The Adventure of the Cats' Peril

     by Kevin L. O'Brien / Fantasy / Actions & Adventure
The Adventure of the Cats' Peril

After a snowstorm, Eile and Sunny find a cat nearly frozen to death. They take it to the vet, who finds an identity chip with an address. It turns out to be an abandoned factory, but they go in to try to find the owner. That's when they encounter the robots, which take them captive and present them to their mad scientist creator. This is a short novella, with a Preface and Story Excerpts.Eile and Sunny met three weeks ago, fell in love, and decided to move in together. Each morning Sunny makes them breakfast, and then they spend the day together having adventures. One morning, after a bad snowstorm, Eile finds a stray cat outside their front door while fetching the paper, buried in snow and nearly frozen to death. She and Sunny warm it until it awakens, then take it to a nearby vet. While examining it, the vet discovers an identity chip under the skin. When she scans it, she finds an address, but no name.Intrigued, the Girls go to find the owner, but the address leads them to an abandoned factory complex. They go inside and are captured by robots, which take them to their mad scientist creator, Dr. Mabuse. She demands the return of the cat for an experiment, otherwise she will use them in one of her other projects. She sends Sunny to retrieve it, holding Eile as hostage.Sunny must return in an hour. If she fails, or if she tries to get help, Mabuse will use Eile as part of a particularly nasty experiment. And yet, the cat will almost certainly die if Mabuse gets her hands on it. Can Team Girl save themselves and the cat, or will Mabuse go back on her word? And why does the vet insist on coming along?
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    Differential Damsel

     by Kevin L. O'Brien / Fantasy / Actions & Adventure
Differential Damsel

Someone has kidnapped Differel's Dream-husband, Victor Plunkett, and has demanded a huge ransom for his release. She has no intention of paying, and she mounts a rescue operation with the help of her BFFs, Eile and Sunny of Team Girl. If he's unharmed, she might not kill them. This is a short story, with a Preface, a Bonus story, and Story Excerpts.A long time ago, Differel Van Helsing met and fell in love with Victor Plunkett, a diplomat with HM Foreign Office. She married him and bore him a son, but he was killed by an assassin that had targeted her and their child. She grieved for many years and refused to marry anyone else, but when she learned how to Dream, she discovered that he had "retired" to the Dreamlands and become the Marquis of Elissa, an archipelago of islands controlled by the Kingdom of Punica. They remarried, and while she can only be with him when she Dreams, she is content for the first time in decades.Her love for him is so great that she would sacrifice her life to save him, but will also kill anyone who threatens him. As such, when he was kidnapped and held for ransom, she decided to rescue him rather than pay, with the help of her BFFs, Eile and Sunny of Team Girl.She has vowed that the kidnappers, whoever they are, will pay the ultimate price, but if he is unharmed she might be merciful.Maybe.In the Bonus Story, Differel and Team Girl pursue a pair of shapeshifting predators that are preying on Dreamers. But how can they find creatures that can look like anyone, including themselves?
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    The Adventure of the Jigsaw Dragon

     by Kevin L. O'Brien / Fantasy / Actions & Adventure
The Adventure of the Jigsaw Dragon

Eile, as the fighter and thief Braveheart, and Sunny, as her magic-user partner White-Lion, are playing a scenario in the online role-playing game Otherworld. They have been hired by a powerful count to rescue his young wife, kidnapped by a dragon. However, there is a snag; the mission won't be as simple as it sounds. This is a short story, with a Preface and Sample Excerpts.About a year before they met in the real world and became Team Girl, Eile Chica and Sunny Hiver played an online role-playing game called Otherworld, a more family-friendly version of World of Warcraft and other such games. Eile had created the fighter and thief Braveheart, whereas Sunny played a magic-user named White-Lion. They met while independently exploring a lost temple of evil, became friends and partners, and adventured together afterwards.This is one of their sessions. They broke into the country villa of a powerful count to steal whatever they could, but were caught. Rather than have them hung, he "hired" them to rescue his young wife, who had been kidnapped by a dragon. However, the mission won't be as simple as it sounds, because a previous rescue attempt went seriously wrong, and now the Girls have to clean up the resulting mess.If they can.
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    Survival and Sacrifice

