B13.16 Call of the Sleeper

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They really like bringing back the dead, don’t they? the Man in the Moon asked in a mocking tone, though it was clear he was feeling just as freaked out as Basil did. What’s next, is fucking Weisswald himself gonna walk out of one of those tanks?

Don’t jinx it, Basil thought furiously as he felt the world slow down around himself – his every heartbeat seemingly as loud as a canon shot. How the fuck are we supposed to get out of this?

The worst part was, for all he knew, they’d already lost – there was no way to tell for him, or anyone except maybe Gloom Glimmer, whether Elysium’s power was already in effect, until she wanted them to.

He’d studied her, of course. Nearly everyone who went to Diantha High did, usually without even meaning to – Lady Light had turned the school into a shrine for her fallen daughter. So he knew all of her achievements and he’d, in the course of studying high-end powers – particularly ones like Ember’s, which seemed to control a certain ‘territory’ – looked up every scrap of information he could find on her power.

The only fight she ever came close to losing was the one that killed her, he thought, observing their foes… foe, really. The gadgeteers behind her didn’t even matter. And none of us is as powerful as DiL, not even Gloom Glimmer.

Fuck DiL! Amy snarled into his mind. If that’s really the Elysium, then she’s also the one who stomped the fucking Dark into the ground!

Get out of my head! Hecate shouted, mentally, making Basil realise that Amy must’ve linked them all up together, especially once similar exclamations came from everyone but Gloom Glimmer, Tartsche, Tyche and Spellgun.

Shut it! Amy shouted right back, louder than everyone else combined, to the point where Basil physically flinched in response. We don’t have time for this! We need to work together or else we’re done for!

No one, not even Hecate, had a rebuttal for that.

“Diantha, can you hear me!?” an anguished voice pulled Basil’s attention back to what was right in front of him – Gloom Glimmer had taken another step closer towards her unresponsive half-sister. “Is that really you? Please, say something!”

Behind the… clone? Zombie? Was it a cyborg of some sort?… behind the maybe-Elysium, the woman they only knew as the Ascendant leaned back against the open tank’s side, crossing her arms as she watched the scene with obvious glee and pride in her eyes.

“Four-four-four, designate the last speaker as Priority Target Alpha,” she spoke in level tones. “Designate the others from left to right as Priority Targets Beta through Kappa. Disable and capture Alpha as priority task. Disable Beta through Kappa.”

The empy-eyed beauty raised her head, her eyes moving over the gathered heroes – and one villain – without showing any emotions. Then she took a step forward.

Gloom Glimmer matched her, stepping closer. “Diantha! Diantha, you don’t have to listen to her!” she begged the older girl. “You don’t know me, but I’m your sister! Come with me, I’ll take you to mom – she’ll be so happy to see you!”

“Gloomy, stay away from her!” Polymnia shouted as she raised her arms, unleashing twin blasts of focused sound straight at Elysium.

The famous dancer reacted with an elegent step to the side, twisting her body in a single, fluid motion. The barely-visible blasts curved around her, drawn into the motion, and flew straight back at Polymnia, who just barely managed to counter them with another pair of matching blasts, creating a brief, shrill scream that staggered those not under the protection of Tartsche’s power – that being, Tartsche himself, as well as Tyche and Spellgun.

Elysium kept moving, her bare feet making barely any sound on the cold metal floor as she closed the distance to her little sister, the graceful motions of her legs in stark contrast to her limp arms as he turned and made a high kick towards the stunned girl.

Though she was clearly struggling to think straight, Gloom Glimmer reacted immediately, but not to defend herself but rather, reaching out towards her sister.

Elysium didn’t hit her, though – instead, her kick flew above the younger heroine’s head and continued on in a downward arc; her torso nearly horizontal, she turned on her one leg, to continue the kick all the way down to the ground, as a distorting haze enclosed Gloom Glimmer mid-reach.

As her foot touched the ground again, the trap snapped shout, a hazy bubble around Gloom Glimmer entrapping her in the middle of reaching out with her right hand, her mouth open to call out something.

Then the image flickered and she was back to the beginning of the motion, reaching out, her mouth opening to call out… reaching out, her mouth opening to call out… reaching out, her mouth opening to call out…

The loop continued for all to see, a sphere of looped time around their friend and her half-sister standing in front of it, looking at it with an empty-eyed gaze.

Polymnia cried a wordless scream of rage, unleashing a steady, ululating sound towards Elysium, but it never reached her. She took a single step towards it, placing the toes of her foot a measured distance forward, like a ballerina and the distortion in the air that was Polymnia’s attack split in two around her.

Moving forward, twirling on her toes, the attacks crossed through each other without any effect, then curved back towards Polymnia, forcing her to counter them again.

Is she holding back? Amy asked into their mental link, as Basil detached his drone from his leg, causing it to project a stream of octagonal force-fields from one end, riding them the way Sovereign’s Subjugator had. She’s only reacting.

If we are lucky, whatever process they used to bring her back has left her without her previous experience and skill, or any memories at that, Basil replied. Hecate, I am going to attack from the left. Try flanking her. As pissed as Hecate must be at this point, he was quite certain she’d be able to look past it in such a situation.

She didn’t reply, but she did switch into her smoke-form, moving into flanking position in the same instant that he leapt forward.

At the same time, Amy shot up before gesturing with her right hand at Elysium, unleashing an unseen blast of raw force which didn’t travel like a projectile, but appeared right on top of the dancing woman – only to vanish without a trace. Furthermore, a twin spiral of green fire, so bright it hurt to look at, appeared behind her out of nowhere, slamming into Amy’s back and making her cry out at the unexpected attack – though her shields held true, the attack nearly overloaded them with its force and he could see that her back had gotten burned when she turned around to look for the source of the attack – but there was none.

Dumbfounded, yet not hesitating, Basil used the distraction – Elysium was on one knee, currently rising up again into what was perhaps going to be another pirouette – to launch his drone at her back, hoping that her power would fail to protect her against an attack she didn’t see coming; or perhaps it might create an opening, at least, for Hecate or one of the others to hit her. She was just human, after all, once one got past her power, as had been discovered painfully during the fight against DiL, all those years ago.

The drone shot forward, projecting an oscillating, arrow-head-like force-field so dense it was completely opaque over its tip. Hecate cried a single phrase – he missed the words, but they were clearly Greek – and unleashed a twin spiral of green fire so bright, even Basil had trouble looking straight at it. An attack he instantly recognised.

