More highlights are listed below, but for now, here is a selection from Flashpoint for your reading pleasure!
THE SPIRIT ADDED, BUT I TELL YOU, DO NOT RESIST AN EVIL person . . . Matthew 5:39. He’s the Boss. It surprised me at first, but the more I thought about it, the more sense it made. If I fought or fled I wouldn’t know who they were, or what they were planning. As the motor grew louder, Junkman edged away from me. Scanning the electric and magnetic fields created something like a photo negative in my mind’s eye. The gun barrels that poked from windows made me focus closer. When their trigger fingers tensed my mindware made me bulletproof. Jackhammer popping of full automatic fire filled the air. A Sandman’s mindware is able to analyze gunfire, so I knew they fired tranq rounds from HK nine-millimeter machine pistols. They wanted me alive? Why on Earth?
My com-shades streaked the air red with bullet paths.
The idea behind firing fully automatic weapons from a moving vehicle is to fill the air with so much lead that even a monkey could hit something. Aiming is pointless. The monkeys pegged me with three rounds. Even though my reformation stopped the tranq, I didn’t resist the evil person, and went down like I’d been hit.
The Lincoln curbed.
Mindware’s wisdom had taught me that a shooting stirs up strong emotions in witnesses. Sadness, excitement, fear, and anxiety are the top four, so most of what I smelled was normal. But the stink of a Goodyear factory that had fallen into a volcano? Extreme hatred came from Junkman, who moved closer. Even though I faced away from him, my other senses painted the picture. When he kicked me I knew it was coming.
He hissed through gravel teeth, “That’s for Anastasia!”
That part of his sad story appeared to be true. Might be hope for him yet.
The back seat gunman tortured Junkman and I as they loaded me into the car. “Razz, it’s a runt! You needed help with this?”
“Kinda small for a Sandman, ain’t he?” the same voice added.
When they sat me up in the back seat instead of the trunk, mischief slipped from my soul’s dungeon. Being a runt and all, it’d be easier for my stubby arms to reach laughing boy from here. I nipped my tongue’s tip, to mug a wicked grin.
Capones sat next to me, back doors slammed, and we rolled. Nobody said a word, but the front seat shooter screamed with brain-wave activity. I cracked an eyelid and peeked between lashes. He wore a silk business suit, not a gen-one wetsuit. Probably Armani reformulated Kevlar. Capones sportin’ gen-2 BW tech? That didn’t click. Why had Dragoon been stylin’ gen-1 if they could have sent this guy?
I counted ten city blocks before the BW signal hushed. Armani-man broke the silence, giving orders in a cold quiet voice that was used to power. Used to giving orders. “Cruise control’s processed, so let the car drive. Capture-one bagged the Elder, a Tech and two Hacks. They’re in transport. We’ll meet enroute. Dispatch us to Midway, and you’ll be free to go.”
I considered running a mindware check on my hearing. Grandpa, Serene, e-girl, and Tinker were all in the mission when I left. Our new Muscle Cell, slagged already?
Armani-man had to be FBT. Capture-one, transport, and dispatch were all terms straight from the FBT handbook. The crime lords and FBT, working together? Then I remembered Grandpa talking about Disciples. A super-spy on our case?
Junkman’s voice came from my left, “When do I get Terminal back?” Silence. “Fine then, just gimmie the reward money.”
“You get nothing,” the suit mumbled.
Junkman’s voice rose. “The deal was Calamity Kid for Terminal!”
I’d heard enough and their drama distracted. I got live.
My right hand shot out at Armani-man’s neck to discharge its Electrocutioner. He jerked and went limp.
My back seat buddy tugged at holstered pistols with the ol’ basic reflex-one-point-oh. I crossed my arms on my chest, flicked twin nines into my palms, and demonstrated the advantage of upgrading to reflex-three-point-one.
Junkman and buddy responded to my tranq rounds by quietly slumping in their seats. Well, perhaps they’d be impressed when they awoke.
The wheel-man made the mistake of using both hands to tug at his weapon. This told me the Lincoln still ran on cruise control. I napped him too.
