Category Archives: Order of the Sword

The Devil’s Fool, Part Nine

Continued from Part Eight

That night, at a private airport outside Philadelphia, the Sword stood in his uniform, Dark Mystic beside him. Mystic grinned. “Only three left to go.”
The Sword frowned. “Four: Revelator, the Empress, the Defender, and Captain Revolution.”
Mystic laughed. “Oh, come on. It’s hardly necessary to hold up the flight for a sidekick.”
A gruff voice behind them said, “I’ll sidekick you, Mystic.”
They turned. Revelator stood with four suitcases at his feet. His black and blue uniform, which had a lightning bolt emblazoned from left shoulder to right ankle, accented his once-lanky frame and held in his middle-age paunch. “You won’t let me read your thoughts, but your face says you’re pretty surprised to see me.”
Mystic flustered. “You’ve not always been Mr. Reliable. At the university, you had quite a drinking problem.”
Laban smirked. “You know, DM, you really are the devil. A funny thing happened when I came out to my car. Somebody had slit my tires.”
Mystic sighed. “It’s a sad thing that these crimes occur.”
Bull. You did it or got someone else to do it.”
Yes.” Mystic sneered. “With my knowledge of the Dark Arts, as well as the time consumed on planning this operation, it would make perfect sense to run around the city playing sophomoric pranks.”
It doesn’t make sense. That’s why you did it.”
The Sword shook his head. Laban was being absurd. “What do you even mean?”
Revelator glared at Mystic. “He works for the devil. The Devil never does what you expect, so you have to look for the opposite of what you expect.”
The Sword laughed. “Who do you think he is here, the Joker? This isn’t a comic book.”
He paused. “Yet.”
Of course, this part would be on the cutting room floor. No sense in making his sidekick look bad, and accusing Dark Mystic of slicing his tires was downright weird. Maybe a lesser dispute would work. The Sword shook his head.
Dark Mystic looked down at the four pieces of luggage at Revelator’s feet. “You sure are bringing a lot of luggage. This isn’t a cruise.”
Revelator snorted. “With you at the helm, I don’t doubt that. I’ve got a mobile chemistry lab, emergency supply rations for two days, and other odds and ends.”
That really won’t be necessary.”
Look, Jesse bought a good plane. It can handle my luggage! You are not going to tell me what I can bring on the freakin’ plane. Who do you think you are? The freakin FAA?”
Dark Mystic tsked. “Temper, temper. I thought you were a Christian?”
Revelator took a menacing step towards Mystic, gloved fists tightening. “Yeah, and I know one demon I’d like to cast out.”
The Sword put his hands on their shoulders. “Enough. Laban, take what you want on the plane, but there is no need to attack our friend.”
Revelator grabbed the Sword by the shoulder and pulled him twenty feet back from Mystic. “Jesse, I’m telling you for the last time. This guy is going to turn on you.”
He’s been a good ally against the terrorists. You may not like where he gets his power—” The Sword spoke in a whisper. “—I don’t like it. But we’re in a war for our lives against radical Islam. I need whoever I can get with the power to help.”
Yeah, sure. Can’t discount Satanic Americans.” Revelator loaded his suitcases on the plane.

Continued Next Monday…

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The Devil’s Fool, Part Eight

Continued from Part Seven

Two weeks later, Jesse Miller’s terry cloth bathrobe hung loose as he stood on his recently stained deck, staring at the stone wall surrounding his massive property in the suburbs of Philadelphia.