It was completely useless, of course. Diantha rose, then bend over, the leg she wasn’t standing on kicking out towards the drone, toes pointed. Where they came close, the force-field, then the drone, simply parted in half; for just a moment, he thought his force-field was hold, but it was a vain hope – it parted like water before the prophet, and the drone itself offered no more resistance as the space between its molecules was expanded, causing it be cut in half with such a perfect, straight edge, it was almost beautiful, revealing its glowing innards before the pieces tumbled to the ground and went dark. An attack that knew no defense, other than a spatial effect of equal or greater power.

Reaching forward, her body still horizontal, she caught Hecate’s attack in both hands, then kicked off the ground, rotating in the air and causing it to disappear in between her hands.

Something hit Basil’s right knee from the side, very nearly shattering the armor and causing a sharp pain to shoot up his leg, before he lost all sensation but that of cold. Looking down, stunned, he saw his right leg largely encased in ice, and bending the wrong way at that.

He looked at Spellgun, who was staring at him in shock and confusion, holding his rifle up – he hadn’t even fired yet.

There was a scream, causing him to look up only to see Hecate be blown away by Amy’s earlier attack, the massive blast blowing her aside and causing one of the jewels sewn onto her chest to flash in a bright, red light, then shatter as it overloaded her defenses, conveying enough force through them to both hurt her and send her hurling across the room, slamming into a wall.

A flicker, and she was lying where she’d started, crumbled into a heap.

Fuck, it wasn’t that strong! Amy shouted in confusion, before she startled, finding herself right in front of the twirling blonde.

Before she could react, Elysium jumped from one foot onto the other and brought her knee up, connecting with Amy’s stomach; the blow was so powerful it created a sonic boom, causing Amy to spit blood as she was launched away, slamming through half a dozen steel tanks, crushing them and their contents, before she impacted the wall, leaving a sizable impression on it, then fell to the ground, unconscious.

“Amy!” Basil shouted, trying to take a step towards her – but all he achieved was that he fell over, his half-frozen, likely broken leg giving out under him as soon as he put any weight onto it.

Elysium continued the motion with which she’d kicked Amy, and the tanks returned to their previous state, while Amy appeared in front of them, still unconscious.

Basil fired his grappling hooks towards Amy’s body, intending to draw himself towards her, but they barely crossed a metre – seemingly – before they fell to the ground; somehow, they’d spooled out entirely to their very limit, leaving two heaps of super-strong black cable on the ground.

The whole room began to shift, as if drawn into a whirlpool with Elysium at its centre, space bending in a disorienting, vertigo-inducing fashion, slowly forming a huge spiral, the centre of which began to lower itself deeper – or perhasp the edge rose up, it was hard to tell through the vertigo-inducing distortions all around.

He saw Bakeneko try to escape, in a quadrupedal form, running for the edge of the effect towards the door, but whatever Elysium was doing to the space, it made it look like she was running in place, unable to move a single step closer to the exit no matter how much effort she put into it, trapped in what could only be described as a sinkwell of space, unable to go anywhere no matter how she moved.

Osore was on the ground, groaning in pain, several limbs broken and numerous gashes and holes across his body, which were mending slowly – When did he go down? – and Tyche and Spellgun were staring helplessly at their surroundings, while Tartsche was glaring towards the villains on the far side of the room, standing in a pocket of undistorted space.

Basil watched helplessly as Elysium kept dancing, her movements not nearly as joyous and graceful as he’d seen in recordings of her many performances, yet still beyond the ken of even professional dancers; she was dancing in a circle, leaping from foot to foot, never touching the ground with both at once, sometimes dipping down while standing on her toes to draw a wide circle around herself.

All around, the room continued to twist, folding up even as the ceiling itself folded apart, opening up to show not the sky but rather, a continuation of the room itself, rows upon rows of steel tanks studding what were now the walls, leading up into infinity; each row of tanks rotating in a different direction, alternating left and right as the space continued to twist and expand.

Beyond that, he could see more of the structures around the building they were in, being drawn into the whole, folded up and into it; buildings he’d seen from the air earlier, now joining the rotation of the tanks, fitting into the gaps between them even though they should have been several times their size; the prison his friends had been sent to, the giant candle, appeared floating on thin air, compressed to the size of a man-sized candle, floating a few metre above the ground he stood on; then it tipped to the side, yet left another of itself in its place. And another, and another, starting to spin like a clockhand, only each motion left another candle behind, even when it passed over the previous ones, continuing to make more and more of itself, the ones behind seeming to extend into an endless space beyond.

Then, they multiplied, all around the circumference of the room, a dozen endlessly spinning, duplicating candles illuminating the room as even more of the city-sized structure was being drawn in, as did parts of the ocean around them, flowing into the gaps.

***

“Himmel herrgott nochmal!” Immanuel shouted as the floor dropped away underneath him, drawn into the ever-rising spire of twisted space just ahead of them. He just barely managed to grab onto Heaven’s Dancer’s arm, drawing her onto a ‘flow’ of space that was more stable, standing atop what was once a train station bench that had been elongated to a ridiculous length. “What is that woman thinking, allowing her to use her power without any restrictions?”

Heaven’s Dancer looked around at their base, even as it was being drawn in – the effect had not yet spread beyond the immediate area around Dusu’s and the Ascendant’s personal lab complex, but it was going to reach the centre at some time, and then the Contriver section… that could end up truly catastrophic.

There was only one possible conclusion.

“You were right,” she told Immanuel, who looked at her in surprise. “We really need to rethink the idea of putting this many mad scientists into one place…”

He smiled wrily, then turned towards their destination and kept moving, always stepping onto safe footholds, navigating the ribbons of twisted space in ways she couldn’t hope to achieve.

Heaven’s Dancer followed, trying not to think about just how she was going to explain this to the others…

“Dem Mädchen gehört der Arsch versohlt,” Immanuel muttered under his breath, putting a voice to her thoughts.

***

Elysium jumped into a backflip, curling up in mid-air to avoid a shot by Tyche and instead of flying on to hit the three gadgeteers standing behind her, it impacted Polymnia’s knee from behind, making her cry out and flip over, landing heavily on the floor; her sonic attack, just begun, went wide, never coming even close to Elysium even without a further use of her power.

The mighty dancer landing on one foot and rose onto her toes, the other leg angled to have her foot rest against the other leg’s knee, only to move immediately into a spin, making a roundhouse kick into thin air.

