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Nova Academy for Advanced Superhuman Studies is where I’m going to learn advanced science and engineering. I’m Theo, a super genius, and mad science is my life.
There are some surprises when school starts. My new hot telepath girlfriend, besides being amazingly powerful, is going to turn my understanding of the world of supers upside down.
Some supervillain and his henchmen are going to cause so many problems I have to form a super team to take them down. I’ll need to seriously upgrade my super armor to have any chance of winning.
Grab some popcorn, come along, and I’ll tell you about my first year at Nova Academy. Maybe by the time I graduate we’ll both know if I become a hero or a villain – assuming I live that long.
January 13, 2019: I'm way past due for an update. A lot has been going on with me that has kept me away from writing -- for that I do apologize. I'm back now, however, and working hard on getting Book 2 of Nova Academy published on Amazon.com for Kindle and print. Above is the final cover. As you can see, there is a new girl in town. Maria, as you may recall, was planning on attending Nova Academy in the coming year (she was a year behind Theo in high school). I've had great feedback from my beta readers and I'm working through my final round of edits before publication. So, keep an eye out for Nova Academy: Bases & Lairs, coming soon.
June 20, 2018: Nova Academy: Heroes & Villains has a new cover! Due to issues beyond my control, I was not able to secure the services of the creator of the original cover to use to create Book 2. So, in the interest of maintaining series identity, I engaged the services of Dan Van Oss at www.CoverMint.design. Dan did a fantastic job on the new cover and is currently doing the final work on Book 2, Nova Academy: Bases & Lairs. Book 2 will be out by mid-August (it's running a little late, but I'm getting there).
May 2, 2018: I've completed my second rewrite and on my 3rd. After this one I will put it through major editing a couple times and give it to my beta readers to tear apart and give me feedback. I'm on pace for completing it and publishing in late June / early July at the latest.
December 17, 2017: Nova Academy: Bases & Lairs is well on its way as I've passed 48,000 words written in the Nova Academy sequel. Hopefully, this means I will keep on schedule for publication in May. I have also completed major edits and uploaded a much improved manuscript for the first Nova Academy book that will greatly benefit the readability of the story.
November 25, 2017: I have added Chapter 1 of Nova Academy: Bases & Lairs (Book 2) below as a little bit of a teaser for what will happen in Theo & Carly's second year at Nova Academy (and Maria's first!). Note this is pre-rewrites & pre-editing
November 9, 2017: A couple weeks ago I completed my third rewrite of Earth Interstellar and handed it off to my editor. That freed me up to begin the second installment of the Nova Academy series, Nova Academy: Bases and Lairs. I am happy to report the writing is going much faster than I anticipated (likely because I am stoked about the story and seeing where Theo, Carly, and now Maria, goes next. I just passed 20,000 words written, which is approximately 1/5th of a book. Although I would not be surprised to see it go longer than 100,000 words (NA1 was approximately 104,000 words).
November 3, 2017: Now that I have completed writing Earth Interstellar: Proxy War (its with the editors), I am turning my attention to the sequel, Nova Academy: Bases & Lairs. I already have a good outline and expect writing to go at a good pace, so stand by for a mid-2018 release date.
September 15, 2017: I have the title of Book 1 to Nova Academy: Heroes & Villains to fit with the title of Book 2. Note the only place this will show right now is on Amazon.com Kindle Edition and on Goodreads.com. Book 2's Title will be: Nova Academy: Bases & Lairs (subject to change right up until publication, mind you). I am also working on another round of editing of Nova Academy to take care of some lingering issues that seem to periodically get mentioned in reviews. BTW, I am still hoping to meet my publication date of ~May 2018. Right now I am doing my first rewrite of Earth Interstellar and it is going well.
July 26, 2017: Things are moving along nicely. My second novel is nearly complete on its first draft and I should be moving on to the sequel to Nova Academy later this year. I already have it outlined, so I expect it to go quickly. I'm excited and can't wait to bring the fans of Nova Academy the next chapter in the story.
June 4, 2017: Hey again. I'm really excited. Yesterday I completed my rough outline for Book 2 of Nova Academy and I love it. Showed it to my wife and son and they both love it (trust me, they can be tough). Theo and Carly will be joined by Maria, who you may recall is Theo's girlfriend from the summer before school started last year. Do you think Carly is going to allow Maria to be competition for Theo? Do you think Theo is into Carly so much Maria wouldn't stand a chance anyway? Well, you can bet you will find out in Book 2. Of course, that's the backstory. Front and center is bound to be more exciting and only be resolved with the heavy use of force blasters!
