Irene Roman never wanted to be a hero. She was a scientist living an otherwise normal life, and that was enough for her. One fateful evening, though, Irene discovers a betrayal that undermines everything—one event that in the blink of an eye, changes not only her life but the future of the entire planet.
Now the world is inhabited by people with powers and abilities far above those of mortal humans. The repercussions of superhuman battles on the Earth are great and terrible. Lives are shattered, communities destroyed, and mankind's destiny is plucked from its grasp. At the center of it all is Irene, who not only is one of two people on the planet who knows the cause of this unbelievable change, but she is one of the few people who may be able to stop it. The only problem is the only other person will do anything in his vast power to keep the world in its terrible altered state.
Who dares to claim the right to choose humanity's fate? What price will Irene pay to be the hero she never wanted to be? In the end, will Earth return to the safety of the mundane … or will it remain in the chaos of the superhuman and the supernatural?
JB Garner has helped us out several times at our WordFire booth at conventions and he's a pleasure to be around, not to mention a great salesman and promoter. He self-published his own trilogy of young superheroes, and sold them quite well by hand. We're pleased to give him a (slightly) larger platform by reissuing Indomitable, Indefatigable, and Incorruptible through WordFire. We hope you enjoy the first one enough to grab the other two! – Kevin J. Anderson
"Magnificent. Indomitable serves up the best of The Incredibles swirled into the reality bending wonder of Doctor Strange. One man transforms the world into a mad comic book with a self-reinforcing brainwash loop. Everywhere people wake up with supernatural powers while the new reality's seductive whispers guide them into their comic book roles."– Amazon Review
"I loved this book so much I am buying my second copy! The characters are so relatable, and if you love a strong female lead this book is for you!"– Amazon Review
A shiver ran up my spine as I put my hand on the doorknob. There was no good reason for it, but I couldn't ignore that sudden spike of anxiety. Trying to push it down, I ran my free hand through my shoulder-length hair as a subtle excuse to push down the hairs standing on the back of my neck. It was just the impending presentation to Dean Thompson tomorrow, that was all. Armored by that excuse, I unlocked the door to my research group's laboratory and stepped in.
The lab was quiet and dark. Though the Georgia Institute of Technology campus never slept, the only people who were still stirring around this part of campus were a scattering of workaholic researchers. All the same, I felt the urge to creep through the main lab to my own office. My original purpose was to print out my presentation notes for the morning, something I had foolishly forgotten earlier today, but the fact that my office door was slightly ajar spiked my anxiety. Taking a deep breath, I opened the door wide and stepped into my office.
Flipping the light switch, everything looked fine at first glance. Maybe I had left the door open when I stepped out earlier. I took a step toward my desk and froze as my eyes adjusted to the light. There was something wrong after all. The cabinet behind my desk, the locked cabinet that stored copies of all our research data and the one working prototype we had, was hanging open.
A moment of panic, pure unadulterated shock, clutched my mind before I forced myself to be calm. I was not going to scream, run around fruitlessly, or any of a million other things my base instincts would try to force me to do. My field of study was physiology and there was a certain controlling comfort to be had in knowing the biological reason behind the strange effects fear, shock, anger, and other emotions had on the body. A few deep breaths later, I found the calm to step around my desk and take actual stock of the situation.
Whoever had broken in hadn't taken everything; that was immediately obvious. In fact, they had taken very little at all. The hard copies of the research data and the prototype schematics were all there alongside the solid-state drives with electronic copies. The only thing missing was the prototype itself. In its place was a folded piece of paper with a single word on it. Another deep breath didn't help this time and I felt myself slump down into my plush office chair.
It really wasn't so bad, was it? All the data was there and that was the vital thing. Even if this was some crazy case of industrial espionage, our research was already validated and published. We couldn't lose credit for this biofeedback device I had been dreaming of creating since my first year of graduate studies. It had to be some prank or some other bit of foolishness. Why, then, was my stomach knotted and my fists clenched in rage?
It was my baby, my life's work, and even what had to be a prank didn't appeal to my sense of humor when that device was involved. It could revolutionize therapy for patients with autonomic disorders, providing direct nervous system support and feedback to regulate body functions the brain may not be able to. It was not a toy or something to use just to get a rise out of me. I was Dr. Irene Roman, not the latest contestant on some inane hidden-camera show. My eyes drifted back toward the note.
Picking it up, I could now clearly see that it had my name, Irene, written on it in tight, compact handwriting. Surprise pierced the wall of anger in my brain as I recognized the penmanship. It was Eric's. Eric Flynn, fellow scientist in the Physics Department and my boyfriend of nearly a year, had written this note. My brain seemed to skip off-track and, with strangely numb fingers, I forced myself to unfold the note to read.
Studying your habits as I have, you should find this note after I have taken the feedback device but well before anyone else has been to your laboratory. No doubt you are now coming to the conclusion that I have used our relationship for this particular end. That is, indeed, true to an extent. I am truly sorry to have been dishonest with you in this fashion, especially as I believe I have come to love you over our nine months together.
Let me assure you that I have taken the device for only the most vital of reasons. If there had been another practical option, I would have exercised it. I fully intend to return it, assuming my final experiment goes according to my calculations. Either way, my deception will be finished tonight. I beg of you to please keep the knowledge of my theft to yourself, at least until my experiment is finished.
