Doc Tesseract

The adventures of Greg Silverman, retail industry employee, prospective college student and superhero.

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

More Zombie Madness, Part Two

So Quint and I go out hunting for whoever's making the walking dead walk. We shake down a few minor supernaturally-based bad guys (including El Hechicero), but they won't tell us anything. Finally, we stumble across a Tarot reader in Port Richmond who tells us that her psychic friends network* has been picking up strange disturbances all night in Manayunk.

We port in to where she's been picking up said disturbances in the Force: an abandoned warehouse on the banks of the Schuylkill. I give her a free trip back before we head in to investigate.

"We're dealing with someone who uses unconventional magic," Quint warns me. "If you get in any trouble, then leave. I'll take care of the sorcerer myself."

"And if you can't?"

"I will," he insists. Was that ego, or is he still worried after the whole "thaumatic smackdown" incident?

We find a door into the warehouse. It's locked, of course, so Quint manages to give it a little "massage" with a mini-earthquake until the lock pops open.

And a whole bunch of shambling corpses burst out of the door.

"Go!" he yells. I quickly port out to on top of the warehouse, and Quint floats up soon after. Once we get a good vantage point, I start porting them out into space while Quint keeps lobbing fireballs at them.

"Maybe this guy just likes zombies," I suggest between attacks. "Ever thought of that?"

"There's a good possibility he's just doing this for shits and giggles," he said after impaling a zombie with a rapidly-growing stalagmite**, "but I still suspect it's something else. We'll search the warehouse after our undead friends go back to the undiscovered country."

Once all the zombies were dead (well, again), Quint and I started looking around the warehouse. It was your usual devil worshipping paraphernalia: inverted pentagrams, books written in blood, dessicated corpses of animals, etc. Actually, I'm being a bit too flippant: this was my first encounter with anything I could come close to describing as occult up close and personal. And to be honest, it felt... evil.

"I found something," Quint said, startling me so much I almost hit the roof.

"What?"

"A map." The map in question showed Philly, and had a line drawn in marker running through Manayunk and Germantown.

"I'm guessing that line runs through where the zombies showed up in Germantown and this little shop of horrors," I ventured.

"Correct. This," he said while running his finger along the line, "is the Northern Eagle Line. It is a ley line, a source of great mystical energy."

"You think it's giving our sorcerer the ability to summon up the buttloads of demons?"

"It's a very strong possibility. But there's one problem: if he's using these demons to terrify the populace, then why keep them locked up? And if he's using them in an attempt to cripple the city, then why not release them at the same time as their undead comrades in Germantown?"

After securing the warehouse, we went on a cursory patrol for street-level crime. After that, we parted, I went home to sleep, and... well, I already said what happened in my sleep, didn't I?

I wonder if I'll see her again tonight.

*Why, yes, I do realize that joke sucks. It was the best I could come up with.
**Note to self: never piss off Quint.

More Zombie Madness, Part One

I met up with Quint for patrol last night. After he reached eye level with me, he started in with the zombie report.

"Demons," he said. "Demons were riding the corpses."

What a punctual way to start to conversation. "Demons? As in 'could-it-be-SATAN' demons?"

"Yes. Technically, they are the legion; Hell's footsoldiers, and the lowest of the low. They usually seek escape from the Pit through possession of weak souls or empty shells. Many sorcerers will summon one up for party tricks."

"Since when has vomiting pea soup been considered a party trick?"

"There's an audience for everything. But what worries me is the vast volume of legions summoned. The demons I talked to said they were summoned all at once."

"And that's bad, I'm guessing."

"Usually, sorcerers will use all their power to summon one demon, who they can bend to their will. It is harder to control more than one demon. Whoever did this wanted chaos, and it's logical to assume that he will try again. Tonight, we will search for whoever did this, and find out what he's planning for next."

So, what happened during our patrol? Well, you'll have to find wiat to find out until I get back from work. Sorry.

Lyra

That's her name.

I had the dream again tonight. This time, the creepy scientists were talking. I could only make out a few words of what they were saying, but one of the guys addressed the girl as "Lyra."

So, Lyra... who are you?

Monday, May 30, 2005

Day of Remembrance

So, yeah. Today's Memorial Day.

I had an uncle on my mom's side who served in Vietnam. I never knew him; he died in the Tet Offensive. But my mom told me about him, how he was kind, funny, and always believed in America.

Today is for my Uncle David, who I never knew, and all the other men and women who have died in combat.

Yay, I'm a Minor Celebrity!

I got on the news this morning. WTXF was covering last night's zombie madness, and I was heard described as "Philly's newest hero, the teleporting maven who calls himself 'Doc Tesseract'."

Not sure about the "calls himself" part-- sounds a bit too skeptical-- but I can sure as hell go with "maven".

No new abduction dreams last night. I just wish I knew more.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Braaaaains...

What do you know; two weeks in, and I'm already in my first big superbattle. And it had the walking dead, too.

The emergency signal went out around 8:45 last night. I was watching The Simpsons (I don't even know why anymore; it just sucks now) when the news broke in. According to the WTXF anchor, who looked one good "boo" from shitting himself on-air, zombies were running rampant in Germantown. I told my parents where I was going, ran upstairs, suited up, and ported in, landing on top of Grumblethorpe.

It was full-out zombie madness. I saw a horde of about fifty shambling corpses stamping down the street, all snarling and growling. Some of them were tearing each other apart.

Fortunately, I wasn't alone. I was wondering how I'd go about getting them all (I was gonna teleport the corpses into low atmosphere over the earth so they'd burn up on reentry, but I can only get my beam to hit one enemy at a time) when I heard a shriek like a valkyr having her toes stepped on. Talon. She flew in close to the ground, hurled a birdbomb, and took off. Rotting flesh everywhere.

