B14.4 Breaking Point

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He found Hecate together with Polymnia atop a three storey apartment building’s roof, just half a kilometre or so away from the fight, where a dozen Mementos, Gloom Glimmer and Rounds were holding DiL back – or perhaps it was best to say that they were keeping her simply occupied rather than holding her anywhere.

Swinging onto the rooftop with his grappling hook and rope, he reeled them into the casing at his hip as he looked at the fight.

Rounds was in the air, clad in body armor styled to evoke a medieval knight’s plate armor, all in silver, red and blue. He was surrounded by only ten apparitions rather than the twelve Basil knew he could generate.

And they were all copies of Gloom Glimmer, save for a single apparition which was of Wary Wu, an elderly Chinese man with a very long fu manchu moustache and no other hair on his head, wearing a simple business suit.

Basil looked at Melody, assuming that she’d know what was going on there.

She crossed eyes with him and seemed to instantly pick up on what he was about to ask. “Interesting power interaction,” she explained with a strained smile. “He can’t copy her ability to assume new powers, but he can copy whichever powers she is currently holding. So any time she gets a particularly good set, he makes a copy of her and his power apparently considers her sufficiently different to make a separate copy, rather than replace the previous one.”

Basil turned that around in his head, then looked over at the fight again – Gloom Glimmer floated over to Rounds and they briefly touched hands, embers of silver light rising out of her body and coalescing into a monochrome copy of hers, looking like it was made of translucent silver.

Flying apart again, they dodged an attack from DiL – streams of bright blue plasma were shooting out from around here, a dozen of them, shooting out only to loop back to their origin point after just fifty metre or so – and both she, her new apparition and Rounds held out their right hand towards DiL.

Wood grew, from a single pinpoint in front of each of their hands, bursting forth into massive trees that shot out towards DiL, her plasma jets eating into them but being pushed back by the overwhelming growth – Gloom Glimmer’s power generated both greater growth at a time, and faster as well.

Hexagonal honey-coloured force-fields manifested all around her, any one only about as large as a dinner plate, and arranged in a loose, but precise honeycomb pattern, so there were gaps between the shields. They moved, pulling themselves together in three spots, overlapping for stronger defense.

The trees smashed into them and promptly grew around them, barely slowed down by the shields.

This time, he saw the shift, and thus the pain, coming, and yet Basil nearly fell over regardless.

Hecate grabbed him by the upper arm, helping him stay up. “Thank God,” she whispered, looking at the combatants.

DiL had started leaking sparks from all around her, creating a trail of them as she flew around, dodging Gloom Glimmer and Rounds’ attacks.

“Those loops were getting longer and brighter each time they went around,” she explained as he stood straight again.

“They do usually grow stronger with time,” Basil confirmed. “I feel like something should be said in regards to how utterly, unfairly powerful Rounds and Gloom Glimmer are together. Something involving multiple exclamation marks and strong expletives.”

“That would… usually be Tyche’s role,” Hecate replied softly, not looking at him as she pulled her hand away from him.

“Do you…”

“I dropped by her apartment before I came back here. She’s staying out of this fight. Took her mother to a shelter,” she replied.

He felt himself relax, a little bit. Shelters were hardly a guarantee that one would be safe from DiL, but they’d at least improve the odds.

Hopefully enough so her power wouldn’t need to further harm her mother so as to ensure Tyche’s survival, if it even worked against DiL.

Still… he would have liked to have her with them. If not for her ridiculously useful power then just…

Just to have her there.

DiL passed by nearby, the sparks she was shedding having increased in volume. Wherever they came into contact with solid matter, the disappeared with a brief flash… and took all matter within about a centimetre around them with them.

Rounds was hot on her heel, a full complement of apparitions around him – eleven Gloom Glimmer’s and Wary Wu, trying to hit her, somehow, using a staggering variety of powers.

None of them hit, be they tendrils which sprouted out of surrounding material lashing out, multi-coloured laser beams which froze anything they hit, explosions of pure force generated at the target point rather than thrown out and more.

DiL simply danced around and through them, never even having to rely on her invulnerability as nothing managed to touch her.

Some manner of combat esper power, Basil thought as he and the girls backed up to another rooftop, not wanting to test their defenses against those sparks or a possible shot from Rounds gone astray. Will she switch out as soon as she is hit even once?

