26 Sept 2019

Taking the weekend off

Apologies for anyone expecting commentary today.  This week got away from me to the point where I lost a full day somehow.  I am taking this week off from posting here, so no new commentary today and the next chapter of Heaven's Rejects will be a week delayed.  I hope to get everything back on track for this time next week.

Friday, no chapter, but Heaven's Rejects will return next week.
Also Friday, over at Psycho Drive-In, thoughts on a Battlestar Galactica reboot.
Saturday, over at The Seventh Sanctum, The Flash 1990.

20 Sept 2019

Heaven’s Rejects - Episode 8

Episode 8 - "With Friends Like These"


I took a field trip with Demona to find out just how far this blanket cutting me off from the flow of magic went.  Far enough, but it's shrinking.  That gives me time to find the /kelev/ responsible and feed him a personal part of his anatomy.

It was just us girls going out of town.  Nadia loosened up a bit, though after what happened in the morning, there wasn't much left to be bared.  When she gets a chance to relax, Nadia can be nice, in her own way.

I went looking around Las Vegas trying to find what happened and the people behind it.  I came up with nothing.  That's going to be the focus now.  Team One One Seven can keep looking for the missing John Does.

The next day, Nadia, Ian, and Demona split up, each following up on different leads.  Demona remained holed up in her hotel room, going back to her online research.  Ian walked around Las Vegas, looking into the smaller venues to see if there was anything amiss.  One had a magic act cancel at the last minute, but beyond that, he found nothing out of the ordinary.  Nadia drove around the city in the rented SUV, working out the edges of the blanket cutting her off from the flow of magic.  Through trial and error, she worked out approximately where the blanket was centered.  In the afternoon, she drove to a local high school not far from the Strip.  With school still in session, Nadia could only drive past and make note of the parking lot.

The three met up again in Demona's room to share their findings.  Demona had a Power Point presentation ready to go, much to Nadia's annoyance.  Ian sat down for the report, giving his feet a rest.  Nadia only paced.  Demona's report showed a pattern in when the John Does went missing.  The morgue needed to have at least four unknowns arrive, with the missing John Doe being either the second or third of the night.  She didn't have any information that could lead to exactly when the bodies were removed from the morgue, though.

Demona's smartphone rang, playing the chorus from PSY's "Daddy".  She answered it, then passed the phone and Kaye over to Nadia.  A few minutes later, plans were made for Kaye and one of her teammates to meet in the buffet for dinner.  The meeting broke to let everyone clean up.

Nadia, with a clean black t-shirt to match her jeans and her boots, was the first to arrive at the hotel's restaurant.  She let the hostess take her to a large table.  Ian arrived not long after, trailed by the camera crew.  The crew set up so that no other table would be in the shot.  Ian, wearing a polo shirt that stretched over his frame and a pair of grey slacks, sat next to Nadia, ordering a draft beer while he waited for the rest to arrive.  Demona slipped into the restaurant, trying hard not to be seen,  Even her clothes, a silver cardigan over a grey t-shirt and floor length floral skirt, were meant to not attract attention.  She saw Ian and Nadia and joined them.

As the waitress took Demona and Nadia's drink orders, Kaye Ortiz arrived with a taller man with a dark complexion.  Kaye led the man over to the table.  "Hi guys," she said.  "This is Byron Calhoun, Team One One Seven's magic expert."

Nadia stood up.  "HI.  Nadia Wallach."  She shook Byron's hand.  "This is Ian Markowitz and Demona Bell.  Please to meet you."

"I've heard about your team," Byron said.

"And you still came?  You're brave."  Nadia sat back down.  "I figured the buffet would keep everyone happy.  There's something for everyone."

The waitress returned with Nadia's gin and tonic and Demona's diet cola.  She left with Kaye's request for a glass of white wine and Byron's order of a sour apple martini.  Once the group was alone again, Nadia asked, "How is the John Doe case looking?"

