Sharks says:

Lrf, V xabj nobhg gur qvpr, naq V’z tbvat gb gryy uvz nobhg vg ng gur raq bs gur nep fb ur qbrfa’g unir nal cerpbaprvirq rkcrpgngvbaf ur qvqa’g neevir ng anghenyyl.

for you guys to translate with this site. (I have no idea what it is, all I know is it’s spoilers.)

Fair enough. It’s kind of in the vein of what I was getting at with “hypocritical”, just with more self-awareness on Kaiser’s part – with “hypocritical”, what I was going for was that Kaiser might’ve been staring as if judging Bastion for his actions, which would be rich considering what Kaiser gets up to. But maybe Kaiser […]

Endbringer of Extermination 8.1

Geez, when I decided to use “Endbringer of” for the closing posts of each chapter of this situation, I wasn’t expecting Arc 8 to have such a long name.

Anyway, this was an alright chapter. It had a lot in common with Hive 5.1, in that it was primarily about a whole bunch of new and old characters attending a meeting under cape truce. And hey, that’s not a bad thing – we got to meet a lot of characters that I’m looking forward to seeing in the upcoming chapters. Though I’d better prepare for a bunch of them dying, too.

Armsmaster, for one, has a huge death flag. As far as Brockton Bay is concerned, he’s practically retiring in dishonor anyway, most likely exiting the story for good (except maybe a very occasional guest appearance). As such, there’s no reason for him to not end up dying in this battle, possibly heroically to make up for his dishonor. There’s also a risk of something similar with Aegis.

Taylor, obviously, needs to survive if she’s going to keep being the POV character and narrator, but I’m not sure I’d assume the same plot armor for all of the Undersiders. One in four is a scary ratio when we’ve got exactly four of the main protagonists here. Anyway, I think if anyone’s going to die among them, Brian is particularly vulnerable, being someone Taylor has built up a strong emotional attachment to (that attachment having been ripped to pieces in the last Arc only makes it worse). Alec is unlikely because he needs more fleshing out. Lisa has some of the same issue as Alec, though not as intensely – we know her a bit better, but I still feel like there’s a lot more to know about Lisa before she gets killed off.

As for the rest, Sundancer is at some risk, though I think Wildbow might want to delve more into the issues in the Travelers at a later date, and Sundancer seems to be his main conduit for doing so.

I’m also thinking at least one of the big shots might go down, to show even more how powerful Leviathan is. Legend and Alexandria are at a fair bit of risk due to their idolization by Taylor, though their status as Triumvirate members ought to protect them somewhat. Maybe Myrddin or Chevalier will go down instead – as team leaders, they’re still fairly big shots, just not that big shots.

On the other end of the scale, there’s likely cannon fodder such as a whole bunch of thus far unnamed Wards and Protectorate members, Parian, Bambina… Laserdream and/or Shielder might go down too so we’ve got some from New Wave…

Basically, lots of people are gonna die and this is getting morbid. I’m beginning to understand Lisa’s reaction in Agitation 3.6.

Next time is presumably briefing time, but since they only have a few minutes, there’s a decent chance they’ll start moving out for the battle as well. Then the dying starts.

Whew, what a fun story, eh? See you next time!

A pre-battle speech from Legend.  It almost made the lousiest, most painful and dangerous situations I’d put up with since putting on my costume worth it.

Hah! What did I say? Absolutely a fangirl when presented with the right people.

“But you should know your chances going in.  Given the statistics from our previous encounters with this beast, a ‘good day’ still means that one in four of the people in this room will probably be dead before this day is done.”

Or not.

Yeeeah. Extermination, here we come.

Yet more were continuing to arrive when Armsmaster and Legend turned away from their conversation and walked up to the front of the room.  The din in the room quieted, and every set of eyes was on them.

Looks like we’re about to start the meeting.

Legend cleared his throat.  He had the kind of voice that you listened to, “We owe thanks to Dragon and Armsmaster for their early alert.  We’ve had time to gather, and that means we have just a few more minutes to prepare and brief for Leviathan’s arrival, instead of jumping straight into the fray as we arrive.

Leviathan. Good ol’ monstrous name. I guess we’re up against a particularly sea-based Endbringer?

With this advantage, some luck, teamwork and hard effort from everyone, I hold out hope that this could be one of the good days.”

Yes, hopefully.

Unfortunately hope is sometimes kinda hard to come by in this story.

Sundancer glanced at me, noted my presence, then she seemed to go out of her way to avoid looking at me again.

What? Why are you avoiding Taylor? Did you get in trouble with Trickster because of what you told Taylor back in Hive?

That caught me off guard, because I’d somehow let myself believe I’d left our cooperative battle against Lung with a good impression.  It seemed she wasn’t so willing to look past the fact that I’d carved out Lung’s eyes.

…I mean, it could be that, but I feel like Trickster taking action regarding what Taylor said when they were with Coil is more likely.

Feeling more and more like an outsider, more out of place, I watched as others filed into the room.  More of the Protectorate, and a small few members of the Guild.