Clearly, Rounds believed that to be the case, as he put his all into hitting the woman.

Gloom Glimmer, meanwhile, flew towards them and landed on the rooftop – only to stagger, trip, and nearly collapse.

Basil moved on instinct and caught her, his hands grabbing a hold of her shoulders before she could fall over entirely.

He had never seen her look so exhausted. Her face was nearly ashen, her lips as pale as the skin around them and her eyes were sunken, as if she’d gone for days without rest.

“H-hey,” she greeted him with a smile. “S-s-sorry… just need a… short break.” She slumped against him, her breathing laboured – and yet she was recovering even as she spoke, a little colour having already returned to her face.

Polymnia stepped up to them and he handed Gloom Glimmer over to her, as she wrapped an arm around her friend’s waist, holding her up.

It was then that Basil noticed something which her pigtails had previously hidden.

“Your ears are bleeding,” he said simply, looking at the trickle of blood running out of said ears.

She nodded, giving him a pained smile. “Ever since Bree showed up, I’ve been hearing this song, everywhere. The closer to her I get the louder and more painful it becomes and when she passed by me earlier, it nearly knocked me out. It gets briefly worse whenever she changes powers, too.” She raised her free left hand to touch her ear, pulling it back to look at the blood on her fingertips, while the fingers of her right hand were tapping on Gloom Glimmer’s side, like a keyboard. “It sounds kind of like the music I hear whenever Gloomy loses control of her power, or draws too deeply on it, only… louder. But with less… discord?”

“What are the chances that both of you would have a reaction like that?” Hecate asked as she joined their little circle, her arms crossed beneath her chest. “Basil has had the worst headache since DiL appeared, and he gets flashes of greater pain when she changes powers.” She looked at the two of them, worry visible on the lower half of her face.

”Very bad if we assume it is not connected in some kind,” Basil pondered the thought. “It may be significant that the both of us are Gadgeteers.” He looked at Polymnia with one eye, while watching the fight continue through his raven – by some miracle, it still worked, even though the ravenbots were by necessity not exceptionally hardened against interference.

Rounds was continuing his assault with the nearly two dozen offensive powers he had at his disposal and DiL was dodging his attacks by smaller and smaller margins as he got used to the way her power made her dodge. He would likely land a hit soon, at which point she’d switch out her powers again.

That would be the most dangerous time in any DiL battle – right after she’d switched powers, before anyone knew what she was going to do next, with no useful limitations upon what she might pull out next.

”You say you hear this song around Gloom Glimmer, as well? Do you hear it right now?” he continued to prod while they still had the time – it was very much possible that DiL’s next powerset would see them all thrust into the thick of battle again, while right now, they could do little more than stand by and watch.

Polymnia looked at her rapidly recovering friend. ”Not right now, no. I think that’s because she’s not actively using anything big at this time.”

Gloom Glimmer looked up at her, smiling apologetically. “I’ll be back in working order soon.”

”Hrm. So many questions,” Basil temporised, turning away from them with his hands clasped behind his back. “I have never heard of this particular phenomenon before.” He watched as the Mementos pulled up a huge force-field thick enough it looked more like a fortress’ wall than the usual screens such effects tended to produce.

DiL smashed right through it as she dodged a coordinated attack by Rounds and his apparitions, the force wall flaring up and crackling with electricity.

That seemed to do it, as pain burned through Basil’s mind, making him stagger again, as he heard Polymnia behind him groan in discomfort or pain.

He pressed the button on the communicator, not even sure whether it would be or ever had been of any use, but DiL didn’t give them a chance to adjust or prepare – her entire form erupted into a thick solid ash cloud, shooting out towards Rounds in a thick, very nearly rock-solid blast.

According to Basil’s heat sensors, it was more of a pyroclastic flow than just a mere ash cloud.

Rounds, fortunately, was prepared. He raised his arms and crossed them in front of himself, as one of Gloom Glimmer’s apparitions did the same while floating right next to him, the other apparitions all moving between the two of them as the concentrated flow simply… split, as if an invisible wedge had been driven into it, failing to touch them or so much as heat up the air around them while flowing past, causing devastating damage to a small children’s playground and some adjacent buildings, as well as killing a trio of unlucky capes who’d wandered too close and weren’t able to get away in time, their forms being near-instantly swallowed up by the flow.

