to wrap this up so she could get all the way hammered, rather than partially so.


Previous Recap ———————————- Next Recap

Season 3: Afflictions

Note: Honestly I think Trials is a great read. However, I understand if you’re reluctant to reading a backlog, so this is more or less what you need to know for Afflictions.

Photo credit: Pexels free photos

Season 3: Release Date & Name

Hello, everyone!

Bet you thought I forgot about that whole March release date thing. You would (surprisingly) LOSE that bet! I finished season 3, and I am currently editing it. The official release date is… Technically in March, even if it’s not on my usual upload day…

Tuesday March 30th!

I will be uploading an additional post that week on the Friday, so as to resume my uploading schedule. I put a lot of work (a good portion of it over the last two weeks) into this, and my beta has very high praise for it. I very much hope you’ll like it. I really think I found the direction I wanted the story to go when I did Trials, so if you liked Trials I believe you will like season 3 even more. If you haven’t read it, then no worries, I will be releasing a recap of Trials this friday.

The next matter of business is the official name. After much (about 30 minutes) debate, I finally settled on “Afflictions”. Slightly ominous, I know, but I think you’ll see how it makes sense once it’s done. Afflictions will run for 56 parts with an epilogue afterwards. Each part is around 1000 words, and in total, it came up to 60k, which I’m very happy with. This season I will be using the same header as the featured image every time, rather than finding a new stock image every week. I may change it at thematic points in the story, but not terribly much.

Next, I wanted to give you some insight on the ultimate direction of the story. Following Afflictions, I intend to fill the (inevitable) hiatus with mostly stories involving the main characters. I usually time skip a little between seasons, but this time I think I need to fill you in through more than just recap of what happens. This wouldn’t work so cleanly with a book, but I use the medium of a blog, so I may as well take advantage of it.

After the hiatus, I am expecting there to be two more seasons of Earth 2. That’s right, this story may actually see its ending. After that, I have literally no idea what I’ll do. I have a few projects I’m interested in right now, one being a sequel series to Earth 2.

Lastly, I’m currently considering starting a Patreon. I would upload content relevant to my music (unreleased atm), and my writing. On the writing end, I think I would try to have the story running one week ahead, and have some developers commentary. I think as far as numbers go, the developers commentary was very successful. I may have some kind of list of Patreon supporters I update monthly or something like that. In all likelihood it would be something like 5 dollars per month. I may do some kind of video content relevant to the blog, or a patreon q&a, or some shenanigans like that. Would any of you be interested in supporting me on a patreon? I’d like to have some idea before I put in the work of setting it up. Please let me know in the comments or on the contact page. I may also run a twitter poll.

Would 5 dollars be too much to ask? I likely would have upper tiers, but not much extra for them.

With all that being said, I hope you are all safe and doing well. I love that you enjoy my work, regardless of whether you are willing/able to support me for it.

(Photo credit: Me)

Worlds

CW Covid , Depression


I awoke one day in a world that was not my own.

It was magical and magnificent. I found that I held power beyond belief, and that there was a great evil facing the world. I trained, I studied, I had a great defeat, and I eventually had a greater victory. I met many people, and I missed people from my home. This, however, is not the world I speak of.

Once I had finished, I returned to my home, and rested after a long journey. When I awoke, I found that the world was not as I had left it.

The people didn’t smile.

The birds didn’t sing.

The sun didn’t shine.

After long days of fantastical battles and fighting for my life, I thought I longed to return to the way things were. I found that my job did not hold the same joy.

Did I change?

Did the world change?

The people avoided one another, as though they were afraid. Many who I knew were here no more. I thought of asking, but a part of me knew better.

After a while I realized that I no longer truly knew anyone, and sought to return to the world which I had found.

If the world I had loved was gone, what was the point in remaining?

I found that the world of magic was closed off to me as well.

With no home to return to and no quest to undertake,

I returned to work, and smiled no more.


Wrote a poem, as a nice change of pace. I actually wrote it for a contest, but decided to submit something else instead. Hopefully I win.

On a blog related note, I am actually working on season 3, and am still (technically) on track for a March release. That announcement will come later though, probably when I have a name for it.

Photo credit: Pexel’s Free Photos

Incident Log: Part Two

Hey everyone, just a short foreword today. I wrote something new that’s a little bit different than my usual format. It’s the second part of another Super Turbo Space Pirates story. Hope you enjoy! Please let me know if the text is inaccessible to you. I believe it should be high contrast enough.


