Tag: Mallic Robotics



March 29th, 2024 – Friday: 9:12 AM

Horace walked into Constance’s office after her assistant said she didn’t have anyone meeting with her. He brought her a mug of hot tea and set down a box of those same leaves she had asked about getting. They chatted for a bit, catching up on how each other were doing and recent projects they were working on. When he asked about the merger Constance explained that it was Gary that somehow convinced their rival company to merge with Mallic to create Mallic Faulkner Technologies.

“So, because of this the Hideyoshi account is saved. No one is loosing their jobs. We’re not just expanding to the full building, but gaining a second one altogether? Seems like hero work is really a calling for him. Quite the win,” Horace said with a set of raised eyebrows and a slightly surprised tone.

“I know you two haven’t really spoken since his secret came out. Is everything going to be okay? You both worked so well together, and I know he’s tried to apologize for not telling you sooner.

“Ms. Mallic, Constance, I realize that while not fact, we’re fairly certain he’s the Gryphon of Norwood. I’ve pieced together that when I found out about his having powers he would have still been listed as a Maverick. I have actually forgiven him trying to not make me the accessory of a crime when his hero work put him on the wrong side of the law.”

“Horace, have you told him that? I can absolutely be certain it would make his day. He misses hanging out with you.”

“Constance I am not sure how to approach him now? He’s now running his own division. Brandon and the lawyers were headed over to Faulkner Robotics to finalize the merger. Talk among the Dev’s and QA suggest he is going to help Brandon push the company into its future. I have an angle how to do that but I would like your help.”

Constance looked concerned yet interested in another idea the company might explore since Garrick was now in charge of his own branch, division, “Sure, let me know how we can keep growing and innovating.”

“Gary and I built a virtual worlds together in the Worlds Online system. His most popular server I run as a junior admin. The World is called Ecc’Thallia and governed by Dragon Lords. Perhaps you have heard him say the name Gizergleam?”

Constance nodded smiling at the times he would nerd on how great a job Horace was doing running the server. “Oh yes Horace, he’s geeked out about it plenty when things were slow.”

“Well, it’s a hobby of some Super Hero fan forums to look for the online personas of heroes, maverics, and villains. A number of Worlds Online identities have been scrutinized for possibly being real heroes. Our registered users has now topped 1.26 million and we have an average online ratio of 75,000 to 368,000 in any given hour! This happened Wednesday morning. Horace just looked at Constance for a few seconds before continuing. She appeared interested in where he was going but she gave nothing away. “So, I would like to propose Mallic Robotics buys his server. More importantly buys the second server as well. The other world is a hard science world server set a few decades ahead. It could be called Sci-fi, but what I know is that everything he tried out in Robot Swords franchise he tested on this server. There is even a very regulated A.I. on it called Cynthia Mark II. He said it was based on another A.I. he built for his father ages back.”

Constance nodded as he continued, “First, I want to lightly monetize the games and add more features. Second, I want to safeguard the science environment server because of all the Robot Swords easter eggs just littering the landscape. Third, perhaps we can release a replacement sci-fi world(s) where people fight as robots, or power armor pilots. Lightly monetized to make free play go faster. This one we would also make mobile friendly for a broader audience. We can call it: Gryphon Command.”

Constance considered this new project. More and more it seemed, Mallic kept branching out. How far could they stretch their expertise before they broke? She decided it could stretch this much farther at least, especially with the plans Garrick set in motion and the cushion those plans provided them. “How many Dev’s would you need to start this?” she asked.

“Two devs, two community managers with one focusing on social media, two concept artists, two digital animators. There are some software purchases we’ll need to make the work procedural and save hundreds of thousands in creation. That is all to run the enhancements on Gizergleam. Once we get that in the black then we can interject a small story arc where some future stuff falls from the sky. It will be our way to introduce and beta test the sci-fi world as a special adventure event. If sales go good perhaps 3-6 months we could increase staff enough to make make serious money for Mallic to offset Gary not working here directly anymore.”

Eight people! This would be a risk. But it was something she thought Garrick would agree with, and it would help to patch things up between those two. Then there was also the rub Constance saw, Garrick had played a large part of the success and now she had to make sure to match what he would come up with. Horace had a good and reasonable plan to deal with making a product that could be put to use. All they had to do was get Garrick to sell it.

“Horace, I like the plan and I will talk with Gary next Monday when I know he’ll be at the new office in Drummond. The condition for my help is you be with me when we have this conversation. Agreed?”

“Agreed,” they shook hands as a pending online video game product line took shape. Both talked about making a licensed game of Robot Swords, or whatever Brandon was going to work out in California when he left on April 12th.


Come watch the next game at: HippoTV!
Art either created or photo manipulated by: AZ_Artisan


When Will This Week End?

When Will This Week End?

March 29th, 2024 – Friday: 8:52 AM

As far as Gryphon knew everyone in S.A.V.I.O.R. had left off for their various destinations and city patrols. As he went to clean the dishes he used in breakfast. He overheard the Geist and Shorty #5 having a ‘Come to Jesus’ meeting about his activities last night. Gryphon knew that he would have to engage him during missions more to help him feel comfortable as providing situational intelligence updates, coordinating the bringing in of police, fire, and E.M.S. Perhaps, even finding a purpose he could get behind.

He checked his phone and it was just turning 8:58 AM. He sent and email to Brandon, Amanda Surges, and Constance Mallic about the hiring of a new developer at the Faulkner Robotics division of Mallic-Faulkner Technologies. He would be specializing in medical applications and language translations/communications. His name is Cai, and he’s a transfered intelligence in a robot body designated by Cai as: Caedechron. He noted that he was a new member of S.A.V.I.O.R. and any necessary paperwork would need to be drawn up. Since Garrick was going to be in briefly on Monday to see about Amanda’s three projects and their humanitarian counterparts. They could meet Cai and he, while on boarding their new developer with the company and a workstation. His starting salary would be $90,000 per year.

After he was an employee and signed the NDA’s he wanted to share with Cai his brainchild for ‘CPU Hive A.I. Networking’ as means to help him adapt to a non-organic body. Hopefully, they could try and figure out a way to see where Mason Douchegutt had stashed the organic dead one. Garrick had decided that preparing for a worse case scenario was prudent.

He also proposed a conditional project for biological cloning and/or synthetic skinned, android, transfered intelligence bodies for people that had been wounded critically and may not survive longer. The elite would pay but this could also allow M.F.T. to help out a percentage of cases for city workers and the underprivileged by economic means. His inspiration was clearly Cai. He was hoping to re-gift him with a synth-skinned body that would allow him to live as close to normal as once did. He ended the email with the quote he mentioned to Amanda as his new corporate email signature: “Our success will be measured not just in control of markets of technology, but equally in what we give back to the communities we reside in.”

He sent a text to Ramona about meeting for lunch in Century Station Memorial Park at 11 AM. He would bring sandwiches, some fruit salad, and soft oatmeal bars. She was welcome to bring the beverages and they could have a conversation that didn’t involve the craziness of last night. He added to bring a sweater because it might be chilly according to the weather report. Garrick made sure to pack an umbrella just to be sure. It did not take long to get an affirmative reply and she’d bring water and tea.

He logged onto the Discord server the Frauen Von Gryphon used and let them know that Ramona may have figured out he was part of S.A.V.I.O.R. Given she was there on the previous night at the Church of Reflections. She was, after all, his way to get most of the team inside without raising suspicion. He explained he was going to have lunch with her to find out if his identity was compromised with her. He also asked everyone their thoughts on him going public as the Gryphon? He asked them to think about it before answering. He closed the app on his phone and then made the call he knew had to be made.

Garrick called Nathaniel and got his voice mail, “Hey buddy this is Garrick, can I stop by the bar tonight and we can talk? If not tonight, maybe Saturday night? No rush, please reach out when you wish, Nate.” Garrick got the reply via text: [Understood.] Well, he’d made contact and at least Nathan knew someone cared. He sent an email to Col. Lightning about taking on Black Phantom if he decided to leave but still wished to do hero work. No sense in him needing to become a Maverick again. He explained the team loosing Jake earlier this very week had hit some harder than others. Also that everybody processes their grief at different times and in different ways.

Irons, so to speak, were in the fire on the issues before him. He checked in with Optimus and emailed Constance that the scripts for checking on the reactor had worked. Another message was sent to Master Nitobe that he was in the middle of a company merger at his day job and moving into a new house. He would like to begin showing up to the morning classes after the 8th of April so he could be focused. Not knowing when he’d be free, Garrick sent Geist an email about meeting with him and next with Richard and Greg about expectations and goals for the team going forward.

March 29th, 2024 – Friday: 9:35 AM

Finishing with the food he found a cooler and a plain white table cloth for the long dining table. He chuckled at the small eagle logo of Tecate Beer© on the side and smirked quietly quipping, “Be Bold!” Packing up everything he left knowing morning rush hour would be coming to a close right about now.

“Hey A.R.C.H.I.E., please make sure Cardinal knows where I am in case everything goes south, metaphorically speaking.”

“Sure thing boss, anything else?”

“Begin Recording: Buddy, we all fuck up at times for a number of different reasons. Watching us should tell you adults don’t always have the answers. Just know this one thing. If you don’t believe in yourself then believe in me – I believe in you to become what you want. Now go get it, and since I have not heard otherwise. Cardinal I would appreciate it if you could watch my six while I’m out. Archie can feed you my location from my comm unit. Gryphon out. End Recording.”

“Message sent just in case he asks you want him to watch from here, correct?”

“Yes please, A.R.C.H.I.E. thanks for your help.”

“Sure thing boss.”

He headed out before those that chose to stay or survived would return to help Beast deal with Dr. Wendell Moore. The person likely responsible for shattering the mind of the Beast whom appears to be strongly related to the Nightbane they met the previous evening. As he got in his truck and headed out. He got a text from the Geist about some of the items he asked about: [Once you get the funds from the new lease agreement I’ll send the routing numbers. The aircar will be parked on top of Jenga Tower on April 5th by noon. Shorty #4 should have a home in roughly 2-3 weeks after that. For now Shorty #5 will continue to live with you. He’s on probation at the moment. If he passes it then I will revisit the adoption. He’ll want to talk to you sometime today about a car you were offering to arrange for him.]

March 29th, 2024 – Friday: 11:03 AM

Ramona tried one last time to see if she could catch Garrick lying about an honest, polyamory relationship. When she was on her way making a call through bluetooth, HUD glasses that was paired to her phone. She called Ameera, whom asked, “Are you wearing any red, purple, or blue?”

“Wait, what?”

“Well, my handsome man called and mentioned he was having lunch with you. Did he by chance tell you about our special relationship?”

“Yes, but is he really seeing you and two others?”

“Yes, we all look out for each other and if he has a fault. It’s that he’s a workaholic. I heard there was quite the kerfuffle at your church last night. Are you doing okay?”

“Yes, I’m fine it’s just seeing him rush through a room to save people from gun crossfire. It was almost like he was a superhero.”

“Oh yes, did I mention he saved me and four of my friends from the Nine Lives shooting incident? It’s how we met, and for the record, he is my hero.”

“Wow! I’m almost to the park, but why did you mention the colors I was wearing?”

“Because if your going to try and seduce my man he likes blue with gold accents, purple with silver accents, and dark red. Have fun Ramona!” [CLICK] There was a hint of a giggling laugh as she knew the look on Ramona’s face being left with that information.

Her phone showed her it was 11:03 AM when the got to the park. Going inside the walls she found him sitting and leaning back against a tree reading a book on Haiku, Zen and the Art of reaching Inner Peace. “You know Ameera thinks you’re a workaholic, but here you are. In a park on a sunny morning, reading eastern poetry, and getting ready for a picnic. If you’re not careful a passerby might confuse you for someone relaxing.” She began to laugh and then he looked at her and laughed with her as he stood up.

“Let me set those down for you,” helping Ramona sit while he put the drinks down. As he sits and then makes lunch on durable paper plates. Garrick hands her the sandwich, oatmeal bars with fruit he cut up. “Sadly, the relaxing is an illusion. I am here till noon when I have to get back for a meeting at 12:30.”

“So I guess I’m on the clock then? So, you met Ameera at the Nine Lives club saving her from a shoot out. I can say for certain you don’t need a gunman to try and make this lunch memorable!” Garrick laughed and said he’s just trying to make it to Monday so he can begin moving into the new home. They talked about how weird last night was and Garrick mentioned he hadn’t really slept yet. “You look better rested than I do! Oh can you tell me what gym you go to?”

“Sure, uhh,” Ramona could see she caught him on a topic he was not prepared for. He looked at her, “Phantom Crossfit and Self-Defense. Although I am waiting to find out where he’s going to host classes next because he lost his permit for the current park he’s been using.”

“That’s cool, can you place an order for the same supplements you get so I can grow to way over six feet tall? Oh don’t forget the ones that let you shrink back down when you want.”

“Well, shit.” Ramona actually batted her eyes at him as he asked her, “Did I ever tell you my given middle name?”

