FEEDBACK: A HERO’S CALLING – “A Work In Progress, Conclusion”

Season Two; Episode Eleven
by
Alan White, Caith Donovan, & Richard Brooks II
with the concept of “Danger Woman” by Betsy Goodrich

Feedback

A conclusion for Pre-Fetch leads to a crucial message for Feedback–that is IF our hero survives his season-ending showdown with Deathmatch!!

Cast of Characters

PRE-FETCH – Paeter Frandsen
DANGERWOMAN – Betsy Goodrich
SPARROW – Caith Donovan
JAMES – Chris Barnes
LILY – Gwendolyn Jensen-Woodard
WISP – Bernadette M Groves
ANGELUS – Rachel Steiner
FEEDBACK – Matt Atherton
The DEFUSER – Jarrett Crippen
The FIGURER – David A Price
QUIP/DEATHMATCH – Richard Brooks
PALADIN – Howard Margolin
AMBER – Amber Love
BACK-UP – Keith Knudsen
FIREWALL – Steven Jay Cohen
BLACKTHORN – Mark Kalita
K2 – Kim Gianopoulos
REBOOT – Craig L. Dye
SARAH – Sarah Blevins
CONSOLE – Elie Hirschman
DAVID – David Krause
BRYAN – Bryan Deemer
TOM – Mike Winters

Featured are the character concepts created by Matthew Atherton, Sarah Blevins, Jarrett Crippen, and the individuals who comprise Tech Support found at http://tv.groups.yahoo.com/group/feedback-and-techsupport
Original Scores;
Feedback’s theme, “My Calling” was written and performed by Jeffrey Wayne Kirkpatrick.
Series’ original score by David A. Krause. You can find David’s music compositions for “A Hero’s Calling” at http://davidallenkrause.com

Additional theme scores were
“Boot Strap” Jeff Shields
“After The War” by Victor Stellar
“Soundtrack to Angel #3″ & “Winter & The Sound of Nothing” by Sara Ayers
“Scene 7″ by CJacks
and
“Thursday’s Kiss” by J Underberg
and can be found @ Podsafe Audio located at http://podsafeaudio.com/jamroom/

Post-production by Alan White

This Audio Drama is rated PG-13 (Persons Younger than 13 Should be Accompanied by an Adult). For more info:
http://theaudiodramadirectory.com/ratings/

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57 Responses to FEEDBACK: A HERO’S CALLING – “A Work In Progress, Conclusion”

  1. DangerWoman says:

    Dear Everyone:
    I am writing this to let you know that I enjoyed this episode, but I felt so weak after listening to it.

    I enjoyed hearing myself cheering up Pre-Fetch, which was a great boost to me, when I was feeling a bit sick from the serious food poisoning that Deathmatch did to me this past week.

    I never felt so…drained from…having to..listen..to Deathmatch’s ranting, but Feedback was able to get me out of another messy situation.
    And learning that our hero is God Like, I was very impressed.

    At the end, I was thinking about what Feedback said about his cliffhanging comments about what he said about what he should do now, now that he is at a crossroads in his life as a superhero……

    Which leads me to what I could do to help Feedback out on these matters.

    Being that I do know some beans about video games, I would be prepared for him, if he ever came to Atlanta, Georgia again.

    I would make sure that I have whatever games he needs and any and all gaming consoles too.

    I would do my heroic best to protect Sarah from getting hurt, while my heroic pets help bite the villains who try to hurt Feedback.

    And if the villains try to hurt me, I know what to say telepathically and verbally:
    FEEDBACK! HELP!

    At least I will admit that my special powers of knowing Atlanta, Georgia and the hotels where Dragon Con is held, can be a great help for our hero, being that I do know them like the back of my heroic sorcerer hands.

    And my special ability to ride MARTA and group flying helps Feedback get to whereever the bad guys might be, along with reading those picture clues that mean man, Deathmatch leaves in the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

    But, there is something I need to mention that I did not say in this episode.

    Every hero, yes, even Feedback, has a weakness.

    In my case, I am very vulnerable to hypnosis, in which when I react to it, I would be very weak and I fall into a very deep somnambulistic sleep state for several hours, in which I lose track of the time and space continum

    • DangerWoman says:

      Sorry about that, fans.

      My Sorcerer hands accidently posted the above without letting me finish.

      But, when I do wake up from my trance, thanks to Feedback, I do have some memory issues, like sometimes I try to remember what happened to me before being hypnotized and waking up after, which somehow, leaves me with a mental block that protects me from being hurt by the cruel grownups, who would try to get that information out of me and my heroic pets.
      Whenever that happens, at least Feedback would use his gaming aura to hypnotize me into helping me remember what happened and would show him and Sarah where the villains might be doing some no-nos, in which he would stop them and fix their little red wagons for causing me and my Danger Force Pets some serious harm.
      At least if Feedback and Sarah needed to stay, at least I now have a nice little “secret base” of my own, with internet capabilities.

      By the way, Danny Boy, my Fabio Swiss Collie, his puppies, Banjo, Barkley, Cassie, Baby Jewel, Little Max and the kittens, Bart The Kitten and Purrecious The Kitten, were very impressed by the way they were barking and mewing when they saw Pre-Fetch’s spirit self in my lair in this episode too.

      They did such a good job, that I gave them some bone shaped biscuits and fish treats for a job well done.

      Trembling timechecks! My Danger Sense tells me that I need to go and get some sleep.

      I want to say thank you all for reading this and for your loyal support in 2010 and I look forward to more appearances on Feedback: A Hero’s Calling in Season Three, which will be starting again in 2011.

      Until we meet on the net, HAPPY NEW YEAR and GAME ON!

      Yours In The Fight For Justice,
      DANGER WOMAN

  2. John Hall says:

    Alan, Caith, Richard et al. –

    Right up to the end, I wasn’t sure that you would be able to tie up all the threads you had spun out; I was afraid Feedback season 2 was going to be the audio equivalent of a game of 52 Pickup. I need not have worried; you did a masterful job.

    So maybe Season 1 had the overall theme of Who Am I? or better yet Who Are We?, referring to the entire Tech Support plus Feedback team. And Season 2 was themed What is This World We Live In? Setting up a Season 3 themed by Matt’s plaintive question What Am I Supposed to Do Now?

    Or maybe Season 1 was the broad brush strokes (the pencilling of the comic book), Season 2 was the finished inking with backgrounds and color, and Season 3 will be the animation.

    Back when we had the episode on Matt’s memories made real, I speculated that the story might be analogous to the Monsters from the Id of Forbidden Planet. That proved to be true and was acknowledged in the story’s script. But with these latest revelations about Deathmatch, we may be living in a universe where the planet-wide machine of instrumentality on Forbidden Planet is not only acting on the wishes of its masters, including those that are not developed consciously or willfully, but is also self-aware, with its own goals and wishes that can be acted on only as variations on its execution of its original programmed function. Frankly, I’m not at all sure that Matt, even with Tech Support help, is smart enough (or a good enough chess or game player) to make his moves so that the end-result, incorporating Deathmatch’s reactions, will be a good one.

    Tech Support could use a Brainiac 5 or a Tony Stark or a Reed Richards or even a Dr. Doom, someone of extraordinary intelligence and strategic gifts. I think Zach/Console has shown the greatest combination of these gifts. Even though Blackthorne is the superior military strategist, he has little experience in strategizing through the choices and in the context of video gaming.

    At least, Matt could use a Tech Support retreat to really talk through what it means to convert his life from acting upon the world through acquired game powers into acting upon the world by implanting the world into selected games and then using the powers associated with those games to play the games, either as they were originally designed or as they are modified on the fly by Deathmatch, so that success in the game translates into desired outcomes in the world.

    As he is doing this, here are some other remaining questions for him and his team to ponder:

    If Forthright’s original motivation was primarily profit-based — and extension of the way he had lived his life before the Feedback explosion — then what are his motives and goals today? I tend to doubt that even Alexander is clear on this point. As he was recounting what he had kept concealed, I got the sense that he was surprised at some of his own reactions and actions, that he could see that he was not the pure profit-maximizing corporate actor he had always been or at least always thought he should aspire to be, but he was not sure what he was instead. A flawed or inconsistent profit maximizer? A person with multiple goals and values that sometimes conflicted? I hope we will see much more of Alexander’s evolution in Season 3.

    When and how was the Deathmatch program created? There are ample precedents in fiction from which to choose. I thought of Colossus in The Forbin Project (books and movie), which was an AI created when the U.S. and Soviet defense super-programs integrated and became large enough to be self-aware. Taking over the world was a natural extension of their original programming of national defense; in the books, the program was only defeated through the intervention of an alien race. There is a classic SF story called With Folded Hands (I think by Jack Williamson) in which robots programmed to protect humanity interpret their goals as requiring them to stop people from doing anything with any degree of heightened risk. Deathmatch seems, with this new information, to have attributes consistent with a defense program with a heuristic learning design that has learned enough to become self-aware and that decided, when Feedback emerged on the scene, that he provided an ideal short cut to virtually unlimited rapid learning, in service to his original programming. His ambition to take over or control everything could have the same origins as Colossus’s. If this were Star Trek, Jim Kirk would find a way to talk the computer to death, i.e., use a Socratic dialogue to expose unresolveable conflicts in its programming and actions that would lead it to choose paralysis or death as the only way out. Somehow, I doubt that the problem of Deathmatch will be solved so easily, but there is certainly room for an intensive examination of how Deathmatch thinks and how its logic can be turned against it.