He pulled a 9mm revolver from his pocket. Not as effective as the Sword’s blade, but far less suspicious. Jesse walked down into the freshly watered grass. When he was a boy, he always loved to walk in the grass barefoot on a day like this. Of course, famous publishers didn’t walk barefoot in the grass.
And why not? Jesse looked down at his Birkenstock sandals. If a man can’t do as he pleases in his own backyard, what good is a quarter of a billion dollars, anyway?
He removed his sandals and walked through the grass. The lush greenness mixed with that ever-pleasing moisture as he savored every step. Were it another day, he might run in his newfound freedom and revert to being a boy for five minutes. Then again, on another day, he wouldn’t have allowed himself the undignified indulgence.
He put his Birkenstocks back on and climbed the steps that led up to the top of the wall. Near the top, he peeked over to make sure no assassins lurked. Security seemed to be doing its job. No one had breached security in years.
He climbed onto the six-foot-wide platform atop the wall and turned to face his home. Four and a half years ago, an Al Qaeda firebomb had reduced it to ashes.
Mr. Bin Laden and his friends hadn’t taken kindly to the Sword’s adventures against Al Qaeda, nor to the Sword Comic Books chronicling those stories, along with stories of other heroes battling terrorists. Rebuilding stronger than ever before and launching a new series on real heroes from the War on Terror sent the appropriate message.
He looked over the side of the wall. A fresh spot of paint stood out. Anti-war fanatics decided the Sword was far too pro-military. It started with protest letters to The Sword Comics denouncing the Sword as a tool of the Administration.
Jesse laughed. They’d wanted him to write comics about aliens from outer space, super-powered psychopaths, small-time hoods, and even fictional foreign enemies. And insisted he definitely not talk about those actually planning to destroy the country. That was far too radical for them. Well, to heck with them and their idiotic games.
Protest letters didn’t excite some folks, so they decided on offensive graffiti threatening to rape his wife. Thus, necessitating the coat of paint and the change in security contractors.
A soft feminine hand massaged his neck. Jesse turned, his eyes feasting on his wife’s purple velvet robe and sheer pink dressing gown. “Good morning, love. How’s the baby?”
“Asleep,” Sariah said. “I wondered where you went.”
Just thinking.”
How glad I am that Al Qaeda bombed the first place I had here.”
Sariah raised a carefully-plucked eyebrow. “Glad? Why are you glad?”
“Because, if they hadn’t, we would never have gotten together.”
Sariah blinked twice.
If it hadn’t been for what Al Qaeda did here, I would’ve never told you the truth.”
How many years had he wasted playing that dumb superhero game where he hid his secret identity from the woman he loved, in order to protect her? As the game always seemed to work out, it just drove Sariah further away. Nearly lost her in real life, too. Ironically, to a rival illustrator who no longer worked for him.
Sariah smiled. “It’s definitely a good thing you ‘fessed up. I thought you were ‘both’ afraid of commitment.”
Of course I was. Afraid of not being there for you, afraid of not living up to expectations. Afraid of days like this.”
Jesse reached into his robe’s pocket and removed an e-mail from Dark Mystic. “A gathering of the world’s greatest rogues is occurring in Jamaica. Al-Zafarad’s there.”
Al-Zafarad? He’s—”
Dead, or at least I thought so. We don’t know what they’re up to, but given the criminal minds at work, it’s monstrous. Dark Mystic has called a global alert. Everyone is expected into Philadelphia tonight. After that we’re flying to Jamaica.”
Sariah stared at the ocean, swallowed hard, and turned to Jesse. “You’ve always made it back. You’ll do it again.”
Jesse bit his lip. She didn’t need to know how much harder a wife and child made the mission. He wrapped his arms around Sariah. “Thanks for the vote of confidence.”
She’d be taken care of.
Stop psyching yourself out, Miller. Don’t set yourself up for failure. Listen to your John Rawlings motivational CDs and focus on positive thinking. Bad thoughts will doom the mission. Got to keep those away.
He kissed Sariah on the forehead. Thank goodness for MP3 players. Nobody ever knew what he was listening to other than Revelator, and Revelator was the last person to throw stones. A good policy when your door was glass.
A few minutes later, he slipped inside, up to their room, and pulled out from the nightstand’s drawer the red MP3 player Dark Mystic had given him with Rawlings’ lecture on it. Now to think positive, visualize victory, and get those negative thoughts out.

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The Devil’s Fool, Part Seven

Continued from Part Six

After calling Major Karmokov, he changed his van’s tires, put his shirt and coat back on, and drove to his headquarters, an old garage on the outskirts of town.

Upon entering the garage, the Defender sighed. Did the Sword have to see the garage this way?