Tartsche grunted as he was hit in the solar plexus, thrown back and away from Spellgun and Tyche, landing heavily on his back a few metre behind them.

Those still conscious stared in shock at how she’d seemingly ignored his defense entirely, but she gave them no time to react, much less adjust, raising the foot she’d been balancing off from the floor moments before the one she’d kicked with touched it, spinning into wide scything kick towards Tyche and Spellgun, launching them backwards for a metre or two before they suddenly curved downwards at a perfect ninety-degree angle, slamming into the ground hard enough that Basil thought he heard bones snap.

What can I do? he asked himself, desperately. There was nothing he could think of, nothing he had left. His railgun was long wrecked, and now he’d lost his drone, as well. His gauntlet and knife could likely kill her, if he managed to land a clean hit – but the chance of him achieving that was near null and even if he did, with his right leg nigh useless and space and time arrayed against him, unless he killed her in a single blow, she could simply rewind time and try again.

I wonder how often we beat or almost beat her already, and she just rewound and tried again? he couldn’t help but wonder. There was a good reason why she’d never lost a fight until she’d come up against her half-sister. More than one, really, but this one alone would likely have been sufficient all in itself.

It ain’t like you to pity yourself, mate, the Man in the Moon commented unhelpfully. Maybe you sh- ow!

A sharp sting distracted Basil from his thoughts, right in his left arm pit, where he lacked armour other than the ballistic weave of his impact suit.

Having essentially risen onto all fours from where he’d fallen, he looked down at it, and saw… a syringe the size of a small bottle, its needle buried in his flesh, the back attached to a rope leading to…

Syrinx, standing just a few metre away, grinning smugly.

Yet he also stood with the others in the unaffected pocket of space beyond Elysium.

“What the…?” Basil asked, though he didn’t waste time waiting for an answer; rather, he flung his knife at the villain, piercing his right shoulder…

He was gone, as was the syringe, though he was still stung and bleeding lightly. His knife clattered to the ground, with no blood or other sign of having hit on it.

The Syrinx standing with the others looked down and found the syringe there, in his right hand, half-filled with Basil’s blood. He held another in his left hand, and Dusu was holding two as well, one in each hand.

What?

He was starting to have trouble concentrating; his leg hurt abominably, his armpit now joined the fun along with his left shoulder, nevermind the vertigo induced by the spatial distortions all around him.

His friends were down, though only Amy was knocked out, and Gloom Glimmer stuck in a loop, endlessly repeating the same motion over and over again.

Hecate was trying to stand up, pushing against the floor, but her motions were weak, though he could hear her determined, angry growling beneath her hood. Polymnia was likewise rising, if slowly, her suit damaged far more than Tyche’s one shot should have been able to do… only then Basil saw that same shot hit her again, knocking her over once more. And again, coming from above, smashing her into the ground. The same attack, repeating itself whenever she tried to get up, slowly chipping away at her armour and keeping her trapped.

It’s a miracle we’re even still alive…

***

“Why are they even still alive?” Dusu asked in a bored voice, as she played with the syringes full of blood in her hands. “She could’ve killed at least some of them already…”

“I only ordered her to disable them,” the Ascendant replied, sounding pensive. “Also, I suspect there’s more of the real Elysium in her than I’d like – and she never killed. With her power, she never needed to.”

“Well, wouldn’t it be more fun to have her kill one or two of them?” Dusu suggested absent-mindedly. “Make it clear this is your Elysium, and yours kills. Own her.”

The striking woman of Aztek descent stroked her chin, narrowing her eyes. “Well, why not? We only need Gloom Glimmer and the Gadgeteers alive, the others are quite inconsequential.”

“Aren’t we supposed to strive to create more metahumans, rather than kill ones who’re no threat to us anymore?” Syrinx – Roy – asked them, feeling rather contrite about the idea of killing several of God’s chosen ones.

“Eh, we’ll eventually make way more than we could hope to kill,” Dusu waved it off. “Anyway, we should get these samples into my lab, I have a marvelous plan for them…”

“Do that. I’ll take care of these… not Mindstar, though,” the Ascendant noted. “Way too valuable, both for her powers and the information she could give us on the Syndicate.” She looked at her precious little doll, her magnum opus. “Four-four-four, create a passage for Priority Subjects Beta and Gamma to the adjacent lab, then execute target Eta,” she commanded in a calm voice.”

***

Oh, fuck no! Basil thought furiously as he heard the Ascendant’s command, forcing himself to rise onto his good leg, putting as little weight as he could on the bad one. You’re not taking her!

Elysium obeyed her command without hesitation, and both Dusu and Syrinx disappeared, presumably to their portion of the structure.

A little jump and turn, and Hecate lay on the ground before her, on all fours, looking up with an expression filled with fear and anger. “You…” she groaned, looking at the Ascendant with hate-filled eyes. “Vevilyierosilyisse ena miasmiko katharma!” she screamed at her.

Basil reversed the wall-sticking effect on his left boot, launching himself at Elysium from behind and to the side, pulling his left arm back, the gauntlet charging.

Basil swayed on his feet as he saw Hecate, having just cursed the Ascendant, get smashed into the ground again, hit in the back by some kind of massive impact strong enough to shatter another of her protective gems.

Her cry of pain made him see red, raising his gauntlet – his gauntlet was ruined, a perfectly smooth cut running from the tip to the elbow, the intricate, yet sturdy circuitry inside ruined.

No!

He stumbled forward, falling over again, unable to do anything other than watch as Elysium raised her right foot, aiming at Hecate’s head.

“Let this be a lesson to you brats,” the Ascendant spoke, her accented voice as condescending as can be. “Don’t mess with the pros,” she taunted them, looking around at the young heroes all around the room, beaten down yet still conscious, unable to do anything but watch.

“Heck!” Tyche cried out as the foot came down on their friend’s head, to cut or crush.

To no effect, as another foot, this one in a smooth black boot appeared above Hecate’s head, catching Elysium’s stomp on the dorsom of the foot. Instead of crushing or simply parting the boot and flesh beneath, it was stopped cold.

***

“Wer zum Teufel!?!” Immanuel cried out, coming to a dead stop in the middle of running through a pulsating, twisting corridor of pipes.

Heaven’s Dancer stopped, stumbling briefly before she turned around to look at him, shocked to see him… shocked. “What is it? Immanuel, what’s going on?”

