Secret Society of Second-Born Royals – JenEric Movie Review

How This WorksRead Other Reviews

Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2020 film Secret Society of Second-Born Royals.


An interesting mix of Kingsman and Sky High with very little original content. It’s fun but neither complex or original. I called the twists way before I should have and felt disappointed rather than proud that I did.

It also suffered from excess world building, making it feel like a pilot episode rather than a movie.

Score: 0


The characters were pretty much a mixture of superhero and high school stereotypes but they were very well played. The actors made some awkward character arcs seem more believable than they should have.

Score: 0.5


Neither bad nor memorable, the dialogue was passable. There were a few standout moments between the kids and the narrator/teacher and a great scene between the main character and her future queen sister.

Score: 0.5

Visuals and Music

The special effects were okay, but the scenery was great. The camera angles and cinematography were good but not great.

The music was mostly pretty bland until there was someone playing on screen, then it was great. A weird mixture of styles and feels like they’d originally made this a musical and then changed their minds but couldn’t let go of some of the music.

Score: 0.5


I enjoyed myself and liked watching the characters develop, but it wasn’t gripping.

Score: 0.5


Bogged down by world building and a derivative script, the movie felt like its goal was to set up the characters and world for a TV show. Nothing about it was terrible, but it wasn’t very good. I’d watch it again for the rock music and impressive actors.

Final Score: 2 Stars out of 5

Point Zero – Chapter 9

Prologue | Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3 | Chapter 4 | Chapter 5 | Chapter 6 | Chapter 7 | Chapter 8 | Chapter 9 | Chapter 10 | Chapter 11 | Chapter 12

Chapter 9: Motivation, Mysteries, and Melting

The man pretending to be a doctor smirked as he waited for me to explain how I’d figured out who he was. “It’s not that hard. Your mask didn’t cover that chin. Put together with the fact that Animator isn’t here to help and my suit is still attached to me, that means this isn’t a real hospital. Plus this place smells like old paint and dust.” It was a smell I was so familiar with because of helping Frank in the theatre at school.

“Well done,” he said as he dramatically clapped. His facial expression and tone made it clear that it wasn’t a compliment. “Now. Tell me what you can about those abominations.”

“You know more than I do. They melt in water and have tech inside.” I wanted to see where this went.

“And the storm?”

I’m not sure why I lied there. I was worried for Mel. I hoped she was okay and took comfort in the fact that my suit was still on me. It meant that Mel was alive. “I did that. Sorry I got a little over zealous. You understand that right?”

His eyes flashed with anger but he just smiled smugly. He stayed that way, almost preternaturally still as I tried to figure out how to get out of the restraints. 

The mechanical sound next to me reminded me that I was attached to an intravenous drip. I sent a small electric bolt through my body and into the machine. The fizzing noise and the smoke rising from the top were satisfying.

The Puppeteer was still standing watching me, but it felt less like he was watching and more like a blank eyed stare from a video game character.

“Why gold?” I asked and he seemed to wake up.

“I really don’t need anything but the dance we’ve been doing. Villain versus hero, good versus bad, we dance you and I and it’s wondrous.”

“You don’t care for the gold or money?”

“I’d only make an army of golden children. Goldilocks with lazers.” He shrugged and smirked and it looked completely wrong on his face. Like a bad actor or maybe a bad mask.

The thing about restraints is that there isn’t a material on earth that doesn’t melt eventually. Tungsten melts at 5410 Celsius and boils at 5930 Celsius. A lightning bolt at full force can heat the air around it at temperatures hotter than the sun itself; that’s in the high 20,000 Celsius. They weren’t using tungsten.

“So all you want is to fight us with more and more ridiculous puppets?”

“No. I like the dance. I live for the dance. But I have a bigger goal—”

I didn’t let him finish. A concentrated blast of electricity around my wrists and ankles at the restraints was enough to make them evaporate. The room was filled with a black smoke and the smell of burning tires.

It was as good a smoke screen as I could have expected. I jumped up out of the bed and landed on my feet. The world tilted sideways and and then so did I. The floor was kind enough to catch me… specifically my face. I tasted blood and tried again to stand up. The world shifted a little again and I realized what was going on. 

“You drugged me?”

“I’m evil not stupid,” he said through coughs. The room was clearing of smoke but my mind and equilibrium were still terrible. 

I’m not sure what gave me the idea but I figured that if the heat from my lightning could melt the rubber, maybe it could burn the drugs out of my body. 

“Seeing as you’re not stupid, I think you might want to leave the room, maybe the building.” It sounded cooler in my head but I blame the drugs. At least it wasn’t a pun, Mel would be disappointed.

I started building the lightning inside of me but it wasn’t enough; I was tired and had already used a lot of my strength on the restraints.  I started to worry that I wouldn’t be able to do it. I looked around and found nothing to help me but I felt electricity buzzing in the walls. I reached with my mind or powers towards it and felt a rush of relief as I drained the energy.