Kaye shrugged.  "Still looking.  Demona's been helpful, crunching numbers.  I've managed to get all the information she wanted.  It still feels like something is missing."

Byron grinned, his teeth gleaming under the restaurant's lights.  "Other than the John Does, that is."

"We figured."  Nadia leaned in closer.  "Have any more gone missing in the past couple of days?"

"One, last night," Kaye said.  "Thanks to Demona, the guys at the morgue were able to tell me when they noticed.  No deliveries, no visitors, nothing else happened before they discovered another John Doe left the building."

Demona frowned.  "That's not possible.  Someone had to be there."

"Unless it's an inside job," Ian said.  "Is that possible?"

Kaye shook her head no.  "The night shift guys have been there for years.  The newest guy on the team came on two years ago.  Someone would notice if any of the others are taking bodies out."

"Just a thought."

"We've been following up a new problem," Nadia said.  She looked over at Byron.  "Two days ago, someone dropped a blanket of sorts that cut off the flow of magic.  We've been trying to find whoever's responsible."

"Oh, well, you can stop looking."  Byron beamed.  "I did that."

Nadia launched herself over the table, knocking over her drink.  Before anyone could react, she had a grip on Byron's shirt.  "You what!?"

Kaye grabbed hold of one of Nadia's arms.  "Hands off my people!"

Ian wrapped his arms around Nadia's waist.  "Let's hear him out first, Nadia."

"Do you know how many people you screwed over with that stunt?"  Nadia ignored the people pulling on her.

"Nadia, people are watching," Demona said.  "They're going to kick us out."

Nadia piushed Byron back into his seat.  "That stunt of yours let every practicing mage and who knows how many supernatural entities know that you're in town.  How does it feel to have a target on your tuches?"

Kaye got herself between Nadia and her teammate.  "If you have a problem with anyone on my team, you bring it up with me."

"Did you know that he was going to do something stupid?"

Byron adjusted his shirt.  "It was a preventative measure.  If someone was taking the John Does to animated, then I delayed them."

"But cutting off the flow of magic in Las Vegas?"  Nadia sat back down.  She worked to get her volume under control.  "You closed off a method of finding the thief.  What sort of mage are you?"

"I'm not.  I'm an alchemist."

Nadia rolled her eyes.  "And you didn't think to ask a mage if your idea was a good one?"

"Do you have a better idea?"

Ian formed a T with his hands.  "Time out, everyone."  He looked over to Nadia.  "We found out who cut off the flow of magic.  One less mystery."  He turned to Byron.  "How about giving all agents a heads-up before you do something like that again.  Maybe you can't feel the flow, but cutting it off sent up a flare.  If there were supernaturals in town that weren't aware there was an Agency team in town, they do now.  That's going to make it harder for all of us."

"There's a bright spot in it, thought."  Demona shrunk back from Nadia's glower.  "Whoever is stealing the John Does isn't using magic, right?  They couldn't have last night, but a body went missing."

Nadia bit her lower lip.  "The rookie has a point.  There's no magic involved."

"Unless they used a potion or an amulet," Byron said.  "Those wouldn't be affected.  The magic's already in the item."

"But can you create something to animate the dead?" Demona asked.

Byron shrugged.  "Probably?  It's just a matter of working out the matrix needed."

"No, you'd still need to infuse the body with magic, even with an amulet," Nadia said.  "Magic items can't store enough magic to do much more than getting a corpse to sit up.  It also takes time to create these things.  How many missing John Does are we up to now?"

"About a dozen," Kaye said.  "Probably more."

Ian drained his beer.  "Unless there's a Frankenstein process involved, that's going to take to prepare."

"Which Frankenstein, book or movie?" Demona asked.

"There's a difference?"

Demona smiled.  "A big one.  Mary Shelley didn't go into the details of how the Monster was brought back to life.  The movie used a lightning bolt.  We're in a desert.  Who is going to count on a thunderstorm to hit here?"

