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Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Zombies!

For April, Stone Soldiers.info is celebrating the A to Z Blog Challenge with daily letter-themed entries. A separate page with a list of all these entries, plus Character Profiles and Book Synopses will appear on the right hand side of the page in coming weeks, detailing the people, places and things of the Stone Soldiers universe.




Book of Stone: Zombies
(A Stone Soldiers Encyclopedia Entry)

What would a world of magic and monsters be without the inclusion of the greatest film monster of all time, the zombie? While the undead is a term normally reserved for Vampires in the Stone Soldiers universe, in late 2013, readers experienced the reanimated in Armageddon Z as an undead apocalypse almost destroyed the world.

A First Born monster, possibly a nature spirit (Decklaa), hatched a scheme to destroy mankind by unleashing a fungal plague on mankind. Her dark spores had the ability to first kill, then reanimate human bodies (so far, testing has shown only humans are affected). Thankfully, the scheme was discovered thanks to a precognitive psychic named Kenji Nakayama, and the dark spores were seized before they could be dispersed. The Nature Spirit was hunted down and killed. It is presumed no further spores exist.

In his post-incident report, Mr. Nakayama explained the fungal zombies in great detail, as he had experienced a number of life-like visions of the apocalypse succeeding and the undead taking over most, if not all, of North America.

In this bleak, apocalyptic future, the spores were released on an unsuspecting crowd at a football stadium days after Thanksgiving. These infected were called Stage One Infected (S1I) by the Army.

Returning home, the S1Is became ill as spores spread throughout their bodies. Within several hours, higher brain function ceased, and the subjects were classified as Stage Two Rage-Infected (S2R), exhibiting behavior similar to rabies. Several hours following this, subjects died, then reanimated as Stage Three Zombies (S3Z), slow-moving subjects, with the brain and nervous system replaced by a fungal-mold colony within the body. These S3Zs seemed to possess an almost psychic hive mind, sensing each other, but possessing no visual senses.

The final stage in the infection occurred after an S2R or S3Z was terminated. The bodies were then fully consumed, forming a mold colony known as a Stage Four Colony, which began to emit more spores.

The Fungal Infection in these cases relied on water and lifeforce energy to continue its lifecycle. Behavior from the infected included hyperviolence in S2Rs and a desire to spread fungal infection through physical contact in the S3Z stage.

Samples of the initial spores collected in Missouri by Detachment 1039 were seized and have either been destroyed or locked away at an undisclosed, secure location.




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Yo-Ahyuwatt

For April, Stone Soldiers.info is celebrating the A to Z Blog Challenge with daily letter-themed entries. A separate page with a list of all these entries, plus Character Profiles and Book Synopses will appear on the right hand side of the page in coming weeks, detailing the people, places and things of the Stone Soldiers universe.


Character Profile: Yo-Ahyuwatt
(A Stone Soldiers Encyclopedia Entry)

In 2013, a coven of witches conspired and successfully brought down a prehistoric satellite of unknown origins, the Black Knight. The witches believed the satellite contained powerful demons they would bend to their will to make themselves even more rich and powerful in the modern era.

But they were wrong. The Black Knight contained something far worse. The Titans.

As it turns out, the Titans of Greek mythology were quite different from what mankind had been led to believe. Even the demi-god Hercules (Father Lee Schuler in the modern era) had been told tall tales about the Titans by his father Zeus.

The Titans were in fact, the First Born offspring of Fallen Angels. Humanoid beings of great power. And among them was Yo-Ahyuwatt.

This human-looking woman, with four-arms possessed an uncanny, powerful psychic ability to make anyone do what she said. A combination of telepathy and mind control. It worked on even the Stone Soldiers, when they first encountered Yo-Ahyuwatt and her brothers and sisters in Oklahoma, after the Black Knight was opened. But for all her power, Yo-Ahyuwatt was not immortal, or even bulletproof. Colonel Mark Kenslir killed the millennia old Titan with a simple gunshot to the head.

After the defeat of the Titans, Detachment 1039 learned that they were ancient Fallen beings who had foreseen the Flood, and so created a craft they could sleep in for millenia, until mankind had repopulated the Earth and turned wicked once more. Absent from Earth for so long, they left behind a legacy, carved in stone, that soon became nothing more than myth and legend, with mortals creating tales to go along with the images they found scattered around what is now Asia.

Yo-Ahyuwatt was pale-skinned, unlike her sister, who bore four arms and was blue-skinned. She wore elaborate red robes and ornate jewelry and was the most beautiful of the Titans. Her body was recovered after the battle in Oklahoma and has presumably been autopsied and catalogued, her First Born DNA shipped away for study and evaluation for possible military applications. 

Monday, April 28, 2014

X-Ponent!

For April, Stone Soldiers.info is celebrating the A to Z Blog Challenge with daily letter-themed entries. A separate page with a list of all these entries, plus Character Profiles and Book Synopses will appear on the right hand side of the page in coming weeks, detailing the people, places and things of the Stone Soldiers universe.


X-Ponent

Monsters, parahumans, super soldiers--it's a dark world the Stone Soldiers live in. But not all the monsters they face are mythical or legendary. Some are much newer.

In 1995, Mark Kenslir, the last of Detachment 1039's supersoldiers undertook a mission to stop a new dark threat: super terrorists. Tracking the group behind a series of paranormal attacks on US soil, Kenslir encountered former para vigilantes, ex-supernatural spies and one very insane hero.

X-ponent is the story of Clint Kerrick, the first of the costumed parahumans,before he met his end and returned for vengeance as a wrathful spirit in Shades of War . Coming soon, the full story of the sunset of the superhero in the Stone Soldiers universe and the dark group X-Ponent.









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Sunday, April 27, 2014

Josie Winters

For April, Stone Soldiers.info is celebrating the A to Z Blog Challenge with daily letter-themed entries. A separate page with a list of all these entries, plus Character Profiles and Book Synopses will appear on the right hand side of the page in coming weeks, detailing the people, places and things of the Stone Soldiers universe.

Character Profiles: Josie Winters
(A Stone Soldiers Encyclopedia Entry)

While she may not be a petrified  stone soldier, one  could argue that Josie Winters is the most important  member of Detachment 1039. But who is this young women with constantly-growing psychokinetic abilities?

