(I Also Write Children's Books!)

Saturday, August 1, 2015

The Teasing Teaser

Chapter three of the third Inscrutable Machine book.  This is all you're getting until it's finished and published, so make this last!  I'm hoping that rather than satisfying you, it will make you crave the rest of the story.  I chose these three chapters because they're sort of the book's 'part one', setting up what the book will be about - as much as that ever works with my books.

The Very Long Third Chapter

Enjoy.  You do enjoy reading these, right?  I'm enjoying writing them.  I'll admit it - this whole chapter was a hoot to write.

271 comments:

  1. I am loving this so much.
    I tend toward obsessive behavior and when I discover a good thing I tend to get stuck on it for a while.
    When I found the first book about a month ago I devoured it and since then I've re-read the first book at least three times the second one twice because I am so very hungry for more. I've glanced at your other work, but it doesn't quite scratch this burning itch I've got.
    For some reason Penny's world and its characters REALLY struck a chord with me.

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    1. Best book, best series, I've read in the past several years!

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  2. I love this with UNHOLY LOVE!!!

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  3. Excellent chapter. The thought of having to wait for the book to see what happens next is nearly unbearable.

    It is hilarious that it seems like Penny's parents will soon be the only ones who don't know her secret. I wonder if telling her parents the truth would count as getting personal.

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    1. If anyone else but her told them? Yes. They are specifically the people that everyone, hero and villain alike, know absolutely can't be told. Not that you can tell anyone, but especially not family!

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    2. I have noticed a certain trend here that can be summarized: Secret identity? What's that?
      Seriously, at this rate there won't be anyone left who hasn't been outed to some degree.

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    3. That is part of the 'don't get personal' phenomenon. There's no way to keep your secret identity in the modern world. Somebody's going to find out. The government can find out, if they care. But if people with super powers start feeling desperate, you get serious loss of life and property damage. This way is more stable. Even for criminals, the incentive is to minimize chaos and destruction. The lunatics who don't are removed in ways considerably more ruthless than the law, often by their own allies.

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    4. Seriously love this series, and thank you for the teaser chapters! I'm preordering this as soon as it opens for such. :)

      I wonder if villains who realize Bad Penny's identity might assume her mother *does* know. Claire's mom seems okay with it, after all, and Penny's mom has a reputation for brilliantly figuring everything out.

      (For that matter... are *we* sure Penny's mother doesn't know? Penny thinks she doesn't, but her mom also has an excellent poker face and might have decided guilt works best.)

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    5. Well, it seems that if Penny’s Mom really does know her secret, then there are three possibilities - Positive, Negative and Neutral.

      I can’t see her Neutral about Penny being a villain, not with her being a retired hero, married to a retired hero, and acting ‘haunted’ and ‘worried’ about the Inscrutable Machine. That indicates some preference. If not she sure is faking it enough to fool Penny.

      Now, being Positive about it is a possibility.
      One nasty idea that occurs to me is that The Audit might have retired for a reason. In a lot of books the super smart types tend to go ‘megalomaniac.’ “Soon I Will Be Invincible” (by Austin Grossman) stated outright that all super brains had megalomania automatically, without exception. Some Fantastic Four comics, and the current Iron Man Story-line have that trope.
      So, one possibility is that the Audit was actually a secret villain, and competitor to Spider. She ‘quit the business’ and Spider leaves her alone because she does not want her to provoke her into coming out of retirement. And, Penny is the Audit’s Proxy in the villain world. She is faking the concern, and forbidding Penny from being a hero in order to push her into being a villain. Spider tried to suborn her, but failed when Penny showed her mother’s cunning and that forced Spider to be more ‘clever’ in dealing with Penny.
      It would be much darker story, with her mother being a possible antagonist. And, all her behavior, and fakery would be the signs of her being a very manipulative villain.
      But, it would explain why the super analytic, plan-making Audit would not have trained Penny to be a hero, and apparently does not have any plans in that direction at all.

      Now, this is pure conjecture, and would be a complete change of tone for the books. So, I doubt it.

      Negative, the Audit knows, and is planning to have Penny see the reason that villainy is the wrong path for her by setting her up to take a big fall. Sort of like finding out that a child is trying smoking and punishing them by making them smoke the whole pack.

      Again, that would be a big change of tone for the book.

      So, I hope she just does not know.

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    6. And, if she did have secret villain leanings, that would explain how well she gets along with 'Misty' Lutra.

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    7. But, if anyone, I would suspect Penny's Father.
      He has provided so much protection for her, and it seems like she is a Daddy’s Girl. She listens when he talks, but when her mother tries to give advice she doesn’t. He is the big brain, and can figure out a lot of mad science. He might not have the megalomania (his brain mutation could give him exemption), but then again maybe he does. He let her stay alone for several days so that she could do the museum caper. He stopped her mom from investigating T.I.M. multiple times. He continues to not recognize the principles of ‘Bad Penny Tech.’
      Again, it would change the tone of the books, severely. I hope that is not the direction it goes.

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  4. So far, it looks good. Is there a working title for the book?

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    1. 'No One Wants To Hide Their Super Powers'. My publisher will want something in a Please Don't Tell My Parents format, but I'll cross that river when I reach it!

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    2. Most likely along the lines of "Somebody TOLD my Parents" all things considered.

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    3. Or, as it is now about the 'club' - Please Don't Tell My Parents WE'RE Supervillains.

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    4. Please Don't Tell My Parents I'm the Clockwork Queen.

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    5. Nay, they already think that.
      That is what is protecting her 'real' secret.

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    6. Exactly! Everyone "knows" that Penny Akk is a hero with clockwork tech. And they're wrong.

      I see the club going the other way, at least officially, so:

      Please Don't Tell My Parents We're Superheroes.

      The symmetry of Penny inadvertently Leading a young hero group made up of villain kids against herself is hilarious.

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    7. Penny: "But, mom! I had no choice but to protect my friends from Bad Penny. She's a monster!"

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    8. Please Tell My Parents I Deescalated.

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    9. Umm, telling her mother she is going against Bad Penny would be, well, 'Bad.'

      Penelope is only 'protected' by Spider from T.I.M. until she "enters the superhero world of her own volition."

      If she goes against 'Bad Penny' her mom would freak! She has been paranoid about 'Bad Penny' since the first book. She was going to make it personal, until Brian stopped her.

      So, not a good idea to use that excuse.

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    10. Which is why she shouldn't be told. Thus:

      Please don't tell my Parents we're Superheroes.

      Penny gets in trouble either way she jumps. Hero or villain.

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    11. Yep, but I was talking about using the excuse: "But, mom! I had no choice but to protect my friends from Bad Penny. She's a monster!"

      That would be bad.

      And, I still think 'Please Don't Tell My Parents WE'RE Supervillains" would also fit.

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    12. The thing we're all forgetting here is that if Penny did pretend she was going up against or trying to stop bad penny. Is that as soon as things got out of hand she would need to appear at some point in Both forms.

      Bad Panny and Clockwork Queen in the same room together. So to speak. And yes while Anyone could be in that costume do you really think The Audit wouldn't clue that it isn't the Same Bad Penny as previous occasions from minute differences in behaviour, fighting style etc.

      It would be extremely likely to backfire and reveal her secret.

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    13. Well, there are ways around that, when you have an inventive genius/mad scientist.

      But, the central problem remains. If she goes against any villains, especially T.I.M., her mother would freak!

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    14. Actually, on that count, I think they are being bad parents.

      The commands, "be safe always," "don't be a hero - you're not ready," and deescalate by "whatever it takes" are just bad. They are not training her to be a good person, at all.