“Someone… someone’s there with them,” Immanuel hissed, his eyes staring into the distance. “Someone… or something. I’ve never seen him before. I can’t see him, not really.”

Her current body’s blood ran cold as she parsed that information, though she refused to freak out. Instead, she asked, as calmly as she could, “What do we do now, then?”

He hissed again, his hands clenching into fists. “We wait. If he doesn’t leave on his own, we wait until Konrad arrives. I’m not going in blind.”

***

Everyone but the trapped Gloom Glimmer and the unconscious Amy stared at the new arrival, a tall man – was it a man? It was hard to tell – in a dark blue robe with wide sleeves and a deep hood, parted down the front to show a jet-black, skintight bodysuit. He was even taller than Basil by almost a full head, almost as tall as the Godking had been, and slenderly built underneath his wide robe. His suit extended into a pair of smooth boots and gloves, covering every inch of his body, and he balanced on one foot easily, while using the other to protect Hecate from a grisly, swift death.

His face was not visible underneath his hood – rather, he seemed to wear a mirrored mask or helmet, which was currently split into octagonal pieces, like a single huge compound eye, reflecting the face of everyone in the room. His stance was calm, relaxed.

He was holding a huge cat with long, dark fur in his left arm, stroking it behind the ears with his right hand.

It was a very familiar cat.

“Graymalkin?” Basil whispered, stunned.

What the hell was his cat doing here?

The stranger tilted his head to the side, the images on his mask shifting as if they were fixed in place, and he was now reflecting a different part, showing their faces from different angles. He looked at the Ascendant, then at Elysium, looking her up and down.

“Oh man,” he spoke in a weird, soft voice – like several voices layered on top of another, yet not so much they’d be like a full chorus. “You idiots really, really, really want to piss off the big gal, don’t you?”

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146 thoughts on “B13.16 Call of the Sleeper

    • I thought Gray Boy was bullshit.

      I had a character in mind for another story who had the power to create empty space, and she was a powerhouse.

      Elysium… Um… I think she breaks the world.

      • Hey now, she’s not bullshit in the same way as Gray Boy.

        When she loops time, people don’t have everything BUT their memories reset…

      • Not helping. The fact that people she’s trapped in time-loops can’t adapt new strategies and learn from failures doesn’t make her weaker than Gray Boy. It just keeps her from torturing victims until the heat death of the universe.

        And I have a better description for Elysium. Gray Boy plus Vista, minus Manton-limitations.

      • Pretty sure we have already seen Journeyman time-travel in both directions.

        My guess is that time loops and such dont affect Journeyman as he exists somewhat outside the constrains of space and time.

    • Not sure tbh. I kind of have the feeling that she won’t be that impressive once we know what Journeyman truly is capable of. I mean he just fought Emyr (and probably won) and then he casually stoped Elysium while petting a cat.

      • I didn’t notice that, which has interesting implications regarding Journeyman’s powers. Perhaps he can travel not only through dimensions but through time as well

  1. Elysium has complete control of Time and Space(Down to the molecular level) within her area of influence?

    Well, probably not complete control of Time. Then she could have just aged DiL back to a zygote.

    • Tie told us that DiL’s powers protect her from Being influenced by time and space powers. So de-aging her would probably be impossible for Elysium.

      • Now that I had the time to read the chapter I regret doing so. I should have waited until you finished the entire arc. This cliffhanger is killing me. Waiting for the next chapter will be torture.
        Is there any way we can motivate you to get back to writing like, right now? So many new questions. So few answers. I need to know how the story continues.

        Oh, and is Graymalkin the crazy wild cat Basil adopted to annoy his sister?

      • No. He’s the street cat he adopted who turned out to be crazy annoying to Amy and ended up traumatizing her 😀

        I’m taking a break right now, but I may start on the new chapter tonight. The next two days are not exactly gonna be free for me, but who knows, I might just finish it.

      • Yeah, that’s the cat I meant. The paragraph about the cat was one of the best parts of the first two arcs.

        And if you could really get another chapter out in the next few days that would be fantastic. 😮
        I mean, don’t overwork yourself, of course, but I am sure we all would appreciate it very, very, very much if you could somehow give us another one.

    • Himmel herrgott nochmal:
      The literal translation is “Heaven lordgod again”. It’s an expletive, like shouting “god above!”

      Dem Mädchen gehört der Arsch versohlt:
      translates roughly into “that girl deserves a spanking”

      Wer zum Teufel:
      literal translation “who to the devil”. Means “what the fuck”

      • Das Deutsch war…irritierend. Kind of weird, since I speak it every day, but suddenly reading it here totally confused me.
        @calathecactus try deeply.com/translator. It’s way better than Google translate.

  2. All cat-astrophe aside Journeyman carrying around what might be inspired by Shrodingers Cat is pretty fitting . Well done, all stories need more cats!

  3. Looking back at the prototypes this was all coming. Lizardcats fueled by blood, animus cats. The VRA cat which might just be the same one.

    Face it everyone the Blazing stars are just the laser points on a wall to amuse the one true cat.

  4. I would love to see a character with a more complete and 4th dimensional ability over time such as to allow being in infinite places at the same time and other wonderful effects.

  5. The level system you have for threats reminds me of one from another Super-Hero universe:

    The Damage rating is a classification system for Meta-humans that ranks them based on the amount of damage one can cause within the span of an hour. The Damage Rating is often mistaken as a power rating, even by some heroes, and there have been attempts by the DVA to create one which ultimately failed due to the constantly changing understanding of meta humans and their abilities.(For the sake of simplicity: Gadgeteers and Comtrivers are considered to be equipped with their standard gear.)

    Non-Threatening Combatant Class
    The Non-Threatening Combatant Class, also abbreviated as NTC Class, covers variant humans who have the same propensity of damage as a regular human. They are often just as frail, requiring only a “tap to the head” to incapacitate one. Many are healer type meta humans and those with low-caliber display abilities. One example of this Class is Zero (A meta with an exceptional nullifier power).

    Standard Class
    The Standard Class covers those who are capable of inflicting significant damage and can be a danger to life but are not a threat to a large-scale area. Like the name would suggest, most Metas fall into this category. Examples of Standard Class meta-humans include: Tyche (A luck/probability manipulator.)