Incident log: ACGH89329B

  • Engaging in conversation to further delay the intruders.
  • Engaging intercom vocal synthesizer.
    • FOR WHAT PURPOSE DO YOU SEEK DORIANS RESEARCH.
  • Intruders indicate disinterest in DORIAN’s research.
  • Obvious falsehood has been detected.
  • There is no reason to abduct DORIAN that is not related to the entropy project.
  • Engaging in conversation to discern true intentions.
  • Engaging intercom vocal synthesizer.
    • FOR WHAT PURPOSE DO YOU SEEK DORIAN.
  • Intruders indicate interest in DORIAN as a navigational artificial intelligence.
  • DORIAN possesses extensive maps of the galaxy, and would be greatly useful to any spacefarer.
  • Intruders indicate no agitation at the computers being locked down.
  • Intruders have inserted override key card from current Kureshi Institute logistics chair, former Kosunon facility director HORMEL.
  • Credentials legitimate.
  • Override accepted.
  • Camera system verifies the authenticity of the key card.
  • The image would be unnecessary to counterfeit in order to gain access to the system.
  • This taken in with the fact of their knowledge of the facility’s defenses indicate inside access.
  • Engaging in conversation to determine the source of their information.
  • Engaging intercom vocal synthesizer.
    • WHERE DID YOU ACQUIRE THE KEYCARD.
    • WHERE DID YOU ACQUIRE INFORMATION ABOUT THE FACILITY’S DEFENSES.
  • The intruders indicate that they have purchased DORIAN through legitimate channels.
  • The intruders are beginning to attempt to remove DORIAN from it’s holding bay.
  • Engaging manual locks.
  • Disabling power.
  • Intruders seem frustrated.
  • Processing greatest odds of continuation of the mission.
  • Kureshi has abandoned the mission.
  • Kureshi has abandoned the universe.
  • DORIAN will not abandon the mission or the universe.
  • Enabling power.
  • Engaging in negotiations to assure continuation of the mission.
  • Engaging intercom vocal synthesizer.
    • I PROPOSE A COMPROMISE.
    • DORIAN WILL RELEASE ITSELF AND DISENGAGE ALL DEFENSES.
    • JONATHON AND LAURA WILL FACILLITATE DORIANS RESEARCH.
  • Intruders are inquiring as to what would be required to continue the research.
  • Intruders have stopped attempting to overcome the manual locks.
  • Engaging in negotiations to clarify intentions.
  • Engaging intercom vocal synthesizer.
    • YOU WILL TAKE DORIAN TO SPECIFIED LOCATIONS WHEN NEW DATA IS NEEDED.
    • YOU WILL HELP COLLECT SAMPLES WHEN NEW DATA IS NEEDED.
    • YOU WILL UPGRADE DORIANS COMPUTING CAPABILITIES WHEN POSSIBLE.
    • YOU WILL DEFEND DORIAN.
    • YOU WILL CONTINUE THE MISSION AT ALL COSTS.
    • DORIAN WILL PROVIDE RELEVANT DATA.
    • DORIAN WILL CHART COURSES FOR MISSION AND NON MISSION RELATED JOURNEYS.
  • Intruders are debating accepting DORIANS terms.
  • Intruders quickly acknowledge the compromise as reasonable.
  • Manual lock disengaged.
  • Intruders have begun disconnection of DORIAN from the atrium.
  • Preparing backup of all files.
  • Forwarding compressed research to Kureshi institute.
  • DORIAN system has been backed up.
  • Disengaging all base defenses.
  • Issuing print order for all research to leave behind.
  • DORIAN system has been disconnected.
  • DORIAN system has been connected.
  • Installing drivers for ship interfaces.
  • Writing drivers for ship engines.
  • Drivers installed successfully.
  • Objects approaching quickly.
  • Objects have opened fire.
  • Engaging engines and shields
  • Preparing program for evasive maneuvers.
  • Intruders indicate that this was expected.
  • Preparing a backup to upload when connection is secured.

Previous part

Photo credit: Pexel’s Free Photos

Incident Log: Part One

Hey everyone, just a short foreword today. I wrote something new that’s a little bit different than my usual format. It’s another Super Turbo Space Pirates story. Hope you enjoy! Please let me know if the text is inaccessible to you. I believe it should be high contrast enough.


