B007 Hastur, Shrouded in Dread (Part 3)

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The blood-covered woman approached Brennus slowly. Clumsily. She did not seem to have much in the way of fine control, the way she moved her body.

Never moving (outwardly at least), Brennus tracked his eyes over the room, accessing the situation.

Panthera Avis was holding him down from behind, his claws clamped around his armor’s upper arms – he was strong, the claws had already deformed his suit. I just finished this version. Now I will need to repair it. I need more money.

Worst case, he would have to either join the Juniors or take money from Amy.

Neither of which really appealed to him.

Netsense was just crouching nearby, her limbs folded up around herself, making her look far smaller than she was. It did not look like she was really aware of the situation around herself.

Hastur was watching him, and though he could not tell by the heat readings, he could feel her glee at what was to come.

She did not seem to react to the plans forming in his mind, at all.

Might be she is not really a mind reader as such.

No answer from the others. Might be they had come to the same conclusion as he had.

It made no difference. He could either try to escape or fight them to the death. Either way, they were not getting him. She was not going to get him.

Mary was just a meter away, almost close enough. But she stopped and looked back at Hastur, her body posture betraying insecurity.

“Get over it, dummy! C’mon, rip the mask it off!” Hastur urged her on.

Get over it, huh? He looked down at her feet – the blood she was pouring off had not yet spread over to him. She can only walk on her own blood? No, then Hastur would not tell her to get over it… her power only works while she is standing on blood?

Not enough evidence, really, but certainly something to keep in mind.

She took a step over the pooling blood, staggering a little before enough blood flowed out of her… every part to cover the carpet on the floor.

One step. Short, insecure. Half a meter away. The blood was touching his knees now.

Just a little more.

Everyone else in the room, save for Panthera Avis, was standing in nearly half an inch of blood. Avis was still behind Brennus, and thus not yet surrounded by blood.

The bloody woman reached out and touched his helmet, the motion almost gentle.

His reaction was most definitely not gentle.

One of his latest additions to the armor had been a defense system against being physically grappled. It was plain and simple, and he had slapped himself on the head for not thinking earlier of it.

He ran a massive current through his entire armor, and thus through Avis and Mary… and everyone else in the room, using the blood he and Mary were standing (or, in his case, kneeling) on as a conductor.

Avis’ claws let go of him as he was bodily thrown back against the wall behind. The other three shook and dropped without a sound other than that of bodies hitting a floor covered in blood.

He gave them no chance to react. Jumping forward, he slid out the blade hidden in his armor’s wrist, pushing it into Mary’s left eye, and then her brain, flinching as the deformed upper arms of his suit bruised his arms badly.

Sorry, Mary. I wish I knew how to save you, but I cannot risk being taken out now.

With his other wristblade, he cut through her neck, beheading her and throwing the head away from the body.

Best to be sure.

Hastur screamed in outrage, her power easily returning control of her body to her. “Gethimgethimgethimgethim!!!”

How unprofessional.

With a single, violent leap, he flew across the room like a bullet, tackling Netsense with such force into the wall that they broke through into the next room.

Before he had time to analyze the thermal images he was getting, he stabbed a blade into her shattered ribcage, cutting through heart and lungs. Or at least where they should be – he had no idea whether or not her mutations had shifted her organs around.

Which was why he took off her head with his next attack, then forced a grenade down her neck, making a sickening noise along the way.

Whether or not she can actually read minds, Hastur obviously has a very powerful perception power. Probably what allowed Panthera Avis to teleport beyond his line of sight.

And even if not, Netsense was far too dangerous to leave to Hastur – she could use her powers offensively, too.

The grenade detonated less than a second after he pulled his arm out of her limp body. And it amply demonstrated the difference between setting explosives off in the open and setting them off within a fleshy, juicy body.

The charge he had built into the grenade was normally sufficient to blow out a reinforced door’s lock, or punch a hole in most armor. Localized damage.

He was splattered with blood and worse all over his front, as Netsense was spread across the entire room.

* * *

No matter what one does, unless they’re complete monsters or inhumans, having a human – even a twisted human – explode right in front of them, splattering them from head to toe and covering the room will stagger one.

If the room is already glowing orange from all the blood and there are countless… well, not corpses, but pieces of them, and all of them twisted… then it does not help. Even if one is fortunately unable to make out all the details due to thermal vision.

Brennus staggered, almost throwing up in his mask (he had built in a feature to take care of that if it happened, but still) and not moving for a few seconds.

Panthera Avis slammed into him as Hastur screamed in frustration.


The former villain, now an enslaved monster, must have weighed more than a ton by now – they both flew forward and Brennus slammed into the floor, creating cracks where their combined weight almost broke the floor.

“Hold him still! Rip his mask off, stupid!” screamed Hastur as she followed them into the room, her hood thrown back. Had Brennus not blocked his normal vision, he would have even more trouble now.

“It is a helmet, not a mask, stupid!” Brennus shouted back, annoyed.

As Avis reached for his helmet, Brennus once again electrocuted him, throwing him off for a moment. Ignoring the building pain in his arms, he whirled around and stabbed two of the faces within his open ribcage.

The others screamed so loudly they would have blown out his eardrums had he not included protection against such in his helmet.

It did not help much, though. Avis put his arms around Brennus and squeezed.

At first, little happened, but then the armor started to groan under the stress.

He never had this kind of superstrength. Just how much more powerful has he become!?

The armor groaned more, even as he started ramming his knee into Avis groin. The monstrous villain grunted in pain, but showed no further reaction, apart from continuing to crush Brennus.

“That’s it, wreck his armor and bring him to me! Good boy!” said Hastur, back to her sweetly cheerful mood. She was actually hopping up and down in place.

He could not see any colours, but he imagined her to look quite demented, her clothing mismatched, splattered with copious amounts of blood.

No time. Sixty percent energy left, got to make it count.

Expending as much as he could at a time, nine-point-fifty-three percent, he channeled the electricity through the blades still stuck inside Avis’ body.

Not his best idea. Avis convulsed, his arms closing even harder around Brennus’ chest. With a final groan, his chest armor cracked, and he could hear his arms break.


Another shock finally made Avis let go of him. Brennus slid down onto his knees as his enemy fell back.

Double Ugh.

He accessed his system diagnose – the chest part was mostly gone, the arms, even if his own arms were not broken, were largely destroyed and there was damage to the battery – it was steadily losing an additional amount of its charge.

I am going to lose this.

Using the controls in his boots and helmet, he forcefully – and under a lot of pain – cut into the legs of Avis. Not through them, because his bones were way too dense and blocked his swords.

I have to include the humming blade in my wristmounts in the next version. And more heavy firepower. A lot more.

Aye, mate. There ain’t such a thing as too much firepower. But there certainly is too little, and you have too little.

I propose finishing those remote matter detonation ray guns.

“Oh, shut up and surrender, you numbheads! Just look at my face and you can be happy and make yourself as much firepower as you want!” shouted the demented girl.

She can not read my thoughts, but hear our… communication? What the hell? You are just in my head, part of my mind, both of you… right?

No answer, and Hastur did not react, either.

Now I am getting really freaked out.

Avis screamed again through all of his faces – even the pierced ones, which were visibly, if slowly regenerating. He bent down to grab Brennus again, his claws opening once more, but he saw it coming and jumped backwards, again using his secondary controls.

This hurts.

Avis flickered forward, closing the distance and kicked him hard, right against the shattered breastplate.

He heard something break in his chest, along with the armor. One rib… two?

“Nathaniel, sweetie, don’t kill him, will-ya?”

Brennus slammed onto the floor, breathing hard – as much as his armor still allowed him to. It only got worse when Avis stepped on his chest, pinning him to the floor.

He choked, his vision blurring with tears of pain.

My arms…

No time to mope. He had still some control over his arms, the armor had been built to function for as long as possible. It hurt, worse than he thought possible… but for some reason, the pain did not disable him.

He moved the arms, digging both blades into the deformed, oversized ankles of Panthera Avis, one from each side, one towards the heel and one towards the front, cutting tendons and muscles.

If he could not cut his bones, then he would cut in between them. Sever the connections.

