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The Protagonist Speaks

Interviews with the characters of your favourite books

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Superheroes

Splice (of SPLICE: HIT BIT TECHNOLOGY, by Bill McCormick)

Dear readers, tonight with us is  a criminal mastermind with unlimited resources, cunning, and guile. He’s here to tell us about being a supervillain and cyber-terrorist.


Tell us a little about where you grew up. What was it like there?

I was beaten and abandoned in Omaha when I was ten. My dad, good Christian that he was, gave me fifty bucks before leaving me on a deserted highway in the rain. Omaha wasn’t bad. Nobody paid any attention to a little black kid. The food was boring, but I wouldn’t realize that for several years. Plus, thanks to the changing economy they weren’t prepared for, there were plenty of empty spaces for me to live in. So I had shelter at all times. Even snagged wi-fi for a bit.

Did you have any favourite toys as a child? Any cherished memories?

Toys were never a thing for me. Other kids had them, but my family needed me to do other stuff. Mostly I had to hide the money my mom made turning tricks so the cops couldn’t get it. But, one fun memory, it was so cool when Jimmy Pruitt’s mom posed naked for the cover of a mixtape. Even though you couldn’t see her face we all knew her neck tattoo. Oh, and her cookies. She made amazing cookies. Also, when the churches had fairs in the summer, my mom would turn tricks behind the porta-potties, so that freed me up to ride the rides. My favorite was the Tilt-A-Whirl. I looked forward to summers just for that.

What do you do now?

Well, according to various law enforcement agencies, I’m a supervillain. But, in reality, I’m just the old man’s business partner. I invented a line of tech, called Hit Bit Technology, while being held prisoner by a terrorist in the Middle East. It enhances a person’s natural abilities. I, and one other person, have a fully functional iteration of the tech implanted. We can connect to the internet, anywhere in the world, without requiring any type of computer or mobile device. Plus, we’re able to run as fast Cheetahs, lift twenty times our body weight, and enhance our vision at will. Telescoping, night vision, and a whole bunch more. Of course, all that requires lots of fuel, so we have to make sure to eat thousands of calories after every use.

What can you tell us about your latest adventure?

Well, we killed a Russian colonel at his home and then rerouted tens of millions of dollars away from his secret accounts into the accounts of our sponsors. Basic day to day stuff. See, my adventures happened when I didn’t plan. That’s how I ended up being tortured while locked in a dungeon in the desert. A lack of planning is how I ended up getting my face turned into blood pudding by two goons in a New York alley. Now, I don’t have adventures, I have successful missions.

Continue reading “Splice (of SPLICE: HIT BIT TECHNOLOGY, by Bill McCormick)”

Grey (of The Ascension Machine, by Rob Edwards)

Dear readers, tonight we print an in-story interview between two teen superheroes, studying in the Justice Academy, the special school for their kind. We’ll learn about assumed identities, alien races, and friendship.


I’ve been thinking, Grey. After seeing Sunbolt handling those journalists on Bantus, should we, maybe, practice interview techniques?

Hmm? Sorry, Seventhirtyfour, I was light years away. What was that about interviews?

I was just saying I should interview you; I could get extra credits for my superhero journalism course, Choose your Lane 101. Please? We’re still days away from the Academy, I’m bored, you know.

I’m not falling for that, you have a stack of textbooks still to read, and I know how much you love a textbook.

Sigh.

Go on then. Ask me some questions.

Okay, fantastic. Let’s see. You grew up in one of the wealthiest human families in the galaxy. What was that like?

I thought we agreed to pretend I didn’t have money? We definitely said that. Let’s imagine that instead of growing up as a Gravane, I… I don’t know. Just off the top of my head: I ran away from my parents at age eight. I spent the better part of a decade drifting from space station to space station, surviving on my wits, earning money to survive. Legitimately when I could, but less so when I had to.

Can you imagine if that was true? It sounds lonely.

Lonely? That’s not…  I’ve seen the galaxy, met amazing people from dozens of different species and only swindled a relatively small percentage of them. I may not have stayed in one place very long, I guess. Never really formed what you’d call close friendships. Put that against all the places I’ve been to, all the things I’ve learned. You can’t buy an education like that. In this hypothetical backstory.

What about you, Seventhirtyfour? Where did you grow up?

Oh, nothing special really, you know? Once I was let out of the maturation pod, I was posted to Clone Barracks 17 on Brontom Prime and started my five-year boot camp.  Just me and a couple thousand of my closest vat mates. It was a good time, we learned to fight and—wait, I’m supposed to be interviewing you.

Busted.

So, let’s talk about your time at the Justice Academy. What courses are you taking now?

Sure. I’m a Skills student. No Powers of any kind, no super Tech. That means I’m studying to be the best version of me I can be. To, um, fight crime and rescue innocents and the like. Basic superhero defense. Parkour. Grapnel Gun Basics and Maintenance. A couple of Prof Croft’s Criminology and Clue Analysis courses. Gutted I couldn’t get into Superheroics: A History with you, but, clashes, what can you do? I really want to do Rescueology next term, just to find out what it is.

Continue reading “Grey (of The Ascension Machine, by Rob Edwards)”

Doctor Fid (of Fid’s Crusade, by David Reiss)

Dear readers, tonight we reprint a transcript from March 23rd, 2018 radio interview with a man on a two-decade quest to punish the unworthy, with a long trail of blood and misery in his wake. He’s here to tell us about painful memories and profound guilt, and how a veteran supervillain must race against time to save the world.


Presenter: Aaaaand welcome back. This is John Tanner for HeroChat, WBPR News. Joining me via teleconference is noted forensic psychologist, Dr. Stephen Cronin.

Guest #1: Good afternoon.

Presenter: Before the break, Dr. Cronin and I were discussing his recent work consulting for the Department of Metahuman Affairs.

Guest #1: Yes. My team has been tasked with developing psychological profiles for some of the world’s most dangerous supervillains. It’s been a fascinating project.

Presenter:  Also a very important one.

Guest #1: Again, yes. We’re very hopeful that the profiles that we’ve put together will be useful to law enforcement.

Presenter: And to hero teams associated with the DMA.

Guest #1: Of course.

Presenter: Now, before the break we were discussing your analysis of Slaughterion; was there anything else you wanted to add?

Guest #1: Not really.

Presenter: In that case, I’d like to move on to your next high-profile assignment. It’s my understanding that you also prepared an updated casefile regarding one of the most feared villains in modern history: Doctor Fid.

Guest #1: And after recent events, one of the most controversial. But I’m here to say that the Mercer-Tallon incident changes little of what we know. Doctor Fid is a vicious criminal who has been active for two deca-

*silence*

Presenter: Dr. Cronin?

*silence*

Presenter: Ladies and gentlemen, we seem to be experiencing technical difficulties. While my producer attempts to reconnect us with Dr. Cronin, I’m going to open up our lines for callers to discuss what the people think about Doctor Fid.

Guest #2: *synthetic, disguised voice* I think not.

Presenter: What th-…Rob? Did you put a caller through?

Guest #2: Your producer is no longer in control of your telecommunications system. But fear not. Your ‘technical difficulties’ will cease before it’s time for Karl’s Traffic Round Up. The commute this evening looks particularly troublesome.

Presenter: Wh-who is this?

Guest #2: You know who I am.

Presenter: Oh, fuuuu- cough Okay. Okay. What do you want?

Guest #2: Primarily, to inform your listeners that Dr. Cronin is a plagiarist, a perjurer, and a fraud. His assessments are dangerously inaccurate; D.M.A. agents and associated hero teams should make use of his supposed ‘insights’ at their own risk.

Presenter: That’s, um, a very strong accusation.

Guest #2: Documentation has been provided to your producer and to other relevant authorities. It’s not unexpected that the Department of Metahuman Affairs failed to perform their due diligence, but I will admit that I expected better of local public-radio talk shows.

Presenter: Okaaaaay. So, what, you’re just here to set the record straight?

Guest #2: I suppose so, yes.

Presenter: Then would you, uh, be willing to answer a few questions? I mean that respectfully! 

Guest #2: Ask, and I will consider answering.

Presenter: Well, to begin with…could you tell our listeners a little bit about yourself?

Guest #2: Hah. Very well. My name is Doctor Fid and I have been terrifying the world’s most powerful so-called ‘heroes’ for the last twenty-one years.

Presenter: What do you mean by ‘so-called’?

Guest #2: I mean that they are unworthy of the title.

Presenter: Heroes like Valiant are unworthy?

Guest #2: Of course not. Valiant is a good man.

Presenter: But you still fought him on the White House lawn.

Guest #2: Valiant is an exceptional hero, whereas I—according to the analysis that Dr. Cronin posted to the remarkably insecure Department of Metahuman Affairs servers, at least—am a murderous sociopath with delusions of godhood. Of course we fought.

Presenter: And you battled against him again at Mercer-Tallon-

Guest #2: Untrue.

Presenter: The currently-most-popular video clip on the Internet says otherwise.

Guest #2: Whoever edited and added sound effects to that video has a magnificent sense of comedic timing, but…that wasn’t Valiant.

Presenter: Yeah, I get what you’re saying. Yeah. But, what about the Red Ghost? He unworthy?

Guest #2: The Red Ghost earned my respect a long time ago.

Presenter: So…you seem to spend a lot of time beating up people you seem to respect.

Guest #2: I do. An entertaining yet unfortunate side effect of my chosen vocation.

Presenter: So, why do you do it?

Guest #2: Obviously, it would be a poor choice to offer too much detail. It must suffice for me to say that, when I first began—in those first five bloody, violent years…when I built the Mk 1 powered armor and donned my helmet for the first time—I had a very specific goal in mind. It was not a kind goal, but it was…needed. When that goal became unattainable, I withdrew.

Presenter: This would be after that fight in D.C.? When you disappeared for several years?

Guest #2: Yes.

Presenter: So, why did you come back?

Guest #2: I will freely admit that the number of genuinely admirable heroes is higher than I once imagined…but they are not enough. There exist dangers that those heroes cannot or—for ethical reasons—will not address. There exist tasks which require a monster’s touch.

Presenter: That sounds…almost admirable.

Guest #2: Also, I missed hurting people.

Presenter: …Admiration retracted.

Guest #2: That’s fair. I am not the thing Dr. Cronin claims me to be, but I am also not a hero.

Presenter: What are you, then?

Guest #2: I am Doctor Fid. And now, I believe that it’s time for the traffic report…


While growing up, David was that weird kid with his nose in a book and his head in the clouds. He was the table-top role-playing game geek, the comic-book nerd, the story-teller and dreamer. Fortunately, he hasn’t changed much. David is a software engineer by trade and a long-time sci-fi and fantasy devotee by passion, and he lives in Silicon Valley with his partner of twenty-seven years. Until recently, he also shared his life with a disturbingly spoiled cat named Freya.

You can find Fid on the eponymous Chronicles of Fid trilogy.

Join us on Friday to hear from an immortal hero and his interviewer, from a world where science and technology intermingle. Please follow the site by email (bottom-right) to be notified when the next interview is posted.

Gary Karkofsky (of The Supervillainy Saga, by CT Phipps)

Dear readers, tonight with my is the supervillain Gary Karkofsky, also known as Merciless: The Supervillain without Mercy™.

Hes here to talk about super-powers, about heroes and villains, and about what separates them.


Tell us a little about where you grew up. What was it like there?

Hello, I am Gary Karkofsky a.k.a Merciless the Supervillain without Mercy™. Yes, I know it’s redundant. I am the world’s first anti-villain and supervillain for the common good. I lie, cheat, and I still with my magic cloak but it’s all for the greater good. Well, at least mine. I live in a world full of heroes, villains, gods, and monsters but it’s all up for grabs if you’re willing to take it.

Did you have any favourite toys as a child? Any cherished memories?

I was born in New Angeles as the younger brother of Keith Karkofsky a.k.a Stingray the Underwater Assassin. Unfortunately, antiheroes gunned down my brother and I swore I’d avenge him. Then life happened and I completely forgot about that vow. It’s decades later and I’ve decided to give supervillainy a go again. My wife Mandy is less than pleased with my new career choice, especially since it brings me in contact with two of my exes. My henchwoman Cindy a.k.a Red Riding Hood and Gabrielle Anders a.k.a Ultragoddess the World’s Greatest Sueprheroine.

What do you do now?

To be a supervillain is to have great power and zero responsibility. I rob, cheat, lie, and steal in order to have as much fun as possible. It sure as hell beats my former job as a bank teller. However, I will say that I try not to hurt the regular people of the world. Unfortunately, that’s harder than it sounds since they seem to think my actions warrant sending cyborg mercenaries and killer robots after me. Other supervillains resent my robbing them as well.

Continue reading “Gary Karkofsky (of The Supervillainy Saga, by CT Phipps)”

Alexandra Renai (of Heroic Lies, by Stephanie O’Brien)

Dear readers, tonight with us is a spunky reporter, on the front line of an alien invasion. She’s here to tell us about her friends (and what she’d do to save them), and about alien abductions (which involve more video games than you might think).


Tell us a little about where you grew up. What was it like there?

It was a pretty regular neighborhood, until I grew up and it became the site of regular abductions.

Y’know, cute suburban houses, UFOs in the form of unidentified airborne birds, because those technically count, and kids banding together to try to rescue said birds after they mashed their faces into windows, with mixed results.

It was the identified flying object that ended up making things interesting, seeing as it was a spaceship.

Did you have any favourite toys or activities that made life interesting before the spaceship showed up?

Like a lot of modern kids, I was pretty attached to my smartphone. I took pictures of everything that caught my eye, and made up news stories about them, though they almost never got published.

Most of the pictures were pretty mundane, though I did get a pretty good one when a moose wandered into our yard and my friend, Alexa, tried to check its hooves for thorns.

You know the story about the lion with a thorn in its paw? It doesn’t work as well when the lion is a moose. I had to distract it while she ran inside.

That one actually did get into the local paper, and it’s one of my proudest childhood memories. My dad got interviewed along with me, and I swear he mangled his grammar just to annoy me. He did that all the time when I was a kid; I started correcting his spelling and grammar when I was eight.

Are you still taking pictures and reporting on things now?

Most of the time I’m in front of the camera, not behind it. I mostly report on what I’m told to, but I do my best to find my own stories whenever possible.

Lately I’ve been making stories by posing as the girlfriend of an alien superhero so his equally alien rival can kidnap me instead of the real girlfriend. I don’t think Alexa would take it as well as I do.

You know, at first I thought those aliens might be goofy college kids in costumes with prosthetics, but when the kidnapper crossed a huge room in less than three seconds to prevent my experimental escape attempt, that theory got a lot weaker.

What can you tell us about your latest adventure?

I’ve mostly been teasing an alien abductor, trying to keep everyone convinced that I’m the hero’s girlfriend without actually having to kiss him, and trying to beat said aductor’s high score on the video game he made for us.

More importantly, I’m also digging for answers to some pretty weird questions, such as why Zorei and Kadian are wearing matching ornaments, and why Zorei keeps picking fights with Kadian even though he never wins. He’s pretty smart and tech-savvy, so you’d think he could find something more fun and lucrative to do with all that skill.

Continue reading “Alexandra Renai (of Heroic Lies, by Stephanie O’Brien)”

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