Eclipse Part 8

Snippets from Eclipse — The Girl Who Saved the World
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“Team! The Namestone is indestructible! Kill her!” Valkyria shouted.  Oh, dear, I thought, not to mention several other words Mum would not have approved of my using, Valkyria is even more short-tempered than rumored.  She could readily have drawn out this conversation for some time yet, say until I felt comfortable about teleporting away.  No such luck.  Valkyria tossed her explosive throwing katana.  Her katana’s explosion packs the power density of a starcore weapon.  Her team launched a totally bizarre mixture of high power attacks.  Not one of her team-mates seemed to notice that if they killed me I would drop the Namestone, which would then roll back down the Stairs into the Maze, there to be returned to the Martyr.  Mayhaps Valkyria counted on the explosion from her throwing sword to blast the Namestone free. 

I’d forgotten the Screaming Skull, even though I had just told him off.  Over-focus is very dangerous in combat, but at this point I was outnumbered close to twenty to one.  I’d paid too much attention to Valkyria, and paid no attention to the Skull, even after he threatened me.  He used the moment to launch his most deadly attack, the Shower of Total Death.  Being attacked by the League of Nations Elite Team was bad news, but the Skull is a Lord of Eternity.  His attack? It works on people, it works on a tree, and now I’ll see if it works on me.  I’ve actually never been positive my second level shields do anything.  It’s not as if there are a lot of second level attacks wandering around to test them against. 

My scramble for more and more power levels worked.  Barely.  My shields did everything needed.  Then Valkyria’s katana hit me.  Of course, I’ve seen starcore energy densities before, real ones, and my shields worked just fine that time, too.  It’s just I was very tired, the gifts being used against me were incredibly powerful, and I had to go truly deep to hold my defenses against all of them at the same time.  I didn’t quite fall over, but the world was getting a bit gray.  Medico flashed a warning, blue shading farther into violet.  My reception committee was coming too close to killing me through my own shields, assuming I didn’t kill myself first with the crash drop I had just made.  For half an instant, the Skull looked surprised.  He could tell: I was not drawing on the Namestone.  He’d tried to kill me, and my personal defenses were good enough to stop his (several other words that would not meet with Mum’s approval) attack in its tracks. 

I really wanted to grab Valkyria’s broadsword. Using it to give her a straighter backbone sounded really appealing.  Kicking her face also sounded attractive.  Alas, if I continued to fight, they got to do the same. Besides, she was wearing armor.  Here and now was not a favorable battlefield.  I did not give them a second chance.  I was down through enough levels to hold all my shields, keep slack, shatter the teleport blocks, and teleport.  I flicked my wrist back.  Namestone vanished.  I smashed the blocks and teleported out, far far away, all the way to the Dark Side of the Moon, then a half dozen fast jumps, one triple cycle loop, and finally a pause in case someone was following me.  I’d ended someplace that looks like it could be my base.  It isn’t, but it looks really basey.  Base-like? Basious?  OK, it looks like a high-power persona base. 

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Eclipse Part 7

It’s a very special gesture with hand and wrist.  My palm ends up facing skyward, the Namestone a cerulean flame a few inches above, Namestone’s tuneless tune being heard distantly in every ear.  Yes, I did remember to cue my body aura, not to mention my personal theme music, a bold brass opening folding into the richer tones of the flugelhorn.  No, I can still call on Namestone’s power even if I can’t move.  Nor do I need the music or aura to call on all my gifts.  My aura actually is the same blue as the Namestone’s glow.  My platinum blonde hair and pale gray garb look really well with it. 

“Behold the Holy Namestone.  Come no closer or face my wrath.” Mum taught me how to sound truly pompous.  To my surprise, it worked.  Europalord did not quite fall on his fat face when he tripped over his own feet.  Of course, he is a drain, so personal combat training is not quite the issue it is with his team-mates.  His task is to sit there and suck power out of his opponents, incidentally shoving it all into his personal force field. “The Namestone is mine,” I reminded them. 

“You’re defying the League!” Valkyria shouted. “International law specifies: The League of Nations owns the Namestone.  Hand it over, you stupid girl!” In retrospect, she might have done better if she’d been a bit more tactful.  She could hardly have done worse. 