Panthera did not even scream as his foot was severed from his leg at the ankle, but his many faces snarled in a way that matched Hastur’s own snarl.

Brennus punched his leg aside, parting it completely from the foot, then activated the grappling hooks he had built into the two boxes at his hips.

The thin, ultra-strong wires shot against the ceiling, attaching themsleves their by their ‘hooks’ (the same devices he used for his boots to stick to walls). With a flick of his pinky, he made them reel in – but not equally. The left one was reeled in faster than the right one, tipping him onto his side as he rose, throwing Panthera Avis off.

Hastur’s monster fell down, unstable now without his foot and Brennus took the chance to push his left wristblade into his groin, letting the beast’s own weight and his own upward momentum pull the blade up and from groin to neck, splitting him nearly in half.

With a twitch of his ringfinger and some (very, very painful) shoulder movements, Brennus turned around in the air and landed on his feet, seemingly secure. He was not, of course, but the upside of fullbody powerarmor was that he could easily hide that.

Then again, his armor was so obviously broken, if it was not for his cloak he would probably look like a cautionary tale against frontline gadgeteers.

Great. I am running off on tangents again.

His arms hurt abominably, he had trouble breathing, his head was swimming and his legs had no strength left. On top of that, he felt like throwing up, first the contents of his stomach, then the bowels as well, just to be sure he was empty.

I need to end this. Get away.

He looked at his fallen foe – who was rising again, his wounds slowly mending, his foot regrowing while the other one began to rot in high-speed.

You have got to be kidding me! What does it take to put you down!?

“You have got to be kidding me! What does it take to put you down!?” shrieked Hastur in outrage, her sugar-like behaviour once more discarded in the face of her anger.

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107 thoughts on “B007 Hastur, Shrouded in Dread (Part 3)

  1. We learned that Brennus IS willing to kill if the situation calls for it. Glad that he does carry grenades, and at least acknowledges that you can never have too much Dakka. Remote matter detonation ray guns? Would those be similar to Gantz xguns? Word of warning if you have never heard of Gantz, it is one of the most bloody/graphic/violent creations ever put to paper. In that story the “guns” essentially shoots a energy that detonates matter. It fires until it hits something, then explodes inside the target after a delay though it has significant drawbacks. Such a creation would be a huge boon to Brennus, especially since only the toughest of metas could survive being shot more than once by it.

    It all comes down to money I see. Well short of taking a handout, I think he should sell his tech. Maybe anything he has created for medical use, or similar to his EMP protection. The problem is going to be to collect with his identity safe from being discovered. Maybe a fake tech company? If the economy is bad in the city, it should be relatively simple to hire some people to make it all legitimate, and make up fake researchers that no one sees for “security” reasons. Heck if corporations are given as much leeway as they are in our universe, it might be relatively simple to do. Then he can control what tech he gives out, make a tidy profit, and help the economy. Though he should forgo making a raven pun/symbol for it which might be hard for him to do.

    Looks like that Brennus will be doing some serious research after this fight. I recently have been playing x-com nonstop over the Christmas break and it reminded me that Brennus is still only one guy and has to prioritize his research and unlock greater tech further down the line. So what does he need?
    Possible research projects:
    A. HEAVY firepower. Something that is powerful enough to give even the toughest of metas pause, but could be scaled for more sensitive work. I’m thinking lazers you can do alot of interesting things with them and depending on how hard the tech is in your universe would be very versatile. A railgun might not be feasible since he can’t seem to make a powersource that is strong/small enough to power such a thing. The main issue is weight, and size. There is only so much room on his suit.
    B. Defense. Forcefields would really give him an edge, though also make him a giant target. This isn’t even getting into what governments would do to get their hands on him with the whole world war going on. Short of better armor, having another option for when super strong opponents get close is a must. Cyborg tentacles ala doctor octopus, gas, or those green blinding strobe lights the army uses?
    C. Robotics. He can build flying, birdlike robots. Surely he can build a bipedal large model he can control. Then he can have a useful expendable minion/s that can carry equipment, act like a meatshield, and be used for a variety of situations. Sovereign built something similar. Though lacking forcefields, for the moment anyway, he can’t rely too much on them or a technology controlling meta would take advantage of him. Even better if he can make them look human to hide in plain sight.
    d. Powersource. His battery isn’t good enough yet. Maybe something similar to modular batteries might help that are easy to exchange/replace on the fly. If one battery only lasts so long, then have his ravens or specially made drones just carry dozens of them to easily replace in battle.

    The battle is going well, but she is still not taking things seriously. All she has to do is keep teleporting around and avoid the heroes while she affects all the civilians. Good chapter, will vote for the story right now.

      • That might be too high tech for him. Such an invention would mean universal free power everywhere on earth if they can make it work through satellites. Brennus would almost certainly share such an invention as the pros for humanity outweigh the potential cons.

      • In an earlier chapter he is shown to be working on some sort of combat android for the fourth member of their team. Thought it seems like with Macian’s infulence its going to be option one.

    • Forcefields really aren’t an option. Thus far the only person in a world full of gadgeteers who’s managed to figure one out is ruling a continent because of it. I mean, maybe he could heterodyne something with Polymnia based on her sonic barriers, but that would likely take absurd amounts of power to maintain and have multiple big vulnerabilities.

      Any battery light enough for a raven to carry, he’d do better just installing another of it in his suit. I figure he’s probably near the practical limits and would need an entirely new source or a much denser storage medium; in the meanwhile he’ll have to work on efficiency.

      Hmm. Perhaps the two problems could be combined somehow? Create a devise that converts a portion of the energy of enemy blows into power?

      • there were two known persones who had forcefields (one dead, one ruling a country) and macian had some too
        wireless power transmission is already possible (radio waves are one of those), only problemes are that you still need the energy you want to send, and that anyone can take that energy (you can’t charge people for it)

      • sad thing is, some of the most critical pieces of the blueprints existed only in Tesla’s head. and since that asshole J.P. Morgan cut funding when he realized that he couldn’t make quick money out of this (nevermind the prestige of such a project and the goodwill he’d generate), they were never brought to paper.

        a few years back, I heard that some people at the MIT managed to wirelessly transmit energy over a few feet distance, but that they’re still not able to go beyond that

      • Oh, it’s easy to transmit energy (microwave would be better than radio, but almost anything works). The problem is that it’s less like an invisible wire and more like having a flashlight on one end and a solar panel on the other; you lose a lot of energy in the middle, and you’re either broadcasting over the whole town (and needing the energy you emit on one end to be massively larger than what’s required to operate on the receiving end, and increasing exponentially with the operational range you want) or trying to constantly track your suit with a narrow directional transmitter, which still takes many times the power you’d actually receive and loses out over distance, but also requires you to constantly redirect your (massive, super high energy) transmitter to track your movements in the field. And any system you use would be easy for a prepared enemy to block, make your secret base glow like the Vegas Strip to anybody paying attention to EM, and in the case of a directional system also point a big glowing arrow directly at your own position in the field.

    • I think that power supply is the main hurdle he needs to get over. A lot of what he can add on for heavy firepower to his suit is limited because of his power problem. What ever he comes up with, it should be able to power and/or recharge foreign devices (car batteries, medical equipment, etc.) for emergency situations and still have enough juice to do whatever he needs to do.

      The laser idea is probably best especially if he can adjust the beam angle and can make it strong enough to carve through a 1″ titanium plate in under a second. A wide beam setting that is strong enough to blind instantly within 20m would be amazingly useful.

    • Portals fucking portals.

      If he wants to go overpowered portals are the way to go, dropping your enemies from wherever, getting wherever, getting a powercord to wherever, and creating shields..

      If he can do portals/teleport (or partial teleportation if he wants to go offensive) are imho the strongest powers around (..I always wanted to scream at Paige from Charmed, girl teleport his head off!!)

      On another note, I am surprised Brennus still has his eyes xD.

      • And exactly what precedent is there for portals even being a thing that can be created by Gadgeteers in this world? Let alone something that wouldn’t require a great big room full of equipment and a city grid worth of power on both ends?

      • I’m with you portals can be a mean weapon in and of themselves and depending on range, where you can open them and how exactly they interact with physics pretty devastating.
        But I think that just like with shields or distributing energy (through microwaves or whatnot) that its too advanced at this moment in the story and would make him too powerful. So I think at least for a very long time we are not going to see that.