The Puppeteer was still standing there with a disinterest look on his face. “Get out of here!” I screamed and he didn’t even flinch.

I knew that he wasn’t going to move and I tried to redirect my energy and heat. Finally I literally burst with energy. My last thought before it happened was that this could burn my insides along with the drug. It was too late to worry about it at that point.

I was drugged, tired, recovering from burns, and being the focal point for a supernatural storm and I still managed to save the man in front of me when I exploded. The room behind me and in a large arc was destroyed and on fire. Thankfully the room had been a set built to look like a hospital and not a real one. Another thing I hadn’t considered.

Feeling better and still crackling with energy I stood up and said, “This ends now.” Forming a sword with low energy I hoped it would be enough to knock him out not kill him.

“I’m sorry but it really doesn’t. You’re showing some incredible control. I’m impressed. I’ll have to up my game… After I take out the imposter.” He pulled out a gun.

I kicked the gun out of his hand and he jumped at me like he thought he had a knife in his hands. He impaled himself on my sword; it should have just been enough to disrupt his heart, but instead it burnt a hole through his shirt and sand started to fall out of the wound.

The Puppeteer spoke through his puppet, “You didn’t think I’d make it that easy for you? Did you, Sam?”

Read Chapter 10 (October 2020)

While you wait for the next chapter, check out the previous serial story:

Point Zero – Chapter 8

Prologue | Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3 | Chapter 4 | Chapter 5 | Chapter 6 | Chapter 7 | Chapter 8 | Chapter 9 | Chapter 10 | Chapter 11 | Chapter 12

Chapter 8: Shocked and grounded

The storm, once started, gained its own agency. Building on what Mel had drawn, the storm became self sustaining. As hard as Mel tried to draw or erase her way out of it, the storm raged beyond her control.

Lightning struck all over the city, mostly hitting the CN Tower, but also plenty of other places causing fires and the kind of destruction that only a major storm could.

The giant balls of faux-alien gelatin were forgotten as soon as the first droplets melted them away.

“Do I create a dome over the city? A giant fan to blow it away?” Mel was in a guilt induced panic.

“No. Concentrate on small things that will help people. Coordinate with the others.” I said it as I started to fly up.

“What are you going to do?” Mel’s question was punctuated by a hundred blasts of lightning hitting the city. 

I could hear sirens at a distance. This storm wasn’t going to give up until all its power had dissipated. I suddenly wished I had watched more weather documentaries or paid better attention in science class. “Something shockingly stupid,” was my reply and even the pun didn’t soften the worry lines on Mel’s face.

I flew up above the city in the centre of the storm and took a deep breath. When the first bolt of lightning struck me, it tickled, giving me a false sense of security. One tickled, ten itched, a hundred stung. I lost count of the strikes as every part of me started to sing with electricity. 

The storm was relentless and I couldn’t keep up with the energy. I had never channeled anything like this and It hurt deeply, like my cells were screaming in pain.

When I couldn‘t handle any more, I thought of Frank and all my friends and family that I had lost. They gave me the strength to carry on. When I lost that, I concentrated all that lightning into pure heat and shot it into the storm. 

I passed out. The last thing I remember was my own screaming.

I woke up tied to a bed with rubber restraints. My skin felt raw and was covered in some sort of jelly. I lay there staring at a white ceiling and institutional fluorescent light for what felt like ages but I had no way of knowing if it was. I heard the telltale beeps and other noises of an IV and heart monitor.

“Oh good. You’re awake,” A male voice said from out of my eyeline. I tried to turn and see who it was but my neck was held in some sort of brace. “No no. Don’t try to move, you seriously hurt your neck.” That didn’t sound very medical.

The man stepped into my sightline and I asked in a hoarse voice, “What happened?”

“You were hit by a lot of lightning. You broke your neck, back, legs, and most of your ribs.” That explained why it hurt to breathe. “You also have burns over 90% of your body. When you came in, you fried every piece of equipment in the hospital.”

“Sounds bad,” I croaked, feeling a little stronger.

“That’s the thing, Electric Knight, you’re going to be fine. You’re healing faster than humanly possible. You’ll be as good as new by the end of the week.”

“How—” My question was interrupted by a horrible sounding and feeling cough. “Long,” I managed to croak out.

Bringing me water and putting a straw to my lips, he answered, “You’ve been here for a month.”

I spit some water out, my surprise turning into another bout of coughing. When I finally recovered, I tried to sit up. The restraints around my chest and arms stopped me. “I need to see my friends. Why am I tied down?”

“No one could touch you and you were thrashing. We had to insulate you and ground the room.” 

“Okay… Can you release me?”

“Um. I’ll go ask the doctor.”

I was left alone again. Something about him bothered me. Didn’t nurses or orderlies usually use more medical jargon? If they couldn’t touch me, how had they managed to tie the restraints?

I sneezed; like all sneezes it was sudden. It was also violent but it didn’t hurt as bad as I’d expected. It felt more like I was bruised than broken. My nose tickled and I tried to place the smell that was now assaulting my nose.