I picked up some of the zombies who'd been left intact, and ported across the street to get a better view. Everyone was there. Quint was down the stret, incinerating a group of zombies with a pillar of fire. The Silver Bullet and some other robot/armored hero I'd never seen before were knocking heads off with their bare fists*. Talon was raining down death from above, and even Pulse was there, using sonic blasts to herd the zombies into the killzone.

Quint spotted me. "Nice to see you here!" he yelled. "Can you do me a favor?"

"What?"

"Get me one of these slippery bastards for study!"

"What?"

"This wasn't any bioweapon; something is riding these corpses! Maybe I can find out what. Here!" He squinted his eyes, and suddenly I had an image in my head of a room filled with crystals, grimoires, and more occult symbols than a Goth's bedroom. "That's my lab. Send some of these monsters there. And aim for the pentacle on the floor!"

I quickly set about my work. Quint had told the others to leave some intact, so it wasn't hard to find the zombies. I ported three of them to Quint's lab, then set about disposing of the rest. All in all, Germantown was cleared by 10.

"I'm sorry, Doc," Quint said when it was all over, "but I can't watch over you tonight. I've got to find out what's behind these zombies. If I need help, I'll give you a call. Until then, go home and get some rest. You deserve it."

That's one for the scrapbooks.

*What can I say; I'm a bit desensitized to violence. Besides, the corpses were kinda old, so there weren't many icky fluids sloshing about.

What a Way to Remember

Wow, the patrols have been quiet, lately; the only criminals Quint and I found were two drunken frat boys who were trying to start a fight outside a biker bar. Of course, Quint thinks the quiet just means that something mind-rapingly bad is going to burst out onto the scene. Seeing as he's been doing this for far longer than I have, I've gotta say that I tentatively agree with him.

That's not the strangest part about last night, though. After the frat boys, we called it a night. I came home, went to bed, and had a strange dream about a sundae party in the Gobi Desert (don't even ask). All of a sudden, just as a camel has seized my hot fudge sundae, everything just... shifts.

Suddenly, everything's clearer; it's not like I'm dreaming anymore, but like I'm wide awake. I'm lying on something in a room somewhere. I don't know what's happened to me; hell, I can't even feel anything. I can see something, though: three people, two men and a woman, standing at a distance and just watching me.

And the woman is the girl who drugged me.

I woke right after realizing who it was, and couldn't get back to sleep for a good hour and a half. Why the hell is it coming back to me now? Who is that girl, who are her friends, and why did they give me these powers?

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Revenge of the Little Shits

SPOILERS for the last Star Wars movie. You've been warned.

Quint rang me over the sigil again and told me not to come into town tonight. He had a good reason, though; he and the Silver Bullet were going to try to take down a high-level technomage, and he didn't want me getting hurt. I was a little resentful, but at least he's warning me about when I should stay out of harm's way.

Instead, I rang up Will and Reed and we organized a night out. We hadn't done anything as a trio since the Mysterious Episode, so we thought it would be good to have a little fun. We decided to see a late-night showing of Revenge of the Sith at the drive-in*; we'd all seen it before, so we thought it would be fun to play Tom, Crow, and Mike without fear of being beaten to death by other moviegoers.

The best part came after Vader woke up. When he let out that melodramatic "NOOOOOOOO!", we all yelled out, in perfect unison, "KHAAAAAAAAAN!" What can I say; when you're a geek, you gravitate to other geeks.

All in all, a fun time, and a nice little break from the world of tights and fights.

*Yes, Atherton has one of the last drive-ins in America. I know you're jealous.

Friday, May 27, 2005

A Night on the Town

There weren't any big threats to Philly last night, so Quint and I just went on patrol. We stopped a hold-up in Juniata Park, but that was about it. We ended up making a stop at the Reading Terminal Market and picking up some kebabs from Kamal's before going our separate ways.

Maybe things will pick up again soon.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

The Big Deal

I went out on patrol last night; Quint didn't tell me not to, so I thought it was okay. I used the sigil, asked him to talk to me in person, and he landed on City Hall five minutes later. "Look, Quint," I said, "thank you for everything, but I think I'm ready to go back to normal."

"Define 'normal'," he said

"'Normal' as in 'fighting real bad guys again' normal."

"Even after your encounter with El Hechicero?"

Finally, a name for Abbot Creepy. "Yeah. I mean, I'm new, I screwed up, so what?"

Quint sighed. "The problem is, Doc... I have never had a sidekick before. I have never felt the need for companionship. As I told you before, I am watching over you because Lady Liberty asked me to. And after the encounter, I panicked. I was afraid that if I kept you by my side, worse things would befall you." He paused, and looked down at the ground. "I apologize."

Holy flaming crap. Did I just get the Master of the Five Elements, the man who put Mr. Mephastophilis in a thaumic chokehold, to show humility? "It's okay, Quint," I said. "Look, I'm a big kid. I know this job isn't sunshine and daisies. So I got hurt. So? It wasn't really serious, thanks to your mojo, and now I've learned to watch my back around creepy gangbanging cultists. What do you say we hit the streets again? For old times' sake?"

G-d help me, Quint smiled. "Thank you for your honesty," he said. "Come with me. I hear the Red King's gotten some drugs in that induce hallucinations by making people access the Dreamtime. I don't want anyone getting eaten by their manifest content."

Guess we're back on even terms now.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Heroes of Philly

Sorry about not being able to post last night; the cable went out in the entire neighborhood. It's back up, but I might as well post this in case it goes out again.

So, in lieu of content about my adventures fighting crime, I give you a list of Philly's current hero population.