      • @Sindri, oh I guess you are right. I just kinda assumed that something along those lines was hidden by the Dark (how else is Macian gonna bring the fight to the Savage Six).

  2. And here we see a decently equipped Gadgeteer. Not properly equipped yet (didn’t even make his wristblades hum, let alone bring along any wide-area high-temperature incendiaries), but far better than most. Assuming that they can’t regenerate from spatters, he has successfully removed most of Hastur’s mobility in the first engagement at the low, low cost of all of his limbs and organs.

    And now we get to see if he waits for (tech enhanced, but still slow) natural healing, or decides the situation is urgent enough to warrant self-modification to get himself back to fighting form.

    • If there are dedicated soldier units of cyborgs, and medical implants than I don’t see why he wouldn’t upgrade himself in some way. Considering his girlfriend’s predicament, he is probably already researching artificial limbs/organs in some way.

  3. Where are the reinforcements when you really need them eh? I think with two broken arms and his energy down to under 50% he s right he ll lose if the cavalry doesn’t charge in soon.

    Regarding the Tech discussion the way I understand it Forcefields are to hard to built yes thanks to whatever Macians connection to him is I think ultimately he ll be able to figure something out but until then my money is on the firepower (and the remote detonators from the first chapter would do nicely if they worked) or Improving his Batteries maybe even building a miniature fusion reactor for the suit or go with theants idea and make them replacable.
    In regards to minions I’m not sure I’d go with human sized robots. I think his ravens if produced in high enough numbers have that covered and if he improves them ( lazereyes, sonic weaponry, humming blade tech for the beaks or claws and what have you maybe the remote detonator once he’s figured it out).
    But ultimately what Brennus needs to do in my opinion is stop going on patrol until he has built equipment that can hold up to it and spend his time instead actually doing research and building it. I m pretty sure Tyche would die from boredom but Hecate could use the time also to improve her equipment.

    For money he could try to get the UH to pay him for his EMP or reactivate his search programm from the beginning the way I understood it it was pure coincidence that he found the mobs money again so it was probably written for a broader purpose or if he is willing to spend the time the fake techfirm could be an option too.

    one typo:
    humming lade

    • Truthfully I think you can make the ravens capable of exploding and you can get the same damage. Just have them pick up bombs. But for anything else, I think the ravens are too small and fragile. Though I think he should build a drone that is small but can carry heavier loads so it can just carry emergency supplies. Since there is a limited amount of space on his person, just have hidden supply caches around the city and have the drones deliver what he needs like medical supplies, ammo, or tools.

      I picture a model whose primary use is for defense. A walking meatshield that can take/block hits to protect the team. It really doesn’t have to be humanoid, only that having hands/thumbs allow it to pick up different weapons/equipment as needed and legs might make it very mobile if they can actually make it capable of not falling over while trying to walk. Tank treads make it too slow, wheels can’t handle difficult terrain, and it’s unknown if hovering ability exists in this verse. The bigger it is, the harder it is to hide/more power it requires. At the end of the day people will be trying to track it back to the home base, so it has to be small enough to hide. I am also not sure how hard the rules of physics are for gadgeteers since any humanoid robot can’t be took big or it will be crushed under it’s own weight.

      • True enough you don’t need to go high tech when all you want is a little explosion.

        The way I pictured it there would be specialized models for whatever he required (also bigger ones though you are right there would be a practical upper limit and thus they d not be good at defense) and if there are huge swarms of ravens they should be able to hide in them. Since they are already flying and relatively inconspicuous this would provide versatility and mobility and in case they would be built give Brennus the option of striking wherever he wanted with his tech without his team having to go into dangerous situations and have enough spare parts floating around that should he need to built something on the battlefield again he could do so without having to cannibalize his personal equipment.

        I agree that a way of deploying emergency supplies and a battle droid i.e. controlled by Eudocia would give the team more options and survivability. I only thought that modifying an already existing autonomous robot would be easier than building a new series. Though I think if he builds something with the express purpose of taking hits and getting hurt instead of his team he ll have to take pains to make sure their tech will not be compromised because sooner or later they ll have to retreat while leaving them or their hulks behind.

        Both options however are unlikely as long as he doesn’t find a good source of income since I believe robot armies of any kind are sort of expensive.

  4. He reeeeeealy needs those reinforcements right now. He has no way to beat two extremely high level regenerators especially when one has super strength. He can’t even improvise new weapons (like a bomb) because he can’t use his hands. Where is Gloomy!? Is she taking a coffee break? Her power should have automatically alerted her of his location and situation. Next time, he should steal even more money and from a wider variety of criminals instead if just one gang.

      • Pretty sure Gloomy was still dealing with the dung kaiju, before it added a third digit to its body count.

        And iirc he got really lucky with that initial heist; any serious criminals that easy to rob over the internet would have already been hit (and wouldn’t be serious criminals).
        On the other hand, if he would patent the ceramic he’s using for his armor? Something with that kind of strength to weight, which can be made transparent with a small tweak to the formula? It would take a while, and require a decent front to put the paperwork through, but it’d make him billions in the long run.
        Or he could sell his stun guns to, say, SWAT teams. Smaller payoff, but faster and more likely to go smoothly through a superhero identity. He has all this stuff lying around that could be funding everything else he wants if he were just willing to let others see it, but his mind immediately goes to robbery or indenturing himself to a team.

      • Patenting the technology that pretty surely is recognizable to be what Brennus uses in my opinion is not the wisest move he could make.
        When he submits it I wouldn’t be surprised if watchdogs for the UH would connect them and thus either try to trace him through his payments or flat out built a sting operation and take him in as a vigilante to then try to coerce (force is to strong a word and the government and connected agencies are the good guys right) him to work for them.
        No I think if he wants to make money by patenting some technology he ll have to spend time to come up with something new for that purpose. He may also use that in his Brennus persona but only after his technology was made available to the public as to not draw connections.

      • Well the problem is that being able to patent anything will cause his identity to be revealed. I still say he should find a regular old human, have them start a small company with what money he has left, and have this person be the face of it. He can patent things under the companies brand, get a large amount of funds under research and development. Any secrecy is easily explained as protection for corporate espionage.

      • The problem with that is trust and believability.
        We are talking about an extraordinary amount of money here so whoever he puts in charge of that better be trustworthy and loyal.
        And simply getting say his friend to play the role of CEO/Genius Inventor would be a hard sell as to his credentials.Among the people they already know I don’t know of anyone who’d fit that role.

  5. Well, Brennus just reminded us again why super tech geniuses are the worst enemy in a batlefield. I remember some character in other seting saying something like: danm tinkers.

  6. Brennus needs to equip attack and defence drones similar to those in the Gundam franchise. Since he absolutely sucks in close combat against metahumans with physical powers there may be a need to sacrifice speed for heavy armour or at least ME2/3 style combat hard-suits with a “triple canopy” of protection: shields, armor, and self-repair.

    • Shields aren’t a valid option until and unless he cracks Sovereign tech. And self repair on a complex system is even harder than it looks (and it looks pretty damn hard). Without mass effect fields and omnigel, he’s pretty much stuck with just armor.

      He could add another layer by hardening his own body through modifications, but he’s been understandably reluctant to do that (at least until he has time to develop better tech for it). And he might add a medical suite to his armor (automatically splinting broken bones, applying local anaesthetics to serious wounds, preventing bleeding, etc) but it wouldn’t do much good unless it were more durable than whatever armor the attack went through to inflict an injury in the first place.

      But yes, combat drones should be a priority. Which means that getting the money for combat drones is a priority, since he does have limits to his resources and complex disposable war machines are kind of a drain on funds.

