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by Pete Milan

Come on, baby, let's get out of this town.
I got a full tank of gas
And the top rolled down...
There's a chill in my bones,
I don't wanna be left alone,
And baby, you can sleep while I drive.
Melissa Etheridge, You Can Sleep While I Drive

This story follows Tempest #21-23 and Full Deck #7. It also takes place before alla this INVASIONS jazz.

"I QUIT!" the man with the charred hair screamed, tossing a notepad on Lucinda Schenkman's desk. Smoke still rose in tiny wisps from his cheap suit, and his face was blackened with soot. Lucy looked him over, unimpressed.

"And what seems to be the problem, Tim?" she asked, her British accent making her sound slightly elegant.

"I'll tell you what my problem is, shall I?" Tim Crawford half-shouted. "The fucking SEEKERS are my problem. Rogue costumed maniacs are my problem. HARRAKIN are my problem! You ever tried to interview a fucking Harrakin, Lucy? HAVE YOU? Flying all the way down to goddamn Antarctica just for a 'no comment'? Oh, yeah, that was fun!"

"Tim, kindly refrain from gutter profanity when in my office. Now what specifically is your problem? What happened to you?"

"A firefight between this... this... he looked like a big cougar on two feet and these armored guys! My car is gone, Lucinda. It is gone because said armored guys fired at the cougar, missed, and BLEW IT UP!"

"Tim... look, maybe you need a vacation... "

"I need a transfer, Lucy." He sat down. "Please. Afghanistan, the Falklands, Kuwait... these are things I can handle. No more Omega Beat."

Lucy sighed. She considered for a few moments, then spoke.

"It'll mean moving to Japan."

"I'll start packing. Thanks, Luce." With as much dignity as he could muster, Crawford stood and, still smoking, walked out of Lucinda's office. The editor of INFO Magazine shook her head and looked at the charred notepad. Time to go through the Rolodex. Time to find someone to cover the Omega beat.

Transverse City was a collection of vagabonds, con-creatures, and just folks, banded together by the common goal of getting through life. They came from a myriad of worlds, magical and scientific, provincial and urban, brought to this plane of existence by paranormal portals in time and space. Dragons and aircars flew overhead; giant robots and evil poodles walked the streets.

God, it was boring.

At least that's what Jimmy Denton thought. He sat in his usual booth at the Gilded Lily, drinking his morning coffee and dreading the long day of nothingness that loomed before him. Nothing, but nothing newsworthy was happening in Transverse City anymore.

Stagnation wasn't something Denton dealt with well. Never had done. He had to be where things were hopping. Back on his own world, he'd jumped from one hot spot to another, covering little wars and big ones. He'd landed pretty hard after what happened in Colombia...

He shook his head, as though trying to drive the thoughts from his head. That way lies madness.

"What's with you?" Leigh Avedon asked as she slipped into the booth. She was the political reporter on the Data, and she and Denton were close... even after Denton asked her out and was shot down like a Russian MIG up against Tom Cruise.

"I'm bored is what," Denton growled. "This town sucks. It's gotten boring. I never thought it'd happen here, but it did. Transverse City is boring."

"It'll pick up, Jim. There's slow news days all over."

"Not slow news months." He ran a hand through his hair, distractedly. "Look, Leigh, you should hear this from me... I'm thinking about a leave of abscence."

"What? Why?!"

"I'm thinking about heading back to the ol' homeworld for a while. I haven't been in a few years."

"And what? Bum around your non-existent house?"

"I've got cash there. I've got people holding stuff for me, safety deposit boxes... I'm covered."

Avedon sulked as she sipped her tea.

"Who'm I going to talk to?"

"Talk to Shott. I thought you two were tight."

"God, Jimmy, you haven't been paying attention at all, have you? That was a one night thing, I haven't talked to him in the longest time... "

"Maybe you should try."

They drank in silence for a moment.

"Really going to do it," she said.

"I'm pretty sure."

"Is there anything I could say to change your mind?"

"Nothing comes to mind," he lied.

She finished her tea and set the mug down.

"Then good luck."

Leigh Avedon stood and walked out of the booth. Denton sighed and finished his coffee. Yep... the old homestead was looking good.

The photo showed a cougar-man laying into an armored foe. The cougar was roaring, looking like a rabid beast from the neck up. It made Lucinda shudder to look at it.

"Well, this is impressive, Mr. Lee. I must say, it's surprising that you didn't seek photojournalistic work before this."