"No one, but Hoover's Dam isn't far from here," Kaye said.  "Maybe an hour out of town at most, depending on traffic."

Nadia looked over to Ian.  "Did you get your gear in yet?"

Ian nodded.  "It arrived around noon yesterday."

"You're thinking of checking out Hoover Dam?" Demona asked.  "I thought /Frankenstein/ was fiction."

"It is, but that doesn't stop anyone from doing something stupid.  Kaye, call your team.  We'll meet them there.  We're going to eat before we go."


Nadia urged the rental SUV faster down the freeway, passing traffic like the cars were standing still.  Beside in the front passenger seat, Ian braced himself, making sure his seat belt was fastened properly.  He watched as a sedan swerved out of the lane.  A loud honking followed.  Demona clutched at her door handle in the back seat, her knickles turning white.  "Slow down!"

"I'm not even thirty over the limit," Nadia called back.  "The rental company must have put a limiter on it.  It's bad enough that it's an automatic."

"You almost hit that car!"

"I missed, didn't I?"

Ian looked back.  "I think we just blew past a cop going the other way."

"Yeah, and?"  Nadia checked the rearview mirrors.  "It's not like he's gonna catch up with us."

"The police have radios," Demona said.  "He could call us in."

"And say what, there's a speeding truck?"

Demona rolled her eyes.  "If we're stopped, I don't know you."

"If we had my car, we could check the police frequencies," Ian said.

"If we had your car, Demona would be strapped on top," Nadia counted.  "Look, we need to get to the Dam."

"Why the rush?"  Ian winced as the SUV came within inches of sideswiping a semi.  "We don't know that anything's happening there."

"Kaye and the rest of Team One One Seven are on their way."

Demona looked out the back window.  "We passed them ten miles back."

Nadia held down on the horn to get a Corvette to move out of the lane.  "They're still on their way."  She let out a low whistle.  "We're too late."  She pointed over to a bright display of light coming from Hoover Dam.  Actinic light played along power lines.  Over the Dam itself, lightning surged skywards then arced back down.  Thunder cracked.  Winds buffeted the SUV.  Nadia gritted her teeth as she fought to stay on the road.

Coaxing as much speed as she could out of the Ford SUV, Nadia raced to get to Hoover Dam, cutting off a camper as she exited on to the Dam's access road.  The light show dimmed, but didn't end.  Nadia eased off on the SUV's speed on the double-laned road.  There was no traffic ahead of her, though, letting her still drive above the speed limit.  As the SUV neared the last bend before the Dam, a white moving truck roared by.  Nadia put the SUV into a bootlegger turn, throwing Ian, Demona, and the camera crew into the side of the Ford.

"What was--"  Demona's question got cut off as Nadia floored the accelerator.  Tires squealed before they found traction.  "I missed something."

"Hoover Dam's visiting hours ended at five.  It's well past that.  So why is there a delivery truck coming from the Dam?"

Ian shrugged.  "Late delivery?"

"And just happens to be leaving after the light show?"

"Makes perfect sense to me," Demona said.  "If I was a delivery driver, I'd leave, too.  No one gets paid enough for that."

"Okay, you two, answer me this.  If they were running away, would they have passed us sooner, like when the light show began?"  Nadia waited a moment for an answer.  "The average /shlmiel/ would have taken off when everything went nuts.  Even if they froze at first, they'd be gone before the light show ended."

Ian nodded in agreement.  "So what's in there?  The missing John Does?"

"Got a better suggestion?  Oh, shit!"  Nadia stood on the brake.  The SUV screeched to a halt, its front bumper half an inch from a Nevada Highway Patrol cruiser, its lights strobing blue and red.

The state trooper walked around his car to approach Nadia.  "Care to explain why you were so far over the speed limit?"

Nadia produced her license and the rental agreement.  "Hello, Officer."

The trooper glanced at the paperwork.  "I'm waiting."

"This might be above your pay scale, Officer."