      The lesson they are teaching is - "money, the comforts it buys, and personal safety are more important than being a good person (aka: hero)."

      She got into conflict by participating in a Science Fair, so she should avoid those, or any other competition. She should not help anyone else, such as against a bully, as they might be villains, or get the attention of a villains. She cannot stand up for her self, or for anyone else, ever, because her father would not like it.

      There is no way to avoid conflict and be a decent person. You need to learn principles, and integrity early. If you grow up without them, well, that is where unprincipled villains come from - the kind that Bull was to contemptuous of in the first book.

      Imagine a case where she has the options - reach out to save someone, or throw them to the wolves to cover you escape. If she follow her parents commands she would have to take the second option.


      I can't wait to see how this plays out in the story.

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    16. "Apologize, surrender, tell an adult, walk away, run away, whatever you have to do."

      Considering that the school let kids disrupt 'Sports,' beat up on ids on the other team (make him a 'hunchback'), & trash a lab without any repercussions, how much should she expect "telling and adult" to accomplish?
      And, the non-super adults could not stop 'Sharky' anyway.

      Her mother said that "she was not ready," but has not offered any training to get her ready.

      That is what she needs! Super hero training on how to deal with the situation. Learning her mother's verbal Audit skills would really help her.

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  5. No doubt. Personally I thought your working title "At least I didn't blow up the moon" to be better than the actual title that came out. Good luck on the book.

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    1. Heh, it was "At Least I Didn't Blow Up OUR Moon" as I recall.

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    2. I way preferred 'At Least I Didn't Blow Up OUR Moon', but the marketing department wants a 'Please Don't Tell My Parents' format, so what can you do?

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    3. As it is now involving a 'group' - Please Don't Tell My Parents WE'RE Supervillains"

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  6. I kinda got the feeling that this might end up with Bad Penny as a serious political force, what with her being the undisputed master of the next generation of supers. Also, and I don't know if this is just my dirty mind, but I got a bit of a harem feel from this chapter.
    P.S. please don't flog me for that and I know this is a kids book, but I don't necessarily disapprove.

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    1. I know right! It's a Penny, Cassie, Ray love triangle. With Claire not so firmly friendzoned. Although Claire could still be in the running given her fascination with Rage and Ruin.

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    2. I think Ray and Penny just like teasing each other.

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    3. Uh huh, but bear in mind that "little miss shameless" does not always show the best judgement, and if she gets carried away it might hurt Penny's Feelings. And, it might give others the wrong idea as well.

      Hope not, but it is possible.

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  7. Love it! I was wondering if, and hoping that they would really make that club. I think some of the best parts of the book are the interactions between characters, and adding a few more is intriguing. They have a real, well - "real" feel to them. I especially love when Ray gets on a roll - “tentacular alien mind-controlling abomination, spawned from the nameless and unholy polyps“, and “Nightmarish cancer that infest the flesh and brain-." That was brilliant!

    ‘Course, now Ray may need a plausible reason for being a member – like maybe getting that training he was offered…

    Director Penny of…. hmm. No. Director Claire! Now that is more the thing!
    Penny, Head of Research & Development, or Training & Development (ability analysis, costume construction, etc.). Ray, Lead Agent of…. well…
    I can’t wait to see what they call their group!

    Any idea of when it might actually come out?

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    1. I don't think Director is the word here.
      Chairmen Penolope maybe. Or just Mistress Ack,
      and while we're at it, Dame Claire and Sir Viles. :P

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    2. Well, I was influenced by Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., but hoping to have it be more entertaining.

      As it is a Democracy, and a good group - maybe "President?"

      For a League of Villains - Dark Mistress of Science, Research and Development, or, President for Life are good titles.

      Of course if they do go for a League of Villains, then a good title for the book would be - "Please Don't Tell My Parents WE'RE Supervillains."

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    3. Heh, just thought - "Sir Vile" would not be a good one for Ray - too close to servile. Not something you call your boyfriend, publicly.

      Viscount Viles, Baron Viles (like Baron Overlord), Junker Viles ("young nobleman" - for his skill in Chainsaws and Teddybears), those would sound better.

      And, Dominus Claire (The One that Dominates), Imperador Claire (the one we ador), they would all fit.

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    4. Of course, if they are good guys or heroes, they will all need new hero names.

      For Penny I really like The Machinist - as the maker of the Machine, and whose creations are all 'only' machines, if weird.

      And, as Ray is the 'extreme' of human abilities, and practices at something like Parkour - "The Extremist" fits well.

      As for Claire, that has me stymied. Imperador, or simply 'Adorable' are the best I could come up with. But, then the "joke" might get a bit creepy with someone saying - "Hello Adorable." Sounds like a pick up line.

      Can't wait to see what His Lordship Roberts comes up with next.

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    5. If they do go for a league of villains, that will mean they are directly competing with Spider, current Misstress of the League of Evil for their tri-state area.

      I don't count that as a good plan, although I would like to see Penny and Co leed some group that directly fights her. Lets face it, the only reason Spider has power is cause she threatens the friends and families of the villains. And cause they are villains the Heros can't protect said friends or family.

      I really think Chairman Bad Penny, Duchess E-Claire and Count Revile should be working against that in some way.

      [shrug] Of course I'm just throwing an idea against a wall.

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    6. I love listening to you folks debate my continuity. It's really heart-warming, because it means I've captured your imaginations.

      And I will say you're not entirely off course, although of course I'll keep the truth to myself.

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    7. Glad you like the comments, we will try to keep up to your level.

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    8. Spider will eventually have to be a factor.
      But, considering how they interacted before, she only contacted T.I.M. after they pulled a serious job -stealing dragon blood. And, currently she is treating them with respect. If that is real, or just a strategem, we will have to see.
      As long as they ‘club’ stays in a neutral, or ‘pre-professional villain’ stage – practicing, training, learning, they probably avoid any issues. T.I.M. will probably still be able to work with Spider. Spider keeping an eye on them, spying, and waiting to control them later would make sense.
      A lot would depend on her personality. If she is a control freak, then she would have to try to take control. If she is a professional, and really devoted to the rules, she might wait till they ‘stumble into her web’ so to speak.
      What are her actual motivations? What does a Rhino Sized Spider really want, and how does becoming the “GodSpider Of Crime” advance that goal?
      And, as for T.I.M., well, realistically Ray is their vulnerable point. Hopefully we can learn more about his situation in the next book.

      Which we can expect, when Mr. Roberts?

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    9. Sounds to me sorta like the local band scene, just because all the guitarists hang out together doesn't mean they play the same music or are in one band they don't have side projects or solo projects. Heh, knew one Bassist who did both country (professionally) and pretty hard rock for fun. So I can see the "club" staying neutral quite easily. Can also see it going to the "dark" side if all of the hero-inspired stay away, too.

      Just don't see anyone feeling the "need" to replace Spider, she has a pretty good working arrangement in place and the "respect" of the hero community. Nobody has tried to engage her even though she isn't exactly hiding -- because she does a good job. It feels like an awful lot of work, too. I don't believe her manners are deceptive, if they were she would be considered differently by the heroes. Traditional misleading and dastardly plans are fine, even expected. (yes, I like Spider as a non-typical leader -- ironically the HEROES are the ones with a leadership void)

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    10. Yep, if Spider is really honor-bound, and non-typical, she would ignore independent children - while gathering information for when they join the community.

      It would really change the tone of the stories if she became their enemy. Again, it just depends on what she 'wants.'

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    11. Running around as independents sounds like a wild time. Lots of insanity with Penny & Co. keeping the 'heroes' and the 'villains' apart - especially in the same lair!