"Yeah, well, I had a few years to collect my non-thoughts," William Lee said, absently picking at his sleeve. "I always had a way with a camera, but I didn't get interested in it until recently."

"What brought it on?"

"My girlfriend's going to college. It occured to me that I might want to improve my station in life as well."

Lucinda looked the young man over; thin but not skinny, a healthy complexion, nervous eyes. Chinese-American, with his hair in a brush cut. He wore a long-sleeve turtleneck sweater and jeans.

"Mr. Lee... are you comfortable working with Omegas?"

"Very much so," Lee said, a bit too quickly.

"We have an opening for a photographer on the Omega beat. You'd be covering any Omega battles, celebrity appearances, that sort of thing. As soon as we find a reporter, we'd put you to work. How does that sound?"

"It sounds great!" Lee said, smiling widely.

"All right. We've got quite a bit of paperwork for you to fill out... tax forms, that sort of thing... "

"Uh... you don't do blood testing here, do you?"

"Is that a problem?"

Lee swallowed and looked at Lucinda. He was hesitant as he spoke.

"I am... I was a drug addict for many years. I was only arrested once, though, and I've been drug free for two years now. I can promise you, Ms. Schenkman, nothing stronger than coffee gets into my system these days." That, and I'd rather not let you know that I'm an Omega.

"I see." Lucinda considered. "If I get any indication—"

"I'll gladly be tested then," Lee finished.

"Fine. Then let's do the rest of the paperwork... "

Denton taped up the last of the boxes, containing his CDs. He programmed the robot to bring them down to his car, which waited outside his building with Michael Scarman at the wheel. His father, Captain John Scarman of the Reality Integrity Commission, was helping him move.

"So are they saving a space for you?" he asked as they walked downstairs.

"He says if I ever come back he'll toss me something. I don't know, though... maybe what I need is something a little less cosmic for a while. Something to get me down to business again. I mean, you hardly need to do any investigative reporting in this place, the stories just fall in your lap... "

"I know what you mean, but I'm enjoying the quiet. Especially since you- know-who is gone."

"Don't we wish," Denton said, referencing Mr. Ting. "At least I won't be dealing with him for a while."1

They walked wordlessly out into the street. Michael Scarman hopped out of the car. Denton couldn't help but flinch from the young man's scar, a reminder of Ting's first attack on the Scarman family. He shook Denton's hand and wished him luck.

Denton shook the Scarmen's hands, hopped into his car, and pushed his fedora back on his head.

"Who knows," he said, pointing to his hat. "Maybe these things will be back in style."

With that, he drove off to the west side, where the portal that would take him home waited.

The Cadillac rolled out of the portal, which was located inside a cave in upstate New York. Denton hadn't remembered this, and he nearly rammed his car into a stalactite or a stalagmite or whatever the damned things were called. He braked, turned on his headlights, and headed towards the great outdoors.

The first thing he noticed was the smell. Earthy. Real. The Crossroads air possessed much of the same quality as, say, an oxygen tent. Of course, the people there brought many interesting smells with them, but still, there was always that missing tang.

The next thing he noticed was the noise, or the lack thereof. Transverse City had never been the quietest place, but this... a country road at ten a.m. and he could hear a pin drop.

The last thing he noticed was the cougar-man munching on the remains of a deer.2

Denton screeched the Caddy to a halt. As he did, a box full of breakables slipped from its perch behind him and smacked him in the back of the head. He didn't feel it. He just stared. The guy was around eight feet tall, covered with fur, wearing nothing but a slightly sickened expression. The eyes were gray and sad.

After a moment, Cougar Boy noticed he was being watched. He raised his head, a stray vein dangling from the side of his mouth. His lower lip trembled, like a kid caught with his hand in the cookie jar.

"Sorry, man," the cougar-guy said in a voice straight out of Haight- Ashbury. "I was just... uh... sorry."

With that, the cougar-guy sprinted into the woods, leaving a stunned Denton staring after him.

Denton parked in a garage and headed straight for the bank. They were more than a little surprised to see him, but once they'd verified his identity, they let him into his box. Waiting inside was a computer disk, a necklace, a few photos (business and pleasure both), and three piles of bills. Hundred dollar bills. Somewhere in the neighborhood of $200 grand.

"Thanks, Enrique," he muttered, taking a bound pile of $2000 and sticking it in his wallet. It almost made him laugh; the last time he'd been on his home world, you wouldn't catch him with anything larger than a twenty in his wallet. It was too easy to be robbed, but life in Transverse City had made him bold.