In a hospital, or any public building, I should be smelling cleaning products. But this wasn’t that, it reminded me of something. 

Before I had the chance to place it, the doctor came in and he looked familiar. I couldn’t place it until he started to speak, he had a deep melodic imitation of a theatre voice. “Ah. The patient is awake. How nice to have you with us again Electric Knight.” 

“Why do you keep calling me Electric Knight?” I asked.

“Your face was burned and we had no other way to identify you.”

“Can I be untied?”

The doctor made a tsking noise and said, “Until we’re sure you’re not going to electrocute the building, we’re going to keep you as you are.” I was going to object, but he didn’t give me a chance instead he continued, “Do you have any idea who created the storm or those things that attacked the city?”

If the smell and the weird voice hadn’t been enough to make me suspicious, that question raised a red flag. The police would want to know, but a doctor? He hadn’t even asked me if I was feeling okay.

“I assumed it was the Puppeteer that sent those things.” I was lying.

The doctor’s eyes bulged and he said with forced calm, “That’s not possible, these things had cameras inside. They were crude and in no way up to the standards of the Puppeteer.”

“I don’t know, these things were pretty high tech. I mean they had quadcopters and gelatin controlled by radio waves.”

The doctor turned red and shouted, “High tech for the early two-thousands maybe, but it lacks artistry, nothing like—” he cut off and then smiled. “I’m impressed, you got me monologuing. How did you know?” asked the Puppeteer pretending to be a doctor.

Read Chapter 9

While you wait for the next chapter, check out the previous serial story:

Point Zero – Chapter 7

Prologue | Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3 | Chapter 4 | Chapter 5 | Chapter 6 | Chapter 7 | Chapter 8 | Chapter 9 | Chapter 10 | Chapter 11 | Chapter 12

Chapter 7: Great Balls of Slime 

The thing that crashed into our living room looked like a two metre ball of gelatine; dark green, wobbly, and smelling vaguely of lime. The differences were the giant eyes and the mouth. 

“Oh, you picked the wrong apartment,” I said, happy to have a problem I could punch or electrocute. 

“Wait!” yelled Mel. “We should get out of here and let the police or superheroes deal with this. I gave her a confused look and she pointed at her eyes. We all decided it was best to not argue with her as the ball started to slowly move towards us.

We made our way into the stairwell and Mel said, “If those things have eyes and if the Puppeteer sent them then he can probably see everything they do.”

“That’s a lot of if’s,” Jane started, “But I guess we need to be careful. Let’s suit up. I’ll take James and we’ll come in from the roof to throw off suspicions. You two, go this way.”

Mel drew on our suits and we moved back towards the apartment. The large gelatin Pac-man was stil there and still moving slowly towards the door. I looked at it and then looked at Mel. “What do we do to fight this thing?”

“Why would you fight me,” boomed the deep accented voice of the gelatin.

“You crashed into our—” I cut myself off and paused before continuing, “city and your friends seem to be eating parts of it.”

“We are peaceful creatures from Alpha Centauri. We’re here to establish peaceful relations with your people.” It sounded like a slow speaking movie trailer voice.

“I can see your peaceful people eating our people outside.” Mel stuck out her hip and gave him her best unimpressed voice.

“Those are not your people. We’re here for those you call superheroes. They are the superior species. The rest are only good for food.”

“Thank you for making this an easy decision,” I said and threw a bolt of electricity at the thing. It absorbed the electricity and started to move faster.

I formed a sword and got ready to attack it when James arrived and started shooting it with water. Every jet of water shrunk the gelatinous mass until there was nothing left but the eyes.

“Aliens that are taken out by water. Now that’s just silly.” Jane sounded amused.

I walked over to one of the eyes and sliced it in half. It was hollow inside with complex looking electronic parts. I looked them over and saw that they were a combination speaker, microphone, camera, and control chip to move the eyes.

Before I could inspect it more Jane said, “We should really get out there and stop this.”

I looked out the hole in our wall and saw the destruction this was causing. The ships were still shooting out gelatinous creatures and the creatures were eating people and things but mostly causing property damage. “Plati-Power and Tele-Porter, get out there and splash those things into oblivion. Animator and I are going to go visit those ships.

When they’d left Mel asked, “How do you plan to get to the ships? Should I draw us some jet packs?”

“Nope. I’ve been working on something. Hold on.” I motioned to my back. Mel held on in a piggy back ride style. I concentrated my power on my hands and feet and pushed. We took off a lot faster than I’d expected.

“You can fly?” Mel sounded excited and amazed.

“I’ve been reading a lot of science fiction and I thought maybe I could use electromagnetism to fly and it worked, but the more I think about it the more I think I’m actually generating ion thrust.”

“I have no idea what that means but yay.”

We flew towards the first ship and it started firing gelatinous balls at us. I was more maneuverable than they could shoot and we made it to the ship without being slimed. 

The ship felt like cheap plastic and I could hear the whirring of some sort of fan. It was probably just a really large drone.