"And you want my supervisor."  The state trooper glared at Nadia.  "Just who do you think I am?"

Nadia smiled.  "Look, Officer, did you see the fancy light show with the thunder and lightning just now?"

"Was that your handiwork?"

"Just how fast do you think I was going?"

"At least eighty miles per hour.  I wouldn't be surprised if you hit a hundred."

Nadia glanced back at Ian.  "Maybe I was too harsh on this car."  She turned her attention back to the state trooper.  "To be honest, I didn't think it would go that fast."

The trooper brought out his ticket book.  "Just consider yourself lucky I'm not hauling you--  Is that a camera?  Hey, are you recording me?  Turn it off.  Turn it off now--"


The biggest obstacle we face in the Agency is law enforcement.  We are told to not break the law but there are times when we bend it.  A lot.  Speeding is minor considering everything else we do, but when it gives the cop a reason to search our car, then it gets a little sticky.

I am not taking the blame for this.  I was just a passenger.  Nadia has a lead foot.  I knew she'd be pulled over.

It'd be easier to do our jobs if we could just pull out a badge that trumps these cops.  Or use some sort of code.  But the Agency wanted to be secret, so no.  At least Kaye arrived to help out.  She has some pull around here.  I gotta ask her how she managed that.


Nadia followed Kaye back into Las Vegas, driving at a more sedate pace at the speed limit.  The urge to pass Team One One Seven and their full sized passenger van gnawed at her.  She was sure something was happening in the city.  Just what, Nadia didn't know, but there was something happening.

Ian turned on the radio.  He flipped from station to station until he found an all-news broadcast.  The news announcer droned on about the day's news.  Ian looked over at Nadia.  "It's quiet."

The news announcer gave way to the traffic reporter.  "A truck has blocked the Las Vegas Boulevard at East Tropicana.  Police have set up roadblocks in the area.  Traffic is halted in both directions."

After exchanging a glance with Nadia, Ian got out his smartphone.  He sent a quick text to Kaye.  Team One One Seven's van sped up.  Nadia followed suit, passing the van.  Demona grabbed on to Ian's seat.  "What's the rush?  Wasn't one lecture from a highway patrolman enough for one day?"

"Ian, start the timer," Nadia said, ignoring the question.  "We have fifteen minutes."

"Fifteen minutes?"  Demona turned her attention from Ian to Nadia and back again.  "Fifteen minutes until what?"

Ian shifted in his seat to look at Demona.  "Police are already on site.  That means people will wonder what's going on.  The Strip is a tourist attraction, so there's going to be people with phones out taking pictures.  What do you think will happen when they see the John Does walking around?"

Demona shrugged.  "Run away?"  She sat back in her seat.  "No, wait, they wouldn't.  Not right away.  This is Las Vegas, entertainment capital.  They'll think the zombies are part of a show and move in to get photos.  If the zombies attack, then people will get hurt and a panic happens."

"There's more," Ian said.  "One person posting about a zombie apocalypse might not be noticed.  Hundreds posting on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and any other social media?  That gets noticed.  Hashtag zombies hashtag Las Vegas.  That will bring in the wannabe zombie hunters, who will get in the way."

"Hashtag headshot hashtag morons."  Nadia managed to fit the SUV between a pair of semis.  "Crowd control is hard enough without having the helpful in the way."  She glanced down at the speedometer.  "We should be there in about ten minutes, giving us a really slim margin to get past the police and find whoever stole these John Does."

Nadia pushed the Ford SUV to its limit, never easing up on the throttle until well inside Las Vegas city limits.  Even then, red lights and stop signs were more suggestions than requirements.  It was only when the traffic came to a dead stop that Nadia did, too.  The three agents jumped out of the SUV.  Ian ran to the back to get his gym bag.  Nadia and Demona pushed their way through the gathering crowd.  The white truck that had eluded them at Hoover Dam blocked the road ahead.

