A while back, while we were still on Blogspot, before the new office, and things were dark and grim. I started a story. It was a simple story, a story of one girl's attempts to avert the apocalypse. About 5000 words in, I hit a road block, the creativity died, and with it, the story of Ron Stone was forgotten. Now, with a new burst of creativity, and clearer plan, I set about reviving that girl, and getting rid of that whole "apocalypse" thing... it just wasn't working. So now, like Professor Auerbach before her, we have a window into the world of the powers. And her name... is Vera Stone.

This is the first chapter of her story. I hope there will be many more to come... And, by way of comparison, this introduction is about 1/5 the length of the original story...

Growing up in a small town in Ohio, I always thought that I would die there, too. No one I knew ever managed to escape the cultural vacuum that seemed to be exerted by my home town. It was a small insular community that I wondered, as I grew older, how everyone in the city wasn't related to each other.

Truthfully, I didn't hate it. I just longed for something bigger and better. At night, my dreams were filled with images of New York, Tokyo, London... and the shining gem of them all, Supara. Supara was a city of legend that had once been home to some of the most wondrous people ever to walk the earth. Stories of The Foundation still circulated, even though they had disappeared decades before I was born. Even now, years after the Power War, there were still scars in the hearts and minds of those that lived through it, a deep-seated resentment of the Powers themselves. In a far smaller portion of the population there were even sympathizers. In some communities, if someone exhibited any abnormal aptitude, they were accused of being a Power. People in my home town were suspicious of everyone even though, to the best of my knowledge, no one with any kind of power had ever been nearby.

I should introduce myself so that, if anyone ever reads this story, they will know who wrote it. My name is Veronica Stone. My friends call me Vera. I grew up in a small community called Portsriver, a name that always amused me since we didn't actually have a river. The community was the last stop on I70 before you left Ohio behind, and entered into Hoosier territory. We had a main street, appropriately named “Main Street”. What I suppose would constitute as our downtown area, consisted of a handful of small shops that lined the single block between the town’s only stop signs. The majority of the town lived on the outlying farms. If we ever wanted the “Big City” experience, it was a 45 minute drive to get to the sprawling metropolis known as Dayton.

Why do I waste my time telling you about Portsriver? I want you to realize just how much of a fantasy a place like New York or Supara seemed like to me. In Portsriver, the largest buildings were possibly three stories, and there were only a few of those. The thought of a building that had more than 50 stories was something that hardly seemed possible back then. These monolithic buildings spoke to my sense of wonder, and I was determined to see them for myself someday.

Growing up in the small town, I wasn’t a social butterfly. I tended to keep to myself, preferring the company of F. Scott Fitzgerald or even Robert Jordan, over the company of my peers. I was always buried in a book as a child, lost in worlds spawned in the imagination, ignoring the world around me. I found very little of interest in the farming community, and my parents were making regular trips to the city to pick up new books for me. I managed to have a small library of all my good friends.

My parents worried about my introversion, though. They tried to get me to go out, and talk to my peers. They tried to ask me about my friends, or what I did that day. It didn’t take them long to realize that Ishmael and Holden were not flesh and blood people, but rather characters from books I was reading. In their desperation, they picked up a camera at a flea market on one of their trips in to Dayton. It was a dinky little thing, used 110 film, but for me… it was life changing.

Soon, my days were spent with the camera, taking pictures of anything and everything. I’m sure to this day, if I looked through my parent’s attic, I could find countless volumes of my amateur photography. That little camera told me what I wanted to do with my life. For the first time, I had an expressive outlet that I actually felt rewarded me for going outside. That summer, was the first time I ever got a tan.

My newfound love of photography did nothing to diminish my love of the written word, much to the chagrin of my parents. As the years went on, my tastes changed, fiction gave way to philosophy. Biographies and other assorted works of literature started showing up on my shelves. In my Junior year of high school, I even managed to track down a 1st edition printing of Professor Robert Auerbach’s collected writings. I must have read through that book a hundred times. I believe that single book was what finally told me that Supara would be my home someday…

As the years went on, my equipment got upgraded. From a 110, to a 35mm, and finally, as a graduation present I got my first SLR. Meanwhile, I learned to develop my own film, first by taking a summer photography class, and later by getting my own basic dark room set up in the basement.

By the time I was ready to hit college, and begin pursuing my photography in earnest, I had become something of an accomplished photographer. I had managed to get a couple photos published, offsetting some of the immense cost of my hobby. By no means was on par with the likes of Annie Liebovitz, but I liked to think I might be able to give her a little bit of competition.

I went off to the University of Dayton, close enough to be near something familiar, yet far enough away that I felt that I had to live on campus. I pursued a BFA in Photography. While I had no desire to do all the classroom work, I kept telling myself that it was a necessity if I ever wanted to break into the business and take photography out of the realm of a schoolgirl’s obsession, and into the realm of a valid profession. I looked at it as a short term sacrifice to satisfy a long term goal.

To my credit, I lasted 2 full years. The call of the big city was just too much to resist, and Dayton just wasn't cutting it any longer. So with little more than a duffle bag full of clothes, and my trusty D90, I set off on the 2200 mile trek to Supara.