     by Kevin L. O'Brien / Fantasy / Actions & Adventure
Survival and Sacrifice

Eile and Sunny of Team Girl are visiting Sir Differel Van Helsing at her ancestral manor when the estate is overrun by a horde of monsters. Their first and only thought is to protect their friend and her son, but will they have to pay the ultimate price to succeed? This is a short story, with a Bonus Story, Preface, and Story Excerpts.Eile and Sunny of Team Girl have been best friends with Sir Differel for several years, serving as Van Helsing family retainers and special agents for the Caerleon Order, as well as unofficial aunts for Differel's son, Henry. They consider the British aristocrat and her son family, and they believe they would do whatever is necessary to protect them both.They are frequent visitors to Caerleon Hall, Differel's ancestral estate in County Norfolk. On their latest jaunt, they are getting ready to attend dinner with Differel when the manor house is overrun by a horde of monsters. Their first and only thought is to get to Henry, reunite him with his mother, and get them both to safety. But they may have to pay the ultimate price to succeed.In a bonus story, Differel invites Eile and Sunny to inaugurate a new Finnish sauna she had built on her estate, but Vlad Drakulya crashes the party.
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    Pyrrhic Victory

     by Kevin L. O'Brien / Fantasy
Pyrrhic Victory

A zombie apocalypse has nearly wiped out Mankind. One of the last intact Marine platoons protects a self-described wizard as he summons an ally that can destroy all zombies for good. But is the enemy of our enemy really our friend? This is a short story, with a Preface and Sample Excerpts.The Zombie Apocalypse has been going on for a year. Though hard numbers are difficult to come by, it is estimated that 90% of the Human Race has been wiped out, with the first three-quarters killed in the first month alone. Most governments have collapsed, and America is the only remaining superpower. The survivors are desperate for hope, but none seems forthcoming; though not indestructible, the Zombies are unstoppable. How can you kill what's already dead?Lt. Richard West leads one of the last few intact Marine platoons, augmented by civilians, women as well as men, who went through rapid induction and training. A combat veteran before the dead rose, with a willingness to adapt to the ever-changing environment of war, he has managed to keep his unit intact and most of his people alive through the worst, but even he realizes that it is only a matter of time before Mankind's defeat is total and irrevocable. As such, when he and his soldiers are assigned to protect and support a self-described wizard who offered to call up an ally that could totally eliminate the Zombies, he allows himself a small hope that the old man is neither a faker nor insane. Besides, he's a soldier, and he follows orders.But, is the enemy of their enemy really their friend?
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    A Deliberation of Morality

     by Kevin L. O'Brien / Fantasy
A Deliberation of Morality

Few of us ever see our shoulder-devils, those personifications of our own evil side, and those who do are generally hallucinating. But Sir Differel Van Helsing has to be different.... This is a short story.According to long-standing folk tradition, we all have shoulder angels and devils; personifications of our own good and evil sides. They "appear" whenever we face a moral dilemma and offer advice on how to resolve it; we then choose which advice to take. This trope has classically been used in theatre as a means to portray a character's inner dialog to the audience without engaging in a monologue. Nowadays it mostly serves as a form of parody or comic-relief, though even then its allegorical nature is instantly recognizable. Even so, the trope still appears in serious works, such as The Screwtape Letters by C. S. Lewis, wherein the classical roles are reinterpreted in the forms of the Tempter and the Guardian Angel. Even so, for the vast majority of people this trope remains metaphorical. After all, no one ever actually sees these personifications.In the world of Sir Differel Van Helsing, however, the allegorical battle between Good and Evil takes on a more personal and concrete form. Furthermore, she has many enemies who wish to destroy her, or corrupt her and turn her to their cause. It therefore should be no surprise that one would impersonate this trope and actually appear to her in person.
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