Josie Winters began life innocently enough, the daughter of a fireman and an every day, average housewife. Orphaned  when her father died in a house fire, Josie grew up with her  mother, spending most of her time with her best friend, Jimmy Kane.  A honor roll student, the quiet  girl  with jet black  hair  and piercing green eyes easily won a scholarship to college. She just decided not to go.

Following a chance meeting in the Arizona desert with an amnesiac super soldier, Josie's  life was turned upside down as she learned that dark beings roamed the earth, doing their very best to kill humans in a never-ending dark war. The children of Fallen Angels, these supernatural monsters, and even parahuman mortals possessed great abilities far beyond those of normal  men and women. Powers that Josie soon learned she possessed as well.

As  she learned,  Josie was herself a descendant of a Fellish being, possessing dormant DNA that could lead her  children to unlock dark  powers.  But with the help of the US Military, Josie's dangerous DNA was unlocked in her--giving her the ability to track down a  prehistoric shapeshifter rampaging in the modern era. But tracking wasn't all she could do. Josie's unlocked DNA soon revealed itself and the young girl discovered she possessed the power of cryokinesis--the ability to freeze matter  with her mind.

Over the  course of the Stone Soldiers series, Josie's powers have continued to  grow. Thermokinesis revealed itself, a more volatile, uncontrollable  ability to  cause matter to heat to dangerous levels, particularly when Josie became frustrated or angry.

Super powers are not  the only mysterious, incredible aspect of Josie  Winters' life. As it turns out, the world isn't as big as one would think. While  Josie's father had believed himself an orphan, it turned  out the elder Mr.  Winters was in fact the cloned offpsring of  Colonel Mark Kenslir, the leader of Detachment 1039--the same supersoldier Josie found wandering in the desert in Mythical.

This shocking revelation that Josie was for all intents and purposes the Colonel's granddaughter didn't sit well with either of them. But blodo is thicker than water, and as the series progresses, Josie and the Colonel become closer, building a strange familial relationship neither ever expected.

As of Book 7, Seven Deadly Sons, Josie Winters fights on, alongside her grandfather and her best friend Jimmy Kane,  a teenager-turned-stone soldier-turned-werewolf. Learning to be a soldier and to contain her powers as they grow stronger, Josie Winters believes that her place in the world has finally been found, battlign the forces of darkness for as long as she can.

VIST

For April, Stone Soldiers.info is celebrating the A to Z Blog Challenge with daily letter-themed entries. A separate page with a list of all these entries, plus Character Profiles and Book Synopses will appear on the right hand side of the page in coming weeks, detailing the people, places and things of the Stone Soldiers universe.




Book of Stone: VIST
(A Stone Soldiers Encyclopedia Entry)


After two years in publication, one thing that has been missing from the Stone Soldiers series are supersoldiers of  other countries.  In Shades of War readers learned of an albino  scientist from East Germany. In Seven Deadly Sons, readers met a Mossad agent and  Nazi super werewolves.  But where are the organizations that must surely exist in a supernatural  world?

In the upcoming novella, X-ponent, readers will see the whole  story behind the insane  parahuman Sentinel  of  Liberty and his homegrown, super-terrorist organization. Among those following the mentally ill parahuman's call to  arms  was one  Professor Upsilon, the telepathic mastermind behind East Germany's VST--the Veranderungstaffel fur Shrecken und Todd. Or in English, the mutant squad for  terror and death. An offshoot of the KGB, operating out of East Germany, the VST worked against  allied forces in Europe, conducting clandestine missions and spying by paranormal  and supernatural  means.

By 1995, the VST was no more--its members scattered over Europe as the two Germanys reunited. But the legacy of this parahuman spy agency lived on, in the form of  Professor Upsilon, and many other dangerous Cold  War agents.

Like  so  many heavies in modern action movies, don't be surprised if a  cold  war supernatural being shows  up in a future  installment of  Stone Soldiers, ready to resurrect VIST and bring chaos to the modern world.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Überwolves

For April, Stone Soldiers.info is celebrating the A to Z Blog Challenge with daily letter-themed entries. A separate page with a list of all these entries, plus Character Profiles and Book Synopses will appear on the right hand side of the page in coming weeks, detailing the people, places and things of the Stone Soldiers universe.


Book of Stone: Überwolves
(A Stone Soldiers Encyclopedia Entry)

In 2013, the Stone Soldiers encountered one of their deadliest foes yet: the Überwolves. Bigger, stronger and faster than any werewolf yet seen, these artificially-created monsters proved more than a match for the petrified men of Detachment 1039. 

A post WWII project to create super soldiers for the impending 4th Reich, the Überwolves were the result of a project to hybridize vampires and werewolves. The monsters were created at a secret base in Neu Schwabenland, Antarctica, under the supervision of the Ahnenerbe well after the conclusion of World War II. Dubbed "Überwolves" by Dr. William King, the creatures possessed superior strength and speed to either vampires or werewolves, and none of their traditional weaknesses such as a stake through the heart or an allergy to silver. The Überwolves were genetically-modified clones of Heinrich Himmler, with blond hair and blue eyes and  were taller and generally more fit. The Überwolves could assume human form at will, a vampire-humanoid form or the form of the Überwolf, a  larger, more muscular form of a werewolf, over eight feet tall with white-blonde hair they could turn black at will.

They remained in hiding until late 2013, when the last of the scientists who created them had passed away. Unsupervised, the seven clones decided to strike out against those they felt had led to their creation and terrible existence at the South Pole: the Nazi Hunters of the 20th Century. The Überwolves began murdering retired Nazi Hunters around the world from their Antarctic base, revealing their existence in the process. (Seven Deadly Sons)

The Überwolves were alphabeticallty named; Bernhard, Carl, Dietrich, Ekhart, Friedrich, Gerhart, Heinrich, Imre, with Bernhard being the pack  leader. All seven of the Überwolves were killed in Antarctica, their bodies and DNA locked away for further research in the future. 




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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Tactical Targeting Visor (TTV)

For April, Stone Soldiers.info is celebrating the A to Z Blog Challenge with daily letter-themed entries. A separate page with a list of all these entries, plus Character Profiles and Book Synopses will appear on the right hand side of the page in coming weeks, detailing the people, places and things of the Stone Soldiers universe.


