Power Play, chapter 4

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    Chapter 4
    Let's Make a Deal

    At lunch break I hung loose at my desk. I wiped my fingers clean of the TimTam that Suzie's hug and jostling and my scrambling had crushed into a melted, crumbly mess. It was still edible, though. And as I sipped water from my mug which I'd swiped back from Louise's office, I read yesterday's newspaper which I rescued from her trash can. I mulled over what I was going to get with the money I'd won from Gracie. A world band radio seemed nice. Or maybe a small TV. Perhaps I should just pay the balance at Charlton Rooms in advance so I wouldn't be stuck in a bind again. Or maybe I should REALLY splurge… and get a steak dinner with all the fixin's.

    No to all of them. Cell phone. Yeah, that was the thing. And the first number I was going to store was Angela's.

    I searched the paper for an ad to find a good deal. Then I nearly choked on my water when I read something in the City section:

    "Breakdowns Hamstring Brisbane-Redcliffe Bus Lines."

    I read that thanks to the energy transfer, the women were too big for the seats. And that meant less of them fit in the buses, which meant more trips. Which meant the buses were getting overworked since the city wouldn't spring for more due to the strained budget. Which made the buses break down across the city.

    Which meant that service to Redcliffe was suspended since the majority of folks in that posh area had their own cars anyway.

    No! They couldn't do this! I couldn't afford a cab! Why didn't I ask for Angela's phone number when I had the chance? Or Gracie's?

    Simple. Gracie still spooked me.

    As my eyes went over the Night Life section, I wished I'd suggested meeting in a downtown restaurant instead. Or even a pub.

    Then I had an idea. It was a grasp at straws, but it was the only decent one I had.


    "'Lo, Chalkie's. Karen speakin'."

    "Hello, Karen? Monty here."

    "Oh, hi, Monty. This is a surprise."

    "I'm sorry to bother you, but I need a MAJOR favor."

    A beat. And I swear I could hear her eyebrow arch over the phone. "Really?"

    "I need a ride over to Redcliffe. Could you or Chalkie drive me over there tonight? Please?"

    Silence for three seconds. "Now let me get this straight. Last night, you, Mr. Yank Rugged Individualist, made this big speech about paying your own way, not touching the dole with a ten foot barge pole, wouldn't even take free caffsub 'till I threatened to throw it out, blah blah blah, yadda yadda yadda, and on and on. And not even 24 hours later, you've got the nerve to bellycrawl to me and ask one of us to leave the other all alone to handle a pub fulla drunks just so we can ferry you all the way to Redcliffe, twiddle our thumbs for however long you're there, and wait for you to come back and say, 'Home, Jeeves'?"

    Groan. "All right, sorry I asked."


    "Come on, Karen, a simple no would've been enough."

    "Did you actually hear me say no just now, Mont? Do you need a ride or not?"

    I huffed. "Yes, please."

    "Well, sorry, we can't drive ya over–"

    "Well, THAT sure sounded like a no!"

    "Well, you can drive yerself, cantcha?"

    "In what?!" I snarled. "My Maserati Biturbo!?!"

    "No, stupid! In MY Mitsubishi ute!" She took a breath. "Just get over here after work, and I'll loan you the keys."

    I paused to pry the figurative foot out of my mouth. "Sorry. I guess I owe you an apology. And thanks."

    "You're welcome. Just don't scuff it up any more than it is, is all."


    I cruised through Windgate Landing in Karen's dusty pick-up. The cab sure needed a good clean-up. It had been a while since I'd driven a vehicle, and the right side steering wheel set-up sure felt awkward. But I got to Redcliffe without any bumps or scrapes, and only a few folks flipping me off.

    I knew I was in the ritzy section because its houses still had all its grass in the front lawns. The owners hadn't converted any of it to vegetable gardens or grain fields surrounded by barbed wire like in middle class. I passed by a house with a two oak trees and a shrubbery. Suddenly, up popped a small figure with something long and metal-grey pointed at me. I flinched and spun the wheel hard right. Looking up again, I saw it was a small ten year old boy with a toy gun, pointing at me and laughing. Little griever.

    Then his younger (not smaller) sister marched outside, bopped him on the head, and royally chewed him out. He tried to talk back, but then she simply hefted him up in her arms and dragged him back inside.

    The trees thickened down the street. I checked around, looking for the topiaries. I hadn't found them yet, and I'd seen all of the houses except here in Snob Strand. I stopped by a "Private Beach, No Trespassing" sign, checked the map, and hoped nobody would report me as a loiterer or vagrant.