Lady Liberty (II): Your standard patriotic defender. The first Lady Liberty, Jane Herston, became active after Pearl Harbor. She was a nurse who had handled an experimental drug that would increase a soldier's healing factor. The drug only took effect in one out of ten thousand people it was administered to, and Jane was one of them. She gained superstrength and accelerated healing, and went forth to fight for America on the battlefront in one of the most impratical costumes ever (a red, white, and blue dress with a domino mask). She retired during the days of McCarthyism, claiming she didn't know what she was fighting for anymore. Rumor has it that the new Lady Liberty (who wears a more practical full-body suit, thank God) is her granddaughter, but she's never answered them in any of the interviews she's given. She handles general threats to Philly, but is also a member of the Protectorate, so she gets called away a lot.

The Silver Bullet: Screw "who"; no one really knows what the Silver Bullet is. Okay, we know what he (and I say "he" because the armor is, well, man-shaped) is approximately: a big, human-shaped hunk of metal with a flechette gun full of tranquilizer darts, a high-voltage tazer, and a contact server that transfers viruses to machinery. Some say he's a guy in a suit of armor, while others say he's an android. Either way, he's Philly's leading hero when it comes to technology-based threats, be it robots holding City Hall hostage or a New Luddite threatening to detonate an EMP.

Quintessence: Eh, you already know about him.

Talon: One of the "winged warriors" of the superhero world, Talon gets her name from the fact that she has giant freaking wings and claw-like hands. Unlike the Golden Eagle in DC, Talon's wingspan is entirely organic. Even though she's got nature's finest weapons at the ends of her fingertips, that doesn't stop her from using special weapons such as "bird bombs" and "Talonrangs". She handles basic threats to Philly and street crime.

There are also some minor heroes in Philly, but I can't find a lot of press on them. There's this girl named Alpha who can apparently control dogs and protects the homeless, and a guy named Pulse with sonic powers who's broken up a few technologically-based robberies. Otherwise, that's it.

Well, except for me, of course. But I don't really have much to my name yet.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

I Get the Night Off

Quint gave me a ring over the sigil, told me not to come into Philly tonight, said he'd take care of everything. It's kind of annoying; if he's trying to make up for the whole torture thing, he should just say so, and if he thinks I'm not up for the crimefighting thing anymore, well, likewise.

I promise some filler later tonight.

Silent Running

Well, after meeting my first superhero, bargaining with an extradimensional tailor, and fighting off Mexican death cultists, tonight just seemed... off. Quint just followed me around while I jumped about town looking for petty criminals. I got a purse snatcher and two guys trying to break into a car, but after everything else, it just didn't seem like much. I think Quint was trying to make up for the fact that I'd had my skeleton set on fire, which was a nice gesture, at least.

Wow. I can't believe I'm missing the experiences that put me in mortal peril.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Pain Update

I no longer ache in any strange places. I think I'm good to go on patrol.

Oh, yeah; after my last post, I did some research on La Santa Muerte.
. As the story says, it's what happens when paganism hits Catholicism at high speed. Like in santeria, people pray to a saint to help them-- in this case, Saint Death. People say prayers and offer small sacrifices to statues of the "saint" in return for help in a certain area. Prayers before a white statue bring luck or a cure from illness, prayers before red ones cast love spells-- and prayers before black ones help those seeking vengeance.

I'm guessing Los Huesos were trying to lay the magical whammy on a rival gang, and Quint and I stopped them before they could do so. I'll ask him about this when we go out tonight.

Dem Bones, Dem Bones

I will say this once, though I may repeat it again often: Quint has a very steep learning curve.

I ported onto City Hall once again last night and, like a good little student, activated Quint's sigil. Soon enough, Quint's voice comes over the line. "We're going to Hunting Park tonight. Port into the area somewhere, and I'll come find you."

I wasn't that familiar with Hunting Park, so I decided to try a random jump into the area. After teleporting down from what I'd guess to be about 300 feet in the air to on top of a rundown theatre, I sat and waited for Quint. About ten minutes later, he floated down to the rooftop.

"You've done well against street criminals," he said. "But they are mere beginners, men without purpose or structure beyond what brings in money. In your career as a hero, you will have to face down men and women who will employ any means and strategy, no matter what the consequences, to achieve their ends. Are you willing to face such a threat?"

Geez, who died and made him Morpheus? "Yeah."

"Good. We must proceed to United Storage. Some members of Los Huesos are conducting a ritual. You will take us there; these men can sense magic."

After finding out just where United was (Quint had thought ahead to bring a photo-- how nice), we jumped out right in front of the building. It looked like a standard warehouse, but there was definitely an odd feel to the place.

"They've set up the shrine to La Santa Muerte," Quint said. "We don't have much time. Can you take us inside?"

"You have a photo?"

"Not this time."

Damn. I never teleport into buildings unless I know exactly what the inside looks like. Would you want part of you stuck in a wall on a subatomic level*? "Sorry, can't do."

"Well, then, there are always less subtle ways. Follow me."

Quint walked around the building, pressing his hand against the wall the entire time. Finally, he came to a part of the building and stopped.

"On my signal," he said, "I want you to teleport anyone you see-- excluding me, of course-- to the police department. Got it?"

"Got it."

He stepped back from the wall, pressed his hands out, and yelled, "Rana!" Something that I can best describe as "the fiery wrath of G-d" burst out from his palms and burned a hole straight through the wall. "By the way," he shouted, as the cries of confused gangbangers could be heard coming from inside, "that was the signal!"

The scene inside the warehouse was something, to say the least: a bunch of Hispanic men in gang colors, carrying heavy weaponry, all gathered around a bunch of older men in robes, who were in turn gathered around a large statue of a woman in a black cloak. Quint and I went to work on the gun-toting men first; Quint knocked most of them to the ground with a mini-earthquake, and I set about sending them into the loving arms of police custody.