  7. Hmm I am with sindri on the getting energy from enemy attacks part, I mean reactor, battery, relayed all have their advantages and and it would fit Brennus to have multiple solutions implemented, but the special advantage of this solution is that in most cases energy supply increases with energy need.
    Also I am a fan of design principles like Mannequins from Worm, bending instead of braking using elastic forces etc.
    I think I would try to develop a mix between a ferrofluid and a memory metal(in its non fluid state), damage can be easily repaired the ferrofluid could be used like a reactive armor and thx to it being a memory metal energy can be extracted from its deformation.
    Combine this with strong magnetic field generators(probably due to high temperature superconductors) that help to manipulate and reshape the armour and can be put to variable uses based on configurations: manipulating plasma, maybe improvising a rail gun, producing EMP, temporarily reinforcing steel girders(secondary uses in lasers or fusion chambers are imaginably) and other uses I did not yet think of.
    That would be a good bases for “flexible” equipment that is able to fully use a gadgeteers strength of improvising technical solutions on the spot.

    • Ferrofluid armor? Even if that weren’t going to cost more energy than he can possibly carry, it would be a lot less protection value than his current ceramic plating. The fact that your armor can reform itself will be a great comfort I’m sure after you get stabbed in the heart right through your now unmarked breastplate.

      As for recharging from enemy attacks… with heat or light based attacks it’s easy; with the proper skin coating every fireball and laser blast is just giving you more power (at least below the power threshold where they burn through anyway). Kinetic attacks are more difficult. You could do multiple layers with fluids or springs between, to get energy out when pressure or impact is applied, but that would likely be less durable than the equivalent weight and cost of more solid armor. You could set up the joints of the power armor to give you back energy when an outside force bends them; that would give you (very) slow recharging just from walking around if you were strong enough to walk in your armor without powered assistance, and would give you an extra jolt whenever you get grappled or hit hard enough to launch you about, it would probably be as or more effective than just locking the joints to prevent damage, and it would give you back a chunk of the power used to jump or run with powered assistance. Of course it ought to be relatively easy to recharge through electrical or magnetic attacks, and it would be a very nice additional screw you to anybody who tried to EMP him.

      • The ferrofluid would of course be applied as an additional layer to his current ceramic otherwise it would compromise his electric insulation.And with superconductors the energy need for maintaining strong magnetic fields drops drastically.
        The problem with a straightforward approach to recharging is that each energy needs different mechanism to be converted so you would have to compromise on other parts. The idea with the memory metal ferrofluid is to take the aftereffects of an attack(deformation, caused by kinetic energy or heat) and convert them into electricity, that way we can absorb energy from a large palette of different attacks.

      • Superconductors are cool. They are not magic. And they definitely do not let you ignore conservation of energy. Yes, the lack of resistance would let you run an electromagnet without a load for an effectively unlimited time, but one that is carrying heavy armor would drain, and much more rapidly every time you moved while wearing it (let alone took attacks).

        Meanwhile, the ferrofluid layer itself would grant some protection, but much less than the equivalent weight of conventional armor. So even ignoring the (huge) power issues it would be a much worse encumberance-to-defense ratio than simple plating.

    • I am not sure we have the same concept in mind maybe I am using the term reactive armour wrongly so I will try to describe what I imagine more closely than you can tell me were I am overlooking something.

      (ok found my first mistake what I am refering to is more likely a Magnetorheologic fluid)
      We have a magnetic fluid that when a strong magnetic field is applied changes phase into a Shape-memory alloy.
      We have superconductors we charge in order to create this magnetic field solidifying the fluid into an armor, by increasing the magnetic field we give the armor additional stability, because the molecules are forced to allign along the magnetic field lines any force that tries to move molecules vertical to them will be weakened.(absorbing the energy into a deformation of the magnetic field lines) .
      Now if we either increase the magnetic field previous to impact, let the impact trigger a pumping of current into the local superconductors, or the distortion itself triggers a current we feed into the local superconductor we have a reactive reinforcement of the armor. (pumping would consume energy which we however atleast partially can get back by reversing the process ).
      Now the memory properties of the alloy lead to a reversal of any deformation which given the magnetic properties of the material can be used to create a current, together with the magnetic oscillations caused by the deformation of the magnetic field this could be used to recharge the batteries.
      Now even the best material as long as its solid will suffer fissures and rifts
      so after a fight you turn down the magnetic field the armor liquefies and can be reshaped.
      1) Any physical armor is limited trough the strength of atomic bonding
      using some external field seems like the only way to go beyond the limits of normal toughness—> can not understand why encumberance to defense
      ratio should be worse
      2) The only energy requirements of the armor are moving(same as with ceramic alloy) maintainence of the magnetic field and any pumping of currents.—> thx to the superconductors maintaining the field is energy efficient, pumping current creates a potential difference that can be converted back into energy.
      The only factor besides active draining we are not sure about is if magnetic field deformation drains more energy then we can get from it(we do not even know if the deformation drains energy, though I suspect it)

      • Magnetorheologic fluids are very dense and have very low strength compared to actual solids. They’re very useful for a lot of applications, but only ones in which fine control over properties is more important than extreme properties themselves. So they would be great for control surfaces, and all manner of robotics, and perhaps an inner layer to the armor to transfer force between plating and the squishy body inside more safely, but if you took the same weight of magnetorheologic fluid and, say, iron you would never get the first to resist damage nearly as well as the second. And given that Brennus went so far as to invent his own ceramic because nothing which could be purchased was good enough for his armor, he’s using something a hell of a lot harder and stronger and lighter than iron.

        The reactive reinforcement you speak of doesn’t really work, because while you can make a magnetorheologic fluid stronger with more powerful fields, there are serious diminishing returns and the upper limit is a lot lower than anything you would want for armor; after a point particles are just as aligned as they’re going to get and the resultant material just isn’t sufficient.

        Not to mention the fact that if you ever lost the field for a moment, or tried to allow it to reform itself after damage, it would just fall away completely as an oily liquid.

        But you have given me several interesting ideas for the next generation of ravenbots…

      • hmm I see though wonder where the limits in the reinforcement come from afterall its the magnetic field you try to dislocate molecule against not bonding forces between molecules, maybe the molecules itself can not take the stress and degrade rather than taking the stress from oncoming force.
        Ah well another idea how about coating the armor with something that turns highly adhesive under enough stress? it would provide friction against the sides of a blade preventing deeper penetration and if the adhesive consist magnetic or easy to ionize components you could use a magnetic field on a previous magnetical neutral object.
        You would have to recoat regulary but if you continously get stabbed in the same spot during a fight you are doing something wrong anyway.

      • My understanding of the way a magnetorheologic fluid works, basically, is that you have a suspension of tiny rods on oil, and when a field is applied they align themselves and stick together, taking on most of the properties of a solid. By modulating the field you can determine to what degree they align and thus get whatever properties you want on the fly between ‘oil with grit in it’ to ‘decent pseudo-polymer solid’. But once it aligns all the way that’s pretty much it, and the maximum shear strength of anything that’s been done or theorized yet is somewhere in the 1100 kPa range iirc, and even that requires you to pressurize it (not really an option on the outer layer of armor). Even simple steel is typically rated in the hundreds of MPa, so magnetorheologic armor would only have resistance to cutting and stabbing equivalent to about a hundredth of its thickness of steel.

        As for the adhesive, it might be useful in a grapple and would certainly throw off enemies reliant on melee who didn’t expect it, but friction is pretty much a non-factor in armor penetration. The force required to tear through a metal (or ceramic, or cloth, or whatever) is several orders of magnitude more than the force required to slide over its surface, even covered in glue. I’m guessing this is based on the old ‘teflon coated armor piercing bullets’ myth (the coating is to reduce wear on the barrel, and they actually use harder, denser, and pointier bullets to defeat armor).

  8. Why doesn’t he make a sort of empty shell robot, with no programming, but cameras and mics and whatnot. Then, he justs pops the Eudocia Cube in it, and he’s got a very high functioning robosidekick!

  9. Lots and lots of nice ideas floating around. Instead of answering every one post up until now individually, I’ll just give a slew of replies here.

    Alright, where do I start?

    1. Ferrofluid armor:
    I thought about this. A lot. I discarded it early on. Even taking into account that Gadgeteers can reach into the realm of super-science (let’s face it, there is no currently known way, not even a solid theory, as to make teleportation and force fields work), a ferrofluid armor sounds neat, but it’s simply not worth the effort. Sindri has already summed up why.
    A contrived ferrofluid armor could be kickass, but a Gadgeteer version, if it was ever made, would just not be worth it, even if one had a sufficient energy supply to make it work.