A quizzical look came over her smug expression of victory. Garrick reached into his wallet and pulled out his driver’s license, “Please don’t say it out loud. Just read it, pretty please with sugar and honey.”

Name: Garrick Griffon Faulkner

“You used your middle name? Was there a time limit to come up with an identity?” She handed it back noting it still said 5′ 8″ for his height on there with a picture she was far more used to seeing. She was astonished she had not realized it sooner and she began to laugh.

When she made eye contact she finally saw the tiredness in him and she remembered the headline from the paper the day before about Jake Thompson, hero of Century Station. The news story referred to an event on Tuesday night. Corroborating online articles reference two large explosions in the upper atmosphere that match the time frame! Then Wednesday morning mere hours later there was the robot attack. It was said Gryphon saved his team, nearby buildings and civilians by flying a robot up into the before it self destructed! She followed all the Hero Watch Twitter accounts for the sub-districts in case the Gryphon made news.

“Does Ameera and the others know?”

“Yes, she was out with one of the others and they have had the delightful shock of watching me blow up. Ramona, being near me comes with some serious baggage. I just asked them their opinion of going public with my identity. I want you to think about that if you still want to be friends with me.”

He sighed, “I nearly died, in the church we did find a cult. I did get all the easy to identify innocents out. During that night though, I had to fight through the fear of being in that situation again. No one got hurt because of it but now I was elected to lead my team. I missed spending time with Ameera this week, no one gets scheduled time with me next week on account of the move. I am worried about being a bad boyfriend. However, I’ve had no time to deal or process watching a hero die to stop an alien invasion, nearly being blown to bits, and dealing with two other members of my team I had come to depend on leaving. I want to scream but I don’t get that luxury anymore as leader.”

His tone had never risen and he took her hands, “Ramona, that was all within the last seven days. So I guess I am trying to make you aware of what it means to be just friends with me, god forbid the inherent dangers that would come with anything else. All I want is for this week to just end. I love having friends, I love what my life is becoming, but this week officially blows.” Letting go of her hands he goes back to eating thrilled to finally get it off his chest to someone. The relief can be seen on his face as tension eases upon his brow.


Come watch the next game at: HippoTV!
Art either created or photo manipulated by: AZ_Artisan


It Should Have Killed Him

It Should Have Killed Him

March 27th, 2024 – Wednesday: After 3 AM, somewhere above Brisby Flats

Zeau was flying back to S.A.V.I.O.R.’s secret base in the Zericho sub-district. Gryphon had his faculties return after the blast, “Umm, is everyone okay?”

“Yes, had you not performed so well, the death toll would be much higher and several team members would be dead,” Zeau replied very even toned. He continued on, “Look, we need to make sure your brain is saved. I can’t stomach everyone if the collective intellect isn’t going to get much better.” Yep, Zeau seemed to have come through unscathed.

Gryphon felt his phone going crazy and he pulled it out since he didn’t have to worry about flying for himself. He saw the tweet of the explosion and signed in from his account @GryphonKnight and hit like, then retweet with comment: Owww. That hurt, but by the grace of the Shining Legion I’m healing. Apparently this tweet was retweeted by Chimera and saved members of Valkyries and Dynosaurs from facing one of these robots self-destructing. A member of the Iron Brigade was not so lucky and is in the ICU with is power armor completely annihilated! There was TV interviews with Tecate Beer’s spokespeople: Victor Valenzuela and his faithful friend Hank, the mutant horse! Gryphon recognized Hank, and wondered if Victor was the Rubber-Man he saw helping? Then his phone began blowing up as video from someone with the visual perspective of a shop behind him when he grabbed the robot went viral.

“…This is what we signed up for!” then he flies up wrenching the robot along for the ride. From above out of frame you can hear the KABOOM! The glow from the explosion fills the area as all the windows explode and the video ends. In his head, Gryphon suddenly heard Ashmadiel say quietly, with pride, “What you did was very brave Garrick Faulkner.” Internally, he replied, “This is what I promised I would do.” In his mind he could see Ashmadiel nodding with warm approval and admiration.

The video from the shop continues but pictures of all the heroes present begin making the rounds! The Tecate Twosome had their interviews and then began posing for photos as various spots where the battle happened. Occasionally, you could hear MC Hammer playing in the background from somewhere. Soon there was video of portions of the fight, from multiple angles! Many people were talking about how S.A.V.I.O.R. had been the last team to engage but the first to finish off their group of five.

He put his phone away as Zeau tells Cavalry over comm untis that they are coming in the jet entrance since he’s flying. The hidden doors opens and Zeau whisks inside and slows back down. Zeau helped him to the medical bay and handed him a classic gown to put on. When he was done and in the bed he brought him a blanket from a cabinet. A.R.C.H.I.E., the base artificial intelligence, explained he would monitor him and then update people as needed. Gryphon made him promise to wake him up by 8 AM so he could go to work.

After some time resting he awoke to a rain of kisses, opening his eyes to his blue haired beauty, Miss Amazing. “Oh my god your alive! Thank the maker!”

Coughing as Gryphon was still very sore, “Thank Ashmadiel, my guardian angel.” He patted the piece of armor on his right forearm. Katherine noticed he had a few EKG stickers on him that were blinking but nothing was penetrating his skin nor wired to anything else. A.R.C.H.I.E. informed her he has been healing rather actively, and she saw the panel that showed the readout of the sensor stickers. Katherine explained her panic when Geist and she saw the video with Arcadia. The aforementioned Atorian ex-empress was sitting in the community center with a nurse waiting for Katherine to see to her favored concubine. When Gryphon laughed his ribs hurt. The Geist stopped in at this point and remarked how brave Gryphon had acted. Gryphon replied, “Given everything tonight has brought, can you ask the next catastrophe to wait a few days?” The Geist laughed and said he’d see what he could do.

The Geist and Miss Amazing left as Gryphon laid his head back down and shut his eyes. A.R.C.H.I.E. had been making calculations based on data from visual inspection from the cameras. Mentioning that the blast should have killed him, Black Phantom, Covenant, Hank, the mutant Horse-Man and Tecate spokesperson. Then it would have leveled every building nearby killing anyone inside. It took Geist another five solid minutes to convince Miss Amazing to let Gryphon rest and go back with him and Arcadia.

March 27th, 2024 – Wednesday: After 8 AM

Shorty #5 was still at the base and had taken the day off. He was the first person Gryphon saw when he woke up from A.R.C.H.I.E.’s gentle prodding to get up. “Hey buddy, great to see you,” Gryphon said.

“Umm, yeah with Jake gone. I’m going to have to go back to high school. Oh an this suit will need updates and repairs. Please don’t leave me as well,” Shorty #5’s plea made Gryphon sit up.

“Aww, Buddy, I can call the school, I am going to let them know your grandfather died. Take the week off and let the others know. You all need sometime.”

Shorty wondered if Gryphon noticed he’d been lying about going to high school, “We had all been getting home schooled at Jake’s house. #1 still lives with Ethel, but can the other one come back for a bit?”

“Of course he can. I’ll talk to Geist about finding him a home. Then I’ll talk to him about training you if that’s what you still want?”

“Umm, yeah I want that. If Geist wants me to stay with him to train me then the other one can have my room?”

Gryphon nodded, “That’s certainly an option to look into. Great idea buddy!”

Gryphon reminded him to start packing for moving day on the 1st of April to Jenga Tower. Shorty #5 nodded and said he would be ready. Gryphon asked A.R.C.H.I.E. to show Shorty any games with educational undertones needed for hero work. Gryphon got dressed and took his truck to CF Robotics. He walked in the front door and asked for Amanda Surges since today was his first day as CEO.

Gryphon met with Amanda Surges and explained to her what happened with Jake and the new ownership of C.F. Robotics. Explaining that he is working on going public with his identity since he is a member of S.A.V.O.I.R, the group Jake consulted for. That CF Robotics was named for his father. He’s going to change it to just Faulkner Robotics. The company will be merging with Mallic Robotics under the corporation of Mallic-Faulkner Technologies.

Garrick the dreamer began to talk shop (still transformed as the Gryphon’s body), “Want build a laser to shoot an Atorian space cruiser? Do it and let Jim [Reader’s note: Jim is “Starbuck’s Guy”] make that government contract happen. Humanitarian project: figure out security measures for real world and online situations that publicly known Heroes can use to safeguard them and their families. Use the laser to cover the cost of the security developments and we solve Mayor Zardona’s issue with Mavericks coming forward. Use me as the test case.”

Garrick continued, “Want to build a futuristic, robotic A.I. house for the snobs on the Hill? Fine, but figure out a way to make a smaller, affordable, version for low income families that’s modular. Then we can help the disenfranchised of the city become home owners once more.”

“Want to make a rugged combat Android? Fine, just make a medic version and send them to tech heavy towns to help fire, EMS, and police save lives or team members in situations that would kill a human.”

Amanda was initially pretty visually upset when this information was presented to her. She didn’t act out but didn’t really hide it either. Curiously, Gryphon’s usual charm had zero effect on her – if anything, it made things worse. Gryphon noticed all this but continued along, choosing not to address it. In short order she seemed to arrive at some conclusions, muttering things like “Oh, I see,” “It’s like that then,” and “I’ll show them.”

Her attitude flipped after that internal dialogue and she soon appeared very happy to move forward under Garrick/Gryphon’s direction. He asked her to have plans ready for three projects by next Monday. She can pick two humanitarian projects but one of the three had to be the hero security option. Seeing that it was almost 9:40 AM. He mentioned he had to head over to Mallic Robotics to discuss the merger with them. He gave her his card so she could reach him as needed. He left her with what he thought would be a good corporate motto: “Our success will be measured not just in control of markets of technology, but equally in what we give back to the communities we reside in.”

Arriving at 10:10 AM he parked where all the employees parked and came in the front door. Checking his phone, an email had gone out saying Garrick would be out today. He chuckled at the receptionist upon entering and said, “It’d take at least two robots to keep me down.” Dressed in a Mallic polo he kept in his truck for moments like this, tan jeans, black work boots. He headed upstairs to see Brandon and Constance.

To say they were surprised to see him was an understatement. Novia said she hold any calls as Garrick, in his Gryphon transformed body, walked in and gently shut the door. He tried to start with good news, “Hey, I saved the Hideyoshi Motors account! In shitty news from last night Jake Thompson, the Hero of Century Station, died stopping an alien invasion. Once that happened I became the CEO of CF Robotics! As the CEO I would like to propose a merger and create Mallic-Faulkner Technologies! Geez, I thought this would be better received news! You both look either mad or shocked, someone say something you’re both freaking me out. Constance, did you hit your head?”

Constance did have a small bandage on her head. Brandon explained that since Constance and Ameera both live in Xenophan. After Ameera called her regarding Gary’s teammate, they both met up to hit a bar that would be open late because neither of them could sleep. Luckily, their bar was not one of the ones that had been attacked, but as they were leaving the area. They saw saw Gary as Gryphon fly up with the robot and EXPLODE! Constance tried to keep walking when it happened and hit her head on a lamp post and fell down. Ameera called Brandon since Constance drove and has been with them ever since.

“I.. I don’t know what to say, I..” Garrick looked really lost for words as Constance, still saying nothing, came over and hugged him so hard and wouldn’t let go.

“This is why I didn’t want you to date her!”

“Shut it Brandon, he’s alive,” angrily murmured Constance.

“Aside from my anger about that, thank you for your service.” Brandon walked over and hugged them both. Garrick could not believe someone said that to him! He became acutely aware of the fact he may have saved Constance and Ameera’s lives last night unknowingly. Since he was at the center of the blast he really didn’t know how big it was. He shook his head and told them both, “I need you both to let go and let me breath.” As they did a look of concern crossed their faces when he continued, “Garrick in my normal body would have died. In this body of the Gryphon, I barely survived and I can’t change back for another 14 to 16 hours based on how I feel. If I do change back to soon, then all the damage this body can take gets shoved onto my normal body. I would still die right now. In this body I can actively heal just doing nothing, nor do I need rest of any kind. Despite that I still feel very sore in certain parts.”

Garrick pulls his shirt up and they can see the burns that are still healing. Tucking his shirt back in, “I have so many things to work on but if you want to thank me then help me merge CF Robotics, now called Faulkner Robotics with Mallic Robotics under a parent company called Mallic-Faulkner Technologies. Brandon I need you to become CEO and Chairman of the Board for M.F.T. Constance will become President of Mallic Robotics and you can train Pavek the Romainian kid to do sales in your place. I will change my title to President of Faulkner Robotics and then no one at either company is put out of work! What do you say?”

“I’m in, you could have totally screwed us, made us work for you, but you saved everything. Thank you, Garrick, don’t get used to it. Anything else?”

“I’m working out how to go public with my identity to honor Jake and what he did for me, but there are a lot more people involved in that conversation. Both of you among them, however, that can wait till after I move into the new home. I am requesting vacation time, barring emergencies, until after the move from here.”

“Consider it done,” Constance said and added, “I’ll let your old team know they are being absorbed into my team.”

“Thanks, Honey.”

