The Negative Man: Stormfall (Preview Chapter 2)

So here it is, the last preview chapter for Stormfall.  Not much else to say today, but if you’ve liked what you read, Stormfall is just 99 cents for pre-orders.  Grab one before they go back to the regular price of $2.99 for a Kindle copy.  Now, on to the main event…

stormfall cover

Chapter 2 –

Monday Night; Ocean View Drive

 

“I don’t get it. Why do you insist on walking home?”

Heather was watching the nightly news; no matter which channel she settled on, they’d be talking about The Negative Man. Tonight was no exception.  “It gives me a chance to clear my head.  Besides, I enjoy being out there, learning and observing.”

Her attention left the television and came fully to me. “I take it something happened this evening?”  She looked me up and then back down.  “That’s not your watch.”

I was wearing the ‘gift’ with pride. “A mugger named Hammerspace actually robbed me tonight.  I would’ve learned much more about him, but those idiot SVIS supers interrupted us.”

In the world of crime fighters, those clowns were the sideshow. Even against The Aces, the animal weirdos were seriously outgunned.  There used to be five of them, but one discovered my secret.  Tiger, or Mike Blackfield, was a friend.  Yet when he figured it all out, he became a liability and I had to tie that up.  Heather seemed to enjoy his demise more than I did.

As for the remaining four, that blubbering blowhard Chief Grimes used them as his special op’s task force. As tonight had proven, they were not at all competent and provided little to the city.  “I think the time has come for The Negative Man to put an end to their insufferable ways.”

“Why should you get all the fun?” In her hand was the latest Wonder-Tech phone, the Predator.  Much like the name I came up for it, the phone was taking over the country, eating up the competition.  All part of the plan mind you.  “With this, I can easily eliminate any target we want.”

Heather’s power was very unique. When I attacked Wonder-Tech Tower as The Negative Man last year, I accidently hit her with a full blast of my power.  By some reaction in her body and the fact my negative energy burst through a phone she was on, she gained the ability to make phones explode.  Without her talent, I may have lost my fight against The Dark Lion.

Once we knew those morons identity, “Yes, you can blow them up if you choose to. I’ll make it my top priority in finding out who they are.”

An evil grin formed under those beautiful eyes. “You know how to sweet talk a girl Mr. Staley.”

I was about to take advantage of the situation when something from the news caught both of our attention. Brandon Howard, the featured news anchor, was talking about an armored vigilante.  “In a story we saved until we could verify the source, it appears a new hero is taking the place of the fallen Dark Lion.”

The screen flashed away and in Brandon’s place was a full shot of this newest hero. Him, or her – no way to tell, was covered head to toe in a high tech, dark metal suit.  From the shot, the hero could be seen floating off the ground thanks to rocket boosters in the legs.  I wasn’t prepared for this – how did I not know?

The screen faded out and Brandon reappeared. “So far we have limited news about this hi-tech hero, but our source has told us they go by the name Titan.  As we know more…”

I needed to find out who this source is. I walked over to the television, Heather looking on with curiosity.  “What are you planning to do?”

“The city’s far too comfortable. It’s time I did what I do best.”  I reached out and grabbed the cable line running into our house.  I embraced my power and reached out across the city, finding the path that would bring me to my target.

I found him and I took over. “Brandon Howard, who is your source?”

I knew my distorted image was broadcasting live everywhere. It felt good to be in control once again.  Brandon, for his part, pretty much shelled up as soon as I appeared on camera.  “It’s him!”

“My patience is wearing thin. For every minute you don’t tell me who your source is, a random family will suffer.”  This was no bluff.  It would be easy to send arcs of electricity into televisions everywhere.  The results from the attack would be severe.  “Thirty seconds – do you want their blood on your hands?”

His skin turned ashen colored, his face breaking out in sweat. “I can’t tell you…”  His voice was so low, it was barely audible.

He would, he was about to break. “Ten seconds and you become a murderer Mr. Howard.”

At the sound of that, he cracked under the pressure. “Chief Grimes!  All of our information on Titan has come from Grimes!”

I reigned back in all my power. “Now was that so hard?  You’ve done well Mr. Howard.  I return everyone to their regular programming.”