      Will it become "home base" and a 'safe' zone? “HA, you can’t foil me I made it to the clubhouse!”

      But, that would get the school a lot of attention.

      And, will the independent children ‘villains’ still be able to visit China Town?

      But, if Penny starts organizing them, or even slightly begins to coordinate their actions, that will have to put her in Spider's Cross-hairs. She may have to work a deal, or start a fight.

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    12. Sorry - work a deal, or put up a fight.

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    13. Last thought for the day. We don't know what Spider's Powers are, if any. But, she does have things like The Orb Of Heaven, 5th Dimensions Cube, copies of Mech's Stuff from his hard drive, etc.. So, even if 'powerless' she has stuff she can use to fight.

      And, like Batman she has "all those cool toys" and also his greatest power - "tons of money."

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    14. Obviously, the club is for "Heroes" So they all need alternate hero identities. Then they can make their reputation countering the Inscrutable Machine. Playing both sides.

      Penny: The Clockwork Queen. She holds over the clockwork tech for this identity and everything else stays with Bad Penny.

      Claire: Vixen? Everyone assumes she'll take after her mother so she can play that up like she already does. E-Claire seems to have a slightly stalkerish crush on her.

      Ray: ? Reviled is seen as muscle so Ray should play up his intelligence and be a Mastermind/Tactician.

      For the Group name "Deescalation"

      Deescalation vs The Inscrutable Machine.

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    15. Well, right after she beat Lady Wisp the first time, one of the students called her "Perfect Penny" and "Penultimate Penny." So, maybe Penny-Ultimate?

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    16. Ray calls her Clockwork Queen as banter and she regrets that its too late to go back and change her name. So when she tries reinventing herself as a fake hero it's the obvious choice.

      For her "real" name? Penumbra! (i.e. partially in shadow).

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    17. Their hero identities need distinctive ability sets from their villain identities.

      Penny is on the right track with her clockwork theme.

      Claire is assumed to be a sexy cat burglar like her mother. She could also probably get away with using her physical abilities as Claire since no one seems to notice E-claire using them through her mind clouding. (I vote for "Vixen" as her hero name!)

      Ray can't reveal his strength because its Reviled's most obvious ability. He should go for "powerless but smart" like the Audit. He would make a great "man with a plan" mastermind/ strategist/tactician. (What could his hero name be?)

      Then have Penny kit them out with an entirely separate set of hero gear. Maybe pheromone perfume to let Claire fake her mom's powers?

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    18. Or, Penny could make Ray some armor. It would be a good disguise at least, for his secret identity. All he would need is protection, as he already has strength and speed. He could credit the suit without giving anything away.

      Hey, if the Original can be a super without any powers, so can Ray, right?

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    19. And, the Audit thinks e-Claire is mocking Claire by wearing cute instead of sexy clothes, to something more... well, not sexual but risqué would suit Hero Claire.

      But, the main problem would be that being a super trio would make them even more 'like' T.I.M. and invite comparisons.

      Hmm, but part of a group....

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    20. Ah, but they're not a hero trio. They are already up to five and counting.

      Clockwork Queen, Vixen, Ray, Lightning Wisp, and Velocitard (SpeedFreak?)

      We Really need a good hero name for Ray.

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    21. Then you can have all kinds of meta fun with their motivations.

      Penelope wants a piece of Bad Penny but just isn't in her league and get slapped down almost casually. Bad Penny doesn't take her seriously and goes out of her way to not hurt her. This humiliates Penelope, reassures her parents, and reinforces that Bad Penny is an older girl from the high school.

      E-Claire seems to have some kind of mild stalker crush on Claire Lutra. Claire publicly toys with her affections, and E-Claire does silly things to get her attention. Like dragging T.I.M. into stealing the first edition Claire Lutra Figurine. This is the natural evolution of Claire having multiple online identities fighting each other.

      Ray has to outwit and out maneuver Reviled since he can't match his strength.

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    22. Actually there was a major ambiguous villain in City of Heroes named The Clockwork King. The mission contact's name was Penelope Yin.

      Heh. I miss my characters from CoX.

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  8. Yep, love it already. No matter where it goes, it's bound to be a bunch of entertaining trouble.

    As far as the people who know Bad Penny -- we're up to Spider, Claudia, Lucy, Miss Lutra, and Rage and Ruin by now, right? At least? I can't help thinking that if a bunch of the villain community know, they'll sort of quietly just find it incredibly funny.

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    1. Actually Rage and Ruin have no reason NOT to believe the story Spider supported. Only newone that likely really knows is Will, from the Helmet Toss. Marcia may suspect, but the cover ought to hold for her too.

      With their tats/body markings its not like recognizing Rage/Ruin means that much.

      So I would make it Claudia, Lucy, Spider, Will, and Miss Lutra/Minx. Some who might have suspected were likely put off by Spider's ploy at the end of Moon.

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    2. Oh, never mind. On the re-read its clear that Rage and Ruin weren't fooled. Which may mean Cassie knows as well but isn't saying anything.

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    3. Anyone else have the feeling that the "club" will be full of supervillain kids? Looks like the Inscrutable Machine will be on a recruitment drive whether Penny likes it or not.

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    4. Mm, I don't know. Cassie and Will don't seem like they know, or they'd be fangirling/boying WAY more, especially alone with them, and they wouldn't be surprised they had a laboratory lair.

      Besides, I doubt Rage and Ruin would tell Cassie. She's theirs, but she's young, and they wouldn't just tell her all the secrets of the villain community, especially secret identities. I don't think.

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    5. Yes. Penny offered her the 'choice' of being hero or villain, so letting her in on her 'other' identity before she chooses villain would not be kosher.

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    6. Oh man, I just went back and re-read Cassie's line - "verlocitard," "filet-o-fool," "Neckless block of rancid fish oil!” I really like her banter!

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    7. Will has reason not to go fanboy over them, as he crossed T.I.M. early on. He put Penny's face out there right in front of four of the most dangerous Villains of that world, among others. So, he owes them all big.

      I hope the club is not just villains; it would be a lot more insane if they are a mixed bunch. And, “The Legion of Doom” as an after-school club would not go down well with the school nor with GGirl. And, what teacher would sponsor it?

      By the way, Ms. Petard? I got the reference, as well as Kamachi, but don’t get the Mr. Zwelf reference? Anyone know to what that refers?

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    8. Penny might not have a choice on whether they join as villains. Remember, she didn't want to start out as a villain in the first place. Personally, I think it's part of what make this series so fun to read.
      Also I am hoping they'll all be supervillain kids. If they get Charlie on the team, T.I.M be have the typical one-power-of-every-sort supergroup lineup. Penny- Tech, Claire- Control, Ray- Close Combat, Will- Speed, Charlie- Tank, Cassie- Range Combat (I'm assuming her lighting powers will have some range to it).
      "Please don't tell my parents I'm the head of a supervillain group" anyone?

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    9. Oh, I'm not saying it would not make sense, or fall out that way. Just that, it might be funnier to see a hero/villain mixed group,

      And, the school, and GGirl, and Spider, might not like it. That's all.

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    10. I hope it's a mixed group too, or even ostensibly hero (just because it would be kind of entertaining that way -- I have a thing for irony, I guess, and besides it'd be fun to see more of the hero side of the community).

      But whatever the group are, if they *don't* know TIM's real identities at first it'll be fascinating to see them find out. :D

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    11. I don't see Charlie joining, really. He does not seem the sort to forgive/forget. My guess is it will be mixed, with no factions in the lair itself. If a "hero" member runs into a "villain" member then they can play their role -- but if the villain escapes then its "not personal" and reset at the lair.