I touched my helmet and changed what I could see. It wasn’t X-ray, but it let me see into the electric workings of the ship. I had been right, it was just a giant version of a quadcopter with a rotating gun that shot out gelatinous balls with eyes.

“Do you know of any way to trace these things? They are being remote controlled.” Mel asked.

“That’s radio or light waves, not electricity. I wonder why the Puppeteer would go to this much trouble.”

 “And why hasn’t he demanded his pile of gold?”

We both shrugged and I started shooting powerful blasts of energy at the other ships. The first exploded and released all of it’s balls at once. I gave it more power and the next was disintegrated but we still had the problem with the gelatin.

Mel started sketching something and suddenly the sky above us was filled with clouds. The air smelled of dust and pepper. The wind started out feeling warm but quickly turned to biting cold. I could feel the energy in the air before I saw the first lightning. The thunder struck as soon as I saw it and the city trembled. 

As the rain started to fall in large droplets, I saw Mel desperately trying to erase her paper. The sky was filled with light, water, and sound. Over the now deafening roar of wind and constant thrum of thunder Mel tried to say but only managed to mouth, “I can’t stop it.”

Read Chapter 8

While you wait for the next chapter, check out the previous serial story:

Where are the 2020 Time Travellers?

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

This tweet has been circulating around social media this week:

I’ve seen posited that other reasons are that it’s a fixed point in time that can’t be changed or that they have and this is best case scenario.

As of writing this post, there are almost half a million deaths due to Covid-19. It’s probably higher due to lack of testing. If it follows the pattern of other pandemics, the second wave tends to be deadlier.

There is civil unrest throughout the world due to people getting fed up with systemic racism. The economy isn’t doing great and we may be entering another depression. Fires have devastated Australia and Brazil.

Basically the world is pretty bad right now. It’s easy to assume that a time traveller would want to change all that. However, if you think about it, would you go back and stop the Spanish Flu? or the Black Plague?

This may seem callous, but I believe this is a foundational moment in our history. The way we handle this will decide our future. Our salvation won’t come from the future, the beyond, or outer-space, it’ll come from ourselves.

I’ll be honest though, it’s not easy. Things are changing at uncomfortable speeds and it’s hard to keep up. It’s also really hard to consume media critically and to sort the difference between truth, fiction, and conspiracy.

What we need to do is be kind, listen, and help each other.

Be safe!


Point Zero – Chapter 6

Prologue | Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3 | Chapter 4 | Chapter 5 | Chapter 6 | Chapter 7 | Chapter 8 | Chapter 9 | Chapter 10 | Chapter 11 | Chapter 12

Chapter 6: Frank or Not Frank? What’s going on?

We were captured. The Puppeteer had us surrounded by an unknown number of gunmen… gun-puppets? and I was fairly certain he was Frank. It was the only thing that made sense. There were too many coincidences. 

The Puppeteer had named us and was getting ready to show himself and dramatically said, “I am the Puppeteer but you can call me…” he trailed off and stopped talking. Stepped back into the shadows.

“Gah! I can’t stand this I need to know,” Mel started to draw on her pants and a comically large lamp appeared in the middle of the warehouse. 

I expected to see a platoon of the Dudley’s with guns but there was no one there at all. Just a couple dozen portable speakers. 

I thought the shadow that had called itself the Puppeteer was gone until I saw him running down the stairs. He wore a dramatic looking cape and black suit. 

The frustration, sadness, and especially anger that had been building in me since I started to suspect it was Frank exploded out in an arc of lightning. It exploded the closest speaker and arced to the next and the next and the next in quick succession, and soon the entire system was on fire. 

Before it was half way done, I ran after the man. I tossed a lightning bolt at him and it hit the wall next to him, the electricity singing as it hit the metal wall and traveled down. He ran for the back door. I thought I was going to miss my chance at seeing who he was, but at the last second before going through the back door of the warehouse he turned to me and smiled. He was wearing a Phantom of the Opera mask but I could see most of his face and it was pale white, where Frank had been the dark olive of his Greek ancestry. 

He blew me a kiss and I heard him say, “We’ll flirt later.” I should have been disgusted or at the very least annoyed, but instead his voice sent a little shiver up my spine the way Frank’s had. I’d been thinking about him too much.

“He got away,” Mel said as she caught up with me. 

“Did you see his face?” 

“I saw he was wearing a mask and was totally white.”

“Not Frank.”

“Why do you sound disappointed?”

“I… miss him.” I said, trying not to cry. “And him being a supervillain is better than dead.” It started as a question but ended as an admission.

A final explosion from above marked the downfall of the last speaker. Suddenly my earpiece was filled with screaming.

“—THE HELL ARE YOU TWO!” James’s voice sounded panicked.

“Platy-Power, what’s happening? Animator and I were just in the presence of the Puppeteer.”

“Well we’ve been in the presence of Mer-Bears… and they’re literally taking a bite out of the harbour nightlife.”

