Wednesday, June 25, 2014

A Jack O'Callahan Mystery: The Curious Death of Mr. Grove, Issue #6


      Sunlight streamed through the blinds. Jack opened his eyes and quickly shut them. God damn! when did it get so bright? he thought. He turned away from the window and looked at his watch; 11:14:12. He groaned. He pulled himself out of bed. He showered and got dressed. He lit a cigarette before activating his CommNet terminal. He entered in Maxine Grove’s address. A slow beeping echoed in his ears, notifying him that the call was going through. The screen flashed and Maxine Grove appeared on the screen. She was just as beautiful since the last time Jack saw her. Her brown hair was pulled back into a ponytail and she was wearing a simple white blouse. She seemed surprised to see him.
     “Oh! Detective! I didn’t expect to hear from you so soon. Have you found anything?” she asked.
     “Yes. Would you like to come by the office so we can discuss it?” he asked. She bit her lip and looked down. 
     “I think I could manage.” she murmured.
      “Let’s say, three?” he asked.
      “I’ll be there.” she said before hanging up. Jack’s screen went dark. He puffed on his cigarette thoughtfully. He grabbed his coat and hat and exited the apartment.
When Jack arrived at the office Jenn was sitting at her desk.
      “Good Afternoon!” she piped. 
      “Afternoon. Ms. Grove is coming in at three” stated Jack, “Send her in when she gets here.”
      “Sure thing!” smiled Jenn. Jack entered the office and flopped into his chair. David was leaning against the window a cigarette stuck between his lips.
      “Hǎo shén, you look like shit!” David pointed out, “Bad night?”
      “Another dream.” stated Jack.
      “Maybe you should go to a doctor.” suggested David.
      “Nah, I don’t need a fucking doctor.” muttered Jack as he withdrew a cigarette from his jacket pocket, “I’m  fine.”

      It had begun to rain when Miss Grove arrived at the office. The smoke from his cigarette hung in the humid office air like a wraith. David and gone out for lunch. She entered the office like a child entering the principal’s office. Jack puffed thoughtfully on his cigarette.
      “Sit down please Ms. Grove.” he requested, gesturing to the chair in-front of his desk. She sat in it daintily. 
      “What have you found?” she asked, leaning forward in her chair. Jack set the bullet casing on the desk. She looked at it with raised eyebrow. “What is that?” she asked.
      “A shell casing, nine-millimeter, hollow point.” stated Jack.
      “Where did you find it?” she asked
      “In  your fathers office. I suspect it was used to break the glass that your father fell out of.” informed Jack.  Her hands jumped from her lap to her mouth.
      “So do you think he was murdered?!” she cried out.
      “It sure looks like that. I have someone that is looking into the security feed.” said Jack. He took a drag on his cigarette. “Does the name ‘Jewel’ mean anything to you?” asked Jack.
      “N-n-no. Why?” stammered Ms. Grove. Jack pulled the cigarette out of his mouth.
      “We found the name on his personal schedule several times over the past couple of months. We think it is a joy-girl.”
      “A joy-girl? You mean like a prostitute?” asked Ms. Grove. 
      “Thats what it looks like.” replied Jack.
      “NO!” shouted Ms. Grove, “Daddy was focused on the business after Mother died! There is no way that he had a mistress!” Jack jumped as she shot from her seat.
      “Every man has desires.” explained Jack calmly.
      “But why would he tarnish Mother’s memory by laying with a common whore!” cried Ms. Grove.
      “Calm down Miss Grove.” said Jack.
      “Why! You bring me here, and tell me that my father was sleeping with a whore! And you expect me to be calm!” she spat. Jack sighed.
      “Miss Grove. Please. We don’t know who this ‘Jewel’ is.” explained Jack. She reluctantly sat down. “I know someone named Jewel, and she isn’t a joy-girl.” lied Jack. This seemed to calm her down a bit. 
      “Is there anything else?” asked Ms. Grove.
      “No. Not until my contact gets back to me.” said Jack.

      “Well Thank you for what you have done. I look forward to what else you find.” said Ms. Grove. She stood. Jack stood as well. She took her leave and strode out the door.
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Issue #7: Coming Wednesday July 2nd!!!!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Mr. Jones of Colby's Ridge, Kansas, The Wilderlands

There is a place in the Wilderlands, the state of Kansas to be exact, called Colby’s Ridge. In the small, quiet town of Colby’s Ridge is the Silver Horseshoe Saloon. There is a man in this Saloon. He sits in the corner, his mud-caked boots up on the table; his sun-bleached black hat pulled low over his stubble covered face. A mane of black hair is pushed behind his ears. His brown duster, tossed carelessly over a chair. His white shirt, stained a light brown from dust and sweat. On his hip, a six-gun; clad in a worn brown leather holster. A cigarette tucked between his lips. A thin wisp of smoke rising from underneath the brim. On the table sits a half empty bottle of whisky, and an empty glass. No one knows his true name; everyone just calls him, Mr. Jones.  There is a gunshot that disrupts the quietness. The man jolts awake. He lifts his hat. Cold eyes stare out across the room. A woman screams. He stands slowly, slings his coat over his shoulder and as he walks towards the door he tosses a silver coin onto the bar. He steps outside, and squints in the sun. A horse bolts past him with a woman slung over the back of the saddle. The cigarette drops to the wooden planks and his boot stamps it out. He walks calmly over to his horse. He tosses his coat onto the saddle before swinging his leg over the saddle. He backed the horse up, and then urged the horse after the one that just bolted out into town. As he rode off the people of the town watched him. He would be back, bringing the the kidnapped woman back to her family. He always comes back.

