Tales of King City : Boom


“Would you look at that. There is a code for spontaneous entropic mass evaporation and/or intropic mass implosion.” Detective Goodstone blinked then marked the code down on a sticky note.

Detective Ferrero chuckled as he looked up from his underwood typewriter. “Seriously, you didn’t know that one?”

“The code for ‘It just blew up’? Or ‘It just disappeared’?” Goodstone pulled a flat mass of etched brass from the inside of his coat pocket. “Thankfully I did not. In this town, you’d think that would be one of them.”

“It just blew up?” A cute elfin smile leaned over into the aisle. Goodstone recognized the tone of her voice. This week, her hair was aquamarine.

“Vegas. Yeah, It just blew up. This time, the previous times it disappeared. A whole warehouse back on Tuesday.”

She blinked twice, “Wait, then there were two other places late last week. Had info trickle down my network. One was a sub-division that was new outside of town…”

“That’s the one. What do you know?”

She held up her hands, and the shiny handcuffs. “I know that this is an injust-”

“Three hundred and fourty four separate traffic violations, six ignored court summons and I believe one bail violated.” Detective Fererro recalled back. “Hence why I’ve got another 3 hours of paperwork before you can actually sign something.”

“My lawyer will clear this up. Judge Castle is back-”

“In Nantucket.” Goodstone interrupted her. “He’s kicking off a speaking tour for the Judicial system. What it’s like to Judge in a city with Gods/Aliens/Super Villains and still maintain an active sex life in your sixties.”

Vegas blinked at the new information, holding up the handcuffs. “Well, I didn’t know that. I’m a little cut off from my network.”

Ferrerro leaned over and looked to Goodstone. “It’s not going to help her.”

“Not this time.”

“Come on guys. Cut me a break.”

Ferrero looked to her, slid his fedora back a little, and then steepled his hands, pursing his lips. “I can’t do a thing. As the arresting officer.”

“Goodstone, buddy. Help me out here.”

“Well, right now an additional charge of withholding information on an active investigation is pending. But I can give Judge Rogers a good word on how cooperative you were at your hearing. Say Fererro, doesn’t he volunteer time to the Orphans of Another World?”

“I heard that.”

“Yeah, it would be really good if a benefactor would just drop a big donation into their lap. Hypothetically the money could come from… I don’t know. Maybe from proceeds of quasi-legal gambling on sports events. I’m quite sure that I could mention it to Judge Rogers.” Goodstone leaned back in his own chair, put his feet up on his desk, placing his hands across his chest. “Oh well, nice thought. All hypothetical too. I’ve got blowing up buildings with no trace, and you’ve got two hundred and ninety seven forms to get through.”

Vegas looked between the two detectives, in disgust, in amazement, and finally in resignation. “Haven’t you heard of photocopiers?”

“Sorry Vegas, technology barrier. It fritzes out when I come close to it. It’s as close as I’ve ever got to being an actual registered Power.” Ferrero pulled out another sheet of carbon paper. “But you know what that’s like.”

“Killing me here.” Vegas muttered under her breath. “Okay, I’ll do it.”

“Get me two solid leads in the next 24 hours, make that donation, and I’ll see what Judge Rogers can do for reducing the number of traffic violations.” Goodstone ticked off the items on his fingers.

“This is discrimination. My insights are Registerable.”

“And denied every time Vegas. You are a citizen.” Fererro continued to type on the typewriter. “With a lot of parking tickets. It would just be cheaper for you to buy a pass. Or take the monorail.”

“Goodstone…”

“Twenty four hours, you are deputized and report to me. No betting network, you work on this. Work on it. Call in favors, make new offers, get witness reports I don’t have. The second I see action on the Vegas network concerning even a prediction on what the kiddy’s soccer game is doing, and I swear…” Goodstone stood up, pulled out his keys and walked over to Fererro’s desk. “You won’t be able to make a bet, play a game of odds, on this planet again.”

“So serious?”

“Letter arrived just before you plopped into that chair. Next time, the city will have casualties. City block in size.”

Vegas blinked and then held her hands up, “Hurry.”

Goodstone scanned her ident card, signed the pad, then unlocked the cuffs. She got up and ran from the desk.

Fererro watched her run away. “Thanks, that was going to kill me if she didn’t take that bait. You’ve been taking bastard lessons, haven’t you?”

“Yep. Can’t believe she bought into that.”

“Judge Castle? Or the letter?”

“Both.”

“One of them I lied to her.” Goodstone looked to Ferrero. “Keep processing those forms. And if you’ve heard anything from the Golden network, let me know.”

“Wait. Castle goes on his tour next month-”

Goodstone held up an envelope. “Yeah.”

“Expletive.” Ferrerro picked up the rotary phone. “Exchange Four Fourty Three, get me the Golden network. Any of the crew missing or received new challenges, let us know. We’ve got buildings blowing up and lives are on the line.”

Goodstone looked to the bundle of brass that unfolded, seemingly random chopstick form over chopstick form until gears emerged. The small humanoid robot shuddered into form, then crawled up the Detectives arm. The warm brass form tapped twice on the man’s shoulder.

There, there.

“Yeah, wish both were lies. Okay Gears, let’s hit the street.”

Flash Fiction : Tales of King City – Graveyards


“So what happens when you visit the graveyard of forgotten heroes?” John Elden asked to the sunshine, the chasing monarch butterflies, the quiet river nearby, and his travelling companion.

Edwina, turned her head, one green eye and one yellow backlight cybernetic implant studied him. “What do you mean forgotten? And heroes? We come here so I can get some rest from that noise that’s out there.”

“You’ve been more cynical since Cincinnati.”