“You know the Maze Rule: Namestone belongs to he who takes it.  I took it,” I said. 

“No, it belongs to the League!” she screamed. 

“You keep repeating that same wrong statement.  I just told you: I took it.  It’s mine! Are you deaf, or just stupid? Or maybe both; you’re for sure stupid.” I answered.  By now I was in a really sour mood.  I wanted to go home and go to bed.  And, very soon, I would have broadened my call on enough levels of power to do just that.  I could feel teleport blocks in place around me, meaning I was going to need a lot of power to smash them into little pieces.  No, I do not feel guilty about what would happen to the people and machines creating those blocks when I did the smashing.  Meanwhile, Valkyria is said to be short-tempered.  People who are busy losing their tempers for sure aren’t thinking clearly, a positive outcome for me.  Well, a positive outcome, except I was in the process of losing my own temper. 

“The Namestone is too dangerous for mortals,” the Screaming Skull announced. “Give it to me, or it is you who will face my wrath.”

“You’re supposed to be an improvement over her, fatso?” I snapped.  I could have been more polite to the Screaming Skull, but exhaustion makes me impatient.  Besides, the Skull is a (whole bunch of words Mum would not like to hear me use) egomaniac with delusions of adequacy.  Unfortunately, the Skull is also really good at telling people to drop dead, and having it happen.   I did not quite use any of those words Mum did not like, though I was tempted.   Insulting him might cause him to think even less than he usually does, assuming that is possible.

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Eclipse Part 6

“You!”  Valkyria shouted. “Inform the Bearer.  She must hand the Holy Namestone over to League of Nations.  At once!  As fast as possible! Immediately! That is a direct order! From The League of Nations!”  I could hear her Prussian mindset without reading her mind.  Unless something had gone very wrong, the whole world had watched me do the Maze.  Valkyria should have recognized me. 

“I am the Bearer.  If you wanted the Namestone, you should have walked the Maze first and taken it,” I answered.  I called my gifts as fast as possible, reinforcing my shields, but when you start at absolute zero this takes a while.  I confess I was getting a bit nervous that the Screaming Skull was standing there, politely not saying anything.  No, we haven’t met, but when your mother is a persona, you tend to inherit bits of her gift fine structure, enough that he’d eventually figure out whose daughter I am.  That would for sure not be good. 

“Give it to me! Now! The League has decreed: The Namestone is the property of the world,” she demanded.   

“Give it to you? You and which army?” I asked.  I yawned.  That was an act.  I should have been more polite.  In my own defense, I was thoroughly exhausted, not to mention I’d taken major body damage during the hand-to-hand combat segments.  I expected congratulations, not threats.  After all, people have been trying to thread the Lesser Maze for three thousand years, with no success.  I’d done it.  Old English proverb: Battles are events between inadequate opportunities for rest.  I wasn’t resting.  I was powering up my gifts as fast as possible.  It was even money whether I’d power up fast enough to escape, or whether I beat the Maze and lost to my welcoming committee.  Some people my age would have been terrified.  I was too busy, not to mention too tired, to be frightened. 

“This one?” She waved her fingers.  What had to be the whole League of Nations Elite Strike Force teleported in at her back.  There were several dozen of them, not that I counted them carefully.  Mind you, I don’t know who most of them are, other than really tackily dressed, not at all like my highly stylish and tasteful garb, but the Strike Force is respectably powerful.  The Strike Force began to spread, left and right.

“That’s far enough,” I announced.  They kept spreading. 

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Eclipse Part 5

Valkyria must have thought I’d be intimidated when she shouted at me.  Sorry, but I just did the Maze. Next to the solid shadows, Valkyria did not impress.  I was a bit miffed.  OK, she does have three-quarters of a foot on me, but ‘little girl’ is not the nicest imaginable greeting.  True or not, ‘Little girl’ is rude.  Valkyria should have been less threatening.  After all, I was carrying the most powerful artifact in the world.  I still needed a few minutes before I could teleport out.  I had to play for time. 