      I suspect Penny is going to expand the lair to have a private area (lair within a lair) with the Machine doing the work.

      Zwelf mean me/myself so probably will make more sense when you have a first name.

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    12. In what language is Zwelf me/myself. The closest I could find was Dutch - zelf, as in elf.

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    13. Also, if members need to be 'vetted' or apply to the club then Charlie is out of luck - "Too dumb to help" as Penny put it.

      And, would he even want to join? Cassie appears to be a mad scientist, and be smart enough to learn from her loss, and accept - "No hard feeling, see you next time." But, is Charlie?

      Actually, Charlie has all the classic "bully motivations" according to what his uncle said. Kids who are "miserable at home," and are facing "humiliation... at school," and with a power good for bashing would tend to encourage him strike out at the world. So, joining under someone who beat him will take a lot - which 'could' be a good story right there.

      More likely, he might get recruited as a henchman at the booth in China Town. Now, 'that' might be funny if Claire actually follow through on her plans to hire some later on.

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    14. Anyway, on the topic of "who know" their secret. Marcia definitely suspects, which is why she “shot ... nasty looks every time our paths crossed." What she 'knows,' or is smart enough to get is up for debate.
      Lucifar definitely know - she visited Claire to congratulate her getting power. She saw Penny's face when she invited them to the villains hang-out on their first day.

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    15. Will knows, he saw Penny's Face back in China Town when he stole her helmet.

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    16. He didn't geek-out over them, but their lair was a surprise to him. Maybe not so much that he didn't know they were T.I.M., but that they were professional villain enough to have an actual lair!

      Can't wait to see what he says to them when Casse is not around. I mean, he did break the big rule - "Don't Get Personal" and revealed her secret identity.

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    17. I would like to see Claudia in the group. I know she probably is the last person who would want to join, for more reasons than she can count, but It would create an awsome dynamic if the most powerful Hero in the school was invited with a conversation of:

      "If you're that worried this will become a big League of Villains kind of thing, then you are the perfect person to monitor us and keep us on the level! Nobody would dare even joke about villainy during the club if Generic Girl was there"

      Although I still don't like Generic Girl as a name. I think the Villains should give her a better name, Clausality. Or Clasualty. Or IsThatAGirlThud. Or other puns :D

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    18. Whoa! That would be awesome!

      The only problem is that she is not "public." She has been good enough to just be a rumor, not even known by the community. Going public like that would not be in character.

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    19. Checked on Lutra - genus of the subfamily Lutrinae, which includes Otters and Minks. Ha!

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    20. zelf in Dutch, rather, is myself in English. I couldn't find any exact translations for it with a "w" though.

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  9. Oh yes, I'll be buying this book when I can. When's that likely to be, by the way?

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  10. What I really want to know is - is Claire the School Mascot?

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    1. If she was, wouldn't she have been at the football/rugby (forgot which) game alongside the cheerleaders ?

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    2. Ah, Point.

      Man, that would have been interesting to see, and been a good counter-point to Marcia.

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    3. She could be a Mascot, and also not been at the game that day. She had a game of her own on her computer that she really wanted to play, and she also has the power of influence.

      So, she could have used her power to skip one game.

      Delete
  11. I'm not sure what I enjoy more: reading these chapters or reading the comments.

    Just here to remind everyone that Lucyfar knows Claire's identity and has previously contacted Penny on her civilian phone. That doesn't mean that she knows who Penny is, but it's not a far stretch of the imagination.

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    1. This really was supposed to be a reply to kipendrik, but for some reason it went to the bottom.

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    2. Oh I gurantee Lucyfar knows who all three of them are by now. I get the feeling Lucy is like an aunty to Claire. Which on that note!

      Hey Roberts. I wanna see some causal villains hanging out this story please! Like Lucy taking the kids magic shopping, or the kids discussing their evil plans while playing 3vs3 Teddybears and Machineguns. Or other "We have private lives" stuff involving the other characters who know their secrets.

      I mean whats the point of a bunch of people knowing each others secret identities, if they can't at least go hang at the mall outside of "work" :D

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  12. When she called her on her civilian phone she called Penny "Penelope" just to drive the point home (specifically: "smack your little buddy E-Claire upside her head a few times and tell her never to give out your civilian phone number, Penelope"), so ... yeah. Pretty sure bet she knows. And knowing Lucy, she probably called *after* dying laughing.

    I forgot that Marcia probably knows too, though that's less of a sure thing, right?

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    1. Aaand this was supposed to be to exocron, right up there.

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    2. Nice! I must have missed that. And yeah, Penny suspected that Marcia knew (key word being suspected).

      Now that I think about it, would Penny's parents go around teling her classmates that their daughter was trapped in another dimension for some amount of days (as they believe from Spider's note)? If the answer is no, then it's up to everyone else to draw their own conclusions. Penny, Claire, and Ray all being missing from class at the same time, immediately followed by a broadcast from Jupiter referencing TIM, could be enough to make an already suspicious Marcia confident that Penny is Bad Penny.

      In other words, Spider's note may not have the desired effect on Penny's classmates, because there's a chance they don't even know about it. Even if the Akk's shared that information with the superhero community, it's probably not something that the heroes are all going to tell their children.

      Also, I think I figured this out: the bold reply links all create a new comment on the bottom of the page. The non-bold ones are the ones that work :P

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    3. That's a point. Depends how much talk there was, I guess. Because there would have been a couple of days, right, when Penny's parents would have been looking and asking around for anything that could turn off the device? Maybe it got around enough for her classmates to hear ... or maybe they'd think it was unwise to tell too many people their daughter was stuck in another dimension beneath her middle school, IDK.

      Of course, her schoolmates might *not* be privy to that, but then again, they might not be privy to secret space missions handed out by Spider either, or communications picked up by NASA from the Jupiter region. So IDK. I'm actually interested to find out how much the general student body hears about this stuff. (And/or, at least the ones with connections to the community.)

      Delete
    4. (Hmm, that reply was using the bold reply link at the bottom of the page ... but it put it in the right thread. I think before, we must both have accidentally typed into the generic new comment box at the way bottom.)

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    5. Ever seen a major search for missing children? Then all sorts of emergency equipment at the school and doors forcibly demolished? At a SCHOOL, which is second only to a military base for a rumour mill?

      The question is not who knows, but who DOESN'T know? In this world supers are local celebrities - so yeah, it would have been out there.

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    6. Actually, that last part of the story really made ponder.

      Ok, they have a Spider’s Note, that “had endured hard wear,” which stated – “Penelope is trapped in the field of the Fourth Dimension’s temporal negation device, in her clubhouse under the middle school she attends.”
      And, they have the adults standing in the elevator to the lair, which has a lot of incriminating ‘Bad Penny-Tech’ that the parents still had not discovered.

      Now, how do those two things fit together?

      I could see a note that is crumpled, from emotion. But, "worn out. How long did they wait to search under the school? Why would they wait that long.
      I can’t imagine the parents getting a note that their children are in trapped under their middle school, and not immediately searching it. They would have found all the stuff.
      The alternate scenario is that the note was delivered just before they got home, and the parents immediately ran to the school. It would fit that the parents had not had a chance to search the lair. But, in that case how did they manage to get the note noticeably worn out?

      That is a mystery I can't wait to read about.