May 19, 2017: Hi all. I want to thank everyone who has purchased Nova Academy. Sales on Amazon.com as of this writing are 48 Kindle and Paperback books sold and 35,054 KENP read. (Kindle Unlimited reports pages read, not # of sales. The total shown represents approx. 88.5 complete cover to cover books read on Kindle Unlimited.) So conservatively call it 136 books sold in the first 26 days. I'm calling that a success for my first book and I am ecstatic. At the time of this update, Amazon's rating for the book is 4 out of 5 and on Goodreads the rating is 4.75 out of 5. Thank you to everyone who has written a review or given a rating to the book. Ratings are very important to its success.
Nova Academy: Bases & Lairs (Book 2)
Chapter 1 (Note: this is a work in progress that will be property reviewed and edited prior to publication.)
The coals in the fire are glowing and rippling with changing colors orange to gold to white to black as the heat from the fire bathes my face. Watching the campfire burning, with its flickering flames heats my body while the darkness chills my back. This has to be the most meditative moment in life. Nothing washes away my troubles and brings peace to my busy mind better than sitting in a beach chair dug in the sand in front of a ring of rocks and watching a pile of logs burning. It has been a good summer. Maybe even a great summer.
Although, if I can’t access a fully functioning lab soon I might just lose my mind. If that happens at least I’ll be half way to being a mad scientist. Maybe I’ll just go on a rampage of death and destruction and call it done.
I think Maria will come with me, if I want. Although to be honest, she will probably go on her own to relieve all the anxiety she is feeling as summer comes to an end. She doesn’t talk about her feelings much, at least not her vulnerable feelings. Anger is not an emotion she has a problem with expressing, but don’t expect touchy feely from her. Maria is sitting beside me in her own beach chair. My chair is a loaner from her, too. I think she picked up these chairs, and a lot of other camping gear around us, a couple years ago around the time I read about a break-in at the Chuck’s Sporting Goods over on Belmont.
With the way Maria is acting, I’m pretty sure she is missing something she needs and I won’t be surprised to read about how she acquired the missing whatever in her life in the news. If you give me two guesses as to what is bothering Maria, money will be both of them. Nova Academy is an expensive school and she is starting there this fall. I have no idea how that is going to work out between her and Carly, but it has been an odd summer, so I’m hopeful. That’s a problem for later. Right now is about the trouble Maria is about to get me into.
“I need money for school,” says Maria, breaking the zen like state someone else could have achieved staring into the fire. I should note the mesmerizing effects of the fire are in a battle of attrition with my obsessive need to get back in the lab.
I do not reply to her statement. There’s no need.
“Can you help me?”
I still do not reply. When Maria asks for help, she is not asking for a loan or a gift. She is asking for an accomplice. I know what kind of help she wants, so I continue to wait for her to get it out.
“There’s a job coming up I need to do,” she continues in the most painful drawing out of her asking for something from anyone I’ve ever seen.
It’s time to move this conversation along before the fire goes out, or winter sets in, “Where’s your crew?” I ask.
Dropping her head in an unexpected and shocking display of shame, Maria replies, “I can’t afford to use them. I need the entire take for myself to get through the year.”
Okay. That sucks for her crew to be left out like that, but I’m wondering why she would think I would do a job with her without taking a cut. “What kind of job,” I ask, drawing out the conversation while I try to figure this out.
“Armored truck,” she replies, starting to become animated, “There’s a regular money transfer I have a lead on.”
“What’s the take?”
“One to two hundred thousand.”
“And you can’t afford to split it with your crew?” I’m a little surprised a forty thousand dollar split wouldn’t cover her costs during the school year. She has to have already paid her tuition.
“I still owe half of my tuition,” Maria tells me, with her head still bowed. This has to be hurting her pride, which is no small thing. “I only had half and I have to pay the rest by the first day of school or I can’t go.”