Ian caught up to the two women.  He stared at the spectacle in front of him.  "Huh.  You don't see that everyday."  Shambling away from the truck and the roadblock were a score of dead men, each with a pompadour, each wearing a silver jumpsuit.  "Zombie Elvis impersonators."

19 Sept 2019

Heaven's Rejects - Commentary 6

Mission or vacation, in Heaven's Rejects Chapter 6.

Nadia and Ian are treating the trip to Vegas as a vacation.  They're there as consultants, not active investigators, so they're going to take advantage of every moment they can.  Demona, not being an active agent for long, is having second, third, and fourth thoughts about her life choices.  The behaviour comes down to beliefs.  Demona believes that she will get into Heaven as long as she lives well.  She is religious, which I'll get to below, and does her best to be a good person.  Ian and, especially, Nadia believe they won't get in because of what they do to keep people safe.  Nadia is very much aware that she has shut down all avenues.  Thus, Demona is refusing to go beyond her hotel room while Ian and Nadia are enjoying their time in Vegas.

Religion does play a role, at least in the background.  Nadia is a semi-practicing Jew who is fluent in Yiddish insults and swearing.  Demona is Catholic.  Her nature, though, creates problems.  Hallowed ground, and it doesn't matter the religion involved doing the blessing, causes problems for Demona.  Like, she catches fire crossing a church's threshold problems.  When I was creating Demona, I knew she was half-succubus.  The other half is Catholic, or so the joke went in my head.  And she is faithful; of all of her parish's members, she is well aware of what awaits in the afterlife.  Her father raised her as Catholic, and she does go to services when she can.  Holy symbols affect her when used against her, as seen in Episode 1.

That's why I had Nadia try to banish her again.  I wanted to show that Nadia lost her power.  The holy symbol is more a focus than anything else, but if Demona didn't feel the banishing attempt, something is wrong.  One of the reasons Nadia calls herself "Heaven's reject", besides the title drop, is because she knows there's a demon waiting for her to fall so he can drag her to Hell.  No magic, no protection.  No protection, and the demon can grab her when he wants.

Sometimes, writing by the seat of my pants leads to interesting revelations for characters.  At the beginning, I didn't know that Demona spent summers with her mother.  But her mom did want to see her daughter once she was beyond being a toddler.  Custody was easy enough; Hell has the best lawyers.  Demona is essentially the team's walking demon wiki, though with the caveat that she knows specific demons, not all of them.

I knew what the payoff I wanted for this arc of the series was going to be when I started it.  It was a random whim, but damn if didn't turn into a driving force.  I needed to set up the punchline, though, so that it didn't come completely out of left field.  The descriptions are important.  The missing bodies do have something in common.  The reveal is coming, but the body thief does have a plan for her ill-gotten booty.

Friday, Hoover Dam, magical light, and the clock begins, in Heaven's Rejects Chapter 8.
Also Friday, over at Psycho Drive-In, hiatus week.
Saturday, over at The Seventh Sanctum, thoughts on a Battlestar Galactica reboot.

13 Sept 2019

Heaven’s Rejects - Episode 7

Episode 7 – The Day After the Night Before

Something happened last night that cut Nadia off from her ability to use magic.  I don't get how that works and Nadia's in no condition to explain, but it freaked her out.  A lot.  For reasons.

I should put in for babysitting fees.  Nadia is a loud drunk, the type to get into everyone's business.  I preferred her being morose.  At least she wasn't singing.  She doesn't really get the idea of hitting notes.

Nadia head throbbed, waking her up.  She lay on her stomach, eyes still closed, trying to figure out why her tongue felt like it needed to be mowed while jackhammers pounded her temples.  The bed shifted.  Nadia opened her eyes.  The hotel room didn't look any different, yet somehow, it was.  The bed moved again, as if there was someone else there with her.  Moving slow in case the other person was sleeping, Nadia rolled over.  Seeing Demona, she pushed backwards, falling out of the bed.

Demona stirred at the noise.  "Nadia?"