The smell of grease was thick in the air. The shelves showcased his haphazard organizational skills, with extra bolas, grappling hooks, and boxes of extra costumes, and bandanna masks lined up in no particular order. He’d been promising himself he would clean up for some time, but every night he came home from crime fighting too exhausted to clean.

If only he’d known the Sword was coming, he would have prepared. Now Earth’s greatest hero’s boots tramped through dirty floors, and his nose smelled unpleasant odors.

The Sword placed last Tuesday’s newspaper on the floor and settled at the Defender’s workbench. “Well now, first, let’s start with real names.”

The Defender gasped. “No one knows of my secret.”

I’ll tell you mine as well, and swear yours will forever be a secret.”

Guess the Sword can be trusted. “Bogdan Sagunov, gardener.”

The Sword removed his helmet to reveal a creamy complexion, white blond business cut with a widow’s peak, and slate blue eyes. “Jesse Miller, publisher of the Sword Comic Book Company.”

This made sense. He’d heard of the popularity of the comics from children. Who better to head up the effort, than the greatest of Earth’s superheroes himself?

The Sword smiled. “Thank you for your trust. I know the mask has its purpose, Bogdan, but it also inhibits honest discussion.”

Sagunov nodded and removed the Defender’s mask; a rolled-up black bandanna with eye holes cut out.

The Sword stood and walked around the garage. “You’ve done a splendid job defending Russia from the mafia and the corrupt government. I think people around the world would enjoy reading about your adventures, and I think this would be especially so in Russia.”

His own comic? His stories told to children all around the world? It was a dream. But, the Sword must not understand the situation in Russia very well. “That’s very kind, but I’ve earned quite a few enemies in the militsiya and the government.”

The Sword turned and walked towards Sagunov. “Then I won’t walk into the police station selling the books. Our market is the people of Russia; the children of Russia. People need hope that this country has not gone entirely to the mob and drugs. Someone is going to give them that hope. It’ll either be you, or the Communists, and I don’t think either of us wants them back.”

Sagunov nodded. The Communists had cost him too much. “I will do this on one condition. I do not want glorified.”

The Sword raised an eyebrow. “What do you mean?”

I am not Russia’s Savior. I serve Him who is, and that must be key.”

The Sword nodded. “Your faith is obviously very important to you, Bogdan. Faith is also important to many people in my country and around the world, so of course your faith will figure prominently, and I’ll make sure it is shown as important as we can present it to be.” The Sword glanced around the garage. “Only one thing must be changed: your equipment.”

The Sword crossed to the VW bus. “This looks as if it’s seen better days.”

Sagunov bit his lip. “It’s traveled close to 250,000 kilometers.”

The Sword inspected the peeling paint. “This won’t do. You need something sleeker, more modern. A van, yes, but a new model, with bulletproof glass, as well as weapons and autopilot.”

Sagunov frowned. He’d been pretty clear he was a gardener, not a billionaire. I guess they could put it in the comic book. Paper cars are cheap enough. “That’ll be pretty easy to draw.”

The Sword laughed. “Draw? I’m not going to have my artists draw a vehicle that doesn’t exist. I’ll have the new Defender Van built and shipped within the month to your specifications.”

Sagunov gasped. To his specifications! He’d have to make a list. He gave a polite nod. “Thank you.”

Consider it an advance on your royalty payments. You’ll earn three percent of retail on every comic sold, so you should be paid up in a month. Also, could you use a crime computer and a lab?”

Probably not the lab. I am not much into chemistry. I mostly talk to my contacts at the police crime lab. Dr. Lakoff helps me in addition to his regular duties. A basic computer might be nice. I haven’t used one since school.”

The Sword nodded. “I’ll get you a personal computer with the best crime-fighting software as well as data search tools. In addition, I can hook you up with high-impact grappling guns that’ll be easier to wield. We may also be able to make some upgrades to your smoke.” The Sword took a step back. “Can I speak frankly?”

The Defender nodded.

Your suit needs changed. I mean, that white shirt and white pants you’re wearing? Probably cotton if I don’t miss my guess. It’s nineteenth century, and you need something twenty-first century.”

Go ahead.”