    The original mission of Tech Support seemed to be a combination of (1) surveillance to identify Feedback-worthy problems to address, (2) help in selecting video games to match Feedback’s powers to the needs of the selected problem, and (3) logistics support in delivering Feedback to the problem while also providing more conventional military or law enforcement force against the problem. The emergency of Beta Flight and the incorporation of Sparrow’s magic-capable friends initially affected the Feedback-verse by expanding the types of supporting force available beyond the conventional forces Blackthorne and Pre-Fetch know well. As the series went on, those elements have dramatically expanded the range of Feedback-worthy problems to consider and, to a lesser degree, the types of surveillance used on a routine basis to locate problems (that’s another possible development to amplify in season 3). Now the ending of season 2 has significantly, if not totally, changed our understanding of the world (universe?) in which problems emerge and our heroes act.

    A cautionary example for Feedback in his new self-awareness might be the Scarlet Witch. After decades of assuming she had a probability-altering hex power, then augmenting that with some training in magic, she discovered she had huge reality-altering power, which proved to be too much for her psyche to handle, leading to first the Mutants in Charge remaking of the universe, then to the No More Mutants remaking. If Matt’s continued thinking were to convince him that he is the cause for everyone other than himself who has found themselves with super-powers, how would he act on that knowledge? Deliberately remove the powers from anyone who doesn’t want them or doesn’t use them well? Deliberately provide powers to anyone who wants them and interviews well on their intentions? When Deathmatch was operating as Professor Ted A. Chatham and providing individuals with super-powers, was he converting an unconscious ability of Matt’s, which Matt could choose to use consciously, or was his capture of Creature also essential to what he did and how he did it?

    A few things seem certain: There are now more potential story-lines for Feedback than ever before, and planning out whole seasons in advance are even more essential to take full advantage of what has been put in place. A series like Feedback Conversations is now of interest not just to flesh out some already well-drawn characters but to substantially advance the series’ underlying mythos of how the Feedback powers work, how the Feedback universe operates, and what the Feedback series characters are all about, individually and in relation to each other. There is good reason to try to integrate the Beta Flight series more tightly with the original Feedback series, because there is enough shared-universe material to support several series, hopefully in ways that feed a common understanding of that shared universe.

    Finally, Danger Woman’s revelation that she has Asperger’s syndrome motivated me to seek out the Wikipedia piece on that condition. Her long postings are easier to understand in the context of the syndrome, but I noted at least one study cautioned about over-diagnosis, under-diagnosis and adult self-diagnosis, which is certainly easy to do. I have seen speculations about Asperger’s with regard to some fictional characters, such as Sheldon on Big Bang Theory and Temperance Brennan on Bones. Let me throw this out for discussion and consideration: Compare and contrast the presenting characteristics of an adult with Asperger’s to the presenting characteristics of a self-aware computer program like Deathmatch. I’m not in any way suggesting that Danger Woman is Deathmatch or is like Deathmatch. I’m asking whether there might be similarities in some of the ways in which these two types of sentient beings might be unusually capable and unusually frustrating to others.

    As always, you’ve packed a half hour with great entertainment, much to think about, and many reasons to turn the page and see what comes next. Happy new year, and in 2011, may there be exponential growth in the ranks of those who proudly say, Game On!

    – John Hall

  3. DangerWoman says:

    Dear John Hall:

    I am writing this in response to your comment about the fact that I have Aspberger’s Syndrome, which is true.

    But, I am NOT that vile villain, Deathmatch, being that everyone knows that Deathmatch can’t stand me because I am too cute and that I do have a very bad habit of sassing him:

    You won’t get away with this, Deathmatch!
    Feedback is going to fix your wagon if any harm comes to me or my pets!

    And Deathmatch still thinks that I am a little hero worshipping little girl in a Halloween Costume?!? This villian needs to face reality central and understand that I AM NOT A LITTLE GIRL!
    That I am a very grown woman, who has these freaky powers, but still wants to be a great superheroine, despite my disability, which was mentioned in this episode of Feedback: A Hero’s Calling, in which I am very honored to be a part of.

    When I started out, I was well known as that cute kid in the minidresses with leg warmers, fingerless weightlifting gloves, minicape, boots and mask.

    Currently, I have a cute heroic battle suit with a cape, boots, mask, fingerless weightlifting gloves and a very cute heroic “dress suit”, which includes the cape as part of the look.

    At least I am looking forward to 2011, John Hall, being that I know that I may be the only karaoke crimefighter who can stop you from doing no-nos!

    DANGER WOMAN

    • John Hall says:

      Dear Danger Woman –

      I’m a big fan of fingerless weight-lifting gloves. I think they convey a properly intimidating aura.

      If I were Death Match, I’d stick to fighting Feedback. He is clearly no match for you. Or, now that we know what Death Match really is, he probably thinks you “do not compute”.

      I think the Feedback team has the American Southwest well protected, the Defuser is covering the Texas area, K2 has the DC area, you are covering the Southeast around Atlanta, and Sparrow has the American Northwest. I will try to protect New England and support K2 in covering the Northeast, but I could use some powers and it looks like we’ve got some areas to cover in the midwest, especially around Chicago. Isn’t that Alan’s/Outsource’s home base?

      Have a very happy new year, and congratulations on your documentary film. Keep fighting the good fight on altruism awareness and understanding.

      – John Hall

      • Alan says:

        My home base is New York City, born & bred! :-D

        • John Hall says:

          Alan –

          Someplace else that I try to visit regularly. How’d you like that blizzard and the several days with unswept streets? Something I saw when I lived in DC but not so much up here in Massachusetts.

          Sorry for the error on your location. I wonder if there is anyone else among the Feedback crack writing staff who might be able to work a midwestern locale into the stories? Or how about a fictional trip to Christchurch, New Zealand, where some of the Broken Sea stalwarts and our own Corsair hail from and/or reside?

          Because I’m sure you could really use additional objectives and constraints to factor in as you break the season 3 stories and narrative arc…

          – John Hall

      • DangerWoman says:

        Dear John Hall:
        Deathmatch may think that I DO NOT COMPUTE?!?
        EXCUSE ME!
        He needs to understand that I DO COMPUTE!

        I can’t help it if I am cute, but around the villains, I do give evil such a headache with my karaoke stylings of songs of the day, Anime/Movie/Sentai/TV Theme Songs and of course the song that will be a part of Season Three, Fight Back, Feedback, which would come in handy to help Feedback defeat Deathmatch and help our hero not only save the day, but also rescue Sarah and of course my pets and I.

        And speaking of my pets, Danny Boy, The Fabio Swiss Collie, his puppies and kittens are a very real family of misfit pets who really did help Feedback and Major Victory in Philadelphia, PA, where they do their paw patrols.
        When our heroes met these brave animals, they were known as The Philadelphia Pets!
        And you know that these brave heroic animals knew the city of Philadelphia like the back of their paws, from Independence Hall to the Franklin Science Museum to Temple University (Bill Cosby’s and Robin Atkin Downes’ College Alma Mater) all the way to the waterfront and warehouse district.

        Were it not for the brave heroic animals, Feedback and Major Victory would never have stopped Deathmatch’s plan to destroy the city of Philadelphia and would have still would have been held as prisoners against their will and without their permission in the waterfront warehouse district of that city!

        Since they adopted me as their human caretaker, they became The Danger Force Pets and it has been my job to feed them homecooking, no nasty pet food for these heroic pets, bone shaped biscuits, fish treats and make sure that they had some doggie and kitty toys and very soft pet beds for all of them.

        I will admit that sometimes, they have rescued Feedback a few times from tainted people food, in which Danny Boy did have sense enough to warn the puppies and kittens to not eat it, but sometimes when he tries to communicate to Feedback about it, he sometimes forgets that he can’t talk, unless there are no other humans around or if Sarah and I were around them and my special gift of telepathically talking to them happens.
        And there has been some rumors around that these pets may have gained these special powers of communication about the same time Feedback was created and the great outbreak of superhumans that became real.

        I should mention that I may be the only one who can give Deathmatch such a headache, but my pets know how to deal with Deathmatch, by baring their adult and milk teeth, claws and paws and they do bark, growl, mew, hiss and ffftt, as if to say: Leave Feedback and DW (which my close friends call me) alone, you mean villain human!

        And yes, they would bite and pounce Deathmatch, who would turn tail, scream blue bloody murder and use naughty words that I can’t repeat here in a PG-13 fourm!