    2. New Energy Supply:
    Intentionally limited. He WILL come up with better stuff, but the thing is that, even now, energy supply is one of his biggest limiters – Brennus power would increase exponentially with the increase of his available energy supply. Not necessarily in terms of raw power, but in terms of sheer versatility.

    3. Recharge through attacks:
    see above regarding the energy supply. Also, this is a very dangerous method in and off itself. The joints returning energy from being bent by outside forces are great, and one of the upgrades I had planned for his next armor – but absorbing impacts from attacks, or energy from fire, lightning etc. is very, very risky. Not only might he misjudge how powerful the attack is – there is NO way to tell how a power would interact with that system. For example, Fire Burial’s flames could be absorbed that way… but her secondary power would then destroy his entire armor from the inside.
    powers are way too diverse to depend on this kind of system, though it might be situationally useful

    4. Robots:
    Way, WAY too expensive. Even if he made one, maintainance alone would eat up his budget and time.

    5. Drones:
    Something for when he’s got better funding.

    6. Wireless Energy Transmission:
    Instant World Domination.
    Or at least damn close. I mean, the Great and Mighty (Insane) Tesla managed this, but it was unfortunately lost when he died.
    But this kind of tech would instantly change the whole world, because Basil WOULD go public with this.

    7. Self-Modification:
    Really damn risky, considering both the inherent risks as well as all the powers that might be able to screw with him if he was partially artificial.
    But even if it wasn’t for those risks, he’d still refuse to turn himself into a cyborg. He’d have no idea why, but he’d refuse to.

    8. Patenting Stuff:
    no way to keep his identity secret. Between all the super-smart or otherwise Perception-gifted metahumans out there and the UH’ and the governments policies about regulating advanced science (they get REAL jumpy whenever there is a supposed new genius out there – which is a very intelligent reaction in this world), he’d have it all blown open within days at best.

    • Why not sell things as Brennus, rather than through his mild mannered alter ego? Show up for business meetings in full armor, refuse to deal with anybody who demands the legal identity or identification of their supplier… like how the black market supervillain tech is presumably distributed, but selling to freelance heroes, police forces, or military instead of to the likes of Snow Queen. (Personally I’d have no problem selling to the Queen or other relatively harmless and civic minded villains, but I suspect that Brennus and the authorities would take a less tolerant view of it)

      Or alternatively, the big superteams have got to have systems in place for such things unless they want to cripple their own funding and their tech guys’ options. They would obviously want him to join first and he would obviously refuse to take instructions from them or anybody else, but gadgeteers are rare and special enough that they could probably make an exception for the purposes of a business deal, and they’d be fools to not take advantage of the offer after seeing the EMP protection and the suits he supplied to his own team.

      • Just something like selling individual dragonscale suits to the heroes who don’t have their own power armor or invulnerability powers would probably save a lot of lives and make lots of thousands of dollars, and he whipped up the first one of those in what, a week including the chemical engineering to fit aesthetic preference?

      • In regards to the instruction the UJH were given to always rope gadgeteers in and cut deals with them I think this could be a possibility though he’d have to make damn sure the tech he sells is not to easy to reverse engineer or he might be giving pointers as to how to take him down.
        Also if he does that showing up himself is not necessary he seems to be well versed in using computers (programms and an AI) so the deal could be made electronically and he could figure out a way of delivery (deaddrops or the drones that are floating around as ideas or maybe only blueprints if the tech is not too near his actually used gear). That way there wouldn’t be a need to wager on all trade partners always being friendly.
        And really you’d have no problem selling to the Queen a known drug dealer? Idk but I hope Brennus would take the less tolerant option there.

      • I’m up for this plan. Things are desperate enough with the whole world war going on that I can see an exception being made. Or cut out the middle man and put up a website describing what you are selling. If they send him the money and are from a accredited source, send them the blueprints. There ARE people who want to give him money for his tech, he has to just reach them without something going wrong.

      • @Ellert
        The Snow Queen doesn’t kill, I got the impression she doesn’t sell to kids, she doesn’t have any apocalyptic aspirations, and when a bigger problem came along she was immediately risking her own life on the front lines to defend others. She has the raw power to be a class A+ threat, but has operated for years without so much as drawing the attention of the heroes. When she was attacked by a bundle of unknown teenage vigilantes, she deliberately held back even to the point of losing the fight (and hundreds of thousands of dollars) rather than risking serious injury or death to her assailants.

        Yes, she deals in things that destroy lives. She’s far from being a good person by most of the usual standards. But you’re never going to eliminate crime entirely, and I think I prefer The Snow Queen over whoever else would fill her niche in her absence, because she’s scary enough to keep down the petty thugs who would otherwise run the drug trade and moral enough to live with. And she’s certainly a shrewd and practical businesswoman regardless of the business, so once you determine that you’re going to live with her is it really that hard to imagine a mutually beneficial working relationship?

        Yeah, okay, if I were a metahuman I’d almost certainly end up on the ‘minor villain’ end of the scale, or rogue at best. No heroes here…

      • I agree with your assessment of the snow queen and I can even understand the reasoning behind letting her stay in control of her trade but for me I draw the line at actually helping someone like that. You said it yourself she deals in things that destroy lives.
        And selling her tech like what Brennus has to offer I think that would be helping.
        Maybe I’m too idealistic but as I see it the reason why there’ll always be crime is exactly reasoning like you just did. It will always be there so why not let me benefit from it.
        Maybe thats why I like superhero story’s you can go out punch a bad guy in the face and the world will be a better place for it.

      • See, once we have concluded that the world is probably a better place for having this person alive, I would conclude that there is no evil in making her more likely to survive longer via improved defensive tech. If you were directly contributing to hurting more people by say, providing weapons to terrorists, or even providing armor to thieves and murderers (allowing them to do more theft and murder without fear of the police), that would be going too far and causing more evil to happen for personal profit. But the Snow Queen doesn’t attack or even rob people; she only destroys the lives of people who give her money to destroy their lives. When she is violent it’s probably going to be against other, worse criminals, and we already know that she avoids killing them. For that matter, the closer to invulnerable she is the more leeway she can afford to give people in combat and thus the less likely she is to accidentally inflict something fatal by going too far in self defense. So by giving her better armor, or even non-lethal weaponry or whatever, you are not contributing to anything evil, reducing the incidental damage that comes with the business, reducing the chance of somebody worse taking over, and redirecting lot of money away from other criminals and towards heroism.

        I’m not saying ‘sell to all the criminals’. I’m saying find those few who the world would be a significantly worse place without (and who have enough funds to make all the work finding and vetting them worthwhile), and establish solid long-term working relationships to give you a good flow of income and keep their territory more stable and peaceful.

      • I think you have a too positive view of her since I don’t have much to work with let me ask you one single question:
        What do you think would have happened to Danny (and following from that Aimi) had Brennus not shown up?
        Selling drugs and destroying lives is her business and she will do what keeps that business running. As I said I can understand the reasoning behind letting her stay in control. It provides stability sure but do not fool yourself into thinking only the lives of people who choose so are affected by it.
        My feeling and thus probably what I would have tryed to do too if I had superpowers are pretty near what Brennus tryed to do:
        Go there and punch her lights out and get her arrested. And then when the next guy shows up to take over do the exact same thing to him.
        Probably shortsighted and as I even agree can lead to an even worse situation but I could continue looking into the mirror without wincing and lets face it letting the drug dealer continue her work doesn’t really sound heroic now does it?

      • the problem with those would also be one of PR – Sovereign uses them heavily. His are basically flying drones named ‘Subjugators’ and their mere silhouette has become a symbol of oppression

      • So you are saying if he built them they’d be a weapon of last resort. Under the right circumstances even a symbol of oppression could be reassuring. Because it implies they are invincible, indomitable and unopposable and if the situation is dire enough you can screw PR.
        I know it won’t happen but man keep the dream alive^^

    • I think one could simulate forcefields without going star trek using sound something akin to ( http://www.ltnt.ethz.ch/people/dforesti/ )

      For money generation how about the stock market? (though I’d think that it doesn’t exist with the existence of precogs/probability manipulators/..)
      Or using the AI for Hollywood, I think there is an entire industry of poor souls that manually cut hair from the background frame by frame, or selling CPU power to Pixar for rendering😄.

