Category Archives: Order of the Sword

The Great Search, Part Sixteen

Continued from Part Fifteen

In Pittsburgh, Commander Justice Jr. dashed to the jewelry store with its door hanging wide open. This call on the police scanner sounded like one Janus was sure to answer. Where is he?

A tied up man and a woman flew through the air and landed on the pavement.

Janus stepped out of the store. He posed for the security cameras. “That’ll teach you.”

The male thief said, “Aye, Guvnor, ye dun need to be beatin’ us up. We was ready to give up the moment we saw ye.”

Commander Jr. smirked. “That wouldn’t have been becoming for Jan’s ego. He wants to show that under all that Maybelline, he’s as tough as any guy.”

Janus glared. “You want a beat down?”

Commander Jr. stared back hard. “Dude, you challenged me.”

“But the ol’ cap said you couldn’t.”

“It’s his day off.”  Thanks to you, Jan. Junior clinched his fist.

Janus clenched his fists. “All right, let’s get it on.”

“Not here. There’s a lot of expensive stuff around here, as well as people who have nothing to do with this fight.”


“How’d you like to see footage of us tearing this place apart uploaded to YouTube?”

“Good point.”

“On the way here, I passed a partially built construction project. We can take an elevator up to the top.”

“Oh, but that’s such a clichéd superhero battleground.”

Commander Jr. smirked. “Glad that you approve. Come on. It’s about three blocks.”

The two walked out of the jewelry store and passed the Volt Commander Jr. had rented.

Janus pointed.  “Hey, this your car?”


“I’ve been thinking about getting one.”

“Well, the Volt’s a good model.”

“I want to get an electric or a hybrid for my next car.”

Remind me to buy an SUV. “Any reason that you’re stalling?”

Janus laughed. “I figured, after this, we’ll find common ground, work together. Like Robin Hood and Little John.”

“Or Dark Mystic and the Sword.”

This kept Janus silent until they reached the construction site. Commander Jr. pressed the button by an elevator shaft. “It won’t open.”

Janus pressed another button. “Genius, that’s because they haven’t put in the elevator on that side yet. This one will take us up.”

The elevator door opened. Janus extended his hands out. “After you.”

Commander Jr. said, “I insist, after you.”

Janus smiled. “Very well.”

Commander Jr. got in the elevator after Janus did.

“Thirty-six floors,” Janus said. “Not quite The Pharaoh v. The Sword, but it’ll have to do. So how has your day been?”

As if this clown didn’t know. “I’m hot on the trail of Dark Mystic, but we just missed him, and we don’t have a clue where he is.”

Janus shook his head. “That’s too bad.”

The elevator dinged and the door opened.

Commander Jr.  said, “But you do.”

Janus eyes went wide. Commander Jr.  gave a first right cross to the jaw, sending Janus flying out the door. Commander Jr. heaved. “That was for Captain Justice, you punk.”

Janus puffed. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“You know exactly what.”

Janus charged. Commander Jr. jumped out of the way. Janus jumped on top of him.

Commander Jr. kicked Janus off. “You sabotaged the Justicemobile. We caught you on a surveillance camera. I got an e-mail with the video attached just after leaving Markum’s.”

Janus got up. “You think I’d be stupid enough to go there? You’d recognize me.” Janus lifted his fist in the air. “Come on, tough guy.”

Commander Jr. moved in, hands raised, bobbing and weaving. “Of course you didn’t go dressed like this. You wore blue coveralls.”

Janus sent a jab at his jaw.

Commander Jr. dodged and delivered a left hook to Janus’s shoulder. Janus stepped back. “Coveralls? Not my style.”

Commander Jr. kicked Janus’s solar-plexus. Janus grabbed his leg, threw him to the ground, and jumped on his back. Commander Jr. tossed Janus like a six-year-old thrown off a mechanical bull.

Commander Jr. panted. “You added your touch. A hood would’ve worn work gloves, but you wore your golden nylon gloves.”

Janus stood up. “Oh please, that would never stand up in court.”

“The only court we’re in is the court of my fists. And then there was the scene at Markum’s place. You know what we found?”

Janus slammed into Commander Jr. “Why don’t you enlighten me?”

Commander Jr. pushed back and knocked Janus over. “The feds didn’t know what it was until I put it together. It was gold latex paint, just like you wear.”

Janus stood and ran towards the elevator, Commander Justice, Jr. behind him. Janus ripped off the vacant elevator shaft’s door and threw it at Commander Jr. He dodged and continued to advance. Janus delivered a kick to his ribs. Pain ripped through him, and he collapsed, fighting to get air back into his lungs.