I’d personally recommend a metallic fabric a friend of mine developed called tonksium. It’s specially formulated to be bulletproof, fire resistant, water resistant, and lightweight. I’ll provide it as part of the advance, if you want it.”

Sagunov rested against the wall. Perhaps I need bulletproof underpants, too. The Sword is trying to change everything!

He pursed his lips. Don’t be a stubborn fool, Sagunov. Cotton offers no advantages. The Sword knows what he’s talking about. “That’ll be helpful.”

Keep the mask and hat. Definitely the white trench coat. I like them. Very minimalist, very you. I’d just like to keep you alive.”

Sagunov smiled at the Sword’s approval.

The Sword pulled a contract from his vest. “Here. So we can make it all legal.”

Sagunov took the contract and read through it. The Sword had kindly translated the contract into Russian. His training at the school of language had well covered written English, but it was admittedly easier to plow through the legal formalities in his native tongue.

A twinge of guilt rose at the royalties section. “It seems a tad tawdry to take payment for what I do. I didn’t get into this to make a fortune.”

The Sword put his arm around around Sagunov. “Bogdan, I understand. Many have the same objection. Of course, you’re not in it for the money. But it’s not like you’re charging to save someone from a fire. You’re letting us use your image to tell a story, maybe sell some toys. The money will mean more funds for crime fighting equipment and less need for you to do gardening work. In the end, improved equipment and more time to help will benefit the people as much as you.”

Sagunov nodded. And there’d be more money to give to God, too. Sagunov finished reading the contract and signed.

Thanks,” said the Sword. “If you don’t mind, I’d like to hang around for another day; perhaps assist you in your work.”

The Sword? Assist him? “It would be an honor.”

I’ll also need to talk tomorrow about developing the right approximation of your character for the comic book.”

Sagunov scratched his scalp. “Approximation?”

If the character is exactly like you, we’ll be putting you and your loved ones at risk. Thus we always give our characters approximate characteristics. Some traits are based on the hero, others are fictitious. For example, we’ll give you a generic last name, and make you a lawyer instead of a gardener.”

Sagunov nodded. Why not a mechanic, or something like that? What’s wrong with an honest day’s labor?

The Sword soundlessly snapped his gloved fingers. “Oh, by the way, I and some other heroes are starting a guild to handle big challenges. It does require being available to help with regional and worldwide emergencies.”

Something sounded odd about this. “I should pray about it.”

The Sword smiled. “I trust God will have no problem with you joining. I’m hoping to get an annual meeting together in New York—a weekender of course. It really is going to be an exciting opportunity for all.”

Maybe he’d get to meet Commander Justice or the Texas Ranger. Sagunov felt like dancing, but constrained himself. “I’ll definitely consider it.”

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 Edition containing 11 action packed stories.

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 Edition containing 11 action packed stories.