Then came the robed guys. "Don't hit them!" Quint yelled. "If they end up in the police department, a great number of people will die tonight!" Needless to say, I stayed back while Quint worked his mojo. Every so often, I'd hit a monk so that he suddenly ended up halfway across the room, which has got to knock a guy off balance.

Then came the pain. The lead monk-- as least, that's what I'm guesing he was, since his robe had the most arcane designs on it-- spotted me, turned, and yelled, "Tortura!"**

Imagine somebody setting every bone in your body on fire at once. Now imagine that they are pouring a heady mixture of gasoline and sulfuric acid on your burning bones. Now imagine something ten times greater than that, and you have a good idea of what I felt like.

It wasn't until I heard Quint say something-- couldn't tell what, but it must have been a spell-- that I felt most of the pain leave my body. Well, most; you don't undergo a full-body papercut to the soul without some lingering side effects. The head monk's unconscious body lay behind him.

"What the hell just happened?" I asked.

"No time to explain. You'd best go home; you've undergone enough for one night."

"Now wait just a--"

"Go."

Not willing to mess with the nice sorcerer, I ported home, and tried to get some sleep. Operative word being "tried"; I still ached from the attack, and probably got about three hours of sleep before I had to go to work.

Now that I've recounted last night's experiences, I think I'll go get better acquainted with my pillow before I go out on patrol again.

*Yeah, my only scientific evidence for this is old X-Men comics. You think I'm gonna experiment with this?
**No, I can't do the fancy double exclamation points. You may mock me.

Ouch.

Damn, Quint really doesn't fool around. I've got parts that ache that really shouldn't be aching.

Fucking magical gangbangers...

I'll talk more after I get back from work.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Fashion! Turn to the Left...

You're looking at a guy who's got an official superhero costume!

Last night I went into Philly for patrol again. As per Quintessence's advice the last time we met, I activated the sigil before I did anything else.

"Well, I see you're off to a good start," said Quint (yeah, I'm shortening it for convenience's sake- hopefully, he won't stumble upon this blog and turn me into a newt). "You seen Frank yet?"

"Um... no."

"No?"

"Well, I ported to W. Allegheny Ave. this morning, but all I found was an empty storefront. I ported in, and there was nothing there."

"Ah, I should've told you that. Look, kid, Frank's not exactly a... stable person."

"What? He dances about naked in the streets?"

"Not emotionally, but spatially. He goes everywhere and anywhere. He's clothed heroes in New York, LA, London, Tokyo, Sydney, Pretoria... hell, I've heard rumors that he designed the Steel Standard's first breastplate back in the '40s."

What do you know; my second night in the superhero business, and I've run into the textile industry's equivalent of Doctor Who. "Well, if not where, then when can I find Frank?"

"Oh, he's usually there between 9 PM and 1 AM. Just make sure you get there fast; some nights he likes to cut out early."

I ported back to 524 W. Allegheny Ave. The storefront was still empty, but I could have sworn I saw a bit of light off in the distance. Once again, I ported into the store, only to find something entirely different.

It looked like a house of high fashion had crashed into Xanadu. Mannequins and dummies stood against the walls, while Oriental rugs covered the floors and sofas and divans invited people to just sit in them and forget everything. At the back of the room was a man hunched over a sewing machine.

"Excuse me..." I said, somewhat reluctantly. I didn't really feel like interrupting this guy's work.

He turned to look at me, then sat up and started to walk towards me. He wasn't exactly old-- hell, he probably looked younger than my dad-- but there was something about him that seemed... ageless. I could see where the rumors came from.

"Yes? How may I help you?" His eyes ran up and down my costume. "By the looks of it, you need some."

"You're Frank, right?"

"If by 'Frank' you mean 'Francesco Montalvo, choice designer of heroes since before you were born', then yes, I am. May I ask you sent you?"

"Quintessence. He said--"

"I can guess what he said, or else you wouldn't be here." He looked up and down my costume some more. "Could you turn around for a minute?"

I did. "Hmm... yes, yes..." He paused. "Well, I'll see what I can do."

"Don't you want--?"

"I don't want or need anything, son. Your choice of clothing tells me everything. In the meantime..." He turned and pointed to one of the sofas. I hadn't seen it before (maybe because, as I thought later, it wasn't there before), but there was a small tray set up near it with tea and some biscuits. "Sit. Enjoy yourself. I'll handle the rest."

I sat for about fifteen minutes, eating the biscuits (lemon shortbread, it turned out) somewhat half-heartedly. I kept listening for any sign of action in the backroom Frank had disappeard into, but I couldn't really distinguish anything. After I'd considered going in to check, Frank came back out, carrying a package. "There," he said, presenting it to me with a few dramatic flourishes. "I know you'll like it."

I did. He'd kept a lot of the favorite parts of my costume, while getting rid of the more stupid parts. The blue and white of the baseball shirt stayed, but were altered into a design where the blue covered my shoulders and arms, and the white came up from my stomach to my sternum as a wide arrow. The pants were a solid blue, and made of the same material as the shirt. The gloves were leather and came halfway up my forearms, and were also blue. The mask was... well, I don't need to say the color, but the eyes were covered by yellow lenses, and it was cut so that my hair would show. The boots stayed the same, though: black leather combat boots, only a bit more squared-off than my boots.

While I was looking over the shirt, Frank reached over and took it from my hands. "I almost forgot," he said. "Every hero needs a good insignia..." He ran his hand over the shirt, and before my eyes, a black infinity symbol ringed by a circle appeared on the chest. "Don't be surprised," he said after realizing that I was kinda freaked out. "I can speak to clothing."