Damn. I take a deep breath and let it out slowly. The fire isn’t doing much to soothe my troubles away right now; I continue to stare into the flickering flames. Maria can make flames just like the flames in the fire pit. But, her flames are not known for soothing troubles away so much as making them appear. Come to think of it, she lit the campfire tonight. Maybe that’s what is wrong with the fire in the pit that it is doing absolutely nothing for me right now. Tangent, Theo. Stay focused.
“What do you need from me?” I ask her, knowing that just by asking I am committing. I do not want to do this job. I don’t need the money or the trouble. This is Maria, though. We got close last summer and, Carly or no, I have feelings for her. Not that Maria and I have rekindled the fire we had last summer. She has been a best friend to me and we’ve spent more time together than not, but it has been like I’m with my sister. It was so odd and unexpected I checked my mind to make sure Carly didn’t manage to sneak in and change some of my settings with her telepathy, but everything was normal. If that is how Maria wants it, though, I will live with it as it’s probably for the best. If Maria and I had started up where we left off, Carly would have known about it the first time she met Maria at school and that would be the end of that relationship. Anyway, Maria and I are closer than we have ever been now and I have to help her. She won’t take money directly from me. It would hurt her pride, and my bank account, too much.
“I want you to be my backup,” she tells me, finally lifting her head and looking me in the face.
“What’s my cut?” I reply, returning the look.
“You won’t be getting a….”
“No.” Hell, I already do not want to do this; not getting a cut is a non-starter.
“Wait,” Maria replies, leaning forward. Her hair is back in a ponytail and I can’t help but notice the lines of her face and that beautiful neck I used to…. Hey! It’s been a long dry summer. Lay off. “You don’t have to do anything. You won’t even be there.”
“Where will I be?”
“Nearby. You won’t come in unless there’s more trouble than I can handle,” she explains.
“So, I’ll be on standby out of sight and not a part of the job until you need me? And, I don’t get a cut?”
“You’ll get a cut if you have to come in, but you shouldn’t be needed. I already scouted this job three times. Their security is a Class 3 muscle and a fire elemental, Class 2. The ele can’t touch me and I’m not worried about the Class 3.”
“What you need is someone to back you up if another super shows up,” I say. Maria knows better than to go into a job without contingencies. “But, I don’t get paid. Who is your lookout?”
“I’m hoping you will be my lookout with some of your drones. You’re like a one-man crew, Theo. You could do this job solo if you wanted.” Maria is the only one back home I’ve shown my suit to. Not even Bubbles knows about it.
“What’s my cut if I have to come in?” I ask her. Providing remote lookout capability is something I can do without much risk. I’ll consider that. Make me an accessory? There has to be a cost to that or she won’t think twice about pulling me in.
“Twenty percent,” she replies, looking me in the eyes. Have to give it to her, she has big brass balls to offer me a tenth of the haul when the only time I can get paid is if the shit hits the fan.
“No. If I come in it will only be because supers have shown up and I would be risking twenty to life on even odds at best. You want me to back you up and it’s just the two of us? Fifty-fifty. I get half, or forget it. I’m not doing it.” I have no idea how I can think I’m a genius when I’m being this stupid. Realistically, though, odds are I will not have to do anything on this job other than fly my Dragon Tracker drones around for an hour and go home.
I don’t think I have ever seen Maria actually grimace. It’s not her best look. “All right. Fifty-fifty. I’ll make it work.”
Good, because I need her to do everything she can to hold on to that half and keep me out of it.
We finish the night watching the campfire and packing away two cases of beer between us. It is hard to get me drunk with my metabolism, but I can do it when I try.
Nova Academy: Heroes & Villains (Book 1)
Excerpt from Chapter 14
I walk in looking for Carly. The Commons is packed with students, most of whom live in the Atlas dorms, which means they're loud, boisterous, and oblivious. Bobbing and weaving I look around the chaotic flow of bodies in hopes of spotting Carly before she spots me. I spot what looks like Carly's mane of curly brown hair and she immediately turns, looks right at me, and gives me a smile topped with those golden green eyes. I’m not smiling, but that does not seem to stop her smile. Her eyes, I realize, have a far more predatory look than they did when I was talking to her this morning. Or, that could be just me projecting.
Making a "T" with her hands like she's calling time out in a football game, Carly gives her head a jerk toward the double "Emergency Exit" door she's standing next to and walks out the door. I'm still standing where I first saw her staring at the emergency exit as it swings closed until some ape playing catch with a Nerf football slams into me while going for a long pass and knocks me on my ass.
