End of Colony 15.3

The Pure and the Chosen have, since before they became the Pure and the Chosen, had a bunch of characters I didn’t particularly have any reason to care about. This chapter helped to flesh out two of the Chosen’s quite a bit.

I like Victor and Othala. They’re a Nazi dickprince and a Nazi dickprincess, but they have a very interesting and somewhat commendable relationship, and Victor’s personality, aside from the whole Nazi thing, is… entertaining. It was fun to see him react to Lisa’s manipulation.

(I still don’t care about Rune, and Night and Fog are really just their movesets in battle so far. I suppose they might have their time later.)

Communication was very much a theme in the chapter, between Taylor being irritated that Lisa hadn’t communicated her plan to Taylor, Victor and Othala’s relationship being built on it, and good, honest communication helping to mend the rift between Taylor and Lisa towards the end. I like that.

So, what’s up next chapter?

Well, Aisha’s got a favor to ask of Taylor. I have roughly zero clue what it is. It’s something she personally needs Taylor to do, something Coil shouldn’t know about, and probably something that will keep Taylor away from her territory.

It’s probably not checking on her family using the bugs. She can do that herself, and better. Besides, Coil knowing about that would probably not hurt.

Maybe it has to do with Victor, in some way? She’s not too keen on working with the Nazis, and even if she did help Lisa make a point about hurting Othala, well, Taylor helped out back there too. And Aisha would be inclined to want to hurt Othala anyway. Maybe Aisha wants Taylor to do something about this?

Then again, she might not see it as working with the Nazis so much as taking a captive.

Thus far, this Arc has a nasty habit of leaving me stumped. I suppose I’ll have to find out next time. See you then!

I suspect one of those crises is eventually going to be fissures in the team, even if Taylor and Lisa did at least superficially talk out one of those fissures in this chapter.

How was I supposed to get a handle on everything if I was posed with two more crises every time I got something done?

That’s… an odd point to end this chapter on. And an odd line in itself, with the “favor” apparently counting as a crisis.

But yeah, I suppose that means that whatever this favor is, it’s going to keep Taylor away from her territory a bit longer. Maybe this Arc is called Colony because she’s kept away from it and then she has to deal with the territory getting wiped off the face of the Earth somehow? But that sounds like a retread of the territory subplot we had while the Nine were here, just in a different order, so I don’t think Wildbow would do that right now.

“Do me a favor?”  Someone asked from behind me.

Hm? Hello?

This sounds like Lisa. Did she not leave yet?

Except Taylor should recognize Lisa’s voice by now… Alec, through Shatterbird?

I spun around, drawing my knife.  It was just Imp.  Damn it.

Ah, right.

I forgot she was here too.

I love how often that happens to me, honestly. It’s really good for immersion.

“What?” I asked.  “Where’d you come from?”

“I stayed behind to keep an eye on Night.  Winking instead of blinking so I didn’t lose sight of her.  And you don’t even remember that I was doing it.  Fuck.  Ungrateful bastards.

Hah. That’s a nice solution to the blinking issue, too.

So this explains why Night didn’t turn back into a monster, then.

I had to run the last block so I could be sure you didn’t fly off before I could ask.”

“You could have phoned.”

So what is this favor you have in mind? Something to do with Brian? Or maybe Victor and his Nazi-ness?

She shook her head.  “You heard what Tattletale said.  Coil might be listening in over the phones.  We don’t mention anything we wouldn’t want him to overhear.”

“And you don’t want him to overhear this favor?” I asked, hating myself even as I opened my mouth.

Fair enough.

“Pshh.  After everything I’ve done for you.”

“Hm?”

“Nevermind,” he said, chuckling.  “I’m going to catch a ride to Coil’s and handle this next bit.  Wonder how long he’ll hold out.”

Hehe. I think he was just kidding there, Taylor.

Alright, have a nice trip!

“I’ll come too,” Tattletale said.  “I want to see how this plays out.”

“If you don’t need me, I’m thinking I’m going to head back,” I said.  “Take care of my people.”

Colony time, huh?

Tattletale nodded and gave me a short wave as she climbed into the back of the second truck.

I wasn’t thrilled, but I could deal.  I felt relieved to have a window of time to do what I needed to do.  It wouldn’t be relaxation, but more moving on to the next point on my priority list, handling the stuff that absolutely positively needed to be handled.

If “stuff that absolutely positively needs to be handled” is priority number two, how many adverbs were there for priority number one?

Making sure my dad was protected from Coil was a big one, making sure my people were both protected and equipped to protect themselves from the Chosen was another.  I needed to get my equipment in order, and the costumes finished, make sure I touched base with Bitch so our recent good relationship didn’t fall apart, and maintain the lines of communication with Tattletale and Coil so I was up to date on upcoming events.