With that, a large grandfather clock over by his sewing machine went off, chiming... well, I don't know what it was chiming; it wasn't anywhere near the hour. Frank knew, though; he turned to me and said, "It was nice meeting you, but I must go. The shirt, pants, and mask are all made of bulletproof material; any shots will be slowed before they can do serious damage."

"Hey, wait! What if--?"

"Oh, if anything happens to it, I'll make sure it's replaced. Now go!"

I ported out onto the street, still clutching the costume in my arms. I turned back to the store, but the light in the back had gone out.

So now I've got a high-quality costume. Villains, beware the snappily-dressed Doc Tesseract!

Saturday, May 21, 2005

My Grand Debut

Remember what I said about forward planning? Yeah; I probably should have applied that. To both my patrol and my costume.

First of all, I designed the costume myself. Superhero tailors tend to keep their names out of the phone books, and there's no way I'd trust my "secret identity" with Joe, our regular tailor. So, I made something out of whatever was lying around the house, hoping someone like Lady Liberty or Talon would spot me and give me their guy's number.

I probably should have given that one some more thought.

So, here's what I wore to fight crime last night:

-a blue and white long-sleeved baseball T
-blue jeans
-combat boots
-black leather gloves
-safety goggles w/ yellow tint (to cover my eyes)

Notice the distinct lack of anything that could be considered bulletproof? Especially for my face? I mean, it would look suspicious for an eighteen-year-old to buy a Kevlar vest, but I probably should have considered it.

I will say this, though. I did call the cop who handled my case and told him to keep the precinct under tight watch; some crooks might be "dropping in." When he asked who it was, I said, "A friend."

I put it all on, and at 9:53 PM, I ported into Philly and landed on top of City Hall. No crime there... or in Chinatown... or in Ludlow... or...

That's what it was like from 10 to 12; port to a new neighborhood, scan for criminal activity, find bupkus, port somewhere else, lather, rinse, repeat. I didn't even run into any other heroes who might be going on their patrols.

I was about to call it a night when I spotted something in an alley in City Center East. Three guys wearing leather jackets were hauling boxes of PSPs out of the back of an Electromat. This looked decidely suspicious. I ported over to the other side of the alley, crouched behind a peak on the roof I'd landed on, and looked over at the store. Sure enough, the glass on one of the back doors was broken. They seemed to be taking their sweet time, so they must have disabled the alarm.

Bingo.

I stood up, looked down at the burglars, and yelled, "Excuse me!"

They all looked up.

"You know, those things don't sell as well once people realize they're stolen." Hey, at least I said something.

"Who the-?" Thug #1 moved for his jacket. Before he could get his gun out, I'd sent him packing to the police station. The combination of the unfamiliarity of being slingshotted through the time-space continuum and finding himself surrounded by armed cops probably drove him to surrender.

Driven by my first successful capture, I ported down to street level to engage Thugs #2 and #3 mano-a-mano. I pulled off some extradimensional acrobatics, porting around the thugs and trying to confuse them. For kicks, I ported behind Thug #2, grabbed him, threw him to the ground, then ported again.

"Who the fuck is this freak?" he yelled.

"Doc Tesseract," I replied, after porting on to the loading dock. "Remember that; you can boast about tonight when I get famous." And with that, I beamed him up* to the precinct.

One little problem: during my dancing routine, I'd forgotten where Thug #3 was. I found out right where he was after I heard a gun click right behind my ear.

"'Bye, freak," he said. Just as I was about to port away-

"Ava!"

I heard a wind whip up behind me, then a sound like a sack of meat hitting a brick wall. I turned around to find Thug #3 knocked unconscious and lying against the wall. I turned around to see a black guy in monk's robes floating in midair. The robes had a five-pointed sigil on the front.

Quintessence. Master of the Five Elements**, and Philly's premiere magical superhero.

"And who exactly are you supposed to be?" he asked.

"Doc Tesseract," I said. "I'm new."

"Well," he said, looking at Thug #3, "I guess I stopped you from making a name for yourself."

"Eh. There were two other guys--"

"I don't think you understood what I just said."

Oh. "Well, I can teleport, so it wasn't that big a deal. Hey, since when were you so interested in the affairs of us mere mortals?"

"I'm not," he said coolly. "My medium is with spirits, gods, and demons. But Lady Liberty's out of town on official business, and she asked me to look over her charges and keep an eye out for new heroes who needed help." Then he looked at my costume. "And by the looks of your clothes, I think you'll need it."

"Yeah, well, I don't exactly have a tailor--"

"Of course." He reached into his robes, pulled out a pouch, and then pulled a card out of it. "Here; catch." The card floated down into my hands. On it was an address: 524 W. ALLEGHENY AVE.

"Frank did my robes," he said. "He never lets any of us down. And the first one's free." He reached into his pouch again. "There's something else I'd like you to have." He tossed down a small slate tablet. On it was a sigil almost identical to the one on his chest; all that was missing was a little line near the top that would complete the circle around it.

"Run your finger over the line to complete it," he said. "I will come and find you. Use it whenever you are patrolling; Lady Liberty would have my ass if you came to harm in this town."

As he floated off into the distance, I could swear I heard him mumble, "Nice name, at least." After that, I decided I'd had enough excitement, so I ported back, checked it with my parents, showed them I was all okay and could fight crime like a big boy, and went to bed.

Well. It's a start.

*Look, it's a teleportation-based attack; what did you expect me to call it? At least I don't put on a brogue when using it.
**Yes, there are actually five magical elements: earth, air, fire, water, and spirit. It's like Captain Planet, only less lame.

Crime-Fighting Roundup

Well, that went pretty well for a first time, with a homemade costume and a complete lack of forward planning.

Full recap in the morning, after I get some well-deserved sleep.

Friday, May 20, 2005

T-Minus One Hour...