“Asleep at the wheel. What a Calamity!” I said to Armani-man. Crossing my arms on the back of his seat, I rested my chin on a forearm. “Betcha think twice next time you give a Sandman a lift.”
Poor Nero now jerked around, trying to shake-off the effect of my Electrocutioner’s shock. I pulled open his suit-coat to make sure. A gen-2 pack rode on his belt.
“Hate seein’ ya in such a state,” I lied. “Let me put you out of my misery.” I winked, and he bounced satisfyingly off the windshield.
I enjoyed that part too much, asked forgiveness and help with my intolerance for Nero’s lost souls. Then thanked Him for the chance to save our Cell.
I unclipped my chip-tool from my belt and scanned the back of Armani-man’s left hand. He I.D.ed as Michael Perkins, Arthur Anderson accounting. Yeah, right.
Cruise control showed us headed for Midway airport. We’d rendezvous with a convoy of three peacekeeper Humvees on the way. I could only come up with one reason we’d be going to an airport. They intended on taking us to Washington D.C. to face treason charges in Federal Court.
I tried to thought speech Serene. No answer. I tried Grandpa, Tinker, and e-girl. After what I’d overheard, my hopes were com-chip slim. I got what I expected. But as I made those calls, a brainstorm gathered. Deep purple with five mile tall thunder-heads. Lots of lightning.
This felt like what I had to do. Wasn’t like I had time to take a saint-poll. Most of the saints I knew were a bit preoccupied anyway.
I tried to alter our directions, but the touchscreen’s security read only authorized fingerprints.
So I used the wheel-man’s limp arm to poke at the screen.
I needed some tools. They’d used AK machine pistols on me, and those might be useful, but my brainstorm required more. When they loaded me into the car, the smell of gun oil and powder fumed from the trunk. I tore out the rear seat’s backrest.
Bingo. The trunk held an arsenal. Their Remington 875 semi-automatic 12 gauge semi-auto shotgun, and Freedom Arms GL-7 grenade launcher would do very nicely, thank you.
For ammo, the Remington was already loaded with five tranq-splinter shells, and there were cases of grenades.
I also pocketed a medical injection gun and a box of anti-tranq. emergency road flares gave me a dangerous idea, and I stuffed a few into my other pocket.
I thanked Him again as I readied non-lethal weapons. He’d put me in the place I needed to be, with tools and talents. I thought about Galatians 5:13, and twisted a bad pun at the Lincoln’s roof. “Neros up, love-fifteen, my serve.”
Cruise control kept the Lincoln in the slow lane, running just below the speed limit. The dashboard clock showed our rendezvous with peacekeeper Humvees in two minutes.
The directional came on and we turned onto the Tri-State Tollway’s entrance ramp. The Town-Car veered far left. The emergency shoulder gate opened at our approach and we whizzed through.
Wind in my face gagging me. I’d taken out the Town Car’s windshield with my new Remington. Low clouds, but no rain. Perfect weather for a hi-jacking. All part of the brainstorm.
We merged into six lanes of 120 Km/h NASCAR wannabees.
Three olive-green Humvees made me reach for my pack of Winterfresh Extra. Then I remembered giving it away. They cruised the far left lane, and a bit behind. Perfect timing. Traffic gave them plenty of space. I took as deep a breath as wind allowed, and bolted dungeon doors.
Giving the Boss a final call, I squatted on the wide front bench-seat. The Remington, and the Freedom Arms GL-7 pointed downward under my coat on crossing shoulder slings.
The Town Car changed lanes and slowed, preparing to merge between the second and third Humvee. As the lead vehicle passed me I got a close look at the four peacekeepers in the rear-facing seat. I raised the GL-7. Much to my delight, they put on their best hey-he’s-not-supposed-to-do-that faces.
I beamed pearly-whites in a yeah-no-kidding grin. WHUMP! WHUMP!
Two Crashmonster tranq grenades punched through the soft clear plastic zip-in panel that sealed off the back of the Humvee. Each was rated for 500 cubic-meters, so I just filled a buttoned-down Humvee with enough non-lethal tranq to nap a 767 passenger jet—baggage handlers and flashlight wavers included.