Ah, I suppose “stuff that absolutely positively needs to be handled” is just the entire priority list.

I appreciate that she’s got “maintain friendship with Rachel” in there. I wonder if she’ll succeed at that.

“Okay,” I said.

“Okay?”  She asked.

“Okay.  Yeah.  I wish we could have talked about this before, but I’m willing to accept that we’ve been through a hell of a lot, and you’ve put up with a lot of demands from me.  If you think this is a good idea, if you’re certain about this, I can accept that.”

She nodded once, “Thank you.”

“And me?” Regent asked.  “No ‘I have faith in your judgement’?”

I… don’t think she does.

“I really don’t,” I admitted.

Ahaha

“Just as an idea?  It’s interesting.  You brought this up with him?”

“No.  Imp said he was resting when I called to ask.  I figure it can’t hurt.”

I nodded.

“So we’re getting the data, we’re possibly outing Coil, and we’re putting a skill vampire in a situation where he’s surrounded with some very skilled people.  Like a kid in a candy shop, I doubt he’ll be able to keep from drooling.  Coil won’t let Victor get in situation where he can pick up anything special unless he agrees to join, that’s obvious enough.

Makes sense.

Except I’ve talked to Minor, Senegal, Pritt and Jaw, and they’re willing to give him a little something in the way of exclusive skills he wouldn’t otherwise have access to, in exchange for a few small favors.”

Taking one for the team!

They would have a bunch of soldier (and medic; useful for helping Othala) skills that would probably be quite tasty, yeah.

“Like?”

“Like getting a read on Coil’s talents and skills, perhaps.  I can’t say for sure, but I’m thinking Victor could tell us what Coil’s day job used to be.  Enough of a starting point that I can dig up more details.  Know your enemy.  And with a guy that versatile, I can think of several ways he could be useful.”

This story has always put an emphasis on knowing your enemy. As a bonus, Coil backstory. Which hole did this snake slither out of?

Tattletale looked as well.  “But the main thing I was getting at is that we’re working towards something here.  We got Victor.  Bully for us.  But you’re probably wondering why.”

Plan exposition! Yes please.

It’ll be nice to have a little more to base my speculations on.

“Just a little.”

“Remember our attack on the PRT headquarters?  We walked away with data.  Data Coil and his best people couldn’t crack.”

Oh! So they want Victor to crack it?

I nodded.

“I think Victor could pull it off.”

“Okay.  Still not convinced.”

“Hear me out.  I told Coil that, and that got his attention.  I had something of an idea that Victor, Rune and Othala were looking to leave the Chosen, so I floated the idea to Coil that he could make them an offer.”

Ahh, all three of them were meeting with Night and Fog to discuss them joining the Pure, I see.

So do you actually intend for Coil to hire Victor?

Ooh, maybe you’re going to have Regent pretend to be an uncontrolled Victor, so you can get one of Regent’s bodies on the inside for some time? Except there’s no good reason why Coil would allow a new recruit more inside than he does Regent himself.

“I’m not so sure I’m a big fan of that idea.”

“I don’t think they’ll accept.  But if they do, I think it’ll work out for us anyways.  But I’m getting off topic.  The important thing isn’t recruiting them, but letting them know in a roundabout way that we’re involved with Coil and Coil’s involved with us.”

Ah, I see. And this helps how?

By causing other groups to start targeting Coil more?

I nodded.  Outing Coil and his relationship to our takeover, maybe possibly.  There were advantages to that.  It would divert attention from us and maybe distract him.

“Point three.  Just a theory, but what if Grue could borrow Victor’s power and get some permanent boosts?”

Hm, might work. Hell, what if you steal skills from Victor?

I do suspect that it’d be a lot slower to get permanent boosts for Grue than it is for Victor.

Tattletale stuck out her tongue at him, then turned back to me, “And people are going to be scared to take him out if it means releasing Shatterbird.  Picture yourself in their shoes.  It’s not a comfortable position to be in if you’re itching to retaliate.”

Oooh, that’s a really good point.

I’m still not convinced she’s not going to get loose at some very inconvenient point anyway, but for now she can act as a deterrent.

“It’s not a comfortable position to be in anyways, even with him on the team,” I said, glancing over at Shatterbird.  Not that we hadn’t taken countermeasures, but… yeah.

Ah, yeah, looks like Taylor is on the same page.

Though honestly, the repeated acknowledgements of the risk kind of reduce my certainty that it’s going to happen.

…not by much.