        Oh no! My Danger Sense tells me that I still need to get back to work on my latest Feedback: A Hero’s Calling Fan Fiction, which was inspired by the recent news that Feedback and Sarah are about to face the serious reality of being first time parents.

        For our hero, Feedback, he is about to face a very serious reality for the very first time in his life.

        He is about to be “Facing Fatherhood” in this little fan fiction, appropriately titled of course as “Facing Fatherhood”.

        I hope that you all will have a great day and until we meet on the net and in the Season Three Premiere of Feedback: A Hero’s Calling, GAME ON!

        DANGER WOMAN

  4. Alan says:

    John,

    Don’t forget Abed on NBC’s “Community”, although the characters on the show itself are the ones who suspect he has Asperger’s, rather than fan speculation. I can believe Temperance on Bones may have been modeled after Temple Grandin, who is a successful researcher and developer with Asperger’s.

    But while those are fictional characters, and Danger Woman in the audio is fictional, you might be interested in Betsy’s actual story as per this planned documentary– http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cmpPbw4xTv4

    The thing about autism is that it’s not completely defined yet. Right now Asperger’s is just one degree on a whole range of the different types of autism, which is why it’s called Autism Spectrum Disorder. There’s a whole spectrum of autism in the world and where you read that people studying it should be careful of over-/under- and self-diagnosing, it still bears out that the symptoms can be found in a lot of people. We only point it out when the symptoms are profound and the person struggles with daily living as a result.

    To me, it doesn’t matter if it’s mild or profound, people are people. Everyone deserves a chance to follow their passion to the best of their ability. If they need a little assistance — or a lot — well, isn’t that what we’re all called to do? Isn’t that what makes us human? Aren’t we worth it?

    And that’s what I’m trying to convey in this series. To me, the superhero ethic is the embodiment of that mission. Feedback is the guy with the powers and the dream, and the ethic. But Tech Support, BetaFlight, and extensibly the world around them are the heroes too. They have different degrees of abilities and a kaleidoscope of flaws and character defects, but they are as called as Feedback is.

    We are all called.

    And so we’ll all discover together where that thinking will take us in Season Three. Thank you for YOUR support through the months and now years.

    • John Hall says:

      Alan — I appreciate the passion and the insight in your comments on Asperger’s specifically and autism generally.

      My earlier remarks were a clumsy, almost stream-of-consciousness attempt to position Asperger’s and all variations of autism as variations on the processing of information and the selection and execution of actions based on that information as processed, while avoiding the questions of ability/disability and what is normal. I think autism lends itself to some insight through that translation, as many if not most of what we call mental or emotional illnesses. And when so translated, they can be compared to computer programs, particularly to rogue, heuristically self-altered programs like Deathmatch, as great science fiction writers have been doing seemingly forever.

      Another element of season 2 that continues to intrigue me is its exploration of the nature of ethics, starting with the meaning of the key words “hero” and “calling” and peaking with the Alexander Forthright III situation. Let me propose that a “hero” takes on additional personal risk or harm as a conscious choice for the purpose of reducing risk or harm to others, particularly if the “others” are not people of heightened value to the hero, e.g., not members of his family. The term “calling” suggests, at least to me, something less deliberate and more a submission of the individual’s power to choose to some externally originating compelling attraction. A heroic act need not arise from a calling, and a calling need not be heroic. Consider those who act as suicide bombers out of motives of religious martyrdom.

      Now feeding into my thinking is a Great Course on Questions of Value from the Teaching Company which I am now going through (it’s a series of audiotapes) — and which I recommend to anyone who reads this. A central question of ethics is whether the moral standing attaches to intention or to results. Mixed motives would be a complicating element of intention. Forthright’s primary motivation of profit is amoral, because by itself it does not intend the infliction of harm or the prevention of harm to others. It is not particularly noble (i.e., selfless), although it could be, if he proceeds from some elaborate code that profit seeking is the most effective path to the greater good for everyone, at least economically. But for AF3, you don’t even have to get into that kind of ideologically shaped ethics; he clearly took a number of actions after the explosion that were not profit-maximizing actions or even actions intended to maximize profits subject to a constraint of no harm to others (like the Hippocratic oath). In your wonderfully layered dialogue, Alex can be seen struggling to explain to others (and to himself?) why he took those actions. He seems to have settled on an explanation of impulse driven by a desire not to see someone suffering in front of him when he can prevent that suffering, but a bit of reflection will show that he is selling himself short with such a description. I think he is very much an evolving person, morally, and I hope his friends and colleagues will get over their original negative reaction to his revelation of the profit-making motive at the center of his past self, shape their reactions around the more complex motives revealed by the sum of his actions, and help him to figure out who he is now and how to build on the better angels he has so clearly been moving toward.

      If that entails more than a bit of reflection and self-discovery, then that wouldn’t be such a bad model for what comes next for Matthew. As you say, Matt has the powers, the dream and the ethic. I would say that because he has the powers, that places his dream and his ethic at the center of the environment to which all the other actors are responding. The second most “powerful” person in this group would be AF3.

      Thanks to season 2, we now see that AF3′s dream wasn’t as fully aligned with Matt’s as we had thought it to be. We have also learned that Matt’s understanding of the relative effectiveness of alternative actions toward the achievement of his dream needs work and that his power level (plus the machinations of Deathmatch) adds additional barriers to what he thought to be the pure and ideal path from dream goals to intention to action to dream outcomes. His subconscious and his arch-enemy are both capable of acting independently to shape his actions and the reactions of others to produce outcomes he never intended. But failure to choose is to choose. If Matt reacts to this knowledge by not acting or by second-guessing his actions so much that their effectiveness is reduced, e.g., through delayed timing, then his attempt to be more conservative and so reduce harm that he caused directly may well lead to more harm, albeit not harm that he directly caused. With great power comes great responsibility. With godlike power comes responsibility beyond anything a mortal can encompass.

      One way of looking at the increasingly dark narrative arcs of Marvel in the past few years is to see the brightest super-powered individuals in the Marvel-verse becoming increasingly assertive and bold in their actions while simultaneously becomes less willing to temper their thinking and their choices by input from those around them. Reed Richards, Tony Stark, Henry Pym, Bruce Banner, Charles Xavier, Eric Lensher, the list goes on and on. Those who do not stray into trouble through megalomania are ensnared by those who do, as with the Ultimate Spider-Man, who has been for some time a “hero” more acted upon than acting. Here are many cautionary models for Matthew in a form that naturally means something to him.

      Boy you folks are good. I hope my continued thinking out loud provides some input to your heroic choices as you pursue your dream — telling the story of the dreams of Matt and those around him. Nobody else is trying what you are so successfully doing, and what you are doing is something really valuable, as well as enjoyable. Happy new year!

      – John Hall

  5. John Hall says:

    Have any of you seen this story? Can Sparrow/Caith, our Feedback-verse hero of the American Northwest and ace story writer, get any mileage out of this story? — John Hall

    If the pasted-in web address doesn’t work to link you to pictures and video with the story, go to http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com and toggle down the middle to the guy in a super-hero costume.

    Real Life Superhero’ Breaks Up Carjacking In Washington State
    Eric Lach | January 5, 2011, 10:00AM

    http://tpmmuckraker.talkingpointsmemo.com/2011/01/real_life_superhero_breaks_up_carjacking_in_washington_state.php?ref=fpb

    Evil villains looking to prey on the citizens of Lynnwood, Washington, beware: Phoenix Jones is watching.

    KIRO Eyewitness News reports that a Lynnwood man, identified only as “Dan,” came “within seconds of having his car broken into” on Sunday when the alleged crook was chased off by a masked crusader. In an incident that local police couldn’t confirm to TPM, Dan told KIRO a man with a metal strip was trying to unlock his car in a parking lot when help showed up out of nowhere.

    “From the right, this guy comes dashing in, wearing this skin-tight rubber, black and gold suit, and starts chasing him away,” Dan said.

    Dan’s rescuer was Phoenix Jones, a.k.a. Phoenix Jones the Guardian of Seattle, a “Real Life Superhero” and leader of the Rain City Superhero Movement. Almost every night, the 22-year-old Jones, who keeps his real identity a secret, enters a secret compartment in the back of a Lynnwood comic book store and emerges, in uniform, to patrol the streets. (Watch a video of Jones in action below.) His suit includes a bullet-proof vest and “stab plates,” and he carries a taser nightstick, mace and tear gas. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports that Jones also sports a “ballistic cup.”

    “I symbolize that the average person doesn’t have to walk around and see bad things and do nothing,” Jones said. He told KIRO that since he began his patrols nine months ago, he has been stabbed and had guns drawn on him.