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Friday, June 20, 2014

The World of "The Wilderlands" (USA 2043)

So, I already posted an article detailing what the world of Chicago 2043 is like. But I got to thinking, What is the rest of the world like? The eastern seaboard is one giant metropolis just like Chicago.  California is now called California City.  Now the plains and scrubland of the West has devolved into what can only be described as the Wild West. The expanse is simply called the "Wilderlands".

Technology is not as prevalent in the Wilderlands as in the cities but there is a basic level, CommNet has coverage through out the Wilderlands, though InfoNet is only available in major cities.  Salt Lake City and Devner are the major metropolis centers in the whole Wilderlands.   Railways criss cross the Wilderlands transporting cargo and passengers between the three "Mega-Cities'".

People of the Wilderlands are tough and hardy people. Incredibly private but polite people, most barely scrape by and many take up arms to defend what they own and love. Horses, and carriages are the easiest form of transportation and many people make a living on farms or ranches.

Rouge bandits, gangs, and vagabonds roam the Wilderlands raiding and pillaging settlements and trains. Though the wanderers of the Wilderlands are dangerous, even the hardest of gunslingers and bandits are scared of the "Hinyanzka". Ruthless Savages, believed to be descended from the Native peoples. It is said that the Hinjanzka were effected by radiation that made them into murderous cannibals. Most people say that they are old-wive's tales; ghost stories to make sure children are home by sundown. But for the people that live out on the Wilderlands the Hinjanzka are a very real thing.

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Wednesday, June 18, 2014

A Jack O'Callahan Mystery: The Curious Death of Mr. Grove, Issue #5


     Jack looked around him. He was in a war torn city. He was wearing digital patterned camouflage fatigues and ballistic combat armor. A patch on his right shoulder displayed a black raven clutching a spear, emblazoned on a field of light grey. His gloved hands cradled a Drachen K52 Combat Rifle.  His helmet was connected to his brain via neural interface, so he could think commands and his helmet would respond. The helmet’s HUD displayed his GPS location, radio channel, display mode, total ammunition capacity, the number of rounds in his rifle, a mini map and the date and time; APRL12:2031//01:21:51. He was crouched in the first floor of what he could only guess was what used to be a restaurant. The street outside was abandoned. The sounds of combat could be heard in the distance. The gun shots were a symphony of pops and cracks. Jack looked around. It was incredibly dark. He switched his HUD to night vision. His vision became clear in a varying shades of green.  A pair of helicopters roared over head. Searchlights swept the street. Jack stayed hidden against the back wall of the restaurant. The helicopters flew away after a couple of minutes. He stood, levels his rifle and moved toward the tall ceiling to floor windows at the front of the building. He crouched behind a table. He selected the scan option in his HUD. He peered out into the street looking at the skeletons of buildings. The scan convinced him that he was alone. Taking a deep breath he leveled his rifle and stepped out into the street. Even though his scan had told him there was no one in the surrounding buildings his head was still a swivel as he entered the rubble strewn street. As he came to an intersection he noticed a human form laying in the street. The body was wearing the same armor as him. He stalked over the body and crouched to get a better look. Four bullet holes were in the front and back of the armor. Blood was splattered all around the body. The smell of iron and a recently expired body filled his nostrils. He put is arm to his mouth and repressed his gag reflex. He turned the body over. A young pale face stared up at him with lifeless eyes. He squeezed his eyes shut. Shit. This trig has got to be only eighteen. he thought. He reached into the body’s collar and withdrew a pair of dog tags. He pulled on off and looked at it.
Wynter, Monty
DOB: 4/24/2014

     Fuck, he would have turned eighteen in twelve days. He hung his head and closed the boys eyes. The sound of a motor echoed through the streets. His adrenaline spiked and he spun around. He ducked into a bar just as an armored car came rolling down the street. He looked out the window. The armored car had stopped just down the street and soldiers were jumping out. He counted five all together. One was giving orders to the others.
     “Spread out! I want this block secured!” The soldiers flicked on helmet lamps and began to walk up the street. One began to move towards Jack’s hiding spot. Jack slipped behind the bar and crouched out of site. He could see light front the headlamp sweep through the bar. He held his breath and clutched his rifle. The light beam passed over head and disappeared. Jack released his breath, his heart was pounding. He began to move towards the kitchen. His boot nudged a bottle which slid across the floor with a clink! He froze. The light didn't come back. He slipped into the kitchen, out the back door and into the alley. Just as he stepped outside, he saw someone turn into the alley and began to move straight towards him. He crouched behind a dumpster and drew his combat knife. The figure approached and passed him. Jack descended on the soldier wrapped his had around their mouth and pulled his blade across their throat.  There was a gurgle and blood poured from the wound. The soldier flailed against Jack’s grip. He felt blood spray onto his fingertips. The body stopped moving and Jack laid them quietly on the ground. He looked at the face. It was a young woman, she couldn’t have been older than the boy in the street. He looked down at his hands in disgust. Beads of blood dripped off the blade and onto the hot pavement. The girls neck was stained red. He wiped the blade on his pant leg and slit it back into it’s sheath. He squeezed his eyes shut.