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    7. But, in either case what were the parents doing for the four days? They would have had to say something, even if was “we pulled the kids of school for family emergency.”
      And, if a teacher were to ask the kids where they had been for four days, their response would spread around – whatever they chose to say. If they said that “we were trapped for four days in a temporal device thanks to the Inscrutable Machine” then that would enhance T.I.M.’s reputation at the expense of the kid’s. But, coming from them it might not be convincing to anyone who suspected them (like Marcia), or were already certain (like Claudia).
      If it was public knowledge, they could say “no comment” and stay honest, and it would fuel speculation. Some people would believe it, or be confused, or decide that they really couldn’t be T.I.M. Marcia might buy it. But again, Claudia would not.

      Actually, them telling that story would be bad, as it would make them dishonest on top of being villainous as far as Claudia is concerned. That would be really bad. Don’t piss off the most powerful super in L.A.
      Whatever happened, whatever story did or did not come out, Rage still figured it out. Other would as well.

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    8. And, a last but not least, what’s the deal with Rays’ Parents? Why were they not there?

      I really want to learn more about his situation.

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    11. I actually concur with this. With absolutely nothing said about Ray's family, I can't help but think it's a broken home/single parent situation where one parent is always working, and the other one is a B list or C list supervillain.

      Lets be honest, while Claire was also semi-destined to be a villain, it's Ray who really pushes the group to have fun with it.

      Speaking of. I wonder how if not why Penny's parents haven't thought "Oh our daughters best friend is the daughter of an ex-villain! She probably has villain friends! She may even sympathise with villains?"

      When you think about it they sorta dropped the ball there.

      Side note @Luis Garcia : If you think about it, Ms Lutra was probably playing interference. And if she knows of any viilains on the PTA would encourage them to be slack in "searching the school".

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    12. Hmm, villains on the PTA - that would explain a bit.

      Delete
    13. And, if Ray's Parent, or Parents, are low level villains that would make him worry about revealing his power, and his membership in T.I.M.

      Delete
    14. Reading back from the 1st book, it Brian Akk built 'The Minx's' grappling hook, they go way back. So, it might make sense is they have agreements, or understandings with her as to what they will allow to do with Penny around.

      Delete
    15. They may have had her agree not to do crimes, or have the bad criminals around when Penny is around. It may even be part of her pardon.
      Lucyfar is a 'morally ambiguous' character, so there may not be any problem with her being around. Brian Akk was not pleased that Penny was 'exposed' her, but he was not angry that she was at the Lutra's House.

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    16. Its obvious our Devious Host has intentionally not provided background for Mr Viles. Given the routine naming conventions used in this world its a pretty good hint to what sort of parent he has. I would expect its going to be a plot point eventually.

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  13. I will happily explain two things!

    1) Penny's parents never saw the inside of her base, because it was full of Stasis Field. They spent four days trying to open it.

    2) Ray's parents and their complete lack of showing up are based on my experiences with my closest high school friend. He never talked about them. I never saw his home. I never met them, until we were in college. It turned out they were 'knives and cocaine' level abusive.

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    1. 2. That possibility had crossed my mind as well, but I still like to think at least one of his parents is Villain Track as an explanation for other elements.

      1. Ah, I think most of us pictured something much smaller. But even after that once they were out, I would have expected at least Brian to "take a peek" at the tech levels...

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    2. Nope! The first thing that happens is that Brian is told that the kids desperately need their space and he should not go down there. This slows him down long enough for Penny to get her stuff out.

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    3. Which now begs the question of; If this were an anime would we now get to see new sets, costumes and toys. Not to mention would marketing have a "Penny's Lair Playset" by now "Collect all the pieces and build your own version of Bad Penny's Lab"

      ^_^

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    4. Thank goodness for Miss Lutra's social skills. I'm kinda raising my eyebrow at Spider for setting it up for Penny's parents to walk into her base. Bit unwise, really; it was sort of a close call.

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    5. A cartoon won't work. Parents aren't going to let their kids watch a cartoon where pre-teens become supervillains. An anime would work but you need to get interest from a Japanese studio. Right now, the rage over there are adaptions of "light novels" which I think this series could be considered as one. Anyone know the sales figures of the series in Japan?
      I think the best bet is a comic book mini-series (Image maybe?). It would have to be a quirky one like Sinister Six. Who knows, if it's successful, hopefully it can kick-start the movie like it did with Kingsmen and Kick-Ass. I read before the movie rights had been sold already.

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    7. Well, I figured it was not good for Ray. Sleeping in class is usually a sign of sleepless nights not of boredom. If he was bored he would be doing thing in class, not sleeping.

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    8. And, yes, that close call seems to me to indicate that Spider is still playing with them. Not a good sign really.

      Unless she is working with "The Minx."

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  14. Ah, the field filling the lair would explain it. Thank you Mr. Roberts.

    I can’t wait for the book, to see what that the Akk’s were doing during those 4 days.
    Did they tell the school, “This big dimensional probe hooked up to the giant Tesla Coils? Oh, don’t mind them, we are using them to test the big temporal field under the school that ate our kids.”

    That would be funny, but I can’t see the school going for it – not even with Lutra Social Skills and Villains on the PTA. They closed the school after a fight in the gym after all.

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    1. And, that would get the word out explaining where they went for 4 days. That would work well to spread doubt, maybe convince some that they are not T.I.M.

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  15. I love, love, love it (as always), but I caught a couple of continuity errors. Namely Marcia's name and Ruin's hair color. In the first book, at the Science Fair, Marcia's last name is listed as Bradley on her display. Also in book 1, Ruin's hair changes color every time it's mentioned: from royal blue, then (2 paragraphs later) to purple, then in the fight in the library, it's back to blue again.

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    1. SWEET. You found Marcia's last name? I did a word search on the manuscript and didn't find it! I can change it now in the manuscripts on this one. Thanks!

      Ah, I did decide to make it blue, didn't I? Iiiii'll... hmmm. Think about it. There are Reasons for Ruin's hair, so it's no surprise I waffled from one to the other. I had the same problem with Claire's hair. Made a decision to make her golden blonde, forgot by the end of the first chapter. I had to go back and make things consistent in a later release!

      Keeping meaningless details like hair, eye color, and last names of characters who you don't hear often can be quite hard. I keep a file, but it requires a lot of going back and filling in.

      Bradley, Bradley... thanks!

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    2. Good, I just checked, and there's no use of a last name for Marcia in the second book. All I have to do is use Bradley in book three. Thanks again for catching that (long) before I went to print!

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    3. Regarding Blue/purple... Maybe that section of the library had yellow lights in some places and fluros other. So the colour would appear different under different lighting :3

      I've seen the same thing happen with red/brown hair in real life.

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    5. No problem. I have the kind of brain that face-plants over that sort of thing. I probably wouldn't have caught it if I hadn't been reading it to my niece (and then finished re-reading it on my own later that day!) as it had been a while since I read the 1st book. :)

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    6. On the subject of continuity errors, in book 2 Penny leaves her helmet on the Red Herring just before entering the Clinic saying:
      "Come to think of it, if we were about to do something villainous, where was my helmet? On the floor, over beside the beds."
      She never retrieves it, then at the beginning of CH 17 indicates that the helmet is back on Ceres.
      Does she have her helmet, or does Juliet have it?

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    7. Since we're talking about continuity errors in Chapter 1 Moon Penny refers to something called "the Eye of Heaven job". I assume she meant the Orb of Heaven as it is the only X of Heaven object we have been introduced to.

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  16. Her Helmet? I thought she took it off when She and Ray were talking on Ceres saying that they wouldn't need their secret identities. Ray left his mask, Penny left her helmet and Claire left her brains... :P

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    1. Nope. Vera carried it over to her just before they got on the Red Herring, and it isn't mentioned again until just before they go into the Red Panacea Clinic in the quote I provided.
      She definitely had it on the Herring, but later thought she'd left it on Ceres.