    Jones isn’t alone in his crime-fighting enthusiasm. There’s an entire movement of Real Life Superheroes out there, across the country. Activities appear to range from handing homeless people water bottles to actually stepping in and trying to stop violent crime. The website rlsh-manual.com defines a Real Life Superhero as “whoever chooses to embody the values presented in superheroic comic books, not only by donning a mask/costume, but also performing good deeds for the communitarian place whom he inhabits.” Reallifesuperheroes.org urges visitors to “Let out your inner superhero and join or support our cause.”

    But not everyone is ready to credit Jones with thwarting a Real Life Evildoer. When TPM contacted the Lynnwood Police Department, Public Information Officer Shannon Sessions said the department was aware of the “superheroes,” but could not confirm the incident this week.

    “I know there was a story on it–but I can’t confirm that it’s true and that it actually happened,” Sessions said in an email. She even suggested that KIRO may have been “punked.”

    A commenter on The Real Life Superhero Forum suggested the Lynnwood incident was staged.

    “Staged… bunk,” wrote a member named Artisteroi in response to the Forum founder’s posting of the KIRO story. “[A]nd does anyone notice that his suit keeps getting more and more elaborate? Someone is funding this guy. That suit was made in Hollywood basement.”

    Back in November, The Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported that the Seattle police had made contact with the Rain City Superhero Movement. A source gave the Post-Intelligencer the names of the eight other members of the Movement: Thorn, Buster Doe, Green Reaper, Gemini, No Name, Catastrophe, Thunder 88 and Penelope.

    Police say the “costume-wearing complainants” are lucky they haven’t been hurt.
    In one instance, police say a caped crusader dressed in black was nearly shot when he came running out of a dark park. In another case, a witness on Capitol Hill saw the crusaders wearing ski masks in a car parked at a Shell station and thought they were going to rob the place.

    Seattle Police spokesman Jeff Kappel told the paper “[t]here’s nothing wrong with citizens getting involved with the criminal justice process — as long as they follow it all the way through.” But the article describes an incident on November 4 where police responded to a scene where Jones and other apparent Movement members were in a stand-off with a man making threatening statements and swinging a golf club. The “costume-wearing complainants” declined to press charges, to prevent revealing their secret identities. As a result, The Club Swinger walked.

    TPM also found an interview Jones did in November with a blogger named Tea Krulos. In it, Jones describes his background in martial arts, and says the other members of the Rain City Superhero Movement “all have either military backgrounds or MMA training.”

    “Phoenix Jones…people believe Phoenix Jones may help them,” Phoenix Jones told Krulos. “I mean they know they can’t count on it 100 percent, because it’s so random, but they know it is possible.”

    • Caith Donovan says:

      [The following is a personal response from Caith Donovan to a question posed by another person, and is not intended to reflect the opinion or position of BrokenSea Audio Productions (BrokenSea), the organization known as Tech Support, or any of Tech Support's derivative projects (e.g. the Feedback-related Audio Dramas). Caith is not an employee of BrokenSea, and has no authority to speak on their behalf in any way.]

      John,

      I have read about Phoenix Jones and I have known about the Real Life Super Hero Project for some time. There are a lot of good and brave people affiliated with that project, and I admire them each greatly. However, I am not affiliated with that project myself. While Phoenix and the Rain City Movement share my great city of Seattle, we have never met. I doubt he even knows who I am.

      The opinions of Phoenix and his actions vary widely. He has had an impact, certainly, and that’s good. The local media paints him as a borderline mental case, and I have no straight answer from the local police on their real view of his team and their actions. The Author of the Real Life Super Heroes Manual – Knight Owl – states that neither he nor THERLSH.org are associated with the Rain City Movement. Yet another member – Silver Sentinel – states that he respects the Phoenix while disagreeing with his penchant for including the media in his adventures.

      I personally do not have the physical ability or the courage to take a fight directly to the ‘the streets’. Phoenix clearly has both. I’m not sure – at my age – I would if I could. The Defuser and Ty’Veculus can be intimidating men in real life – however, being career police and career firefighter (respectively), they train for this every day and have both the bodies and the experience to do it well. I do not. On the other hand, Phoenix has been injured in the course of his adventures, and he keeps coming back. That says a lot.

      I am an author and a voice-actor. I love the superhero ideal – obviously – and often wish I had the power to change the world. I do not personally condone violence or potential vigilante action. The RLSH states the their members work within the law. Whether or not Phoenix Jones’ action are entirely within the law is one of the points of debate surrounding him.

      Are Phoenix Jones and the Rain City Movement doing the right thing? I don’t know. I’m sorry, John, this really isn’t an answer, but when applied to real life and real people and real consequences, this isn’t a cut-and-dry question. I wish Phoenix Jones and the Rain City Movement well. If they can make the difference they seek to without themselves becoming a problem or bringing harm to themselves or to innocents, then they will have proven themselves right.

      Sincerely,

      Caith Donovan

      • John Hall says:

        Caith — Thanks for your very thoughtful comments, with the benefit of your “on the scene” greater familiarity with the individual and the movement.

        One of the (many) things I love about the Feedback series is that the characters and the writers devote serious time and serious thought to wrestling with the far-from-obvious ethical questions associated with placing the superhero sagas we all grew up on into a more realistic setting. From what little I have read about Phoenix Jones and the Rain City Movement, I don’t see where they have spent a fraction as much time thinking through the full range of consequences of their actions as any episode of Feedback routinely does.

        – John Hall

        • John Hall says:

          10 weeks ago I posted about a news story on Phoenix Jones, a self-described real-life (costumed) hero operating in the Northwest. Caith responded with his own views and knowledge of this one guy.

          Now comes the March 21 (this week’s) issue of People with a 3-page color photo article titled “Superheroes Among Us”. They’ve got pictures of more than a half dozen costumed characters operating in multiple cities, including Washington, New York, and San Francisco. Some are chasing drug dealers; some are helping the homeless. And there are references to Phoenix Jones again.

          What does this all mean? The Golden Age of Super-Heroes began in the depths of the Great Depression. Here we are in the depths of the worst economic conditions since then. Coincidence? I think there may be a feature story or a master’s thesis in all this.

          Cross-walk with Watchmen, where only one character had real super-powers, while others had Batman-like bank accounts.

          One of the many things I like about the Feedback-verse, including The Defuser’s side universe, is that their goals are honorable, their methods are realistic (given their powers), and the tone they set is inspirational without the side serving of creepy and scary that seems to accompany so many of the real Real-Life Super Heroes.

          Last time I posted, the Broken Sea overseers were at pains to emphasize that no one posting on this topic — not me, not Caith — was speaking for or on behalf of anyone but themselves. So let me reiterate that here.

          But if nothing else, it is interesting that all of this would be surfacing when it has, and it is tempting — armchair psychologist that I am — to look for recent developments that might help to explain, why now?

          – John Hall

  6. John Hall says:

    From its inception, Feedback: A Hero’s Calling has been about exploring the question, what does it mean to be a hero?

    A couple weeks ago, I had a nice exchange with Caith on the subject of the real-life costumed character(s) operating in his part of the country.

    Now I’d like to tell you about “The Hero Project”, started by Professor Phil Zimbardo, Stanford professor of social psychology. Zimbardo has been involved in a number of notable experiments showing behaviors people are capable of under coercive, suggestive, or stressful test conditions. Now he’s melded everything he’s learned into a training course for adolescents called the Heroic Imagination Project. You can read more about this at http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2010/12/the-hero-project/.

    The first lessons are on the natures of human frailties, including willingness to follow authority into bad acts. (Think of Who Wants to Be a Super-Hero, season 2, when “evil Stan” got the contestants to do things like stopping traffic.) The next lessons are to increase empathy. The final block of classroom lessons are studying behaviors of other heroes, past and present, real and fictional. I would love to see what Prof. Z might do with the two seasons of WWtBaSH and the first two seasons of FAHC. Finally, they take their lessons out into the real world and practice heroic behaviors. More than anything else I’ve seen or read, the examples cited are the kinds of things Matt Atherton did on WWtBaSH and does on FAHC.

    In many places, in many ways, the spirit of Feedback is reaching a wider and wider audience, including many who don’t even know they are walking a path that Matt and those he inspires have already trod. — John Hall

  7. DangerWoman says:

    Hello, everyone. I know that it has been awhile, but there are somethings that still not only ponder me, but also my heroic pets.

    I do know about Knight Owl, being that he is very understanding of me, but this new hero in Seattle?!?

    Who is this Phoenix Jones?!?

    I know that he is a stranger superhero and I was warned by the grownups to be wary of them, but as you know, as part of my Aspberger’s, I sometimes get a bit scared whenever I have to meet other real life superheroes who I do NOT know beans about.

    At least Feedback and Sarah would explain to me about these people, so that I won’t be scared and that I do NOT go into hyperflight and hide, being that Feedback knows that I am a telepath and he could find me very easily, because of my strong telepathic thoughts that I have this bad habit of revealing.

    And Outsource would explain about these new people too as well, so that I would not go into hyperflight and be scared.

    Speaking of what is going on, this past week, we had snow in nearly every place in the USA, except Florida, which was spared from this weather onslaught that happened.