     When his eyes reopened he was laying in his bed. The fan whirred overhead. It was just a dream. That’s in the past. Tears were in his eyes. He looked over at the clock on his bedside table; 03:41:12\\ 09-01-2043. He let out a deep breath and stared up at the ceiling. 

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Issue #6: Coming Wednesday June 25th!!!!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Rubi Rascke: Runner for Hire #3

      Rubi descended the stairs back into the bar. Wynnefred was sitting in a corner booth sipping on a beer. She glared at Rubi. Rubi ignored her and sat at the bar.
      “Dayte mne pintu!” she said to the bartender. The bartender nodded, filled a glass from the tap, and slid it to Rubi. Rubi took a sip. A blonde headed girl slid into the chair next to her. Rubi’s eyes shot to the girl. It was Cal Ivanova; Cal was short for ‘Calinka’, but she hated being called that.
      “Ey, kak dela”, muttered Rubi.
      “I’m good. I hear you got into a scrap with McLeod.” said the girl.
      “Cal, Really? That’s the first thing you say?” growled Rubi into her cup.
      “I was just curious. Didya win?” asked Cal. Rubi held up the disk Madame Loxi gave her. 
      “Yup!” grinned Rubi. The bartender approached Cal.
      “What can I get you?” he asked.
      “Ahhh.” Cal looked at the ceiling, “Gimme a White Russian.” she ordered.
      “Coming right up!” said the bartender before turing his back to the two of them.
      “So what’s the job?” asked Cal.
      “We are breaking into a yacht.” whispered Rubi, leaning in close.
      “A yacht?!” Cal cried out.
      “Shut up!” hissed Rubi, “Are you trying to let the whole yeblya bar know the job?”
      “Sorry!” whispered Cal. The bartender slid her the drink. Cal picked it up and took a swig. “So, When are we going to do this?” she asked.
      “I need to look over the layout of the ship and the security systems.” admitted Rubi, “I need you to get your best ice-breakers ready. The security software is state of the art.”
      “What is the software?” asked Cal.
      “Securititech Vault Software v.10.5.2.” relayed Rubi.
      “Wha!? What’s your major glitch?!” shouted Cal. The bar fell quiet, all eyes on Cal.  She chuckled  nervously and returned to her drink. The bar returned to it’s business shortly. Rubi slid off of the stool and tucked the disk into her vest pocket. 
      “I’m going to look over the plans. I’ll let you know when I’m ready.” said Rubi.
      “Hey! You haven’t told me the pay out!” said Cal, angrily.
      “Fifty thousand, for us to split.” said Rubi. 
      “Alright.” muttered Cal. Rubi turned her back. “Rubi.” mewled Cal. Rubi looked over her shoulder. Her green eyes met Cal’s blue. 
      “What?” she growled.
      “I’m sorry.” muttered Cal.
      “For what?” 
      “For… for…” Cal struggled for words. Rubi slammed into Cal giving her a tight embrace.
      “I’m sorry. Mèi-mèi. It was just I’m still on edge from that stupid bitch!” cried Rubi. Cal struggled to get away.
      “NO HUGS! NO HUGS!” she cried. Rubi released her. Cal ran her fingers through her hair and shot an evil glare at Rubi.
      “I really am sorry.” said Rubi.
      “I know. Just don’t forget. Im always on  your side!” pleaded Cal.
      “I won’t.” smiled Rubi
Lot's of dialog here! Introducing Cal, Rubi's best friend and sidekick. If you want to see more of Rubi, please comment! Thanks!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

A Jack O'Callahan Mystery: The Curious Death of Mr. Grove, Issue #4
     It was late when Jack returned to the office. The lights were still on. When he opened the door he heard voices coming from the office. He recognized David’s, the other was a female. He cautiously opened the door to the office. Jenn was sitting on top of David’s desk, David was sitting in his chair with one of her stockinged foot in his hands. Jenn’s curls were a golden waterfall cascading over her shoulders. David rubbed her foot and her mouth hung open, her eyes squeezed shut. Jack cleared his throat loudly. Jenn’s eyes shot open, and her cheeks flushed. David dropped her foot. 
     “Jack!” cried David, “Didn’t here you come in!” Jack eyed David and Jenn.
     “So what’s this?” he asked with a sideway’s grin. David stood.
     “Uhh. Umm. Foot massage.” stammered David.
     “I can see that.” said Jack. He walked over and hung up his coat and hat before turing back to David and Jenn. She was pulling her heels back on, avoiding eye contact.
     “Did you talk to Dr. Watcher?” asked Jack. 
     “Uh, yeah.” said David. His eyes starred at the floor
     “Well, what did she say?” questioned Jack. David reached into his jacket pocket and pulled out a notebook. He flipped through the notebook until he got to the page he was looking for.
     “Ah. So, Doctor Watcher did confirm that Mr. Grove did come to see her. Although…” David trailed off.
     “Although?” coaxed Jack.
     “She said she couldn’t tell me what was discussed in the sessions.” grumbled David. Jack mulled this over. Of course she didn’t tell. Psychologists have non-disclosure agreement. They legally aren’t allowed to talk about their patients. Though I bet police could get a warrant for that though. he thought. Jack walked over to his desk and sat down. He pulled the baggies containing the feather and the shell casing, and laid them on the desk.
     “What are those?” asked David.
     “Just some things I found in Mr. Grove’s office.” explained Jack. David picked up the shell casing. He peered at it.
     “Nine-millimeter, Hollow point.” relayed David.
     “Exactly. I figure someone used a pillow as a ‘poor man’s silencer’, shot the glass and threw Mr. Grove out.” explained Jack.
     “But why didn’t they just shoot him?” contemplated David. Jack let him think about what he just said. “Oh, to make it look like a suicide. Right.”
     “And once Cordell  gets us the information on Jewel and the security tapes from the tower. We should be able to wrap up this case!” said Jack. "I'm going to head home, get some sleep.”
     "Yeah You look tired. Get some rest” said David. Jack took his coat and left the office
     “G’Night.” he said.
     “Night!” called Jenn.
     "Wǎn ān!" said David
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Issue #5: Coming Wednesday June 18th!!!!