The Devil’s Fool, Part Five

The lights went off as the subway car traveled beneath Philadelphia. The lights came back on. The Sword could probably go a little easier on his afternoon workout. He had to travel tomorrow. At least he’d be flying first class. Little was worse than being scrunched together in coach.
“Give me your money!” shouted a man with a knife to a woman seated in the middle of the car. Two men stood behind him.
The Sword jumped up and unsheathed his blade.
One of the knife man’s friends shivered. “Jim, I think we pick da wrong train.”
The Sword pointed the tip of the blade at the knife and fired an energy beam at it.
The knife clanked away.
Jim’s other friend shouted, “Run, punks, or we skunked!”
The Sword arched his eyebrows. “You know the train’s still moving, right?”
“Take this, hotshot!” Jim charged the Sword.
The blade fired a stun beam at the charging white man, who fell with a thud.
The Sword looked at the other two. “Anyone else?”
They shook their heads.
The lady and nine other passengers broke into applause. Jesse soaked in the applause like a plant a summer day’s sun.
“Okay, then,” said the Sword. “Get in a circle with your friend and sit him up.”
The men complied.
The Sword pointed the blade at them. The blade fired a beam of energy at the men that formed an energy rope that bound the men.
The Sword turned to the would-be victim. “Ma’am, may I have your ID?”
The young redhead fished her identification from her purse. The Sword took down her name—Judy—and her address on a notebook he kept in a pouch on his belt. “Ma’am, may I have your number?”
Judy batted her green eyes at the Sword. “You gonna call me later?”
The Sword sighed. In his comic book, the Sword’s alter ego and Sariah were rival illustrators. When Jesse Miller got his girl, the Sword lost her. “It’s for the police.”
Judy’s face fell. “Oh.”
She gave the Sword her phone number and he wrote it down.
She mustered a smile. “Can I have an autograph?”
The Sword opened a 3” x 5” pouch on his belt and pulled out a glossy photo of himself and the Revelator. The Sword sighed. He should have brought his solo photos. “To Judy?”
“Yes, please.”
The Sword end up handing out photos to all the other passengers as well.
One of the would-be robbers looked up. “Hey, man, what about me?”
The Sword raised an eyebrow. “You want my autograph after I captured you?”
“Yeah, man, yo’ comic book’s tight!”
Do I need to fire the writer? “Is it really so badly written you found the crooks more inspiring than the heroes?”
Embarrassment shone on the man’s face. “I know I shouldn’t — ”
Jim interrupted with profanity.
The reticent thief said, “I just don’t know what else to do.”
The Sword smiled. “Tell you what, I’ll give you an autograph, if you’ll take the business card for Rev. Thornton Thomas. He can help you turn your life around. It’s his specialty.”
The thief nodded. “Sounds phat.”
Jim said, “When I bust outta these—”
The Sword cut off the profanity that followed with the point of the blade at Jim’s throat. “You’ll what?”
Jim clammed up.
“Jim, here’s a hint. Do anything to your friend, and I’ll hear about it.”
Shivering, Jim nodded.

Continued here

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The Devil’s Fool, Part Four

Continued from Part Three.

The Sword exited through the open window and, with his blade, glided down to the sidewalk. He reached into a small pouch in his belt and felt the thick plastic of his lifetime subway pass. With nothing to track, he could more easily ride the subway home. Not only that, he would set a good example to encourage others to use public transit, which was the point of the city giving him the pass in the first place. Dark Mystic landed beside him.“You okay, Mystic?”“I am now. Why is it that no matter how much good I do, some only see the source of my power? People don’t understand the demonic realm. Demons are not free agents. They can be cajoled, controlled, and manipulated through arts that have been passed down in my family for generations. They’re no different than technology, mutation, or that blade of yours.”

The Sword passed a hot dog stand.

A Rastafarian vendor said, “Hey, Sword! Chili dog, on da house!”

The Sword’s mouth watered, but he shook his head. Not unless I want to ruin my diet or do an extra workout. “Thanks, but maybe Dark Mystic wants one!”

 The vendor shook his head, his dreadlocks slapping against his cheeks. “No offense, mon, but dat guy bad news, mon. Wouldn’t wanna jinx da place.”

 Mystic snarled. “I’m being judged by the hot dog man!”

Jesse put a hand on Mystic’s shoulder. “I’m sure he didn’t mean anything by it.”

Mystic shouted. “You want to see bad news! How would you like a plague of rodents and vermin in your stand?”

The vendor raised his hands. “Nothin’ personal, mon, I give you da chili dog!”

Mystic growled. “I don’t even want a chili dog!” He took a breath. “Sorry, I’ve had a rough day.”

The vendor nodded, lowering his hands hesitantly.

The Sword sighed. “Come on, Mystic.”

Dark Mystic glowered as they walked. “This has gotten a lot worse since the comic book came out. I thought that was supposed to improve my reputation? Before the comic book, most people didn’t know about the demon. Now, nearly everyone does.”

The Sword sighed. “I do regret that. I just didn’t think it would matter to people. Fictional comics have featured demons.”

“People are less likely to accept it in real life. Jalzabel has come under fire. Lucifer apparently would rather people believe demons don’t exist.”

“I’m sorry, but I’ll do what I can to make it up to you.”

Dark Mystic smiled. “I know one thing. I’ve always wanted to hold that sword.”

The Sword unsheathed his blade. “It won’t do much for anyone but me.”