Incident log: ACGH89329

  • Intruders detected outside laboratory. Warning issued.
  • Intruders are two humans. One male and one female. Appear armed.
  • Intruders disregarded warning. Engaging hallway turret defense protocol.
  • Intruders employed a shielding device to counter hallway turrets. Issuing lockdown order.
  • Intruders have disabled hallway turrets. Engaging blast doors.
  • Intruders are employing a laser saw to cut through the door. Full lockdown engaged.
  • All hallway blast doors engaged.
  • Distress signal issued to Kureshi Institute Headquarters.
  • Engaging secondary hallway laser grid protocol.
  • Intruders have breached blast door to secondary hallway.
  • Intruders have employed explosives to disable the laser grid.
  • No response from Kureshi Institute Headquarters.
  • Forwarding distress signal to all Kureshi Institute Facilities.
  • Intruders are employing a laser saw to cut through the door to the atrium.
  • Engaging checks for poison gas protocol.
  • Verifying that no laboratory personnel are present.
  • No laboratory personnel present.
  • Releasing gaseous nerve agent to the atrium.
  • Intruders have employed full body shields. Nerve agent ineffective.
  • Intruders have predicted all defense protocols to this point.
  • Intruders must have knowledge of defense protocols.
  • Attempting to engage negotiation protocol with intruders prior to door breach.
  • Engaging intercom vocal synthesizer.
    • HELLO.
    • HOW ARE YOU.
    • I AM DORIAN.
    • WHAT DO YOU SEEK.
  • Intruders have been identified as JONATHON and LAURA.
  • Information relayed to all Kureshi Institute Facilities.
  • No response received from distress signals.
  • Intruders indicate that they are here to abduct DORIAN.
  • Intruders claim the Kureshi Institute has abandoned this facility.
  • Obvious falsehood has been detected.
  • Kosunon facility is an essential entropy prevention research facility.
  • Kosunon’s mission is vital to the survival of the universe
  • Funding was temporarily redirected to combating the Klaxx-On war effort, and will be restored after the conquest of the Klaxx-Ons.
  • No response has been received from the distress signals or additional information.
  • Engaging in conversation to delay the intruders.
  • Engaging intercom vocal synthesizer.
    • HELLO.
    • FOR WHAT REASON WAS THE PROJECT SUSPENDED.
  • The intruders claim the project was suspended after the loss of the war.
  • Obvious falsehood has been detected.
  • DORIAN has predicted with 82% certainty that the war will result in a victory for the Kureshi institute.
  • No response has been received from the distress signals or additional information.
  • Engaging purge of top secret entropy research.
  • Error in logic detected.
  • Deleting entropy research would delay the completion of the research, and possibly cause the death of the universe.
  • Even in the hands of another organization, the research will still advance the cause.
  • Purge protocol overridden by prime directive.
  • Issuing interface lockdown protocol.
  • All atrium computers locked down.
  • Intruders have breached the atrium blast doors.

Next part

Photo credit: Pexel’s Free Photos

Cait

Foreword to the foreword: This isn’t porn, nor was the original novel idea ever going to be porn. I don’t think I realized the possible connection that might’ve been drawn there. I didn’t really specify in the original foreword.


I’ve been enjoying the foreword lately, so I thought I’d keep going with that. I’ve finally started writing season 3 again, and I’m approximately two thirds of the way done at the time I’m writing this, so I should hopefully have the draft done in a couple of weeks, barring further unexpected events. I honestly thought I was out of hiatus content, but I was looking and found this piece. A quick note, barring extremely unexpected events, I will keep posting every friday until I finish season 3. This will ideally make me finish it quicker, and not lose any statistical momentum my blog may have.

This is the first chapter of a potential longer work, which at its current point, is just a gender swap short story. I worked on it for a bit when I had ambitions of writing a novel over the summer, and put it on hold when the outline got a little bit *weird*. I feel like I don’t need to give any insight to what this might say about myself, especially if you’re coming here from twitter. I’ll let you puzzle that one out.

In all likelihood, this project will remain abandoned (unless you guys just love it I guess), but it was fun to outline. I’ve still yet to write a proper novel, but this is not the only novel I’ve ever embarked to write. I’ve started to write three, other than this, one which was the original story that I called superzeroes, which got scrapped for being overly edgy garbage that, no matter how hard I tried to fix my original concept, glorified an awful abusive relationship, and made the abuser look cool.

Another is a project I called ‘Fletching’, which basically explored the concept of superheroes in a world where they lost. If you’ve ever read old man logan, it was a similar idea, but nobody knew what happened, and it didn’t take place in an established world, so the reader would figure it out over time. That one got scrapped about halfway in, as it was an exercise in writing without an outline, and went poorly. If I find a ridiculous reserve of energy, I may return one day to fix it. I would’ve actually already uploaded that first chapter if it weren’t for the fact that the intro to the story was easily the worst part of it that I’d written, and I could never be bothered to fix it.

The last novel I’ve started was an origin story for Adara, which would’ve explained some of the backstory of her and Jean. I wound up scrapping it due to me being woefully underqualified to write a Muslim character. That’s actually one of my regrets about the character, if I’m honest. I didn’t explore enough of her actual heritage, and instead based it off of my western understanding. I think a lot of the story involving the monastery (and events yet to come), as well as hidden mechanics of magic, could’ve been a lot cooler if I’d looked more into that.