"What are you doing in my room?"  Nadia picked herself up from the floor.

"This is my room."  Demona sat up.  "You stayed with me last night."

"I what?"  Nadia shut her eyes as her headache redoubled in strength.  "What am I doing here?"  Opening her eyes again, she looked down.  "And where the hell are my clothes?"  She covered her breasts with her hands.

"You threw them around the room last night."  Demona swung her legs out from under the blankets.  "I barely, excuse the pun, kept you from running out into the hall.  Then you took some of the drinks from the fridge here.  I am not paying for those, for the record."

"How did we end up in bed?"  Nadia narrowed her eyes.  "You must have seduced me to sleep with me."

12 Sept 2019

Heaven's Rejects - Commentary 5

Viva Las Vegas, in Heaven's Rejects Chapter 5.

Some nice character moments in the briefing.  Nadia is hooked on British drama and comedies, and would be watching Good Omens if it had been out when I was writing.  She grew up on PBS.  Demona gets to freak out for no apparent reason, though that will come out later.  The idea that the daughter of a succubus isn't allowed to go to Vegas amused me.  I then built the reason around that whim.

Heaven's Rejects was more or less written on whims, with some planning.  Once I had the idea, though, I started working out the details, mostly asking "Why?" as many times as needed.  This entire arc started with a whim.  I'll point it out once it comes up, but I had to keep myself from rushing to the big twist/reveal.

Vegas is set up for gambling.  Casinos exist to drain money from visitors.  It's only gambling when the odds aren't in your favour.  To keep people gaming, everything is set up around the gaming floor.  Lights never change, there's no natural light allowed in, it's easy enough to order something to eat or drink while at the tables.  Some people celebrating every once in a while, because it's always possible to roll a 5 on 2d6 twice before rolling a 7, adds to the idea that you, yes you, could win.  The casinos aren't the only things in Vegas, though.  They're an attraction, but people do live there.

I'm using a few different sources for my interpretation of Vegas.  While not a realistic series - just how did Grissom get the money for two very expensive forensics machines, anyway? - CSI: Crime Scene Investigation did show the city.  Likewise, Ocean's Eleven and its sequels allowed a different look at the city.  I also have friends who have been there that told me about their trip.  It's the "write what you know" adage, except I take to mean do the research before getting too deep.

The camera crew reappear!  The idea behind Heaven's Rejects is that it is a reality series following a team of agents who protect humanity from the supernatural.  They don't get mentioned a lot because the view is meant to be from their lens.  If they get seen, they're doing their job wrong.  But sometimes, it's hard to just forget about them.  They're there in the scene, and if they're present, someone will notice.

Some of the possible uses for the missing bodies come from other sources.  I once played a doctor in a French RPG, Te Deum, set in 16th century France.  Once event in his background was that he stole bodies to practice on when in university studying medicine.  Hence, the frat prank.  The brothel and subsequent comments was inspired by Weekend at Bernie's.  The comment about the ranchers is, well, accurate.

Friday, Nadia and Demona's road trip, in Heaven's Rejects Chapter 7.
Also Friday, over at Psycho Drive-In, Phantom of the Opera (1942).
Saturday, over at The Seventh Sanctum, hiatus week.

6 Sept 2019

Heaven’s Rejects - Episode 6

Episode 6 – “What Happens in Vegas”

We met with Kaye from Team One One Seven.  She wants us for our knowledge.  Her team is going to do the heavy lifting.  Me and mine get to sit back and relax.  And we're in Las Vegas!  Casino, here I come!

Nadia's happy and Demona's miserable.  And here I am, not trying to get in the middle.  Yeah.  Anyway, if we're not being called in to deal with a problem that the team onsite can't handle, I'll take advantage of the down time.  A show or two, try out a few restaurants, maybe wander through a casino or two.  Maybe there's a bus tour for other sights.  My gear should be on its way, but it's not going to be needed.

I hope I didn't jinx myself.