    Demolition Class
    The Demolition Class covers those who, if left unchecked, could level entire city blocks.
    Examples of Demolition Class variant humans include: Titan(He’s not from Tie’s story.), probably the most physical strong meta in the setting. (Although he has no other way of dealing damage. Which is why he will likely never reach the following rankings.)

    Manhattan Class
    The Manhattan Class, likely referring to the Manhattan Project that oversaw the research and development of nuclear weapons, covers those who are capable of inflicting damage of similar impact and scale to a nuclear bomb.
    The Dark and Lady Light fall within this class.

    Armageddon Class
    The Armageddon Class is the final and highest-ranking position of the damage rating. Those under this category are capable of destruction on a global scale.
    DiL and God-King both have this potential if they seriously tried for wide scale destruction and were left unchecked.

    This rating system informs heroes on how to prioritize protecting civilians, minimizing property damage, and escalating force. There’s no need to try to cripple or kill a Standard Class threat if subduing is an option.

    It’s not about weak or strong either, just about immediate destructive potential. For example, a good telekinetic can knock most strongmen out of a battle by lifting them off the ground, even if the strongman would be rated higher in terms of raw power.
    And Titan, who is only Demo, has “kicked the dog-shit out of” several Manhattan class and a few Armageddon level threats.

    • Brennus: Standard
      Tyche: Standard
      Hectate: Standard

      Amy: Demolition
      Poly: Standard
      Gloom Glimmer: High Demolition

      Tartsche: NTC
      SpellGun: Standard
      Orse: Standard
      Bakeneko: Standard

      Lady Light: Manhattan
      The Dark: Manhattan

      Desolation-in-Light: Armageddon
      God King: Armageddon
      Elysium: Demolition

      • I disagree a bit on these, mostly due to the “within an hour” qualification:

        Brennus: Demolition (remember how easy it is for him to rig pretty much anything into a bomb – an hour is plenty of time for him to level city-blocks if left unchecked)
        Tyche: from NTC to Armageddon, depending on circumstance
        Hecate: Standard (could be Demolition if she didn’t have morals)

        Amy: Demolition

        Poly: Low Demolition (she can wreck a lot, given an hour of time and enough materials to work with)
        Gloomy: would likely be rated Armageddon under this system, just to be sure (better to over-rate than under-rate)

        Tartsche: Standard (assuming he has his equipment handy)
        Spellgun: Standard
        Osore: Standard to Demolition if he fully charges up (would need huge crowds for that)
        Bakeneko: Standard

        Lady Light: High Manhatten
        The Dark: High Manhatten

        Desolation-in-Light: Armageddon, yeah
        God King: HIGH Armageddon
        Elysium: Manhatten (see why in next chapter)

        Some others:

        Gilgul: Demolition

        Outstep: Standard

        Lord Buckethead: Demolition
        Peregrine: Standard, bordering on Demolition

        Aap Oordra: High Demolition
        Chayot: Demolition
        Dearheart: High Standard
        Matriarch II: Standard

        Ember: Demolition, bordering on Manhatten; Armageddon when you consider societal and religious implications of his power

        Queen Madeleine: High Manhatten

        Sovereign: Manhatten (assuming access to his infrastructure)

        Quetzalcoatl: Manhatten
        Feral Family: Demolition
        Kong Long: Demolition, probably Manhatten once her power matures more
        Fleur: Demolition
        Severance: ???

        Lamarr the Purple: Demolition
        Kraquok: Standard to Manhatten (theoretically Armageddon)
        The Dowager: assumed Manhatten
        Dajisi: Demolition

        Journeyman: Armageddon

      • Tartsche: I thought he just had his ultimate defense power, which is useful in most fights, doesn’t increase his power output beyond the range of a normal human in body-armor.

        Poly&Brenuss: They could qualify for a sort of short-lived demo. Stripping off parts of your own gear to make bombs might be a good tactic, but there’s only so much tech they can have on hand.
        And the parts that could make a decent bomb are probably important.

        Hectate: If you say so, I’ve just never seen her display that kind of damage potential.

        Tyche: Circumstances can raise the classification of most any power.(Aside from most NTC ones. )
        In a average metahuman or regular brawl, Tyche would be hard to fight, but damage potential is fairly limited due to her low physical abilities.
        Plus her power seems to prioritize having things miss her instead of destroying them in advance or afterward.

      • Tartsche’s power also protects him from such things as collateral damage and recoil. He usually lugs two machine-guns around that he can dual-wield with ease, turning him into an invulnerable, immovable turret.

        Basil doesn’t even need his own gear. Just give him enough electronics (like, say, a few tvs, maybe a car or so) and he can build a bomb.

        Hecate: You haven’t seen that kind of damage potential precisely because she has morals. She would have to prepare the charms for it in advance, which she doesn’t do because, well. Morals.

        Tyche: she’s all over the place. She does, however, act as a power multiplier for others, so I don’t know how that scale would treat her (her teammates become severaly more dangerous with her around).

        Speaking of which, how DOES that scale treat, let’s say, someone who can nullify other peoples’ powers, or boost them? Someone who’s got no special personal destructive ability, but can improve other peoples’ ability to wreck stuff?

        and how does it treat, say, a power mimic who’s as powerful as the metas around them?

      • The scale is supposed to be simple because of how easy it is for ones that try to measure a “power level” get over complicated.
        It’s also primarily for first response Heroes, helps in picking who to hit the hardest and first.

        It’s why tech metas or Contrivers are only measured on what is known to be their standard gear and/or tactics.

        No prep time.

        Nullifies are considered NTC class, even though they could theoretically beat most Metas.

        Boosters are in the same basket as Healers. Really good to have and can be Hero material, but are ultimately no more capable of damage on their own than a regular human.

        Mimics are called “Variable” their class is based on whoever they are mimicking.
        If they aren’t mimicking anyone: NTC.

      • Except, by that logic, shouldn’t a power booster be rated high, since you’d want to take him down first to drop the damage potential of everyone else on their team?

      • Perhaps: But boosters are rare and not all metas are susceptible to them.

        And the process ofent takes several dozen seconds.

        At least in the verse I pulled this rating from.
        It may be different in your story.

      • No, you misunderstand me.

        You’re talking about a scale that considers one’s damage potential under average circumstances (so a contriver/gadgeteer has their USUAL loadout).

        Assuming that a power booster has actually had time to boost everyone on their team, they should be a priority target in the hope that their boost would fade once they’re taken down.

