Glory Girl was flying over the stampeding dogs, a cell phone pressed to her ear, in Bitch’s general direction.

I read this as the cell phone being pressed to Glory Girl’s ear in Bitch’s general direction at first.

Ink and Bruno leaped to the side of a building and then leaped from that point toward Glory Girl.

Nice.

Glory Girl should know that flying doesn’t necessarily help you that much against the hellhounds. I mean, she was present at the bank robbery… then again, if she was paying enough attention to notice the coddamn cape battle happening in front of the bank she was on top of, maybe she should have gotten involved earlier.

She struck Socks across the head, sending him flying to the ground, and Bruno slammed into her, knocking the phone from her grip.

Don’t hurt the doggos!

She brought her knee up into the dog’s side and pushed herself away before he could drive her down into the ground.

Not bad, though.

After being ambushed and taken captive by the ABB, she’d learned her lesson.  Hit first, assess the situation later.

You do you.

Heh, this is about as anti-Taylor as it can get.

Besides, what was she going to do?  Talk to them?

Yes? Except that might not turn out well given Rachel’s social skills.

You know what, maybe she’s right. This might genuinely be her best bet. I mean, attempting to flee wouldn’t help much, and after fighting, talking and that, the only remaining option would be to stand there wordlessly like an idiot.

Brandish flicked her hands out, and beams of light drew into vague sword shapes.

Oooh, summoning light weapons! Cool!

Finally her name makes sense. It’s what she does with the weapons, she brandishes them.

As the dogs stampeded towards her she flicked them out to double the length.

Nice.

They drew closer, almost reaching her, and she reconsidered, banishing the weapons to condense herself into a beachball-sized ball of orange-yellow light.

Uh.

Hi, Samus?

The dogs hit her, there was a spray of sparks, and the ball was sent careening down the street and through the wall of a building.

Bye, Samus.

“Stop,” a voice ordered.

Ah, shit.

Either we’ve got someone ordering Bitch around, which might suggest a cape, or we’ve got someone trying to give an order to her dogs.

Either way, she ain’t gonna like it.

Bitch turned and saw two capes.  From New Wave, weren’t they?  Brandish and Glory Girl.

Oh, hi!

Huh, I hadn’t really thought about it before, but this whole territory thing makes the Undersiders a lot more vulnerable to heroic intervention. They’ve been known as the masters of the getaway because they were working together to accomplish that (especially Grue, Bitch and Tattletale), but now they’re working for the most part separately and with far more visible locations as they claim their territories. If the heroes really go in for it, the Undersiders (except Imp) will be far easier to defeat and capture like this, especially before they’ve recruited.

Also, hey, Brandish, you’re still in action? Did the New Wave shutdown happen yet?

Brandish spoke, “Glory Girl, call your sister.  At least one of those people needs medical attention, fas-”

…huh.

When I brought up Panacea, I didn’t actually think she’d be an actual option presented in the chapter.

She stopped as Bitch whistled as hard as she could.  Barking and snarling, her massed dogs charged the heroes.

Welp.

Have we learned what Brandish’s power actually is? I don’t think we have. I guess this is a solid opportunity to find out.

“The howling.  If you can hear the howling, you’re too fucking close.  Leave.”

…well, at least that seems like a decent rule of thumb, now that they know it.

“You could probably hear that halfway across the city!”

“So?”

“No fucking shit,” Bitch retorted.  The woman was challenging her authority.  She had to respond to it, or the woman would keep talking, Bitch would say or do something that made her look stupid, and others would stand up to her.

Ah, yeah. Gotta keep up the retorts.

Best to stop that sooner than later.  “Socks!  Come!”

Or do that, that works even better.

The woman shrank back, clutching her daughter, as Socks advanced to Bitch’s side.

Yeah, time to step down.

“Why can’t you fuckers get it through your skulls?” she called out.  “This is my territory!”

“If you want to be safe, go live in someone else’s damn territory!”

“We didn’t know,” someone said.  A woman who was clutching a bloody arm to her chest. Her daughter beside her.

Fair.

Let’s hope Rachel sees it that way, though.

“You fucking challenging me on this?”

“No!  No.  We- we just… how were we supposed to know?”

Yeah, this isn’t “no it’s not”, it’s “oh”.

“Are you retarded or something?  It’s obvious,” Bitch couldn’t believe the woman’s stupidity.

How is it obvious, though?

Were you counting on word of mouth on the doggo attacks?

“How were we supposed to know!?” the woman raised her voice, sounding plaintive.