I also understand your first instinct will be to try to track me down. I would encourage you not to do so. This experiment, while glorious, has a high degree of inherent risk not only to myself, but also to anyone close by. Please go back to our apartment and wait for my return. All will be made clear then.
A cold anger fell over me like a blizzard. Crumpling the note into a compact ball, as small and tight as I could manage, mollified the anger somewhat, while the cold detachment forced my mind to call into question every little thing that had happened in the past week or two. My keys had gone missing for a few hours on Monday before mysteriously turning back up. Eric had suddenly grown distant when I told him about the success of the prototype, something he attributed to a difficulty in his own research. He had even started fiddling with closed-circuit cameras, much like the ones the Tech campus used for security, citing his worry about the rising crime rate around our apartment in Atlanta.
On the surface, all those things seemed mundane enough, but now they pointed a clear path to this evening's betrayal. That was exactly what it was. The note spelled out, plain as day, that this wasn't some impulse of his. Eric had intended this from the day he walked up to me at the faculty mixer and asked me out, something I never would have expected from the timid, retiring man in his mid-thirties.
I stood up and turned, hurling the crumpled-up note with all my might against the far wall with that old, ingrained softball pitch. It felt good. What would have felt better would have been to have had Eric here as a target to throw it at. He wanted me to go back home and wait up for him. To hell with that!
Pulling my cellphone out of my pocket, I tapped my contacts button and hovered my thumb over the number for the campus police station. Rational Irene, that eternal voice of reason, urged me on. Sure, Eric had asked me to wait, not to bring the police in on this, but why would I listen to a lying thief like him?
I turned off my phone and put it back in my pocket. Even though the anger still roiled in my heart burning away the cold rationality, I knew I wasn't going to just call the cops. I wasn't going to, but not because of Eric's request.
If I called the police, they would certainly show up, start investigating, and all that. The note was damning evidence even if I was certain that Eric was more than brilliant enough to cover any other tracks he may have left. The problem was it would still be a slow process. Would there be any chance they could find Eric before he completed his experiment?
That was the real worry. He said it was dangerous if it failed. Eric was a genius in the realm of quantum physics, but his start had been in the fields of nuclear energy. While I couldn't fathom what purpose he had for my feedback device, I had a hunch that any danger that Eric might unleash would be far beyond some blown fuses or ruined equipment. There were people in danger, whoever might be around him, and my device would be part of that danger. There just wasn't time to bring in the police and get caught in a web of procedure and red-tape.
That left only one option. I had to find Eric on my own. Even if he had been lying to me about his intentions, we had been close, intimately so, for nine months. He said he had observed me and the opposite was also true. I stood up and closed the safe. If anyone on Earth could find Eric Flynn in any reasonable amount of time, it was me; and it was my responsibility to do so.
I always did my best thinking in motion, so I moved toward the door, grabbing the note as I left my office. My thoughts drifted back as I turned out the lights and locked everything up as I had left it. There had to be more clues to his whereabouts, something hidden in all those minor oddities I had noted over these past months, but I had brushed aside as the quirks of an eccentric genius like Eric Flynn.
The first obvious fact was that Eric wouldn't use his lab here for this experiment. Even though he was blessed to have a private lab space in the Physics building, Eric was far too cagey to use it for something illegal. He had to have some kind of space rented elsewhere in the city, not too far away. The prototype had been here when I left to grab a bite to eat at 8:00 pm. and I had only been gone a few hours. His note implied his experiment would be done before the night was through, so that left little time for him to come in, grab it, get to where he was hiding, and set up the device. If only I had questioned Eric's long absences from home, maybe this wouldn't be happening.
That's when it hit me. I had always assumed he had been putting in extra time at the lab, much as I often did. We were both workaholics after all. It didn't explain the letter I found in our mailbox, the first month after we had moved in together, the one that had been addressed to a Mr. Heinrich Flynn. Heinrich was the name of Eric's father and both of his parents had been dead for years. I remembered it had been sent from the Skyway Apartments, a low-rent apartment complex popular with some of our poorer students. When I showed it to Eric, he dismissed it as junk mail but was very eager to snatch it out of my hand to dispose of it himself. I asked him about it later, when he seemed to have calmed down, but all he said was that he had cleared up the misunderstanding with the company. That was the end of that.
That was five months ago. I could feel anger fight with my upset heart. Tears threatened to take over as I walked down the hallway toward the building's exit. No, I wasn't going to give Eric the satisfaction, wherever he was in those apartments. I wouldn't weep, moan, and thrash unproductively.
No, Eric had told me during breakfast, as we kissed each other goodbye, that he would see me tonight. I was going to keep that date, whether he wanted me to or not. I was going to go to these Skyway Apartments, I was going to find him, and I was going to confront him.
A few minutes later, I stalked through the parking garage toward my Kawasaki motorcycle. Mounting up, I pulled on my helmet before glancing at the time. It was 11:23 pm and it would take me at least a quarter of an hour to get to Skyway. Who knew how long it would take me to find him there? For some reason, the thought of midnight sent renewed shivers of anxiety through my body.
I promptly ignored the gooseflesh, fired up my bike, and roared out of the parking garage.