        If they HAVEN’T done so yet, you’d also want them to be a priority target so they’d go down before they have a chance to boost others.

      • You make a strong point.
        And like I said:
        It’s not about weak or strong either, just about immediate destructive potential. For example, a good telekinetic can knock most strongmen out of a battle by lifting them off the ground, even if the strongman would be rated higher in terms of raw power.
        And Titan, who is only Demo, has “kicked the dog-shit out of” several Manhattan class and a few Armageddon level threats.

        And I bet that Lady Light has beaten metas who technically could cause more widespread destruction than she could.

      • I’m not a fan of power ratings in general (as one can likely tell looking at how haphazard the ones I use in this story are), but the one you’re describing seems very DANGEROUS to use.

        To use the above example, a good telekinetic can knock most strongmen out of the battle even if they’re above their weight class. They are also EXPONENTIALLY more dangerous, being able to apply their force output at range, at the speed of thought and, possibly, without any indication that they are actually a threat themselves (acting as bystanders).

        A strongman, meanwhile, you’re going to see coming. Unless they have enhanced mobility, they’ll be easily kept at range, etc.

        As such, while their damage potential is greater (being able to, say, put out 100 tons of force) they’d still be a far lesser threat, a lesser priority to take down on the battlefield, than a telekinetic who can put out only 10 tons.

        At least that’s my opinion on the matter, and how I structured the threat classes for the story.

      • True.
        Although to be fair: A 100 ton strongman and a 10 ton tekekinetic would be in the same Class(Demo)
        Tekekinetics are also just considered scarier in general.

        And most strong-men get stuck at Demo as well, if they don’t have any additional powers.
        Lack of range just kills their potential at a certain point.

      • “Basil doesn’t even need his own gear. Just give him enough electronics (like, say, a few tvs, maybe a car or so) and he can build a bomb.”

        Throw in some household chemicals at least. Random electronics alone cant cut it for him. The energy for all that destruction needs to come from somewhere.

        But as my chemistry teaches used to say: “Theres a bomb in every kiosk.”

    • Of course there are also exceptions:
      Healers who can heal themselves or a Biological Controller who prefers to be a healer.

      A booster that can boost their regular physical limits to superhuman levels or who can even boost certain inanimate objects.

      Etc etc.

    • Conventional electronic components can survive only so much power. He is going to have to use a lot of them in his circuitry to get any large effect. Meaning spend a lot of time building his gadget. I think it would be far easier to go the chemical route for the conventional bang. Something like an EMP might be a different story.

      And he would still be limited by the transmission capacity of the power grid of whatever area he is in.

      • Well, certainly, chemicals would be far easier and likely faster. I just wanted to point out that he could do it even without them, if far less efficiently.

  6. Your link for Whateley is out of date. The new site is http://whateleyacademy.net/

    If you haven’t been there for a while, look up the Imp stories by Morpheus; they’re fun. JG moved his storyline a bit earlier this year, the Outcasts and Murphy being their usual selves. Pretty much everything else is between forgettable and crap, though.

    • Yeah, I have like, 0 interest in the Imp stories. The Outcasts and Murphy are… ok, but not really interesting to me, either.

      Unless Team Kimba finally continues, I’m not picking it up again.

      Yes, I know about the new Hank stories. It’s nice he’s finally getting a viewpoint, but I’d rather have Trevor back. He was the main character to me, from the very beginning.

      • I think we all want Diane back. Probably not going to happen; it sounds like she’s moved on as a writer. Also, even if she did get in the right headspace, the new kids have changed stuff with her character, and she’s admitted to OCD tendencies.

      • The first story I read was Tennyo’s so for me she was the “Main” Character unfortunately Starwolf(Author) just up and disappeared it seems. There are so MANY plotlines left open because of that. Wasted opportunities and they do not want to just appropiate other authors characters which on one hand I can understand. On the other hand I would just for the sake of the universe say screw them, they have been away for 5 years. We really need to somethow put a rest to those stories. I mean Sara Waite is still trapped in some painting.

        I think Morpheus(author) is the reason I still check the updates. I enjoy most of what he is writing regardless of character.

      • xD Honestly I had to look up what Tenchi Muyo even was. Because it was referenced all the time and I had no clue. At this point I know that it apparently was an anime which at its time had quite a following. I have no strong feelings there. Never watched probably never will >.>

      • It’s the original harem anime. What I despise about it is that it basically says being lazy, incompetent and not too bright is the way to go. Don’t put in any effort, just be nice and all the hot girls will come for you. Don’t ever try to stand out and you’ll be rewarded.

        The title literally means “Useless Tenchi” because the main character is utterly, completely, totally useless – yet he has a whole army of super-powerful girls who all fall for him and are willing to tear apart worlds for his sake.

        And no, that’s not comedy. They actually play it straight (in spite of the joking and reprehensible domestic violence), saying that, well, he may be useless, but at least he’s nice and harmless and that’s all they care about.

        Obviously I disagree.

      • Well the Harem Tag would have held me off even if I had known about it. It is seriously overdone and so VER, VERY rarely done well. And its fucking everywhere.

      • And Tenchi Muyo is the reason it IS so prevalent in anime and fanfiction; it was the first big franchise to explicitely go the harem route, it was a mega hit with insecure dickheads who didn’t have the balls to actually talk to a girl and secretly wished all the hot ladies would fall for them just because of their nice personalities and in general the franchise sold so incredibly well that manga and anime kept imitating it for for decades. Some may say they still do, though it’s fortunately dying out now.

      • What I’m trying to say is, if you want to blame anyone/anything for harem bullshit being overdone, look no further than Tenchi Muyo

      • Hopefully it dies out now. I think almost every Japanese light novel or manga. I do not actually watch much anime. I am more a book person. Point is every one of those with a male main character has harem it feels like I have years ago given up on most japanese Light novels. Shortly after I found the Legendary Moonlight sculptor when it was still on Royal Road. And from there to Wuxia and Coiling Dragon. And from there I found a thread about web novels. Which led me to TVTropes and TopWebFiction. Which led me to trying out many of the novels. If its on there, there is a good chance I have either heard of it or read it. But the Harem still annoys me whenever I stumble upon it.

      • I don’t read nearly as many manga as I used to, but the few I’ve looked into these last two or three years – the new ones – seem to be moving far away from the “Idiot Hero” archetype, and all the genres (including harem) associated with it.

      • Yes. Yes. So. Much. YES.