    Then right within a tan stucco wall with red colonial Spanish style tile on top, I saw them flanking the iron barred gate. Topiaries trimmed like playing card suits. This must've been the place. I pulled up to the speaker-cam by the gate.

    "Hello, Monty Bank," I said. "I'm here for Gracie's barbecue."

    "Oi, Monty!" Grace's voice squawked. "Just in time! Just drive on in, leave the ute by the garage, and head on to the front door." The gate buzzed, unlocked and slid open. I idled on in.

    Then my jaw dropped. Gracie lived… THERE?!

    Down a football field sized yard and behind a large white roulette wheel shaped fountain was the biggest two story hacienda I'd ever seen. I'd seen smaller Wal-Marts! And as I drove along the orange tree lined cobblestone driveway, I passed by greenhouses, where workers tended the plants. I also saw an archery range, and what looked like a maze and obstacle course. It reminded me of a paintball range I'd gone to once for a friend's bachelor party.

    Finally I came to the garage. Karen's ute looked pretty grimy next to the Lexus and Honda Accord there, but I wasn't going to complain. After I peeked in the garage and stole a look at the Range Rover, motorcycles, and …was that a Maybach? … I walked around to the front. The double doors swung open, and there was Gracie, dressed in a red and white checkered blouse, blue jeans, and a white apron with "Kiss the Cook" in big orange letters on it. And she smelled of woodchips. "Hiya, Monty!" she said with arms spread out almost as wide as her smile. "Glad you could make it. I was about to light the fire. Want a quick tour?"

    And she showed me around the house. Have you ever heard of homes decorated by folks with more money than taste? Well, she had plenty of both. The greeting hall looked like a manor from old England, complete with a suit of armor by the grand staircase. The sitting room was set up as close to 1800s Paris without looking like a bordello. The library could have been Mark Twain's with its Old West wood furniture. The thick walled, ample sized gym and sauna was traditionally Japanese, with backlit rice paper "windows" for wallpaper. The electronic weight machines, sauna, juice bar, and hot tub were definitely 21st century, though.

    The dining room was pre-Revolution Chinese, and the well equipped kitchen was a mix of Mediterranean decor and professional steel. Gracie led me to a walk-in refrigerator. "Just need a few things real quick," she said. And she pulled out fresh chicken fillets and a platter of the biggest shrimp I'd ever seen. "So, what sauce you like, Mont?" she asked. "Jamacian Jerk? Teriyaki? Lime wasabi mayo? A-1?"

    "All sounds great, Ms. Terrance," I said. "Want me to carry anything?"

    She stood still for a second. "For the last time," she said with an irritated breath, "it's Gracie. Repeat after me. Gray."




    "Gray, sea." She turned to me. "Where did you pick up Terrance, anyway?"

    "Uh, from Ms. Harridan, my boss."

    "Oh. Louise, eh?" She cracked a half smile, and handed me the sauce bottles. "Well, she ain't here. And you ain't at work. So put her and her strangling office rules out of your mind right now. This is a No Louise Zone. Got it?"

    She walked on down the hall. I followed. "Anyway, that name Terrance's only half of it. It's one of those pretentious hyphenated names."


    "Yeah. Terrance, hyphen, Cristofan."

    I lurched and dropped the jerk sauce. "Cristofan?! As in, Laertes Cristofan? As in Fujiyama Hotel and Casino in Gold Coast, Cristofan? Properties in Las Vegas, Atlantic City, Macao, Gold Coast, Sun City, and Monte Carlo? THAT Cristofan?!"

    "And a new resort in Hobart. Yeah, that Cristofan." She didn't sound especially proud or embarrased. "I thought you'd remember Trump or Stupak first."

    "Well, I paid attention when Cristofan cornered the pinball, arcade, and touchscreen game market in the States just before the Big Zap. Biggest coin-op merger since Williams and Bally/Midway."

    "Well, well. Where'd you learn about that?"

    "Read it in a trade magazine. I was an arcade assistant manager back in the States."

    "Oho! So you're into games, eh?"

    "Love 'em. I wasn't working that job for the pay, that's for sure."

    She laughed. "Well, I think this evening's going to be right up your alley."

    "Great. So when's Mr. Cristofan showing up?"

    She stopped. And her broad shoulders slumped a little. "He's not. I'm a widow."