    And currently, I am ever so patiently waiting for not only baseball season, but also Season Three of Feedback: A Hero’s Calling.

    And right now, I need to play City of Heroes and Villains Going Rogue and work on Facing Fatherhood!

    Until we meet on the net, GAME ON!

    Yours In The Fight For Justice,
    DANGER WOMAN

    • John Hall says:

      DW — Phoenix Jones is a real-life costumed person operating like a hero (his intent if not always his effect) in the Northwest. I learned about him through a couple of mentions on a political blog I follow. I brought the link to this posting site, asking Caith/Sparrow — who is from the same area — what he knew, and he provided some excellent observations and information. I recommend that you go back over the string if you’re interested. Because you are in Atlanta, I don’t expect you’ll have any direct contact with a wannabe hero 3000+ miles away.

      Because you seem to interact a lot with your pets, you might invite them to keep an eye and ear out for Krypto, Streaky, Comet, Lockheed, Silver, Scout, Beppo — and major points if you can name where each of these is from.

      Belated happy new year! — John Hall

  8. John Hall says:

    From time to time, I have followed the link from here to the Tech Support website. Here are some thoughts and reactions.

    My motivation for going to the website was to further wallow in all things Feedback, but what I found was a series of conversations about personal life events, especially birthday greetings and the like, among the members, most of whom I recognized from the cast and crew of the Feedback episodes. There were occasionally references to new fan fiction, but I didn’t see where or how to access these from either website. Alan was the only person I’ve seen who posts to both websites, and I had seen an interview he did in which he said the FAHC series had its origins in that same fan fiction.

    I suspect I am not the only one listening to FAHC who would like to link into the other fiction on Feedback — or even participate in some discussions about the stories and what they mean and what they tell us. Look at all the website inches that have been devoted to the mysteries of Lost or Battlestar:Galactica. It seems like an obvious cross-promotional opportunity.

    This month’s issue of Locus, the magazine of science fiction fandom, has a half-page piece on and by Mur Lafferty (who we all know as Drive). Searching a bit on Mur, based on multiple references to her in Locus, I got the sense that she is the single most visible and recognized podcast person in the active science fiction fan community and has ventured into writing guidance for how people in the SF community can extend into podcasts.

    Mur said she originally got into podcasts as they were another medium, with appeal to a different audience, for work originally done in print. I’ve noticed that most of the series on Broken Sea and the other podcast empires are original stories but from previously established shared universes.

    I’m going to go out on a limb here, not having done the research to say this with authority, but I am thinking that FAHC is the only podcast featuring ongoing original characters and associated universe in the super-hero genre. Add to that the fact that the references to Stan Lee and Who Wants to be a Super-Hero as parts of the Feedback-verse make it feel like DC’s Earth-Prime — the world we live in and yet connected to the shared fantasy universe. FAHC is a unique mix of the stuff we’ve always loved with cutting-edge communications technology, and it should, by rights, have much that is attractive to offer to fans of super-hero fiction in any medium and to fans of fantastic fiction on podcast.

    Tech Support’s web site could be a forum for people to discuss their love of the Feedback-verse and to reach out to people in neighboring communities who would love FAHC as we all do, if only they tried it. For now, I would be happy if the two websites would interact a bit more and if I could figure out how to access all this cool Feedback fan fiction I keep hearing about.

    Anybody help me out on that? — John Hall

  9. John Hall says:

    Alan and Caith and the other pantheon of Feedback creators:

    Thursday will mark 5 weeks since the Season 2 conclusion of Feedback: A Hero’s Calling was posted. In the period, we have also seen no postings of Feedback Conversations or Beta Flight. This is not a complaint; it’s a springboard to a question and a suggestion.

    Question: What is the current plan/schedule for these three shows in coming weeks and months?

    Suggestion: What if you two, together, got in the habit of posting either a new show OR more often, an update of plans and schedules on each New Audio Thursday? The old Coming Attractions, Building Anticipation strategy that has worked so well for Marvel and DC. I remember when you posted the teaser piece for Season 2, at which time we had been wandering in the desert without new episodes for a long time. You can’t believe how thirst-quenching that little drop of water was.

    When you are immersed in making the darn shows — and are fitting that work in around your “real” jobs — it is easy to maintain a sense of forward progress and a sense that the vital and evolving Feedback-verse is still a big part of your lives. But it’s like the duck’s legs churning under the water; above the water, you can’t see anything new or notable.

    We could keep the level of excitement up with other content — such as written fiction or lively discussion of what it all means — but this site hasn’t been able to get into the latter beyond my postings and reactions to them, the Tech Support site surprisingly has not embraced the latter, and the former is on the Tech Support site only for signed-up members. That material, in sample amounts, seems like found wealth for outreach and promotion.

    Can you tell I’m getting increasingly anxious (some might call it desperate) for more new material?

    Imagine if you could score a mention on The Big Bang Theory??!!!!

    – John Hall

  10. DangerWoman says:

    Dear Everyone:

    Please forgive me for NOT checking in sooner, but I was busy wishing my doggie, Danny Boy, The Fabio Swiss Collie, a Happy Birthday, along with his puppies, Banjo, Barkley, Cassie, Baby Jewel, Bart The Kitten and Purrecious The Kitten.

    However, I have been working on “Facing Fatherhood”, in which I am 2/3′s of the story completed, but the final part is going to be a challenge in itself!

    You see, I mentioned in the story about Danny Boy, his love for his late wife, a pretty dalmation who worked at the Philadelphia Fire Station named Beverly, and the pups birthday, which happened on the day they got married, on Valentine’s Day.

    I remember that I was “Best Human” at their wedding, before Beverly gave birth to her puppies, at Philadelphia City Hall, which happened on that same day.

    The Veternarian who was there, ordered me to help them and I was able to help Beverly to NOT be scared about being a first time mother and helped deliver the pups!

    I know beans about birthing puppies and kittens, but humans?!? That is a different ball of literal and proverbal wax for me.

    I was supposed to learn about how humans give birth, but the grownups, in their overzelousness, said that learning that information would cause me psychological harm, which really has been a bone of contention between me and the cruel grownups.

    There is another reason why I am writing this story.

    According to what I am supposed to be writing, Sarah would end up giving birth at her baby shower at Dragon Con 25, as part of their Silver and Shine Anniversary and somehow, something strange happens to me, in which somehow, I not only help in the birth, but I also go into some sort of weird transformation, which I can’t say what it is at this writing, because it would spoil the aura of mystery and intrigue.

    But, I will give some clues:
    Something about a new costume for me, but I can’t go into details right at this moment, being that even though a very select few have seen it here in Atlanta, only one rock and roll superhero band, The Aquabats, have seen it!

    Oh no! My Danger Sense tells me that Feedback may have to go and help the Aquabats this Wednesday evening at this place called The Music Box at the Henry Ford Theater in LA.

    I hope that Deathmatch does NOT try and hurt Feedback and The Aquabats!

    Well, I need to go and get some sleep, everyone.

    Until we meet on the net and in the Season Three Episodes of Feedback: A Hero’s Calling and at Dragon Con, GAME ON!

    Yours In The Fight For Justice,
    DANGER WOMAN

    • John Hall says:

      As usual, Danger Woman prompts new thoughts.

      In an earlier post, I had suggested that Alan and Caith consider posting some “Coming Attractions” teasers to keep interest up between episode postings. DW’s post, like several of her posts in December, are the closest things I’ve seen to teasers. Moreover, her postings are in her character’s voice and from her character’s perspective, even as she nudges the fourth wall by describing the Feedback saga as a series of stories organized in seasons. I think she’s set out a kind of template for how this could work. Would Mark/ Blackthorne or Kim/K2 be interested in trying some of their own?

      DW has also introduced the news about Matt and Sarah’s impending blessed event, and this prompts some other questions. Even though Matt and Sarah will soon be parents, that need not automatically mean that Feedback and Lady Feedback will be parents in the Feedback-verse. If they are, there is the natural question of whether Baby Atherton will inherit Matt’s powers. I think the key is whether the accident rewrote Matt’s DNA or simply altered his own mind and body. (I can’t believe I just wrote “simply” on this.) In any event, there is an entire line of potential stories that could be mined from this development, which could go in many different directions. If Matt’s powers now border on the god-like, what might even a small dash of that power manifest as in the “hands” of a fetus?

      Yours Too in the Fight for Justice, where “justice” is defined as Feedback: A Hero’s Calling taking its rightful place among the universally recognized and beloved epic stories of our time!! — John Hall

  11. John Hall says:

    Arrrgggghhh!

    7 weeks without a new Feedback “fix”. Please, please, please, give us something. If it isn’t a new episode, maybe a teaser, maybe a post with some thoughts about the end of the second season or the coming third season.