Or so it seemed, as both of them appeared atop a nearby rooftop, one of the translucent Gloom Glimmers finishing a gesture she’d made towards them.

”That was lucky for them,” Hecate breathed a sigh of relief, even as she eyed the devastation warily – they weren’t that far away from it, certainly not at a distance where DiL would be unable to strike at them, if she did shift her attention away from Rounds.

”Not so much lucky,” Basil replied as he zoomed in on the trio. They weren’t capes after all. “That’s the triad. Wary Wu’s with them.”

He zoomed in on the notorious trio of criminals. Wary Wu stood in the back, behind his two underlings.

The elderly metahuman had been the main reason why Basil had quite decidedly voted for his team not to mess with triad business too much. At over seventy years old, he did not cut a very imposing physical figure, being short, thin, with a thin fu manchu beard and wearing a surprisingly cheap, ill-fitting suit without even a tie – but that mattered little when one considered that he’d been a cowl since his teens and was still alive, sixty years later. One challenged that kind of record at their own peril.

Of course, you just had to go and challenge a guy even older than that earlier today…

Shut. Up.

With Wary Wu were his left- and right-hand man, Drunk Da and Zealous Zhou.

The former looked even more average than his boss, a slender chinese man with long, messy black hair and a simple goatee, wearing a Chinese martial artist’s outfit – loose black pants and soft black shoes, as well as a wide-sleeved white shirt. The only part which stood out about him was the huge gourd strapped to his back, easily as tall and wide as his entire upper body.

Zealous Zhou was the only one of the trio wearing something even remotely appropriate to his vocation and the current situation – urban camo military fatigues, a tactical vest, a pair of straight short swords strapped to his sides and a rifle strapped to his back, as well as a red mask covering the upper half of his face, made of some kind of shiny resin, with a precise goatee covering his exposed chin and surrounding his mouth.

As DiL unleashed a second, larger wave of pyroclastic flow, the three of them were already moving at Wary Wu’s word. Wu and Zhou backed behind Da, who pulled the gourd up over his shoulder, taking a huge swig of some kind of clear liquid, messily enough some of it spilled over and stained the neck of his shirt.

Then he took a step forward, staggering in drunkenness, and balanced – barely – on his left leg, raising the right one and whirling it in a circular portion.

Even though he was moving barely faster than a normal person, the motion generated enough force to stir the air – and form a wind funnel that hit the incoming pyroclastic flow, parting it so it flowed past the trio without causing them any harm.

At least, no direct one, as Drunk Da yelped and beat at his own shirt, where the immense heat had ignited the alcohol he’d just spilled over it.

Zhou intervened by reaching over and ripping his shirt off entirely, throwing it on the ground, while Da beat out the flames that’d jumped onto his goatee.

While that show was going on, DiL had already unleashed another flow, even larger still – this time in the rough direction Basil and the others stood, though she did not seem to aim directly at them so much as at the capes and cowls who were massing in the market square next to the building they’d gathered atop of.

Basil was just about to retreat to another rooftop, when two Mementos dropped out of the sky, landing on the street the flow was travelling along with enough force to shatter the asphalt, and raised their huge hands, palms out towards the oncoming tide of destruction.

Space twisted in front of them, and a portal opened, catching the pyroclastic flow. Another portal opened above and behind DiL, redirecting the flow into her back.

Though she was obscured by the mass of lethally hot ash, Basil could easily tell that that must have counted somehow as her power being sufficiently interfered with – perhaps her defensive ability couldn’t deal with her offensive one? – as pain flared up in his head again.

“She’s pulling out something new!” Polymnia spoke with unnatural calm, even as she flinched in pain, her free hand rising to her ear again.

Gloom Glimmer raised her head, her eyes a bright red surrounded by utter black, and snapped her fingers.

There was an all too familiar wrench of disorientation and then the lot of them found themselves on top of a different building, four blocks away, just as dozens of glass-like, crystalline tendrils shot out of the ash cloud, spearing through and destroying three of Rounds’ apparitions – though he managed to avoid being hit himself, twisting his body out of the way of one that would have gone through his chest.

Drunk Da slapped a few of them aside with his bare hands, his power protecting him from what followed next.

Wherever the tendrils came into contact with solid matter, they fused into it, converting it into crystal, from which two tendrils shot out, aimed at random targets – sometimes metahumans, sometimes just parts of the scenery.