Monday, June 9, 2014

Just a Tease for The Curious Death of Mr. Grove: Issue #4

 It was late when Jack returned to the office. The lights were still on. When he opened the door he heard voices coming from the office. He recognized David’s, the other was a female. He cautiously opened the door to the office.

Issue #4 comes out Wednesday June 11th!

Also! Go check out my best friend/roommmate's blog Here!
He is a great writer and I often ask him for tips for writing.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Rubi Rascke: Runner for Hire #2


Note: 'Rubi Rascke: Runner for Hire' is not going to be placed on a schedule yet. Seeing as I'm not sure what the interest for her will be. But for those of you that have/are reading 'The Curious Death of Mr. Grove', I'm sure you will notice a couple of tie-ins that I have placed in this story. One other thing. For those of you that can read the other languages (Russian, Italian, and Chinese; in this Issue), pardon the poor translations! I only have Google Translate (eck!) to work with!

     The woman looked down at her. Rubi approached like a small child who knew that they were in trouble.
     “What did I tell you about firearm discharge in my bar?” she scolded.
     “I’m sorry Madame Loxi.” apologized Rubi.
     “You know the rules!” continued the woman.
     “Yeah but he started it! He was asking for it! He was choking me!” whined Rubi.
     “I saw. Come child” ordered Madame Loxi. She walked towards a bulkhead labeled ‘Authorized Personel Only’. The door was locked with a keypad and a retina scanner. Rubi followed.
     “If I didn’t shoot him, I could be dead!” ranted Rubi. Madame Loxi typed in a key code and placed her eye to the scanner. The bulkhead screeched open. Rubi followed Madame Loxi inside. 
The far wall was one giant computer screen. There was a desk with a touch screen keyboard build into the desktop. Three chairs sat in front of the desk. In one of the chairs Rubi made out an Auburn head. The person turned to see who entered. Rubi recognized this person to. This time it not a joy toy to have fun with. It was her rival, Wynnefred McLeod. Rubi shot daggers at the girl.
     “Breaking the rules again Rascke?” asked the girl in a mocking tone.
     “None of your biz McLeod.” hissed Rubi. Madame Loxi moved around the desk.
     “Sit.” she commanded Rubi. Rubi sat in the chair furthest from Wynnefred. She shot dirty looks towards her. “I’ve had it with the petty feud you two have.” began Madame Loxi, “So I’ve decided to team you up for this next job.”
     “What the fuck! Vy dolzhen byt' chertovski Shutki! There is no kozel sosaniye way that I am working with this deshevo shlyukha!” spouted Rubi.
     “Who are you calling a whore!? You sciolto puttana!” cried Wynnefred.
     “Bì zuǐ!” shouted Madame Loxi. The two girls fell silent. “You two are going to work together, and that is the last of it! Dǒng ma?”
     “Yes ma’am.” they said in unison.
     “I expect you to act like professionals! Not like a yī duì zhēngchǎo xiào nǚshēng!” scolded Madame Loxi. “Am I to be understood?”
     “Perfectly.” said Wynnefred. Rubi only nodded. She was fuming. What is Madame Loxi thinking? Assigning me a job with this durak! She has to have a glitch. A logic error maybe. This is going to end in a Y2K. Madame Loxi’s sharp voice dragged Rubi out of neural-space and back into meat-space. 
“The job is simple. You are tasked to break onto the Direct Deposit, A yacht owned by Anthony Grove.” relayed Madame Loxi. She typed in some commands on the keyboard and a wire-frame image of the yacht appeared behind her. “Once aboard the yacht you are to hack into the computer withdraw all information encrypted after January.”
     “What is so important about this information?” questioned Wynnefred. 
     “Ms. Miller didn’t say. And I didn’t ask.” said Madame Loxi without hesitating. 
     “What is the security system like on the boat?” asked Rubi. Madame Loxi typed in another command on the keyboard.
     “The yacht has a state of the art security system. It is a Securititech Vault Software v.10.5.2. It is incredibly tough to crack and I advise extreme caution.”
     “Nothing I can’t crack.” interjected Rubi.
     “I wouldn’t be so confident. I have lost a more runners to this software than trigger-man’s bullets!” emphasized Madame Loxi. Rubi was shocked.
     “I’ll talk to Cal. She has been working on some new ice-breakers.” suggested Rubi.
     “Really? that bambina ignorante?” laughed Wynnefred, “If she spent more time coding than being an open port, she might be a half way decent coder! ” Wynnefred’s words cut into Rubi. She tried to contain her fury.
     “YOU TAKE THAT BACK!” Rubi stood with such force the chair she was seated in fell backwards. She drew her pistol and pointed at Wynnefred’s head.
     “Oh, I’m sorry. Did I insult your joy-toy?” sneered Wynnefred. 
     “SHUT UP!” shouted Rubi. Her hands shaking with rage.
     “RUBI! Stand down!” commanded Madame Loxi. Rubi’s eyes were green lasers boring into Wynnefred’s yellow eyes. She relented, picked up the chair, and flopped down into it.
     “You two need to work together!” said Madame Loxi exasperated.
     “With all due respect”, said Wynnefred, crossing her legs. “I don’t think that we can work together.” Madame Loxi hung her head.
     “I am coming to realize that.” conceded Madame Loxi, “Rubi, why don’t you take this job.” It was Wynnefred’s turn to become angry.
     “WHAT!? Why her over me!? She’s sloppy and unpredictable!” argued Wynnefred shooting from her chair and slamming her fists on the desk.
     “And that will be what is required for this task.” Madame Loxi calmly stated. Wynnefred’s mouth hung agape. 
     "You can't do this!" she cried.
     "Yes I can. I do not need to explain my reasoning to you!" hissed Madame Loxi. Wynnefred let out a snort of frustration and stormed out of the office. Rubi grinned. Serves you right bitch, she thought. 
     “I see that smile Rubi.” declared Madame Loxi, “Don’t get too confident. You are one of my best runners. I would hate to see you get de-rezzed.” 
     “I’ll be safe Madame.” reassured Rubi. 
     “Good.” responded Madame Loxi.
     “So whats the loot?” inquired Rubi.
     “Twenty-hundred thousand” said Madame Loxi. Rubi whistled. “You will get fifty thousand to split with Cal, should you include her in this run.” explained Madame Loxi.
     “Sounds fair to me. It’s a deal.” said Rubi. Madame Loxi ejected a disk and slid it across the desk. 
     “Here is all the information you need.” said Madme Loxi. Rubi stood, took the disk and left the room.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Rubi Rascke: Runner for Hire #1