He put the rest away, checked the balance on his savings; interest rates had been kind to him. Once that was straight, he headed for the library. Information was needed here.

"So what is it you're looking for?" the clerk at the info desk asked him.

"I dunno... has there been anything about weird, paranormal events? Mutations and the like?"

"Well... " The clerk checked his records. "Omega or non-Omega?"

"Omega," Denton responded instantly, not knowing what the hell he was talking about. It was intriguing, though. The clerk gave him several reference numbers. Within minutes, he was at a table with oodles of books and magazine articles all around him. Omega Genetics & Biology: A Study in Comparative Anatomical Structure by Elizabeth Marder Anderson, M.D., When Shiva Dances by Allen Covenant, God In Man, Man In God: What The Tempest Brings by Carl Sagan, The Adventures of Anne Benson, Omegawoman: Gimme Shelter Trade Paperback by John Byrne, Tempest Throughout History by Erich Von Daniken, Colony by Michael Crichton (a true-to-life-ripped-from-today's-headlines account), The Seeekers: America's Team by Paula Fox (a quickie paperback offering puff profiles of some kind of Omega task force), Nevermore: The True Story Behind Raven by Lawrence Schiller.

Articles on SIRECOM, the SEEKERS, Omega terrorists beneath Chicago, lion- men, huge Indian rampaging gods, an outpost of an alien empire, a teenaged god... sometime between when he'd left this world and his return, what had been a perfectly ordinary reality had turned itself into some kind of genetically mutated funhouse.

Denton wanted to laugh out loud.

Andrew Slater flipped through the channels aimlessly, trying to find a good excuse not to write. Chapter twelve was not coming. He knew it wasn't. He'd written himself into a corner and could not find a way out. Just forget it. Spare yourself the humiliation, return the advance and sink into abject failure like you know you should.

Rosie O'Donnell was on the screen, gushing over whatever celebrity had oozed their way onto her couch. He always wondered when Rosie was going to find a celebrity she truly despised. "My next guest is a rancid little weasel with no talent and a small penis. Please say hello to... "

Knock knock knock.

Slater sighed. The repo men, no doubt. They'd be here for the car. He knew it would happen eventually. He walked towards the door, his heart pounding with terror. Maybe it wasn't repo men. Police. Oh, God, police, of course they were here for him. Over what? Does it matter, they're police, they can get you for anything...

With a deep breath, he pulled the door open. Standing there was a man with sandy hair and a ruddy face, a fedora pushed back on his head.

"Andy!" he said, arms outstretched.

"... Jimmy?" Andrew asked.

There was about five seconds of stunned silence on Andrew's part. Then he grabbed Jimmy in his arms, and with a hearty "MOTHERFUCKER!!" welcomed him into his home.3

"Where the hell you been, man? Can I get you a drink? Beer's all I got, but it should be fine... " Excited, Andrew scurried to the fridge and grabbed two Sam Adams. Denton took a seat and drank, though not enthusiastically. Once you've had Bag End Ale, even Adams tends to suffer in comparison.

"So... "

"So," Denton said. "I'm back."

"Where were you?"

"I was in an interdimensional interface called the Crossroads, where you can reach any one of a myriad of different dimensions by accessing portals. Specifically, I was living in a place called Transverse City, where I covered invasions, serial killers, and giant rampaging monsters. Lo and behold, I come home and find that all this cool stuff is going on here, too."

It took Andrew a moment or two to process that information. When he did, he sprinted for the computer and began typing frantically.

"Uh... Andy?"

Typety typety typety.

"Andy, what's the matter?"

"Chapter twelve, man! I got it! I'll have this book finished in a week! AH HA HA HA HA!"

"Listen, I need a place to stay for a few days... "

"Take the couch, it folds out."

Denton looked nonplussedly at his friend. To be honest, he'd expected a little more than this.

"Er... my stuff?"

"Your Self Storage, West 83rd. The key's on the hook."

"Andy, are't you even slightly incredulous about the story I've just told?"

"It makes perfect sense to me. Besides, it fits this book perfectly." His eyes never left the computer screen.

"You're writing a book?"

"My third. I finally made a breakthrough while you were gone. I wrote a thriller about a serial killer who only kills Omegas. Big hit. Sold the screen rights. Listen, could you leave me alone for a bit? I just need to finish this... "

"Sure," Denton said, walking out.