“Kid, I had high hopes for you. Might have been able to turn you, and you’d be my second in the new order.  But you’re too smart, and now you’re a complication that has to be eliminated.”

Get to your feet, D.J. This guy’s gonna kill you.

He stood. Janus lunged, knocking him back to the ground. Janus landed on top and began to use his face for a speed bag. Commander Jr. kicked Janus in the stomach and threw the guy off. He stood as Janus did and ran at Janus. He aimed a jump kick at Janus’ jaw.

Big mistake.

Janus grabbed his leg and spun him. Is Janus moving fast or did the world just speed up?

The granola bar Commander Jr. grabbed at the airport began to rebel.

It stopped. He was hanging upside down in the vacant elevator shaft.

Janus sighed. “Goodbye, kid.” Janus’s grip loosened on his legs.

Commander Justice Jr. hurtled head first towards the concrete thirty-six floors below.

So much for living two hundred years.

This concludes the web serial version of this story. The continuation of the Story Line is available is Laser and Sword, Issues 8 and 9 with the conclusion in the upcoming Issue 10.

The Great Search, Part Fifteen

Continued from Part Fourteen

The Sword drew his blade and walked into the cave where Dark Mystic had killed Ice Cube. “Mystic, show yourself.”

Dark Mystic stepped from the shadows. He held a flame thrower pointed at the Sword. The Sword frowned. “Is this a truce or a battle?”

Dark Mystic laughed. “Jesse, I believe you drew first. Personally, I’d prefer a truce.”

That voice. It wasn’t the demon’s guttural speech. Jesse stared. “Ian.”

“Let’s get out of this cave.”

The Sword followed Dark Mystic outside. Dark Mystic said, “You didn’t bring anyone.”

“I know how to keep a truce.”

“Then perhaps we should put our weapons away. Allow me to go first.” Dark Mystic tucked his flamethrower’s business end into the tank.

Dare he trust Mystic?

What choice did he have?

The Sword sheathed his blade.

Dark Mystic flashed a half smile. “Come, let us talk of many things.”

Continued Next Monday.

Be sure to check out Tales of the Dim Knight now available from Splashdown books.

The Great Search, Part Fourteen

Continued from Part Thirteen

Ian Bucknell sat as he had for months in his own personal Hell of his own mind as his ever-present demonic symbiot raged.

“You fool!” Jalzabel growled. “If not for our forces at Squall’s bank tipping us off, and the good work Janus here did, we would all be in custody.”

Janus shrugged. “I wouldn’t, but that was sloppy. If you’d set up a recurring payment for all of these, no one would have noticed.”

Markum scowled at him. “Electric bills vary.”

“You could’ve accessed the bank from behind a proxy.”

“Ricky, you were a washed up, starving artist when I found you.”

“I paid the bills working in tech support.”

“My apologies for being technically adept.”

Janus sniffed. “Jalzabel and I have decided it would be good if more than one person knew how to operation the trans-dimensional portal.”

Markum smirked. “I could show you. Provided I were a naïve college Satanist.”

“I was just wanting to—”

“Give me a break. I don’t take of-fense that you want to kill me. Survival of the fittest is the rule. But insulting my intelligence does offend me. Ricky boy, I get it. I’m a complication.”

Janus gaped. “I’d never—”

Markum slapped Janus across the chops. “I told you not to insult my intel-ligence! The Feds will be all over me. It’s only a matter of time until they find out about my majority holdings in RJ Max-well and they may notice RJ Maxwell’s stake in your comic books. I doubt it. Most don’t think of comic books as crim-inal enterprises, but you may get hit. It’d be so much easier if you could kill me, set it up so I’m Mr. Big, and then the investi-gation will end. Your problem is I’m the only one alive who knows how to operate the portal. That’s why I sacrificed Dr. Squall as a burnt offering.”

Jalzabel said, “If my plan works, this will be the last day we need to use the portal.”

Markum laughed. “I send Western Union payments to four attorneys. If they stop getting my payments, they’ll send enough information to Sword Comics and Fox News to bury Golden Boy here.”

“Western Union?” Janus snickered. “Yeah, that way it can’t be traced back to your checking account. If only you’d been that cautious paying everybody.”

Markum smirked.

Ian felt the sickening feeling in his stomach that was Jalzabel’s notion of pleas-ure. Markum’s hubris was like candy.

Markum reached in a cabinet and re-moved a vial. “There’s no reason for us to fight, Ricky boy. We’re buddies, ain’t we? Come here.”

Janus edged closer. “What?”

“Do you remember what I told you to stay away from?”

“Yeah, orange juice.”

“It was a longer list than that.”

“I think you included anything citrus.”