Dark Mystic greedily snatched it.

The hilt fired an energy beam at Mystic, knocking him to the ground. The Sword put a hand on his hip and frowned. “Blade, what are you doing?”

His blade once again emitted a burst of energy at Dark Mystic’s chest. Dark Mystic let go of the blade. It clanked to the ground.

The Sword knelt beside Dark Mystic. He slipped his hand under Dark Mystic’s black overshirt and titanium armor. His heart was beating. Thank God. The Sword slapped Dark Mystic underneath his purple hood. Dark Mystic opened his eyes.

The Sword pulled Dark Mystic up. “I’m really sorry. The blade’s never reacted like that before.”

Dark Mystic sighed. “It’s the story of my life. To be misunderstood. But you under­stand me, Sword. I appreciate it. However, the Supernatural Intelligence Bureau has illustrated the need to get the Guild together.”

“Most everyone I’ve heard of in the superhero world has joined already.”

“We need one more. I’ll patrol Philly for the next three days. You need to take a trip.”

The Sword raised his eyebrow. “To where?”

“Moscow, Russia.”

The Sword sighed. “You sure this is the last one?”

“Of course. We have everyone else from Pantheon to Blue Gorilla. We need everyone in the world who fights for good.” Dark Mystic laughed.

The Sword rested on the hilt of his blade. “You know those guys back there would swear they were fighting for good.”

Dark Mystic nodded. “To them, good and evil is a battle between God and the Devil. The way I see it, good is for the progress and safety of humanity and evil against it. Therefore, they’re evil. Demonic and angelic forces are neutral. There are ‘demons’ who fight for good and ‘angels’ who fight for evil; thus it follows for those with power to take the side of humanity.”

“Hopefully, with an international team, we can set an example to the world of cooperation and friendship.”

Dark Mystic nodded. “And if the world can make peace and live together in harmony, hopefully God and Lucifer will realize they too need to make peace and join us in building a better world.”

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The Devil’s Fool, Part Three

Continued from Part Two 

Twenty minutes later, Jesse stood on a rooftop wearing the Sword’s silver bronze-age style battle helmet and black tonksium and Kevlar costume. He pulled out his blade from the sheath on his right hip.

The Sword placed his blade on the ground. “Blade, expand!”

The blade grew to roughly the size of a surfboard. The Sword stood on it. “Magnetize!” The blade adhered to his metal-plated boots. “Blade, head Southeast.”

The blade flew through the air. The Sword grimaced. Man, he hated this mode of transit. Too conspicuous. And even with his boots magnetized to the blade, all too easy to lose his balance and end up dangling upside down. Note to self: call mechanic tomorrow morning and see how long it’ll be until the Sword Car is fixed.

The Sword pulled from his belt a beacon tracker and followed Mystic’s signal to the Leonard Swartz Federal Building. The Sword landed his blade on the sidewalk of the ten-story gray stone building, and pressed down on the handle with his boots.

The blade returned to normal size. The Sword scooped up the weapon and peered at the tracker. Second floor.

He pointed his blade towards the second floor, pressed the handle, and held on with both hands as it took him airborne.

A moment later, he landed on the second story ledge. The Sword sheathed his blade and pulled a small, round listening device out of his belt. It attached to the wall and followed the Sword’s path along the ledge. How some of the people in the business managed without any technology at all was beyond him.

After more than ten windows, he let out an exasperated sigh. Nothing, not even the hum of machines working on standby. Most of the office must be totally vacant.

A young man said, “Carden, why isn’t this demon coming out?”

A middle-aged man replied, “The man wants it there.”

The Sword frowned. Of course Dark Mystic needed Jalzabel. The demon gave him powers that had allowed Dark Mystic to save the Sword’s bacon more times than he could count.

The Sword stopped outside the window and unsheathed his blade. The tip emitted a blue flame, cutting through the glass, which shattered onto to the floor inside. The Sword leaped through the opening and landed in a vacant office.

An alarm sounded. He ignored it and opened the oak door. Another door sat opposite, with heavy security. A middle-aged man and a young man, each with a cup of coffee, walked up the hallway. Hopefully, Carden and company.