Book of Stone: Tactical Targeting Visor (TTV)
(A Stone Soldiers Encyclopedia Entry)

One of the most important pieces of equipment in the Stone Soldiers arsenal is also their most powerful: the Tactical Targeting Visor. Consisting of a head-up graphical display and head-mounted camera system, coupled with a telemitter, the device allows members of Detachment 1039 to receive real-time information from their command center in Miami, as well as allowing the command center to see what every deployed Stone Soldiers sees. 

In 2003, the United States Army called for a modernized warrior, the Future Force Warrior, to provide soldiers in the field a technological advantage over their enemies. Unknown by most of those involved in the project, the much of the technology used in the FFA had already been constructed as prototypes and tested by Detachment 1039.

The modern HUD Tactical Goggle system combines variable-spectrum, micro-CCD cameras with microphones, speakers and cybernetic feedback sensors in a waterproof package that creates an augmented reality view of the world for the wearer. High resolution lenses can display any amount of data required by a soldier in the field. Hands free interaction is achieved by monitoring the eyes of the wearer, creating an optical mouse that is triggered by feedback from sensors around the rim of the goggles. (NOTE: A smaller, tactical glasses version of the HUD system has been issued to the Detachment for operations in urban environments where the wearing of full tactical goggles would be suspicious). The HUD component of the TTV is connected to its external telemitter by means of a fiberoptic cable.

Audio and visual displays are only half of the TTV system. In the 1970s, it was decided a non-electromagnetic means of communication was needed for agents operating deep within enemy territory, where transmissions could be monitored or blocked. The telemitter was developed in answer to this need.

Using matched cuttings from the cloned brain tissue of a telepath, telemitters share data across any distance, instantaneously by means of the empathic resonance effect, similar to the Twin Effect reported in human twins. In essence, cellular tissue is stimulated electrically, its cuttings sensing this stimulation and responding. Frozen in liquid nitrogen, these tiny pieces of artificial tissue can transmit data back and forth.

In 2013, it was discovered that stimulation of a tissue cutting also produces a feedback that can be detected by telepathic and empathic creatures--allowing them to mentally "hear" a telemitter in use. Otherwise, telemitters operate in complete secrecy, undetected and unblocked by any conventional means. 

Modern telemitter units are slightly larger than the average smartphone, encased in a durable, waterproof shell, and contain micro computers, GPS sensors and a multifrequency transmitter and receiver that operate on conventional electromagnetic frequencies. External connectors allow a telemitter to be connected to standard electronics, such as computers or conventional radio trasnmitters. 

The TTV system has been in use by Detachment 1039 since the early 1990s, but has grown in complexity and function, while shrinking in size. By 2014, telemitters have been assigned to the Detachment that resemble traditional smartphones for use in urban settings. 

All TTV systems are equipped with a self-destruct charge that will incinerate the tissue cutting, preventing unauthorized access of America's most secure means of communications. 



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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Daniel Smith

For April, Stone Soldiers.info is celebrating the A to Z Blog Challenge with daily letter-themed entries. A separate page with a list of all these entries, plus Character Profiles and Book Synopses will appear on the right hand side of the page in coming weeks, detailing the people, places and things of the Stone Soldiers universe.


Character Profile: Daniel Smith
(A Stone Soldiers Encyclopedia Entry)

Lt. Commander Daniel Smith made the ultimate sacrifice for his country, and his men, in 2008, when he dove onto a grenade thrown into his sniper nest. While the blast killed Smith, he soon learned it was not the end of his military career. Resurrected in the Fountain of Youth, Smith was recruited into Detachment 1039 to serve as the first Stone Soldier (Stone Soldiers: Catching Fire).

At first reluctant to believe there really was a hidden, dark world full of supernatural threats to America and all of mankind, Smith has readily adapted to his new, petrified role. In 2013, he died for his country again—killed by the prehistoric shapeshifting giant Ketzkahtel (Mythical). But once more, Smith was resurrected and petrified, and now helps train other Stone Soldiers, leading them against the forces of darkness whenever and wherever needed.

Smith was given the code-name ATLAS by Dr. William King, signifying the importance of his role as the first field-tested stone soldier: his success enabled the program to continue and led to the creation of more petrified soldiers.

Only thirty three years old at the time of his first death, Smith shares a Western upbringing with his commander, Colonel Mark Kenslir. Of African-American ancestry, the quiet, no-nonsense SEAL looks past the origin and cultural beliefs of those he meets, focusing instead on the kind of person they are, or could be. He believes in hard training and discipline to complete his missions and stands by military tradition and rituals, and is quick to commend those he serves alongside. A talented artist, Smith has even designed a challenge coin for the Detachment, which he has begun to hand out to those members of the unit who die in combat but return to duty.

As a stone soldier, Smith is impervious to most physical injury. His petrified body does not need food, water or even air. And while he no longer needs to physically train, his body being locked in the same state it was when he was petrified, Smith falls back to his many years of long distance running and regularly goes through the motions of exercise. Smith rarely complains about anything, striving to lead by example. Of all the Stone Soldiers, Daniel Smith appears to have adjusted to his new petrified state of being better than anyone else.

As of 2014, Smith has been promoted to a position commanding the Bravo team of Stone Soldiers, to be stationed at Hickam Field, Hawaii, for Pacific Theater deployments. 

Monday, April 21, 2014

Ring Portals

For April, Stone Soldiers.info is celebrating the A to Z Blog Challenge with daily letter-themed entries. A separate page with a list of all these entries, plus Character Profiles and Book Synopses will appear on the right hand side of the page in coming weeks, detailing the people, places and things of the Stone Soldiers universe.



Book of Stone: Ring Portals
(A Stone Soldiers Encyclopedia Entry)

Relics from a bygone era, Ring Portals are ancient artifacts capable of connecting two distant points, allowing instantaneous travel between them. 

In 2013, Detachment 1039 discovered a Ring Portal in Greece, deep within Mount Olympus. A golden metal ring, nearly nine feet in diameter, the device was activated by the Titans that had been in a state of suspended animation in the Black Knight satellite. According to Father Lee Schuler (Hercules) the portal allowed travel to and from the home of the Olympian "gods"--on Mars (Black Knight Down). 

This ancient interplanetary ring was destroyed by Colonel Mark Kenslir, presumably severing the connection between Earth and Mars and preventing any Titan or Olympian from ever returning.