Brandon made a gagging gesture as Constance smiled and everyone laughed.

2nd Genius Lost

2nd Genius Lost

March 27th, 2024 – Wednesday: 2:30 AM

Gryphon stood there in Jake’s garage holding possibly the youngest empress of the six that presided over the galactic Atorian Empire. Arcadia, is how her name came out in English. Gryphon held her as she struggled slightly hearing the sounds of an explosion on the display setup connected to a rather impressive and possibly alien tech telescope, showing the brief flash in the night sky. The sound was brief and replaced by shrieking of Granny2Good calling out for her brother. Realizing he just sacrificed himself to effectively wipe out a third of the Atorian leadership.

Arcadia, or her old life as Empress Arcadia, was now dead. She’d been deemed a traitor by either an older sister, aunt or mother that had arrived in the final moments. That family member was now dying in an explosion of her ship and the one the other empress had arrived upon looking for her. Gryphon felt she didn’t need to have that visual remembering how seeing his father Cuthbert die in front of him as he tried to call for help and render aid at a similar teen age. While Ashmadiel had, he hoped, temporarily stripped him of his powers of flight until he could learn to trust his teammates more. He still possessed his strength which was sufficient to hold her with a single arm while he called Ameera.

Ameera sounded concerned when she answered the phone, “Handsome, I was so worried, the center said you had dropped off the food and headed back to work. I stayed and helped Ramona serve dinner hoping you might show up. Are you okay?”

“I’m fine, we lost a hero today. Saved a girl from prison on another planet, and I’m still processing right now. I will call you back when time permits later but hero work is what it is.”

Ameera what stunned by the mention of a death but steeled herself about her response, “Tell Miss Amazing to be safe as well and I’ll pray for you both.”

“I will, bye bye,” he hit the button to end the call and slid the phone away. Ameera at least knew that Katherine was not the one that died given his response. She called Constance to let her know she’d been in touch with Gryphon but someone near him on their team other than Katherine had died tonight. Gryphon knew the range was really impressive on the comm units and he tapped unit in his ear calling shorty. Since Shorty #5 was the one in the suit he was the one with the comm unit as well.

“Shorty, we’ll need to talk about what I wrote you, Jake sacrificed himself to save us and quite possibly the galaxy. Jake is dead. Yes, again.” Garrick told him to stay put and we’d be back soon. CLICK. Shorty #5 could hear G2G screaming and sobbing in the background. All this power and we couldn’t save him. Gryphon knew as Garrick that Jake had just given him and Mallic Robotics a new shot at life he couldn’t have hoped for. The Hideyoshi Motors account was saved in the long run.

Through his most recent adventure he’d learned that Patsy was still on this world for some reason? Without Jake’s gun he’d have to invent and inter-dimensional gateway to get her home. Why on the various Earth’s did she stay? Surely, the Wayfarer, would have been able to get her home by now. It couldn’t be because of himself, and then he was brought out of his thoughts.

The teenage Arcadia, with her triple mohawks and tattooed head was shaking. In, Atorian, he said, “It’s going to be all right. It’s going to be all right. It’s going to be all right. Hush, little baby, don’t say a word. Granny’s gonna buy you a mockingbird

And if that mockingbird won’t sing,
Granny’s gonna buy you a diamond ring

And if that diamond ring turns brass,
Granny’s gonna buy you a looking glass

And if that looking glass gets broke,
Granny’s gonna buy you a billy goat

And if that billy goat won’t pull,
Granny’s gonna buy you a cart and bull

And if that cart and bull turn over,
Granny’s gonna buy you a dog named Rover

And if that dog named Rover won’t bark
Granny’s gonna buy you a horse and cart

And if that horse and cart fall down,
You’ll still be the sweetest little baby in town.”

Garrick was hoping this would pull Granny out of her grief to help the now stranded and presumed dead, former Atorian empress. Garrick knew he had to honor Jake’s sacrifice. There was no doubt he had “haters” and people that would be willing to do him harm. However, he had to get details in place first to protect everyone else he cared about. He had to visit Amanda and find out where his new office was at CF Robotics was as CEO. The name would change but the house must be put in order first. Science would happen, humanity would have the means to become part of the galactic narrative after all.

He bowed his head for a moment in prayer, thankful in these interesting times he was not alone.

In his head, Garrick suddenly heard Ashmadiel say quietly, with pride, “Remember this feeling. You are never alone.” Garrick began floating then, his power of flight restored.

Reader Note: I don’t know where the lyrics for the lullaby originate.

The Scientist And The Swordsman

The Scientist And The Swordsman

March 24th, 2024 – Sunday

Jake had mentioned needing three days in our world to prep a way to stop the Atorians in the dimension Gryphon called Earth Three. Everyone came home in the first few hours of the 24th of March, 2024. Jake tapped Gryphon on the arm and said he wanted to talk on Monday when his work had a window. Gryphon nodded, saying he’d be available, he bid Granny2Good thank you for the lovely dinner. He then said his goodbye’s to all present, asked Katherine for her hand, transforming back to Garrick. Both of them heading for his truck to proceed home.

Katherine was quiet watching him drive on the way back to their home. He sat in the truck after their arrival and just whispered, “Dad, how would you make this right? I’m stumped!” He never even noticed Katherine go and come back with a mug of coffee that had the Transformer’s Autobot symbol on it. Shorty #5 knew something was up when Katherine asked him to find Garrick’s favorite coffee cup. He got the quick rundown about the other, slightly ahead, dimension that revealed something really screwing with Garrick’s psyche right now.

What had bothered Katherine the most was seeing the Gryphon taken down when he heard Mallic Robotics had gone under. She was worried for him and putting her concern about Patsy still being in this dimension on hold. When he finally laid down to sleep she could sense Ashmadiel whispering soothing things inside his head. The sword kept telling him to rely on his friends for aid and support. That they were partners and that means not letting the other down when things get rough.

When he woke up it was almost noon! He heard Constance say, “Katherine, he’s opening his eyes, let Ameera know she’s getting a new pot ready.” “On it,” Garrick heard Katherine reply.

Realizing he was half dressed, Garrick understood how awkward Patsy must have felt when she found out she’d been saved again. It was only a few seconds and he was FULLY awake! The woman he was worried most about leaned into view, “Honey, I love you, and Katherine gave me the rundown about you both going to another dimension! Tell me about what happened to us there after you eat something.” Garrick sits up to food and tea from Ameera. Katherine and Ameera sit and listen to his recounting of Miss Amazing’s and the Gryphon’s trip! Including the rundown of what 6 months in the future does to Mallic Robotics at news from that Geist of Earth Three. Garrick is careful to use “Hero identities” for Ameera and Constance’s benefit. Constance is troubled by the news regarding Earth Three’s Blake Masters. She kisses Garrick on the cheek as Ameera explains she told the Norwood Knights that today was dealing with personal issues.

Brandon arrived about 30 minutes after Constance calls him. Garrick gives him the thumb drive saying he knows these files are named identically to the naming conventions we use in this dimension. Brandon thanks him and said Constance made him a small script to check the names for matches and then to verify if anything had been copied to an external drive. Brandon thanks him for looking out for the company, him, and his sister. When he thinks everyone is busy he leans in, “Buddy, I don’t know what super powers you have but, Wow! oooOOOWWWWW!”

Constance is small next to her brother and hasn’t yanked his ear in a long time, “Brandon, don’t you have a company to save from corporate espionage thanks to Garrick? Besides the fact that the people with the information were trying to prevent another Alpha Prime moment. They also have a follow up meeting with him on Monday, so he’ll be off that day to make sure he doesn’t miss it. Oh, and brother, dear, you might want to take notes to avoid a third ex-Mrs. Mallic,” Brandon nodded as Constance let go of his ear, “Okay, oww. Well, provided Pavek had no part in this someone else is getting a promotion.” Brandon headed off to his office to run the scripts and verify whom was and was not involved.

Once things settle down Constance takes Ameera home and tells Garrick she’ll see him at 10 PM. Katherine sees him behaving more upbeat and asks him how he’s feeling. “Well, about average, Ashmadiel has been great about about reminding me I’m not alone anymore. All of you have been great about making sure there was a way through the fire I saw my life turning into once again. You were able to brace others for news that would wreck some people. Constance, is the best crisis manager I have ever known. Ameera has this soothing aura around her wherever she goes and I think Ethel and her must know the same stuff about teas. I forgot to thank you this morning for bringing me coffee, and being sweet enough to do so in a Autobot mug.” Katherine made a mental note Shorty #5 got one free pass in the future for something dumb because of his help.

When Garrick asked her what she wanted to do she paused and asked if he wanted to watch the Wonder Woman movie? Then she’d watch Transformers with him, he could even invite Shorty for the Transformer stuff. She watched him perk up and run down stair to tell Shorty #5. She smiles because it was the first night they really hung out like a family. Garrick even showed Shorty #5 how to toss pizza dough, make a mess, and do it two more times till they got it right. At 9:30 PM Garrick watched him go back down stairs with the last two slices and hit the next raid online. She finally understood his obsession with the Optimus Prime voice even if it was still weird. After he left she sent a text to Geist that Gryphon seemed better having rested. She sent another text to Constance he was on his way and just let her know he got there in one piece. She looked up about 20 minutes later to see the confirmation from Constance.

Constance, met him at the door in a long silk robe. She had him change into one and told him tonight they were going to relax and he was going to get rewarded for saving all her hard work from being used against them. Then she grabbed his chin, “So help me if I wake up alone tomorrow…” never finishing the sentence but kissing him.

March 25th, 2024 – Monday

Brandon fires Blake Masters first thing Monday morning after finding evidence that he transferred files from their system to an external device. Blake’s firing is loud and the police are brought in to escort him off the premises. Brandon opts to not press charges though, he creates a little power point presentation about corporate espionage and sends it out to the company. Everyone is required to click the link at the end acknowledging watching it. Constance and Garrick know that he had been planning on doing that until Garrick got back with the bombshell from his meeting with Jake.

When the Scientist and the Swordsman met at lunch time. Jake looked like what Garrick used to on the film sets. However, there was one noted missing aroma, the stench of various alcohols! The smell of coffee came from the flask this when Jake would partake. Jake explain the initials were a deliberate attempt to make Garrick think of his dad. While Jake didn’t know him he did admire how much he pushed science and therefore the collective intelligence of the human race. Garrick had become distracted from that goal by events in his life and he was here to offer him a top position next to Amanda Surges and Starbucks Guy!

He produced a document about excepting the position and Garrick mentioned he had not expected this direction! Jake had one goal, to get Garrick back to working on science and pushing the boundaries once more. Garrick was excited but loyal to the people who gave him his second chance when he needed it most. He hand wrote the addendum on the back of Jake’s copy and his. Jake and he both signed each one, stating Garrick would turn in his two weeks when there was an offer to buyout Mallic on the table. Later, Garrick made sure that part of the video had a copy off line stashed where he kept various other recordings. Jake explained using the Starbucks Guy to make sales they had managed to snag Mallic’s largest account. He was hoping this could be leverage that might make them amenable to the buyout. Garrick mentioned that by absorbing Mallic they could get the already up and running factory which would expand at the start of next month when he moved out. Jake told him when he came on board he could change the name to what he wanted.

  • Amanda would be the VP of Operations
  • Starbucks Guy would become VP of Sales
    • Brandon would work under him as a Director of Sales.
  • Jake mentioned wanting to replace the current H.R. employee because of outbursts. They both laughed but Constance could either work with Garrick or fill that role.
  • Garrick would be Director of Innovation and R&D.
    • In the event of Jake’s passing the title of CEO would pass to Garrick.

Garrick signed both contract copies and that point and so did Jake.

Constance listened to his proposal and watched him get passionate about how this merger could help in the long run, Mallic/Faulkner Robotics. When she brought up Garrick just went from wanting to divorce himself from Mallic to wanting to be a partner. He mentioned he was trying to make sure in the longterm survivability of the company and still help as the hero: Gryphon. Constance watched Garrick get passionate about trying to convince her – did he really not realize how seductive he was being?  She tried to distance herself from that by playfully chiding him about it, asking if now was really the best time for that? She’s deep in thought about what this means for them and how this could work. Mallic is still working to expand into the full building before the move begins on the 1st. She’d have to talk with her brother of course, but this has potential and she can see it working out.

In the afternoon on Monday, Constance finds out that Hideyoshi Motors decided to go with “Mallic’s cheaper competitor. It’s nothing personal.” Manufacturing Hideyoshi’s robotic parts was a large percentage of the manufacturing Mallic performed, and while losing it wouldn’t drive them out of business it would be a loss that is felt. Of course, this comes as no big surprise based on everything Garrick learned recently. Constance notes as she heads off to discuss the proposal with Brandon that they would not loose anything if they went with Garrick’s offer. When she mentioned this conversation might take time. Garrick said he needed to talk with precinct captain in Norwood as Gryphon about his 24-hr crime fighting marathon on the end of the month. They decided to make it up to each other tomorrow with lunch together before heading their separate ways.