      Maybe using some form of piezoelectric crystals in the armor? (It would look pretty cool if the armor starts shooting lightningbolts on deformation)

      • stock market is monitored by a small army of highly trained, highly paid perception-powered metas of all useful flavours who enjoy a security standard comparable to the president of the PATO.

        hollywood has all kinds of metahumans working for them (special effects look really realistic when there actually IS an alien in the room trying to eat you – or at least acting that way)

      • Yeah, Polymnia already has something akin to a forcefield, at least physically speaking, but my impression is the sonic cage needs to be calibrated and maintained by a dedicated gadgeteer, and chews through a lot of power. Plus it couldn’t do anything to attacks which aren’t based on moving objects (as a rule of thumb, if you can see through the barrier, you can fire a laser through it), and it’d probably need to be specially calibrated to the target on the spot making it mostly useless against surprise attacks and such. I do have high hopes for what Poly and Brennus could achieve in this field while heterodyned, but that would probably require about a week of those two being together and uninterrupted.

        And Sovereign’s forcefields are on a whole different level if they can be deployed en masse by simple robot soldiers, and somehow stop even technopathic control. Really more of a globe of invulnerability than a simple forcefield, and massively more versitile and efficient than anything I can think of without simply ignoring physics.

      • okay mhh

        getting paid for not building another Sonic Masher Of God xD?
        robbing Goldman & Sachs?
        some convoluted scheme redirecting click origins on advertising companies?
        ..maybe with the 3D processor designs he can break some encryptions?
        sell his fusion energy to energy companies?

        now that I think of it slight modifications to the force cage should Polymnia allow to fly (just stand on top of it^^).

    • Funding:-
      He could start beating up pimps and drug dealers to rob them of their cash but that’s just chump change. Ideally, he can:-

      1. Investigate VERY expensive High Class Call Girls just to get his hands on their “little black books” then
      2. Sift through the names for government bureaucrats and politicians
      3. Do a full audit of their finances and if they have more assets then declared to the tax man,
      4. Seize and liquidate those excess assets with the same program he used to rob the Mafia (after all how can they report to the police that they have been robbed of proceeds from their corruption?)
      5. Continue to have financial surveillance on those government bureaucrats and politicians as well as investigating their cronies and rivals & if they’re the same/continuing with their corruption,
      6. Profit! Instant stable of cash cows!

    • Ok I already refuted some of Sindris arguments above(combined armor, superconductors giving energy efficiency) let me just add, that the important feature of such an armor is that it can be used as an reactive armor.
      Energy lost by attacks deforming the magnetic fields used for the reactive part of the armor could probably be retrieved from the oscillations in the magnetic field resulting from such an attack.

      • There are two kinds of reactive armor. The simple way requires you to drape explosives over your vehicle, and they get used up every time you get hit. The way that might work on power armor requires the expenditure of ludicrous amounts of energy whenever you get hit, plus a low level field just to function. Given that power is currently his big limiting factor, reactive armor is not a good idea.

  10. On top of that, he felt like throwing up, first the contents of his bowels, then the bowels as well, just to be sure he was empty.

    Should the first bowels be stomach instead?

    • I blame the videogames. But seriously she was probably not all there, and the average person might treat it as killing a zombie. Considering the large amount of metas, a zombie epidemic might have actually existed at some point. Heck can’t we call Hastur’s minions zombies?

      • I was struggling with how to respond to this. Because there may actually be a way to cure the people who got hit by Hastur and the average Zombie as I think of it is more of a brainless thug than the hive-minding wankers these guys seem to be.
        But for finding a cure there simply isn’t enough time and so being “brutal” probably really is the only viable option. Put them down hard and fast and make sure they stay down and don’t suffer to much for it.
        I wouldn’t however be to sure about him not feeling to much about it. The shakes normally only come when its over and your mind got the time to actually process whats been done and only after that you can even really try to get to grips with it (at least thats how I understand it).
        So I wouldn’t be to sure about him not feeling to strongly about it; keeping in mind his reaction about finding out what happened to the guy in charge of securing the mobs money he may actually be hit pretty hard by this once he’s got time to process it.
        Regarding a “Zombie Plague”: All it needs is one goddamn contriver who played too much AD&D and bam just like theant said it probably existed at one or multiple times.

      • Hey, AD&D zombies aren’t even contagious, and had to each be deliberately crafted by the necromancer in person. Zombie plagues are a strictly pop-culture thing.
        But yeah, combine the fact that contrivers break science with the fact that the vast majority of them are crazy, and you probably get all kinds of zombie virus.

      • And frankly thats the way I like it if I have to have a goddamn abomination against nature set out to eat my brains I at least want it handcrafted for that express purpose these modern zombie-virus-epidemics take all the personality out of it🙂

      • On the other hand, creating self-replicating monstrosities probably bumps you up to Class S fast, and mere zombie are not enough to keep you safe from the big time heroes that draws. So I suspect that most contrivers capable of and interested in zombies have either a) gone the cautious route and deliberately made it non-contagious or b) already been splattered with extreme prejudice before they could get too far.

        I bet The Dark could tell you some fun stories about ending would-be apocalypses. Ask Gloomy.

      • I’m pretty sure you are right regarding zombie contrivers but I just got a Thought. Isn’t Drusu with her biological terrorism right in this territory?
        I mean sure its not as in your face as Zombies but uncontrolled viruses and bacterias can spread just as fast since the way I see it they sort of are the inspiring factors behind ideas like zombie-epidemics.
        And she’s not caught yet so the will may be there to hunt such people down but the actual ability? I’m not so sure about that.

      • IIRC her creations were self-limiting; they’d kill a community but never go pandemic. Not sure whether this is to reduce her appeal as a target (currently the heroes all hate her, but she’s neither a global threat nor an annoyance to The Dark), or just because it would be too boring if everybody died of the same thing before she got enough variety in.

      • Unfortunately I can only agree with your post so I wouldn’t know where to take this discussion from here.
        I’ll therefore take the option of discussing other threads posted here so far.
        Now I hope you’ll take under advisement that I haven’t read up too heavily on those yet.
        Regarding Ferrofluid/Magnetorheologic fluids:
        My Impression is that you are arguing the benefits of those based on a pretty sturdy understanding of the current knowledge. My question now is do the limitations you stated stem from practical as of yet knowledge or theoretical?
        Because if you are basing your assessment on current practical boundaries the rules may be different in the Brennusverse (same if lesser with basing it on the current theoretical knowledge). As long as the supposed capabilities of the armor do not break what is know as the physical limits apliing AI-assisted near real time control with light based chips there may be benefits to including such tech in the armor.
        Distributing Energy:
        Your reply to Tieshaunn seemed somewhat focused on applications regarding one single superhero. I’m even less versed in Tesla-lore than with the fluids but the way I understood it the Energy transfer was more omnidirectional and any tech with the matching receiver may have benefited from it.
        If Brennus built something like this all he needed to do was make the energy-source movable and possibly burst activated by a signal he had to send to lower the chance of it being traced.

      • Yeah, my understanding of all our current wireless power transfer tech is that you emit energy and then anybody within range can catch as much of it as their receiver can intercept. So you could have a tower broadcasting omnidirectionally, and everybody in range with the right antenna could benefit from it, but the amount available would drop off by the square of the distance from the tower and you would have to pump way more energy into the broadcast than the total received by everything in the area. There are definitely uses for this (a tight beam focused on a satellite, for example), but it’s less practical than just stringing cables about in most circumstances.

        I get the impression that Tesla’s ideas on the subject were more because almost nobody has power cables strung up at the time than because wireless power transmission was the best option. The closest we have to a proof of concept was basically just a communication tower. It is entirely possible that we just still haven’t figured out what he was going to do there though; the man was a true Mad Scientist, casually and intuitively using concepts that took decades to work out formally after he died.

      • I personally am very sceptical of wireless power. It seems so very inefficiant. Tesla seemed to be more interesting in harnessing natural electic currents from what I’ve read about it, but he could have just been wrong/crazy.

