And Flashbang can’t shoot because Marquis will just armor himself before the sphere detonates.  Lightstar is injured, Fleur needs her hands free to strike, and Lady Photon’s incapacitated.

It’s not looking great for you guys.

This certainly doesn’t sound like the sort of easy victory what we knew of Marquis’ arrest made it sound like, along with the whole “all-female” thing.

So is this not when he was arrested? Except all signs point to this being when they find Amy. So was finding out about Amy and arresting Marquis two separate events, meant to build a moral dilemma about whether they should’ve done what they did to get Amy away from him? Or did someone get misinformed about how he was arrested?

“Brandish!”  Manpower shouted.  “Same plan, just the two of us!”

Right.  Their battle plan wasn’t useless, now.  Just harder to pull off.

Well, at least they’ve got something.

This would take some courage.

She charged forward, manifesting energy in the shape of a lance, driving it toward Marquis.

Is this a distraction for Manpower to attack when Marquis changes his target to ward off the lance?

He cast a glance her way and stuck one foot out in her direction.  His toes mutated into a jagged, uneven ripple of bone that stretched out beneath her.

Stop stepping on his toes like that.

Unable to maintain her footing, she had to cancel out the lance, using her hands to brace her fall.

Spikes of bone poked out of the ground in a circle around her, rising to form a cage.


She created twin knives out of energy, slashing out to cut through the bars.

The hardest part would be what came next.  Brandish threw herself in the way of the scythe’s swing.

Hm. Freeing Manpower from the pin by sticking herself into it? Except I’m pretty sure Brandish is more vulnerable than Manpower when she’s not in the morph ball form, so that really does sound a lot harder.

Marquis’ weapon virtually exploded into its component pieces, blade, join and shaft flying past her.

Oh! It’s not a pin switch, it’s basically parrying the weapon with her body.

But the scythe was made of bone, right? We’ve already discovered how much of an issue shattered bone can be in this fight.

“Careful now,” Marquis chided her.  “Don’t want to get decapitated now, do we?”

Sometimes, when the situation has gone completely fucking pear-shaped, there’s no other way out of it.

No longer on the defensive, Manpower charged the villain.

It wasn’t a pin switch, but it had the same end result – well, actually, a better one considering Brandish isn’t pinned in Manpower’s place.


So, assuming this isn’t somehow about The Sims, it seems the Simurgh is close to omniscient about the future, and maybe the past and present too.

I try not to speculate on spoilers too much, but it quickly occurred to me that people probably don’t know this and that’s why they think the Simurgh reads minds. Because she always seems to know what you intend to do next.

I wonder if she speaks, unlike Leviathan. I like omniscient antagonists that speak.

Last night, I bought and installed Worms: WMD, but didn’t have time to play it. I did, however, have time to start making some teams.

Yes, the Undersiders sound like English policemen. None of the other voices fit, I didn’t want to go for the generic ones, and with this being the team I’ll most likely be playing the most, I decided to go for the funniest one. And hey, ironic contrast!

The Arctic Explorer actually voice fits the Nine more than you’d think. Better than Artist, even – you’d think that one would fit them from the name, but it’s, well, based on Bob Ross.

(Homestuck spoilers in the one below)

Shame there weren’t any bed-like gravestones.

The names are from Round Trip’s MLP in a Nutshell series. I blame the fact that “Twilight Sparkle” wouldn’t fit the character limit.

(I ended up using Big Mac for the eighth slot instead of a character whose inclusion would make sense because that character’s involvement would be a spoiler for someone I might end up playing this team against. Also because I love Big Mac’s name in MLPiaN.)

When I turned to head downstairs, she followed.

I guess that means ‘thank you’.

Best you’re gonna get for now, yeah.

We were greeted by the others in the kitchen.  There was just enough time to grab and prepare our burgers before the others arrived.  Grue, Tattletale, Imp, Regent and Shatterbird.

One of these is not like the others.

They turned down the offer of food, and together, we ventured back upstairs.

There’s a lot of up and down those stairs today, huh.

Watch out for the stairs.

With everyone gathered in my headquarters, I handed out the costumes.  Like Bitch’s, the other costumes were in various stages of completion, primarily with minor details missing or askew.  I ate while the others tried it all on.

Aw, we’re not getting extended first reactions for them?

It’d take a while, maybe, but it’d be fun.

Lisa’s costume was virtually the same.  The complicated aspect had been maintaining the crisp differences in color without any bleeding of black into lavender or vice versa.  There’d also been the issue of getting the mask to fit her face well.  I’d accomplished the former by making the black and lavender pieces separately and attaching them to a gossamer-thin sub-layer when I was done.

Well, her costume was pretty neat to begin with, so I can’t complain.

We had the boys and Shatterbird turn away while Lisa and Aisha changed at one end of the room.  The mask was a failure, it didn’t sit right around the eyes, but I was left with an idea of what to do.