Constance’s Day: 17-18th of March, 2024

Constance’s Day: 17-18th of March, 2024

March 17th, 2024 – Sunday 7 PM

Constance did not like feeling nervous and the house cleaning had just left with a big tip. Her Amazon Music playlist had been cycling through Call of the Deep songs. From when Glen Lee Danzeg and later his son Andy Lee took over the band. She had begun mixing in German Folk Metal bands in and classical pieces. Two years back the security had been upgraded by Brandon to record sound. Sam Strom had not realized Constance did not know when she asked him how he knew what ‘Gary’s’ music preferences were. She told Sam she’d never bring it up if he could feed her little tidbits of his music preferences. That was 6 months ago.

Constance found out something very quickly about Garrick and how he listened to music. When he had a task he would pick a song he felt inspired his work and then looped it for hours on end! She was certain this was how he pulled off 16-18 hour days in California. She’d also been making sure to Skype Ameera and Katherine so they heard about this. Katherine thought it was a weird quirk, but Ameera mentioned it was a modernized form of mantra meditation. Garrick likely did not know he’d found a way to meditate while working.

Katherine thanked Constance and Ameera for explaining what she had seen as odd or weird. That however reinforced Ameera’s thought that Garrick relaxes while he does activities. As long as he finds a song to meditate with. Constance instantly understood why he loved Call of the Deep! There were underlying beats that must resonate with him on an unconscious level. When she told Ameera she could kiss her for that insight. Ameera mentioned that they could do way more because they had all agreed to be in a relationship, approval was only required when adding someone new. Katherine nodded and said she surprised Garrick with a wild orgy night after the Papa Zombie take down. Constance had not really considered dating Ameera or Katherine, but thanked them for the clarification. Katherine mentioned she would obviously be welcomed when the next one happened. Currently, though, they were impromptu affairs and not scheduled. Constance made a crack about him not fatiguing anymore, and got a wink from the other two.

It was at this point Constance asked how old Katherine was because her friends for that kind of party were likely barely legal. Kat said, “Yeah, okay there were experiments that gave me powers and made me younger physically. The reality is that I could be all of your mothers. I am not telling you my exact age though, even Garrick doesn’t know. Well, if he does know he’s never brought it up. The single time it got brought up in mix company by someone else he said it was impolite to ask a lady her age.”

“The friends she brought over were all in their 20’s. I should know, I drove the car we all took. Good old Cuthbert Faulkner though – ‘My Dad always said it is impolite to ask a woman’s age’ am I right,” Ameera said. Everyone laughed at the dad reference and her imitation of Garrick’s voice.

All the ladies started to realize Garrick ALMOST NEVER discussed them to each other. The only other thing they all realized is Cuthbert Faulkner was a charmer whom knew what he was doing but Garrick always quoted, “This is how a gentleman should comport themselves. All you’re bringing to my attention is that my parents raised me right.” They all laughed because it was last shred of the Victoria Beach kid they could see in him. Ameera mentioned seeing a girl in the sword class getting smitten at the mere sight of him. Constance then told about them about a smattering of women and men that tried to date Garrick in California before he had super powers. It was that call they had last Friday morning (15th of March) that made her realize how much more about him she knew. She began pouring through old photos of the movie teams to see what he was wearing. Sam kept his word up about feeding her what he listened to and how long at a stretch.

During the company’s inter-departmental meeting on that same Friday. Garrick mentioned he had switched the focus of the A.I. composition from application building blocks to distributive hive mind. Hana Akaikawa’s self-assembling bot project began to soar in applications. One of the members on Constance’s team mentioned finally getting an elbow joint to direct the servo assembly arm holding it to the forearm piece on its own! Some sort of feedback in the connections caused it to fall apart shortly thereafter but it was quite a breakthrough! If it had mini thrusters that could be done in the field for real plug an play! Pedro Escobar and his sensor suite began to make use of miniature Raspberry Pi to perform distributed computing tasks in conjunction with the distributed A.I. H.P.U. (Hive Processing Units). Mia Schmidt asked him openly at the meeting in front of everyone, “Boss, why are doing super hero stuff? What you did here with networking and multi-processing theory is so far beyond what we know and are used to, it would take the industry decades to replicate and understand!”

Constance leaned forward along with many others, “Look, it’s no secret I did some really dumb stuff years ago when Daedalus went belly up. I don’t feel anyone would trust me to re-write the book on how A.I.’s think, or how to leverage CPU’s of differing physical and manufacturing architectures to perform the same way a RAID hard drive setup might function. However, Mia, once you have a firm grasp on Hive A.I. computing revisit your application building blocks as Hive enhancements. You see, everyone, I don’t just plan any of my projects with my goals in mind. I also plan them based on how my father would do it. He always said you can achieve every dream if you help everyone around you achieve their dreams. So I tried to find a way for you to study compositional networking not as blocks but as facets of a hived personality. Then add the applications as personality enhancements. When the baseline personality algorithms are gathered you will even be able to detect software flaws because the algorithms will detect enhancements that make an aberrant personality.”

Stunned along with everyone else, Constance had the epiphany that unless Garrick was following some hidden ‘play book’ he seemed to genuinely feel he didn’t deserve accolades. It wasn’t pity, he appears to have never forgiven himself. The room was silent in shock for several seconds by his explanation. Had he really been helping everyone achieve their goals because he had some kind of master plan that helped him achieve something he wanted? Brandon and Constance shared a look of ‘Yup’ when they realized everything he had agreed to help and work on, regardless of department, had been helping to further his back burning fusion project. All the while he tried to lift his co-workers up so they grew and felt appreciated!

Garrick pointed at Pavek, the young Romanian guy in marketing, “Pavek has caught on to what I am saying because he’s helped Blake with two projects that gave him the practice to skills to complete his own recent ad campaign pitch for Hana’s self-assembling bot. I for one love his teamwork ethic and see both Blake and Pavek as valuable resources for marketing. Bright futures ahead for both of them!” Pavek and Blake looked at each other in shock for different reasons! Pavek had thought Gary didn’t like him, but here he just praised him on multiple levels with examples. Blake had updated his resume this morning and here Gary, whom did superhero work as a ‘effing side job, was mentioning in a company meeting his worth and looking forward to seeing what he’d do next! How would he live up to this sort of pressure? Constance made sure she made eye contact with Blake as though to say without words, ‘Don’t waste the second chance.’

Garrick pulled out a tablet and proceeded to run down a short list of people who had been with the company since its earliest days. Then he turned it around and looked at Brandon, “However, if you had not seen something in each of these people and given them the chance to change and become part of something bigger none of us would be here.” Garrick’s name was on that list. He silently put it away and the meeting ended. After the meeting he asked Constance if she’d reach out to Horace and let him know he was sorry still, he’d stopped responding to his emails and nothing had come through saying he’d left the company.

Back in house she snapped out of her memories and saw the time was 8:05PM and he had said he could be early at 9PM today. Constance had gone shopping during the week after getting ingredients for dinner he’d asked her to get. She had new lingerie in his favorite shade of dark blue and gold lace. With a bonus set of dark purple with silver and black lace. She told him to dress casual as he might around his house because she’d not planned on dressing up tonight. She had wanted to see what he called comfortable. She’d found a black shirt with a silver fire stenciled design around the bottom with ripped, faded black jeans. She had a lot of questions she needed answered tonight for her own edification if she was going to see this going somewhere. When he texted her about how casual this night was to be she sent him a pic of her from the waist up, though only showing half of her.

She smiled at his reply, “OMG! My fingers are on fire from how hot you made my phone! But, where did you find a shirt with similar flame patterns as Optimus Prime’s paint job? Just wow! #NerdGoalsAchieved” Going through those old pictures was worth every minute she spent on them. It was the one thing she had on both Katherine and Ameera. Time. She was the one person that could prove Gryphon was as noble as he appeared because of Garrick and how he lived his life now. She spent the next 10 minutes debating the color of lipstick before laughing that Garrick would’ve commented about her working to hard at relaxing. She decided no makeup and sat and waited for the clock to tick down.

The last three times she had him over he went to work the following day each time as expected. She decided to fix that this time and had him listed as Paid Time Off. She also left word for her secretary to reschedule the two phone calls if Brandon couldn’t fit them in his day. When she had responded to her last email it was 8:45 PM. She checked herself over at least two more times to make sure the dark blue undergarments were hidden just enough to tease when she’d stretch. 8:53 PM her door bell rang and she felt her heart skip a beat!

She looked at the security monitor and wondered how he’d gotten more cut physically? He had a new messenger bag designed for maybe two 17″ screen laptops given its thick, metal plated nature. It was clearly custom made to remind someone that Optimus Prime might transform into a messenger bag. His sleeveless, racing, tank top had the words “Sleeves Are Bullshit” printed across the chest. He was holding a small wooden box though with Wax seals stamped on decorative red ribbons adorning it. That was curious and out of place. When she opened the door his jaw dropped and he almost looked like someone with nerve damage in his hands as they shook slightly holding the box. She could see some Japanese Kanji characters (先 居酒屋) on it but this was not a language she spoke or read without an app on her phone translating pictures of text via Google Translate. “Garrick are you okay? Dear why are you shaking?”

“Umm, I’ve never seen you dressed like that before, umm you look, wow! You’re hot! I almost dropped this and I was trying to catch it without crushing it.”

She motioned for him to come in and asked what was in the box? His reply made her jaw drop! Because it was 4 weeks or roughly a month he wanted to celebrate their month anniversary. It was also March and he reminded her they’d passed the ‘Ides of March’ which was the day they met for the first time in 2020. So he had called the Saki Bar where they shared their first dance together. The bottle of saki in the box was the last bottle of the private reserve Brandon had paid for from that night. He had them pack it in a special material and ship it here.

None of them, not a single boyfriend she ever had was this thoughtful with such a gift! She took the box out of his hands and set it on the counter only to turn back and kiss him and they embraced for some time. When she let go there were a few small tears. Garrick apologized he made her cry and she playfully smacked his chest calling him a big dummy. When she open the lid she saw the special packing material was a multi-colored assortment of Chrysanthemum petals! Her favorite flower! Then it clicked why he had her get the ingredients! He was about to recreate the dinner they had at the Saki Bar!

It took him a bit of time to get that done but by the time he was done it was roughly the same number of hours before they began dancing! Everything had been done to try and honor and remember their first dance! His phone began to play the same music that played that night over her bluetooth speakers. She would never let go of Garrick before, but now she almost didn’t care about the answers to her questions. Till the end of time she would be his no matter how that had to happen! As much as anyone could claim another person’s heart.

“Garrick, I think I love you and in the morning I will have to ask you some questions about us.”

Garrick nodded back, “Constance, now that I understand it better, I’ve only ever felt being “in love” or “heavy infatuation” for three people in my whole life. You would be the first chronologically of those three.”

“The other two aren’t hard to guess.”

Garrick tilted his head, “Until your statement I only had confirmation of one of them loving me back, the other one left and asked me not to pry. So I haven’t. I send a text once each holiday but never any replies. It is what it is.”

When they were alone he almost never uses another lady’s name. Constance was indeed surprised that Ameera didn’t appear on that list because she seemed very happy with Garrick. Sam mentioned an Arabic girl awhile back and has not brought her up again. Perhaps this is the mystery woman? She decided to focus on something else he said, “So you’re either “in love” or “heavily infatuated” with me but you can only legally marry one of us. Which one is it?”

“The one willing to sign the prenuptial agreement allowing both parties to pursue extra marital relationships as long as they are discussed and agreed upon by all involved parties. However, while I have my hopes, I am keeping an open mind and will wait at least until March of 2025 before entertaining any offers of marriage.”

“So no matter what you’ve no plans to cast any of us away should you find a partner for legal status?”

“Correct, my love for each of you is different but special to me, and I will forgo marriage to anyone if it jeopardizes any of you still with me at that time.”

“Garrick, I love you, my questions are actually answered.”

“I love you to Constance, thank you for accepting me as I am.”

The night ended in the perfect blend of metal, rock n’ roll, and love. Nerds basking in the soft red LED lights she’d programmed to come on with a remote to help set the mood that night. Call of the Deep playing in the background covering the sounds of bliss as the rest of the night fades to black.

March 18th, 2024 – Monday 6:30 AM

“Sweetheart, am I going to have to get you a leash? Just once I’d like to wake up with you.”

“Sorry,” Garrick replied in the middle of handstand pushups. There were two broken exercise bands next to his Optimus Prime messenger bag. He went back to counting repetitions, Constance grabbed his phone noticing it was unlocked at the moment. He looked up when the music stopped and Constance hit her remote starting the playlist she’d been working on.


“Nope, you finish your workout before you get your phone back. By the way I had you listed as a vacation day at work. You can thank me later, for the paid time off. You still have nine and a half weeks banked up after today!”