A few days passed in much this fashion; Denton trying to get his life back together, Andrew typing mercilessly. By the end of the week, he was on his way to Chapter 23. As for Denton, he'd found an apartment... now all he had to do

was move in and find a job.

A brief chat with his former editor at the Times netted him several profanities, but once he calmed down, pointed him in the direction of New York Week. This, in turn, led him to the Voice. The Voice pointed him towards the Post, and while Denton did have some standards, he figured he had to repay some dues.

Not at the Post, however. The Post pointed him to Info.

"Mister... " Lucinda made a big show of checking his name. "Denton. Well. An impressive portfolio. But you've been out of the game for quite some time. Why is that?"

"I tried to write the Great American Novel," Denton said. "It turned out to be the Okay Canadian Novella. I figured I'd go back to what I was good at."

"Well, obviously, things have changed quite a bit since you dropped out of sight. Omegas, for one, and that's the most important part. What knowledge of Omegas do you have?"

"Just what can be read in books."

"Hmmmmm. I fear, Mr. Denton, your relative inexperience might complicate things."

"Not necessarily," Jimmy said, standing. "Research is a hallmark of the reporter's craft, right? So I research my stories on Omegas, just like I do any story. Don't think of it as inexperience, think of it as... think of it as an outsider's perspective."

"An outsider's perspective."


"Mr. Denton, where exactly have you been for the past five years?"

"Far from the ways of this world," Denton said in a mysterious voice.

"I'm still not... "

The office door opened. Denton turned and was almost shocked back into his chair. Standing there, wearing a flouncy print dress, her red hair grown six inches, was Leigh Avedon.

"I've got something," she said. "From the tip line. Le Fenetre du Monde just got a reservation, in the name of Rene Johnson and Thomas Ericsson."

Lucinda's eyebrows raised.

"What's your gut tell you?"

"It could be her. And with that last name, it could be him... "

That "him" hung in the air for a long moment. Denton couldn't ask without making himself look extremely foolish. Finally, Lucinda came to a decision.

"Denton, you want to prove yourself? Get to that restaurant and get me a quote."

Before Denton could protest, or ask Leigh what the hell she was doing there, Lucinda was at the door and yelling.

"WILL! ASSIGNMENT!" She turned back to Leigh. "Good job, Leigh. Well done." She crossed back to Denton. "Leigh, this is James Denton. If all goes well, he'll be working for us."

"Hi," Leigh said, extending her hand. Denton shook it nervously. What the hell was she doing here? Did she follow him? How'd she know he'd come here, then?

The door opened again and a skinny Asian in T-shirt and jeans appeared.

"What's up?" he asked.

"You're going to dinner. We've got a tip that Tarot may be in town."

"So who's Tarot?" Denton asked as William Lee took the corner too fast.

"She's an Omega. Made an appearance not long ago during the Raven crisis. She's one of the good guys." They drove in silence for a moment. "It's the other guy that concerns me."

"Thomas Ericsson, right? Who's he?"

"Well... you've heard of Tempest, right?"

"Sort of."

"Sort of?" William turned to look at him and nearly hit a cop car. "Man, where have you been?"

"An uncharted desert isle. So this Tempest guy is hot shit, huh?"

"He's a god, man. Guy can do anything he wants. Stop time, destroy mountains, whatever suits his fancy. Remember Mount Everest?"


"It ain't there anymore."

"Man... Omegas. I love it!" Denton laughed and took out his notepad. "I friggin' love it. Super heroes and shit."

"Actually, not to many of them dress up in costumes or anything. Guys like us hang these names on 'em. Like, Rene Johnson doesn't call herself 'Tarot' or anything, and Harvey Hauptmann doesn't go around in an Overman outfit all day."

"I heard of this guy out in the Midwest called Rapidfire, though. He seemed pretty old school."

"Too old school," William mumbled. "He's gone. Disappeared after the Fix thing. Guy was a flake, anyway. Never got anything accomplished."

Denton looked just barely out of place in a denim shirt and a hastily donned tie. Lee stuck out like a sore thumb in a jacket two sizes too big. They sat at the bar, Lee hiding the camera under the jacket.

"So what do these people look like?" Denton asked.

"I'll let you know." His eyes remained on the door, waiting for his subjects to appear.

"Man alive." Denton sipped his beer. "You been doing this long?"

"A couple of weeks, actually. Lucy's set me out on a few 'man-on-the- street' things here and there, nothing major. What about you? You been doing this long?"

"You kiddin'? Years upon years. Too many, in fact."

