Three of a Kind (or, Who Is the Crimson Fury?)

Last time I presented one of my original fiction story ideas, it was about three adult siblings who gained amazing powers. So, this is (almost) deja vu 🙂 , except that, besides the “three adult siblings” protagonists, everything else about this idea is very different. The initial concept bubbled up in my mind some months ago, but I added a little more later and then fleshed out quite a bit of the details just this week. (That’s getting to be a pattern….) Here’s what I have:

“Three of a Kind”
OR
“Who Is the Crimson Fury?”

Philip, Derrick, & Terrell Jameson are identical triplets who grow up in a great, middle-class, African-American family. They loved rock & blues music and excelled in academics, sports, and martial arts. They attended the same university, majoring in business (Phil) and software engineering (Derrick & Terrell), eventually earning master’s degrees. Shortly after graduation, they went into business together and soon released their first software product. While celebrating their 26th birthday, a tragic accident(?) left their parents dead and Phil & Terrell missing but presumed dead. Fortunately, none of the brothers was married or had kids. Following a fairly quick police investigation that cleared the surviving brother of any suspicion of wrongdoing, Derrick collected a few million dollars in inheritance and insurance (from the parents’ policies), then cut all personal and professional ties and effectively disappeared.

The Jameson brothers as college freshmen

The Jameson brothers as college freshmen

What Derrick didn’t realize was that his brothers both survived. The explosion at the vacation cabin where they had been staying apparently blew their battered and burned bodies to the river’s edge; the current took them miles downriver, where they washed ashore. They were discovered and taken first to the closest hospital, then transported to one many miles away with a burn ward. The brothers remained comatose for the first few days. Once they awakened, it was discovered that they were amnesiac re their own identities (and familial relationship) and of the events leading to their burns and other trauma. Namely, Phil and Terrell both had 1st- & 2nd-degree burns on 75-80% of their bodies — hands, arms, legs, feet, back. (Could have been worse if they hadn’t spent hours in the cold river.) Their fingerprints had been burned off, too, which was another obstacle at identifying them. Fortunately, their faces and necks had only minor burns and would suffer no lasting scars. They also had an assortment of bruised and broken ribs and limbs.

After a few weeks, first Terrell and then Phil recovered his memory, but they remained in physical and psychological therapy at the hospital for many weeks. As soon as they were able, they set about tracking down Derrick — contacting friends, family, and associates; doing internet research; talking to cops and insurance investigators. Those last two groups were understandably interested in finding Derrick, so that they could properly redistribute some of the inheritance and insurance money. Phil and Terrell were sure their brother would be happy to see them and share the money, but at the time they had no money to spend on investigators or anything else. (Their only close relatives were cousins with a struggling farm in the Midwest.)

Eventually, they went on TV, asking Derrick to contact them or for others who might know where Derrick was to get in touch. Derrick, who had been living in isolation in a cabin in Canada, saw a newspaper article about the televised plea and the brothers were reunited days later. Once the lawyers and insurance people cleared everything up, Phil & Terrell returned with Derrick to his cabin. Determined to get back into the athletic shape they used to be in, the brothers adopted a rigorous training regimen. Meanwhile, Derrick shared with Phil and Terrell the research he had been doing on the cabin explosion that injured them and took their parents’ lives. Contrary to the official report, he did not believe that it was accidental. Furthermore, he believed that they were collateral damage in a larger web of corporate espionage and corruption at high levels. Once his brothers were convinced he was truly onto something, they began to discuss how they might set things right….

Jump forward to a few years later. All three brothers have fully recuperated and invested a lot of time and money (which they had invested quite wisely, while living very modestly) into implementing an intriguing plan. Using false identities, shell corporations, cover stories, etc., the Jameson brothers essentially fell off the grid. Having moved to a strategically-located area (and far from where they grew up, went to school, and worked), they now share a new, single civilian identity — Forrest Blaque, reclusive software engineer and entrepreneur. They continue to make and invest money under this name and BlaqueStar Software, while making few public appearances. (Note: All three now have identical facial hair, which they never used to wear, and haircuts. They already sounded and moved quite similarly.) They also share a single masked identity — the crimefighter known as the Crimson Fury — with a nearby base of operations at an abandoned factory/warehouse, that they purchased (through a shell company) and secretly renovated.

Crimson Fury - helmet, gloves, staff and nunchuksThe brothers share the same muscular build (5’11”, 190 lbs.), the same love of athletics, the same weight-training regimen, and they are all black belts in both aikido and taekwondo, including mastery of several weapons. The Crimson Fury costume incorporates some innovative materials, including a non-conductive, temperature-resistant outer fabric with an inner layer of impact-absorbant padding. There is extra protection in the gauntlets and helmet, though they are considering replacing the helmet with a reinforced cowl. Finally, they have loops, straps, and pockets for weapons, as well as a utility belt.

The three sometimes work cases together and sometimes individually, depending on the complexity, seriousness, and who’s available. They trade off on who appears in each identity, thus helping to ensure that none gets overworked. Whenever they go “out” in either guise, they use cameras, microphones, and GPS trackers to monitor and record their activities. This not only supplements verbal reports but serves as a “permanent” record for later study. After all, since they share an identity (well, two of them, technically), they need to know where each other goes, people encountered, what was said, intel uncovered, etc. This makes it easier to stay informed and maintain their identities. There is always at least one guy at home/HQ, doing research, keeping surveillance, and generally backing up whoever is “out”, while in near-constant audio-visual contact. Naturally, when “off duty”, they have to sleep, train, and run a small-but-successful software development business (though they do have an assistant or two for that last one).

The sorts of cases that the Crimson Fury works on vary, sometimes involving one or more corrupt and/or legit businesses, sometimes organized crime, sometimes government agencies, sometimes public servants, and occasionally other masked adventurers on both sides of the law. But, no matter what else they have going on, they always keep at least one eye on their main goal — uncovering the international network of white-collar criminals and government officials who are ultimately responsible for the deaths of their parents and many, many others.

Questions? Comments?

* All ideas copyright Christopher Harris, 2013-2016.

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