Well, everything's come into place. I finished my costume about an hour ago, and come 9, I'll be porting into Philly and going on my first patrol.

I wonder if Olympia or the Protector ever felt really weird before going on their first patrol. Because I do. I mean, I know I'm doing good, but still... danger, and all that...

Ah, well. I'm sure it will disappear once I kick a little ass.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Parental Guidance Suggested

That went as well as could be expected.

Before the CSI season finale started (what, you'd actually think there'd be a situation where I'd put aside Quentin Tarantino?), I told my parents that there was something I wanted to talk to them about. Of course, they thought it was about the Mysterious Episode.

"Mom, dad..." Now, how to I say this as gently as possible? "...I've got superpowers, and I was thinking of using them to fight crime." There we go.

The initial reaction was stunned silence, followed by the standard parental mind meld: turn head to face partner, use appropriate facial expression to display opinion, then turn back to progeny. "What... kind of superpowers?" my dad asked.

"Teleportation. I can go anywhere I want, I can create portals so that other people can go there, and I can probably use them as a weapon."

"Define 'weapon'."

"'Instant trip to jail' weapon?"

"Are you sure you want to do this?" my mom asked. Of course, when a mom asks, "Are you sure you want to do this?", she means, "You're sure you won't get killed in the most horrific fashion available?"

"Mom, I can handle myself." I pause briefly to carefully choose my next few words. "Aside from... the incident, I've been able to take care of myself in rough situations. Remember when I got lost in Philly when I was eleven, and I went to the Reading Terminal Market all by myself because I knew you would look there?"

"That's different, Greg. I see news reports about the kind of people that are out there. The things that they do to superheroes, their families... How can I be sure that you'll be safe?"

I decide to be frank. "You can't. And I know that there's a good chance that I could get hurt doing this. But I'm going to take every possible precaution I can. I'll try to find a mentor in Philly; there's a fair share of superheroes in that town, and I read in the paper the other day that Lady Liberty has offered to help young heroes. And I promise that when it gets to be too much, when I put you, Dad, or myself in serious danger... I'll stop. Immediately, and without question. Okay?"

Silence. "Can you give us a few minutes?" Dad again. "We'll talk about it."

I go upstairs and into my room. I keep the door open a crack, so I can hear some of it. I pick up a few words- "danger", "reliable", and, weirdest of all, "job"- but not enough to detect any clear sentiments. Soon, Dad comes up and knocks on the door.

"Your mother and I have come to an agreement."

Crap. He busted out the "your mother and I." It's serious.

"You promise this won't affect your day job?"

Huh? "No. I promise to be back every night by 1 AM."

"You promise you'll find someone to help you from the start?"

"Definitely."

"And you promise that if you get seriously injured, you'll get out of it before it gets worse?"

"Of course."

"Well, Greg... we'll let you do this, since it means so much to you."

Yes!

"On the following conditions: your work, either at your job or at school, starts to suffer, you're out. You must try to be back at 1 AM, 2 AM at the latest. And you must make sure that your 'secret identity' stays a secret. Got it?"

"Of course, Dad. Thanks."

"By the way," he says as he leaves the room, "what should I call you when you're out fighting crime?"

"Doc Tesseract," I say.

He stops. "It's got a good ring to it," he says, and then walks out.

So now I can be a scourge against evil without risking being grounded. Just one detail remains: the costume.

The Nameless Avenger

G-d, this name thing is harder than I thought. I spent all day at Electromat distracted by my utter lack of the ability to come up with a suitable alias.

Porter? Makes me sound like a freaking waiter. Jumper? I'd like something a little less suicidally-inclined. Locksmith? Well, maybe, but it just doesn't see right.

You see my problem? I'm about to enter a field where men and women go running blindly into the night dressed in spandex and tights to fight whatever they come across, and I'm acting like an utter perfectionist.

The worst part is, I'm smarter than this. I got pretty good grades in school, especially on creative assignments. I've got a scholarship to Williamson. And now I can jump across the galaxy* with hardly any effort, and I still-

Wait a minute.

Hot. Shit. Tesseract! G-d, why didn't I think about it before? You'd think someone who read every damn l'Engle book there was would come up with it faster!

From this day forth, evil will tremble before the mighty--

(Kid Tesseract? No. I'm eighteen, and I'm going off to college; no need to sound like I'm looking to join the New Centurions. Mr. Tesseract? Too formal. Ah, there we go...)

--before the mighty Doc Tesseract!

Now comes the hardest part of any superhero's career: telling his parents.

*Theoretically, of course. I'm not leaping to any alien worlds unless I have a written guarantee that it has oxygen and there's nothing too large and carnivorous living there.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Portal Fu!

Okay, that does it. I'm definitely becoming a superhero.

After my last post, I decided to fool around with the portals a little. Yesterday, I succeeded in making them transparent; the air shimmers a little bit, but you can see right through it.

I pull up a portal to San Juan, Puerto Rico, when for some strange reason, I think about sticking my hand through it-- while thinking about my hand not actually going through the portal. What can I say; I make my own fun, and the worst thing that could happen would be a disembodied hand floating in Puerto Rico for a second.

So, I do just that, and the portal bends away from my hand. I repeat the gesture, and accompany it with a variety of others; I ended up turning the portal into an ultradimensional soccer ball before I closed it up.

Then I got another idea. I set a book on my chair, and thought about creating another portal, this one leading from wherever it opened to my bed. Just as the portal appears, I put my hands out in the "Haddoken!" pose*, and picture the portal just funneling away from me. Next thing I know, the portal hits the book, which lands on my bed.