“Can Tele-Porter come get us?”

“She’ll be there in a moment. She’s trying to move an oil tanker before they breach the hull.”

The Mer-Bears were the first Puppeteer stunt to cause casualties. Despite our best efforts the Mer-Bears managed to chew through more than one boat. The real surprise was them jumping onto shore to bite people.

What had been treated as an entertaining spectacle by most people suddenly became real and dangerous. It had the side effect of having us treated like accessories instead of heroes.

As we waited for more attacks we tried to plan for what the Puppeteer would do next.

Mel paced as she talked, “This sucks.” She was staring the picture she’d drawn of the Puppeteer.

Everyone nodded and James added, “All we’re doing is reacting. We need to find out who this guy is, and stop him.”

“I’m a barista, not a detective or plucky reporter.” I sighed, realizing what Mel would say.

“No you’re the hero. We all are. We’re the Thorns!” Mel said it and I could tell she was trying to be uplifting, but it didn’t help.

“Electric Knight and the Thorns, according to the news.” Jane shook her head and added, “Sounds more like a 70’s punk rock cover band.”

“How do we find this guy if we don’t have any idea how he does what he does?” Mel waved at the picture in her hand and a copy of the Puppeteer appeared in front of her. She punched it really hard and it flew across the room.

“Feel better?” I asked.

“No,” Mel pouted as she spoke. She dismissed the fake Puppeteer. 

“What is he? Why gold? How does he do all these things?”  James asked, splashing a little as he talked.

Looking around at each other, we all sighed. I was the first to say something, “I don’t know, but the answers aren’t just going to appear in front of us.”

As if the universe was out to embarrass me, I heard screams from the street, “The aliens are coming, the aliens are back, it’s the end of the world!”

A whistling noise overtook the screams and something crashed into our living room, something big, green, and terribly well-timed.

Read Chapter 7

While you wait for the next chapter, check out the previous serial story:

Éric’s 2020 Resolutions Mid-Year Review

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

Well… Oh Boy… nearly half way through 2020… It’s been quite a year for the world.

So let’s see how I’m doing with my resolutions for 2020.


1. Finish Writing The Dancing Lights (Failing)

I’m still about a third of the way through… It’s been hard to write this year. I’m still hoping to having to beta readers by September or October but…

2. Finish Writing Paragenesis (No Movement)

If I’m lucky enough to finish Dancing Lights by October I’ll try and finish this one. It’s so close I can taste it.

3. Write a Monthly Serial Story (Succeeding)

So far so good. This reminds me; I better go get on that, eh?

Read this year’s serial story

JenEric Designs and Coffee

4. Ensure there’s content 5 days a week on JenEric Designs (Succeeding)

There was a major change in this year’s lineup but we’re doing well. Hopefully we have enough TARDIS pictures to last until we can get more.

5. Design and Produce 2 new coffee flavours (Succeeding)

We released Crowley’s Temptation and I think we’re going to maybe release something in the Fall, but I’m not sure.

6. Print, Package, and Sell Oneshot – The Simplest RPG (No Movement)

I’m probably going to push this one back. I wanted something for Ottawa Comic Con but I doubt that’s happening and I’m not comfortable investing the time or money into this for this year.

Editing and Marketing

7. Finish Playtesting the higher levels of Fadds (Succeeding )

We finished a high level campaign and I’m pretty happy with how it went. It needs a little more work but we’ll get there. I’m going to continue to beta-test various parts, but for now I’m not rushing anything.

8. Figure out how to market my books better (No Movement)

This is a great goal and a great idea… I put my books up on our coffee site and sold a few but I don’t think I’m going to spend much energy on this one this year.


9. Read 20 books (Failing)

I’m at 4 of twenty and I’m reading slowly. Between Pegasus waking a lot, pandemic stress, and no bus to work I’ve found it hard to find time to read.

10. Don’t Burnout (Succeeding)

I’ll be honest, I constantly feel on the brink of a breakdown. I’m trying really hard to not let that happen. 2020 isn’t an easy time for this resolution.

11. Be More Patient (Trying)

My daughter is in a licking/biting phase (again) and my son is trying really hard to learn how to talk which means he just screams like a horror movie vixen. It’s hard to keep my cool, but other than a few times I’ve used “Angry Dad” voice instead of “Losing Control and Likely to punch a wall” voice so I’ll say that’s a win.

12. Play Some Video games with Dragon (Succeeding)

We’ve played a few times and she’s really improving. Hopefully we’ll do more soon.

13. Play Some Board Games with Dragon (Succeeding)

We’ve had 2 board game nights so far and they went well. She’s not grasping the strategy of the games, but she is getting the mechanics which is good. Our current favourite is The Mysterious Forest. It’s a co-op memory game with a little resource management. She mostly loves being in charge of the stuff.

That’s not as bad as I expected. So far I’m succeeding at 7, Trying with 1, No Movement on 3, and outright Failing on 2. I expected much worse.