Some short time later, the Detachment again located an ancient Ring Portal, this time at the South Pole. Hidden deep beneath the ice in the remains of some kind of antediluvian city discovered by the Nazis in the mid-Twentieth Century, this Ring Portal had been altered by German scientists, and was capable of opening a point anywhere on Earth by connecting with the blood of a target in some kind of ancient dark magic. This portal, and the base it was located within, was seized by U.S. operatives and continues to be investigated (Seven Deadly Sons).

No one yet knows who built the Rings. Early research indicates they are powered either by etheric or lifeforce energy, and are normally linked in pairs, each Ring acting as the ends of the passageway between points. Transit between portals in instantaneous, suggesting they may create a kind of hyperspace bridge. The portals themselves have no moving parts (although the Ring in Greece was observed to be spinning and rotating on its own as it formed a connection to its counterpart on Mars). They appear to be massive constructs of metal, etched with symbols from long-lost languages. The opening in the middle of the Portals, through which transit is made, generally measures nine feet across, plus or minus a few inches. The variance in etchings and inner diameter suggests construction at different times in prehistory or by different builders.

When activated, a Portal creates a blinding white light in its center, which spreads out, forming a glowing disk. Once stabilized, this light fades and reveals what lays at the other end, much like an open doorway. Transit can be made during the initial connection of Ring Portals, prior to stabilization. 

Passing through a Ring Portal does not appear to have any physiological side effects. Once connected, the passage created by a set of rings appears to be stable and no longer requires energy to maintain itself. The connection between activated Rings can be broken by the disruption of the energy creating the connection during the first few moments Rings are linked, or by destruction of the portals themselves--which appear to be made of unknown, durable alloys consisting primarily of gold, silver and platinum. 

The implications of such instantaneous transit is frightening. Troops or even warheads could be sent to locations around the globe, throughout the solar system, or even further, bypassing detection or traditional defenses. Initial theories suggest that the Portals' ability to connect with one another is limited only by the energy required to form the connection--suggesting any distance could be bridged under the right circumstances. 

Most alarming however, are the number of portals found in recent times. Given the rarity of the devices, and considering how long they remained hidden from mortal eyes, it is extremely suspicious so many have been activated within such a short period of time. While some have called this coincidence, there is a growing concern that the portals are being activated for some ulterior motive not yet revealed. 


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Saturday, April 19, 2014

The Red Queen

For April, Stone Soldiers.info is celebrating the A to Z Blog Challenge with daily letter-themed entries. A separate page with a list of all these entries, plus Character Profiles and Book Synopses will appear on the right hand side of the page in coming weeks, detailing the people, places and things of the Stone Soldiers universe.



Book of Stone: The Red Queen
(A Stone Soldiers Encyclopedia Entry)

(NOTE: The Following Entry contains spoiler information for Stone Soldiers #9, Pale Horseman)

It was the 1970s, the era of "the Beards"--costumed men with parahuman abilities that fancied themselves "superheroes" who hid their identities behind facial hair rather than masks. More publicity hounds than crimefighters, the Beards paraded around the largest of cities, seeking photo opportunities and chances to show off their strange abilities. In this era where men were the vast majority of celebrity parahumans, it was hard for a woman to stand out. But Emma Rosemond did, as the Red Queen--a psychic with the ability to control men with her Royal Decree.

The Red Queen quickly gained popularity on the West Coast, championing the cause of women's rights and equality in a male-dominated workplace. Instead of a bearded, costumed man, Emma presented a glamorous image of stunning beauty--beauty that soon earned her a role in a number of action movies in the early 1980s. 

As the para-vigilantes began to fade, the Red Queen continued on as an action heroine on film, her box office rankings rivaling those of her human, male counterparts. But beauty fades, even with Hollywood magic, and the stunning redhead soon found her on-screen offers fewer and further between. Her popularity began to diminish. But not her powers.

By 2000, Emma had retired from the public eye, content to accept jobs in corporate security--just like so many of her parahuman male counterparts had a decade before her. Known for her trademark red business suits, the Red Queen continued practicing her supernatural abilities, this time away from the public eye.

Emma has a telepathic ability to control others by speaking to them. This power requires her to see her intended target. Emma was known for only using her powers on men, sparking conjecture that women were immune to supernatural wiles. Whether this is true or not has remained a secret of Ms. Rosemond, who even without using her psychic gifts is able to command respect and project authority on anyone she meets. 


(Look for the Red Queen, and more of Supernatural Hollywood in Pale Horseman, coming soon in 2014)


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Friday, April 18, 2014

PROJECT MEDUSA

For April, Stone Soldiers.info is celebrating the A to Z Blog Challenge with daily letter-themed entries. A separate page with a list of all these entries, plus Character Profiles and Book Synopses will appear on the right hand side of the page in coming weeks, detailing the people, places and things of the Stone Soldiers universe.






Book of Stone: PROJECT MEDUSA
(A Stone Soldiers Encyclopedia Entry)

Following World War II, and the defeat of Germany, Allied forces were shocked to learn that the Nazis had been attempting to develop supersoldiers by a variety of methods--including the supernatural. Many notes and documents were seized by both American and Soviet forces and studied at great length.

After the formal creation of Detachment 1039 after the war, the War Department authorized research into creating American Supersoldiers as well. A great many projects were proposed and investigated, but one of the few to eventually succeed was PROJECT MEDUSA.

Named for the Greek mythical figure, Medusa examined the possibility of replicating the petrifying abilities of not only the Gorgon (who's original head was recovered in the late 1950s) but also that of the extinct Basilisk, a creature who had been able to turn living creatures to stone with its glare.

By 1958, a new project was proposed by Dr. Maria Guerrera--to turn supersoldiers to living stone, so that they would be able to resist physical injury. Guerrera theorized that in the same manner that a Basilisk's victims could be de-petrified by the creatures, soldiers could be partially transformed, yet remain the ability to move. 

The first successful creation of a petrified man was an accidental one, when the Project suffered a major incident in 1962. A resurrected Basilisk turned on its handlers and killed many of the staff in the Project, until it was put down by Captain Mark Kenslir, a Detachment soldier capable of resisting supernatural energies. Kenslir suffered a partial transformation, his flesh turning to stone only briefly, then reverting to flesh. This occurred whenever the soldier took any type of damage or injury that destroyed cells. This then freed a curse he already carried, dormant in his blood, which then regenerated him. Upon regeneration, his petrified body parts would then turn to flesh again, thanks to his own negating abilities. 