She bounded out of the room as Garrick went down the checklist of bodyweight exercises in cardio and isometric conditioning. It was 7:55 AM as Constance came back and set his phone down. With a sense of complete accomplishment she mentioned, “I have just completed my one month anniversary gift to you. Feel free to look at it when you have time, I also made sure it was uploaded to one of your secure storage locations.” She crawled up over the couch side to him in the purple lingerie with black and silver lace. “How do you feel about your vacation day? What do you want to do?” She sat in his lap and caress the side of his face.

It was 10:10 AM when the Garrick finish his second “cardio endurance” routine with Constance. “So, you wanna workout some more? ::cough:: Whew, that was fun,” she asked panting and giggling.

“If you want a trophy you’re the only woman that consistently out thinks me and I did not realize how much of a turn on that is for me. However, if I have the day off. I would hazard you took the day off as well?”

“I have, you ARE planning something in there, I’m excited.”

“Well, its been nearly 20 years for me but I’d love to see Disney World again. Their Animal Kingdom theme park in Kissimmee is only 130-140 miles away, so either a 2 hour car trip or 30 minutes on the Gryphon Express!”

“I LOVE IT! But car, definitely! I might want souvenirs that would get wrecked at over 150 mph and me trying to hold on to them. Let’s shower and go!”

March 18th, 2024 – Monday 8:30 PM

Garrick marveled at how wonderful the day had been with Constance. It was the only time she let him take selfie pictures with her. She surprised him when they got there with a multi-park VIP tour! He thought she was checking things or work on her phone, but she had been chatting with their sales team and paid for them to see the Magic Kingdom Park, EPCOT, Blizzard Beach, and the Animal Kingdom. He chuckled to himself that he never made it to the Animal Kingdom once again. Garrick had a small victory at Blizzard Beach when he was able to get them bathing suits before it had hit Constance that they would need them. They were Micky and Minnie faces embroidered on them and they were both yellow, but hey totally worth it. Constance was so warm and affectionate as the day wore on and he stunned her twice that day.

First, when they made it to EPCOT and park worlds of tomorrow he was able to communicate with EVERYONE in their native language! He took so many pictures for families. Even their tour guide was astounded with him commenting to Constance more than once how incredible his language skills were. Second, was the reason they never made it to the Animal Kingdom. Garrick had actually noticed two security personnel speaking with a Puerto Rican family outside the water park. Constance and the tour guide noticed he had stopped and was listening. When he began to walk over he started speaking in Spanish with the correct accent and subtle dialect changes to almost appear native.

Garrick in Spanish: “I’m sorry to hear about someone stealing your purse I am sure security will catch him.”

Crying mother: “My kids and I lost our tickets and we were headed to the Animal Kingdom. Their parking was full and the attendant said EPCOT had parking. So I thought we could take a shuttle back then this happened. All of my stuff, phone, wallet, its all gone!”

Garrick in Spanish: “I can help if you’d like?”

Crying mother: “How? Are you some kind of superhero? You going to fly and catch the guy?”

Constance, whom knows Spanish like her brother, looked worried he may reveal his hero identity at this point and their guide had walked over to speak with the security.

Garrick in Spanish: “Well, you don’t have to be super powered to be kind.” Walking over taking off his lanyard with the gold access pass badge on it. He kissed Constance and removed hers and said, “this is why you love me.” Going back over he got the two security and his tour guide’s attention.

Garrick in English: “We still have up to 90 minutes on our tour correct?”

Tour Guide: “Yes. Indeed you do.”

Garrick in English: “If I give these passes to those two kids, do you think the park would be willing to let their mom come along for the ride and they can have the last leg of our tour as VIPs?”

Tour Guide: “One sec.,” he taps an earbud in his ear and then waits about 15 seconds, “Yes, absolutely, we would love to see the magic of your generosity and I’ve been granted extra permission to be their guide for the remainder of the day. The park would like to offer you…”

Garrick in English: “No, whatever you’re going to offer to me just give to them.” He gestures to the family, “My girlfriend and I did it to be nice to folks in need, not for a reward. If someone can just take us to our truck? We can leave knowing how magical Mickey’s Kingdom really is.”

The tour guide and security were taken back as he knelt down and put the gold badged lanyards around the kids necks. Constance walked up to Garrick and was blindsided by a huge hug from their mother thanking them both. The kids began jumping up and down thanking Garrick. The tour guide had them group together and took a picture of everyone with all the phones provided. He got them to sign releases for it to go up on the a community article for Disney World’s public relations page. One of the security got them to their truck and as they were getting he stopped them to say they caught the purse snatcher. Garrick smiled and told him good job to everyone involved. Everyone waved as he drove off and Constance got to be a part of the making someone’s day special she’d never met before and likely would never meet again.

As they were driving back she hit the dash button to lower the center console making the front seats into a bench seat. She laid down and put her head on his leg and stroked his knee. Her bag of souvenirs resting on the passenger floor. ‘Oh,’ she thought enjoying this blissful car ride. When they got back it would be about 9:40 PM. Knowing the day was almost over was the worst feeling! All of the girls had talked about how they felt knowing their time with him had finite endings. At least she knew she’d see Garrick in passing and during lunch at work tomorrow. Brandon had asked her to try and keep their romance on the down low.

“Well,” she said said softly, “you were right about why I love you, honey. Check your phone out before you leave and let me know if my gift works for you?”

“Sure thing Constance, umm, is honey okay to use for you as well?”

“Sure, why not, honey can be our word. Oh when you have about three seconds to spare look down,” she’d moved to be completely on her back so she was looking up at his chin.

When Garrick finally looked all around on road he said he was going to look down. What he heard made him blush as heavily as when he realized the gift of her recreated Playboy shoot on his phone. That barely started to fade when he met Miss Amazing for patrol. Laying in her bed, Constance, would not forget the starstruck look in his eyes when she told him, “I’d sign the pre-nup right now.”

Come watch the next game at: HippoTV!
Art by: AZ_Artisan


Trembling Hearts

Trembling Hearts

Sunday – 11th of February, 2024

Nicholas, wait a second,”

Professor Nicholas turns back to the blue haired woman approaching him in Everette College sweats to hide her outfit underneath, “Yes, Katherine?” He’d just taken off his long coat and put it in his trunk and was buttoning his blazer over the vest he wore as Zeau.

“Please don’t hold it against Garrick. He was with Jake, and we both know he’s crazy enough to steal a starfighter.”

“Well, there’s two positives I can deduce from this. A) You should be happy to know that when he thought “you” might be in danger he came for you, just done smarter. B) We can both take solace that he referred to “us” when he mentioned Jake and Granny2Good. Therefore he likely came with the rest of the team, and learned from running off on his own, he can be taught.”

They both chuckle at the last part and mention they’ll catch up again soon enough. Katherine heads to her Smart Fortwo car while Nicholas heads back to the get some work before heading home. He came for me!” She kept saying all the way back to home. She realized as she was pulling into the fenced yard that she just called Garrick’s place home! It had only been two days but it had felt like an eternity since she left him on Friday.

Swiping her badge, the familiar click of the unlocked door, and she pulls the door open to head inside. Her eyes adjust quickly as she bounds across the ground floor avoiding the numerous workout machines surrounding the training mat. There he is, her boyfrien…
…why is that half-dressed bitch kissing her man? They make eye contact and her anger is mounting visibly on her face. “Garrick, thanks it was a wonderful time…,” the half dressed woman walks away seemingly unconcerned about her potential nudity! Katherine’s eyes dart back and forth between Garrick and the slut whom is about to die.

Pointing at the woman walking away Garrick exclaims, “That’s a man!”

Black Phantom in the process of taking off some of his gear begins to laugh, “Yeah, that’s so much better!”

Just then the woman in the torn clothing is nearing the bathroom as her hair changes color, she bulks up to 6′ 7″ and grows and extra set of arms! A second or two later Katherine is staring at the Beast. Her angry expression melts away to confusion as Garrick points again, “See! I told you its a dude!” Black Phantom smirks as he heads over to Jake and they talk about some of the items picked off the deceased. Garrick can’t stop starring at Katherine’s new blue hair. In his mind he is wondering how hair color makes her look even more amazing.

Garrick remembers the usb stick and he inserts it into the table and grabs one of the tablets plus four of the eight monitors on the data pole at the table’s center. Aside from the documents dictating a disturbingly clear plan to mind control students through these psychology experiments. Katherine hugs Garrick when she sees that! Covenant and he explain the cops have all of it because these the are copies of the laptop files Garrick made from his house. What they found next was shared with everyone! It would appear there’s a figure of apparently unknown repute to our heroes. This individual is selling powers to people that can pay his price! Apparently, Dr. Crosby acquired his power of mind control from the individual only known as “The Dealer” to their clients. Katherine then leaned over his shoulder to read along as her blue ponytail fell down into his peripheral view. Everyone got the hint when the next sentence Garrick blurted out was…

“…I REALLY like blue!”

Garrick’s face turned eight shades of crimson, a fact Katherine did not miss and she whispered, “Boy, you sure are hot mister G.” Ad-libbing a line from a cartoon character she had seen once, many years ago. Bounding off upstairs leaving an even redder face Garrick to awkwardly bid everyone a wonderful day but he had some “research” to work on. The Shorties had already disappeared into the basement and the online world of Gizergleam and Worlds Online. After Garrick saw the last guest off he walked into exercise mat and floated up towards the second floor catwalk balcony. He found Katherine sitting on his bed and he asked if she was okay?

“I’m sorry I worried you, your thoughts though weren’t hard to read. I was worried my actions brought me back to the attention of the organization I’ve been on the run from, so I left to find out what happened to me and make sure nothing bad happened to my Garr-Bear.” Katherine shakes her head for a second, looking into Garrick’s mind she’s caught off guard by some of his more lewd thoughts as to why he thinks he likes the blue hair so much. She waits for a few seconds he apologizes being distracted by the fact somehow she got even prettier!

Katherine told him she got Zeau involved because as a teacher he’d be able to help her on campus. “Garr-Bear, please don’t be jealous though! There’s no room in my life for another man, so please don’t think that I would be cheating on you!”

Katherine saw the amorous look drain off his face and one of concern replaced it. When he called her ‘Baby’ though, there was a quiet confidence he’d not displayed before. “Look, you’re my first girlfriend at 27 years of age. However, as a scientist, I tried to study any relationship I could identify in hopes of making me a better husband one day.”

When Garrick said ‘husband’ looking her in the eye she saw a silhouette of her in a gown in his mind. His face grew older in her perception of its features. The vision of her was gone replaced by what she could only describe as a modern scene of Sodom from the bible! Naked men surrounding Garrick and taunting him from the shadows with gestures ranging from wholesome to extremely lewd. He continued, “All my previous experience in relationships comes from watching inmates in relationships. I don’t feel the being gay is a factor actually. I saw monogamous couples, harem styles (though slavery might be a better term), poly pairings (3-way groups or “V’s”, quads or four people), straight up internal prison prostitution. What I took away from that was sex was not just for love.”

Katherine saw that act as the highest form of love between a couple. She felt so sad understanding how shattered Garrick’s heart must have become from his every loss he’s suffered. Maybe he’s forgotten how to love so he’s grabbed a bit from wherever he could find a morsel.

“It could be just a stress reliever for a bad day, it could be a commodity, and it could be done between friends and never lead to anything else.”

Couples used it to deepen their own commitment to each other, and he thought of it as a handshake option!? Only pimps and whores used it as currency! Oh my did she have her work cut out for her! Then there was the erotically charged poetry and harlequin romance novels he read in prison. Oh dear god what did he consider a “hall pass” to be? Katherine had envisioned him getting drunk for certain and sleeping in, but she was starting to see how different his frame of reference was.

He continued, “The simple trick was being completely honest about each of your expectations and checking in with your respective partner or partners to make sure everyone’s needs were being met.”

Did he just reduce an intimate relationship down to a therapy session with result updates? The concepts he’s proposing are good but can be applied to any relationship. He’s obviously never had a caring monogamous relationship since she was his first. If he’s an honest scientist then time with her should make him reassess his views! A plan began to form in her mind.

Onward he went with shocking revelation after the next, “Hypothetically, if you had wanted to have sex with Nick / Zeau I would have a few requirements:

  1. We all meet and know each other a bit better.
  2. Make sure he’s okay with the fact I would not be involved due to my hang-ups.
  3. You’d let me know when you’re going and coming home, especially if it was overnight.
  4. We spend some time afterwards just so we make sure our feelings as a couple don’t suffer and don’t get brushed under a rug.
  5. That we both would study and work on “ethical non-monogamy” to make sure honesty, trust, compassion, and love are the cornerstones of our relationship. Which I feel is good advice for any type of couple or pairing.
  6. If you chose to pursue that I would likely find another person in my spare time for a friends with benefits relationship, because no one could replace the feelings I have for you or ever take your place in my heart. You can bank on that.

She pulled him close and hugged him realizing that her anger was really placed on those that had violated him. It was becoming clear to her that since the torture and rape was in regards to his sword. He may not even know to be on the run from the people in Black Phantom’s vision regarding the Wayfarer. Garrick had said many times to her that he was broken and why would anyone want him. She can tell what he is thinking and therefore should be able to mend him better than anyone else. Certainly better than Patsy, the horrible-house maid, Palmer. She envisioned him as a Kintsukuroi project that had just begun!