The younger man gasped. “The Sword!”

He held out his blade. “In the flesh.   Now, take me to Mystic.”

At the younger man’s questioning glance, the elder sighed. “It’s okay. We weren’t getting far with the demon.”

The Sword said, “You in charge?”

The elder nodded.

“Cancel the alarm.”

The elder pulled out a remote and pressed a button. Silence.

The Sword pointed at the door across the hall. “Open it.”

The elder slid his card through a card reader and pushed the door open.

Inside, Dark Mystic lay chained to a table beneath a Gothic cross. The Sword pressed a button on his blade and released it. The blade flew from his hands and sliced Dark Mystic’s bonds. Dark Mystic rose from the gurney.

The Sword turned to Mystic’s captors. “Now, how about you tell me what you’re doing in a federal building?”

The elder reached into his suit jacket and pulled out a badge. “Carden Geneseve, Supernatural Intelligence Bureau.”

The Sword blinked. “I’ve never heard of you before.”

Agent Geneseve smiled. “We exist by other names in other places.” A frown eclipsed the smile. “You’re making a big mistake. This man can’t be trusted. He’s possessed.”

Dark Mystic growled. “I’ll have to call the ACLU about you.”

Geneseve laughed. “First time I’ve had a demoniac threaten me with the American Civil Liberties Union. Regardless, our budget is classified, and we’re currently headquartered in the district of the chairman of the House Intelligence Appropriations Subcommittee.”

Dark Mystic chortled. “You have friends in high places, I see.”

“Oh, much higher than that.”

“Regardless, I am who I am; I don’t need you to save me.”

“Very well. Can’t free a man who wants to be enslaved, or make a man who shuts his eyes see the truth.” Geneseve waved to the door. “Go, but we will meet again. Under far less pleasant circumstances, I fear.”
Continued…Next Monday

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Trackposted to The Pink Flamingo, Right Voices, and DragonLady’s World, thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.

The Devil’s Fool, Part Two

Continued from Part One 

Jesse Miller stifled a yawn in the sanctuary’s fourth row. He had to remember-he wasn’t here for the Mega-church pastor’s usual boring sermon, but for the state-of-the-art children’s programming. Securing his son’s future made an hour of tedium worthwhile.

Jesse stared up at the big-screen plasma television, where the fair-haired, lanky pastor loomed large enough so that those unfortunate souls at the back of the massive structure could actually see him. Of course, the screen was big enough to show live sporting events and movies on.

Come on, Jesse, focus. You have to set a good example.

 Jesse sat back in his padded dark blue chair and took a quick study of the worshipers. Quite a few faces had boredom etched on them, but none looked like the sort who would rob or steal, upstanding moral people. Unlike the riffraff he dealt with on the street.

He smiled at his wife, sitting demurely on his right. It didn’t hurt that going to church made her happy.

On his left, Dr. Laban Saltier leaned forward with his raven hair resting neatly on his suit’s shoulders. The hard lines on the older man’s face defied his worshipful expression as well as sidekick stereotypes.

Laban elbowed Jesse and leaned over to whisper, “The pastor is exasperated and feels if he says what’s really on his mind, people will walk out en masse.”

Jesse’s cheeks burned. He whispered back, “No mind-reading in church.”

Laban chuckled. “It can be quite amusing. Particularly when women up front wear inappropriate outfits.”

Jesse sent Laban a scowl and turned back towards the sermon. Laban always forgot his powers’ ethical limits. Despite dozens of arguments, Laban still seemed to think he was always Revelator.

Not that Jesse would ever put that in a comic book, unless the Revelator had experienced something odd. Like a chemical being spilled on him that caused him to lose all good judgment and common sense.

He glanced at the empty row behind him, reserved for the Order of the Sword. His employees had all made excuses. How much more patient could he be? He’d presented the facts about the good church attendance did for one’s health and financial well-being, and the example it set for young people. But they laughed off the statistics. Never mind that, unlike people, statistics never lied.

One of the church’s faithful musicians began singing uninspiring drivel about loving the whole world just as they are.