In case you missed that, I just figured out a way to turn my portals into a beam-based attack that will send bad guys wherever I want. It took a little bit more practice (I hit the chair once, and only through a swift second attack was I able to avoid crushing my bed), but I think I've got what it takes to kick some criminal ass.

Now to decide on a name...

*Yes, I'm a total geek. But I'm a total geek who can warp time and space. Just try me.

To Fight Crime or Not to Fight Crime...

So, I'm thinking about becoming a superhero.

Actually, it's less like "thinking about" and more like "seriously considering." I mean, let's face it; I have superpowers. Travelling around the world without having to endure jet lag or ticket prices is fun at first, but then, you really start to think about it. While I'm having fun, people are in danger somewhere. Either it's a mugging, or a kidnapping, or a natural disaster, or some supervillain holding half the Eastern seaboard hostage. I've always wanted to make the world a better place; now that I've got powers, I might actually be able to do that.

Then reality sinks in. I'm all of eighteen years old. I've never seen active combat once in my life. I have no idea how I'd react if someone pulled a gun on me. Most importantly of all, I don't exactly have any offensive powers, and I haven't been trained in any of the martial arts, so it's not as if I can just port behind some bad guy and apply the Vulcan neck pinch.

This is going to require some serious thinking. What do you guys say?

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Like Windows to Whatever

I've been jumping a lot since last night. I actually got breakfast in London this morning (mmm... scones and clotted cream). So far, I haven't felt any horrible atomic rearrangements, and I have yet to end up with a fly's head, so I assume that everything's going okay during these jumps.

This afternoon, though, I decided to experiment. I tried to see what would happen if I pictured two locations at once. For my first exotic location, I chose Hawaii, and for the other, I chose... my bedroom (what? that way if I get torn in half, one half is close to medical aid). Instead of undergoing the string theory equivalent of the rack, I found that I was still in my bedroom. Right in front of me, though, was a beach in the middle of my bedroom. I poked my head in, smelled the salt in the air, and decided that yeah, it was Hawaii.

So, I can create portals. This is good if I ever decide to let anyone in on my little secret and start a travel agency. The weird part is, I don't really know how I got the idea to think about two different places. It just... happened. Weird (and trust me, that's a relative term these days).

Monday, May 16, 2005

Jump Around: The Extended Remix

Well, I'm finally back from London, so I guess I'd better talk about how I suddenly started defying every known law of physics. And at least now I think I know what happened during my little time out.

It all started with work at Electromat. My parents gave me the "you're such a brave trooper, and if you suddenly start having traumatic flashbacks, just call us and we'll take you home" speech as I set off from the house; they, unlike me, are still quite wary about me going out in public ever since the Mysterious Episode.*

Now, Electromat has crafted an image for itself as a laid-backed, hipster store where customers can feel okay talking about experiencing technical inferiority with the employees. The store maintains this image because if the employees are one hair out of line during said conversing, they will be taken out back and shot. I can't speak for the other stores, but if this Electromat is any example, they're all like that. My boss, Brett, is the Soup Nazi put in middle management in electronics retail.

So, anyway. When the lunchtime half-hour is declared, I find a similar stringency applies: No going over a half-hour, even by a minute, or we'll dock your pay for the rest of the noontime hour (did I mention the gratuitous employee discounts? Because I feel I should, or else I will be forced to face the cold truth). As with half the forward planning so far in my life, I say, "Screw it," and head for a restaurant at the other end of the mall that does gyros, because I am a sucker for gyros. A combination of slow service and aforementioned lack of planning leaves me with two minutes to get back to the other end of the mall, at a distance that is probably three minutes running.

I run as fast as I can, ducking and weaving between innocent shoppers and hoping that Brett's heart has grown three sizes that half-hour. As I keep running, I picture the facade of the Electromat in my head, the glass windows showcasing PCs and XBoxes. If only I can get there, I think...

Suddenly, I hear a huge-- well, I never very good at onomatopoeia, so let's say thhhWONK-- and I'm right outside of Electromat. With a cool minute to spare.

Needless to say, while I'm glad I was able to save those $3.25 from total oblivion, I'm a bit disconcerted by the whole experience. Since when did I have superpowers? And ones that made time and space my bitch, at that?

Mind you, once I get over the slight feelings of Dude, what the fuck?, it hits me:

I have superpowers. I have fucking superpowers.

The rest of the work day passes in a blur, and I check out around 4 PM. Once I get home, I shut the door to my bedroom, a clear sign to my parents that while I appreciate the fact that they've put a roof over my head, given me food, and paid for my college tuition, I would like some "me time." I sit on my bed, and think of New York City. Picture the Chrysler Building... picture 5th Avenue... picture the Empire State Building...

There's another thhhWONK, and a split second later, I'm on top of the Empire State Building.

The needly part, to be specific.

Soon after I stopped panicking and teleported down to street level, I realized that I'm probably going to need to picture very specific locations, lest I end up a greasy stain on the pavement.

From there, I'm leapfrogging across the US. The Public Gardens in Boston... the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco... the London Tower in, well, you know... the Arc d'Triomphe in Paris... throw on some played-out songs about the city at hand, and you have the travel montage in every hack comedy known to man.

Now that I've had a bit of fun with my new mode of transportation, I can guess what happened during the Mysterious Episode. Now comes the big question: Why?

*There's a school of thought that says if you capitalize something, it's more important.

Jump Around

I teleported today.

That's... different.

I'll have more once I'm done testing this thing out. Off to London, chaps!

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Not rape

At least, I don't think so. It's confusing.

We got a call from the police today. When they did the rape kit, they not only checked for signs of anal and oral rape, but used swabs on my... well, you know. When I asked why, the doctor said that if the girl I'd talked to had raped me, there'd probably be "ejaculate" (G-d, doctors are always so formal) left over, even if she'd thought to put a condom on first; if there wasn't, then the odds would suggest that whatever happened to me, it wasn't rape.