They lay down just slept, wrapped up in each other.

9:00 PM

They woke up about 90 minutes prior and began to get dinner together and trying to talk about non-superhero related things. Garrick has one of the eight or so white boards (a couple were transparent) normally in the basement up in the kitchen and would jot down notes about a micro reactor while he was cooking up food for them both. She felt things were starting to get back to normal, so she felt if she read his mind while asking him a question she’d see his thought process at work as he answered. She expressed the hope that Garrick’s hall pass the other night to have a fun night out with the group without her went better than her night did.

Garrick was honest about about how much he had fallen for her even farther than before. That she trusted him with no restrictions for an evening and then come back to her! Katherine now understood what he considered a “hall pass” for certain. When he talked about getting drugged she was watching most of his thoughts were on a man named Thad, but when he added the parts about the group telling him their experiences her thoughts went to the bar staff. It was the only common factor in all the drinks.

Then she learned about his conversation with Stefania as she watched and he charmed her even though he mentioned he had a girlfriend! Apparently when Garrick mentioned he had not had the exclusivity of their relationship stated she pressed on getting to know him. This girl reminded Katherine of a younger, hotter version of Patsy! Then she hears the gunshots as Garrick remembers it. She sees Garrick launch into armored Gryphon and begins saving Stefania and her friends. She can see everything skewed and knows he is in fact high based on the memory images that come as he goes through each detail he is straining to get right.

Then she finds herself trying to not show the body movements as Garrick describes the feeling of being touched. As Katherine sees the colors and trembling reminders in his mind he’s got to be a hero and not screw anyone! He didn’t want to violate his prior promise of insulting Katherine regardless of the “hall pass” gift. Oh my god! He considers the hall pass and ability to fornicate outside the relationship an item that can be a gift? She had never intended for him to get a coupon to a whorehouse! Once at Stefania’s house she gets the full run down as Garrick struggles to remember the details. However, to Katherine it was like reliving a nightmare because it was becoming painfully clear he did not associate sex with love in the slightest! He wasn’t even jealous of Zeau because she could still pick up thoughts he never felt he was good enough for anyone! That’s why he just assumed anyone interested in him would always seek a second partner or more to become satisfied!

What did she have to do to show him he was enough for her? After dinner she said she needed to sleep and she went into the other room on the second floor and shut the door. She just didn’t know how to tell him how painful everything he had said was. Katherine was worried because she couldn’t sense or see any falsehood about what he discussed. His tact though and his delivery was almost to factual. She was worried he might hold back in the future if he knew how hurt she was. That her efforts to please him physically were not associated with how she loved him.

Love. It was the first time she had really said it regarding him. Did those college girls think it was fun to take advantage of him? Did they even think of it as consent or not consent? Given his time in prison did Garrick think this was the way it worked or did he even feel taken advantage of? His father was gone most of the time and if he didn’t follow Cuthbert around by founding Dalus Dome. He’d have to endure countless attempts by his sister, Adeline, trying to kill him. Reading his mind he had tried to set boundaries to make sure he didn’t do anything wrong, however, his boundary was the moment something went inside another person regardless of location. Anything else up to that point was considered fair game! She began to loop her thoughts in a raging cyclone, crying and eventually just screaming until hoarse. It was midnight when she fell asleep.

Monday – 12th of February, 2024


Morning, she open her door and walked into a streamer of 3M clear tape. Thinking about which Shorty was about to die! She untangle herself and walked into a folding chair and square matching table. There was a number of plates with covers on them and a folded card. Hand written on the card was: 8:53 AM – Eat or refrigerate by 12 AM. Your Boyfriend <3. She saw that everything was food she told him she like during breakfast. She saw the bedazzled cased Pearphone X she’d given Jake to fix was on the table! Looking back at the tape a folded paper was on its end with a double sided note.

“Kitty Kat,

It’s hard for me not to be self deprecating if I feel I screwed up. I cook, however, the burrito place says hi and that’s where the flan came from. They told me you get it on your cheat day. I went out on patrol last night. I also wanted some time to think, and I feel I owe you an apology.

At first I thought the “hall pass” was your faith in me to do whatever and then come home to you! I was elated beyond words! It is the reason I let things go as far with the girls because not long after being there. My sword had purged me of the drug in my system. I (this was my mistake) assumed you read my mind all the time because of your ex-husband. I’ve been wondering for some time how heroes that lie about their identity maintain a relationship? Maybe being polyamorous was a path to making that work.

Full disclosure, I often don’t think I’m enough to make such an amazing woman happy. After all if you take the sword away I’m just a nerd. My father and Jake are the real geniuses. As my sister would say I’m just a poser. A perfect example of this was not having any clue you were in to me. I was fine just being friends with you. You were as amazing to me as you are beautiful so I was not surprised when I screwed up sharing to much. Not including Patsy my only social experience after prison was work. The two owners of Mallic are brother and sister, with the Sister seemingly interested in me. I have not gone after that for three reasons A) we work together B) my superhero side job has made her brother ask me to pick her or it C) the most recent reason is I have strong feelings for you.

Before my mistakes that landed me in prison I designed and built structures to end homelessness and work on other worlds! Now I suffer from impostor syndrome. I push myself at work and hero stuff because I feel like a fake. I’m no knight, there’s no damsel to save that won’t see me as a broken failure in the light of dawn. Look, you scare me because without your instruction I wouldn’t really understand “practical knowledge reference” for how to please any woman. Watching porn is like reading books, it only goes so far. Every day I am waiting for the other shoe to fall. You’ll read my mind see something about me so broken fixing it would be a waste of your time and you’ll move on. Three times now I have been trying to work up the courage to say something to you and failed. Failed myself and failed the affections you’ve placed on me.

When I saw the black outfit, I thought you had given me the “hall pass” to distract me, for a second time. The first time you lied to me when you and Patsy had your confrontation. I was mad at being lied to for what I thought, at the time, was the second instance. Ethel pulled me out of my prison defense thought process. She made me think, why was being lied to hurtful? If Jake’s bomb, big enough to be larger than WINSLOW, and Ethel nearly setting it off because she had forgotten patience and innocent lives matter more than ours. I would’ve found a dark corner and probably given Adeline what she’s been wanting since my mother died.

I still don’t understand why you like me but Ethel’s lesson has got me trying out the real side of my appearance more. I fear that trying to make use of the “Hall Pass” was what I feared, a test. I should have never gone that night but again my social cues are so fucked I let you down.

I know I don’t deserve forgiveness, but for what little it’s worth I am truly sorry if I hurt you in any way.

…sorry I was dreaming again.

With a heavy, trembling heart, apologies,


Her first class wasn’t until noon today as a senior in high school. She ate the amazing meal and noticed a text appear on her phone. Apparently, Garrick had to work late on a special project his boss was flying out to California for. There were a bunch of pre-made meals he always did for the Shorties and now her in the refrigerator. Between that and his Tuesday visit to the Giving Tree, Garrick didn’t think he was going to see her much until Wednesday morning.

When she went into Garrick’s bedroom to take a shower half of Garrick’s stuff was placed or folded neatly on his bed. A note on the empty side read: Making room for the most important woman in my life. -Garr Bear. Katherine was still out on how she felt so she got ready and headed off for her classes. She stopped at the burrito shop and picked up a Horchata rice drink. While she was in there she saw an incredibly handsome man sitting there talking with another person and both were wearing Mallic Robotics embroidered polos.

Sam, I know you must have seen that fucking fraud in his superhero outfit.”

Blake, you may not like Gary but language, please,” gestures at Katherine, “I have daughters myself, please.”

“I’m sorry, Sam, but come on you’ve had to seen what Maverick he is, tell me and a single call to the cops and he is gone! No way he’s a legal hero.”

“Blake, is that why you took me to lunch?”

“Look he’s ugly and to smart for his own good, he’s an ex-felon! Once a felon always a felon.”

“Blake you could say once a butt, always a butt,” Katherine giggled at Sam’s rebuttal.

“Ha ha, so really whom is he?”

“Blake are you daft? Gary is the reason I have my job and your director says he fought for you in the lead marketing job. You hated him then and he put his ego aside knowing your talents at your job were better than Pavek the Romanian kid.”

“Sam, I’m just looking out for the company! I saw the interview his sister gave replay on YouTube..”

“..Blake, it was ten years ago and his father died, he was not the only one to loose everything when Daedalus went offline! His project could have replaced it one day!”

Katherine was not fond of Blake at this point.

“Sam, have you seen him in his stolen hero gear or not?”

“Only what you have seen, Blake.”

“No way, I can’t prove it but I don’t believe you, Sam!”

“Blake what the heck is the bug up your butt about Gary? He’d give you the shirt off his back! I’ve known him for two years and no one works harder, cares more, or gives more of himself than Gary.”

Novia, dumped me the day he showed up at work all changed!”

“Blake, Novia, told me she caught you banging a stripper!”

“Who cares, I’m hot and it was just a stripper!” Katherine just got up to grab her drink when she heard Blake expound that. “Sam, you can only love a troll like Gary the way you love a smart puppy.”

“First, that stripper was someone’s daughter. Second, you’re pissed because Novia, whom couldn’t walk without help. Had been given that ability because the ‘troll’ whom has a bigger heart than Shrek, built her a new leg she has proof of you complimenting on style and beauty. That was done by Gary, so yes she is inclined to have fond caring for him, she dumped you for cheating. Third, Gary’s into some other girl not Novia.” Blake looks perplexed and Katherine begins to take her time picking out a straw and a napkin. “I’ve seen the Arabic girl move out and a blond girl, a hot blond girl I might add, move in. There’s no reason to hate him. You’re being ridiculous because you won’t accept Novia left you for being a butt!”

“You’re drinking the Gary Kool-Aid, Sam, wake up he’s a fraud.”

“You’re an idiot Blake, he gives charity once a week! He works harder than everyone at that office.”

“Charitable people are to stupid to make the world work for them. Nobody cares about their neighbor anymore, they care about how to make themselves better off than everyone else around them. It’s how humans judge their self worth – oh my life doesn’t suck as bad as that guy!”

Sam looks at his phone, “ahh crap, that’s Constance, Brandon gave Gary another monster assignment he’s trying to get done in a day!”

“Aww, who cares how wrecked that mule gets! I’m the one that makes that hack look good. Marketing is everything, spin is king! Coders are a dime a dozen.”

Sam shook his head and walked out Katherine followed behind him among other patrons leaving. He makes a call as he gets out to his car, and Katherine starts to head out but maintains line of sight. A few seconds later she skims his thoughts to find out the call is to Brandon about the lunch meeting with Blake. The large project is actually just getting his week assignments in early so he can take Valentines Day off. Brandon just made it seem like he needs everything by close of business on Tuesday for a trip to California. Brandon hopes Constance finding out he’s in a real relationship will make her stop fawning over him. Sam mentions the hate and Blake being dumped by Novia. Brandon sees it as simple jealousy but the legal concerns of employing a super and having that super retaliate against a normal person is a legal nightmare. Sam asked how can Gary put up with it and is told Gary said it really wasn’t anything new for him. If they let Blake go it will have to be completely devoid of any connection to Gary. The call ends and Sam gets in his car and heads back. Blake walks out and Katherine snaps a photo of him and leaves.

Garrick has never told her what he goes through at work, and she realizes he’s never talked about his job at all. He is trying to plan something for Valentines Day and not lie to her, hmmm. She made it to school when she realized how much about his day he never shared with anyone! Her anger was starting to ease up because he appeared to be trying to get his life situated around her and not other women now. School went as most days do, Shorty nodded at her in the hallway, she’d flip him off but wink, and then she’d avoid everyone as much as possible. When she got home all of her laundry was ironed, folded, and put away in the various spots of his room he had made space for. There was a new Optimus Prime figurine in the bathroom holding her tooth brush on the sink. Notes were taped to the fridge about food for Shorties and food for Kat. She broke down and sent him a text asking if he needed anything because it looked like a late night for him. His reply made he choke back some tears.

Nope. Well, if you can some how teleport in here so the door access can’t tell, then become invisible so the cameras don’t see you, and snuggle the crap out of me while code compiles. Well, now my heart feels warm so thanks for being so quick! #Kissyface.

Tuesday – 13th of February, 2024: 4:30 AM

Garrick’s room was dark broken only by the neon blue glow of various electronic buttons. A preprogrammed text has left a message on Garrick’s phone that it was sent and delivered at 12:02 AM. Kat didn’t know why she woke up, but her eyes had adjusted well to the very dim conditions. When she tried to move her head something was snagging her hair prohibiting her. Turning to find out what, she realized Garrick had taken a handful of her hair and pulled it to his nose, then fell asleep. Nothing of the rest of him was close enough to touch her. Slowly freeing her hair she sat up and looked at him. He was in boxer briefs and his normal form. Now when she saw the scars on his back she knew exactly how they got there. On his back was the disfigured skin from the glowing hot threaded rod drug across his back. There wasn’t an arm or leg free from scars and when she touched one there was a flash of mental images of her grabbing Garrick and pulling him out of a nightmare on to a beach for dinner!