You could, of course, have sent them back down the stairs, or even up the stairs, but I suppose this works, and raises fewer questions from Rachel’s minions.

‘Hmm. Maybe she got romantically involved with someone bad or something?’ I think you’re forgetting that she was rescued while ‘on display’ for Merchants. It’s highly likely that something awful happened before that point, or else she was traumatized by the experience regardless.

Instead, Legend descended on the rooftop of the NYC Protectorate offices.  A tinker-made scanner verified who he was and opened the doors for him in time for him to walk through.

Yep. Protectorate HQ.

Is this where he finds out the Simurgh is swooping down towards Brockton Bay?

He nodded a greeting to everyone he passed.  When people asked him how things had gone, he offered them a response that was polite but short enough that it was clear he wasn’t looking for further conversation.


He reached his office and closed the door.

He was careful to start up a virtual operating system preloaded with the standard PRT databases and software.  Nothing that would leave a trace on his regular OS.

…alright. Secrecy required?

He unplugged the fiber-optic cables and disabled the wireless.

The precautions were little use if he was already being watched, but it made him feel better.

Who’s watching you? The PRT?

Once his computer was isolated from outside influences, he withdrew a USB cable from one drawer, plugging one end into the keyboard.  He reached up to one ear and withdrew an earbud.  The other end of the USB cable connected to it.

ASCII art of Kid Win’s face popped up as the earbud connected to the computer, along with the text, ‘thank you’.

Oh right, this part of the chapter’s plot. The thing he had Kid doing.

I love how cheeky Kid can be sometimes. 😛

But also… he’s saying “thank you”, not “you’re welcome”. He took a moment to add this thanks for their conversation before saying he was done. Aww.

“No.  Her employer didn’t say anything on the subject.”

“We’ll take measures,” Eidolon said.  “Evacuation, we’ll also push for automatic shutdown controls on power grids and nuclear facilities.

Evacuation? To where? Mars?

With the Endbringers out there, it would be sensible to do it anyways.  We can reduce the potential damage.”

Yeah, I don’t know about evacuation, but this part is a good idea.

“Unless,” Alexandria said, “The numbers the precog provided are already accounting for us having this conversation and taking the extra measures.  If she does view the future, it’s very possible she saw this very meeting and everything that followed, in a manner of speaking.”

Right. That’s a good point. Things always get tricky when you try to circumvent prophecy.

(If this is a trope you like, go read both Homestuck and The Wheel of Time.)

That was sobering.

“We’ll do it anyways, of course,” Eidolon said.

I mean, yeah. The numbers may not be able to go below 33%, but you should still push towards that end of the range.

Legend and Alexandria nodded.

“Let’s remember,” the Doctor said, “The numbers already pointed to an endgame situation at the twenty-three year mark.  If the Endbringers continue doing the damage they’ve been doing at the current rate, things won’t be sustainable.

Good point. The End was already being Brought.

We’ll be forced to withdraw from damaged and dangerous areas, populations will condense, the Endbringers attack those pockets…  and that’s without considering the possibility that they achieve something big in the interim.

The Endbringers are the slow way of destroying humanity and even they’re making some big dents over time.

We’ve talked about the crisis scenarios: Behemoth triggering a nuclear winter, Leviathan obliterating or tainting the world’s renewable water supply.”

Nuclear winter from Behemoth? How exactly? Just by destroying nuclear plants, or does he have another element on top of earth and fire/lava?

“That line of thinking leads to madness.”

“Call me crazy, but I’d rather not gamble.”

She’s n[o]t a gambling lady.

But if she were, I w[o]uldn’t bet against her.

(Most of the time.)

“So?  What’s the plan?”

“We wait?  At least a little while.”

“Sure.”  She gave the bulldog a pat on the head.  “Give Bentley a chance to rest.  You can feed Atlas.”

Fair enough. Time to roll some hit dice and all that jazz!

“Pretty narrow window of time,” I added.  “Bitch’s effects on the dogs don’t last that long.  Figure twenty minutes, and we took at least fifteen to get here…”

Bentley’s currently not going to shrink without Rachel actively doing so, remember?

Unless that wore off at some point?

“But she gave them more juice than usual.  I’d say roughly ten minutes before he’s too small to carry me,” Tattletale said.

Looks like either it did, or Lisa forgot too.

“Ten minutes.”

We settled into a position behind cover, and I began drawing bugs to me to feed Atlas.  I wasn’t positive about his diet, and Grue had said that he’d given Atlas a more human digestive system, which left me uncertain.


Mushroom sandwich?

That said, Atlas was made of bugs, I figured he required the nutrients they provided on a sheer logical level, like how humans would generally get most of the nutrients they needed by eating other humans, if they had to.

That makes way too much sense.

That, and I’d pointed out to the rest of the group how bugs were something we could eat as humans, so his digestive tract could probably manage them.

…this keeps making way too much sense.

But hey, if there’s anything Taylor can get plenty of without issue, it’s bugs.