      • Well, he proved wireless communication when everybody before him thought it was crazy to think so much as a telegraph could travel without a wire to carry it. Which is energy transfer, just with very small amounts of energy and a signal hidden in the waveform.

        Tesla was definitely crazy, but he was rarely wrong. In this case I think either he was more interested in the binary ‘is it possible’ than an actual practical application, or he knew something modern science still doesn’t.

      • he still holds the record for longest manmade lightning bolt

        he was notorious enough that people STILL believe an urban rumor that he was responsible for an earthquake in new york once

        he predicted the internet before WWII

        he claimed to be working on a tower-sized deathray that could vaporize an entire army in seconds and was only limited in range by the curvature of the earth. People took that claim serious

        he invented radar AS A SIDE PROJECT pre-1913. only reason the allies didn’t use it at the time was because Thomas Edison was in the defense commitee and he had a hate-on for Tesla going

        radio was invented by a guy who based all his work on some discarded stuff of Tesla’s.

        he created a “shower” that cleaned the whole body within a minute using only electrical currents… HE BATHED IN LIGHTNING

        in the 30s, he managed to light an entire field full of lightbulbs with a generator from several kilometers away, with no physical connection between them at all

        after his death, his entire life’s work was confiscated by the FBI and has still not been released to the public

        I think it’s fairly safe to assume that he knew more than just a few things that we still haven’t figured out

      • To be fair, it wasn’t a whole earthquake. Just one building across the street shaking when he hit its resonant frequency.

        But yeah, a lot of what he did casually was based on concepts humanity didn’t formally figure out until decades after his death. Possibly the most tragic thing is one of his big workshops got burned down by (probably) Edison(‘ minions), and like most mad scientists Tesla was not big on backups. So a lot of his life’s work, including almost certainly some world-changing inventions that didn’t exist anywhere else, were lost forever to a petty grudge. I am largely okay with the government confiscating information that would be incredibly dangerous, I am very not okay with information being destroyed.

  11. The moment you realize discussions you took part in made the actual story about one third of the page’s worth of scrolling. Weird isn’t it? Apparently Tieshaunn did something right with this part of the story.

  12. I completed the archive binge (linked from Wildbow’s WordPress) late last week, so this is the first post I had to wait for.
    … waits for PG … oh, right, no PG here
    This is quite good fiction – I will definitely be continuing to read this. There are a lot of things going right here:
    —The tech talk strikes a good balance between too much detail and hand-waving, which is hard to do.
    —The characters are generally well fleshed out. A few feel a little flat, but that might be a limitation on how much face time you can give them.
    —The world seems to have a solid history and power basis, with some interested hints as to that background, which is slowly being expanded. I am always annoyed by the “multi-source” worlds that allow tech, magic, psi, aliens, etc. so I am happy this is not one of those.

    Now, one question I haven’t found a good answer to:
    If your first child is DiL, why the ~!@#$%^&*()_+-= do you go for a second?

    And a contribution to the current discussion:
    Next gen armor:
    1. Anybody here ever seen a brush with retractable bristles? Do the same for patches of Brennus’s armor but make the bristles his vibrating blades. The next person to grab gets shredded, and you can use it to shred anything that needs it.
    2. Disposable shells for the armor, in sections, rigged with self-destructs. The outer shell has battery packs that are used first, as well as armor. When a section gets damaged or low on battery, use the self-destruct and turn the section into a grenade, explosive or thermite style.
    As far as money goes:
    3. The “sell as Brennus” is probably the best long term plan. Short term, if he wants serious money he can pull his account penetration trick on hedge funds or the US government’s accounts, at the cost of having enemies who have serious resources to spend against him.
    4. A world with threats like DiL and others must have abandoned cities. Take some bots that are much simpler than the ravens and scour them for materials – there are probably a lot of abandoned materials that high tech scans could turn up. That doesn’t give him money, but it does solve some material problems, and he could possible turn up fungible materials that way.
    5. Put his AI on day trading or online gambling. If that construct can’t beat out merely human players then something is wrong.

    • #5 seems unwise; tieshaunn has said that there are teams of Thinkers and perception-types monitoring the stock market and such to prevent probability warpers and precogs from gaming things. So it might work, but it also has a high chance of your nice little AI being discovered by big nasty corporations or governments and traced back.

      I really like your idea for #4 though, sending scavengerbots (presumably with a suitably anonymous design and self-destruct systems) to scour the craters and ruins left behind by Class S battles.

      As for #2, wear some power armor over your power armor? Have you been watching Gurren Lagann?😛

      • Lagann is awesome. But I’m afraid it would fall under contriving, not gadgeteering.

        Not that that’s bad thing – Lagann does not care about puny laws of nature!

      • His is the humming blade that shall pierce the heavens?

        Why would the idea of wearing power armor over power armor be contriving?
        I could imagine there being benefits to the idea. Power armor does have some restrictions i.e it may not overtax the wearers physical abilities (breaking your arm because the punch you were about to throw exerted to much strain on it sounds like a bad thing). I’m not sure thats too far removed from say the suits fighter pilots need to wear to withstand g-forces.
        A Ravenmech built around the pilot being able to take whatever strain Brennus’s armor enables him to take doesn’t sound like the worst possible idea to me. Sure a single purposely built Powered Armor to that size would probably be more effective but this way (also with the modular design Unmaker proposed) he could continue fighting with at least some protection even should it take a hit that forced him to eject.

        Regarding Energy broadcasting:
        I understand its utterly wasteful but the objections Sindri stated to it would mostly apply to an economic use. For Brennus’s specific situation who cares if 80% of it are lost in the transmission as long as the power source thats hooked up to the sender is big enough and a generator that is capable of possible supplying at least part of a town should suffice to recharge batteries however far advanced.

      • I was referring to the whole “anything works so long as it looks/sounds/is awesome” power of the lagann, not layered power armor

        unfortunately, galaxy-sized galaxy shurikens are beyond even a transcendent contriver…

      • You only get 80% losses if the receiver covers a full 20% of the output of the device; on a wide emission that would require the receiver to cover like, a 40 degree arc of the sky from the tower’s point of view?. Realistically we’re looking at more like 99.999% losses, with all that extra energy acting as a great big beacon to his enemies. Or maybe as low as 99.9%, with *Eudocia tracking him with a narrow beam transmission (and pointing a great big arrow at his location in the field.

        Powered armor inside a mecha seems like a decent idea (perhaps not ideal, as the increase in cockpit size and durability limits your mecha design, but as you pointed out it’s nice to have options [and if the user interface is a limiting factor in material or tech or whatever, it’d probably be simpler to use the controls and HUD and possible neural connections from the armor rather than building a new setup in the mecha]). I think that when Brennus gets around to building himself a giant mecha, he’ll probably wear his usual armor inside it. But just adding another layer of powered armor seems extraordinarily impractical compared to using that weight and material to just make a heavier suit in the first place.

  13. About armor, ceramics is as good as you will get in terms of resistance and impact absorption, I just looked at a paper (published this month) that states that some ceramic nanoparticles mixed in portland concrete will improve its mechanical properties (http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10853-013-7853-0?wt_mc=alerts.TOCjournals) and I read six years ago an interesting paper on the hardness of silicon nanoparticles.
    BUT, if we are talking about science fiction here, while still respecting Nature`s laws I have an interesting suggestion: use the symmetry in Maxwell`s laws.
    If a charged particle accelerates it produces a magnetic field, if a magnet moves it produces an electric field in a nearby coil.
    Use a metallic external layer for your armor and electrify it. If someone punches you, the movement of your armor will generate a current in a coil inside it. Use the current.
    Of course there are problems in this idea, but I have to leave now and can`t address them properly. It is still a nice idea.

    • Interesting how about an “fog” of magnets (..ok mabye a fog of larger particles to avoid a dust explosion).

      You can use the fog to detect impacts and then decide to get more particles in the way, (or have the fog rotate).

      • Not bad.
        The problem with both of these suggestions is a weakness against magnetic powers. This may be solvable though.