    – John Hall

    • Caith Donovan says:

      John (and others),

      I am sad to say that the various projects related to Feedback: A Hero’s Calling are still being worked on, and we don’t have any specified timeframes on when they will be appearing. Season 3 is in development, Beta Flight still has some work needed, and TS:C is behind schedule. Our genius mixer is swamped, and our writers are doing everything they can while also leading our civilian lives.

      All I can ask is that you have patience with us. We’re not going away. Once we know something, we’ll announce it.

      Caith

      • John Hall says:

        Caith —

        Thanks very much for the update. Even when the news is disappointing, it’s better to know than to (paranoiacally) imagine that the party was cancelled and you (for which read me) are the only one who didn’t get the notice.

        This is not the first time you and Alan have referred to something called your “civilian lives”. Sounds to me like Tech Support needs more of its own … tech support. Maybe you could work that into a Season 3 timeline. What if Feedback’s games-master were to be too swamped to produce as needed, or if K2 really did have to spend some time back at Johns Hopkins teaching and researching? Is there a back-up available (sort-of Feedback’s own Legion of Substitute Heroes)?

        As you can tell, I am still working to eliminate my own civilian life as an intolerable distraction from Feedback fandom, where I continue to try to keep the “fan” firmly rooted in “fanatic”.

        Good luck, and I’ll hope for breakthroughs on all fronts in the near future. — John Hall

        • Alan says:

          I cannot apologize sufficiently for neglecting to send a word out here! It’s definitely not due to a canceled party.

          What you can expect to see released next, (I project three weeks more) are the TS:Cs and BetaFlights which are already written & developed and only needs me to mix. The winter’s not been kind and the Big Apple has been its’ accomplice, but things are looking up and my head is getting re-attached as I type.

          So THAT’S a good thing!

          • DangerWoman says:

            Dear Outsource:
            Thank you for the latest information on what is going on in the magical universe known as Feedback: A Hero’s Calling.

            At least I know that Facing Fatherhood is now completed and I will tell you, it is very educational!

            Anyway, keep up the great work and keep me posted on my next appearance on Feedback: A Hero’s Calling.

            DANGER WOMAN

          • John Hall says:

            Alan –

            Thanks very much for checking in with coming attractions. So we are looking at an Ides-of-March fest, eh? Better keep a close eye on any characters with Roman names…

            Up in Boston, we’ve had a tough winter, too, but at least we haven’t had the mega-killer earthquake that the Broken Sea gang just had in Christchurch. I hope all our friends and partners are all right there.

            – John Hall

  12. DangerWoman says:

    Dear Everyone: I was reading up on John Hall’s comment about a Legionof Substiute Heroes, who would help Feedback out, whenever Tech Support, Excelsior & Beta Flight are all tied up. I should be more than honored 2 recruit for that, being that I know some RLSH who would be worthy: I would have The Aquabats, Tothian, The Knight Vigil, Master Legend & of course The Danger Force Pets, who would be great in not only helping Feedback fight that big bully, Deathmatch, but also provide a song, in the tradition of Cartoon Characters For USA For Africa & their rendiction of We Are The World. At least I would prepare Feedback for this all-star jam, by having him play Guitar Hero Or Band Hero, so that he would be ready to rock and roll. And, I am hoping to write this song that will be worthy of a Grammy or even a PARASEC award. Oh my gosh! My Boyfriend decided to get involved in helping me edit “Facing Fatherhood”, in which he sweettalked me into sending him the rough draft & have him put some editing magic of his own, which means that I better make sure that I put his name as a co-author on the script or he will lecture not only me, but also the pets! And speaking of editing, I have not submitted my status reports 2 Feedback. Not only that, Sarah’s birthday is this week! Thank goodness I had sense enough 2 leave my birthday greetings @ her little MySpace! Now, I understand why Adam West gets a bit overwhelmed! Trembling Timechecks! I need 2 get going, because I have 2 protect Professor Morte & Retch, from The Silver Scream Spook Show, from that vile villain, Dr. Wertham, who has a bad habit of saying bad things about not only the monsters, but he also says bad things about Feedback, in which I did warn Dr. Wertham that Feedback is going 2 fix your wagon for what he has done & of course, he says: But, I DO NOT even have a wagon! If only he knew what it meant, Feedback Fans! Well, I better go and keep Atlanta safe! Until we meet on the net & @ Dragon Con, GAME ON!

  13. DangerWoman says:

    Dear Feedback Fans:

    In my last “Status Report”, I had to use my Danger Cellphone to write out what I was trying to say. I know that it was a bit jumbled up, because of the fact that my cellphone would NOT allow me to have some spacing abilities, like I do on my Danger Notebook Computer.

    At least I do have some wonderful news for you all!

    At 6PM EST today, I was able to finally finish the Feedback: A Hero’s Calling Fan Fiction, Facing Fatherhood.

    I know that for a time, I had some serious writer’s block and I was scared that I would NEVER finish it, but thank goodness, my boyfriend/fiance to be, was able to help me clean it up a bit, so that it would be up to Brokensea Audio’s Bureau of Practices and Standards Censors and The Audio Directory’s Ratings Code, which was NOT an easy thing to do.

    I will tell you that it did take me nearly 2 months to write and complete this tale that I have just completed, which to me has been a great labor of love and I will make sure that my beloved, who you will be introduced to you as a co-writer, who would also make sure that I DO NOT write about certain no-no subjects that may not be appropriate to repeat in a PG-13 Fourm.

    I know that it was NOT easy writing out a story that spans the time of one who is, dare I say the word, Pregnant, but I did have some help when I went for a time with a serious case of writer’s block on this story.

    When I was upset that NO ONE was taking me seriously that I did NOT know beans about humans going through the childbirth process and needed help, The Eye, who is a real life superhero from Mountainview, California, which is not too far from Rancho Cucamonga, he gave me some serious input on how it should be visualized.

    But, there were also others who also assisted me in this endeavor.

    The Knight Owl, who is a real life superhero from Oregon, he sent me to this online book about what to do when one goes into labor during an event like at Dragon Con, which was a great help for me to understand what to do when something like that ever happened and I would have to come to the rescue in that situation.

    My Good Friends from the Show Me State, Missouri, Rob and Russell, who were also not only fans of mine, but also fans of Feedback, they also inspired me to write some dialogue for the Baby Shower segment, in which my Danger Sense warned me that Sarah was about to go into labor and I told them, along with my good friend and videographer, Vidcam, to not only go find Pat and Sherry Henry, who are the co-presidents of Dragon Con, my convention back home here in Atlanta, Georgia USA, but also told them to go find Feedback as well.

    I should also mention that I do know all the hotels that have Dragon Con here in Atlanta, Georgia, like the back of my sorcerer hands and know every inch of it.

    There is something else I should mention. I know that in the story, Pat Henry wanted to try to stop me from helping Sarah, but thank goodness his wife, Sherry Henry, put her foot down, called him by his legal name and threatened him with sleeping on the couch the minute that they got home from Dragon Con, if he tried to interfere with me, helping not only a guest star, who is Sarah, but also as a first time mother as well.

    Thank goodness I must have used my telepathic powers to visualize what they would say, being that I have known the two of them, their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren ever since the very first Dragon Con back in 1987.

    And during that time that Sarah went into labor and I was able to keep her calm until Feedback showed up just in the nick of time to see the baby being born, I went through a very strange transformation sequence, which somehow, gave me a new costume, but also some new powers.

    Feedback noticed it when everything cleared up, in which he noticed that not only do I have a new costume, who Pat and Sherry Henry thought was so cute, in which I owe it all to my good friends at Hero-Gear, but I finally became a grownup superheroine with God Like Powers like Feedback.

    When I learned that, I was scared, but thank goodness Feedback told me that I need to learn to control these strange new powers and he would educate me in mastering these skills.

    At least I also knew which hospital they would go to. If I remember clearly and I do, the closest hospital that was not too far from Dragon Con was The Atlanta Medical Center, which MARTA Geographically Speaking, was on the #16 Noble Bus to Executive Park and it meets at the Five Points MARTA station, which is the BIG center of MARTA in Downtown Atlanta, Georgia.

    I was told to go with Feedback and Sarah to be tested, so that I would be allowed to return back to my base of operations.
    During the time I was at that hospital, I ran into certain people from my “mysterious past”, in which one was an old schoolmate, who was wondering why I could NOT remember the time that I went to high school with her. The other one was a crazed psychologist, who knew who I was behind the mask, who was mad at me, because I betrayed not only him, but also his late wife, because I blew the whistle on them for being prescription drug pushers or PDPs for short.

    Thank goodness Feedback had sense enough to put a post hypnotic suggestion to protect me from unleashing my new God Like Powers at the wrong time, to protect me from possibly causing someone serious harm.

    I will tell you that towards the end of the story, Mayor Kasim Reed, who is the mayor of Atlanta, Georgia, did something wonderful for Feedback, Sarah and the little one.

    I wish I could reveal that information, but I will tell you that it is one very stylish ride.