        Trevor was the only character that mattered to me from the start.
        Whatelyverse is not what it was.

        And yes to everything you said about Tenchi Muyo and the harem anime trend.

        I have never felt such kinship with you before this point.

      • @Cerdaemon I am no longer the only one here who read CD!
        Was my very first webnovel. I read it all in less than a week during a summer job. Someone in the comments pointed me to topwebfiction and there I found the blazing stars.

      • I’ve never watched Tenchi, and never intend to; it sounds sickening. But I found Whateley through the ‘person of mass destruction’ TVtropes page, so yeah, Tennyo’s tale was where I joined, during the early Babs era, and is a plot thread I want to see continued. One of the reasons I liked Diane was that she wrote a good Tennyo. Starwolf, unfortunately, was a decent storyteller but a sub-par writer.

        I’d be hard pressed to chose between getting Babs back and getting Diane back. Both were excellent writers, but in very different styles. However, to revise my statement in the initial post, pretty much all of the new stuff is between forgettable, crap, and bad fanfiction.

  7. Do civilians or media employees stick around to watch Meta fights?
    Or did the first time a villain decided to use bystanders as projectiles kill that trend before it could start?

    • much like in the real world, it depends. Some stick around (or try to), but most have learned to run away.

      However, there’s a high incidence of news DRONES observing fights.

      • Speaking of Drones, I feel that our poor ravenbots have gotten a raw deal lately. Brennus just up and broke up with them by text.

        Once he gets funding he needs to give them the works.

        Light absorbing nanoceramics for that Dark look and to help recharge.

        Forcefield Generator that can be linked to other ravenbots to increase the defensive capability.

        An AI swarm network that with enough ravens works as a computing Dyson sphere.

        Kinetic absorbing synthetic muscle to increase longevity.

        So many ideas for ravens.

        Oh and we need a ravencat

      • Ravenzord for the cat.

        For gagiteering is one large ravenship a possibility for a floating base? Bonus points if it contains spacial technology , a dimension inside for a larger workspace.

      • an actual flying ship is not impossible for Basil, but it’s extremely unlikely he’d work it out on his own – it could happen as part of a major collaboration with a vehicle-specialised gadgeteer, or a flight-specialised one and even then it’d be something they’d work on for a good, long while.

      • So he would have trouble with a plane but could build a space ship without any problems? That is probably an important clue to the nature of his power.

        And what are the parts that would be special? I am assuming the power source since has already built a fusion reactor before. The OS shouldn’t be too much of a problem either, he just has to write another AI and put it into a fitting supercomputer. And I have the feeling that he could probably also pull off an EM drive. He has worked with electricity and magnetism a lot in the past.

        So what is it that wouldn’t be special?

      • Again. I never said he’d have trouble with a plane. I said a FLYING SHIP – assuming we’re talking about a sci-fi concept and not just a zeppelin or something – would be something he’d need help on.

        He could build a plane. He could build a space ship. Same way he can build medical equipment – by studying the stuff and using his natural smarts and his power’s enhanced understanding to construct them. But his speciality is not “vehicles” or “flying ships” or “space exploration” or “medical equipment”, so only the parts that actually relate to his speciality would be actual gadgets; everything else would be (high-quality) “mundane” technology.

        Do remember that, for example, his Ravenbots are about 60% not his own work, because they don’t actually relate to his speciality.

  8. Maybe a collaboration with the resident Wyrm Neet. That is if they get along, it’s one of the interactions that I feel Melody would have symphonic dreams of.

  9. The comments on harem in anime made me think at the team name I created for Brennus and co. : Brennus Harem. Tyche could have the idea, except Brennus, all team members are female : Tyche, Hecate Gilgul and the AI Eudocia. I am sure both Hecate and Brennus would dislike that denomination.

    • Hecate would sputter and die.

      Tyche would laugh herself sick.

      Gilgul would declare herself first mistress or something.

      Eudocia would think “incest!” and crash.

      Brennus would think the others are being stupid.

  10. That’s if Prisca lives.

    If the worst happens at the last moment she could always tie her star to brennus and live on as his Stand.

      • HAH!!! ANOTHER HINT AS TO THE NATURE OF THE SLEEPER!!! You’ve slipped up Tie! Now we know that the Sleeper likes…SLEEPING!…..It’s possible I may be getting desperate to find out what the Sleeper actually is.

      • I also predict that the Sleeper likes to catch forty winks, hit the sack, get some shut-eye, hit the snooze button, nod off, hit the hay, slumber, and catnap. Did I miss anything? I’m so awesome.

      • She and Graymalkin should get together. They share the same interests and all. Soulmates. Love of sleeping. S+ or beyond powerscale. Like to sleep. Match made in 15000 psi.

      • or the thing from the first chapter of Twig.

        Or something…just beyond your ability to comprehend. Beyond the H.P. Lovecraft mythos level of incomprehensibility. Not just in eleven dimensions. Something in all dimensions and all realities, multiplied by the number of possible dimensions. You’ll look at it and you’ll see a bubbling, hissing, meowing mass of POSSIBILITY and you won’t even go mad, you’ll just cease to exist.

  11. You mentioned before that some Metas are more prized or sought by both Heroes and Villains.(Such as Gagdeteers.)
    I’ve thought of a few that might qualify; Could you tell us how they rank from most useful and popular to least useful and popular?

    Power-Dampeners(You’ve made it clear that there are no general power nulls)
    Power-Boosters
    Gadgeteers with decently large areas of expertise.
    Metas that can enhance or “enchant” mundane objects.
    A Nullification ability of any kind.(For example: Being able to just completely negate kinetic energy would be absurdly useful.)

    I’m guessing dampeners, boosters, and Gadgeteers are top three.

    • There are power nulls, but there’s no universal one on record (for example, there might be someone who shuts off all physical powers, or another that shuts off all electrical powers, or all telepathy, but no one’s seen one who can just shut off all powers, period)

      By that list, it’d be…

      1) Power-Boosters
      2) Enchanters/enhancers (usually contrivers)
      3) Nullifiers
      4) Power-Dampeners

      Gadgeteers can be anywhere on that list except number 1, depending on their speciality.

      Power-dampeners are the least sought after of those because they are useful ONLY against other metahumans, and tend to be useless against non-metas – which still make up the vast majority of humanity.

      • “There are power nulls, but there’s no universal one on record”

        Wasn’t Ember able to completely turn off someones power while he touches them?