    Smooth move, stupid. "Aw, no. I'm so sorry."

    She shot me a look. "You oughta be… pretty inconsiderate of you letting all those Mexes assault Vegas like that." Then she shook her head with a doleful half smile. "C'mon. Get the sauce. Bein' miserable won't bring him back."

    And we headed on to the game room.

    I was mega-impressed. She had a Donald-Trump ego-sized "yooge" arcade with just about every Cristofan Electronics coin operated game lining the three casino-style walls. The fourth "wall" to the north was open to the most beautiful beachscape I'd ever seen. And immediately in front of it was a granite patio, with a red brick barbecue pit, some picnic tables with chairs, a railroad tie walkway to the waves, and Angela and another woman I hadn't seen before.

    The game room also had an air hockey table, a blackjack table, a craps table, and two pool tables each as big around as my Ma's Oldsmobile Cutlass Cierra. And there chalking up his cue stick by one was Francis from Crimson Cow HQ. "Oh, hiya," he said. "You're the guy from Briz Hosiery, uh, what was your name again? Monty?"

    "Right. Pleased to meet you." And he had a nice grip for someone no bigger than me. "Sorry the folder was a mess."

    "No worries. Found out what happened this morning from the girls. You did great guns, how'd you pull it off? I'da caved in and forked it over."

    "Simple," I said with an embarrased shrug. "I thought fast, ran faster, and prayed fastest."

    "Well, Angie thought you were the bees' knees. Wouldn't stop talkin' about ya."

    All right. "Where is she?"

    "Out on the verandah." And he pointed north, where Angela was making burger patties.

    Francis, Gracie, and I went over where the other food on the table.

    "Ah, Monty, how wonderful to see you!" Angela chirped. She seemed happier than I'd ever seen her before.

    "Hey, Ange!" I waved. "I think I've died and gone to heaven here! Who's this?"

    "This is Dr. Jean Munroe, a friend of Gracie's."

    Dr. Monroe, just one inch shorter than Angela, wore horn rimmed glasses on her nose, green beads around her brown hairbun, khaki slacks and a loose t-shirt reading "All This And Brains, Too!" on her thin straight frame, and a pencil behind her ear. "I'm a physiologist for Cristofan Health Clubs," she said. "Glad to make your acquaintance."

    "Thanks," I said, shaking her hand. "You from the States, too, huh?"

    "Yes. Massachusetts. You?"

    "North Carolina."

    "Well gaw-lee," she teased. "You don't sound like you're from Mayberry."

    "Aw, go pahk ya cah in the yahd," I joked back. And I twanged, "Danged Big Sister musta beamed up mah accent."

    Angela tittered. "And I see you've met my fiancé, Francis."

    I dropped the wasabi mayo. "Fiancé?"

    "Yes!" She flashed a golden ring. "He brought me here an hour early here before anyone else, and he got on one knee right on the beach sands and proposed! Isn't that wonderful?!"

    You know Big Sister's big fork that stuck in my soul that I talked about earlier? Can you imagine how it must've felt back when it stripped away all my old muscle at once in the Big Zap?

    This was a hundred times worse.

    "Uh, gee. How nice for you," I said through a pasted-on smile.

    "Well, better enjoy my last days of freedom while I still got 'em, mate," Francis said. "What say we rack up and shoot some eight-ball while the girls grill?"

    I stood stock still. "Really, it's okay," said Gracie. "You just have yourself a good time, and we'll call you when it's ready."

    "Yeah, sure," I said distantly. And I picked up the mayo, put it on the table, and trudged off to the game room. Guess I'd get a TV instead of the cell phone.


    "And when I got out of bed New Year's Day, and saw my sister lookin' like Lucy Lawless and me like Pee-wee Herman on crack, I thought I was REALLY hung over," Francis said, aiming at the cue ball. "Then I saw the news reports. And a few days later, I got sacked from my box-loading job at the warehouse." And with a quick tap, he sent my 9 ball into the corner pocket. "Just as well. Crimson Cow pays better anyway. But enough about me. How'd you wind up all the way down here in Briz?"

    I leaned against the air hockey table. "Well, I worked for a small video arcade in my town's mall. First thing I could find after college. Pay was small, but it was a lot of fun. Did a great job, too. I made assistant manager in a year and a half, and the Christmas before the Big Zap, my boss Debbie said I probably would've made full manager as soon as there was an opening in the chain."

