Endbringer of Extermination 8.5

Phew. That was a pretty decent chapter. Taylor sneaking up and nanobotting the minikaiju in the butt was definitely a highlight, and Scion was awesome. 🙂

So now things are looking up and down at the same time. Up in that Scion showed up and Leviathan is on the run, and down in that Taylor has only one functional limb and might be getting arrested instead of treated.

I mean, I can understand why the PRT is doing this, but that doesn’t mean I like it. There’s a truce in place to fight the bigger enemy, and if we suppose Tattle was right about most of the parahuman antics being a game, then abusing such a truce to arrest people on the other side is cheating.

(It’s possible that they’re not actually doing this, and the manacles are just a precaution against villains creating chaos in the hospitals, but let’s be real – this story is not one where people should get the benefit of the doubt most of the time.)

And I don’t care what the Hippocratic Oath does or doesn’t say – medical personnel siding with the heroes and prioritizing them over the villains, to the point of possibly not treating the villains at all, is awful. Especially when the villains are there as a result of heroic work anyway.

Next chapter, Taylor hopefully gets some treatment. We’ll probably also learn more about the medical efforts surrounding this whole debacle, unless we don’t have time for that before Taylor gets hauled off to a PRT holding cell or interrogation room.

See you next time!

“Please-” I tried again, looking to the PRT uniform, but he was pushing his way past the curtain, leaving my company.

Leaving me chained up.  Alone.

Well. This certainly is a development.

I looked up the Hippocratic Oath to see if it mentioned this kind of behavior. It doesn’t seem to (not that it’s legally binding these days anyway), though on the bright side, I did notice that the original oath was sworn in the name of – among other medical deities – the original Panacea.

“My other arm’s broken, please don’t move it,” I pleaded.

He gripped it anyways, and I couldn’t help but scream, strangled, as he pulled it to one side, clasped a manacle down on my wrist, hooked the other side of the manacle to the second pole.

Well fuck you too.

“What-” I started to ask a nurse, as I forced myself to catch my breath, stopped as she turned her back to me and pulled the curtain closed at the foot of the bed, walked past it.

Great. You’re great human beings, you know that? Simply fantastic.

“Listen, my friend, Tattletale, do you know-”

“She’s a villain,” the PRT uniform cut me off, touching his way through some blackberry device with his free hand.  “Designation Master-5, specifically arthropodovoyance, arthropodokinesis.  No super strength.”

Nice.

Arthropodovoyance is a clunky word, but a pretty good description of her ability to sense and sense through arthropods. Arthropodokinesis less so, technically, because that sounds more like she directly moves the bugs rather than making them move themselves.

The nurse nodded, “Thank you.  Handle it?”

The man in a PRT uniform holstered his gun and stepped up to the bed.  He grabbed my right wrist, clasped a heavy manacle around it, fixed it to a vertical metal pole by the head of the bed.

Damn it.

“My back, I think it’s broken,” I said, to no one in particular.  Nobody in particular replied.

Butt out of this, Nobody In Particular. She was talking to your sibling, No One In Particular.

All of them too busy with set tasks.  People seemed to approach my bedside and leave to go attend to another patient elsewhere.

Yeah, this place is too busy right now to spend too much time with each patient at a time.

“Your name?” someone asked.

I looked to the other side of me.  It was an older woman in a nurse’s uniform, pear shaped, gray haired.  A man in a PRT uniform stood behind her, holding a gun on me.

I mean, I get that she’s a known villain, but do you really think there’s that high a risk of her attacking someone right now, in this place and this state?

“Skitter,” I replied, confused, feeling more scared by the second.  “Please.  I think my back’s broken.”

“Villain?”

Please, PRT, do not abuse the truce to arrest your enemies while they’re down after doing all they could to defend the city.

I shook my head.  “What?”

“Are you a villain?”

That said, this is actually a question Taylor needs to be asked around now. Yes, she’s a known villain, but just today, she left the team that was the sole reason she’s not a hero instead. Now she needs to consider her options.

“It’s complicated. My back-”

“Yes or no?” the Nurse asked me, stern.

But seriously, what does it matter to you?

The teleporter touched one hand to my chest, another to Laserdream, who turned her head to look at me.

Oh hey, she’s awake.

There was a rush of cool air, and we were in the midst of chaos.  Nurses, doctors, moving all around us.  I was lifted and placed on a stretcher, hauled up by four people in white.  There were shouts, countless electronic beeps, screams of pain.

Yeeah, there are a lot of people to take care of here.