I did a crash drop, calling all the power I could find.  Crash drops into bottom levels are seriously bad for the health.  For a moment, Medico flashed blue-shading-toward-violet warning glyphs at me.  I was approaching killing myself by overloading.  I shoved all the power I could find into my shields.  I really wanted to teleport away.  Teleport is a lifesaving gift, as good a gift as flight, but teleporting far enough to avoid a chase needed a lot of power, more than I could call just yet.  Yes, I could have switched power from shields to teleport, and jumped out.  The moment I shifted the power out of my shields, they would have faded, enough that I’d surely have been toast before I could disappear. 

 “I’m twenty feet in front of you,” I answered.  After it was too late, it occurred to me to answer ‘she’s twenty feet behind me, but I have to leave before she can come up here’.  Oh, well.  I never expected that question. 

“Aren’t you … isn’t the real Bearer taller?” Valkyria asked.  She sounded confused.  I glowered.  OK, I’m not into my teen growth spurt yet, an event I don’t yet see how to avoid, though I’m looking, but it’s not as if I didn’t pass five feet last year. “I am tall,” I answered.  That’s when I ran out of patience.  Valkyria hadn’t even been civil to me.  She might at least have congratulated me on walking the Maze.  If she wanted to insult me, there’s no reason I couldn’t return the favor. “Wait!” I continued. “Who are you? Isn’t the real Valkyria a bit less pudgy? I mean, how do they manage to squeeze you into that armor?”  Her nostrils flared.  I guess she’s sensitive about her weight. 

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Eclipse Part 4

I kept reaching for more power levels, further and further down.  They came more and more easily.  The Sea of Grass, The Temple, The Sun, and The Matrix opened up.  Each time I reached a deeper level, my access to my higher, weaker levels broadened.  Now, with the Sky powering my force fields, I was probably bullet proof.  OK, I did not forget to call my shields.  I might have a reception committee, someone who thought it was easier to steal the Namestone from me than from the Maze.  Before I reached the top of the Stairs, I was sort of back to normal.  I could touch all the power levels I can usually reach.  I just couldn’t tap them for very much.  Not yet.  Not without taking a lot more damage.  I could go way deep into my gifts if I had to.  I hoped I didn’t. 

At the top of the Outer Stairs I had company.  Waiting for me were Valkyria, the super-heavy combatant of the League of Nations Elite Strike Team, and the Screaming Skull, himself.  Alas, they weren’t fighting each other, so I couldn’t smile once, duck twice, and flee their island paradise. 

“Where is she, little girl?  Where is the bearer of the Holy Namestone? I’m here to take it for the League!”  That was Valkyria, shouting at me.  Valkyria? Six feet tall, impervium-plated battle armor, heavy duty body field, not to mention a flaming sword that was mostly a special effect shrouding a pointblank range plasma attack.  Yes, there is also an endarium blade inside the flames.  Her explosive throwing katana remained in its scabbard, over her back where her other arm could reach it.  There is a tradition of people in plate mail being idiots.  At the moment Valkyria was living up to the tradition.  Her long blonde hair fluttered in the ocean breeze.  Bad form.  Mum always said Valkyria should wear her hair short or mound it under a helmet, failing which someone would grab it and spin her head over heels into the ground. 

I suppose I shouldn’t’ve been surprised.  For thousands of years the Namestone has been the Key to Heaven, the artifact that will transform the World into the Millennial Kingdom.  All you needed to do in order to use the Key was to get your hands on it.  That was easier said than done.  To take the Namestone, you had to solve the Maze.  Vast numbers of people have tried and failed, with fatal consequences for them.  The League of Nations has passed decree after decree claiming the Namestone for themselves, just so soon as someone else does their work for them and removes it from the Maze.  Now I had the Namestone, so they wanted it.  I’d removed it from the Maze, so they were going to give me a chance to hand it over voluntarily.  Their idea of ‘voluntary’ is a bit strained. 

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Eclipse Part 3

Eclipse — The Girl Who Saved the World is for sale at Amazon and Smashwords.

Done.  Control of my mind returned to me.  There is a way to break the mind control, if things go wrong, but everything went the way it was supposed to.  Mum had been careful about showing me exactly how to arrange that preset, because seven ways from Sunday doing mind control on yourself is dangerous.  I dropped my mind back into my body, wiggled fingers and toes, and blinked twice.  Everything worked. 