“Did I ever tell you why?”

Janus shook his head.

“Citric acid is your kryptonite, my friend. A glass of OJ will make you sick to your stomach. Good news is, it’d take ten gallons of OJ to kill you. However—” Markum popped the core off the vial and threw the contents at Janus’s cheek.

Janus covered his eyes. The vial hit his cheek and orange liquid splashed across his face. Janus collapsed, screaming.

Markum continued. “Even a small amount of pure citric acid on you, and you have minutes to live.”

“You’re jeopardizing everything!” Jal-zabel screamed.

Markum smiled. “No, fearless leader, the dying process can be reversed if the citric acid is removed soon enough.”

Janus cried, “Get this horrid stuff off me. I can’t even move.”

Markum folded his arms. “Beg me.”

Janus screamed. “Please!”

“Please, who?”

Janus coughed. “Please, Master!”

Markum bent over and wiped off the liquid with a handkerchief. “Come, Ricky boy. Let me treat that. We wouldn’t want to mar your pretty face.”

Markum helped Janus up and then put his hands on Janus’ shoulders. “Remember, I made you. I can break you.”

Ian’s stomached rolled at Jalzabel’s massive pleasure.

Continued Next Monday.

Be sure to check out Tales of the Dim Knight now available from Splashdown books.

The Great Search, Part Twelve

Continued from Part Eleven

Junior stood outside Zach Wallace’s down-town New York office. Junior picked up his cell phone. The caller ID indicated it was Grandpa.

“Hey, Junior, how goes it?”

“Just finished filling out the property loss forms for the Justicemobile, and I’m headed to see Zach Wallace. How are you?”

“Hospital food is awful. They say I’ve got a couple cracked ribs, so I’m gonna take it easy, and come back tomorrow.”

“Grandpa, are you crazy?”

“Hey, we’re on a cell phone, use Captain.”

“Okay, Captain, are you crazy?”

“Nah, we heal quick. Check under your bandages. You’ll find your wounds are gone.”

“I found that out this morning.”

“I’ll be good as new tomorrow morning. At least good enough to keep up with the rookie.” Captain Justice slurped some liquid. “The reason I called is that Sariah Miller thinks Janus knows where the Sword is.”

Junior clucked his tongue. “I could buy that. But what does she base it on?”

“She believes he was lying when he said the Sword was dead.”

“That wouldn’t hold up in court.”

“We’re not getting a search warrant. If I’ve learned anything, its to never discount woman’s intuition.”

“Let me check with Zach and see if he can give us something more concrete.”

After the usual pleasantries, Junior hung up and walked into the plush office with, “Zachary Wallace, Consultant” on the door in gold block letters. Junior strode past a couple of Wallace’s assistants and got in the elevator.

On the third floor, Junior got out and walk-ed down a posh hall to the door marked, “Zach Wallace. Private.”

Junior knocked.

“Come on in.”

Junior walked in. Zach sat behind the desk, dressed to the nines in a three piece suit with his hair held back in a tidy ponytail and his goatee well-trimmed. The Aussie stood and extended his hand. “Gooday, Commander Junior. Can I get you somethin’ to wet your whistle?”

“No, thank you.” Anything he was served here would lead to another plastic container in the landfills of New York City. “What have you got for me?”

“Dr. Squall has been dead for six months?”

“That appears to be the case.”

“He’s a very active user of online banking for a dead man. His account has about two sign ins per month to use bill pay. That’s how the landscaper got paid, ditto the water, heating bill, credit card, and alimony.”

“So you think he’s alive?”

“Nah, mate. He’s dead all right. All normal living expenses are absent, from groceries to pet-rol. Until six months ago, everything came out of this account.”

“So someone’s signing into online banking for him. What about it?”

“Didja know you can’t pay property taxes with bill pay?”

Why would a college student care? “No.”

“Somebody paid his property taxes for him, a Mr. Lucien Markum. When I pull the logs for this fella’s online banking, the IP comes from an address outside Boston owned by Mr. Lucien Markum.”

“You got the address?”

“Right here, mate.”

Junior took the paper. “The foundation will cut your check.”

Zach shook his head. “On the house. Your dad’s a good bloke. I hope you bring him back.”

“Me too, Zach.”

The Great Search, Part Eleven

Continued from Part Ten

Sariah Miller walked to her car.

“Ms. Miller?” said a man behind her.

Sariah turned. Janus stood behind her in all his tacky gold latex body paint glory. She said, “I’m afraid you’re at the wrong comic book company, sir.”

“No, I’m not here for business. I know you haven’t had a real man take you out since you let the Sword get away, and thought I might talk you into lunch.”

