QSFer Cari Z. has a new superhero book out:
Being a Hero in Panopolis means living the high life: parties, money, influence, even reality television. And I’m one of the most powerful Heroes in the city. I have plenty of fans, a manager who looks out for me (after himself), and a job that pays the bills. I should be enjoying myself.
Unfortunately, the downside of my superpower means I can’t touch anyone, which tends to put a damper on things. I probably don’t deserve all those perks anyway, since I’m working in secret with two of Panopolis’s biggest Villains to undermine GenCorp—my main sponsor and the company that controls what gets through my force field.
I obviously don’t trust my corporate overseers, but they’ve hired a new scientist who actually seems interested in helping me. Dr. Mansourian might have the answers to all my questions—not to mention a starring role in most of my dreams—but he’s hiding something big. If I let him have what he wants, I might not live to regret it.
Then again, the way things are going in Panopolis these days, I might not live either way.
Book Three of Panopolis
SuperTruther here, folks, your source for everything that’s happening behind the curtain here in Panopolis. And let me tell you, the further I look, the more I realize that the curtain is waaay bigger than you’d ever expect. Because the battle in Panopolis, despite what we’ve been told, isn’t as simple as Heroes versus Villains. There’s no clear-cut line between the people doing good and the people doing evil, and what distinction there is gets blurrier by the day.
Can we call Mastermind a Villain, when he’s made Z Street and its surrounding neighborhoods safer in the past few months than the established do-gooders have done in years? Edward Dinges has better reason to despise Panopolis than most, after being experimented on in the Abattoir, broken out by the Bombardier, and fighting to survive as Mastermind. Now he’s got a power strong enough to sideline some of our most powerful Heroes. So where are his conquests? Where are his crimes? Why do he and the Villains who follow him—and there are plenty, despite what the mainstream media would have you believe—leave their calling cards in brick and mortar instead of wrack and ruin? Can a Villain make you feel safer than a Hero?
And what do you do when you can’t tell the difference anymore?
People say I’m a Hero.
That’s pretty much all that people ever say about me, actually. It was all that ever needed to be said in Panopolis. Heroes were bigger than life, but little more than names on a television or shouted from a street corner for the majority of folks. Hell, most people probably didn’t even know my real name. Craig Haney wasn’t an exciting guy. I’d been a fairly average kid, raised by my grandmother after my parents were killed during a battle between Earthquake and Sky King. I’d grown into a fairly average man who wasn’t smart enough to make it through college, so I’d gone into the police academy instead. I’d been a decent cop, but that was all I’d been. Then came the accident, and shortly after that, Freight Train was born.
I missed being Craig sometimes. Don’t get me wrong, I got into the police to protect and serve, and I was doing more of that than ever as a bona fide Hero. I liked taking care of people, and I liked being a power for good. I especially liked the fact that I could go toe-to-toe with some of the baddest Villains to set foot in Panopolis, and come out on top. That was what I did now—it was my reason for being. I had to be the best Hero the city had ever seen, because I couldn’t be anything else. Not with my force field keeping everyone and everything at a distance.
There were times when being completely untouchable was depressing. And then there were times like today, when I was so damn grateful for my power I could almost cry.
“Fucking hell,” Mr. Fabulous snapped as he tried to scrape the remnants of a bright-pink bubble off his costume. He wasn’t having much luck; it was incredibly sticky.
“At least it wasn’t an acid one,” I said as I scanned ahead for our quarry. The acid bubbles were bright green, and would have eaten through Mr. Fabulous’s suit and into his skin in seconds. There were steaming pockmarks in the brick sidewalk where those ones had touched down. The blue bubbles froze things, which was a little better but not much if they hit you. All in all, the pink ones were fairly tame.
“Oh yeah, wonderful,” Mr. Fabulous said as he swiped fruitlessly at his shoulder. I pulled him aside before he stepped into an acid crater, but he shrugged away my hand. “Unless you know a quick way to get this shit off, don’t bother me.”
Mr. Fabulous and I shared a manager and were both heavily sponsored by GenCorp, so we were often called in for the same jobs. He had super speed and super strength, and was one of the few Heroes I knew of who didn’t also have pretty unsuper side effects to go along with his powers. Mr. Fabulous wore what I guess I’d call a tactical tuxedo, good against bullets and knives, and close-fitting enough that there were whole blogs devoted to his ass in those pants. I might have bookmarked one of them. Or two.
Hey, I might not be able to touch anyone but myself, but I could appreciate a nice ass, okay? In fact, his ass was the nicest thing about Mr. Fabulous. His personality sure wasn’t anything to write home about.
Another bubble floated back toward us: blue, nasty. I popped it with the trash can lid I’d picked up a block back, and a sheen of ice spread across the front of the metal. I could see it, but I barely felt the temperature difference. Distantly, I heard the familiar strains of Bubbles the Clown’s theme song, sung at a shrill and desperate pitch. We were getting close.
Mr. Fabulous was still trying to scrape pink off his shoulder. “Zane, what the hell does it matter?” I muttered as I snagged another blue bubble out of the air before it could hit the door of an apartment building. This wasn’t the nicest corner of Panopolis—nothing really was nice so close to Spartan Park—but there were plenty of residences around, and plenty of people who could be hurt by these bubbles if we didn’t move fast. “Just leave it alone and focus!”
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Cari Z was a bookworm as a child and remains one to this day. In an effort to combat her antisocial reading behavior, she did all sorts of crazy things, from competitive gymnastics to alligator wresting (who even knew that was legal!) to finally joining the Peace Corps, which promptly sent her and her husband to the wilds of West Africa, stuck them in a hut, and said, “See ya!” She also started writing, because some things she just thought she could do better. She’s still climbing that ladder, but can’t stop herself from writing, or from sharing what she creates.
Cari enjoys a wide range of literary genres, from the classics (get ‘im, Ahab) to science fiction and fantasy of all types, to historical fiction and reference materials (no, seriously, there are so many great encyclopedias out there). She writes in a wide range of genres as well, but somehow 90% of what she produces ends up falling into the broad and exciting category of m/m erotica. There’s a sprinkling of f/m and f/f and even m/f/m in her repertoire, but her true love is man love. And there’s a lot of love to go around.
Cari has published short stories, novellas, and novels with numerous print and e-presses, and she also offers up a tremendous amount of free content on Literotica.com, under the name Carizabeth.