Careful.

She absolutely has a point, but she doesn’t know how the girl with the dog monsters is going to interpret her behavior.

And at this point it is challenging Bitch, just not on whether or not it’s her territory.

Rachel, please tell me it’s not supposed to be obvious because you’ve gone around marking your territory with your scent.

She felt the vibration rattle through Angelica’s head and neck as bone snapped and crunched between her teeth.

Hm. Maybe he’ll keep his limbs. Feet are a whole other issue, though.

The man shrieked, there was no better word for it, and others in the vicinity echoed his shrieks with their own.

Oh yeah, lots of witnesses, in the mouths of hellhounds themselves.

Somehow I get the feeling none of them are going to want to mess with Rachel.

She gave the hand signal and an order, “Drop him.  Dogs, drop them!”

Even after being dropped.

Angelica let the man drop.  His shins were cracked, the ends of his legs bent at odd angles.  One by one, the other captives were dropped to the ground.  Each of the man’s noises of pain was a little smaller and quicker than the last.

Yeah, no, who knows whether he’s ever going to walk again.

At least there’s Panacea, I guess, but she probably has more pressing cases to treat.

She stepped close to Angelica, burying her face in the slick muscle and hard tissues that layered the dog, wrapping her arms as far as they would go around Angelica’s shoulders and neck.

Aww. 🙂

Just as her dogs came to trust her as she cared for them, fed them, and nurtured them, she grew closer to them as they shared experiences with her, as they learned and accepted their training.  Angelica was one of the dogs she was closest to.  The only dog she was this close to.  Brutus and Judas had passed, the only dogs she had been with for years.

R.I.P. Brutus and Judas. May they be as good dogs in death as they were in life.

Her heart broke a little every time she thought about it.

Yeah, I feel you.

And this man?  This family man?  He’d thought he could take Angelica away from her?

Yeeeeeeah I have low hopes for this man continuing to have limbs at this point.

Without looking at him, her head still pressed to Angelica’s neck, she gave the order, “Hurt him.”

At least that’s not “pull”, but who knows how Angelica will interpret this.

“Angelica,” she ordered.  She kicked him in the stomach again.  “Paw!”

What’re you doing now?

Angelica stepped forward and placed one paw the breadth of a truck tire down on the man’s pelvis.

Oh. So that’s where the paw goes.

He howled in agony, his words rapid, desperate and breathless, “Heavy oh god please stop please let me go make it move itscrushingme!”

It’s basically like having a car parked partially on top of him, isn’t it.

She looked at him with distaste.  It bothered her that the only time she could be absolutely sure what someone meant, what someone wanted, was in circumstances like this.

Yeeah, I kinda doubt “Heavy oh god please stop please let me go make it move itscrushingme!” means anything other than “Heavy oh god please stop please let me go make it move itscrushingme!”.

“Angelica,” she ordered, ducking beneath Angelica’s outstretched limb, kicking him in the kneecap, “Take it.”

…oh jeez.

Is it sausage time for the doggo?

Angelica bent and gripped the man’s legs in her teeth, twisting his body further.  His body was pressed to the ground by her paw, his arm and legs pulled up and away from it.

Okay so if I’ve got it straight, Ink is holding him by his arms, and Angelica is holding him up by his legs but pushing him down by his torso. So he’s practically in a U shape now, or something close to it, and if the doggos start pulling, they’re probably going to rip the dude’s limbs off.

“Please.  I have a wife, kids.”

As if family somehow made you better than someone else?

That particular defense does seem kind of weak at times. I guess the idea is “please don’t hurt me, I have people who depend on me and who would be sad if I died or got hurt”, but that’s not particularly helpful if the person you’re pleading to doesn’t care more about sparing your family’s feelings than about you.

The idea nettled Bitch.  Life experience had taught her that it was all too often the opposite.  People were assholes, people were monsters.

And, yeah, it doesn’t exactly help that we literally just had Rachel reminiscing about how family is a touchy subject for her.

The exceptions were all too rare.  Far too many of those same people started a family just because they thought it was what they should do, and then they were assholes and monsters to a captive audience.

Oof.

The sad thing is she’s right. I don’t think it’s as frequent as she’s implying, but this is definitely a thing that happens.

She kicked him again, in the stomach.

The dude may have just unwittingly turned himself into a punching bag for Rachel to take out her family issues on.

He screamed as the kick made his arm, still in Ink’s jaws, wrench the wrong way.

Oww.

Or kicking bag, I suppose. So far it seems that’s more Rachel’s style here.