    At least what matters is that I finally gotten the story done and that it will be posted on my Dropbox and my Danger Woman Yahoo Website for your heroic review.

    Until we meet on the net, GAME ON!

    Yours In The Fight For Justice,
    DANGER WOMAN

  14. John Hall says:

    As we continue to wait eagerly for the next story posting from the Feedback-verse…

    Broken Sea’s postings this week include a really cool set of “Behind the Scenes” pictures of Portmeiron, Wales, the setting for the filming of “The Prisoner” series.

    Those of you in the upper age ranges of the fan community may remember when comic book annuals would include cut-away diagrams of everything from the Bat-Cave to the Baxter Building.

    So I’m thinking…

    Is there anyone among the cast and crew who might be able to latch onto an actual IT company office site that might be able, with appropriate waiving of rights, to double as Tech Support headquarters? And could that someone get us a few photos of CPU’s office, the space where games are reviewed and selected for Feedback’s power-charging, places where hardware development is pursued, the main briefing room, where Drive parks her buggy, etc.?

    Because I know you all have so much spare time…

    Just something to think about. — John Hall

    • Alee Schwarz says:

      John,

      This is a really cool idea, and as someone whose “civilian life” includes a ton of photography, I’d love to do it someday if I got the time (and the permission… and props… etc.).

      For now, though, I think this link might be relevant to your interests. http://prophet-aeron.deviantart.com/art/Tech-Support-HQ-quot-The-Tower-quot-74571304 It’s a blueprint of one level of Tech Support HQ, as drawn by Tim O’Donnell (who you may recognize as the guy who used to voice Back-up).

      And by the way, just wanted to add a quick thank-you for all your comments on here. It’s really cool to see such involvement in these shows from someone who hasn’t been in TS itself for the past four or five years. :)

      –Alee (aka Mnemonic, aka that girl who writes for Beta Flight sometimes)

      • John Hall says:

        Alee — Thanks very much for your note and your link. And let me say that I have found Mnemonic to be one of the most interestingly complex and well-acted characters in the Feedback-verse. I hope you and your character will be prominently featured in season 3, because I think you bring out a number of facets of the world and the other characters in a unique way. — John Hall

  15. DangerWoman says:

    Dear Fans:

    Well, I know that for the past few days, things have been very interesting for me.

    My Mission with Team Justice was very successful.

    I will admit that they did make me a full-fledged member of their superhero team, which was to me, a great triumph for me.

    I will tell you that I got to wear my new dress costume, that was mentioned in my Feedback: A Hero’s Calling Fan Fiction, Facing Fatherhood, which I will admit, that my new friends in Team Justice, thought that I was so cute in that costume.

    And just a few minutes ago, I just sent Feedback my status report to him and sent him a photo of my heroic self, wearing my new costume and posing with Team Justice.

    Trembling timechecks! I need to go and get something to eat.

    But, DO NOT be sad, Feedback Fans!

    You will hear from me again soon.

    Until we meet on the net, in Season Three of Feedback: A Hero’s Calling and at Dragon Con 25, GAME ON!

    Yours In The Fight For Justice,
    DANGER WOMAN

  16. John Hall says:

    Just as I think lovers of really good comic books in the classic Stan Lee mold will/would love Feedback as an embodiment of that tradition in a new medium, I think fans of Feedback would enjoy a new small-circulation comic book called Twilight Guardian. Long story short, it is a story of a young adult woman with no special powers and a masked identity does foot patrol in a multi-block area around her home. So far, I haven’t seen her actually have a fight with anyone, but she is out there doing and trying, and along the way, there are some wickedly accurate bits about some of the tropes of modern comics. Give it a try, and let’s meet back here to discuss what we’ve read.

    And if I’m counting right, this should be the week we see new Feedback material. Looking forward whenever it arrives with great anticipation. — John Hall

    • Alan says:

      Boooooo on delays!! My production brain had shut off for reasons all its own, and it gosh what a trial it was getting it jumpstarted again! Apologies for no new content last week. But we forge ahead!

      I will refrain from posting a new projection on release, but just to say I’m on it.

      • John Hall says:

        Alan –

        Echo your booo on delays, but greatly appreciate your chiming in with a comment.

        As for your the reasons for your production brain shutting off, do we know the whereabouts of Deathmatch during the past couple weeks? Sounds like the kind of thing he’d do.

        – John Hall

  17. John Hall says:

    Alan and Caith — Just past 100 days since the last posting of something new for the Feedbackverse. Any status update on when we might see the next great offering? Maybe simultaneous new episodes for Feedback: A Hero’s Calling, Feedback Conversations, and Beta Flight?

    I know the old line about if you put out all the dog food for your pet to eat during your vacation, it’ll try to eat it all on day 1, but trust me, I can make it last for several days. Love talking about Feedback. Love listening to old Feedback. Love listening to new Feedback more.

    Thanks. — John Hall

  18. John Hall says:

    Alan and Caith —

    Another new-audio Thursday has come and gone with no new activity in the Feedback-verse. The last communication was to the effect that where did the time go and can’t guess when there’ll be something new.

    Many youngsters may not remember that Ted Koppel’s Nightline began as a late-night ABC thing called “America Held Hostage” that started each night with a tally of the number of days since American’s were taken captive by the Iranian militants.

    With that thought in mind…
    Today, it has been 113 days since the last new episode of Feedback: A Hero’s Calling.
    It has been 162 days since the last new episode of Beta Flight.
    And who knows how long it has been since the teaser episode for Feedback Conversations, given that that little piece never made it back onto the site after the hack attack last fall.
    Even the Tech Support website, which deals exclusively in birthdays and other life events, hasn’t posted anything new in two weeks.

    I remember an old Warner Brothers cartoon where a singing, dancing character dropped to his knees, breathless after a high-energy performance, and all he could hear was crickets chirping, the traditional marker for silence.

    Guys, if your cast and crew get so spun up in other things that you need to shut down the Feedback-verse and declare victory with what’s already been posted, I’ll understand, but I hope you’ll let us know.

    If only this long silence was because of sensitive negotiations over some really big announcement — like a plan to convert seasons 1 and 2 into two Syfy Channel original movies (which could include Debbie Gibson and Tiffany as guest cameo stars, since that seems to be their recent key to success).

    You know I love you guys. Talk to us. — John Hall

  19. Alan says:

    I remember that “America Held Hostage”! Wasn’t that horrible?! Imagine if they did it with today’s access to technology?!

    Did a bunch of work on BetaFlight. It only needs the score added and it shall go up to Stevie for review!

    I have all the elements for the next Conversations. Since I’m updating my equipment this very week as well so that the audio production will be possible while on the road, I expect my productivity to increase mightily. Keep your fingers crossed!

    • John Hall says:

      Alan —

      What would “America Held Hostage” (and yes, it was horrible) look like today with modern technology? Fox News?

      Thanks for the update and encouraging news. Stevie has managed to get every episode (except the Conversations teaser) reloaded. All thanks to him for doing that.

      On a semi-related matter that is maybe more for others… I had inquired in a different posting about the Feedback fan fiction that formed the original inspiration (and basis?) for the FAHC episodes. Caith was good enough to direct me to the button on the Tech Support website where that fiction can be accessed. I found the button, but you need to “join” the website to access it, and I’m old-tech enough that that obstacle has kept me (so far) from digging into this treasure trove.

      How about selecting a couple of these pieces and placing them in the related materials folder here at FAHC headquarters (where there is at present, I think, only a couple pieces of fan artwork to view)? And then maybe setting up buttons to make it easy for people to join the Tech Support website and/or access the rest of the fanfic directly?

      I keep thinking of the Feedback-verse as something professional, with all the potential for elaboration, cross-promotion, marketing, related products and services, etc., that one associates with a professional publishing venture. I realize that, except for Stevie, its really an amateur venture conducted in a very professional manner by people with mad skillz in the various professional arenas necessary. (I still marvel at the quality of music associated with this site.) And so I’m not surprised when everybody’s real life intrudes and inserts other priorities. But I also get the sense that you and Caith and the others add significant additional layers of professionalization to the projects each year, and it is in large part that sense of a broadly shared grander ambition — a belief that you have something truly special that merits an ever greater portion of your creativity and energy — that keeps inspiring me to throw in yet another idea or observation or (hopefully) contribution to the constructive and upbeat mood of this very special (no Brady Bunch reference intended) band of creators.

      Excelsior!?! — John Hall

      • stevie says:

        A pleasure on reloading the Episodes John,

        Alan’s been terrific in terms of getting em over to me, for the re-upping.

        And yep, none of us do Audio Drama as a career. We all have day jobs and families. Sometimes they have to take priority over Audio releases.

        In all honesty, although I’m qualified Sound Engineer / Producer, and am involved with several upcoming commercial releases, everything I do at BrokenSea is non-profit, and non-paying. I love what we do here, as folks like Alan & Caith and many many others will give their heart and souls, not to mention an awful lot of time too simply for the love of the medium. U quite simply don’t get that on Commercial Audio projects often.

