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My name is Alfred Dominguez, and I'm in over my head.

You may know me better as Penitente, one of Metro City's superheroes. I got a loose-fitting, homemade blue and gray costume with a cowl that covers most of my face. I'm good looking, I work out, I keep my hair buzzcut, and I got an awesome close-trimmed beard that everyone makes fun of because they're so damn jealous.

I don't have superpowers like the rest of the heroes in Metro City. I'm an excellent athlete and acrobat, I've got extensive martial arts skills, I'm pretty good with a bullwhip, and I'm an expert at turning anything and everything into a weapon. Brooms, trash cans, beer bottles, fence posts, shovels, fire extinguishers, softballs -- you name it, I can probably figure out a way to hurt bad guys with it.

Doesn't make things easy, though. I can handle as…

The David, a semi-submersible built in 1862 under the aegis of a desperate Confederate States of America, is most remarkable for its repeated and quiet failures. It was fifty feet long.

It is not considered a true submarine because part of its boiler protruded above the surface.  It used open ballast tanks to maintain depth and attacked with a "spar torpedo"--a 134-pound explosive charge mounted on the end of a metal pole.

The two people responsible for the David were…

Blue Champagne
By John Varley
Dark Harvest 1986

Blue Champagne was John Varley's third collection of science fiction short stories, written as his career was at its peak. It contains four stories from the Eight Worlds setting and four miscellaneous stories. The collection as a whole won the Locus Award in 1987, and the various stories within it have won a number of other awards.

The Pusher: A rather…