This is another character that exists in the world of "Chicago 2043". I have been having some difficulties writing Jack recently. Though I have finished the next two issues, So don't worry. Rubi is another character that I have had in my head. Let me know if you would like to see more of her.

/>Chicago//District 1035
     Rubi Rascke was perched atop a bar stool at the Saloon Tavern. It was a quiet place. The whole place had an Old West saloon feel but with obvious updates. Info screens hung on the walls, and a jukebox sat in the corner. There was an balcony that encircled the whole place. Her scarlet hair framed her face. Her emerald eyes starred down at her glass of scotch. She wore a yellow ringer t-shirt with black trim. Her leather vest was  covered in patches and pins. Her black skinny jeans were faded and tucked  into well worn black leather combat boots. A Union Jack patch was stitched onto the knee of her left leg.  Her eyes were lined with dark makeup. She heard a group of people enter the building. Someone grabbed her shoulder. She spun around. A large man stood behind her. She recognized him, Drek Anderson, an old 'acquaintance'. One she wasn’t too proud of being associated with. He was at least six-five. He looked down at her through a data screen with his beady black eyes. He held a fat black cigar in his mouth. Tattoos covered his muscular arms.Wisps of smoke hung in the humid air.
     “Ah! Rubi! A long nickel and dime nah clock!” He chewed on the cigar. He spoke with a thick Cockney accent. Rubi pushed his hand off of her shoulder.
     “Buzz off Drek, I don’t want any static.” she growled.  Drek blew a ring of smoke in her face. She looked down and coughed. The tobacco made her lungs itch. 
     “Ya owe me a Robin Hood thrust, lil' twist n twirl.” he growled.
     “I don’t owe you shit!” she spat. She spun around to face the bar, but he grabbed her arm.
     “Ya thumb-suckin' bitch! 're ya just garn ter leef me sittin' 'er blue balled?” he breathed.
     “Let go of me.” hissed Rubi through gritted teeth.
     “Or wot? ya gunna cut Frank Bough me cobbler's awls?” he laughed.
     “No.” said Rubi. Her boot found his crotch. He cried out and doubled over. She raised her fist and slammed it into the side of his head.  She jumped off the stool as he struggled to stand up.
     “Ya 're garn ter pay for ‘at!” he roared. He flicked the cigar at Rubi. The hot ash hit her skin causing her to recoil. His fat sausage-like fingers wrapped around her neck. He slammed her against the wall. She gasped as pain shot up her spine. She could feel her windpipe beginning to collapse. His brow was furrowed and he glared into her eyes. She struggled to get loose of his grip. She remembered her pistol tucked away under her vest. She flailed and tried to reach it, but he slammed her into the wall again. Plaster rained down on them like snow as the wall began to crack. She gasped for air as her hand found the metal of the pistol on her belt. She drew it and pulled the trigger. Drek screamed and dropped her. She coughed, air rushing into her lungs, spittle hung from her mouth in thin strands. She looked over at Drek. His thigh was bleeding profusely.
     “Ya god blimey whure! Ya shot me god damned 'ard boiled Borra And Beg!” he cried through gritted teeth. She stood. Her legs wobbled. She pointed the pistol at the crumpled man. 
     “I fucking told you. I didn’t want any static!” she coughed. Her voice was hoarse. 
     “RUBI!” came a woman’s voice. Rubi’s eyes darted upwards. An older woman in her mid-fourties leaned over the balcony. Her black hair was done up in a bun. She glared down her long nose  at the scene before her. She wore a red crushed velvet dress. Her high cheek bones were exaggerated in the dull light. Rubi didn’t take the pistol off of Drek.
     “Put down the gun Rubi.” commanded the woman. Rubi reluctantly re-holstered the pistol. “Good girl. Now come. We have something we need to discuss." Rubi nodded and headed up the stairs.
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Friday, June 6, 2014