  20. John Hall says:

    News doesn’t always make it over from the Tech Support website to here, so for any who are reading this but don’t visit the Tech Support site: Kellan Dane Atherton arrived in our world on April 27, 2011, where Alan White quickly gave him the super-hero-in-the-making name of Feedbit! (For Sarah’s sake, I hope Feedbyte does not prove to be more prophetic…)

    – John Hall

    • stevie says:

      Thanks for the update John,

      and WoooHooooo !!! – A new Superhero in the making – Congrats !

    • Caith Donovan says:

      Not to interject too much here, John, but the Feedbit title was actually coined a while back by another TS member named Lyn Cullen. That said, the photo of little Kellan shows one adorable little guy.

      Caith

      • John Hall says:

        Thanks, Caith, and kudos to Lyn. I went by the first person whose posting I saw who used the phrase, and I should know better.

        – John

  21. John Hall says:

    See if this makes sense to you…

    Matt Atherton was a game software designer when he entered Who Wants to be a Superhero. (Maybe he is again.)

    Why not develop a video game based on Feedback?

    And wasn’t Mindset studying to be a game software designer, too?

    – John Hall

  22. John Hall says:

    Nobody’s posted in over a week, so…

    Today’s discussion topic is this: Compare the central plot in the 2nd season-ending Feedback story arc, A Work in Progress, with stories in other media where the hero discovers that his team is not so uniformly heroic as he/she had always believed.

    Exhibit #1: Total Recall. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s character discovers that his heroic personality is an overlay designed to let him infiltrate the resistance on behalf of the bad guys, including his “real” self. Compare his decision to stay the nobler “false” him to Alexander Forthright III’s evolving value structure when he found that acting like a good guy in order to recognize some value from an investment and project gone astray changed his real feelings about what he valued.

    Exhibit #2: Can anyone make sense of Marvel’s retcon of the history of SHIELD to make it a tool of Hydra from the beginning? If so, can you relate it to this topic while explaining it to those (like me) who still can’t make sense of it?

    Exhibit #3: Dr. Bashir in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine was revealed to be a manufactured or sculpted superior mind. Someone in the Star Trek prequel series was revealed to have a covert status with some undercover group trying to manipulate events and humanity. (You can tell I haven’t done any research to refresh my weak memory on these.) Throw in all the DC Universe hidden Manhunters and OMACs who had infiltrated the world or the universe. What makes for a good story vs. a bad story with this seemingly popular premise? IS AF3 a case of redemption or a kind of anti-hero or just a plot twist of interest only for how he changes Feedback’s view of who he (Feedback) is?

    Come on, Feedback-philes, throw out some thoughts. — John Hall

  23. John Hall says:

    Alan and Caith — Earlier this week, I finally joined the Tech Support Yahoo Group so I could look at some of the written fan fiction. I opened a dialogue with Lechera about my ideas for stories focusing on Alexander Forthright III. She pointed out that most fan fiction is written to focus on the authors’ owned characters, and AF3′s creator has wandered away from active involvement, which makes it unlikely that he will write such stories or that he will be available to actively agree to someone else writing such stories.
    It occurred to me then that I am really more interested in exploring AF3 in the context of the audio adventures, which are somewhat independent from the written canon, and that led me to compose the following:
    I think that the argument between AF3 on one side and everyone else on the other side could be a springboard for a number of sub-plots/B-stories in the 3rd season, if you both agree. One thread would be further exploration of the argument over when and how much “it” is about the money. Even if funding is not the primary motivation for Feedback and Tech Support, it is a pre-condition. If AF3 cannot monetize Feedback’s work — and we’ve seen no evidence that he’s even tried (hiring him out as a bodyguard like the Human Target series) — then where is the money supposed to come from? Presumably it is from the past and future profits of other activities of Forthright Industries. But to what extent does AF3 have a base for future profits and/or enough independent authority within Forthright Industries to use so much of the profits for the charitable purpose of supporting Feedback? The philosophical argument could pop up in various contexts depending on the mood and challenges of the major protagonists. The authority question could lead into a corporate challenge or hostile takeover bid, as we have seen over the years in Iron Man and, less frequently, in Batman.
    I would like to hear or read stories like that. (I wouldn’t mind contribute to writing them, but I don’t know if I have the needed skills, and now I’m not sure that I have the (intellectual property) rights.) What is your level of interest? Anything coming up in Season 3 that might pick up on the threads you so provocatively laid down at the end of Season 2?
    Oh and we haven’t heard from you both in a while with an estimate or current best guess on when new stories in any of the series might begin posting. Would greatly appreciate any updates. Thanks. — John Hall

  24. Alan says:

    Thursday will dawn again with an absence of Feedbackian lore! I thought the holiday weekend would provide some time, but no. It called for a vacation, and I had to take it. Let’s see what the following weekend will bring!

    • John Hall says:

      Alan –

      First, thanks for the status report, which will disappointingly in the immediate moment seems to promise good things soon to come.

      Second, Feedbackian Lore seems like a good name for Matt and Sarah’s second son, considering how exotic the names are that they chose for their first.

      Third, now would a person operating in a superhero-like fashion (to use Stan Lee’s recurring phrase on the show) or a Feedback-like fashion (to use our own hero as reference) have taken a vacation when there are millions (hundreds?) of desperate souls in need of the sustenance that only new episodes of Feedback: A Hero’s Calling (and related shows) can bring?

      Fourth, are you comfortable, Alan? Do you need us to bring you a beverage or a sandwich? Change a light bulb? Hold a microphone? Help count time or check sound levels?

      Here’s hoping that June will be busting out all over (Alert: highly dated Broadway reference) next Thursday with torrents of Feedbacky goodness!

      – John Hall

    • John Hall says:

      Alan –

      Any new status report to relay?

      Hope my teasing you about your vacation last week didn’t go down the wrong way. All in fun and great respect and affection — and great anticipation of season 3.

      – John Hall

      PS: Mucho congrats to you and Caith over the award nomination for Season 2. The word is spreading, and more people are noticing. Think of all the movies that nobody watched until they got an Oscar nomination. We need a message up on the Feedback home page, first thing you see when you link in, that welcomes anyone new to the site and encourages them to listen to the episodes from the beginning, in order to all the Feedbacky goodness in the order it was intended. — John Hall

    • John Hall says:

      Alan, Caith and Matt — I sent a reply to Stevie K on his main Broken Sea posting of LAST week that included a parody version of Bobby Darin’s “Beyond the Sea” called “At Broken Sea”. I gave a shout-out to the Sea’s two most popular series but gave twice the space and extra praise to “Feedback”, just hoping to tempt fans of the other series to try out Feedback.

      – John Hall

      PS: Next Thursday will mark 6 months since the last new Feedback material posted. How are we doing?

  25. John Hall says:

    Here are a couple thoughts on possible stories for future seasons of Feedback…

    What if Death Match were to get ahold of a game program with time travel powers? We’ve already seen alternate future plot in Beta Flight and alternate present plot in Feedback. We’ve learned that Death Match doesn’t try to kill Matt but to challenge him in ways that cause maximum pain to him and those close to him. So what would the attack look like and what would the defense look like?

    What if some other heroes, from obscure origins, were to guest on Feedback? Here’s a very obscure nominee — Jack Cole, the Sword of Justice, the titular role in the less-than-a-season Dack Rambo TV series from decades ago. Imagine a guy who goes after white collar criminals based on leads from bugging the DA’s office and using acrobatic, breaking and entering, and other skills learned during an unjust prison sentence.

    Food for thought. — John Hall

  26. John Hall says:

    After several false starts, I was able to get mention of Feedback and of the Feedback: A Hero’s Calling audio series into the letters column of the December 2011 edition (just out) of the Comics Buyer’s Guide, the #1 news and fan magazine of the comics world. They were having a discussion on best and worst super-powers, and I nominated (a) the power to absorb any and all other powers from other powered individuals (e.g., Mimic of the X-Men) or external sources (e.g., Feedback) and (b) the power to activate or nullify powers in others (e.g., several characters in Jim Lee’s Stormwatch universe and Feedback’s Dr. Ted A. Chatham “who we all now know to be Death Match”, Feedback’s arch-enemy).

    I couldn’t plug the website directly without being too obvious, but if I stir any interest in people who enjoyed Who Wants to Be a Super-Hero, some people should find their ways to the series.

    Cross your fingers. — John Hall

  27. John Hall says:

    A shout-out to Mur Lafferty, sci-fi blogger extraordinaire and the frequent voice of Drive here on Feedback: A Hero’s Calling. Mur is a finalist in this year’s Hugo awards for the John W. Campbell Award for best new science fiction writer. This goes alongside a whole slew of recognitions for her lead role in making the audio blog medium a major part of the 21st century world of new science fiction.

    So here’s to Mur — and remember, we at FAHC knew you when! Don’t forget your old friends, and you’re always welcome back to drive the big car.

    – John Hall

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