    "On ya. Eleven ball."

    "Well, then on New Year's Eve, I was closing up the shop early; around 7. Everyone else skipped out early on, since they had partying to do. I was going to just watch the ball drop at home after I'd played a few rounds of Narc. But when I tried to pull down the front gate down to lock it, it wouldn't budge much. I thought it was jammed or needed oil.

    "Then I felt my stomach shift from fourth gear to reverse. I fell on my knees, and I coulda sworn I was going to ralf myself inside out. After about 30 seconds it started to fade. Then I felt like my whole insides were swirling around like a flushed toilet. Finally, when it stopped, I felt my slacks and uniform were much, much baggier. And there I was, just like I am now. I must've dropped from 175 to 100 pounds."

    "How much in kilos is that?"

    I did the math in my head. "About from 80 to 45."

    "Right. Fifteen ball."

    "Well, I looked around, and I saw Rusty, the security guard, was suffering the same thing. He was a fairly burly guy, and now he looked like he could stand in for Barney Fife."


    "American sitcom character. I'll explain another time. Anyway, I looked around, and all the mall rat guys were in a panic, all shriveled up. Their girls were on the cell phones, dialing 911, pretty much putting our emergency services in overload. Didn't know that almost all our police and EMS guys were zapped too.

    "Then in walked Carina."

    "Twelve ball," said Francis. "Who was she, your girlfriend?"

    I simmered a little. "No such luck. She was a 16 year old Mexican immigrant. She was always pestering me for a job at the arcade. I had always said sorry, no, 18 was the age limit. But she wouldn't give up. Finally I told her right out that we got some very unfriendly customers from time to time, and an employee would have to toss them out. And I challenged her, a 100 pound, 5 foot 1 schoolgirl, to try to toss me out. I wasn't trying to be a jerk or anything, just pointing out facts. Debbie would've said the same thing. I encouraged her to check back on her 18th birthday, and she left in a huff.

    "Well, she was back that night. And she was a foot taller, and twice as heavy, with biceps the size of croquet balls. Then she marched right up to me, and challenged ME to toss her out this time. And with that she grabbed me, and threw me clear into the giant cookie bakery across from us. Then right in front of me, she went back to the office and looted the cash register, took a hammer and smashed all the screens to the games, then emptied all the dollar bills from the changer. She'd grabbed a bunch of candy and electronic toys from the prize redemption counter, yelled, 'Gracias, Feliz Navidad!' and ran off.  Word was she also robbed the jewelry store, Sam Goody, and Radio Shack."

    "Aw, mate, I'm sorry about that. Fourteen ball."

    "Well, that pretty much shut the arcade down. And with my town dependent on textile industry, that put a lot of our laborers out of work, except for the Mexican immigrant women. And when La Guarda Mexicana invaded, that totally trashed the economy, and soon they were out of work, too. So they went back home.

    "Well, with my town dried up and blown away, my family couldn't stay. Dad cashed out his real estate improvement business and Ma quit her librarian job to become missionaries. I met up with my Uncle Arnie, a professional beach bum, in Wilmington, and he let me stay on his sailboat a while. And while I enjoyed the seven seas, it got to be old hat for me. By not working, I felt I was withering up in soul as well as body. I felt like a total loafer. And I was tired of his cigarrette smoke, and drinking. And I complained to him pretty loudly about that when we hit Brisbane."

    "Nuts. Missed it. You're up, mate."

    "Huh? Oh." And I got my cue, and looked around for my options. I took a look at the red three ball right by the corner pocket.

    "So that's when you decided to stay here?"

    I simmered some more. "Not exactly. Arnie had sent me out to the store with some cash to get some groceries. When I came back to the marina, his boat was gone. He'd dumped me here. The cash he'd given me was just barely enough for me to get by until I could find work at Brisbane Hosiery, despite my lack of a work visa. Getting that cost a lot." I tried to remember how to hold the cue. It'd been years since I'd played.

    "So how's Brisbane been since you've been here?"

    I took a breath. "I'm overworked, underpaid, my boss is a Nazi crook, I live in a vermin-infested crime pit, my hometown and nation are pretty much destroyed, I'm starving, I have no decent entertainment, I've been mugged twice since yesterday, what little bodily strength I've got is stolen week after week… and I have no way out. And you're asking me how's Brisbane?"

    "Uh, yeah."