Those tendrils converted more matter into crystal, including several capes who’d been hit, as well as one Memento who’d shielded a trio of cowls from the attack, the victims transforming into distorted crystal statues, before a single tendril emerged from each point of impact, continuing the attack.

This last wave of tendrils did not spawn new ones, merely converting their targets to crystal.

None of them came even close to Basil and the others, but it was still a horrid show, as even with their limited view of it, they saw at least a dozen men and women die to the initial attack.

In the distance, DiL rose out of the remains of her own cloud, leaving several tendrils behind, their ends sticking into the air where they seemed to have emerged from her body – or rather, a few centimetre away from it, as they usually did.

Ribbons of some kind of reflective material encircled her form, allowing only for glimpses of the figure beneath, save for her hair, which was long enough to very nearly touch the ground below her. The ribbons reflected her surroundings, but in a distorted way, like trying to look at something through several improperly aligned, curved lenses.

“Those ribbons… defensive or utility?” Hecate asked, her voice barely more than a whisper.

Basil could still hear the sadness and the fear in it, and he wished he knew how to reassure her right then.

He didn’t want to lie to her, making false reassurances.

Instead, he watched Rounds fly up into the air again, leaving several crystallized people he must have tried to help to face DiL at a distance again, surrounded by six apparitions of Gloom Glimmer and the one of Wary Wu.

“He is getting whittled down… as is Memento,” Basil observed.

“Not for long,” Gloom Glimmer refuted, as she disentangled herself from Polymnia and stepped forth, her sock-covered feet not making a sound upon the roof even before she simply levitated upwards.

Looking at her, she almost seemed like a different person to before. Completely recovered and poised, whatever powers she currently held so intense, they seemed to distort space around her even when she wasn’t doing much with them.

This close to her, Basil could definitely sense… something. A change, in the… the cadence of the pain. As if whatever was pressing on his brain was being interfered with by another, similar emission…

It was actually kind of soothing, even if he couldn’t actually make out anything about the second one, other than the slight alleviation of pain he experienced.

So many questions. So much to unravel, once there’s some time to actually investigate, he thought, not that he wasn’t aware of how slim the chances were he’d still be around to do it.

Speaking of which… you gotta get moving, mate. You’re not doing much to help, as is.

Agreed.

A quick flick of his left hand’s fingers brought his force shield to life – it seemed to be safe from DiL’s interference, at least for now. A twitch deactivated it again.

He looked at Gloom Glimmer, who was in the process of turning away from them and flying away.

“Can you drop me off closer to the battle?” he asked her, stepping forth.

“B-Brennus!” Hecate called out, grabbing him by the wrist. “Are you… I mean, you can’t be serious – this is way out of our league!”

He looked at her hand on his wrist, then up at the shadows beneath her hood, to cross eyes with her.

Funny, how his mask was currently only covering the lower half of his face, and hers only the upper half.

Even funnier that he would even notice that, at such a time.

”Those crystals bond with solid matter,” he replied calmly. “I would bet my last raven that they will be unable to penetrate my force shield. And besides… I want to do whatever I can to help here.” He looked down again. “I am sure you understand.”

She stayed quiet for a moment, then let go of his wrist. Drawing her cloak tighter around herself, she seemed to shrink for a moment, her shoulders slumping out of her usually flawless posture – then she suddenly stood up straight again.

”Yeah. Yeah, you’re right… and so do I,” she replied, her voice firm. “I’ll come along.”

Heavy steps made all three of them – Gloom Glimmer had just been observing quietly so far – turn to look at Polymnia, who had a pained expression crossed with a smile on her face. “My sonic cage is just as good at deflecting solid matter as your force fields are, Brennus. And you couldn’t keep me away from this if you tried.”

They all looked at each other, then at Gloom Glimmer, who was looking at them with a strangely calm, serious expression – not that it wasn’t warranted, in this situation, but she wasn’t showing any real emotion right then.

“Alright. Let’s get going,” she said and gestured at them. Her power wrapped around them, distorting air and light, and they flew off towards the growing forest of crystal tendrils.

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37 thoughts on “B14.4 Breaking Point

  1. This is actually only half of what I was intending for this particular update (in fact, it’s exactly half-way down the outline I wrote), but I didn’t want to keep you all waiting any longer.

    Also, typo thread.