As quickly as I took over, I was back in our house out on Ocean View. Our place was nice, but modest in comparison to what John Wonderton called a home.  The kitchen had nice upgrades for Heather and I insisted on a wood burning fire place.  Plus I needed space to create a state of the art workshop for my alter-ego to use.  Other than that, it was just a typical three bedroom, two bathroom home by the ocean.

So Grimes was up to something huh? How I would so enjoy having a heart to heart with him as The Negative Man.  When I looked up from the cable line I’d just poured myself into, Heather was smiling and clapping.  “Well done, that was played beautifully.”

“Men like Brandon Howard aren’t cut out for the front lines. You tell them their actions will cause death or destruction, they will fall.”

The doorbell rang, which I wasn’t prepared for. “That’s our pizza dear.  I bet you’re very hungry now.”

The rest of the evening went as normal as a regular couple. We ate, we laughed, and we talked about work.  We didn’t even bring up Grimes name again, yet it was in the back of my mind.  After Heather went to bed, I found my way into my workshop.  I could foresee this Titan becoming a problem rather quickly.

I looked over all of my equipment. I had my mask, which was my trademark.  Along with it I used very simple grey body armor and rubber soled boots.  I remember how intricate The Dark Lion’s suit was and I couldn’t help but be a bit jealous.  After all, I created a good deal of it.

The one thing I wanted to do was create a better way to channel my energy. Sometimes, in the heat of battle, I would get so pumped that I’d end up using too much at one time.  Against most opposition, this wasn’t a problem.  What I learned in my fight against The Dark Lion was an equally skilled combatant might use that against me.

On my table was my newest project, the fusion gauntlet. This was near and dear to my heart because it used technology my mother discovered before I was born.  She was a scientist and an engineer, working on an electron generator.  From what little I was ever told, it blew up when she was pregnant with me and the energy released was absorbed into the womb.  After years of digging, I finally found the notes that Dr. Staley kept – the notes that would be the key to unlocking my powers even further.

Ellison Staley was a great man, killed well before his time. Without his intervention in my younger years, who knows what may have happened to me.  I flipped his notebook to one of the middle pages, on his theory of how the electron generator affected my cellular make up.  The great thing about him was his attention to detail.  With his theories and my mother’s research, my fusion gauntlet would make me the most powerful super the world’s ever seen.

I still had my Red Wolf tools that Owen Walker bought me when I took a job at gl-O-bal Labs. I really missed the crazy maniac.  His plan to kill The Dark Lion and become the hero that saved the city from The Aces was rather brilliant, but unfortunately, there was a wild card.  He was not fit for the leadership mantle Pacific Station needed.  That role was destined for me.

With both Wonder-Tech and gl-O-bal under my control, I had access to the most brilliant minds on the west coast. With my cell phones being distributed all over the country and Heather’s powers becoming even more precise, no one would stand in my way.

I looked over my latest circuitry work leading into the gauntlet. By hardwiring these into my arm for a pure connection, my hope was to have pinpoint control of the flow of energy leaving my hands.  I put it on my right hand, pushing the sharp electrode into my forearm.  A small static charge escaped; I may’ve needed a new grounding wire.

Even so, it was time to run the test. I reached my hand towards one of the homemade targets I had stationed around the room.  I focused on the picture of the elephant and funneled my energy towards my hand.  As it left me and entered the gauntlet, I felt the circuits hold off a majority of the power and a small concentrated blast of electricity escaped from the mechanism on the palm.

The picture of the elephant fell to the ground, burning up as it went. The gauntlet was smoking, but the test was a success.  “Get ready world, Pacific Station is just the first to fall.”

-Jeremy

You can pre-order Stormfall for just 99 cents at http://www.amazon.com/author/jeremycroston.

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About Jeremy Croston

I'm a comic loving, soccer playing, devoted husband who has a writing addiction. I can be found at Orlando Solar Bear hockey games, at the local sports bar cheering on my teams from Philly (go Flyers!), and being led astray by my schnauzer, JJ. Check out my Amazon page at www.amazon.com/author/jeremycroston to see my collections. Feel free to friend me on Facebook too at www.facebook.com/jcroston2 (there is another one of me out there apparently). Outside of writing, I work in business development and am considered an expert in all things Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Thanks for stopping by and looking forward to talking to you soon!
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