Dr. Guerrera's successor, Dr. William King, saw this as the key to producing living stone soldiers. By exposing soldiers to multiple curses, each attempting to perform similar transformations, soldiers would become partially cursed, their bodies existing both in a petrified and non-petrified state simultaneously. 

Dr. King's first successful Stone Soldier was eventually created in 2008, and Project Medusa began an extensive field test of the supersoldiers.  

Today, Project Medusa continues to test and create Stone Soldiers from their classified location just outside Miami, FL.






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OPERATION JAWBREAKER

For April, Stone Soldiers.info is celebrating the A to Z Blog Challenge with daily letter-themed entries. A separate page with a list of all these entries, plus Character Profiles and Book Synopses will appear on the right hand side of the page in coming weeks, detailing the people, places and things of the Stone Soldiers universe.




Book of Stone: Operation Jawbreaker
(A Stone Soldiers Encyclopedia Entry)

Ever since the founding of the United States, the practice of witchcraft has been frowned upon. The Founding Fathers knew full well that the Salem witch trials, despite their murder of innocent men and women, did indeed root out witches living in the early American Colonies. In 1862, President Abraham Lincoln ordered the United States Army to begin a secret initiative to locate and arrest witches in America. Following his assassination in 1865, and the formation of the Secret Service, that task changed, with American Forces not just arresting witches, but campaigning against them as enemies of the United States. This mission soon fell under the supervision of the U.S. Secret Service, which coordinated operations around the country, utilizing Federal troops when necessary.

By 1946, and the founding of Detachment 1039 as the War Department's primary line of defense against the supernatural, Washington realized the growing threats from witches, who used their abilities and dark magic to manipulate commerce and political power. In 1953, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed an Executive Order authorizing the Detachment to coordinate and lead all counter-witchcraft operations. The Secret Service remained the primary agency tasked with identifying and monitoring witchcraft within the country, but all lethal force used against witches and their followers was performed under the supervision of the Detachment.

Chief among these operations were the Halloween/October assaults on Covens performing rituals within the United States--often including human and animal sacrifice. By the 1980s, the Operation had grown in size, with strikes carried out in dozens of locations around the Continental United States, primarily around the Halloween season. During this period, the mission was classified OPERATION JAWBREAKER, denoting its proximity to the Halloween season. 

In October 2013, Operation Jawbreaker conducted its annual operation (Stone Soldiers #5, Black Knight Down), striking at five locations around the United States. Five Covens were all eliminated, each of which having abducted children for their rituals. In each instance, each hostage was rescued without injury. 

Unbeknownst to the Detachment that night, the five covens eliminated were actually pawns of a larger coven. Sacrificing their sisters for a more sinister goal--the felling of the prehistoric Black Knight satellite, which the "Big Six" Coven (named for their hierarchy in the national network of covens). The Big Six believed that the Black Knight contained demons they would be able to free and use for their own ends. Instead, all six witches were killed and the beings held within the Black Knight, the Titans, were released into the world. 

After this manipulation of JAWBREAKER, it remains to be seen if the program will continue under its current guise, or be replaced by a different operation. 



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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Kenji Nakayama

For April, Stone Soldiers.info is celebrating the A to Z Blog Challenge with daily letter-themed entries. A separate page with a list of all these entries, plus Character Profiles and Book Synopses will appear on the right hand side of the page in coming weeks, detailing the people, places and things of the Stone Soldiers universe.




Character Profile: Kenji Nakayama
(A Stone Soldiers Encyclopedia Entry)

Kenji Nakayama, a first-generation Japanese-American, was born with a rare psychic ability: to see his own future. Taking the form of vivid visions, indistinguishable from real life, Kenji's glimpses of the future often revolved around terrible events, providing him a glimpse of calamities yet to come.

In 2013, Kenji experienced his worst vision yet: the end of the world. Visiting his parents in Illinois over Thanksgiving break, the young college student witnessed first-hand, over and over, the rise of the dead as zombies turned America into a land of the reanimated (Armageddon Z).

Even with his power to return to the present and attempt to right wrongs yet to happen, Kenji found himself trapped in an apocalyptic loop, unable to save his loved ones or even himself. Finally though, he found salvation in the form of the Stone Soldiers. Operating from their base in Florida, their ranks swollen to dozens and dozens of petrified soldiers, Detachment 1039 was waging an ongoing battle against the undead, rescuing those they could and trying to keep South Florida, and the Fountain of Youth, in the hands of the living.

After convincing those in the apocalyptic future of his abilities, Kenji returned to the present, this time abandoned his attempts to help others and going straight to the one group of people who could stop the end of the world. With Kenji's help, the Stone Soldiers managed to locate the source of the undead outbreak and the nefarious entity behind it. 

Following the events of the post-Thanksgiving, averted apocalypse, Kenji accepted a position with Detachment 1039, employing his powers to foresee horrific events and guide Detachment 1039 against the forces of darkness. 

Unlike the Oracle-class psychics employed by the NSA, who receive visions in the form of dreams, Kenji experiences something that has been likened to psychic time travel. When in a vision, Kenji's only way to separate the future from reality is to attempt to read a novel. Like in a dream, hhis psychically-enhanced subconscious is unable to create the text of novels he has not yet read. By accessing a library, Kenji can quickly determine he is in a vision, then will himself back to the present, or continue his vision to learn as much as he can about impending events. 

Beyond his abilities, Kenji Nakayama is an above-average college student, gifted in technology and instilled with a die hard work ethic by his father, a career corporate man. An Honor-roll student, Kenji's hard work is aided by his eidetic memory, which enables him to remember everything he has seen or heard--something he sees as a curse, as it means he can never forget the many horrific futures he has been forced to live through, but which will thankfully never come to pass. 

Look for Kenji's return to the Stone Soldiers series in the upcoming Book #8, Terrorcota




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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

MA-12 RAVEN Multi-role Fighter

For April, Stone Soldiers.info is celebrating the A to Z Blog Challenge with daily letter-themed entries. A separate page with a list of all these entries, plus Character Profiles and Book Synopses will appear on the right hand side of the page in coming weeks, detailing the people, places and things of the Stone Soldiers universe.