The test came back negative.

So, while I'm glad I probably wasn't raped, I still have no idea what happened. The cops say that, since the girl probably drugged me, they're going to still look for her, but on charges of "possessing a controlled substance".

I'm still going to work tomorrow. Not because I'm a "brave little soldier", but because I need to move on. It happened. I might never know what "it" was, but I need to move on, do stuff. I can't just keep waiting for a miracle to happen and answers to suddenly appear.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

I may have been raped last night. And I don't think I'll ever really know for sure if I was.

Last night, Will, Reed, and I went into Philly as planned. We had about $200 in our names, and we wanted to party, imbibe, and have fun. The only question was, where first? I wanted to go to Grape Street, Will wanted to hit the Chameleon Club, and Reed wanted to start the evening at the 12th Air Command. We ended up playing Rock-Paper-Scissors to decide where we'd go; Reed won, so we hit the 12th first.

For those not familiar with the club scene in Philly, the 12th Air Command is a gay bar. It doesn't have the brand recognition of Woody's or the gay night at Shampoo, but it's got a good atmosphere and plenty of stuff for a gay guy's best friends to do while said gay guy makes a connection.

So, while Reed danced, Will busied himself with the arcade games, and I used my fake ID to get a Guinness. I spotted this girl at the end of the bar who looked to be my age, so I went over and started talking to her. She told me she was amazed to have found one of the few straight guys in the bar, and started talking about herself.

The weird thing is, I can't remember anything she said. I can't even remember her name. All I remember is, I started feeling a bit strange. Then the more I kept talking to her, I kept feeling weirder and weirder. Next thing I know, I was in an alley in back of the bar. I was lying on the ground. It was 3:30 in the morning. And my clothes felt weird, like someone had taken them off and put them back on.

I went in, told the bartender what happened, and got a ride down to the local precinct. I repeated my story to the cops, while the bartender gave a description of the woman I'd been talking to. It wasn't until I saw the drawing that I realized that I'd forgotten what she'd even looked like. I underwent a rape kit, too, and found out that I hadn't been "sodomized" or received any scratches during that time.

I called my parents when I was done, and they came in on the subway and brought me back home. When I got home, I just fell into bed and started crying until I fell asleep.

Someone out there did something to me. And I'm going to find out who it was and what they did, so help me G-d.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Waa, No One Wants to Hear the Truth!

Would someone tell ABC News to drop the "not my department" 'tude and talk about the fact that the war is a massive clusterfuck without revving up the Messiah complex?

Something is wrong in the world, you fucks. Can't you at least try and change it?

Working for the Weekend

Well, today's my last real weekday of true freedom. Next week I start a job down at Electromat. The pay's middling, but the employee discounts are sizeable.

Meanwhile, tonight Will, Reed, and I are going into Philly to celebrate my reentry into the work force by clubbing until the sun comes up. Should be interesting.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

The World and Stuff

Okay. I think I'm over my little "poor, poor, pitiful me" mood from earlier. Y'know, things aren't that bad. I've got three months to spend with my friends and family before college, and that means a lot of free time to waste like a mofo.

So. Without further ado, I bring you a prelude to actual content: my scattershot opinions.

-Anyone who has seen Shaun of the Dead and has not laughed once has less of a sense of humor than the unholy spawn of Dick Cheney and Sean Penn.
-Superheroes are okay. Yes, that's an actual opinion. Look, I'm not the world's biggest fan of vigilantism (that would be Ted Nugent), but it's not like they're all dictators who get off on punching the crap out of bad guys. At the same time, I really don't think they should be given free reign like some of the more right-leaning hero jockeys say, because I really don't want the world to turn into an Ayn Rand novel. For one thing, the sex would really suck.
-Speaking of superheroes... we need more Jewish superheroes. I'm not exactly the biggest jockey of my faith (I'm a Reform Jew who mainly goes to temple on the holy days alone), but for a race that supposedly controls the world, you'd think we'd have more major asskickers than just Azimuth, Olympia and Phosphor. I mean, there's probably a few more low-level "Jewperheroes" in the US, but they rarely get presstime.
-Speaking of religious minority superheroes, I really think it's cool that the US has Zulfikar. I mean, yeah, he's British, but it's great that he's come over here and gotten the Islam-bashers on the far right to stop yapping so much about the great turbaned threat that will destroy us all.
-Repo Man once famously posited, "Fuck nihilism, at least anarchy's an ethos." Yeah, well, too bad it's a shoddy ethos. I mean, yeah, the WTO has screwed up free trade quite a bit, but does that really require opposing free trade in general? Is it really so antiestablishmentarian to have to bring back tariffs?

There. I've started ranting and raving in a demagogical fashion. I am officially a blogger. See you all tomorrow; I'm gonna go watch CSI, then hit the hay.

So. Here I Am.

Yeah. Hi.

So, I guess this is where I put all my personal information. Okay, then. My name is Gary Silverman, as you can tell by the name that appears at the bottom of this post. I live in Atherton, PA, which is about 30 minutes from Philly. I'm 18, and I just got out of high school. I'm Jewish, a bit of a geek, and bi (somewhere around a 3 on the Kinsey scale, I'd guess, if only because there's no "2.5"). I'm interested in cult movies, video games, and theoretical physics.

And... that's about it, I guess.

God, I don't even know why I'm doing this. I guess I just want to know who I am. I graduated a week ago, and now I don't really know what I'm gonna do with myself. Okay, that's an oversimplification; I know I'm going to Williamson this fall, and I'm probably gonna pursue a film degree. But other than that, I'm just feeling kinda lost.

Ah, well. I've got a few months before I head off. A lot can happen in that time.