Not on your life, Golden boy. “I’m afraid you have your facts mixed up. I chose between Jesse and the Sword. I wanted a nice, boring, normal man with a steady income and regular hours. I made the mistake of falling for a superhero’s glitz once, and almost lost the love of my life. I won’t make that mistake again.”

“You know, it was so tragic, losing both the Sword and Miller at the same time. “

Sariah grimaced. Jesse, your secret is less of a mystery than Brittney Spears’ wardrobe. “I took a vow that said, ‘until death do us part.’”

“We both know he’s dead.”

You can’t even lie through the gold paint. You know he’s not dead.

 “Regardless, I’ve more than had my fill of your kind. Now, unless you want me to call the cops, I’d suggest you get lost.”

“I’m a gentlemen, so I’ll leave.”

I’m keeping my pepper spray handy, creep.

Sariah got in her car and pulled out her cell phone and began to dial Captain Jus-tice’s cell.

What am I going to tell him? I think Janus knows where Jesse and the others are. On the basis of woman’s intuition.

Sariah sighed. “If it could help Jesse, I’ll give it a shot.”


Continued next Monday

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The Emerald Avenger, Part Nine

Continued from Part Eight

Dave Johnson scaled Mount Everest, rub-bing his pounding temples. How much longer would this take? Two weeks now of fourteen and sixteen hour days researching unusual deposits, and all he had to show for it was a slim few leads, a whole lot of dead ends, the financial profiles of 1,300 police officers that Zolgron had force fed him, and a migraine.

And worse, what if Zolgron took over totally?

He entered his bedroom and shed his janitor coveralls. The alarm clock went off. His wife yawned and sat up in bed, smiling sleepily at him. “Dave, we haven’t talked in ages.”

“I’d love to talk.” He smack off the alarm and cuddled up to Naomi.

“You’re withdrawing again. Where are you going all weekend?”


“But the public library’s only open to five on Saturdays, and it’s closed entirely on Sundays. Where are you researching?”

“Groton’s All Night Cyber café.”

“What are you researching that you can’t research on our computer?”

Dave hesitated. “Banking.”

Naomi arched an eyebrow. “Why?”

“Um, thinking about the future, you know, maybe a different job.”

“I know someone at our branch. You could probably get in as a teller.”

“I’m not certain I want to go into that. There’s a lot you need to know, like every single transaction on every single account.”

“Come on, Dave. It’s not that hard.”

Easy for her to say. Her brain wasn’t overflowing with banking information. “I want to look at other options, too. What have you been doing?”

Babble flowed out of his wife’s mouth, an auditory sledge hammer that split his skull open, or it sure felt like it, anyway. “Naomi, forget it. Can I just hold you?”


He curled up closer. “You know what I like about you? You’re a human being.”


“I like human beings.”

“Um, yeah.”

Dave yawned contentedly and let his heavy eyes close. When was the last time he felt this happy? He could hardly remember.

Continued Next Tuesday.

Tales of the Dim Knight is set for book Release November 22nd,  a sample e-book including the first four chapters is available for your reading pleasure. You can follow our hero on Twitter @dimknight

The Great Search, Part Ten

Continued from Part Nine

Commander Justice, Jr. stared over the ravine at the burning Justicemobile. Now, it’s an even worse environmental disaster.

The paramedics rolled by the gurney with Captain Justice on it. “Let me off this thing. I’ll be fine with a little bed rest.”

A paramedic said, “You’re lucky to es-cape that car alive after going over a forty foot drop.”

Captain Justice laughed. “I’m a super-hero. I once fell off a two hundred foot cliff and landed wrong. I was out for a day then defeated a band of eleven desperadoes armed with machine guns. I’m not an in-valid. Junior, reason with them.”

 “Captain, you need X-rays.” Junior stared at the bulge on his thighs beneath the tights. He was lucky to need just a couple of bandages. That and a new pair of tights when he got back to the Justice Foundation.

Junior climbed into the back of the ambulance. Captain Justice said, “I hate to do this, but we need to know who did this. You’re going to have to go solo for a day or so.”

“I can handle it.”

“Don’t say that until you know what you have to do.”

Continued next Monday

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The Great Search, Part Eight

Continued from Part Seven

On the way to the Justicemobile two days later, Captain Justice said, “I hope Zach’s info is worth the trip.”

Junior shrugged. “It’ll be better than what Riley had.”

“True enough.” Captain Justice got in the driver’s side with Junior sitting in the passenger seat. They drove out of the garage, down to the light, and turned onto the freeway. 

The car hit 55 mph. A click sounded.

“What was that?” asked Junior.

“Don’t know. I’ll have to take this by the dealership if it starts making noise.”