"Sir," they heard from the door. "A leather jacket doesn't count as a jacket in this establishment. If you'd like, we could get one in your size... "

"That's okay," Lee heard. He whirled and began snapping pictures of the couple at the door. Before their eyes, a slim girl with black hair had her T- shirt and jeans transformed into an elegant silk dress, and the big guy with the leather jacket suddenly found himself wearing a tuxedo. No one saw, except for the maitre d' and the two reporters. The maitre d' stammered something, but the guy shushed him. Seemed to work.

"Holy shit on a chip for dip," Denton whispered.

"You should see some of his other tricks," Lee replied.

Eric Anderson and Rene Johnson were led to their table, where they engaged in what sure looked like awkward dinner conversation.

"I wonder what they're talking about," Lee said, snapping pictures as discreetly as possible.

"Who knows? Maybe they're talking about the cybernetic crazies they blew up today, the alien space monkeys they stopped last week, something like that... "

"You're insane," Eric Anderson, aka Thomas Ericsson said. "There is no way Xena could beat Hercules in a fight. Not a chance in hell, no way, no how. Never happen."

"See, there you go, buying into the white male reality," Rene replied. "What makes you think Xena couldn't take him? She's got the moves, she's got the skill, she's got that... round thing she throws at people. All Hercules does is that overhand 'Hulk smash' move."

"'The white male reality'? You're nuts!"

"Gabrielle could take Iolaus, too."

"Now there I agree," Eric said, both of them dissolving into laughter. It lasted quite a while.

"This is nice," Rene said when they were done. "We've never gone someplace this fancy before."

"Yeah, well, I figured when the Japanese robots eventually attack, they might as well attack a place that can afford the repairs."

"Now there you go, getting all gloom and doom again," Rene said warningly. "I thought I made it clear when I agreed to this that there was to be no brooding."

"Hey, some guys smoke and drink. I brood."

"Just do me this one favor," Rene said, reaching across the table and taking Eric's hand. "Just once... pretend like everything's going to be all right." She smiled, and he returned it.

"Oh, this is gold," Lee said, putting the camera away. "Two powerful Omegas holding hands. Screw the gossip section, this is the cover!"

"Not without a quote it's not," Denton replied, standing up. "Let's set up shop outside. They're on dessert now, this shouldn't take too long."

They paid their bill and headed out to their car, which was parked on the side of the street outside the restaurant. They waited about ten minutes, Lee fitting a flash onto his camera.

The door opened and Tempest walked out, Tarot right behind. The two of them were holding hands, looking for all the world like a normal couple.

Lee took pictures, the flash lighting up the street. Tempest's head shot up, glaring at them.

"Who the fuck—"

"Mr. Tempest?" Denton said, approaching the two Omegas with a tape recorder. "Jimmy Denton, Info Magazine. I wonder if you'd care to comment about your recent actions in China?" (Lee had filled him in with the details earlier.)

"How long have you two been here?" Tempest asked, outraged.

"A while," Denton admitted. "Are you two on a date?"

"Yes—now look", Tempest growled, his green eyes glowing slightly. "I am so not in the mood for this right now."

"So you don't want to comment on the China situation, then," Denton said placidly. It took Tempest a moment or two to form the next sentence.

"... You do know who I am, right?"

"Yeah, yeah, Tempest, a god walking the earth, savior of the planet, all that. So will you comment or not?"

Tarot put her hand on Tempest's shoulder, calming him.

"Okay, here's the short version," she said. "Yes, we went out to dinner together. I don't know if we're good friends or more than that, we'll probably talk about that later this evening. Everything about China has been well- documented and Mr. Anderson has nothing more to say about it."

Denton was impressed. It sounded like it had come from the mouth of a press secretary.

"All right," Denton said. "I think we've got everything. Thank you for your time, Mr. Ericsson, Ms. Johnson."

"Mr. Ericsson?!" Tempest shouted, but he was being led away by Tarot. "Rene, for crying out loud—"

Denton walked to the car and hopped in.

"Looks like I've got a new job," Denton said.

"I don't see why you didn't just let me scare them off," Eric said. They were in Rene's apartment, sitting on the floor, listening to music. It was some folksy kind of thing, not to Eric's taste at all.

"Well, one, you do that a bit too much for my taste." She brushed against his hand again. "I mean, you can't go around scaring people off everytime they get too close."

"Oooh, metaphor," Eric said sarcastically.

"Second of all, that guy was a lot more polite than most of the other reporters I've had to deal with. Did I tell you about the guy I caught going through my trash?"