Lamentations of the Flame Princess Review (Mechanics and Rules)

Character Generation

Character generation is similar to most D20 systems. You role 3d6 (three six-sided dice), six times to determine your Ability Scores; Charisma, Constitution, Dexterity, Intelligence, Strength and Wisdom. Players start at 'Level 0', similar to in Dungeon Crawl Classics (DCC). 

The class system is similar to AD&D and DCC, where you are a human or a non-human race. The classes in LotFP are [human] Cleric, Fighter, Magic-User, and Specialist. The other races, called 'demi-humans' are Elf, Halfling, and Dwarf. As in every other D20 system each class has a certain die (hit dice/HD) that they role to determine health points (HP). Each time a player levels up they role the proper hit dice. Though in LotFP, after level ten each class adds a fixed HP value for every level afterwards.

LotFP has a unique saving throw mechanic. Instead of having individual saving throws for spells and items, each class has its own set of Saving Throw DCs (Difficulty Check). These categories are: Paralyzation, Poison, Breath Weapon, Magical Device, and Magic. 
  • Paralyzation covers any effect where the target is unable to move (like a Hold Person, or Web spell). 
  • Poison is for any situation where HP is irrelevant, and where a fail could result in unconsciousness or death. 
  • Breath Weapon is used for area of effects.
  • Magical Device is for when the target is being effected of a magical item, such as a wand, ring, staff, etc.
  • Magic is resistance against spells or magical abilities.
I'm not sure how I feel about this set of rules just yet.

Alignment is not as stark black and white as in other systems. You have only three alignments to choose from, Lawful, Chaotic, and Neutral. I think I prefer this to the Alignment charts of Pathfinder or D&D. It gives the world a more 'grey' tone.

Most experienced RPG players are familiar with the term 'encounter'. But for those of you that a reading this that are not experienced RPG players; an encounter is usually some form of combat, though not always. Meeting a monster or NPC and trying to best them. Encounters are typically the main way to gain experience points (XP). They are usually governed by initiative, the order in which the characters and NPCs act. A turn or round, of an encounter (when every character in initiative has acted) usually lasts anywhere from five to thirty seconds of in-game time, depending on the game you are playing. I use turn as in, 'Each character has a turn every round'.

There are two methods of initiative in LotFP.

  • One player rolls a d6 for the PC's side and the GM rolls a d6 for the opposition. The winner acts first.
    I personally don't like this. I feel it could potentially lead to an encounter becoming one sided.
  • The second method is more to my liking. Each player rolls a d6 and the GM rolls a d6 for each different type of creature they are facing. 
There are lost of different things one can do on their turn, and I won't go into it here.

There is nothing about Monsters in the 'Rules and Magic' book. Though looking through the two modules I have It appears that monsters do not have the usual 'stat block' of other RPG systems. It gives you an Armor Class, Movement, Hit Dice, HP, Attack, and Morale, and then any any special attack or ability the creature has. I'm not so sure how this will play out in-game but it does make reading monster stats a lot simpler.

All in all I can't wait to play this for Free RPG Day. I like the dark feeling I get by reading the modules. and the system seems very clean and non-spread sheet like.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Random Articles are Me Procrastinating....

Okay, I admit it. I'm a terrible procrastinator. Though I have found that working under a deadline helps out. So those of you that do read "The Jack O'Callahan Mysteries"... When you see one of these random articles know that I probably should be working on my story. Wait. This is a random article.... um... uh... Yeah, I should totally be writing.

Here's a cute kitten to make you forget that I am procrastinating

Most of My Friends are Older than Me (and I wouldn't trade them for anyone)
Due to some current events that have transpired. I have realized that I enjoy the company of people older than me. No offense to people of the same age as me, this is completely exclusive to the people I know. I find that people my age (I'm 19, turning 20 in July) are frustrating and annoying (Once again, no offense to the people of my age). Now I do have several people my age that I do enjoy hanging out with. But they are in the minority. Using the phrase "Lost hope in Humanity" is a bit of an understatement for some of these people. The people that I do enjoy are usually loads older than me. My best friend and roommate is twenty five. I love having discussions with the Historical War-gamers at The Wyvren's Tale, most of which are wonderful older chaps. I guess that my maturity level is very high. I love that I am able to be silly and people older than me laugh.

They all have differing backgrounds and wisdom to share, and even though that I am years younger, I might even have some wisdom that they don't have. I have never had a dull conversation with my friends, and I am thankful for this. My friends seem to have no drama. Though it might come up. But usually it is a minor event and it doesn't effect group dynamics.

A Jack O'Callahan Mystery: The Curious Death of Mr. Grove, Issue #3

DISCLAIMER: This issue contains mature content!      Jack found himself outside of the ‘Jia Ren Gentleman’s Club’. The neon lights of the club reflected off the soaked pavement. The rain had let up for the moment, though the dark clouds over head threatened to pour down buckets at any moment. Jack took a deep breath and entered the club. 