I pick myself up and dodge out of the way of the ape that ran into me and see he's the same guy that was holding the "Welcoming Committee" sign when I checked into my dorm.
Your time is coming pal, keep it up. I think to myself. Turning away, I look back to the exit Carly went out and it hits me. She knew where I was when I spotted her. She knew that I spotted her. And that I knew what she had done. She had to; otherwise, why make the "T"? Why duck out? Should I follow her?
By the time I finish asking myself if I should follow her I'm at the exit and pushing through. I brace my mental shields as I go through the exit, sidestepping as soon as I'm through. Carly is facing me, ten yards away, with her hands held out away from her sides, palms out where I can see she is not holding anything. She's trying to show me she's unarmed and means me no harm, but the stance she takes is the same one an energy projector could take to throw lightning, or fire, or a dozen other types of energy. My body jerks as I stop myself from diving to the side to avoid the attack and I start toward her.
Giving a head jerk at me again, this time toward the grassy quad that is mostly vacant, Carly heads out into the open space. I follow and pick up the pace to close the distance but not enough to seem like I'm chasing her. Just before I get within reach of grabbing her arm and spinning her around, she spins around on her own and says, "Wait."
Pulling up short, I'm about to start yelling, but managing to keep it down and ask her what the hell she thought she was doing messing around in my head. After that I snap my mouth shut with a toothy 'clack' and just stand there looking at her, trying not to go on a rant. For Tess, the best conversations she has with me start with me shutting up, so I give it a try, raising my eyebrows at her. It’s easy to melt into those big golden green eyes.
"It was a test." Carly raises her hands, which I look down at before she drops them back down and takes a step back. "It was a test. I'm sorry, but I had to do it. I needed to know."
"Needed to know what?"
"I needed to know that you can control your own mind. That you can protect yourself from a telepath."
Confusion is setting in if it wasn't before. "Why the hell would you need to know that? Isn’t it obvious? You were in my head! How the…how did you even get in my head?" I'm rapidly moving past my confusion and into anger. Unlike confusion, anger for me isn't asking questions to get answers as much as it is to justify being angry. "How is that okay?"
"I can explain!" Carly shouts as I start to open my mouth to vent more anger in the form of a question.
I step back, take a deep breath, and let it out too fast to be of any help calming me down, "Explain."
"I really liked talking to you in class and … and I want to get to know you more." Carly takes a step toward me, "But I don’t want to know just anyone. I want to be careful, and pick friends who can take care of themselves. Take care of themselves around telepaths, I mean."
That gets a surprised look from me, "Why? Why would I need protection from telepaths? Wait, wait. I know why I need to be able to protect myself from telepaths, but why does that matter to you? You're a telepath. Do you want me to be able to protect myself from you?"
"No. Well, I mean, yes. Yes, you should be able to protect yourself from me. But it's not me I'm concerned about." Carly turns and spreads her arms out, "Have you looked around? Do you have any idea how many telepaths are on this campus?"
"There is a whole quad full of students with mental powers, I'd say a lot."
"Yeah, a lot. Hundreds of them." Turning back to me she asks, "Do you have any idea what they're doing?"
"You mean other than planting crap in my brain?"
"No, I mean reading thoughts and messing with the heads of every baseline brain they can get away with poking into. Did you know that some of our instructors give out assignments to control other students? They say it’s the only way you will learn to control your powers."
That stops me in my tracks and I step back and turn to look around the quad. I'm in Atlas Quad, home of the biggest bunch of muscle-bound apes with weak minds on campus. Could a telepath walk in here and own this place inside of a day? "They can't do that to me," I say, less certain than I would have been if I had said it this morning.
"I could," Carly says with a little regret in her voice. "At least I was able to up until you came out of that exit," and points back at the Commons. "I needed to test you to see if I could allow you to be a friend of mine. All the muscle around here are toys to a telepath, but they’re boring. Now, the friends of another telepath? Them? Friends that can't protect themselves? They're fun. Messing with them is like messing with another telepath when they can't do anything about it."
"What you did was wrong. You don't get to go in my head. Nobody does." I'm glaring at Carly, but as she is telling me this I'm becoming less confused, and less angry. "That's messed up. What telepaths do,” I start into a new rant, and then realize, “Even the professor was doing it!"