She could see his chest heaving as he rolled on his back and his arms went to his sides fingers pressing in so hard in clenched fists they were white and noticeable in the dark room. She reached out and read his thoughts and got and image of a shadowy ten year old girl speaking to a handcuff Garrick:

Don’t wake Katherine, you already hurt her.
Don’t wake Katherine, you don’t deserve her.
Don’t wake Katherine, you don’t deserve anyone.
Don’t wake Katherine, no one loves you.
Failure, Murderer, Fraud, Brother.

She snapped out of his mind as he sat up lightning quick cold sweat bleeding out of him. She found cover behind the bed canopy supports against the wall. He touched where she had been laying, “Oh thank god that was part of the dream. She must be in her room, it was so vivid though. I could smell her.” He sighed and walked over to his large table tapping the screen and letting it log him with a face scan, “I have not dreamed of Adeline in a long time, I am scared of her finding out about me but I know becoming sponsored is the right thing to do.” He stripped naked and walked to the shower turning it on and getting in. “How do you ask her if she wants to be exclusive and not sound dumb? It is bad enough you got the “Hall Pass” test wrong. Your boss knows your in a relationship and he knows whom to slip that to in hopes that anyone at work will cool their jets. Tonight, let Ramona know that he can be friends but that’s it. Already let the only fans I have from the bar know it’s exclusive. Now I just need to hear her say it to confirm my adjusted hypothesis is correct.”

Katherine left the room and got dressed in yoga pants and a shirt. As the automated coffee finished, so did the shower. Garrick came out dress in tan slacks and one of his company polos, “Good morning, your up early and a wonderful sight. Oh I can wait if you haven’t had coffee yet?” Katherine realized at that moment how often he put on a happy face for everyone. She left a stern face on but smiled briefly trying to not act like she had gained a bunch of insight into him, “To be fair, I did not completely communicate what I thought a “Hall Pass” should be.” She holds up her hand as she pours him a cup of coffee, “I need to make sure I am clearer with you, we promised each other that. Don’t answer yet, take 24 hours as I hear you tell people on occasion. If you want to be with me I want you exclusively to myself. I’m not interested in other guys or girls, and I don’t want you having dates and wild nights with other women. Okay I’ve said my piece.”

Garrick nods, “For the next 24 hrs I am asking that you not read my mind so I can plan a surprise for you. I don’t want to lie about it, even for a surprise. I’m just asking that Tuesday night you also sleep in your room. I should be home by 11:30 PM from the Giving Tree and I will begin then. Thanks for the cup I have to go in now, large project.” Katherine walked over and tenderly brushed her fingers on his cheek before she walked away with her cup. Anything longer and she’d have lost the composure she was trying to put forth. She waited for him to head downstairs before coming out once more.

He stopped in the basement and found one Shorty getting ready to login to Gizergleam, Worlds Online. He made sure to get the other two up and told them he had a surprise tomorrow for Katherine. Good or bad on the outcome he needed some privacy. He gave each Shorty $25 to cover whatever they needed but they couldn’t go upstairs. Not until after 12 Noon Wednesday from 11 PM Tuesday night. They all agreed and one of them got ready for school.

11:30 PM

Garrick came home after the Giving Tree and letting Ramona know they were just friends. After this week he’d work on going to visit this church and likely bring Kat along. What he didn’t mention was that he wanted to be certain it wasn’t a cult after the psychology department fiasco. When he checked on the Shorties they have soda, water, and three pizzas with two ice chests! He nodded his approval at their prep and got thumbs up and they’re busy! Smiling he went up to the second floor he could hear music coming from the second bedroom. He set up his easel and the board and got his water color paints out to try and make a picture with her blue hair.

He used the card he made her as a guide and repainted her portrait. This time it had her changed hair color to blue. Now he had to replicate it by the morning, so he got to work. Optimus would warn him if she tried to open the door so he could cover the gift. The trick he ran into was waiting in drying from adjacent sections and moving on to others. He combined heavier white ink to get soft colors but thicker paint when needed on the face. Soon he was in a simple t-shirt that it, his hands, and his arms were covered in paint from using his fingers to force semi-dry paint to behave how he wanted it to work.

He listened to German Folk Metal from “Call Of The Deep” (his favorite band) all night on a Pearpod-Mini he kept for just this purpose. He’d found three tracks that when played on loop he could work for hours making art. His bluetooth, bone-induction headphones wrapped around his head but kept his ears free in case someone needed to talk with him. With sounds traveling through his bones and every shade of blue he owned his brush continued to glide across the taped down, heavy, watercolor paper. Soon the a sea of azure became the backdrop to his first attempt at speed painting!

He had recorded his efforts and mentioned on the video this was the last time he’d be painting this model. He mentioned to his teacher he had found two other students willing to be his models for further work. He was unsure of whether they could be compensated with credits toward electives if he chose to pay them for their time. He covered everything that he thought might give away something about him or Katherine in drop cloths. He uploaded all his work on the watercolor and heavy ink mix medium to the class online folders assigned to him. He replied that he would be happy to make a public showing once he had a few more pieces of his new models.

Wednesday – 14th of February, 2024: 5:46 AM

Katherine wakes and checks her phone and there’s a text from Garrick only an hour ago: “I’m done, hope you like it – G.” She gets dressed in workout clothing because Nathaniel should be there at 6 AM and may already be there downstairs. When she opens the door of the second bedroom she sees the huge blue painting taped to the very dense plastic slab. A clipped note talks about how hot she looks (which he did not believe could be more amazing) with blue hair even if its just a blue streak. As she looked down at the bottom left corner there was a folded red card with wax paper to drape over it. She realized it was to prevent the card from being damaged while the larger picture dried.

She picked it up and removed the wax paper and read it.

The door to his/their room is open and Garrick is passed out in his normal form and dried paint stains cover his hands and arms. She can see he stayed up all night to get the painting right. He’s still wearing pants and shoes and his legs are draped off the bed as though he had intended to untie them. Shutting their door behind her she crawls on the bed and tries to wake him. When he finally opens his eyes he smiles, “I’m sorry ma’am but I’m in a relationship now and my love has made it clear sharing is not permitted you’ll have to leave.”

Kat arches an eyebrow, “Is that so? Well I don’t see her around it could be our little secret!”

“Nope, I love her and this was her request of me if I wanted to be with her,” he yawned and Kat realized he may not be fully awake.

“What’s her name then?”

“Katherine Davis and if god let’s me win the lottery then one day several years from now it’ll be Katherine Faulkner. Shhh don’t tell her that dream I have yet. She hates it when I over share,” he giggled slightly as he finished his statement and his eyes rolled back in his head.

Lightly patting him on his cheek she asked, “Did you have a request of her to be with you?”

Yawning again, “No, she’s still terrified I might leave her for some pretty girl. I’m not sure she has realized how amazing she is. Besides I still don’t think I am worthy of her trust yet so I would ask nothing.”

“What would your request have been if you had one?”

“I love painting the human body and painting it in various locations. Just let me paint and I promise never to share anymore paintings of her so the bad people don’t find her.”

“How many have you shared?”

“Four, three head shots and one of her falling off a building as a perspective piece. She sent me a photo, it was so hot!”

“Where did you share it?”

“School, art class with only my teacher. I want her safe so I found other models that I can afford. My teacher thinks I am getting good enough for a showing. If I’m over sharing I am sorry.”

Katherine looked at his work and had to agree he was indeed getting good, “So you’d be painting nudes then?”

“Only with a clear demarcation line between the male or female model and I. Then an assistant that would be the one to help the model or get stuff for me as well. This way I can assure her of no contact! Otherwise the models would be dressed because head shots don’t require nudity. Sometimes I’m smart unless Jake is around then I’m just the less dumb kid in the room.”

“I’ll think about it but your plan is good.”

Garrick falls asleep and Katherine can read his thoughts realzing he had been speaking in a form of waking dream. She kisses him strong and hard, within a few seconds he wraps his arms around her, “Good morning Kitty Kat I have been waiting on this for days, I love you!”

“I love you too.”

“There’s a lovely beach front Italian restaurant in Garden Valley I’d love to take you to. Now don’t worry I have reservations, its called “Giardino dei Sogni” or Dream Garden. We have a table on the beach because I wanted our first official date to be special.”

Whatever she felt about the conversation with his sub-conscious or waking dream state. Everything he was saying now was music to her ears. Her trembling heart eased a bit as she kissed him over and over again.

Art by: AZ_Artisan
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Mission City, California 2023

Mission City, California 2023

September 8th, 2023 – Friday

4:17 AM – Garrick pulls onto the lot in his truck and shows the security guard his pass for New Frontier Films. They had seen Garrick or “Gary” as his badge stated like a quoted middle name leave only six hours ago from his fourteenth 12+ hour day.

“Sir, did you forget something?”

Garrick smiles, “Mornin’ Sam, no just this is the final set piece for the film’s final scene, oh here’s your favorite drink,” Garrick hands Sam his hot caramel/vanilla latte which every security guard seems stunned someone with his status doesn’t send his aid to do this, “I’ve only got three more days to finish the set so we don’t have to overspend the CGI budget, and that will make a tri-fecta of 3 for 3 films on time and on or under budget!”

Garrick winks at Sam as he makes a faux hat nod and drives forward.

As the barrier bar lowers behind his truck Sam turns back to his partner in the gatehouse operating the bar, “Hey Sam, that coffee has a wierd cup cozy?” Sam looked down and saw it was wrapped in a $100 dollar bill. As he pulled it off and set the coffee down he turned to go and return it. However, some wording caught his attention. On the bill Garrick wrote, ‘Thanks for being you and keeping us safe, buy the new kid a cup.’ He showed it to his partner he was training and the young guy’s eyes went wide!

“See, I am not lying he treats everyone he meets like they’re his best friends! Absolutely, the nicest guy I ever met!”

The new guy asked if he’s single, Sam shrugged, “He’s worked three films and no one has ever seen him with a significant other longer than a few days, and every tabloid reporter they talked to writes each of them all left saying they were “friend-zoned” before they knew what hit them. No one publicly has cracked him, ever!” The new guy called bullshit but Sam said that meant no coffee later and the new guy’s tune changed toot sweet!

9:01 AM –
Brandon Mallic, at 6’5″ tall has always struck an imposing figure, the bionic right arm and left leg from prior military work did not hurt the reputation one bit. His sister, Constance Mallic, is 5’8″ tall is a stark contrast to her brother. Brandon hates it when she has to visit the set because she resembles a Playboy playmate from 4 years ago. Brandon is very protective of her and has only found a handful of people that treat her as a person rather than the person he stresses (more than he might need to) is “just” a resemblance. What he loves about Garrick is that his landlord/employee has always looked her in the eye! Not even video footage has ever caught Garrick ever checking his sister out. What he hates about Garrick is his sister fawning over him from a distance. They both know had Garrick not leased that building to them this deal, these three movies, and employing a completely Norwood workforce from their home sub-district would’ve never happened! Brandon is aware that Garrick needed a second chance as much as they need a start however, neither of them were prepared for how much work he would consistently put in. His sister would be on-site for the final scene filming so the robotics control can be monitored by Garrick and her for the practical effects.

[BLEEP – Txt alert]

‘If he’s working over 10 hours days again Brandon, so help me! I will…LOTS OF PAIN!’

[RINGS] “Goddammit Constance! I’m not his big brother and you two aren’t fucking dating. No… No it wasn’t a challenge! Constance! Stop, stop, fine I will ask, but he’s a grown fucking man! Get on the damn plane or you’ll miss your flight!” [CLICK]


Over the PA system, “Mr. Mallic, while I treasure your benevolent presence, if you scream during the testing I will drop a sand bag on your head!”

Gary, quit fucking with me! I need you to get Constance at the airport today she’s anxious and likes you more!

A sand bag with green CGI tracker dots all over it falls from ceiling ten feet to the left of Brandon!

Shitty aim, Gary!

Over the PA system, “It was a warning shot, manners, remember?”

Brandon looked up past the lattice work tracks and then saw the bags, all of them tied to fall through the lattice track gaps! He walked over and saw that the set might be ready today! The huge tank of the Emperor Gestalt Mecha-Lord’s brain pool! On one of the planks leading to the dais was the robot hero, artificial intelligence, Veritas, in his assumed cyborg body. When Gary told him he could cut his build time to one third in order to offset the CGI budget and voice over actors. Brandon agreed and then only when Constance called him on it wondered how?

Garrick got a hold of finance and had everything over his normal salary divided up among those willing to work the hours he needed them to! Garrick was still getting a salary from Mallic Robotics. The movie was paying him $147,000 for this film as the Lead Solution Architect, plus a half point of the film in gross sales, profit sharing, and a hefty cash bonus which conservatively came up to roughly $780,000! If ‘Veritas Rising’ did better than ‘Wrath of the Mecha Lords’ that could be well over a million dollars! It meant a $20,000 to $23,000 bonus to each and every person that would say yes to his plan. When he brought the offer to the crew they all agreed and began working 14 hour shifts, in three waves to have overlap coming and going! Rotated single days off per week and a medical staff on hand to help with any illness so people never called off sick. Craft services also was included and everyone worked to make sure people were fed and hydrated well.

