I looked at Tattletale, “I can’t argue with her point.  The first part.”

Tattletale frowned.  “I’m trying to think about what’s easiest to achieve while clearing up the most problems.  I already got in touch with New Wave and got them to chill out for a bit.”

Of course she let them find her on purpose.

“How’d you pull that?” Regent asked.

“Lady Photon was wondering where her nieces went.  I told her that Panacea was healing Glory Girl but she still wanted her space.”

Healing. Yes.

“Hmm,” I offered, to give an indication I was listening.

“It isn’t true, or I should say it isn’t the whole truth, but we tried to reach Panacea and she turned us down again and again.  It’s a shame, but what can you do?”

Ahh… she knows.

And she’s not outright telling it here either, by the looks of it.

Well, sooner or later they’re gonna need Amy. If Taylor doesn’t find out before then, Lisa might have to go “oh yeah, forgot to tell you, she went to the Birdcage a few weeks ago for turning her sister into a monstrosity of flesh and beauty.”

“Are you taking this seriously?” I asked her.

“Totally one-hundred-percent serious.  I’m not cool with working with them on any level.  I’ve put up with their racist asshole kids giving me a hard time at school, I put up with their racist asshole adults throwing slurs and swear words at me when I’m walking down the street.”

Oh yeah, that’s right, she’s black too. That does tend to be the case when you’ve got a black sibling and black parents, most of the time.

“I’m not talking about working with them,” Tattletale said.  “I’m talking about a ceasefire.  We broker a deal, agree to leave them alone if they leave us alone, they can hold their own territory without worrying about us, and they extend the same civility to us.

That’s fair enough.

It gives us a chance to do what we need to do.”

“Still not cool,” Imp protested.  “It gives them a chance to do what they want to do, which is making life hell on anyone that isn’t straight, white and Christian.

…true. While that’s not necessarily your responsibility to prevent, I can absolutely see why you’d want to. And this seems like logic that would sway Taylor.

Or whatever you call people that worship those viking gods.  They like naming themselves after those guys.”

Hmmm. I’ve heard of that kind of neo-Norse religion, but I’m drawing a blank on what it’s called too.

And yeah, we’ve definitely seen some Norse influence in the supremacists’ cape names. Like Allfather being one of Odin’s nicknames.

“Something to keep in mind,” I said.

“Something to exploit?”

I glanced at her in surprise, and she shrugged.

What, you’re surprised that Lisa would suggest this?

“Elaborate?  You’re not suggesting we ally with them, are you?”

“Fuck yes!” Imp skipped halfway across the road to join us.  “Finally, an argument I can get into.  No way are we allying with the skinheads.”

Hah! Reading that line by line, scrolling down on a narrow portion of screen was… interesting.

But yeah, I’m with Aisha.

“There’s that.  Stormtiger and Cricket have been Hookwolf’s followers for a while.  I could see how they might feel that it was their due to get a turn.

Let’s have some E22s for a while, shall we?

But when you get down to E11s, it’s time to stop. Not because having that many white supremacist groups in the story would be a bit much, but because E5.5 just doesn’t have the same ring to it.

There’s also the fact that Hookwolf was probably engaging in some propaganda against Purity, in case she tried poaching from his team.  So you’ve got the overall group split between the Chosen and the Pure we’ve had for a few weeks now.

Ah, yeah, makes sense.

Then you’ve got another split within the Chosen, with the loyal and the brainwashed, and the, um.  Not sure what to call them.”

…hm?

The… forced?

That doesn’t seem like Hookwolf’s style, though. That was Bakuda.

“The free thinkers?” I offered.

“If you can call a neo-nazi a free thinker,” Tattletale conceded.

Ah, the ones who are not so loyal or brainwashed anymore?

“So it’s a prime opportunity to strike, then,” I concluded.

“Maybe.  Or maybe they’re in the same straits as us.  They could be feeling the same kind of pressure from multiple directions.”

Potentially causing them to lash out?

I’d do an “Undersiders vs the Forsaken” post, but I’m far from done with my Wheel of Time re-experiencing, so there are a bunch of them that I don’t really remember that well yet, especially what they’re like in combat.