Book of Stone: MA-12 RAVEN
(A Stone Soldiers Encyclopedia Entry)


In our world, on December 28, 1966, the decision was made to terminate the what was, for its time, the most advanced aircraft project: the A-12. This amazing aircraft, which had been used by the CIA since April 26, 1962 to conduct high altitude, high-speed reconnaissance missions over the Soviet Union, was to be retired, replaced by its successor, the SR-71 Blackbird. The last A-12 flight occured on June 21, 1968. The surviving aircraft were placed in storage and later transferred to museums.

In the world of the Stone Soldiers, four A-12s were saved from storage and given a new lease on life as the MA-12 Raven, a multi-role, supersonic attack fighter designed to counter supernatural threats around the globe.

Originally designed in 1959 in response to the CIA’s Oxcart program, the A-12 was intended to be a faster, stealthier spy plane to replace the U-2. The A-12’s first flight occurred on April 25, 1962, with a second, official flight on May 4, 1962, that reached speeds of Mach 1.1 at 40,000 feet. Over the following years, more aircraft were built, and the engines replaced. The aircraft were tested from Groom Lake, Nevada, flying 2,850 test flights.

On May 31, 1962, the first operational flights for the single-seater aircraft began from Kadena Air Force Base in Okinawa, Japan, photographing surface-to-air missile sites in North Vietnam. This first mission recorded a speed of Mach 3.1 at 80,000 feet.

By 1968, the first SR-71s—the improved, twin-seater variants of the A-12—began arriving in Japan.

In 2008, Detachment 1039 utilizes MA-12s to provide rapid deployment of stone soldiers around the world (Stone Soldiers: Catching Fire). Operating from Homestead AFB in Florida, two MA-12s stand ready to deploy soldiers by means of torpedo-shaped “coffin tubes” attached to the planes’ underbellies. Dropped at high altitude, these aerodynamic tubes break apart in the lower atmosphere, releasing the single occupants who then reach the earth by freefall and parafoil deployment.

The MA-12s of Detachment 1039 don’t just transport stone soldiers, however. In Stone Soldiers: City of Bones, a pair of MA-12s fire a volley of air-to-ground, thermobaric missiles at the elemental identified as OYA, in Nigeria, incinerating the monster and much of the surrounding countryside.

Unlike the SR-71, the MA-12 is capable of air-to-air and air-to-ground combat, carrying ordinance on underwing hardpoints or in a single internal bay. A rebuilt airframe, the MA-12 features modern avionics and improved engines, making it faster than its earlier versions of the SR-71 itself.

Two paired aircraft operate for the U.S. SOCOM in Stone Soldiers—two at Homestead AFB, FL, and two at Hickam Field, Hawaii, performing reconnaissance, strike and transport missions as needed.


The MA-12 is supplemented by four MB-1R, multi-role aircraft that provide (slower) supersonic transport around the world, at a significantly lower cost. With the expansion of Detachment 1039 into two deployable squads, one from Hawaii and one from Florida, the costly MA-12 program may eventually be ended.




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FRIENDS OF STONE: Tales of Finndragon

Indie Authors Supporting Indie Authors! Please help out a Stone Soldiers supporter, Author Richie Earl, by checking out his latest work, Tales of Finndragon


Three children racing against time, desperately searching for their missing father.
A medieval kingdom cursed by an evil wizard.
An ancient legend beneath our very feet.
The Legend of Finndragon’s Curse is the first book in a unique, two book fantasy adventure series and is a fast paced, engaging and thrilling page turner. The story races along with plenty of twists and turns as it heads for the prophesized confrontation between the children and the evil Finndragon himself.
Combining wizardry and magic with modern technology and containing magical animals and terrible demons, The Legend of Finndragon’s Curse is a rollercoaster of emotions that will make you laugh out loud and then fight to hold back the tears, as the children race against time to rescue their father. In doing so they have to kill Finndragon and put an end to the dreadful curse.
A young adult adventure that is sure to be enjoyed by all ages.

From the Author:

Richie Earl is the writer of fantastical fantasy adventures. Earl's first series, Tales of Finndragon, is a two part adventure which started life as a bedtime story for his three children, who nagged him so much that he finally agreed to write a book. Only one book was intended, but Earl came to realise that a second was required.
Earl was offered a publishing contract from a small Welsh press, but after much deliberation and discussion with the publisher, decided not to accept the offer. This proved to be a shrewd move, as he later discovered the press was struggling to meet the costs of publishing and have since moved its business solely into the field of printing.
Earl is currently working on two projects, a young adult paranormal mystery and another fantasy adventure, which may turn into a trilogy.


The Legend of Finndragon's Curse is on offer 15th-21st April.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Lawrence & Lee

For April, Stone Soldiers.info is celebrating the A to Z Blog Challenge with daily letter-themed entries. A separate page with a list of all these entries, plus Character Profiles and Book Synopses will appear on the right hand side of the page in coming weeks, detailing the people, places and things of the Stone Soldiers universe.


Character Profile: Robert Lee and Tim Lawrence
(A Stone Soldiers Encyclopedia Entry)

In the two years the series has existed, there have been a number of Stone Soldiers. The four short stories in the anthology Elemental Warfare not only tell the story of the team's encounters with each of the four types of elementals, but also the early days of the program and the first four petrified soldiers.

A bit of retconning has taken place. Originally, in Mythical, the first four are briefly seen before they are killed by the shapeshifter Ketzkahtel kills them all. Only the briefest of explanations accompany them. But in Elemental Warfare readers get to learn more about the first four.

Tim Lawrence, Code-Name PERSES, was a former member of Delta Force, one of America's most elite Special Operations units. A veteran of many years, Lawrence lost a leg in Somalia in 1993, then went on to continue serving his country by counseling veterans suffering PTSD. When offered the chance to become a petrified soldier, Lawrence took it, eager to engage the horrific monsters he was briefed on.

Robert Lee, Code-Name CRONUS, was the youngest recruit into the Stone Soldiers, a member of the Marine Corpse Force Reconnaissance until he also lost a leg to insurgents in Afghanistan in 2008. Months later, still coming to grips with his injuries, Lee was offered the chance to join Detachment 1039 and took it. 

In Stone Soldiers: Sea of Monsters, the story opens with the petrified Lee still having nightmares about that loss of his leg. But the youngest member of the Detachment put that aside when it came time to go to work. 