"Besides... it might be nice if people knew about us."

"So there's an 'us'," Eric said.

"Do you want there to be?"

The question hung in the air, waiting for an answer.

"Look... I don't know if I can ever be just, you know, a regular 'boyfriend' to you. Our lives are just too screwed up. Everyone's going to be paying attention to us... hell, now I'm going to have to find a new cover identity... "

"All right. Let me ask you this. In a perfect world, you're just Eric, I'm just Rene. You want to be with me. Yes or no?"

"... Yes."


They sat in silence for a moment, both of them waiting for something.

"Oh, Jesus, Eric, what are you waiting for?!" Rene finally blurted out.


"Kiss me, idiot!"

It seemed like such a good idea that he did it immediately. As they did, Eric realized it was the first time they'd done this since before he'd disappeared... before Raven... before—

He stopped.

"Look... you don't have to do anything you don't want to."

"Thank you, Gloria."

"I mean, we don't have to rush into anything."

"That's very sensitive of you."

"Because if you want to stop, just say so and—"

"ERIC!" She put a hand over his mouth. "Just shut up. Kiss me. Don't think about it. We'll work from there."

And they did.

The Adventures of OMEGAGIRL!

Hi there. Glad to have you all back. Ah, breathe deep that Omega air. Tastes good, doesn't it? Well, by now you've met Jimmy. For those of you who aren't hip on him, let me fill you in. Over in Transverse City, Jimmy was a reporter for the Transverse City Daily Data (see... it's futuristic, see... it's called the Daily Data because it's a futuristic newspaper, and—oh, God, what am I DOING WITH MY LIFE), who ended up investigating the serial killer called Mr. Ting. (Mike Friedman: I PROMISE I PROMISE I PROMISE I'LL FINISH TING #3.) Now he's ditched the City and headed to greener pastures... the Omega universe.
So why am I writing a new series set in Omega, since the last one, RAPIDFIRE, ended after 12 issues? Well... see, here's the thing. I really didn't like RAPIDFIRE. I regard it as a lot of my weakest writing. (Then again, I hate everything I write, so what does that tell you?) (Well, it might tell you that all my writing sucks... ) But as I looked back at the series to finish Rapidfire #12, I realized something... RAPIDFIRE was pretty disconnected from the rest of the Omega universe.
Think about it. PULSE, TEMPEST, SEEKERS, COVENANT, LEGACY, VOYEUR, and to an extent CADRE are all pretty interconnected. Those folks all know each other. Covenant knows Anne who knows Eric who's brothers with Danny who fought the Seekers who fought the Alphas with the Eye of Justice along with Covenant.
Rapidfire, on the other hand, is off on his own. Hell, his adventures took place in "Crystal City"; a barely disguised riff on Starman's Opal City. He wore a costume. He fought crime. To a certain extent, RAPIDFIRE was putting superhero cliches in a realistic universe.
Now, I'd like to try something new. Taking an ordinary (if well- travelled) human being and seeing how he interacts with super-powered beings. Asking questions about the roles of Omegas in their own universe—do they all hide it if they're in positions of power, a la Jarvin Tazakles? Are there any Omega movie stars, authors, business moguls? That sort of thing.
Also, as you can see, William Lee is, in fact, back, but don't expect to see him in costume. That part of his life is pretty much closed, for now. Although Rossmore will be appearing again in these pages, and Angela... well, there's a title from the two Matts coming soon you should look into.
Don't worry. I'll also be tossing in as much action as I can. So stick around, and hopefully this won't suck.
P.S. I'm going to try and toss in a few musical references in every issue so you can build your own Beat Soundtrack. For starters this episode? The M.E. song at the beginning (that's Melissa Etheridge, not Quincy, he said, thus sacrificing his abbreviation in the name of a cheap joke), for one. Recommended for the Eric & Rene scene at the end is "10,000 Miles" by Mary Chapin-Carpenter. And the theme for the series in general? "Dirty Laundry" by Don Henley. (Yeah, yeah, fine, I'll have some alternative and edgy references next time. Just be lucky I haven't brought Zevon into it yet... )
Pete Milan

The Footnotes

1[Note: This also takes place after the forthcoming Swear-to-God-on-my-grandmother's-grave-I-WILL-FINISH-THIS-DAMN-STORY, AKA Ting: The Madness #3. From your good friend Petey, master of hatred and latred.]
2[He does get around, doesn't he?—Pete]
3[Yes, guys do this.—Pete.]

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