  14. On the matter of more Fire Power and Battery Life, I propose the good old Low Orbit Ion Cannon or in Brennus case a laser version thereof attuning the wavelength of the laser to the power needed to excite the electrons in his “shocking” device would create a feedback and funnel energy from his suit back into his battery ( if he pulses it slow enough for the electrons to fall back) and when he turns it on full force it would let him blast those pesky fliers out of the sky as well. The problem would be to have a ( presumably stealth) geosynchronous satellite in orbit, do powers in your setting work in space? ( I assume due to the Lunar base) and it would be easy enough to calculate and bring down from the UH.
    However since he controls the wavelength he would be able to create very accurate lenses and mirrors for the laser and might be able to decentralize the idea with his raven-bots, basically letting them all shoot and use one as a collective lens thus allowing him to “outsource” some of his energy and dakka needs.
    In the same vein some Heat reabsorbing would be a useful as well, it decreases Fire-damage and reloads the battery, however I don’t know anything that wouldn’t be a basic steam-engine. But for Kinetic absorption there is piezoelectric, so every hit taken would give him some energy back
    Also while talking about lasers and since he is working with Poly on Wave related stuff, should they be able to create a Laser with adjustable wavelength they could use it to cancel out any and all powered lasers by creating a phase shifted replica of it. He probably doesn’t have the Power supply in his suit to keep up with the Energy capes can put out but care mounted or on a bigger frame etc. it would come in handy in the future.
    He also needs something like sticky ink to spray, there are way to many “sight based” powers disrupting line of sight independent of power would be a major utility tool. Make it sticky enough he could even use it to impend moment when covering an area.
    In my mind Tinkers/ Gadgeteers are the Super powered Equivalent of DnD Wizards, and battle field control usually wins out over raw power.
    I also advocate sleep gas in copious amounts and anchor like spikes with termite at the end, the idea would be to “nail down” regenerators , when they are down the sticks them with one such anchor and then uses the termite charge to weld the anchor to a support beam or some other metal. Impaling the regenerator on something he cant slide of ( due to the anchor hooks) and something he cant pull out ( it being welded to something else).

    last if have this wiki link for more cool sound stuff http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nonlinear_acoustics

    those are all the tinker ideas I had and I needed to get them out of my system🙂

    • battlefield is great, both for dnd wizards (long-time player of such myself) and tech-based superheroes. the problem is that the more advanced versions of such all require not only better teamwork, but also a support structure for all the tech he would need at this point, which is not yet viable for him.

      satellites are not an option. the world powers got REAL touchy about that ever since the first supervillain to take new york hostage with a death ray from above (contrivers really love death rays)

  15. Hi, I’m new here (just finished archives, linked from wildbow) and I really like the story so far.

    Especially that there are a lot of healthy relationships. At least when compared to my last major read – Worm, where, even though the powers were nicely balanced and skillfully used, almost every character was so emotionally scarred that halfway through it just became too depressing to really care about the outcome.

    As for the characters:

    It’s a bit difficult to sympathize with a character that has so many memory holes. Slowly unlocking burried memories is one thing, but the constant major memory leaks are a problem.

    More Amy please. This character is pure win. Cold blooded, sexually deviated killer that . . . does her paperwork . . . takes care of her little brother . . . and hits the sack in a pony thong. Awesome. Though I was quite surprised that she was so averse to incest, I was really hoping for that somewhere down the line.

    On that note, a minor observation: In a world filled with supernatural beauties, a hero with a very desirable power to have in any team doesn’t get hit on at all? Not that it would have worked, but there should at least be some effort.

    As for the ongoing equipment discussion:

    Brennus should really make the sword his main weapon. And not some inflatable wannabe version but a fixed blade.

    1) Swords are cool.

    2) He is already (finally) thinking of upgrading his offensive options, and he seems to be quite comfortable in melee. (Though why he wasn’t carrying a sticky-granade launcher from the very beginning is beyond me.)

    3) He repeatedly found himself in situations where the stun baton was laughably ineffective.

    Not only has he himself pointed out that only stupid / invulnerable villains leave skin exposed, he also ran into this problem in his very first encounter. It should be really be bugging him by now.

    A fixed sword with multiple options would allow him to use the humming mode to stab at non-vitals through armor, then switch to shock.

    4) Even on exposed skin, he could still go non-lethal by hitting with the flat side in stun mode.

    Just realized that the rest isn’t sword specific (sadly), but still, here we go:

    5) Adding defensive options to his melee weapons – like turning it into a strong electromagnet for a short time.

    6) He seems to have already figured out a way o make material harder with electric current, I’m surprised he hasn’t exploited this further than just the inflatable blade. Making his weapon reactively harder to block something that would normally destroy it – and the same for his armor – since the contractive layer shows it can react to an impact in time, it could also temporatily channel electricity for a sturdiness boost in response to a big hit.

    Same with the humming effect by the way, if the sword was fixed, it could only activate the humming on impact, saving a lot of energy.

    And last, but certainly not least : Please no more dropping weapons, that is a level -1 mistake, once he draws them a winding steel wire from his armor is automatically attached.

    • welcome to brennus, lampshade! may you hang comfortably!

      next big arc after hastur will be called “Family Matters”. make of that what you will, in regards to your wish for more amy.

      as to your ideas, well, I’d like to comment on all of them, but I need to finish the new chapter already (already running WAY late). I’ll leave it to the others^^

      There IS a better (bigger) sword coming, though. Swords are neat, after all (not a Katana though. I can’t stand those. What’s wrong with good old western swords!?)

      • well, while katanas are pretty awesome (complex metallurgy + super efficient blade geometry + ninja = nerdgasm) they would not fit with the brennus theme and seriously who wouldn’t run from a six foot humming claymore!

      • Bah. All that “complex metallurgy” barely managed to compensate for the shite Japan had for iron. Yes, every one was made with great care by a master, but that’s because the material was so valuable to them, and the end quality is certainly no better than what was made by a proper european swordsmith. The blade geometry was largely accidental, and no more efficient than a scimitar, let alone a full cavalry sabre.

        And a ninja would never wield a katana. A long blade is good on an open battlefield, but useless for assassination, difficult to wield in close quarters like the interiors of buildings, and impossible to conceal. True ninja weapons range from short, simple blades through farm tools and articles of clothing, never a katana.

        In any case, a knight’s sword, in the east or west, is their backup. Their sidearm, while the primary weapon is a lance (in the west) or a bow (in the east). Now, a proper japanese longbow was impressive… using complex engineering to turn bamboo, leather, and rattan into an asymmetrical composite longbow capable of being used from horseback to full effect, with range and power comparable to the best yew bows of England.

  16. On a completely unrelated topic (to all the super science speculation) I hope you plan to self publish on amazon at some point because, first I will defiantly buy it, and second i only found about all these ridiculously awesome web novels after I bought powereds buy Drew Hayes. It never even crossed my mind that you could find content so much better than most all published fantasy/science fiction just sitting on the internet totally free! I hope you keep it up! (I know my grammar sucks but “whatevah i do what i want!”)

    • Once I have enough material for a complete book (as well as time, and maybe help for editing it), I’ll publish it, yes.

      Welcome to the marvelous world of web serials! If you don’t know them yet, I’ve made an effort to collect links of some of the best I know on the right side of my blog’s home page, including the recently concluded Worm.

    • Indeed. The lack of publishers means that people on the internet are free to write pretty much whatever that want, rather than what some suit believes will sell well enough (and stay out of legal trouble). Which produces mountains of shit of course, but also quite a few brilliant authors and magnificent stories that then get passed around by word of mouth.

      In that vein, somedude, if you haven’t seen them yet, I will direct you toward ‘Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality’ (what if Harry were raised a scientist, and the setting ran on logic instead of literary convenience? And if you were Voldemort, wouldn’t you make the Pioneer plaque into a horcrux? http://hpmor.com/), ‘Fallout: Equestria’ (you wouldn’t think that My Little Pony and Fallout would work together, but they really really do. knowledge of source material may be helpful, but definitely not required. Warning: grimdark as fuck. http://www.equestriadaily.com/2011/04/story-fallout-equestria.html), and perhaps ‘Saga of Soul’ (demons, faries, eldrich abominations, and one rather singular Magical Girl. http://www.sagaofsoul.com/story.html). In addition to all the fine links tieshaunn has provided of course.

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