Gifts?   Just before I left Atlanticea I’d pushed my gifts way deep, much deeper than I’d expected to need them, driving my shields toward their ultimate limits.  Now I shouldn’t even consider calling any of my gifts.  Not flight.  Not teleportation.  Not any of the neat ways I can seriously wreck things.  Not force field – yes, there’s a low-level screen tacking my ribs together.  I could go way deep into my gifts right now, if I absolutely had to, but if I did, I’m going to hurt myself. 

My memories took me back to Atlanticea.  The Martyr gave me the Namestone.  I climbed the Outer Stairs, out of the Maze into the waking world.  Ahead of me, wisps of cloud were incandescent white against a cerulean sky.  I was sufficiently wrecked up that climbing those stairs was incredibly demanding.  After each step, I half-felt ready to quit.  Before I did the Maze, I had zerolined all of my gifts, flat as possible.  Under the rules, while in the Maze, any gift I called, the Maze could call at three times the power.  That was its rule.  Curiously, three times zero is zero.  I did not give the Maze any advantages. 

While I climbed the stairs, I desperately tried to re-open my power levels.  I could barely touch The Sky.  After a moment of terror, The Sky opened.  With The Sky powering my gifts, my force field would stop a determined punch.  I could fly somewhat faster than I could walk.  With an effort that left me dizzy and gasping for breath I managed to reach down to The Breaking Wave.  With The Breaking Wave powering my gifts, I could fly faster than most sports cars.  I am not embarrassed to say that the first gift that I called was mind control, to suppress pain.  Just before I sliced the last fellow open from guggle to zatch, he gut-punched me.  Hard.  After my next step I managed to find life support.  With broken ribs, it hurt to breathe.  Once I didn’t need to breathe, I could focus.  I remembered to summon the Medico rules engine.  It would have been truly stupid to bleed to death after I got my hands on the Namestone.  Medico reported that I was not dying, not even close.  Mayhaps the Namestone would have protected me until I finished climbing the Outer Stairs.  I didn’t count on it. 

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Eclipse Part 2

No matter how tired I felt, I called very slightly on my gifts.  The null links to my pets were quiet.  Two ponies slumbered in their barn.  Two cats cuddled together dreamily in the loft above.  Anything else was very small, or very far away.  Perception? The only thing I worried about was the Namestone.  There it was in my den, almost impossible for me to find behind its quarter inch of impervium shielding.  And I knew exactly where to look.  No one else would ever find it.  The Namestone.  I have it.  Not the League of Nations.  Not the Lords of Eternity.  Me.  Eclipse!  I have the Namestone.  In my home! It’s mine, all mine!

The healing matrix was fixing me, but…oh right, healing matrix.  I should have remembered that already.  I said I’m a bit dazed, didn’t I? I summoned the glyph for Medico, its associated rules engine.  Nothing in violet.  Nothing was killing me despite the matrix.  Of course, the matrix is supposed to drag me conscious if I am dying, and it hadn’t.  Nothing blue, long-term near-death threat.  Red warnings? Let’s see.  Three broken ribs, stitched by telekinesis.  That’s why I was on my back, the lousy sleeping position Medico told me to use.  My right shoulder? Nothing broken, but bits of force field are holding things where they belong while the matrix forces repairs.  Internal bleeding from high-impact collisions?  Cured.  Gold – a black eye, a few bone bruises, but I’ve been here before, just not so many ways at the same time.  Green – slices, scrapes, abrasions — my skin is being returned to perfection as I lie here.  My face was cleaned up by the Namestone before I faced the Martyr, but the rest of me was my problem.  My healing matrix is fixing everything, way faster than I’d heal naturally.  I still need a couple weeks to recover. 

Home! That’s the keyword.  I’m home and safe.  I dropped my mind out-of-body.  Astral projection is decidedly not my strongest gift, but I can pull it off.  If I am very careful.  Actually, the preset didn’t give me any choice.  Some time back I did mind control on myself, so that whenever I was in a serious fight, escaped, and got back home safe, I would go out-of-body, whether I wanted to or not.  If someone planted mind controls on me, I probably break them when I leave my body behind.  I stepped out from my body.  The preset grabbed my gifts and ran a scan, fast as thought, to see what trojans might be lurking in my mind-space.  Yes, the scan runs at the speed of thought, but it has a lot of mind to scan.  Meanwhile, I hovered above my body, looking into my momentarily sightless silver-gray eyes and platinum-white eyelashes, listening to me breathe, ever so slowly.