"That's the way it is here. This is a university for ‘higher learning.’ How do you think telepaths learn? They can do whatever they want here and nobody will say a thing. Because nobody has anything they can do about it except another telepath. It's become a game to them and most baselines don't even know they're being messed with or even outright controlled." Carly is getting annoyed and starts pacing in front of me, "And, it’s dangerous. Out in the real world, the only way telepaths stay safe is to be anonymous and don't attract attention. They claim to be all neutral and above the petty existence of the rest of the world. They claim to not meddle with other’s heads. But, that’s not true. They don’t have to limit themselves here as far as they are concerned. No one dies; no one gets turned into a pet human — at least not for more than a few weeks at a time. And, no one is going to hold them accountable. Not when they control as much as they do here.”
I’m doing fish face motions, not quite knowing what to say.
Carly turns to me, "I'm sorry. I really am. But, I can't let that happen to one of my friends. So I have to be careful who I let be my friend. It's sad, but that's the way it is."
She's looking at me and I'm not seeing red any more. I'm seeing someone who wants to be my friend and has the brass balls to take a shot at me to test my powers. But now she is afraid she may have screwed it up? I’m not sure, so I leave it alone and instead ask, "So tell me what you did to my head and how you got around my defenses." The whole time we've been talking I've been giving half my attention to trying to detect if she's trying to get into my head again. I don't feel anything, but until I'm able to sit down and focus, I won't know for sure.
"My telepathy works a little different from most people because of a recessive gene that activated before I was born. Only about one in six million telepaths have it."
"And, it lets me see mental walls and defenses… All mental defenses, it’s like I have a blueprint. That lets me find ways in that a normal telepath can't usually see."
"You mean I have a hole in my head you can just walk right through?"
Carly looks away and sucks on her bottom lip, almost laughing, but also nervous, "No, I mean you have a very tiny hole that I was able to get through just enough to set the trigger that amped up your endorphins when you thought about meeting me tonight. Your mental defenses are phenomenal.”
I'm trying to process everything she's just told me and every time I try to think about what she did, I start thinking about all the other telepaths on this campus that are messing with people's minds and it's scary as hell. "How do I close the hole?" I ask her.
Perking up, Carly exclaims, "Oh, that's easy! I can teach you in about thirty minutes how to fix it and even make you stronger!"
I'm still pissed but it's quickly being redirected toward what telepaths are doing to the other students. If it's true, Nova Academy is not the place I think it is.
"I can prove it. I can prove what they're doing,” she tells me, seemingly reading my mind, “I won't be able to show you what I see as they're doing it, but I can take you someplace that inside of five minutes a hundred telepaths will be pounding on your mental barriers and you can feel that."
This morning I was confident enough in my mental defenses that the idea of a hundred telepaths trying to break into my head would have made me laugh. "Not until I close that hole, you won't."
"Okay. Do you forgive me? I'm really sorry." She’s sincere when she says it, but I can see a hardness in her that won’t be hurt if I don’t.
"Yeah, I forgive you. For now. This better not be a bunch of bullcrap, though. If I find out it's not true…." I let the rest remain unsaid because I frankly don't know what I'll do if she's lying to me other than stay the hell away from her. "I'm gonna be pissed."
Putting my hands in my pockets, I look around at anyone but Carly. I need a reset from this whole conversation if I want to let this go and get back to the fun I had talking to her in class this morning.
Is that what I want to do? She’s like a double-edged sword. One edge cuts with the grain. That was this morning. She’s a telepathic Maria.
I look back at her and we're both feeling a little uncomfortable after what just happened. I smile to try and change the mood, "I'm starving. Are you hungry?"
Carly gets a big smile and we head for the food court in the Commons.
You can purchase Nova Academy using the book cover links at the top of the page. Thank you for reading!
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Blackjack does not realize it yet, but he's a serious badass. Too bad for the good guys they were jerks that left him no option but to be a villain.
Three Helmets Books is the publication name used by Scott Olen Reid published works. For more information contact Scott at firstname.lastname@example.org
Note regarding Scott's favorite books linked to Amazon.com: We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. Even so, all books shown have been read by, and are favorites of, Scott Olen Reid and are strictly his choice to share with you.