      • Though he’s about as close to a universal power nullifier as you’re likely to get, unless I come up with a whole new character xD

    • Oh yeah, I forgot about one: Healers!(Especially ones that can heal long term damage and/or heal things that can’t possibly heal naturally.)

      How would they rank? And are healing Metas rare?

      • simple healing powers are uncommon but not exactly rare, but they’re usually very limited – like someone who can mend flesh and bones, or another who can do surgery with their mind, without the need for tools. Another one I can think of is someone who “drain” sicknesses, poisons and other such maladies from a person and store them inside himself, or someone who can drain “vitality” from one living being and give it to another, enhancing their own ability to heal.

        Straight-up panaceas (the myth, not the worm character) like Ember’s or what Gloomy sometimes does are really, really rare and really, REALLY sought after (more so than gadgeteers, though a healing gadgeteer would be even more sought after).

        A true healer like Ember (without the resurrection) would rate above a power booster, but below a power granter. more limited healers would depend on how their healing ability works, but still highly sought after

  12. Thanks for the great story, just binged it all!

    Brennus definitely deserves a harem.

    Melody and Gloom Glimmer are guaranteed! Gloomy rates Brennus so high after all.

    • Ember ain’t in a harem Prisca would turn him into raven strips.

      The real question is how will Ember interact with the girls. 5 years day dreaming isn’t good for a boys dating skill, even if you can revive the dead?

      • Rivalry between Prisca and Ember for Brennus? Ember dis meet him first and they shared a date with Ice cream.

      • Honestly, Harem or shipping is useless, Brennus is Prisca sexual and he just reunited with his long lost cat, in the middle of the Disneyworld of fucked up places. I’m not sure the Six has a better muhahahaha base.

      • They have their own pocket dimensions. Plural. That they can outfit any way they want.

        Believe you me, their muhahahaha bases have way more muhahahaha than even that of the Gefährten.

  13. Also; I’m putting Diantha’s power on the choice of powers I would want for conveniences sake if I lived in the Brennus Universe:

    1)General super strength, endurance, and durability.
    2)Complete control of my body down to the atomic level.
    3)Omni-Spacial awareness.

    (And Now.)4) Limited control of Time and Space in a field around me.

    ^I wonder how broken that powerset would be if a Meta got it?(Could Gloomy develop all of those on a good day?)

    • I’m not entirely sure what “omni-spacial awareness” (btw, it should be “spatial” not “spacial”) is supposed to be.

      Regardless, Gloomy might be able to, on a really good day, get all those, though they’d likely not be on the level you’re imagining.

      • Omni-Spatial awareness: Knowing the exact location and speed of everything around you in relation to your body.(Within a certain range.)

        In action, a person with this power would look like they have Precog.

      • Then how does she ever get hit?

        It’s basically DareDevils radar sense, but better.(Especially if used in conjunction with enhanced reflexes and super speed.)

    • What if she REALLY wanted that power most of the time because of it’s general usefulness?
      Or would her power keep doing whatever it wanted?

      • Since always?

        It’s mentioned earlier in the story that it took Gloomy a while to stop only getting telepathy for communication.

        And on this very mission she got the ability to fly herself and all of her friends after some brief concentration.

        He’ll, right before they got past the shielding, it’s pretty explicitly stated that the possible reason GG couldn’t find Dusu was because she didn’t want it bad enough.

        Plus: Her powers have frequently flared with her emotions. Indicating she has at least some sway over them.

      • It’s also been pretty clear from the beginning that what she wants and what her power thinks she wants are not always the same.

        Also, her power prefers to try new abilities out over simply reusing the same over and over.

  14. I’m still trying to figure out what it was about this situation that escaped BOTH the perception of Journeyman and Immanuel. It seems like the particularly intense psychic scream of Crocell into Basil’s mind, coupled with his power coming unstuck at that point allowing him to build the neural engram machine and figure out the location of the installation, was the sticking point. But why would it have escaped the notice of perception effects?

    Perhaps the manipulation of this mysterious mindcontrolling entity is immune to all perception effects. But the power coming unstuck…that seemed to herald the end of the Dark’s wraith blocking the forcefield idea.

    Not really sure of any other possibilities but I don’t feel like there’s much to go on. Guess I’ll just have to wait and see.

    • One possibility is that Brennus himself is a giant sore spot for perception powers, just not as overt as DIL. Even Ember said touching Macian’s field was difficult to bear.

      The dark had questions about Amy’s interferences with Basil stating a constant connection would be needed. If my thoery holds any water her former personalities power is likely far above what she is currently showing, and could be responsible for the memory wipes and interference with others.

      We still have yet to meet Amy’s tenant, I wonder if it has a cool ass name as The Blazing Sun?

      • If Brennus has Macian’s exact powerset, we know Macian was vulnerable to Atrocity’s perception since he said to Ember that staying in a closed space with her around was suicide. Now I do wonder if Ember’s ability to be a blind spot was already in place during the Berlin Incident. Once that storyline picks back up we’ll know.

        I wouldn’t rule out Amy’s power being way more powerful than it appears. That’s a possibility.

        But I’m still very suspicious about Peacock Lady. She seems wayyyyy too powerful. Obviously she’s a Point Zero manifestation so the rules don’t work all the same way for her. But she was present right before Hemming’s manifestation…and we thought no one could predict them. She was present right before the Savage Six came to Berlin…and we thought no one could see past Pristine’s blind spot. If she can see past this stuff, what can she DO actively?

      • Graymalkin also might be a point Zero. We know that he doesn’t need the door. The only reason he hasn’t Stopped DiL is that her power automatically reacts to make her look like a cucumber when Graymalkin is around.

        Can we get a confirmation on the Dil pickle theorem Tie?

  15. Did Atrocity make a program to age up Macian based on her data? And she has older Macian pinup posters in her dimension?

    I will slink away with my wierd brain now.

      • I don’t think Atrocity has much of a sex drive, but seriously dude, wierd.

      • No matter how weird you think Atrocity is, you’re not even close.

        Honestly, knowing all I know about her, even I get creeped out. By my own creation.

        But no, she did not create aged-up posters of Macian to look at in her own room. Even she has some standards. Somewhere. Maybe.

      • Sorry I know they are her blades I just phrased it wrong. Seriously is there anything this cat both can/ and can’t do at the same time? I bet even his litter box are just the sands of time.

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