     The club was dimly lit. Wailing hair metal played over the speakers. There was a bar to the right of the entrance. Opposite to the bar was a stage with a runway. At the end of the runway there was a round stage with a pair of stainless steel poles that extended into the celling. Two women danced on stage, they were clearly twins. Their hair was orange, and styled into a short bob; pointed ears protruded from underneath the hair. Tails extended from their back side; as they smiled pointed canines were visible. Their pupils were slits like a cats, and they reflected light in a similar fashion. They wore matching fishnet dresses with thigh-high fishnet stockings along with six inch stiletto heels.  Exotics, thought Jack, Why the hell do people find them attractive? Other scantily clad women danced on smaller circular stages were scattered about.  Men, and women were gathered around the stages, they tossed bills onstage for the dancers. Jack rolled his eyes and walked to the bar. There was a woman with neon blue hair leaning against the bar. She wore a pink corset highlighted with black; along with a matching thong. Her long shapely legs were clad in pink fishnet stockings. Her feet were perched atop a pair of black four inch heels. Her eyes were lined with black make up, which accentuated her purple eyes. Her lips where coated with pink glossy lipstick. She held a blue drink in a martini glass in her long fingers. She eyed him as he approached. Jack leaned against the bar. The bartender was a muscular man, he wore a black collared shirt with the sleeves rolled up displaying his tattooed covered arms. He had a square head, a shaved head and beady black eyes. 
     “I’m looking for Cordell.” said Jack. The bartender looked at him. His eyes darted to the woman.
     “’N so? An’ who is ashkin’?” questioned the bartender. Jack noticed that the bartenders hand reach for something under the bar.
     “A friend.” said Jack.
     “Cordell ‘as lot’s ah friends.” said the bartender. He had obviously lived in the Midwest his whole life. Jack rolled his eyes.
     “Jack O’Callahan” relayed Jack, “Can you just tell Cordell, that I need some information.” The bartender relaxed. He jerked his head to the woman leaning against the bar.
     “Angel. Why don’tcha keep Mr. O’Callahan busy fer a bit; ’til Cordell shows up.” suggested the bartender. Jack was taken aback.
     “Uh, what? No, I couldn’t afford that.” stammered Jack. The woman set her drink on the bar before sliding her hand over his shoulder.
     “Don’t worry. It’s on the house.” she cooed. She took his hand and led him towards a private room. Jack followed compliantly. 

     The room was circular, with leather seats along the walls. It was dimly lit, like the rest of the club. A pink neon light circled the room near the ceiling casting a pinkish glow on the room. Angel pulled him inside, just the door and locked it. Jack looked around curiously. She moved close, wrapping her leg around his hips, pulling him close. She ran her fingers through his hair. They curled and gripped his hair and pulled his head back, his chin pointing towards the ceiling. Her lips pecked at his neck. Shivers ran down his spine. She released him and he stumbled backwards. She pushed him down on the couch. He landed with a thud. She was on top of him in a flash. Her hips gyrated against his lap. She began to unlace the corset. She pulled it off and tossed it to the floor. Her breasts were on full display. She cupped them; they fit perfectly in her hands. She pulled them up and squeezed them together before letting go. They jiggled slightly. Jack’s eyes were wide open. His hands laid next to him, unsure of what they should be doing. 
     “Is this really necessary?” questioned Jack. Her hands slid over his body. One slid between his legs. He cried out as she applied pressure, “What they hell?!” 
     “It’s been too long Jack.” said the woman, “You didn’t even recognize me! That hurt!” She squeezed harder. Jack’s stomach knotted.
     “Cordell?” he gasped.
     “Duh!” she exclaimed, “You think you can just walk in her after two fucking years and expect things to be the same? Like nothing fucking happened?”
     “I’m sorry!” he cried, “I was busy!”
     “To busy to come and see me?Loshad' der'mo!”she cried. She squeezed harder. Her eyes were a pair of purple flames and her lips were pursed. Jack’s stomach was doing somersaults, tears welled in his eyes. He was at a loss for words. What does she want me to say? he thought. He opened his mouth to speak but nothing came out. She released him. He gasped in relief. 
     “Got nothing to say?” she growled. 
     “It wasn’t my fault!” he blurted.
     “Oh really? Who’s fault was it? Is there someone else?” she hissed.
     “What!? NO!” cried Jack. “I promise, it had to do with work!” Cordell’s demeanor softened. Jack let out a sigh of relief. 
     “You still aren’t off the hook gospodin!” She jabbed her finger into his chest, “You still didn’t recognize me! Chto yebat’ is wrong with you!”
     “Wha?!” whimpered Jack, “You have shorter hair! And it was brown when I last saw you!” Cordell thought about what he had to say. 
     “I guess you are right.” she murmured.  “It still hurt. What you did.” She hung her head.
     “Cordie.” coed Jack. He pulled her head up to look into her amethyst eyes. “I really am sorry.” His grey eyes pleaded for her to believe him.
     “Alright. Veryu tebe. ” she murmured, She got off of his lap and plopped down on the couch next to him.
     “I wish I could take it all back. I really do.” he explained. She didn’t say anything. They sat there in an awkward silence. Jack turned to her. With out warning she flung her arms around his neck and her lips pressed against his. His eyes shot open in surprise, but they closed as he wrapped his arms around her curvaceous body. She broke the kiss and looked into his eyes.
     “I missed you lyubovnik” she whispered.
     “Me too.” replied Jack, “But I do need something.” 
     “As long as you don’t go running off again.” she pleaded.
     “Okay.” said Jack.
     “Promise me?” she asked.
     “I promise” said Jack. She smiled.
     “So what do you need.” she asked resting her blue head on his shoulder.
     “I need you to find a joy girl named ‘Jewel’.” he said. Cordell looked up at him.
     “Do you have any idea how many joy girls have the name ‘Jewel’?” she asked.
     “Alot I bet. But I have something that might narrow it down a bit.” 
     “What’s that?” she questioned.
     “They had an appointment with an Anthony Grove on August twenty-ninth. Do you think you could manage that?”
     “I’ll have your information by Friday.” said Cordell.
     “Oh one last thing.” said Jack.
     “What’s that?” asked Cordell.
     “Can you get me the security footage for Grove Towers, fiftieth floor for the same day?” 
     “That’s very specific request.” she stated.
     “It’s for a case.” he explained.
     “I figured.” she swung her legs over his lap and wrapped her arms around his neck, “Just don’t forget about me again, okay?”
     “I already promised.” said Jack. Cordell reached up and gave him a kiss. 
     “That’s going to cost you extra though” she whispered in his ear.
     “Really? And how much will it cost me?” asked Jack. Cordell looked down at her bare breasts.
     “Well, my top is already off and you have two years to make up for.” she stated. Jack grinned.
     “If you insist.” said Jack.