I was placed on a bed.  I would have writhed with the pain of being shifted if it weren’t for my general inability to move.  There was a heart monitor on one side, a metal rack with an IV bag of clear fluid on the other, thick metal poles beside each, stretching from floor to ceiling.  Curtains loomed on either side of me, making for a small room, ten feet by ten feet across. The emergency room, triage or whatever was in front of me, past the foot of the bed, a dozen more cots, doctors doing what they could for the massed injured, civilian and cape alike.

I wonder if Panacea is around here somewhere, helping everyone she can.

All around me, nurses moved with a rote efficiency, to put a clip on my finger, and the heart monitor started beeping in time with my own heartbeat.  One put some sticky glue on my collarbone, pressing an electrode down there.

With the sheer amount of injured people, there needs to be a massive amount of nurses running around right now.

(By the way, if anyone’s playing the bingo, you can cross off “looks up a word”. Specifically “rote”.)

Ten, fifteen seconds passed, Bitch holding me, averting her eyes from the corpses of her dogs, jaw set, not speaking or moving.

Poor Bitch.

A teleporter appeared beside Laserdream, a distance away.  He looked at us, startled, glanced at his armband.

Heh, yeah, neither Taylor nor Bitch have functional armbands, so they don’t show up on the map.

“You okay?” he called out.

“No,” I tried to shout back, but my voice was weak.  Bitch spoke for me, “She needs help.”

Skitter down, CB-10. It’s time to get out of here.

“Bring her here, I’ll take her back.”

Bitch carried me, dragging me by my collar to where Laserdream lay.  I grunted and groaned in pain, felt those hot pokers through my upper back and middle, but she wasn’t the type for sympathy or gentleness.

Hehe.

A tidal wave appeared in the distance, at the furthest end of the street, near the horizon.

Well, shit. Bitch, Skitter, you need to get to a safer place. We’ve had too many almost-drownings already today.

Scion sent out a blast of golden light the size of a small van, darting to the center of the wave, disappearing into a speck of light before it made contact with the distant target.  The middle third of the wave buckled, fell harmlessly into a splash of water, all momentum ceased.  The other two sides of the wave curved inward, bent, to bear unerringly towards us.

…damn. This is a man who can literally stop a tidal wave with a couple blasts.

Another blast of golden light, and one side was stopped, stalled.  A third blast was spared for Leviathan, who was getting his hands and feet firmly on the ground, crouching in preparation to run.  The Endbringer was knocked squarely to the ground.

Yeah, no, Levvy, you’re in trouble now. You’ve been a bad boy.

Scion stopped the third wave in its tracks with a fourth blast, but the water was still there, and it still bowed to gravity.  The water level around us rose by a dozen feet, momentarily, slopping as gently over us as physically possible, like a lap of water on the beach.

Suddenly the term “tidal wave” makes a little more sense… Normal “tidal waves” have nothing to do with tides, but this one is more similar to them than most.

When the flow of water was past us, I could see a fifth blast of light following Leviathan, who had used the cresting water to swim away.  He was making his way to the coast.  

Run, fucker, run! You don’t belong here! Or anywhere else, for that matter!

Scion rose, flew after his target with a streak of golden light tracing his movement.  Eidolon followed soon after.

The very best outcome would be if they managed to put an end to Leviathan’s reign of terror for good, but I doubt that’s going to happen.

Scion turned away from Eidolon to focus on the enemy once more.  He blasted the Endbringer again.  Floated up and moved past Bitch and me faster than I could see, to strike the Endbringer a fraction of a second after the blast of light struck, stopping there in midair to blast Leviathan a second time as the Endbringer was still flying through the air at the punch’s impact.

Damn, what a combo.

Everything about Scion and his actions was utterly silent. His movements or attacks didn’t even stir the air.  Only the effects, Leviathan striking the water, the breaking of ice, generated any movement, shudders or sounds.

I feel like this ties in with the calming footstep ripples and his lack of talkativeness.

Eidolon froze the water around Leviathan’s four claws, giving Scion the opportunity to land another blast.  Leviathan turned, raised a spraying wall of water to cover his retreat.  Scion sent out one blast of his golden light to strike the wave, following up with a second blast before the first even made contact with the water.

Hm. We’ve seen what the ripples do to the water, but what about the blasts?

Seeing the second blast coming, Leviathan leaped to one side.  No use – the blast of light curved in the air to head unerringly for him, struck him down.

Homing attacks, even. Nice.

Edges of the Endbringer’s wounds glowed golden yellow, drifted away into the air like flecks of burning paper caught in the updraft of hot air.

Huh… interesting.

A fist imprint near the base of Leviathan’s throat glowed with edges of the same light, the wound continuing to spread and burn as I watched.

This light appears to be quite effective.