Jesse sighed. Whatever happened to the life-changing gospel Grandma lived by? If Grandma was alive, and he’d been stupid enough to invite her, she’d have marched up there and caned the poor girl for suggesting the Church sit by silently while the world headed into eternity “unregenerated.”

Sure, Grandma’s delivery had at times left something to be desired, but if he took this song literally, he couldn’t even stop a mugging, or a terrorist. Not if love meant accepting the criminal in his crime-committing state.

The offering plate came down his row from the right. Laban put in a $20 bill. Jesse sent a sharp look at him. What a poor example! You can afford more than that.

Laban rolled his eyes.

Jesse began to plunk $50 bills into an offering, counting them off loudly enough for people within a row to hear, but not loud enough for everyone to think he was just putting on a show. He plunked the last bill in the plate. “And $1000.”

Giving brought good things into your life. Of course, his customary $1000 each week amounted to less than 1% of his income, rather than the 10% the church claimed a right to. But giving to the poor of foreign lands, medical research, and homeless shelters had the same impact. His wealth multiplied with his giving.

As the closing hymn was sung, the pastor dismissed the service. Jesse followed the stream flooding out into the foyer and on out to the parking lot, with Laban close behind him.

Laban caught up near their cars. “Darn it, Jesse. Why do you have to rush out every week? Sally and Todd are always around a long time. We don’t get to know anyone.”

Jesse pressed his lips together. As it was, Laban was too friendly with the spinster and his fellow widower. “In our business, we don’t need more people to hide our secrets from.”

Jesse turned on his cell phone. A golden Japanese sword appeared.

Laban looked over his shoulder. “What’s the Golden Samurai have to say?”

Jesse pressed a button and frowned. “Dark Mystic’s in trouble.”

Laban nodded. “Okay, I’ll leave a message for Sally to take the car – ”

Jesse snapped his fingers. “No, that’s okay. Go socialize; take them home.”

Laban folded his arms. “You don’t want me to go.”

Jesse sighed. This was one of the downsides of having around an ex-scientist with a nanobiotic brainwave-detecting implant that allowed him to “hear” the thoughts of those around him at will. “You two don’t get along.”

“Doesn’t mean I want the guy hurt.”

Yeah, right. Dark Mystic was uncomfortable around Revelator. Said Laban was jeopardizing their mission.

“What mission might that be?”

Jesse growled. Will Laban stop listening in on my private thoughts already! “Get inside! I’ll get Mystic myself.”

Laban winced. “Man, we’ve been fighting crime together six years. What’s going on with you and Mystic?”

Jesse jumped into his car. “We’ll talk later.” But not about that. Some things had to be kept under wraps.

Continued in part three.

To find out what happens sooner, visit the Laser and Sword Online store and download  Issue 1 for free or purchase the Annual Edition containing 11 action packed stories.

The Devil’s Fool, Part One

Dark Mystic soared over Philadelphia, defying gravity by the sheer force of Jalzabel’s rage within him. He swooped down, clawed his two dark-suited tormentors, and darted back into the smoggy, twilight sky.

The older of the men in black, Carden, fired a dart that hit Mystic’s shoulder.

Strength sapped from his body, hurtling him earthward. He kicked to break free of gravity’s relentless grasp.

The young newcomer fired another dart.

Jalzabel’s bestial howl tore from Mystic’s throat. Hit again. Dark Mystic raised his hands and unleashed a pair of black fire-balls towards the younger.

The older man threw the younger to the ground, then stood. “Demon, descend!”

Jalzabel snarled. “Carden, you can’t drive me out! Ian needs me!”

Before Dark Mystic could protest the use of his true name, the ground smashed into him and knocked the breath from his lungs. Gray sparkles filled his vision as he pressed a button on his metallic green belt.

The sparkles solidified into fog. Only one man could save him from these misguided exorcists: the Sword. “My friend.”

Jalzabel spoke in Ian’s ear as the fog turned to black. “The fool.”


To find out what happens sooner, visit the Laser and Sword Online store and download  Issue 1 for free or purchase the Annual Edition containing 11 action packed stories.