    • made of transluscent silver –> translucent
      point after just fifty metreor so –> meter or
      centimetre, kilometre (not american spelling)
      childrens’ playground –> children’s playground
      was travelling along with enough (not american)
      all too familar wrench –> all to familiar wrench

      • Thought you only used the British spelling for Macian/Basil’s dialogue.
        And: transluscent Gloom Glimmers –> translucent

      • No, I use british phrases and slang for that.

        As for the spelling, it’s the one I favour in my writing because… well, honestly, there isn’t a particular reason. it’s the one I learned first.

    • “after just fifty metre” – should be plural

      “as well as killing a trio of unlucky capes who’d wandered too close and weren’t able to get away in time, their forms being near-instantly swallowed up by the flow.

      Or so it seemed, as both of them appeared atop a nearby rooftop,” – It was clarified right after, but I lost a good few seconds trying to figure out whether there were two or three people referred to here.

  2. How long you think until the next half? Not trying to rush you or anything but I feel like you should feel personally responsible for the withdrawal symptoms I go through waiting for this awesome story

  3. All that and the thing that scares me is Gloomy not displaying any emotion.

    So, Bree isn’t tweaking Brennus specifically, but rather screwing with the connection between gadgeteers and whatever the source of their schematics is. If I recall correctly, Basil’s gotten a headache every time he sees a piece of tech and fails to analyze it, or has an inspiration for a gadget he can’t act on properly. And I seem to remember Polymnia getting most of her supertech ideas in the form of a song. Being too close to Bree, or Gloomy at full power, pokes a gadgeteer in the same part of the brain that their power does and in the same way, but too forcefully and incoherently.

    Which means if we could figure out how a gadgeteer works, we could probably figure out the Desolation. Options include: specialized form of precognitive that borrows designs from the future, limited psychic connection to some extraplanar database of tech that tells you how to build or understand anything you’ve got permission to look at, subconscious connection to all of humanity letting you crowdsource your engineering… Yeah insufficient data to solve this one.

    • I’m not sure it’s at all safe to say that this phenomenon is caused just by *being a Gadgeteer*. If this was universal – or even just a known phenomenon – there would already be protocols in place to ensure that they had that support in place.

      If even 1% of Gadgeteers reacted this way, you can bet the Dark and Lady Light (and all other relevant parties, for that matter) would be scouring the Earth to find someone who meets the bill, and offering whatever compensation is needed for them to be on standby and ready to be teleported in to these battles.

      Fights against DiL are too important, and too much of an uphill battle, for them *not* to exploit every advantage they can get. Especially if the cost is as low as finding the right meta and getting them to turn up to the fight.

      So this would suggest that what’s going on here is something new.

      Occam’s razor would suggest that rather than having two freak occurrences happening at the same time, that both are symptoms of the same underlying cause.

      Which means we should be looking at the points where Basil and Polymnia intersect, specifically in ways that set them apart from everyone else.

      (Taking things further, the nearest solution would be one in which this ties into Basil’s weirdness, to reduce the improbability of him having two unrelated and almost unique bits of weirdness.)

      • Another angle would be that something has changed with DiL herself, rather than individually changing with both Basil and Polymnia. Again, this reduced the complexity of the problem and hence reduces the inherent improbability.

        (Although the fact that the Dark seemed to only offer the communicator to Brennus would indicate that this is unlikely, unless Basil was the first and only Gadgeteer the Dark encountered. Which is *possible* assuming that there are almost no other Gadgeteers who have turned up – which is possible given the stated rarity of Gadgeteers and how most of them apparently avoid DiL fights.)

      • >Another angle would be that something has changed with DiL herself

        Shit, have we seen a utility power from Bree at any point during this fight? Or is she only changing up her offense and defense while the utility side keeps doing something with the gadgeteers in the area? Taking advantage of local conditions like she did to destroy that island in japan, except the local condition that allows whatever she’s doing this time is the presence of Basil and all the weirdness in his head?

      • I think sense GG was seemingly able to counter it a bit, there at the end. The headache and earaches are most likely a direct result of something Bree is doing. i am starting to think the theory Isa Lumatas put out there in the last chapters comments is looking more and more plausible.

      • I’m not sure that DiL’s effect on gadgeteers would have been noticed already. Mostly because it affects each gadgeteer differently. As already mentioned, the fact that gadgeteers avoid her due to their tech not not working would also severely reduce the sample size, too.