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  17. Does anyone else think that Cassie might have a crush on Penny?

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    1. She does seem to have a bit of one.

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    2. I don't think its a crush, more - Claire knows what power she has and she enjoys using it. She seams to flirt with both of them equally in my mind so, I Think of it as a matter of trust. Even when Penny thought Ray like Claire, she wasn't overly upset by it and wanted them to be happy.

      Same cause here. Both of them know Claire is flirty tease and would be a slutty one if she could get away with it. And neither of them are upset by it so they let Claire be Claire.
      If Claire were to actually try to seduce/be sexual with either of them it might be a friendship break (only might) but outside of that they blatantly encourage her to be flirty!

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    3. Actually on a side note thats very related. The importance of a certain statement flew over my head the first time I read this chapter.

      "age and Ruin are a couple! I don't see a ring. I guess you're not married yet"

      In other words gay marriage is both legal and commonly accepted in their world! Good to know 8-D

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    4. I think that Cassie does have a 'hero crush' on Penny. She impressed her by beating her, twice.
      I would not call it 'romantic.' It looks more like she is a big 'fan.' That could get interesting if Cassie ever finds out who Bad Penny really is.

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    5. Oh oops. I just realised one of my posts just above, got swapped around with another one further up about claire. . . Should I be embarrassed or pretend that the website was the one to stuff up :P

      Delete
  18. I love it that you're doing more with the public offcial registered club angle. Do they name in? Minor Meta Anonymous as Support group fur under age meta and those with metas in their live (which explaines why a "normal" like Ray is a member and cover of anyone else.) Where the kids can talk about the issues like grouping up with a parent like the Audit freely amoungst themselves and trying to find out what they talk about in meatings counts as getting personal.

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    1. Ray can always admit to part of his ability, like either strength OR agility. Physical enhancement has to be somewhat common. Its the whole package of str/agi and martial arts that defines Reviled.

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    2. But he's also smart. He could make a good planner/organizer/leader with an encyclopedic (fanboy) knowledge of supers, their powers, and tactics.

      I think it would be hard to fake not having powers if put on the spot. He might be able to pull off "skilled but normal" in a fight but one slip would give the game away. Sometimes the best disguise is something completely different.

      If they where older I'd say make him a sniper. He can use his physical enhancements to fake good aim while staying safely out of direct combat. Have Penny invent some kind of awesome gun for him powered by springs. Make him overwatch and tactical coordinator with some kind of communication headset. Then no one will suspect he's the front line tank Reviled.

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    3. Maybe so, but Reviled walked through "cute ground zero" when Mourning Dove threatened Bad Penny without feeling it. It doesn't seem in character for him to hang back and let the two girls take the risks.

      And, eventually they will run into something else that will make him get jump into the fray.

      So, like I said earlier, a 'clockwork' or 'gear' powered armor, built by Penny, would be good. It would provide protection from bullets (and other things), and he can claim it grants him strength and agility as well. It would be 'hiding in plain sight.'

      Only problem with him 'heroing' up at any point is whatever is happening at home. If his family is evil, they would probably try to pressure him into using his 'armor' for bad, give it to them to use, or if they can't use it to sell it for money.

      Here is an good steam armor: http://io9.com/steampunk-iron-man-art-comes-with-a-new-tragic-backstor-1666056542 that would fit Junker Viles.

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    4. Ray can't admit to having powers to belong to the club, because then he needs a plausible origin story, because penny's public persona can't do the biotech that gave his powers to them.

      So him being non-powered is an equally diffuclty lie as false orgin story with not supporting data to back it. And pretening the wrong powers will put him in more situations where it can be exposed as the predent you don't have powers which he can get lessons on from numerious people on either side of the community from. Plus it set up grounds for uther supers who don't want to public admint they are so they can join buy just saying they also have a super in ther personal lives and need a place to vent with out getting personal.

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    6. Well, there are 4 points to think about.

      #1 Will the club accept anyone new who ‘wants’ to be a hero/villain – with our without powers? It has been established that you can be a ‘hero’ or ‘villain’ without powers in that world. The Original & Ms. A are examples. (Not ‘good’ ones, but there they are.)

      #2 They are middle-schoolers, so there will be internal (and possibly external) challenges - jockeying for status, and respect, etc. How will Ray hold his own as a ‘nornal?’

      #3 There will be ‘heroes’ and ‘villains’ that do not (and should not) know T.I.M.’s secret. For example, Charlie, his ‘smarter family’ member (the mystery girl “who heard stories” about Bad Penny), etc. They will need some way to cover his powers up, to keep their secrets and throw off speculation.

      #4 Ray has shown that he will jump in to protect Penny from harm (like when he got “so mad that someone touched Penny that you walked into cute ground zero and didn’t notice”). He may also do so for challenges she should not publicly accept.

      As he is a member of the ‘super’ club he needs some sort of status builder or explanation for being able to hold his own. He could explain it with training (from Master Crabface, or some other), but even so he is much stronger and faster than a normal skinny nerd has a right to be. That is likely to come out by accident, or in the stress of a fight.

      Like I said before, Penny could make a “Mechanical, but weird” suit, but she couldn’t use it (parental restrictions). But, Ray could. It could protect him, and they can add the other things Penny was thinking about in the first book, “Shock-based attacks against armored, heat attacks against unliving targets… nonlethal attacks to take fragile humans out,” etc. And, he could explain any Super Strength or Super Speed Enhancements as being part of the suit.

      So, that is one way that he could fit in to the club, and properly defend Penny and/or Clair with a new ‘hero’ identity that conceals their secrets.

      Again, that only applies if they will accept ‘non-powered’ members.

      If they accept as members anyone with ‘something’ super – powers or super-devices (armor, power staffs, magic green rings, etc.), powered allies (guardian angels, super pets, etc.), or so on, then Ray would be set.

      If you have to have powers yourself, well, then they will have to think of some other reason for him to be there. Ray is a founding member, and 1 teacher (Ms. Petard) and the 2 new members, already know it.

      So, will the club accept non-powered members?
      And, if he does have a suit, or ‘public powers’ will it bring trouble with his family?

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    7. roguebfl is right about faking the wrong powers, but a suit plus martial arts training would cover it pretty well, and reduce the chance of discovery. Not completely, but it is something.

      Delete
  19. Is Cassie Ampexia? From the fanart?

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  20. Something Tells me that LA's adult Hero's and Villains are all about to end up caught in the same trap, leaving the next generation to save the day.

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  21. Can't wait for the whole book to come :) Now we can start begging for release dates...

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  22. The Inscrutable Machine has left me in stitches six times over. Why six times? That's how many times I've read the original; and I'm on my second or third read of the sequel. The third installation so far (from what little you have kindly published for us poor readers) has the same punchy humour as the original, and I am itching to read it in full.

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  23. I must appreciate the way you have expressed your feelings through your blog!
    PPC Expert

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  24. Actually, I have a question. Is Penny unknowingly copying other mad scientist’s inventions?

    She copied the Conqueror’s Orb, and Wonderland’s tank & wand set, apparently without being aware of their existence.

    Is that her power, pulling devices out of mad science history, or is it just an aspect of her power?

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    1. She did not built any Conqueror Orb. It was said that Vera is advanced even for Conqueror technology.
      Harvey said, that the Conqueror Orbs are remnants of a dead civilization, so it is not clear if they are able to advance. It is not unlikely that there were no schematics for Vera prior to Penny building her.
      Another instance is Cybermancer with his "magic goo and beer"-experiment which Penny stopped. How likely is it that someone created magic goo prior to Cybermancer AND analyzed its reaction with beer. But yeah, possible.
      On multiple occasions the design in her head shiftet (but did not change entirely) when new requirements/restrictions were added or the availability of materials changed.