The pair strolled amongst the gravestones and markers.

“No, just more up front.” She placed a hand on a chest high marker. “Fletcher? Wasn’t that an occupation name?”

“Yes, and the husband was much older than the wife.” John rubbed down the marker. “Thirteen years, wait how old…”

“He was seventy, she was fifty-seven. He died 3 months after she did. Born… in that century and that old? That’s really defying the odds.”

“Yes, and that quote, old biblical hymn. Till the day break and the shadows flee away. I’ve heard that someplace else.”

Edwina laughed, “It’s surprising how much you automatically filter out the ambient fiction that is on the wide-cast. You should be going in for a sub-conscious cleaning every month with the amount of travelling we do.”

“Yeah, and when was the last time you went in for a tune-up? Hence why our visits to these places are becoming more frequent. Why aren’t we moving from this spot?” John asked, looking at the trees around them. The smells were foreign. Were these endangered plants the same two centuries ago?

“It’s literally a dead zone. Something with the harmonics and the lack of electrical fields. Doesn’t interfere with my implants. I can feel where I end, and the tech begins.” Edwina patted the grave marker. “Wait, what about heroes?”

“Somewhere, in my fleshy memory bank. The Fletchers, came from some money, not too much though. Back in the day where they had to keep their Talents hidden-”

“Why is that?”

“They burned the ones even with a little bit of access to the global sub-consciousness. Made impossible trials of death by water, by fire, even bludgeoning of stones. So there was a time when these Talents weren’t even recognized as such. The aberrant, the ones who wouldn’t fit into society. Witches, mutants, non-conformists.” John studied the marker. “And this is King City. One of the most widely accepted locations on the planet for such. Most of the world tries to forget that there are Gods and Giants and Aliens and Living Poetry that walk amongst us. Send it all here in one spot.”

“There are no Heroes anymore John. Just Talents that have been mass marketed. The average housewife can now get her own heat resistance factor just by paying three easy payments. No more burning hands when cooking.” Edwina moved off to another marker, her left leg dragging a little. She thumped her thigh with a clenched fist. “Hurts so good.”

“Well there were Heroes back then. Fought the good fight, made this city their home, and found ways to protect it. All under the cover of darkness and secrecy.” John felt a wave of dizziness flow over him. He gripped the marker for a moment, feeling warmth flow down his spine. “Whoa, okay, so I guess the ambient wide-casts have been a little too much lately.”

“Why do you think I’m going to get the Faraday cage woven into my cranial space?”

“To stop those pesky bug-eyed monsters from space? Because they are reading your thoughts?”

“To stop the magnetic and electrical marketing fields from having effect on me.” She sighed and then tapped three times on her cybernetic eye. “Stupid thing is, I’m putting more technology into me to make me more human. To stop the Corporations that be. I make my own decisions. I am my own person without sponsorship. And then I have to come to places like this, to remind my own flesh. To give that razors edge of tech a chance to settle down and not connect with the biological.”

The two of them turned, a man in a black suit carrying a briefcase walked up to them.

“The estate of Fletcher recognizes John Elden and Ed-”

“Don’t say it, professional handle please.”

“Also known as Ruby RUR Security. The estate would like to thank you for accepting the gifted heritage-”

“What?” John looked to Edwina, then to the stranger. “Oh you bitches. You did this on purpose. That’s another reason why we-”

“It had to happen John. You have no worries and no spot on the horizon to shoot for. You didn’t seek out any destiny, so it chose you. I’m immune to these things. My own mono-filament myth has been discovered. It was about time you did. ” Edwina smiled and then walked up to the man, “Papers? I’d like to scan for my friend here.”

John looked back to the marker, remembering the foreign smell. Activation pheromones from the local fauna, triggering response back through the body. The grave marker itself probably had a genetic compatibility matrix involved. And that quote… Till the day break. They were fighting the forces of darkness.

It was a hell of a way to lose your Talent cherry.

“What am I going to do with this Talent?”

“I apologize Sir, but in this case, the Talent does require training. We have taken steps to protect those within your genetic heritage and social relationships. They will not be used as leverage they could possibly impose or threaten you with.”

“This is stupid. I have a date tonight.”

“And afterwards, the transport will take you to India, the transit to Shambala is ready. There you are to begin your training.” The man in black spoke and stood with his hands behind his back.

“Don’t blame me for this John. We can actually blame the western civilization for putting up the barriers between good and evil. Light and dark. The original nomadic tribes of this place didn’t have words to do this. They had love and fear. That’s it. Only until the mass religions starting imposing their mental patterns into the lands, then all of this good and evil business reared it’s black and white dual faced head. What’s immoral… oooh, therefore it’s bad. Who’s morals again?” Edwina finished scanning the last page. “It’s legit.”

“And the madam, is also invited for clearance with her association to the newly selected Guardian.”

“Guardian?” John winced, rubbed his tanned hands into the corners of his eyes. “Sounds so generic.”

“Trust me Sir, the role is bigger than the title.”

John glared at Edwina. “Why couldn’t we have done this in Las Vegas?”

“Werewolves.”

“Right. Forgot about that.”

“Sir, the airship awaits.”

“Airship?” Edwina smiled.

“How much is the role and the estate and the-”

“Sir, the legacy has been waiting for two hundred years and faithfully maintained for over twelve generations, prior to the world bank system, and individual bank system. The Guardian is as how you say these days, monetarily endowed. Or stinking rich.”

“I will have enough time to recover and enjoy the good life?”

“Indeed Sir.”

John looked to the marker, pulled out his wallet, looked to the tattered identification cards. “I like the sound of John Fletcher. Ed, let’s go India, get training, and get you that Faraday implant. And some new shoes.”