I’m not adding or changing anything this year. Who knows what 2020 still has in store for us. Hopefully I can continue at this pace.

Stay Safe, Wash your hands, and be kind,


Point Zero – Chapter 5

Prologue | Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3 | Chapter 4 | Chapter 5 | Chapter 6 | Chapter 7 | Chapter 8 | Chapter 9 | Chapter 10 | Chapter 11 | Chapter 12

Chapter 5: What’s in a Name?

The supervillain coined Puppeteer continues to futilely attack the greater Toronto area. Each set of attacks escalating from previous, this week the mayor will present a key to the city to Electric Knight and their friends.

“Electric Knight and their friends? Oh come on, that’s what they’ll call us?” Mel was incensed. 

“Can you think of anything better?” I asked as we waited in full costume behind a makeshift curtain. 

“Four… fantas… Quartet of Quality? Wow this is hard.” Mel sighed as she pulled out her sketchbook and doodled little fairies that flew around us and the protest going on in the park. 

They were the usual sort that could be found all over the world. Protesting something about aliens. No one could get them to answer straight, they either feared, loved, or both our alien visitors. The aliens could go probe themselves for all I cared, but the protestestors were the same as usual… except for a man that I saw out of the corner of my eye. He had a thicker beard and was more tanned but those eyes… they looked just like Frank’s. A fairy flew by my head and the man was gone. I must have imagined it. Frank was dead. I felt his cold lifeless body.

The fairies were joined by tiny angels and it quickly devolved into something that would give the news station editors a really hard time blurring out. An assistant that looked awed and horrified gestured them towards the stage. As the mayor said nice things about them Mel asked, “Why are we the only two here?”

“Because if this isn’t a trap, it’s a perfect target.”

Mel nodded and started to look out over the crowd, squinting in the midday sun.

“And for your service in saving the fine citizens of Toronto. I award you, Electric Knight and friends, the key to the cit—”

The mayor was interrupted by a large quantity of RCMP officers in full riot gear. One of them screamed, “Electric Knight. You and your friends are under arrest for vigilantism, endangering the public, and extensive property damage. Come peacefully or we’ll have to use force.”

“What is the meaning of this? I was not informed. You have no jurisdiction here. Those aren’t federal crimes.” The Mayor was angry. The fury coming off of her scared me more than the hundred or so RCMP in front of me. 

“We need evac here…” Mel started but trailed off. Her jaw dropped before she said, “They’re not getting the civilians out of the way.”

“Where are they all coming from?” I asked not catching on to what Mel’s words meant. “They only have batons out. I’ve never seen RCMP with only batons. This is the Puppeteer!” I turned to the mayor. “Teleporter, get the mayor and her people to safety and then start on the crowd. Mel, we need to play along.”

As much as I wanted to just start beating up the puppets that looked like police, I didn’t want anyone to be hurt. Thankfully most people were running away or being taken by Jane.

“We’re coming, officer. Just please don’t hurt anyone.” 

I walked slowly with my hands up towards the puppets. I looked warely at the crowd of RCMP. Now that I was closer I could tell they were fake. All their faces looked the same and vaguely like Brendan Fraser. That made me think of Frank, he’d loved old movies from the turn of the millennium, especially comedies with Brendan Fraser. I think we watched Dudley Do-Right ten times in a row once. Although I spent more time watching Frank and wishing I could tell him my feelings.

“How far are you taking this?” whispered Mel.

“I’m tired of waiting for another attack. Let’s find out who’s behind all this,” I whispered back. Loudly towards the puppets, I said, “We can’t get the others.”

In a dull and lifeless imitation of Dudley Do-Right, one of the puppets replied, “That will have to do.”

We were directed towards a black limo and we were gently pushed into the back seat. “Be ready to pull us out if this goes sideways,” I said to Jane, through the coms. She swore at me and told me I was being irresponsible.

“That won’t be necessary, I just wanted to meet my adversaries.” The voice came from an old speaker on a table in the middle of the limo. It looked like something familiar. 

Charlie’s Angels? Now that’s retro,” Mel said. 

“Thank you. Enjoy the ride. It’ll be your last.” He burst into a theatrical evil laugh and then added as an afterthought, “Have a snack or a drink. Minibar is fully stocked.” And the speaker exploded in a little fireball that wasn’t big enough for us to feel the heat.

“Does this all feel very familiar?” I whispered to Mel.

“Yeah kinda. Why?”

“Who had a poster of Charlie’s Angels in his room?”

Mel’s eyes grew wide and she shook her head, “We saw him die. He can’t be.”

“I’m not so sure.”

The car slowed down and stopped. We were at a warehouse near the lake. Something that was so stereotypical that if I’d rolled my eyes I was worried of spraining something.

As the Dudleys marched us towards the warehouse I thought about how each of the puppets had made me think of Frank, I thought I’d seen him at the park, the Dudleys, and now Charlie’s Angels. It couldn’t be just a coincidence. Could it?