The gas was invisible. My lullaby wasn’t. Neros sagged asleep.
I re-checked the on position of the GL-7’s safety, took another deep breath and keyed my com-shade’s stopwatch.
This is where things got real tricky.
I sprang onto the Lincoln’s hood and leapt off the driver’s side.
Mindware hit overdrive, adjusting to make up for the 120 Km/h blast of air. I scanned inside the vehicle while airborne. The six-person FBT team all wore first generation wet-suits. Grandpa drooped lifelessly between two front seat Neros.
I landed perfectly on the Humvee’s steel hood, facing forward like a life-sized hood ornament. The smart soles of my boots bonded with the metal and I released the Grenade launcher’s shoulder sling. Time to play the ol’ ring-the-bell-and-win-a-prize county fair game. Holding its barrel with both hands, the GL-7 arced over my head to slam into the front bumper.
The bell rang. Airbags in the front and middle seats mushroomed, forcing four pistol-drawing Neros against backrests.
Flipping the GL back around the way it was meant to be held, I stepped around, re-bonded my boots, targeted the rear Humvee and clicked the safety to takin’-care-of-business.
WHUMP! WHUMP! WHUMP!
Three Insta-Dry black paint grenades splashed a thick layer across their windshield. I could tell their cruise was on because they didn’t even swerve, but it would give ’em something to think about. I dropped a Day-Brite orange road flare over the passenger side before going back to work on my highway surfboard.
With a thought I drew a pistol. Careful not to shoot anyone, I put an armor piercing round in each corner of the windshield. Obeying the laws of physics, the glass pebbled, and blew into the front seat. I holstered the pistol and dropped another road flare.
This is spiff! I said to me, really starting to enjoy myself.
Onto some book tour highlights:
MaryLu Tyndall has interrupted her "Bible Test" series to participate in Flashpoint's tour for the three days! What a gracious lady; check out the Cross and Cutlass.
If you didn't catch Steve Rice's contributions, head on over to "Back to the Mountains" and be treated to the quirky sense of humour we've grown to love! Today my favourite of Rice's characters, Murray the Alchemist, explains how he would deal with Flashpoint's uber-bad-guys, the Goliaths.
Speaking of Goliaths, I just noticed a comment about them in an interview Frank did with Joseph Ficor at Hoshi to Sakura. Both Rice and Ficor are contributors to the speculative fiction anthology: Light at the edge of Darkness (June '07).
Chris Deanne, who Frank was able to meet in person while attending the Chicago Tribune's Printers Row Book Fair (largest book fair in the world) in June, has posted Flashpoint's book trailer at Write and Whine.
Donna Sundblad wrote a review of Flashpoint several months ago and originally published at Wayfarer's Journal. Because Donna is so involved with the writing community, especially on line, you can find the review all over the web! but here is the original. Donna has authored Windwalker and Pumping Your Muse and she is the fantasy topic editor at Inspired Writer.
Speaking of Wayfarer's Journal, editor Terri Main says this about her interview with Frank Creed:
Those of you who read this blog know that I never run Q&A Interviews. There's a good reason for this. Generally speaking, I need to cut out a lot that is either repetitious or just plain boring. However, poring over the transcript of Frank's interview, I was having a hard time finding something to cut. So, I'm giving you this interview in its entirety.
Karri Compton, at Fiction Fanatics Only! has joined the tour. She originally posted her review of Flashpoint here on the LGG blog.
Our one-person cheerleading team (hmmm, maybe she would consider joining TWCP as a publicist?) Cathi Hassan has a cool post: Have You Heard the Rumours about Frank Creed? in which she provides readers with a survey of the many reviews received for Flashpoint on Cathi's Chatter.
Purchase Flashpoint at Amazon.com
Purchase signed copies of Flashpoint
Here is the list of participants:
Write and Whine
Hoshi to Sakura
Daniel I Weaver
Disturbing the Universe
Queen of Convolution
Virtual Tour de 'Net
Christian Fiction Review Blog
Yellow30 Sci-Fi: Review
Yellow30 Sci-Fi: Interview
Back to the Mountains