There’s also the issue that they’re not limited to about one to three main powers like Worm characters – they’re among the strongest and most versatile magic users in the series, due to being big-shot magic users before a ton of magic knowledge was lost in the Breaking of the World. That versatility makes comparisons much more difficult.

The Undersiders’ only advantage here is that the Forsaken are a disjointed bunch that usually work individually and can be manipulated into turning on each other.

Other than that, they’re fucked.

…wait, did I just accidentally do a rudimentary “Undersiders vs the Forsaken” post while explaining why a proper one would be difficult for me to do right now?

“I’m good,” Imp said.  Regent chuckled a little.

Tattletale said, “I’ve been trying to figure out what’s been happening with the Chosen and Purity’s group.  The white supremacists keep losing leaders.  Kaiser got offed by Leviathan, now we’ve got a brainwashed Hookwolf running off with the Nine.

FUCK. I literally thought of that exact thing earlier tonight. Why the hell didn’t I mention it?

I even specifically thought about how they both got taken out of the immediate story by the major, massive-killcount threats.

The natural thing for the group to do would be to fall in under Purity, but there’s some snags.”

Was there another reason why E88 split into E44s, besides differing opinions on who had the right to become the new leader?

“Some Chosen thinking they want to be leaders?” I asked.

This sentence suddenly reminded me that the Forsaken, a group of 13 major antagonists from the Wheel of Time series, call themselves the Chosen. They’re Chosen by the Dark One, and Forsaken by the Light.

I’d be a lot more concerned about the Undersiders going up against that lot than against the confused remainder of Hookwolf’s gang.

Anyway, do the Chosen – the ones in Worm – even know what happened to Hookwolf?

“And you?” she asked me.  “You’re good?”

“Guilty about leaving my people to their own devices,” I admitted, “But I’m glad we’re working through this stuff.”

You’re not answering what she seems to really be asking from the context here, but it’s still a refreshing bit of honesty. It really is nice that they’re working through this, too. Maybe we can lighten Taylor’s burden of guilt for a few seconds.

“Speaking of,” she said.  “We’ve got the mayoral elections coming up in a week and a half.  They were thinking about canceling them, but with the Nine gone, they’re apparently wanting to get things closer to normal.”

“What does this mean for us?” I asked.

I caught a glimpse of Imp nudging Regent, in a ‘see, see?’ kind of way.  She muttered something about the trio.

Hehe. Yep, the trio members are talking now, kids.

The mayoral elections are relevant because Coil wanted to semi-legally take control of the city, right?

“On the upside, Coil has two agents as mayoral candidates, so he’ll be focused on that.

Ahh. That makes a ton more sense than he himself running for mayor.

On the downside, it’s another thing we have to take into consideration.  We could throw a wrench into that situation, to slow him down in his takeover and buy ourselves time to leverage the situation to our advantage, but I’m wondering if it’s really worth it with our other time constraints.”

How much power does the mayor even really have over Brockton Bay in its current state?

And that’s without considering the whole condemnation thing.

“The primary one being Dinah getting her powers back,” I said.  I turned to the other two, “Are you wanting to chime in instead of poking fun?”

“Nahh.”

And he calls me the dork?

Hah.

I ignored them up until we met up with Tattletale.

“No Grue?” she asked.

He was so broad-shouldered today, there was no gruem for him on the street.

“He’s tired,” Imp said, shrugging free of Regent’s arm, which had stayed in place since they began their play-acting.  “Not sleeping these days.”

I suppose he’s not having a great time after his, um, encounter with Bonesaw.

“We should address that soon,” Tattletale said.  “We’ve seen how mistakes happen when some of us get too fatigued.  With the way things are stacked against us, we could wind up with another few days of concentrated activity, and running on empty from the start could spell bad things.”

The saying in Norway is that without food and drink, the hero doesn’t function, but that absolutely applies to villains too.

She glanced at me.  Fine, I’d own up to it.  I’d fallen into that trap.  I nodded an agreement.

Hehe.

I for one know nothing about fucked up sleep schedules and certainly don’t have an entire gaggle of people over on Discord telling me to sleep at any given time of day, no sirree.