The warehouse was empty except for a large group of Dudleys and a man standing on a tall balcony, in the shadows where we couldn’t see. “You’ve been a thorn in my side for long enough. It’s time I introduce myself and then we can talk about a ceasefire or you can die. I heard several guns and something that sounded mechanical cock.

“The Thorns,” Mel said loudly. “That’s our name.”

“Not the time Animator.” I tried to keep the manic giggle from my voice. The situation was dire, I didn’t think I could stop that many bullets, and the man I loved might be back from the dead as a bad cartoon villain. It was so absurd it almost hurt.

The man walked out of the shadows and said, “I am the Puppeteer but you can call me… ”

Read Chapter 6

While you wait for the next chapter, check out the previous serial story:

Point Zero – Chapter 4

Prologue | Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3 | Chapter 4 | Chapter 5 | Chapter 6 | Chapter 7 | Chapter 8 | Chapter 9 | Chapter 10 | Chapter 11 | Chapter 12

Chapter 4: Obligatory Super Suit Episode

“Mel, have you been drawing superhero comics?” I asked as I got home that night. Turns out that a lightning sword versus a cardboard dinosaur wasn’t a fair fight.

“Not until tonight. I have to document this.” She looked up from her drawing computer and gave me a dirty look, “Give me more credit Sam. If I drew a monster for you to fight it would have more tentacles.” She illustrated, pun intended, the point by drawing something with an obscene amount of appendages and then erased it. “This was more like cheap theatre. Kinda like the godzilla Frank built for a school play.”

I laughed and said, “How he expected to add a cardboard Godzilla to A Midsummer Night’s Dream, I could never figure out.”

That night marked the one year anniversary of Frank’s death and our return to the world. We celebrated by staying in our apartment and drinking until we forgot. It was juvenile but we were only twenty-one and we’d lost three of those years to an alien abduction.

The cardboard dinosaur was followed a few days later by a paper maché robot army. Still over-dramatic and demanding gold. I easily defeated them again but it took more of my energy and I had trouble keeping my glow.

“Is this going to be a regular thing?” James asked, soaking in his tub while we all ate pizza.

Simultaneously Mel and I spoke. I said, “I hope not,” while she said, “I hope so.”

“What?” asked Jane. “We can’t fight a supervillain. Sam’s the only one with offensive power.”

“Bullshit. All our powers can be used for combat,” Mel countered.

Looking sceptical with one eyebrow raised James asked, “What am I going to do? Breath water at him?”

“Well if you’d just try to talk to fish…” Mel drifted off mid sentence before continuing, “The Puppeteer is going to come back and we can all help. I’ve designed you costumes.” She pulled out four sketches from her sketchbook. 

“I’m not wearing something under my regular clothes,” I warned.

“You don’t have to.” Mel gestured for me to stand up. I did and she pinched the costume on the page and it looked like she tossed it at me. As easy as that, I was in superhero spandex. The suit was comfortable and a great cross between the modern dark aesthetic and the bright colours of the golden age. My suit looked like it was a black skin-tight suit with holographic full plate armour outlined in golden yellow around me. The helmet covered my eyes but also gave me a readout of things around me.

Jane’s suit was made for stealth, it was pale blue and skin-tight. She made Mel get rid of the boob-window. The suit could become translucent, making it hard to see Jane when she teleported.

Mel’s suit was another skin-tight outfit, but it ended in a revealing corset. It was a massive pastiche of superhero and other comic illustrations. It was bright and gaudy and she refused to make it more conservative. “If I’m going to be a superhero I might as well show off my curves.”

The last suit was the most impressive in my mind. The suit itself made James look like the Swamp Thing or Creature from the Black Lagoon; I always get them mixed up. But then it created a bubble of water that let him swim around in the air like he did underwater. It was like a flying bouncing hamsterball.

As we all stood there I felt equal parts ridiculous, sexy, and awesome. Jane was the first to say something after we were all  suited-up, “We look great, but we don’t look like a team.” She blushed and added, “What? I read comics too.”

“What if we add a logo of some sort?” James suggested. 

Mel looked down at her drawing computer and started to draw. What she came up with was a five point green star, with wavy points, where one of the points was, nearly, completely faded out. The symbolism was perfect.

It wasn’t long before the Puppeteer returned and this time he brought creepy human shaped and featureless sand-filled purple-fabric puppets. They made a sickening scream when they were hit and crumpled like a bad interpretation of the wicked witch of the west.

We should have been able to take them easily but we sucked at working together. We each tried to take out the enemies as if we were discount versions of Gimli and Legolas. I was swinging wildly, Jane was jumping around doing almost nothing, and they were literally cleaning the streets with James.

I was getting worried when I saw James get swarmed but Mel’s voice boomed in our ears. “WHAT ARE YOU DOING?” she had decided to sit on top of a tall building and direct us. We’d ignored her and she was pissed. “Jane get James.” When she’d gotten the three of us together she said, “James get them as wet as you can.” She giggled at her innuendo. “Jane get Sam up here.”