Bound by similar career-changing injuries, these two warriors served as a marked contrast in the Stone Soldiers, the older, grizzled veteran who no longer saw things in terms of black and white, versus the young, disciplined, by-the-book Marine, ready to follow orders at any cost.

Both soldiers served the Detachment until that fateful night in June 2013. A raid on a roadside motel in Arizona, ordered to kill a heart-eating shapeshifter turned into a full-on defeat for the team, as one after another Stone Soldier was killed. 

While Tim Lawrence and Robert Lee may have paid the ultimate price in service to their country, their sacrifice will never be forgotten. And we may see them again in more flashback prequels. 

Saturday, April 12, 2014

JIMMY KANE

For April, Stone Soldiers.info is celebrating the A to Z Blog Challenge with daily letter-themed entries. A separate page with a list of all these entries, plus Character Profiles and Book Synopses will appear on the right hand side of the page in coming weeks, detailing the people, places and things of the Stone Soldiers universe.



Character Profile: Jimmy Kane
(A Stone Soldiers Encyclopedia Entry)


Code-named HADES, Jimmy Kane is one of the youngest members of Detachment 1039, and also one of the most dangerous.

In 2013, James Kane and several of his classmates where enjoying one last summer in the Arizona desert, riding their motorbikes and camping, before they would go their separate ways for college and their future careers. But the fun weekend soon turned mysterious when the teens discovered the resurrected Mark Kenslir, suffering from partial amnesia and wandering far from civilization (Mythical).

Encouraged by his lifelong best friend, and the object of his greatest affections, Josie Winters, Jimmy Kane reluctantly agreed to help Kenslir return to civilization and find out how he had come to be in the desert. But when Kenslir did remember his recent past, he revealed a terrible secret: monsters are among us. 

Colonel Mark Kenslir was a near-immortal soldier, fighting the forces of darkness since the 1950s. He had come to Arizona weeks before to track down a shapeshifter who stole the memories, lifeforce and form of victims--by devouring their hearts. Kenslir and a team of super soldiers were all killed by the monster, which the Colonel now believed had its sights set on a bigger target: the Vice President, vacationing in the state. 

Realizing the future of the very world could be at stake, Jimmy joined Josie in helping the Colonel find and kill the shapeshifter, but at a terrible price. Jimmy Kane was killed.

Death is not normally a barrier the Stone Soldiers worry about, and Jimmy soon found himself resurrected in Miami, Florida by the Fountain of Youth-hidden in the bowels of a classified Government research site. Jimmy soon accepted an offer he couldn't refuse and became the first in a new generation of Stone Soldiers: men turned to living stone, resistant to most physical harm, created to fight the forces of darkness in a new Century.

Jimmy stayed with the team for several months, earning the nickname HADES when deployed, due to his long time in a sort of suspended animation trying to decide whether he would become petrified. Jimmy's friend Josie also joined the team, when her latent paranormal abilities were unlocked and it was revealed she was related to Colonel Kenslir--the granddaughter he never knew he had (Brothers in Stone).

But things became ever more violent. In September 2013, Jimmy died again--after having his stone powers drained from him by a resurrected enemy from the Colonel's past (Shades of War). This time Jimmy was brought back to life by the team's resident vampire MD, Laura Olson, but without his petrification. 

Jimmy's respite from being a man of stone was short lived, as he soon learned that without petrification, the curse of the werewolf that had granted him superhuman strength when he was turned to stone was now very much active. With the aid of a special device, Jimmy was able to suppress the transformation, and accompanied the Colonel on one more mission--an unauthorized reconnaissance of a crashed extraterrestrial object in Oklahoma (Black Knight Down). The fallen, prehistoric artificial satellite the Black Knight had been felled by a coven of witches, who attacked the Colonel, Josie and Jimmy. Kane soon found himself possessed by a witch who's body had been killed. And while cursed, he watched as the witch controlled his werewolf curse, transforming him without a full moon. Once freed of the witch's disembodied spirit, Jimmy then found he too could transform at will, and secured a new place for himself in Detachment 1039.


Jimmy Kane is a highly intelligent, albeit shy young man, with exceptional mechanical skills. He is of average height and weight, with straw-colored hair and sad brown eyes. Carrying the curse of the werewolf, he can transform his human body into that of a beast's at will--or even only partially.

As a werewolf, Jimmy is allergic to silver. In human form, he possesses greater-than-normal olfactory and auditory senses. He is able to heal even mortal wounds by transforming into his werewolf form then back. Jimmy also possesses a kind of second sight, enabling him to see what ordinary mortals cannot, such as ghosts or other supernatural beings. Jimmy's body chemistry has been changed by his transformation, like all werewolves, he has a completely different scent than an ordinary human, which can be detected by animals, or beings with enhanced senses.

As of Seven Deadly Sons, Jimmy and Josie Winters are engaged, with plans to one day get married, sometime in the near future. 

Friday, April 11, 2014

SNEAK PREVIEW: TERRORCOTA

Delayed due to unforeseen circumstances, Book 8, Terrocota will be released later in April. Until then, please enjoy a brief sample from the first pages...




CHAPTER ONE





It had been another great show, John Shepherd thought to himself. He carefully moved the joystick on his control panel, slowly swiveling the camera mounted on the nose of his helicopter, panning it across the cheering crowds below.
Many of the onlookers were still cheering. Most were packing up their lawnchairs and blankets after a long day of watching the annual air show and fireworks display that kicked off the start of horse racing season in Louisville, KY.
Men, women and children, families and couples, friends and strangers all celebrated along the banks of the Ohio River--an all day long celebration that was one of the largest of its kind in the nation.
John Shepherd wondered what it would be like to see the huge fireworks show from the ground. For the past eight years he'd watched it from the air, working as the cameraman in a news helicopter.
High above the crowds, he'd recorded year after year of celebrations--then celebrated himself when he got his overtime check. It was hard work flying all day long in a helicopter, every day for two weeks, covering first the fireworks, then the parades, the steamboat races, and finally, the great race itself.
That was odd.
Shepherd adjusted the controls for the camera mounted on the nose of the helicopter. He'd been pulling back, getting a wider-angled view of the crowds as they slowly dispersed. He did this every year, showing the slow build of traffic as tens of thousands of people tried to make their way home.
Normally, the tired revelers shuffled slowly to their cars, some carrying coolers, some children. It was a slow exodus, everyone knowing it was futile to rush as the roads would be clogged for hours.
But this year, something was different. The crowds were running.
The fleeing crowds were in full blown panic now. Many tripping and falling--falling in the stampede of confused humanity. Shepherd imagined he could hear the screams that went with this. He had to imagine, as in a noisy helicopter, with protective headphones on, he couldn't even hear himself talk.
John pulled the camera back quickly now, looking up from his screen and out the Plexiglas door beside him. Was there a fire? Gunshots?
All he saw was a cloud of smoke drifting in from the river--the after effects of all those fireworks. This year the smoke was spreading out on both sides of the river. This year-
The smoke was brown?
Shepherd looked back to his control panel. He'd never seen brown smoke before. The smoke was always a dirty gray. And it was never this thick.
Shepherd zoomed in on the ground, just ahead of the expanding smoke cloud. The camera under his control was impressive--the best money could buy. Shepherd could read a paperback with it at a thousand feet. The news channels wanted details when they paid the high price of jetfuel to send a helicopter up.
His jaw dropped when he saw the cloud sweep over a man who had fallen to the ground. The camera clearly showed the panic in the man's face. Hell, Shepherd could make out the name of the team on the man's faded ball cap: the Wildcats.
But despite the clarity his advanced camera gave him, John Shepherd couldn't believe what he was seeing. The fallen Wildcat fan below was turning to clay.
Like the brown cloud increasing in density as it swept over the man, the fallen reveler's skin was turning brown. And his eyes. And his teeth. Even his clothes turned a dirty, clay-brown, dry and cracked. Then he was enveloped in the cloud and lost from sight.
The helicopter lurched suddenly and Shepherd's hand sent the control stick far to the right, swinging the camera around and away from shore.
Shepherd looked up and started reaching for the switch to communicate with his pilot up front. That's when he noticed the dirty brown haze in the cabin of the helicopter.
Terror filled the cameraman as he recognized the smoke from below. He glanced at his hand and shuddered. It was turning brown.
***


Kenji Nakayama watched the running lights of the helicopter as it spun out of control and plummeted down toward the stampeding crowd. In the thick brown haze of smoke spreading out from the river, the lights were faint, nearly masked out. Then a brilliant ball of orange flashed as the helicopter struck something on the ground and exploded.
The screams and running feet were dying out now. Kenji looked over at the woman laying broken on the pavement near his van. She had turned to brown, clay-like stone as she ran. Then she had toppled over and shattered against the hard pavement.
"Go!" Josie Winters said, tapping Kenji on the shoulder.
He nodded and opened the doors at the rear of the big panel van. He grimaced as the brown smoke swept into the van, passing over him. But his luck held and the biological contamination suit he was wearing protected him.
Kenji could hear his breath, echoing inside the plastic helmet. It fogged the faceplate of the helmet a little. He realized he was almost hyperventilating.
"What the hell is this stuff?" Jimmy Kane asked. Like Kenji, he was wearing a full protection suit and helmet, hands and feet protected by gloves. Even the air they breathed was cycled through a backpack unit and pumped fresh into their helmets.
Jimmy, Kenji and Josie had all been waiting quietly in the plain panel van parked on the lot of a riverside restaurant. They had been there all day, enduring long, long hours of waiting, remaining hidden.
"This isn't petrification," Dr. Laura Olson said, crouched by the remains of the shattered woman nearby. She was the last member of the little team that had been stationed at the parking lot.
Dr. Olson picked at the broken pieces of the victim with tweezers, stuffing samples into a Ziploc bag.
"What about her clothes?" Josie Winters asked.
The chill the young girl felt up her back was very strange to Josie. She normally didn't feel heat or cold. But this, this was enough to make the hairs stand up on the back of her neck.
"Looks like it only affects natural fibers," Dr. Olson said, lifting up a polyester sleeve. Fragments of hardened clay-like material fell out, breaking apart on the pavement like dried clods of dirt.
"Report!" a man's voice called from out of the thick brown cloud.
Kenji looked over and saw the dense brown smoke stirring as something moved through it. Something that glowed a bright green.
Colonel Mark Kenslir was not wearing a protective suit. Kenji wondered if any would even fit him. Well over six feet tall, with broad shoulders and arms like a lumberjack he had short black hair cut in a military flattop. Piercing green-black eyes were set in what should have been a pleasant face--if only the Colonel wasn't always so serious and grim-looking. Even after all these months working together, the big soldier still scared Kenji.
When Kenslir stopped walking, the smoke around him seemed to fade away--as did the green glow coming from his exposed skin. His khaki pants and black jacket were unphased by the clay-colored smoke, just like the Colonel himself.
"I'm not sure what this is, Mark," Dr. Olson said, standing. Subconsciously, she reached up to brush at her long red hair. Instead, her gloved hand banged into her helmet and she blushed a little.
"Josie?" the Colonel asked, turning to his granddaughter--something he didn't look old enough to have.
Josie Winters, a twenty year old girl with a pretty face, jet black hair and the same green-black eyes as Kenslir nodded and concentrated on a patch of smoke nearby. The smoke moved, flowing downward to the pavement of the parking lot as it rapidly cooled. "I don't think there's any moisture, sir. Just smoke."
Kenslir reached up and tapped an earpiece he wore. "Team 2, anything?"
"Same thing over here," a voice responded. "Just like the Oracle predicted. I think we're looking at a casualty rate in excess of three hundred thousand, sir."
"We were too late!" Jimmy Kane said in frustration, clenching his gloved hands. Beneath the mop of straw-colored hair visible in his suit, his eyes went all black as he snarled in anger.
"No transforming!" Kenslir barked, startling the young man. "You rip that suit, you could be good as dead, Mister."
Jimmy's eyes resumed their normal sad, brown color and his shoulders relaxed. He took a deep breath and regained control of his temper and his body. "Thanks, boss."
"What about you?" Kenslir said, looking at Kenji. "You seen enough yet?"
The young Asian gulped. "What do I say?" Kenji asked. He felt like throwing up as he looked around at the hundreds of men, women and children dead around them, broken and shattered into dirty brown pieces.
"The fireworks, Nakayama," Kenslir said, frowning. "This happened the same time as the fireworks."
Kenji looked up into the sky, from where most of the smoke had fallen. "Yes, sir," he said. Then he closed his eyes and ended the vision.






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