      Penny refers multiple times to her power as all-knowing. So it could be that her power knows really everything about science including all schematics ever made. It is far easier to modify existing schematics (e.g. building an improved Conqueror Orb) than to create something from scratch.

      Is Penny's power even working properly? She got her powers after zapping herself with an UNCALIBRATED device for awakening powers, which was deemed dangerous by Penny's father. So could her power be defective? Is that the reason why it will turn against her eventually (according to Mourning Dove)?

      On the other hand, it might be her true power, as it would fit for the child of a reverse engineering and concept implementing mad scientist and The Audit.

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    2. Well, she did build a Conqueror Orb.

      In the second book the remains of the Orbs in space were big clunky things, less advanced than the ones that attacked Earth, so they can advance themselves.

      Vera is an advanced design, better than the ones that attacked Earth, but Vera was affected by the guns from Jupiter, and had the same extreme hatred of the Puppeteers – to the point of ignoring good sense to keep burning them.

      She’s Penny’s Orb, a sentient one, but she is definitely a Conqueror Orb.

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    3. Yes, she built an Orb with Conqueror-technology.

      I do not remember the Orbs in space ever being described as big and clunky. I looked up the scene on Europa's space station (Chapter 11): The Orbs there were head-sized, which is the minimum size for the degradation field, as reported by Brian Akk. I don't think Conqueror Orbs would employ units without the degradation field against Puppeteers. So they seem similarly advanced.

      Well my actual point was, that her power might have used the existing schematics of Conqueror Orbs and improved it to satisfy her needs. Excessive features are not removed, so Penny is often surprised by the capability of her equipment.

      And as far as we know all Conqueror Orbs are sentient. But we only know of the Orb of the Heavens and Vera so far.

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    4. Well, it works like a Conqueror’s Orb, was made from Conqueror’s Tech, has the same abilities and vulnerabilities as an Orb. So, It’s an Orb. Custom made, but that is in fact what she made. She can be surprised by what it can do, but that just seems to back up what I wrote before.

      And, Cybermancer did submit his paper to her father. She could conceivably have seen part of it. So, is it that she only pulls from devices and papers that her father had, or is it something else?
      It does seem that part of her power is to recreate other Mad Scientist’s Devices, unknowingly or not. As I asked before, “Is that her power, pulling devices out of mad science history, or is it just an aspect of her power?” Seems like it is an aspect of it at least.

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    5. My assumption about Vera, was that the "Quartz" she thought she found during the junk yard dig, was broken conqueror orb fragments re-constituted back into a single block. Which she would then have shaped, hacked into and programmed herself. I also noticed the fact that her powers showed up After zapping herself with the antenna at the beginning of book one. Robets told me personally that no - this did not give her her current powers.

      I will point out that is All he has stated clearly.

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    7. The surprises, and things she does not understand about her inventions COULD be explained by the fact that it is not her tech at all. It's someone else's, which she only copied, which she does not really 'understand.' She saw a different schematic than what her father came up with, but she did not exactly 'understand' it.


      However, I will keep in mind Mr. Roberts' comment about not assuming understanding about how her power works.

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    8. Found the reference, Chapter 8, where they found the remains of the Conquerors in the Asteroids.

      "It might be older Conquerer tech," Ray suggested. "Bigger, Clumsier. This base may have been destroyed a thousand years ago. Ten thousand. A Million."

      Not clunkier, clumsier.

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  25. You guys are amazing. I am in the middle of moving (which I hope will enable the third book to be finished much faster), and that's why I haven't commented.

    I don't want to confirm which ones, but some of you have guessed stuff EXACTLY right. I am impressed.

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  26. Well, I have been actually waiting for Penny to start raiding her father's designs.

    The "Brain" can “only” reverse engineer “half” the stuff he gets from mad scientists, and then most of the stuff he passes on is like “moon language” to regular engineers.

    But, it looks like Penny can get them right. In book 1 she looked at his screen, which was showing a schematic and though, "It was wrong. It wasn't what I saw in my head!" So, she can actually correct & make the stuff that he comes up with.
    He had been working on a “Quantum Machine” teleporter, but I’m sure there are tons of things she could get from his books.

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    1. So, it THAT her power?
      Did she remember all of the projects that her father went through?

      ...No, that doesn't fit. He would have recognized the Machine for sure. It has to be something else.

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    2. I figured that the schematic she saw on her father's screen was what led her to making her teleporter bracelets.

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    3. I saw her choosing to skip using her dad's auto-braider because it looked like a buggy upgrade as and early use of her power.

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    4. BP described her bracelets as altering position in time.
      Don't know if that is the same as what her father's schematic did. But, the time-line fits.

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    5. @Garcia - What's a bet her father machine was designed to bend space, which is why Penny's bracelets bend time instead? Plus she invented the bracelets soon after making the "upgrade" to find crystals/metals.

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    6. Well, the thing is that her father doesn't understand anything about how her (BP) devices work - not the Machine, her dolls, or her 'bomb.' You would think 'the Brain' would recognize his own principles.

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    7. This post is just here to give you kudo! Although the only machine out of those you listed that 'could' have been based off her fathers Tech, are the air cannon, the bracelets (which nobody has got to analyse properly) and the static gloves/anti-friction soles. Everything after that seamed to be more 'Dig site' than her dad's junk-box.

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    8. Thank you K. Knight. I had forgotten about the reverse friction insoles, and the static gloves. Apparently e-Claire's powers are affecting me - I forgot she had them.

      But, when could the stuff you listed have been part of her father's work-stuff? I only remember the teleporter and the electrical modulator as being things he was working on. The three I listed were the only 'Bad Penny Tech' items I remember him having a chance to study.

      The weird explosives (from Cybermancer) he did study, but he didn't know they were a Bad Penny Invention.

      So, it seems Penny is creating new mad science devices, not just cribbing from her father's library of Mad Science Devices.

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  27. First of all: Your books are awesome (at least those I read) even so the children act a tidbit too mature in my opinion.

    As for speculations:
    I think it is an interesting question how Penny will overcome the restrictions set by her parents and still become a superhero.

    I think it could be possible that she really truly becomes the Clockwork QUEEN, perched on her mechanical throne, sending her mad-science-enhanced superpowered minions aka Royal Guard (either recruited from the club or even the entire club) to take care of the opposition. She would not fight and as the use of her power is explicitly allowed, she would not break the rules laid out to her by her parents.
    They would definitly not be happy with it and may change the rules or they might admit defeat and allow this compromise of superheroing and not fighting. Or Penny somehow succeeds in hiding her involvement from her parents, which is pretty unlikely.

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    1. I was thinking more along the lines of her as a counselor. With a clipboard, and notes, critiquing the villainy of her club-members from the side-lines and helping them become more ‘villainous.’

      “No, more laughter, really let it out!” And, “Pose and show your best side to the security camera,” or some such.

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    2. The worst case would be if she joined Spider’s organization, publicly. Spider would protect her, prevent villains from challenging her, and pay her for her inventions.

      But, that might be as much fun to read about.