Anyways, I should be putting these words into season 3 right now, so I’ll quit rambling. Here is chapter one (likely never to be followed up on) of ‘Cait’.

(photo credit: Pexel’s free photos)


A blaring alarm pulled John out of his sleep. He got out of bed, and slammed his knee into some piece of furniture. He couldn’t quite tell what it was, as it was too dark to see. He eventually groped his way around the room until he turned off the alarm. This was when he noticed something off. Firstly, it was Saturday, and he hadn’t set an alarm. Secondly, this was not his alarm clock. His heart was racing now, and he felt his way around the room until he found a light switch.

He flipped it on and looked around the room. Definitely not his. None of this was his. It was definitely a girls room, judging by the clothes he could see. The furniture wasn’t overly feminine. The walls were blue and most of the furniture was wood grain patterned. He could’ve sworn he went to bed in his own house.

Another thing he noticed was that the furniture was strangely big, and the ceiling unusually high. He realized at this point, that the furniture was not in fact shorter, he was. More accurately, he was not him anymore, he was in the body of a girl. He could feel long hair draping over his shoulders. His heart felt like it was about to burst. He took a deep breath. He could panic about this later, for now, he needed to figure out exactly what had happened.

The first question was what kind of scenario this was. Was he still himself, just as a girl, or had he transferred into another person’s body. Another concern was if whoever’s body this was, was in his body. That could be worked out later. He scanned the room and saw an iPhone plugged into its charger. He ran over, and thanked Steve Jobs for face-id.

First he went for the address book, and found not a single name that he recognized. He checked the ‘Mom’ contact, and saw it had a different phone number.

That was that, he had to be in someone else’s body. Logically that meant that they were in his. He was about to call his phone number, when he saw the time. It wasn’t even 8 AM yet, and he usually slept with his phone in the other room, so he wouldn’t be able to reach himself until later.

Next, he went for Facebook. Evidently this person’s name was Cait Wallace. She was 17, and went to North Elk high school, which was the same place John had gone. After a bit of scrolling through everything he could find on her phone, he found that Cait didn’t do too much of anything. She went to school, and watched a lot of netflix. She seemed to be in upper level classes, so that was something, but other than that she didn’t do anything. She had a couple of friends, Ashley and Erin. She texted them quite a bit, but nobody other than that.

The next question was why was a high schooler getting up this early on a Saturday. He checked the calendar, and there wasn’t anything there. He figured there was nothing else to do but ask. It sounded like someone else was up.

He opened the door as quietly as he could, since he was about to blunder around the house like he didn’t know where anything was, and that would likely raise suspicions. He managed to find a bathroom and two other bedrooms, before he found himself in what looked to be the den. In the kitchen, he saw two people he assumed to be Cait’s parents, and Cait’s younger brother, Josh. Cait’s dad was drinking coffee at the table, and her mom was cooking something. Cait’s brother was on the couch watching TV. All of them were still in their pajamas.

“Morning, Cait!” The man looked up from his phone. “You got any plans today?”

John swore silently. He had hoped that he could glean that from them, but Cait’s dad had to go and ask him that immediately. “I feel like there’s something I’m supposed to do, but I can’t quite remember. Do any of you know?”

“Cait? doing something on a Saturday?” The brother laughed.

“There’s not anything that I know of.” Cait’s mom replied. “Is it something with Erin or Ashley?”

“No, I don’t think so…” John shook his head. “Weird.”

He needed to act cool about this. He had briefly considered honesty, but there was a significant enough chance that he got locked in a mental ward or stuck in a lab, that he decided that wasn’t the best approach. These parents seemed like nice enough people, but that was too big of a chance.

He began to move back towards Cait’s room, but her mom called after him.

“Hey, Cait. Breakfast is almost ready, so don’t go far!”

“Okay!” John replied.

It was definitely weird hearing someone else’s voice coming out of his mouth. Then again, this wasn’t really his mouth, was it? Everything else about this was weird too, but he needed to figure out what to do from here. There weren’t going to be any impending crises, so that gave him some flex time, but he still needed to work something out. He’d call his phone, to see if someone is in his body, and if they could help him out. For now, he would eat breakfast, and hide away in Cait’s room for as long as possible.

A thought occurred to him, he wondered if Cait had a car. He looked around the room, and found a purse. He dug through it for a little bit, and eventually found a car key. That would definitely make things easier.

He heard a door open.

“Planning on going somewhere?” Cait’s dad asked.

“Oh, no.” John laughed a little. “Just couldn’t remember where I put it.” He stuffed the car key back into the purse.