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Snippets

Eclipse — the Girl Who Saved the World

Opening snippets

Flashforward

The Invisible Fortress

Evening

I woke up at half past dark.  To put it mildly, I hurt.  If there were any places where I didn’t hurt, I couldn’t find them.  Most girls of my twelve years, hurting this much, would have laid there crying for their mommies.  For me, of course, crying for help where anyone could hear me would be worse than useless.  It would get me killed.  Yes, I was doing mind control on myself.  My pain nerves screamed their agony, but thanks to mind control I only heard them as distant murmurs.  Mind control meant I could sleep.  I still knew I hurt.  A lot.  ‘Hurt a lot’ was still infinitely better than the alternative, which involved being seriously dead. 

I wondered confusedly what had happened.  I was lying in bed, not in my normal sleeping position.  The room was dark.  For minutes I was too dazed to think clearly.  I peered over my bedsheet and quilt …I was in my own bedroom.  Beyond the glass wall separating me from my balcony, the silent stars glittered in a cloudless night sky.  If I waited long enough, I’d see the stars sink one by one into the pitch-black hills of the coastal range.  The shadows on the wall were my collection of Captain Infinity Atomic Soaker pistols, ultrasoakers, except the one pistol that very definitely did not project water.

Suddenly I remembered.  Atlanticea.  It was the most wonderful memory in the world…or would have been if I didn’t hurt so much.  I’d threaded the Maze, the Maze that defeated Julius Caesar and Jackie Fisher and Spearthrower Owl and the French Imperial Guard.  I’d reached the Tomb and matched wits with the Martyr himself.  He’d given me that palm-size sphere of crystalline sky, the Namestone, the Key to the Earthly Paradise.  No one else in history had ever come close to capturing it.  I’d done it! The Namestone was the birthday present I’d given to myself, a couple months late for my twelfth birthday.  It was almost as good a birthday present as my two ponies.  Snapdragon and Daffodil are better.  I gave them to me, too. 

On the bright side, when I grabbed the Namestone my chances of living another six hours moved up from zero.  Death…That’s the penalty for not solving the Maze.  On the less bright side, when I grabbed the Namestone my reward was a big list of people who want to kill me. 

Thanks to the Maze, I am seriously wrecked up.  Credit for some wrecking up goes to the League of Nations, and to a Lord of Eternity.  They’d both made a maximum effort to kill me, just to get their hands on the Namestone.  They almost succeeded.  Almost, not quite, but ‘almost’ only counts in horseshoes, and with hand grenades. 


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National Read an Ebook Week

the e-book of Eclipse, the Girl Who Saved the Word is on sale at Smashwords and on Amazon.

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/914837

Eclipse – The Girl Who Saved the World

Eclipse —
World’s Greatest Tween Superhero
World’s Most Terrifying Tween Supervillain
Opinions differ.
She’s caring, daring, deadly
…and out to save her world
whether they like it or not.

Meet Eclipse. She’s twelve. She’s hardworking, bright, self-reliant, good with tools, vigorously physically fit, tough as nails, still young enough to disguise herself as a boy. She’s also a persona: She flies, reads minds, and is not afraid of necessary violence. She had a bit of a problem with her mom. Her mom threw her out of the house. Then Mom blew up the house and disappeared. Now she’s procured the Holy Namestone, the Key to Paradise. And everyone in the world will be happy to kill her to get their hands on it.

Meet Trisha. She’s not quite a year older than Eclipse. She’s friendly, considerate, really good in school, athletic, does more than her share around the house. She’s also a persona. She has superspeed…an hour of housework in a minute. She flies, including from here to the next galaxy in an hour. She also has a bit of a problem with her parents. They always treat her with complete contempt, totally grounded her, and won’t say why.

Her brother and sister are personas, too. Year-younger sister Janie is a budding world chess and go champion. She also reads minds, sees distant events, and can kill with a glance. Her twin brother Brian is incredibly good with tools, builds fantastic models from scratch, has a nearly unbreakable force field, and summons plasma beams that cut battleships in half.

Available ebook formats: epub mobi pdf lrf pdb txt html

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Practical Exercise

A very rough draft is complete, so I ill not post more snippets.

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