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    3. What would be the more fun, if if things just escalated till it became ridiculous. Like, Spider and Penny become rivals, and to keep Spider attacking her and her minions, she threatens to release a genetic engineered virus that specifically targets Spider, but Penny's only delivery system is tactical nukes detonated at high altitude over the country.

      ie; holding a country to ransom to keep the villain from being stupid. Which I suppose could make the next story "Don't tell my Parents I'm and Evil Overlord" or something :P

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  28. One thing to keep in mind when speculating about Penny's power: She doesn't know how it works. She knows what it looks and feels like when it works, and what it produces. Anything else (like it being all-knowing) is guesswork on her part.

    In general, never flat-out assume that any of my characters knows what they're talking about, even if they're convinced. Usually they're pretty good, but like people in real life, I reserve the right for them to be Wrong.

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    1. Like the Audit you cand fight the numbers but keeps ading up who The Increadible Machine's motives wrong.

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    2. Makes sense.

      Whatever she did to start the self-destruct of the gate was not just 'inventing.' She did something, mentally, that started it off. And, she said something about, "it didn't feel like my power. At all.”

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    3. I believe that Penny's power Is a more general superhuman intelligence that is to powerful to run for long on her current nervous system. Not necessarily a "create random mad science gadget" power. She just has a vast database of random mad science and super science knowledge in her subconscious from stuff she's casually glimpsed around the house all her life. So, she is capable of copying things she may not remember seeing, and creating new stuff using a radically different model of how the universe works.

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    4. Bad Penny's comment was right after she jump-stated the aetheric engine on Europa, ""I have a superpower." Although this hadn't felt like like my superpower. At all."

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    5. And, superhuman intelligence makes some sense (as Cybermancer explained it), but would not explain Mourning Dove's comment.

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    6. My assumptions about Penny's powers are much more pragmatic. I think Roberts showed us The Kludge for a reason; in that every super science thing we've seen that blacked her out seamed to be working with technology she already had. Puppeteer goo, magic talismans, conquoror orb crystals (she found a quartz like substance remember and her power on the space stations said it could work with the busted ones), even tech from her dad's junk box.

      I think Penny's power is the ability to intuit the way other technologies work, and adapt them. And I think this element is at a high level, but is backed up by a mind-set and personality that is naturally Good with clockwork and reactions in physics.

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  30. Got another question, though I don’t want to push my luck too much. But there was a sentence in the second book that confused me.

    “People with superpowers have the same natural hair color demographics as the regular population dyes their hair.”

    Is that supposed to be “same demographics as the regular population THAT dies their hair? Or, is it “same natural hair color demographics as the regular population including the ones that die their hair?”

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    1. I am happy to answer this one. The amount that people dye their hair in the regular population, that's how much the hair color happens naturally in the super powered population. About 30% of American caucasian females dye their hair blonde. About 30% of American caucasian females with super powers are natural blondes. It's the same with every other color, like there are as many super powered naturally purple haired people as there are people who dye their hair purple in the regular population.

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    2. Like Rage & Ruin then.

      Cool! Thank you for the answer!

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    3. wouldn't fit better to say the percetage of people with super powers that natural have a hair colour is equal to the combine number of those that natrually have that color and don't dye plus those that dye it that colour?

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    4. I have to say that I love the world-building.
      The little details and ‘rules’ are just great. The fact that the heroes have the same looks that people ‘wish’ they had is just funny! If you read comics, it is just too true!

      I know it's probably something else at work, like Penny’s Power. But, it builds realism and pokes fun at regular comics!

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    5. I think it is funnier that it is equal to the number of dyed hair, not the natural population!

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    6. What I want to know; is whether the number of heroes and villains who are naturally bald equal civilians who shave their head. And while we're at it, how many villains and heroes actually shop at the places their fans think they would shop at?

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    7. Good point! I it is wish fulfillment, then there would be no bald heroes.
      Or would there?

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  31. Hey Roberts... In light of a few entries in this blog, you should consider making an "Ask the Audit" eblog where the Audit can answer non-spoilerific questions about the story-verse =^.^=

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    1. What a really neat idea. It does sound fun.

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    2. Not this note, have you consider having a wikipedia page. Maybe you can put some notes on it on the storyverse and it can works as a promo tool as well

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  32. Speaking about "asking the author." I was thinking about the Tiers of Mad Science.

    Tier 1: Devices that are advancements of current sciences, but are understandable by science. Examples, all of Edison’s Inventions, and Penny’s Lunchbox.

    Tier 2: Devices that are advancements of current sciences, which science does not know how to make/recreate. Ex: Penny’s Semi-Intelligent Expert System, & her Iridium Detector upgrade to The Machine.

    Tier 3: Devices that are built on unknown principles of science, and are not understood at all. Ex: Penny’s - Light Bike, Zombie Rag Dolls, & Teleport Bracelets.

    Tier 4: Devices that are built on unknown principles of science, and should not work at all. Theoretical, with only The Machine as an example.

    Do I have this right?

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    1. Ooh, SUPER good question! You're very, very close.

      Tier 1: A device understood by normal science, but made more easily than it should be. Penny's lunchbox totally qualifies.

      Tier 2: A device that current science understands the basic principles of, but does not specifically understand how that device works. Something that could be made, with some research. A cybernetic eye like Red Eye's is a perfect example.

      Tier 3: A device that relies on physics that current science knows nothing about. Penny's teleport bracers. Vera. Probably Claire's frictionless soles. Penny spits out Tier 3s like they're going out of style.

      Tier 4: There is no Tier 4, because in theory, the top is just 'We don't have any idea how it works yet.' Brian uses it to describe a device that is so advanced that it looks impossible. With Vera, a Tier 3, at least there's weird chemical mixes and microcircuitry grown fractally and stuff. You don't understand it, but you can see that there's something you don't understand. The Machine looks like it's put together out of conventional clockwork, and does things that make physicists sob. The ancient teleport gates the Jupiter colonists and Puppeteers used to get to Kalyke would count as Tier 4. They are, to the limit of our understanding, just rocks, but they do something amazing.

      Bonus World Building Note: Tier 2 inventions are the most useful to the world. Tier 3s generally cannot be reproduced, so you have one and that's it. With a Tier 2 and enough work, regular scientists can figure out how it works and make more. Brian's super power allows him to figure out Tier 2s faster than whole teams of human scientists, and every once in awhile figure out a Tier 3.

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    3. Ok, so:
      Tier 1 - cutting edge.
      Tier 2 - leap forward in science.
      Tier 3 - unknown science.
      Tier 4 - WTF?

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    4. Me: So Tier four is "Probably Magic"
      Mr Akk: There's no such thing as magic, just Teir four :P

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  34. Hi first post here, First I do like this series a lot, second i do enjoy a lot what you are doing but i would love to see penny at least bring her father on her confidence, I think it would make for a lot of hilarious situations, can you imagine if her father decided to help her for a while with her lair of evil!! just because he wants to help his daughter, (all men have a big weakspot for their daughters), it would be hilarious, for the rest I really enjoy the books but sometimes you push the envelope of family relations a little bit too close to the breaking point.

    Anyways any information about when can we expect this book to be published?

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    1. Well, the only problem with that is that Penny only gets away with keeping her secret because her mother is not (or was not) looking.
      But, her father? It would take something phenomenal for him to keep a secret from his wife.

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    2. If I had to guess, and if this series goes on long enough, Mr Akk probably will be brought in on the secret. But Penny would have to convince him that the Inscrutable Machine aren't causing trouble or committing crimes "Just for the Fun of it" and find a way to stop him and Spider coming to a head over it.

      There are lots of ways it could go bad but I could totally see Mr Akk helping Bad Penny with stuff - on conditions. And if it did fall apart and Penny's parents found out.
      I suppose Penny could just move in with Claire till it cools down???

      (Not that that doesn't pose other problems)

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