Hah! Called it!

Man, I’m glad I remembered the Guild was a thing. I’m almost certain they haven’t been mentioned at all since 2.2.

Narwhal turned heads as she entered the lobby.  She stood seven feet tall, with a curtain of glossy, pale hair extending almost to the backs of her knees.

Did I know Narwhal was female? I don’t think I did. I guess that has an 85% chance of dashing my dreams of her having a secondary power of “extremely long nose”. (Please tell me she still has a long nose within normal human variation, though…)

She was unclothed, not even wearing a skintight costume on her long limbed body, but it somehow wasn’t obscene.

Ooh.

I’m sure some of the fanartists had some fun with that, though. *pathetically fails to waggle eyebrows*

Her skin was layered with fine crystal scales that caught the light and scintillated with faint rainbow hues.  A single horn stood out from the middle of her forehead, three feet long.

YES

I mean it’s not a nose, and it’s not a more biologically accurate extended tooth, but YES.

She ignored stares as she found a space to lean against a wall near the front of the room.

Yeah, I’d imagine her outfit might draw some attention. Maybe some “happy birthday” wishes.

She had her chin against her chest with her eyes closed, as though she were resting, or concentrating.  Or maybe it was a habit she’d picked up when standing straight meant stabbing the average ceiling with her horn.

Heh. Yeah, I suppose that’s a bit of an issue.

Tattletale spotted the Undersiders before I did.  I’d been looking for Bitch and the dogs as things that would stand out in the crowd, but they weren’t present.

Hm. Why not?

Tattletale squeezed my hand and gave me an apologetic smile before letting go, patting me on the upper arm, and crossing the room to head over to where Grue and Regent sat.

The two boys glanced my way, then turned their attention to Tattletale.  Ignoring me.

That… really stung.

Ouch.

I guess Tattle was right. Taylor’s not really part of the Undersiders anymore, and tensions are high between Taylor and Brian (and to some extent Alec) at the moment.

It was sort of inane, that I was concerned over something like that, given the seriousness of the present situation.  We were here because we faced the very real possibility of facing down one of the Endbringers.  I shouldn’t be worried about broken friendships.

I don’t know. Maybe not. But you’d work a lot better together as friends.

But I was worried about it, stupidly.  I felt like I was back in school, the only kid left when everyone else had found their groups, and a hit to my confidence was not what I needed on a day like this.  I looked for a place to sit, and settled for a chair in the overall vicinity of the Undersiders and the Travelers.

Oof.

She’d done an interview in a magazine I’d read back before I had powers, and I knew she was a fashion student, though she wasn’t revealing just who she was until after she was more established.

A fashion student with the ability to make her mannequins come to life. Wherever she does her fashion work sounds like a lively place.

She looked as though she were trapped in a conversation with a curly haired, dimple-cheeked villainess that looked no older than eight, who wore a frock that was maybe from the same period as Parian’s.  The pseudo-child was Bambina, if I was remembering right.

So is it her power that makes her look so young, then?

Parian was rescued by one of the out-of-town Wards, a girl in a skintight costume with a visor covering her eyes, nose and ears, with a quiver of what looked like giant needles and a massive crossbow.

Sounds like the visor stands in for a blindfold, symbolically. Maybe this Ward is designed after some kind of personification of justice, luck or love.

The Ward said something to Bambina, who scowled and managed to look cute while doing it.

Good job.

Then the heroine ushered Parian over to where she’d been talking with Shadow Stalker.  What in the world could that group talk about?  I might not have been alone in thinking that – Shadow Stalker seemed unimpressed with the new addition to their group, judging by her body language.

Visor girl and Shadow Stalker do have the choice of weapon in common, at least.

Sure, some loyal people might argue that Legend was better than Eidolon, or maybe even some other cape like Dragon or Alexandria.  Generally speaking, though?  Eidolon was a top dog.

Woof.

I looked away from Eidolon, to check out the rest of the crowd.  There were a few other unofficial teams of heroes, including Haven, the Christian team from the bible belt, and two teams with corporate sponsorship that were being very careful to not interact with one another.  Some sort of bitter rivalry, there.

Heh.

And of course there’s a Christian team. I suppose one of them probably hogged the name Angel, which I suggested for Glory Girl when she asked Amy to use her codename back in Interlude 2.

A scattered few independent heroes and villains were around as well.  Few I could name.  I saw a girl dressed up like an old fashioned doll.  Parian.  She was local, and she wasn’t hero or villain.  A rogue, who only used her powers for business or entertainment.

Nice. I figured some rogues might show up. Not wanting to protect the city as a living or live a life of crime on it’s dark side doesn’t mean you won’t help protect the city against a major threat like this.

She could sometimes be seen doing some promotion for a store downtown, giving life to some massive stuffed animal or a store mascot.

That is awesome. Y’know, the PRT wants to promote the existence of rogues because it leads to less parahuman fighting, but honestly it’s probably worth it just for cool things like this.

Just, be careful what you make those mascots do.

Sometimes, they’re awfully literal-minded.