     “Ya delayu!” exclaimed Cordell smiling. She straddled him once again and kissed him passionately. Jack held her close. It was like the past two years never happened. 

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Monday, June 2, 2014

The World of "Chicago 2043"

I like this picture. It shows the detective type character, though I picture "Chicago 2043" with a lower tech level.
It has been brought to my attention by a couple of people that I know, that the setting of "The Jack O'Callahan Mysteries" is not very "futuristic". Mentioning that it doesn't feel like it takes place in the year 2043 ce. So I thought that I would write this article explaining the setting and the world a little bit. The story of "The Jack O'Callahan Mysteries" is not about the technology. It takes place in a high-tech society but what the story is truly about is the people. Jack isn't a fan of technology and prefers the tried and true "gumshoe method". Now this doesn't mean that he is completely inept when it comes to computers. He knows how to search "InfoNet" and how to use "CommNet". He just prefers not too.

My stories take place in a city that is referred to as "Chicago". In my vision, the cities of Chicago IL, Madison WI, Milwaukee WI, Green Bay WI, Minneapolis MN, Detroit MI, Indianapolis IN, Columbus OH, and Cleveland OH, have all grown and merged into one mega-metropolis. Whether or not this is realistic considering the time frame between 2014 and 2043 is irrelevant. Perhaps in this timeline the cities were bigger to begin with, I don't know. I haven't really thought about it that much. Though I probably will at a later date. It's not important currently.

The world is controlled by a few mega-corporations. The biggest being the DG International. They are involved with everything from bio-engineering to day to day computers. The second largest is the Simeon Corporation. (I haven't thought much about them. I created Simeon Corp. when searching for a corporation for Jenn to have worked at. It is also named after a friend of mine.) The third, is Grove Technologies which has been brought up in The Curious Death of Mr. Grove Issue #1, when Maxine Grove, the CEO's daughter hires Jack to investigate her fathers death. There is the Haifong Conglomerate, who was taken over by the DG International, ten years before The Curious Death of Mr. Grove. Strangely enough most of the employees of the Haifong Conglomerate "dropped of the grid" after the take over. Just vanished and disappeared over night. Speculation is that the DG International hired Trigger-Men, from the para-military contracting company, Odin's Gate Security. This event is commonly referred to as the "Haifong Massacre".

In 2021 there was a break through in plastic surgery. People could now undergo a procedure to make themselves look different. Pointed ears, fangs, tails, and other animalistic features could be added to your body. The people that chose to undergo this procedure are called "Exotics".

Neural Implants are somethings that various bio-mech pharmaceutical companies are researching. Robotic arms, limbs, and body parts are available, though extremely expensive, though veterans are able to obtain these through the G.I. Bill; but only if they sustained a combat related injury. 

There are groups of hackers, called "Runners". Runners break into corporations and steal any number of things, programs, information, data, whatever. Some are anarchists, that believe in a free information system, where as others do it as a freelance job. Runners are skilled at breaking into servers and buildings, they bridge the gap between the digital and physical world. Each runner is different. Different methods, and different goals. They rarely use their real names, for fear of the corporations finding out who they truly are. They often have nicknames such as, "RedLady", "CyberWarlord", and "BinaryFlynn".

Several languages are spoken through out Chicago. The major ones are Mandarin and Japanese. Though many others are spoken such as, Italian, Russian, German, and Spanish. Lots of words and phrases from all the languages are understood by most people. It is not unusual for people to be fluent in at least one other language besides English.

Picture Source:

Thank You for Reading! Here's a preview of Issue #3!

     Jack found himself outside of the ‘Jia Ren Gentleman’s Club’. The neon lights of the club reflected off the soaked pavement. The rain had let up for the moment, though the dark clouds over head threatened to pour down buckets at any moment. Jack took a deep breath and entered the club.