A semi truck was ahead of them in the left lane. It kept getting closer.

Junior stared at Captain Justice.  “Grandpa, hit the brakes.”

“It speeds up when I hit the brakes.”

The truck grew closer. Captain honked. The truck maintained its current speed.

Captain Justice got over to the left shoulder, driving with one wheel on the pavement and one on loose gravel. Blue highway patrol lights flashed behind them.

Junior said, “Grandpa, maneuver to the guard rail. We can jump out of the car before it goes over the embankment.”

“Sounds like we have to. Check the door.”

Junior pulled on the door handle. It only clicked. Uh oh. Junior pressed the electronic lock. “Grandpa, the door won’t open.”

Take off your boot. Use the steel toe as a hammer to break the window.”

Junior took off his boot and broke the window. The glass sprayed away.

Junior dropped his boot and jumped out the broken window. Shards of glass cut into his thighs. He hit the ground on one foot. He turned. The car headed over the guard rail and down into the ravine.

Junior screamed. “Grandpa!”


Continued next Monday

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The Great Search, Part Seven

Continued from Part Six

Outside Dr. Squall’s home, Cardin sighed. “Not a blasted clue anywhere.”

Captain Justice frowned. He found that hard to believe. “No maps? No com-puters?”

“All gone. We know something was there. The lab was full of electric outlets, plus Jaden found an eight months old ele-ctric bill for $10,000, which means they’re running something that takes a gargantuan amount of electricity.”

Junior said, “Here’s a clue. The lawn.”

Captain Justice smirked. “What? Are they not using natural fertilizer?”

“Somebody’s maintaining it. Who would maintain a dead man’s lawn when no one knows he’s dead?”

Cardin made a note on a Blackberry. “I’ll follow up on that. Good catch, son.”

Captain Justice patted Junior on the back. “I should have thought of that.”

Continued next Monday

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The Great Search, Part Six

Continued from Part Five

Small Packages entered the chapel in the village square. Highland Guardian sat in a pew, reading the Bible.

“Hey, do you have time for a con-fession?”

Highland Guardian looked up and shook his head. “I’m Church of Scotland. We don’t do confession. But I’d be happy to talk to ye.”

Small Packages walked over to the kilted hero. “Sure, I don’t know if I have anything to confess, other than wanting to kill Payday.”

“Ask the Good Lord, and he will for-give ye for that.”

“It’s been more than eight years since I’ve gone to church regularly. I try to go on Easter, but haven’t made it in six years. Always some emergency. I probably need to confess that too.”

“The Good Lord will forgive ye. But may I ask what makes ye feel like goin’ to confession?”

“For seven years, Skyscraper has been not only my brother, but my whole life. Now he’s dating Speed Skater, and it hit me. We’re both freaks of science, but his freak-ishness won’t stop him from finding getting married. Mine will. I’m alone in the world.”

“Lad, aren’t ye overreactin’ to a first date?”

“Oh, she’ll end up with Skyscraper. She’d be out of her mind not to. Even if she doesn’t marry him, it’s a matter of time be-fore someone comes along.”

“And you’re afraid of being alone?”


“Now lad, you needn’t fear that. The Lord is with ye always. He knows ye better than anyone. He created ye.”

“But that’s my problem. God didn’t knit me together in my mother’s womb, a lab technician did. I hear I don’t have a soul. How God care about me if I don’t have a soul?”

The Highland Guardian laughed. “Lad, o’ course ye have a soul!  It doesn’t matter what man did to ye in the womb. The soul comes with humanity. It’s who you are, not how tall ye are. Your soul is a creation of the Almighty God, and don’t let anyone else tell ye different.”

Small Packages said, “You sure?”

The Highland Guardian nodded. “Aye, lad. Ye have a soul, and must take care of it. Nourish it with the Word, and feed on pray-ing to ye Creator, and get ye to Church.”

“There’s so much to do.”

“The Good Lord managed this world for thousands o’ years without ye help. He can keep it runnin’ for a couple hours. Now, don’t be like the Pharisees and ignore people in need on the way to church, but make time for God.”

I don’t know what a Pharisee is, but I don’t want to sound stupid.

“Thanks, Guardian.”

“You’re welcome.” Highland Guard-ian rose from his pew.

“Hey, think I could get married?”

Highland Guardian smiled. “With God, all things are possible, and there’s never been any harm done askin’ him.”

Continued next Monday

Subscribe to Laser & Sword by Email to get the next part and all the rest of our free offerings delivered to you. To find out what happens sooner, visit the Laser and Sword Online store and download  Issue 1 for free or purchase the Annual Editioncontaining 11 action packed