From above it was impressive to see James throwing water balls at the puppets. “Okay they’re wet enough. Jane get James.”

“Okay fearless leader… we now have mud puppets. What next?”

“Do you know what happens to mud when it’s struck by lightning?” Mel asked.

I understood and charged as much power as I could into a lightning blast. The arc of power struck the foot deep of water and dispersed, coursing through the water into the puppets. When I was done there were no more puppets but there were fantastic fulgurite statues. I replied to Mel with, “We kicked it’s glass.”

Jane and James groaned.

Read Chapter 5

While you wait for the next chapter, check out the previous serial story:

Point Zero – Chapter 3

Prologue | Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3 | Chapter 4 | Chapter 5 | Chapter 6 | Chapter 7 | Chapter 8 | Chapter 9 | Chapter 10 | Chapter 11 | Chapter 12

Chapter 3: A New Life and a New Foe

To say that the world ended in the year 2024 would be melodramatic.

The world as we knew it ended that cool August night. By the time we were ready to leave the cabin and reintegrate into society, we found a very different world.

Countries fell, leaders changed, industries died, and as we stumbled out of the woods in the spring of 2025 we found ourselves in a very different Canada and very different world. 

The night we were abducted there had been four other alien events. Each had been in remote towns and each had killed several thousand, sparing 4-6 teens or young adults. All of the kids had powers. 

The first Abductees to get back were Russian. They’d been met with military force and reacted in kind. An atomic bomb was dropped on their location after military action had proved futile.

The other three groups disappeared, either they did what we did and tried to hide in plain sight or they were dead.

When we left the cabin, we discovered we had been declared dead. I’ll skip the next few months since it was mostly us trying to get our identities back. Which is essentially months of paperwork and meetings with overworked government officials.

Our excuse of hiding off in a cabin seemed to not attract any attention. No RCMP or MIB visited us. We worked really hard to hide our powers from everyone. It wasn’t as easy for James as it was for the rest of us. I could hear a constant hum of electricity, Mel stopped drawing monsters and concentrated on slash or chibis, and Jane had to fight not to disappear at every odd noise, but James had gills and webbed hands. He was amphibious but needed to sleep in water.

We did what our parents had always joked about and pooled our inheritance to buy a house, except instead of being in the middle of nowhere like some hippy commune, it was in downtown Toronto. We thought living together and in a big city were our best choices. It was much easier to be a weirdo in Toronto than in a small town. 

Our inheritance wasn’t big enough to live off completely, especially that our powers seemed to amp up our metabolisms. We each got jobs. Once she had better control of her powers, Mel started her own online comic. It’s vividness made her an instant favourite. Jane got a job at a travel agency, often checking things out in advance for clients. If she had a maximum range, we never found out. James preferred freshwater but could handle sea water, he couldn’t deal with pools unfortunately. He got a job as a ticket seller for tour boats and spent more time in Lake Ontario than selling them.

I had a hard time controlling how electricity reacted around me. The only reason we didn’t need a lightning rod on our house was our proximity to the CN Tower. I tried to do electrical work but the electricity jumped out of the wires towards me. It was hard finding something that didn’t require me to constantly be near a computer or electrical device, although I could deal with a computer for a little while. I ended up working at one of the last independent bookstores ironically named Cover Stories.

The bookstore had four parts; the main space where they had new books, the used books area in the basement, the event space used for book launches and Friday Night Magic, and the lounge. The lounge was a large area with old furniture and lots of windows. The owner of the store had bought the space out for cheap from one of the old department stores but I’m still not sure how he afforded the space so close to the downtown core. Most importantly, he used a small tablet powered cash. For some reason tablets and phones were okay but I did fry any full sized computer.

It was fall again and everyone in town was selling maple or pumpkin drinks. I was on break in the lounge sipping a large pumpkin coffee when I heard an explosion. I looked longingly at my chocolate muffin and ran out to see what was going on.

As I ran I shuddered at the memory of the alien green fire that had started all this. What I saw outside wasn’t aliens. It looked like a giant cardboard dinosaur was shooting cars with laser eyes.

Jane appeared beside me and said, “I can get people out, you distract it.” Despite our many protestations, Jane had a habit of appearing a little too close. She said that she could find any of us anywhere. She knew I worked downtown and she must have seen the news. It was great timing anyway.

I looked around to see if anyone could see us and created my electric sword and shield. I made myself glow bright enough to be seen in the afternoon sun.

“Stop!” I yelled projecting my voice in the way that Frank had taught me. I missed Frank; that day was the anniversary of us getting abducted and he was heavily on my mind.

I expected it to screech and shoot its lasers at me. I hoped my shield would stop them. What I didn’t expect was for it to shout at me, “Your city will burn unless you bring me one ton of gold by the end of the day.” 

I laughed. I couldn’t help it. The deep menacing voice coming out of a building sized cardboard dinosaur was surreal. Its little hands flapped in the wind as it talked.

Read Chapter 4

While you wait for the next chapter, check out the previous serial story: