Spirit Guide high-five!

Meet UD3 Division Chief Cole Nantaje. And Bacho.

Letoa couldn’t see Nantaje, of course, but because of Manaia, she knew he was there. And because of Bacho, Nantaje knew that she knew. And she knew that he knew that she knew — well, you get the idea.

As you have probably figured out, the Unusual and Dangerous Developments Division is our story’s version of “Fringe Division” or “The X-Files.” Essentially, as technology and discovery advances, new law enforcement divisions have to be created to deal with possible threats. The FBI already had to create a “Cyber Division” in 2002 and a “Weapons of Mass Destruction Directorate” in 2006. The UD3 is for even freakier but increasingly-likely possibilities, such as force fields, time travel, negative matter, quantum entanglement, antigravity, zombie outbreaks, and of course, teleportation.

And if you are running such a division and you discover a smart, capable, butt-kicking female detective who also happens to have supernatural abilities — well, she basically gets to write her own ticket.

As it happens, Max-The-Artist is acquainted with a young woman who is an FBI agent and who was in fact fast-tracked through Quantico. The FBI wanted her that much. She’s one of those mega-people you meet sometimes who are just so damn good at everything you just want to scream. And they are invariably attractive as well. So yeah, she’s basically Letoa in real life, only without the Spirit Guardian (as far as we know.)

Plus! A new Vote Incentive! It’s a heroic-fantasy-themed art piece Max created that is pretty damn sweet. Check it out!

More below!



First Impressions


My father, a noted theoretical physicist, once wrote a book called Indistinguishable From Magic in which he explored a lot of the above-mentioned science-fiction concepts and detailed ways in which they might theoretically be accomplished. It is NOT light reading; it has a buttload of math and physics, and some of it is fairly dated these days. But it isn’t blue-sky speculation, either. For instance, he details how to make a working time machine. It does require spinning a mass at an appreciable fraction of the speed of light, and it would only allow you to travel back in time to the point at which the machine was originally turned on. But while we can’t do that yet, there’s no real reason why we couldn’t do it eventually. Need funding? No problem – just send yesterday’s winning lotto numbers back a week.

You could cause a lot of trouble with a machine like that.

Or force fields? Just postulating here, but if you can build one that deflects alpha particles, perhaps use it to surround a mildly-radioactive substance (such as a thorium lantern mantle) and let things cook for a while. Then turn it off. Preferably from a distance.

The closer we get to being able to do things like that, the more we’ll start to need something like the UD3. At least for the purposes of this comic.

But back to first impressions — one of my favorite stories from my father’s life started when he was a boy, building his own ham radios out of scrounged parts. He noticed that whenever he burned out a selenium rectifier, it looked exactly the same, but he knew it had fried because it gave off an odor like burned cabbage.

Later, as a young man, he came out of the Air Force ROTC program with a degree in physics, a rank of 2nd Lieutenant, and a ham radio background. So the brass put him in charge of a radar installation at Shaw AFB. This meant that he was supposed to be commanding a bunch of Technical Sergeants who had vastly more experience with radar than he did. Not an easy task.

Blessedly, as he showed up, the whole place was a beehive of activity. The radar equipment had failed, and Tech Sergeants were crawling all over it, cursing. The last thing they needed was a snot-nosed Second Looie showing up getting in the way. But my father detected that old familiar smell of burnt cabbage.

“Your selenium rectifier is fried,” he said.

Naturally, his declaration was treated with barely-concealed contempt, until an hour later when it was discovered that the selenium rectifier was indeed burned out. He was given a lot more respect after that.

So assuming Letoa makes it through the 20-week course at Quantico, she’ll be joining the UD3. It’s doubtful that she and Scales will ever be besties. But at least he knows now that she’s not to be messed with.

These first impressions are so important.

— Bob out