        I find it rather ironic, though, that we see evidence of the theory I specifically said I don’t believe. Maybe I’m just too eager to see how the Basil/Macian/Man-in-the-moon/Ember thing plays out.

      • You think Gadgeteers noticed that their gadgets were becoming more inconsistent before they noticed the crippling pain? If all Gadgeteers suffered like this, well, it’s not too hard of a pattern to put together – note how Basil does it immediately upon meeting Polymnia, or how the Dark recognised the cause of Basil’s headaches immediately.

        And Gadgeteers avoiding DiL is a more recent thing – they wouldn’t have known about their ineffectivness to begin with, and so wouldn’t have had any particular resreason to refrain from the fights.

        One more piece of evidence is that Basil had no idea what the headaches were. Basil the exposition who’s spent time, effort, and resources he doesn’t really have researching DiL and preparing his equipment specifically to be ready for her. If there was even the quietest rumour about Gadgeteers having reactions to Dial, he’d have picked up on it.

        Sorry if I seem like I’m coming down hard, btw. I’m super keen to see how Basil/Macian/etc. plays out too. I just thought there was a syrost argument to be laid out against this specific theory.

      • @Attentive Goldfish
        It’s okay. At the end of the day, we’re both arguing points based on things the story hasn’t revealed. And I’m not completely sure that even I believe that DiL’s power is messing with gadgeteers.

        I had figured that the first few times DiL attacked, the gadgeteers attending got killed when their equipment suddenly failed, leaving them unable to report the odd power interaction. From there, it was probably noted that drones suddenly broke down, and possibly even mundane technology stopped working.

        At that point, gadgeteers may well have decided to save their inventions for threats they can actually do something about. Then they’d just stop showing up to the fights, meaning that more evidence isn’t seen.

        That the Dark recognized it immediately is something I hadn’t considered. What if he HAS seen this with gadgeteers before? It would explain how he made that logical leap. Of course, that still leaves your question about why Basil wouldn’t have heard of this effect.

        My guess, besides the mortality issue above, is that a couple people do know, and either didn’t think it worth sharing, or are keeping it secret. The Dark is a villain, after all, so he might not be inclined to share. Not to mention that the interaction might have something to do with the origin of powers, which we know that both he and LL are keeping quiet about.

    • My best guess is that it is connected to being a Gadgeteer, but not all Gadgeteers… what if it’s only affecting ones with additional, secondary powers? That gives them some kind of.. extra link, or bandwidth, or whatever, to the energy source that Bree draws on. Melody has Physique, and Basil/Macian’s combat fugue is ridiculous enough that I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s some kind of Esper ability or super fighting instinct thing.

    • They’ve been mentioned once or twice, off-handedly. And I did discuss them in the comments… I think during the “Good People” interlude.

      Wary Wu’s power is unlikely to be explored further in this book, so I don’t mind sharing it – he’s a very powerful esper built around a theme of… paranoia, I guess. Or being constantly wary. He has a diffuse, very versatile danger sense which covers both himself, his associates, business interests, etc, growing less reliable the further something is removed from him.

      As such he can sense people posing a danger to himself and the triad’s business, and when that happens he has another option.

      By focusing entirely on a specific danger he senses ahead (usually he only gets very rough information), he loses sight of all other dangers, but the longer he focuses on the same one, the more information he gets on the person he needs to be wary of – only the most basic after a minute, more after an hour, even more after three, six and finally twelve hours of focusing on a single person. He can also simply focus on a person without being warned of a danger beforehand, and get a general idea as to how likely they are to pose a threat to him in the future, and what kind of threat (physical, social, mental, financial, political or weird).

      Mind you, his power didn’t start out like this. In the beginning, he was limited to having a general awareness of people who posed or could pose a threat to himself and those immediately associated with himself.

      But he’s had it for more than half a century and been constantly using it to the fullest, so you can take him as a case study of how powers may evolve.

    • They showed up briefly early in the Hastur ark. They attended the meeting with the Dark and the Foresters in the UH headquarters.

      They didn’t do much other than suggest that Brennus was making the whole thing up, though.

  4. So like what are they gonna do with the crystal people afterwards? Sell ’em on Ebay as novelty items? Hmmm that would be a little crass i think. Ah i know! Put them in a modern art exhibit! “Oooooo ahhhhhhh, you can really feel the pain and despair in this one, can’t you kids?”