I hate this place.  Not the hotel.  The entire city.  I could do what I'm doing back in Chicago or even back home in Iowa City.  But, no, here I am in the suitably named "Sin City".  I am never leaving this room except to go to the airport to go home.

Nadia took a deep breath of the night air.  Neon light up her black t-shirt and jeans in a kaleidoscope of colour.  Throngs of people walked around her.  On the road, a steady stream of traffic flowed by.  Nadia turned to the camera crew.  "This is the life, you know?  No worries about what I might be facing tomorrow.  No creature trying to rip off my limbs.  No fighting for my life.or my soul.  You don't get that often in the Agency."  She resumed walking.  "Look at everyone here.  Not a care in their worlds.  I get to be like that for a night.  The only decision right now is which casino I want to go to.  Caesar's Palace?  Circus Circus?  New York New York for a taste of home?  So many choices."

5 Sept 2019

Heaven's Rejects - Commentary 4

Into the belly of Des Moines, in Heaven's Rejects Chapter 4.

I am a pantser during NaNo.  I may have general plans and markers I want to hit, but how I get there is very much dependent on me finding a path as I write.  When I started this arc of Heaven's Rejects, I didn't have an endpoint immediately in mind, but current events of November 2018 and the months leading up to then made the decision easier.  With LTV Paranomalists, written November 2016, I found myself questioning if I wanted to use a redcap as the villain of the part currently in progress.  I didn't want to get that political in my writing.  In 2018, that worry went out the window.  The ghost of a Confederate officer using dark magic to screw over the North?  I had nothing stopping me.

However, Iowa was never a battleground in the American Civil War.  The state supplied food for the North.  I had to figure out why a crazed Confederate officer would be sending ghouls out in Des Moines.  The food supply became the answer; along with Sherman's March to the Sea.  General William Tecumseh Sherman and his troops were determined to end the fighting by making examples of people who fought back, taking their food and livestock and burning their farms.  Why wouldn't a Confederate officer try the same thing to hamper Union supply lines?  The further an army gets from home, the harder it gets to maintain the delivery of required materiel, from guns and ammunition to food and drink.  Cut off part of the supply chain and the army starves.  There was my villain's motive.

From there, I just had to work out the details and how the ghouls came about.  After that, my characters just had to figure out how to stop the ghouls.  I also needed to work out how Team Six died.  So many threads to pull together, though not as bad as the number of dangling plot ends near the end of The Devil You Know.  The other piece I wanted to add is that guns aren't always the best solution.  Ian could have kept shooting ghouls until he ran out of ammunition and they still would keep coming.  The solution, the one Demona discovered and Nadia implemented, took the fight to another level.  I did something similar with The Devil You Know and The Soul Blade.  It makes for a more interesting story.

When I created my core cast, I hadn't planned on throwing in a Confederate villain.  Nadia came about as I realized that I really don't have religious characters for the most part, and the idea of someone using a Star of David to focus faith and magic through in a way that normally involves a cross or crucifix, then failing to exorcise Demona.  Throwing a Jewish woman from New York City against an officer of a breakaway state claiming to be Christian was not planned ahead of time.  I accidentally added some layers there that I didn't realize until I was writing the paragraphs.  Having set up Nadia with her use of casual Yiddish, inspired by the likes of Mel Brooks, her tossing in Yiddish words just helped with the gap between her and the officer.

Setting up the finale, I used a lot of numbers for the cops.  Part of that was thanks to NaNo's word count; one number is one word, three numbers triples the count.  I could also toss in the 404 error, this time, "Police officer not found."  The supervisor's numbers were randomly generated.  I don't even know if that's how Des Moines's police department runs things.  It was needed, it worked, therefore, it stayed.

Friday, two out of three Rejects enjoy Vegas, in Heaven's Rejects Chapter 6.
Also Friday, over at Psycho Drive-In, Superman vs the Mole Men.
Saturday, over at The Seventh Sanctum, The Phantom of the Opera (1943).