    "PEACHY! HOW DO YOU THINK?!" And I thrust the cue straight into the table, ripped up the green felt, and launched the cue ball up so it landed on the floor, and rolled under the other table. Francis stared at me in typical astonishment. I lowered my shoulders, and dropped the cue stick onto the table. And I started to cry.

    Angela, Gracie, and Jean rushed up. Angela put a hand on my shoulder. "Monty? Are you okay?"

    I slipped away.  "I'm sorry," I croaked. "My head's not in this game. I've had an extremely rotten day." And week. Oh, feh, and past few years. To Gracie: "I'm sorry. I guess you can deduct the damages from my bet winnings."

    "Pfft," she replied. "Don't even think about that. I was gonna replace it with red anyway."

    "No worries, no worries," Francis reassured. And he put his cue back on the rack, and went over to where the cue ball rolled off. "What say we just call this game a draw?"

    "Yeah, sure," I said, as I picked up my cue stick and chalk and returned them, too. "I was losing… any…"

    And the reason I trailed off? Well, as I put the chalk in, I heard this creak of wood, like an old pirate ship being rocked by a gentle wave at the dock. I turned around, and I saw this wimpy-looking fellow hefting up one end of a half-ton mahogany billiard table up to doorknob level like it was a cardboard box full of foam packaging peanuts.

    I finished my sentence: "…how?"

    Jean sauntered up. "What, need more space to get the ball?" And she marched to the other end, placed both hands under the edge, and without even a grunt or a deep breath, she lifted it just as lightly.

    I just stared with my mouth wide open. "How are you two… Doctor, you're an American…" I pointed and stammered.

    Francis looked at me askance. "What?"

    "Y-y-you just lifted a pool table. And you're not supposed to be able to!"

    He shot me a dirty look. "Not supposed to, mate?"

    "B-b-but Big Sister… the satellites… how are you able to…?"

    Jean looked to Gracie. "Can we show him here?"

    Gracie nodded yes. "Ceiling's shielded."

    Jean put her end back down, and started to pull her t-shirt off. I flinched and started to look away, but she told me, "It's OK. I'm wearing something under this." Then I saw she was wearing a flesh toned skeinsuit underneath. It blended so perfectly with her skin I didn't see the seams until I searched for them. And right under her rib cage and atop her shoulders were four flat disks that looked a little like practical joke handshake joy buzzers.

    She pressed the middle button on each disk, which spun and sounded like an air wrench at the tire center. "And don't worry," she added, as the disks sprang into her hand, "under this, I'm wearing a sports bra."

    She might as well had not bothered. The skeinsuit sprang open like a banana peel, and Jean's body suddenly poofed out like a car's airbag. Only instead of air, it was full of rock solid muscle. And while her chest wasn't as big as Suzette's, it did the job nicely. The sports bra didn't leave much to the imagination.

    I marvelled. Jean was as big from the waist up as Gracie. And I bet she was probably as tall, too, if that suit weren't covering her below-waist body.

    "Oi," Francis said, "ya mind getting that ball, mate? We can't hold this thing all evening."

    "Actually, they could," said Gracie, "but the burgers'll get cold."

    I nibbed away on my small bacon cheeseburger. It smelled great and tasted greater; I don't recall the last time I had any fresh beef or vegetables. But despite missing breakfast and a proper lunch, my hunger was halved. Gracie, Jean, and Francis meanwhile slapped on the cheese, bacon, fried eggs and a chicken filet each on their double burgers while Angela dined on her salad. I felt like the only child at the adult's table eating a Happy Meal.

    "…and so," Jean said, "after picking up solar energy and the body's mechanical energy from moving, the disks store them and sends it to the satellites, while the human body keeps its own for itself, its own energy stored neatly away under the skeinsuit."

    "What about the head?" I asked. "It's not covered.  Wont they spot that?"

    "The shoulder disks send out a stronger signal that masks the head's quantum signature."

    I peered, unconvinced. "Are you sure Big Sister can't spot it?"

    Gracie rolled her eyes. "No. I let my friends and cronies waltz around with defective suits, and put themselves and myself up for arrest, imprisonment, and strength drainage down to just enough to keep our hearts beating. Crikey."

    I squinted at her. "Why are you trusting me with all this?"

    Gracie put her triple chili cheeseburger down and folded her hands. "Monty, do you believe in hunches?"

    I folded my arms. "Why, do you?"

    "I've had a pretty good track record. Once back in the spring of '91, I read an old Mad magazine cartoon about a father who tried to explain the value of a dollar to his son, who then wanted his allowance in Japanese yen. On a whim and a nagging feeling, I decided to invest in that. Then in the summer, the U.S. government decided to weaken the dollar against the yen, and I made a fortune on the exchange.

    "Then one day after a conference with my gambling lobbyists in Washington, D.C., I was about to hop a flight to San Francisco on my way back to Oz. But a nagging feeling told me that maybe I should wait for a better flight. So I cancelled and rebooked.

    "That flight was American Airlines 77. And that day was September 10, 2001."

    She sipped her ice water. "And after I'd bought Crimson Cow to diversify our holdings, I'd met Angela. She told me about you, and what you were going through. And I have a nagging feeling I should get involved somehow.

    "Just to make sure, I decided to let you make that folder run. And you proved quite trustworthy with that."

    She leaned in. "Monty. How would you like a chance to get your own skeinsuit, button set, and body just like the good doctor's here?"

    I glanced at Dr. Munroe, then back to Gracie. "Well, I think the chest looks better on her, but…" Everyone laughed heartily. "I'm interested."

    "Well, then," she continued. "about that bet. How about a little double or nothing? We can do one of two things. One, we can meet at a fave watering hole of mine, and you can play a game where you put your smarts, nerve, and luck to the ultimate test. And if you win, you can walk away with a body as big or strong, if not bigger and stronger. And you'll be able to keep it hidden so those Big Sister battle axes can't get it.

    "Or two, I could simply write you that cheque and we all go our separate ways and call it a night. Your choice."

    TV, shmee vee. The clock radio worked just fine.

    To be continued in Chapter 5: Russian Roulette.

    Mark Newman

    I really like this chapter. It fills in some of the backstory and then gives new ideas about where the rest is going. And I for one sure enjoy Jimmy’s idea of what happened at the moment of the Big Zap!

    "Carina, Carina … where have you been so long …."


    I really hope you’re not planning on making Monty strong. That would ruin it, IMO. I’m still hoping he’ll get tangled with some big hulking sister.

    It was nice to hear some of the history. Who’s fighting the Mexicans, though? Why don’t they just nuke the place?


    At the beginning of the story i wasn’t sure where it would go. The writing and characters were developing well so it kept my attention. Now….this last chapter has got me hooked! I love it! Interesting new world with some new developments to really make things interesting. Please continue!


    Hey, GreyDeth. Glad to see you on the board. Glad you like.

    Oh, and Alex? Not that it’s going to happen, but how would Monty getting some muscle wreck the story?

    Strength is a VERY relative thing.

    Oh, and the Mexicans are steamrolling south through Latin America, since even Amazonian muscle roasts pretty good in an uncontrolled wildfire (see the news report in Chapter 1: Whammy!)

    And the reason for no nukes? El Nino would blow the fallout and radioactivity back in their faces. Does a little something called Chernobyl ring a bell?

    Oh, and one question… as I post this, I noticed Chapter 1 got 630 views, Chapter 2 got 282, and Chapter 3 got 376. A big kickoff, then a dip, then a few more… any clue what’s up with that, folks?

    Mark Newman

    People check in to look at the story and also at additional comments that are made. So if there are many comments that will draw in people who have viewed it before. In other words, my guess is many of the views are the same people looking two or three times.



    It’s an FMG story with enough plotline and characterization that you could even consider mailing it to a non-FMG-fetishist member of the female half of the species!

    We are not worthy.

    "There, I’ve said it, I feel better."


    Okay, this part’s mangled back into shape…

    Oh, and I may be tipping my hand, but I’m hoping to do a story on each continent. The next one will be in Asia…

    And I’ll have something for Africa/the Middle East, Latin America, Europe, and have something wrap up in North America.

    Not quite sure how to work in Antarctica… anybody got suggestions?


    I’ve always wanted to get off my ass and write "Who Grows There?" an FMG tribute to John Cambell’s "Who Goes There?" which was the basis for both of "The Thing" movies. Cambell’s story as do the other two versions take place in a remote Antarctic research station. Scientists find -something- frozen in the ice millions of years old. Terror results. The book version having a really cool look at how a bunch of practical thinkers/scientists might defeat an alien menace.

    H.P.Lovecraft’s "Mountains of Madness" is an intense look at an ancient world hidden by the Antarctic ice and snow with a terrible secret. Ruins and the mind numbing conjectures they summon in regards to mankind’s true place in history are just the tip of the iceberg (Pun aggh 😳 ). The ante keeps getting weirder and disturbing with the narrator facing the legacy of a shattered civilization and the things that even THEY feared. Read it if only to get a nice education on what it takes to actually travel there.

    How does this relate to Monty Banks? Well it might be cool to have him and one of Big Sister’s uber-marms having to work together to survive. You might be able to throw an intense moralistic curveball his way if Big Sis excavated ruins show that an early advanced civilization swapped the natural strength of it’s female members to enhance that of the males. What would he think about disturbing the world Sis has wrought if its actualy a return to an earlier ‘order’ shrouded in prehistory?

    OR you might be able to have this base be one of the centers of resistance hidden from Sis-net sattelites as a result of the hole in the ozone layer. However one of the members is a traitor. The scene of a woman hidden in arctic gear running to a plateau of ice in order to get her Beamed reward and the curves jutting from the fabric, flesh so enhanced the South Pole death winds just roll off her steaming new chassis. The plot may frame around catching this materially enhanced Mati Hari before she can SWIM?! to shore and alert the matriarchy.

    Perhaps an undisturbed cache of pre-Beam humans in some cut off military base have gone about the tedious task of trying to survive. This being triple secret structure it has enough advanced undisclosed tech to be relatively self sufficient. These great minds might be able to formulate some way to at least balance the current power structure.

    Don’t discount Antarctica. It’s potential is limited only by the amount of penguins you’re willing to have Monty fry 🙄 😉


    How does this relate to Monty Banks? Well it might be cool to have him and one of Big Sister’s uber-marms having to work together to survive.

    Well, to be honest, I had toyed with that idea where a Bureau officer ("I’m NOT your sister, pal…") finally catches up with and cuffs Monty… and they have to spend a freezing night together because they’re cut off from civilization.

    Officer: I wanna haul you in alive. Huddle up, and we’ll conserve body heat.

    Monty (snorts): Is that Big Sis jargon for "what’s your sign?"

    Officer: Well, if you’d rather freeze…

    Reluctantly, he does. And while he’s wishing it was Martissa wrapping her parka around him… she’s not so bad either.

    And maybe he’ll see that not every Bureau officer’s a mean, nasty, dominant feminista, while she sees he’s not the greasy, weaselly criminal her chief’s made him out to be.

    If there’s a reason to be in Antartcia…

    OR you might be able to have this base be one of the centers of resistance hidden from Sis-net sattelites as a result of the hole in the ozone layer. However one of the members is a traitor. The scene of a woman hidden in arctic gear running to a plateau of ice in order to get her Beamed reward and the curves jutting from the fabric, flesh so enhanced the South Pole death winds just roll off her steaming new chassis. The plot may frame around catching this materially enhanced Mati Hari before she can SWIM?! to shore and alert the matriarchy.

    One problem… if the backstabber can communicate and tell them where they are and that she’s ready to turn on them… and collect her reward from a satellite scan… wouldn’t she be able to communicate via satellite or back at the base just as well? She wouldn’t have to swim back to tip off the outside world… she’s already done that!

    Though I do wonder… how invulnerable does a Zap make someone to the elements? Any clues, Marknew?

    Perhaps an undisturbed cache of pre-Beam humans in some cut off military base have gone about the tedious task of trying to survive. This being triple secret structure it has enough advanced undisclosed tech to be relatively self sufficient. These great minds might be able to formulate some way to at least balance the current power structure.

    Well… I’m using the pre-Zap cadre plot already in another story. But… how about this. You know all those nuclear submarines? I very much doubt they simply meekly bobbed up to the surface so the crews could say, "OK, we surrender." I think that there maybe a klatch of Navies from the USA, Russia, China, Britain, etc. … all basing outta the South Pole to figure out their next move.

    Then one Admiral’s "anchor" doesn’t quite "make it all the way to the ocean floor" anymore, and he decides to threaten the Bureau to set things back to normal, or he starts launching missles. And Monty has to choose between protecting a female-enhanced world, or allowing equal opportunity annihilation.

    Don’t discount Antarctica. It’s potential is limited only by the amount of penguins you’re willing to have Monty fry 🙄 😉

    Hey! I happen to like penguins! 😡 I’m seriously considering having one follow Monty home if this happens. 😀

    Seriously, you’re quite the idea man, Cowprobe. Some of your ideas are so cool, even I thought of them first! 😛 😉

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