    • Nah, that still seems a bit too disrespectful. More likely, those statues will become part of a memorial for DiL’s victims. That said, I could see some organization (Gefahrten) stealing a few to advance their study of mad science.

      • Your probably right. Though sense the fight has barely begun we are probably gonna find out that all the connected crystal turns into some fucked up kiju.

  5. I find myself wondering if Gloomy has any permanent secondary powers. I mean, her and DiL are both power-shifters, but DiL also has her permanent defense, the killer light, and her field. For the sake of symmetry, I suspect that Gloomy has something.

    Given that DiL’s field forbids [Connection], I wonder if Gloom Glimmer has any passive effects enhancing it. It would probably come in the form of people around her being more likely to manifest powers, and people might have an easier time heterodyning with her (or even just near her).

    Do the people that Irene raped in the past have a higher than normal chance to manifest?

    • LOL “I got raped by a child and all i got were these awesome powers” Eh, i’ve seen worse T-shirts before.

      As for Bree and Irene having the same powers…I think Ties has said multiple times that it only looks like they are similar. Something along the lines of how to most people there probably isn’t much difference between Momento’s contriver power and Basil’s gadgeteering.

      • Now that you mention it, contriving and gadgeteering are opposites in the same way that I think Bree and Irene’s powers are opposite. My theory on their powers is relying heavily on something that Protector said about it. He’s the one who said that they are opposites in some way.

        From there, I started looking for ways that the two diverge. Bree’s star is the only one that isn’t linked to any other ones, while Irene’s power tries to force her into either loving or hating people. Both love and hate are forms of emotional connection.

        Bree’s power cuts her off from the world (based on the interlude from Pristine’s POV), and she can’t even perceive non-supers. Irene’s power gave her telepathy before she learned to speak.

        My guess is that Bree is being controlled by her power, which is acting to “protect” her from forming any connection to another creature, regardless of whether that connection is positive (love) or negative (hate). Irene, meanwhile, is only able to control her power because that is necessary for her to interact as a human and form interpersonal connections.

        I’m not sure that I have it completely right, but Ties has been utterly silent every time I’ve mentioned this theory. I think I’m close enough that he can’t say anything without ruining a reveal he has planned.

    • No, they didn’t.

      Honestly, I may well just retcon the nature of her escapades. Remove the sexual element, or at least strongly reduce it, and focus more on weirder stuff.

  6. Nice update I like it, great bit on the fight against Bree and I love how Rounds’ power interacts with Gloomy, it makes sense when you think about it.

    Also interesting showing from the triad I wonder what Da and Zhou’s powers are but eh I guess we will see in the future, Wu’s power is very good no wonder he lasted that long and no wonder Rounds decided to make use of it, combined with the rest even at half strength it is quite helpful.

    I also like how Basil misses Tyche here, good to see that bound seriously I hope the guy comes out relatively unharmed from this and that we get to see more of Tyche.

    Interesting to see that Polymnia reacts to Bree’s power change too, on first glance one could think that this is because both Basil and herself are Gadgeteers but I don’t think so because if that was it the effect would have been recorded a long time ago, no I think it comes from Basil’s…particularities and Melody’s specialisation: the powers are linked to a song, Melody is specialised in sound and have a form of super hearing which allows her to hear a lot, the song included in fact her being able to hear the song could have rather interesting implications for the future.

    As for Gloomy’s escapades, I don’t think it should be retconned adding weird things but otherwise leave the rest as IMHO it shows just how her power can have an influence in all aspects of her life.

    Anyway, can’t wait for more!!!

  7. We need a Brennus banner for the topwebfiction listing. Currently at 22nd place, we need to up the game. Please vote!
    Great chapter. I really want to see what happens if gloomy loses control around dil, and there are so many questions surrounding brennus’ voices, and where they’re leading him.

    • Basil’s voices are leading him somewhere?
      Worst. Leaders. Ever.

      The only things the Raging Heart says is “Mine” and “Not hers”.
      The Blazing Sun says little more than “I cannot say”.
      And the Man in the Moon? He snarks a lot. But has nothing in the way of instructions or even helpful advice.

    • When you give up control and let your body, mind, and power work as one… You become a Super Metehuman God Sage thingy. Then you are awesome for about five minutes then get your ass kicked until a park ranger and a giant dick show up to help.Then afterwards everyone will bitch about your hair color.

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