Brandon could not believe what he did in almost three weeks which was quoted at nine, minimum! He made his way up to the control booth as the director and actors were at another table going over lines and referencing the set nearing completion. He finally found Gary, his aid, Horace Sharma, whom was selected by Gary to head QA during the first film. Novia, his second assistant, was a Cuban girl that had a prosthetic leg Gary made her if she agreed to make sure he adhered to his schedule. No less than four times people thought they were dating, only Brandon knew she did in fact have a crush on him. She was also the only person to ever record him saying he was “broken” and not capable of such endeavors. She gave Brandon the MP3 device because he kept her crush a secret.

Novia, how long has he been here today?

The look on her face is a mixture of admiration and righteous anger, “Voy a apuñalar a este muchacho blanco caliente, que me está volviendo loco!” Brandon nodded, both of them knew Gary did not know Spanish.

Gary, I said I would ask when did you get here, today?

“I know, the whole damn set heard your call, Mr. Mallic. About 40 minutes before Sam got off shift.”

Horace buries his head in his work while Novia and Brandon look at each other, their eyes grow slowly wider since Gary left only 6 hours before that! When he left last night it had been another of his god only knows how many 16-hour shift stints. Spanish and English profanity began to stream out as Garrick turns around, “Shut up! Either we get this done today and you keep Constance away in meetings or I will take her up on that dinner rain-check, your call!” Even with 14 hour shifts no one worked more hours or harder than their boss whom 16-18 hour days were his regular schedule.

Brandon nods, turns while flipping Gary off realizing he only made the dinner offer a rain-check at Brandon’s request. Gary is also the only other person to know that Constance did pose for a magazine under a stage name. This was to help get the seed money for her contribution match of Brandon’s that founded their company. Gary explained needing to keep things professional and it would always be a rain-check they might cash one day. He told Brandon after her offer and his reply he never intended to cash it. Saying what he did clearly meant he was getting mad that his insane work schedule to keep the company in good standing did not appear appreciated. Brandon headed off to two other sales meetings to discuss figures for the toy line and the addition in the credits urging donations to charities like the Giving Tree.

Taking the golf cart across the lot he wondered how someone so smart could not realize how many women and even a fair share of men wanted a piece of him? He had talked with him and watched him do what he called ‘schmoozing’ with people enough to realize it was second nature. It was probably a fair part of what kept him alive in prison during those three years. Brandon had gone back and read up on Cuthbert Faulkner in a lot of detail and one thing stood out in his investigation. Cuthbert, may have been quite the player given the hints of various scandals, but he never left his wife, Cynthia. It would seem his father knew what he was doing with the ladies but never realized how much or how often Gary was watching and learning from him.

February 5th, 2024 – Monday

8:33 AM – Brandon was looking over proposals when his sister barged in, “Where’s Gary I can’t find him?”

Brandon sighs and remembers the above moment, “Constance, he’s been scheduled for 9 AM for over 4 months now. Currently you have 27 minutes of opportunity to learn patience.”

She inhales like a dragon getting ready to breathe fire, “Are you working him on some long project?”

Brandon smirks, “Constance, I have work to do. Just call him besides I think he’s got either one or two girls he dating now.” Brandon took a bit more satisfaction in twisting his sister up than he should have. “You could try dating someone yourself you know. If you had paid attention more you’d see what the gym is doing for Gary, taller, broader, chest as hard as Veritas itself!”

Eyes narrow like daggers toward Brandon, “You’re such a dick Brandon, fine I’ll bug Horace, he’ll know when he gets here. I need some info to get your reports done or your 2 o’clock meeting is going to be real short.” She stormed out in a suit cut and tailored for her figure. Clearly, word of Gary’s new physique has gotten around the office. Brandon smiled as he rang his secretary, “Novia, would you tell Horace I’ll buy lunch if he does Gary watch today.”

She giggles that knowing understanding, “Sure.”


Art by: AZ_Artisan


After War Everyone Has An Opinion

After War Everyone Has An Opinion

3rd of September 2019 – Tuesday

Tomorrow would be the month anniversary of being released and things had been looking up. Garrick could not believe after everything that had fallen apart in his life, with a big chunk being his own catastrophic handling of grief. That his late father’s business partners, the Zarovsky family would have quietly helped him out of a gutter awaiting him on a lonely street in Brisby Flats. Garrick reached over and turned on the radiant heating elements in the concrete flooring. Living in a coastal city still meant some wicked temperature changes depending on the wind from the sea. In 10 minutes the concrete floor felt as warm as daylight outside.

This building was huge and NO windows of ANY kind. Luckily when they built it they installed two critical systems alongside the kevlar and carbon fiber reinforced rebar concrete: radiant heating in all floors, and tons of lighting options. From what the lawyer the Zarovsky family had paid to act as Garrick’s legal defense until his parole was up had told him, the building housed two divisions of a parent company at one point. They just gave up on the location when crime had gotten bad in the wake of the Daedalus Project being scrapped. Garrick remembered Mr. Klaussowski the III well since he represented him at his trial when he was sentenced to Gramercy. He was also the only person to visit him during the time of his stay there. He was one of the only ways to pass messages to the Zarovsky family because publicly they had severed all ties with him. A life savings account had been set up in his name in the amount of $50,000 dollars of which $36,000 had been paid to retain Mr. Klaussowski the III and handle any parole issues until the three year probation was up.

Power was currently active to the smaller third of the building and he was shown last month’s utility bills which prompted him to shut the power completely off to the larger side but pay the maintenance fee monthly in case he needed it turned back on for any reason. 6 extension cords ran from wall sockets to a small set of furniture in the middle of the second floor. When Mr. Klaussowski the III or Janosh as he soon revealed to Garrick after his release tried to apologize for a lack of better accommodations. He was asked for a marker, and when he handed it to Garrick the lawyer saw him trace a rectangle on the floor, then a smaller rectangle, a circle, and an oval within it. Garrick tossed him back the marker and stood in the smaller rectangle.

“This was the size of my cell, this area I am standing in was the two tier concrete slab constructed bunk bed. Those are the sink and toilet. This 6 feet by 8 feet was my whole world and you are apologizing because my ‘free’ furniture happens to take up roughly 20 by 30 feet of space? Not TO MENTION THIS ECHO! Because I have been graced with a home the size of a whole prison wing! I am not on the street and I have money to start a new life! Please, either explain to me why you should be apologizing, when I thought I was going to leave that hell hole in a Waingroh Sunset. Or stop, because I still am waiting to wake up and find out this is a dream!” Janosh smiled and made a note to share that Mr. Faulkner had managed to retain his civility and graciousness after all.

Janosh explained the rules:

  • Do not go to Society Hill unless it is for work. Do not accept a job in Victoria Beach or go there for any reason. If you must visit the ‘Facility’ do so from a dock or beach in Garden Valley.
  • Any and all contact with the Zarovsky family is to be done from lawyer to lawyer. The ‘Widow’ has high hopes you will rise from these ashes and make something of yourself once more. Until such time there will be no direct contact between either party.
  • The property tax has been paid for the year, if you can’t find a way to make the building make yourself money then contact me in July of next year and I will help you find a buyer to sell it.
  • The utilities for just about half the total power consumption of the building has been paid in advance for the year. If you use less power then think of it as a credit on the Hellion L&P account which is in your name. If you use more then that year may get much shorter. If I need to help you with this just let me know.
  • You are required to go to three therapy sessions as a part of your parole. Despite the Truck you have been given I am going to be driving you there and back to make sure a witness can attest for any parole related needs.

Despite running very low on food he had been hearing about an organization that might be able to help him out. It was called the Giving Tree, and he had begun donating time there and asking for places some of the “guys” at his manufacturing job might go if they needed help with food. They gave him contacts and locations along with making introductions when possible. Garrick in turn made sure to make Tuesday night a priority to be there as a way to say thanks even though his story was that it was always for a fellow co-worker.

It had been nearly a year and frankly freedom was beginning to feel like six days in the hole. Garrick had stopped sleeping on his bed and kept the strangest of hours, cleaning himself up really well only once a week for his trip to the Giving Tree. He was scraping buy because he was scared to try and touch the $14,000 left in savings between September of 2019 and March of 2020 he lived on a mere $2,000 for everything. Had that truck not been converted to run on Mineral water he would be much lower in the hole when it came to money. All the tune ups he got covered by letting Janosh enter his truck in car shows and keeping any of the award money for prizes it might win in land based vehicle categories.

9th of March 2020 – Monday

Mallic Robotics Logo Garrick checked his email after getting up from the floor next to his bed. The nightmares about prison were an on again and off again factor he did not seem to have control over but the last two nights he couldn’t remember them. He knew from the sweat drench blanket and clothes that he had most definitely had them. Last week he had almost broken his fist punching a support column before the pain woken him up and he realized his attacker wasn’t real and he had already taken care of him in prison a few years ago.

He had spent the first two months of 2020 trying to rent out the larger portion of the building as warehouse, office space, or both. Today, however, he had been contacted back by his 49th inquiry, Mallic Robotics. They were interested in meeting about the facility and could spare time at 11 AM. Checking his phone he had roughly three hours to get ready. Quickly he responded that he would meet them and how to arrive by highway access and then surface streets. He called Janosh and told him he needed a suit, any suit, and why. Janosh had a mailroom intern from his office deliver it about an hour before the prospective tenants arrived. The mailroom clerk also provided him with paperwork necessary to give them to fill out if they decided to go further with the offer Garrick had worked up to under cut the other buildings in the area and make some money to live on and pay the Zarovsky family back even when he was not legally obligated to do so.

Brandon Mallic was an enormous 6ft. 5in. tall compared to his sister Constance Mallic whom was 5ft. 6in. tall and bookworm thin. Apparently, his bionics were being maintained by his sister. She had created some custom joints that had revolutionized his range of motion to beyond the scope of human norms! He had contacts in the movies as he had done some stunt work and small roles in action movies. When he showed off what his sister could create they got partnered with a company looking to create a small robot army and futuristic environment for an upcoming movie! They needed a place quick to begin production and with a pinch of luck make a name for themselves in the robotics industry. Garrick handed them the property sheet and comparative pricing sheets from adjacent properties in the area. Then he made the gamble that changed his life.

“Look, I know of a way to knock the rent down from 2 million for the year to say 1.4 million and get you an eight percent tax break incentive if you agree to be my tenants.”

Both siblings looked at each other stunned and turned back with glances for Garrick to continue, “While I did not serve, thank you for doing so, the tattoo above your bionics says you were 82nd Airborne. One of my teachers at Copernicus University was a former member. You could say I am going to try and make the deal irresistible and go “All the way” and “Death from Above” style. Now I am willing to just cut the rent from 2 million a year to 1.4 million because it meets all my needs and then some. If you let me have the security deposit in furniture the film doesn’t destroy in this sci-fi fantasy blockbuster I can waive that as well. Now the tax credit has some strings to it, but when didn’t the government have strings on strings?”

Brandon laughed.

“As you will read in the information packet I was in Gramercy for three years and survived, got out and I am on parole. So my service “as it were” was no less dangerous than front line warfare. You take all the time you need to vet me and the building. However, the tax credit comes from employing a felon. I might add to apply all you need is one felon. In that information packet is my 1st Masters thesis on Robotic A.I. integration procedures, and my 2nd Masters degree thesis on Bio-Dome Engineering which means I am a subject matter expert on designing habitable environments on other worlds. If you’re willing to hire me I can assure you of no conflict of interest by putting the managing of the building into a blind trust with a 3rd party management company. All I would be is a point of contact if there were issues to be solved. Well, there it is – All the way.”

They nodded and Brandon asked him if he could call him Gary or Rick. Garrick told him he could call him anything he wanted except late for dinner if he hired him. Soon the topics were more about his adjustment to life outside and how it compared to life out of the U.S. Army. Then on Sunday the 15th of March Brandon contacted him to let him know they had signed the papers for the lease and just sent them over to his lawyer. Garrick apologized for coughing except he was really trying not to choke on his excitement! Constance then got on the call and said they could afford $50,000 a year to start for him as infrastructure developer. If the movie did well at the box office then they could bump it up to $66,000 with a healthy benefits package. All Garrick asked was when do they start and he got the reply, tomorrow.

Brandon told him when he came home from the conflict in Romania with bionic parts a lot of people looked at him the way felons get treated. He told “Gary” that he saw someone that wanted his life back and was willing to do what it took to get it. People always have opinions when they are not in the thick of war. No one cares about what the men and women in the pit go through when they come back and if “Gary” was willing to have faith in him, then the least he could do was return the favor. With that and the two sequels that movie franchise made gave Mallic Robotics it’s start making the parts other companies used to make their robots.




Art by: AZ_Artisan