B007.7 Hastur, Shrouded in Dread

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The dragonette stopped the recording after they’d watched it twice. It was quite… illuminating, really. And they finally had a clue as to how to take Hastur down, which was a plus…

But right now, he was more concerned with the dog-sized dragonette in front of him. He stared down at the gorgeous drone. It stared back up at him. Its creator had gone through the trouble of adding filigree ornamentations to its shell – the dull, dark silver had been engraved in artistic swirls and other such patterns, all perfectly balanced against each other and whichever part of its body they were worked onto.

The girls started to discuss their next step, while he just sank down to squat on his heels. He was too tired, too worn out to help much, anyway. Besides, dragon robot. Either was reason enough for him to pay attention and now he had both in front of him.

Gloom Glimmer turned to look at the other two girls, still weary from the exertion of the last hours. “So, now we know how to stop her. Whether or not we can use it is another matter entirely,” she said.

“I’m still not quite sure what we saw, to be honest,” Prisca replied. “As far as I get it, she can only be hurt by her victims?” She shuddered as she remembered the recording of the grissly attack on the shelter. “Unless you use mind control on one of them, I don’t see how it’s going to help us.”

Brennus drew out a stack of pictograph cards and started flashing them in front of the dragonette. It chirped in response, adjusting the responses to the cards he flashed. Could it be an Artificial General Intelligence like Eudocia? Or an Artificial Specialized Intelligence?

“Not quite. I’ll explain it later on, but we need to meet the group again,” Gloom Glimmer replied. “We don’t stand a chance as we are – I’m almost out of juice, Brennus could be knocked out by a stiff wind and you… no offense, but you are completely new, even if you held yourself wonderfully against BigShit.”

His power surged up, the light blazing brighter than usual, as it began to analyze the responses of the dragonette, trying to analyze it through them. He soon went to flashing three or four cards at a time in patterns based on astrophysical calculations, then went over to quantum theory…

Prisca shrugged, her face hidden behind her helmet. “No offense taken. Honestly, without Phasma here, I’d probably have gotten crushed like a bug sooner or later.”

He shelved those tests – it at least wasn’t as intelligent as Eudocia, even if it was an AGI. Or perhaps it was smart enough to recognize what he was doing? He started testing its behaviour with simple prompts and questions, speaking quietly.

The young villain just shrugged herself, but said nothing. She’d been quite silent the whole while, and Brennus was getting the impression that she wasn’t overly concerned about what was happening… though that might just have been due to her power making her pretty much immune to most anything that might harm her.

“Let’s cut the chatter and go – I think I still have enough juice to locate the others,” Gloom Glimmer continued. She’d drawn her hood up, hiding her face from view and drawn her white cloak around herself, looking more like a ghost than Phasma did right now. “Wait for it… yes, I’ve got Tartsche and Tyche… and Outstep. Polymnia is… nearby, with Hecate… Amazon is tied down at the Diantha High, Bakeneko and Osore are with her… oh, the Feral Family has deployed, they’re coming here.” She mumbled a few incoherent words, then continued: “That’s all I can get right now. Too weak to try and locate Hastur, if I even could – meta’s of her level tend to mess up perception powers around themselves.”

Some of this stuff was interesting… he was largely convinced he was facing an ASI instead of an AGI, and it seemed to have quite a few quirks… but they, as far as he could tell, hadn’t been programmed in deliberately, but had “grown” organically as the ASI expanded. Maybe if he called in Eudocia and linked them up somehow… but he would need to somehow shield Eudocia from being corrupted, and the threat of having her be revealed to the Dark or other interested part-


“Huh?” He looked up. All three girls were looking at him – funnily enough, since all of them had their faces hidden, they did little to convey emotion. Whoever had called out to him had sounded annoyed, though. “What is it?”

Gloom Glimmer sighed a long-suffering sigh. “Oh, Stars above, he’s almost as bad as Polymnia,” she groaned.

Prisca stepped forward and simply grabbed him by the back of his cloak, pulling him up to his feet. “We’re going to fly to meet up with the others. Gloom Glimmer already sent a message ahead. I’ll carry you.”

“Okay. And why does that require interrupting my work here?”

She just threw him over her shoulder and lifted off, grabbing Phasma’s discarded robe as the girl dematerialized. The dragonett followed after them with a low chirping sound to accompany its flight.

* * *

They flew towards the headquarters of the United Heroes, and Brennus was once more struck by the unfairness of being unable to fly himself. Even if being carried by Prisca gave him the most interesting… ideas. And not technical ones, for once…

He shook his head and focused again on the dragonette, which was following after them. Ma-

But again, his thought process was interrupted by less interesting stuff. Namely, their landing on top of the large building that housed the headquarters of the local heroes. Tartsche, Hecate, Tyche, Polymnia, Outstep, Bakeneko, Osore, Amazon, Succubus and Rising Tide already awaited them, the latter looking rather… ruffed up. His formerly immaculate white suit was quite torn and ragged now.

Prisca put him down as they landed and held out the robe for Phasma, which filled out as her ghost-body flew in and rematerialized into its normal (hidden) physical form.

Amazon cut right to the chase: “Gloom Glimmer says you found someth-“

“Stop. No talking,” said Brennus. He looked at Tartsche. “How far can you spread your power?”

The other boy answered calmly, without a break: “Anyone and anything I directly touch. Why?”

“Everyone, touch Tartsche then. No talking until we’re all under the aegis of his power,” he continued and suited actions to words, reaching out to grab Tartsche’s forearm.

The others, rather befuddled, followed suit and touched the stalwart teenager.

And then the world went calm. There was no easy way to describe it, Brennus found, but to say that he knew the world couldn’t touch him anymore. It felt oddly… familiar.

Been there, done that, mate. Got the t-shirt.

Someday, you will have to explain all that.

Eh, not today, though.

What kind of accent are you talking in, anyway? You sound British most of the time, kind of Cockney, but that was definitely Canadian just now.

Imma nasty bugger of all kinds.

Now you are just making fun of me.

Geez, whatever gave you that idea?

He shook his head, focusing back on the others. It didn’t seem like they noticed him spacing out a little.

Amazon was quite focused on the dragonette, anyway, which was perched on Gloom Glimmer’s back right now, its head hanging over her shoulder. “What is that?”

Gloom Glimmer, still hiding beneath her cowl and cloak, spoke up, her voice quite a bit… duller than usual. “Her name’s Silver. She’s Wyrm’s spy drone,” she explained.

“Who is this Wyrm?” asked the Forester, his voice having somehow dropped a few octaves since the last time they spoke.

The shrouded girl gave a sensation of… apprehension off, but answered: “She works for my father and apparently decided to intervene directly here. She might have given us the key to defeating Hastur.”

“And what might that key be? And why did you,” Amazon looked at Brennus, “Insist that we all huddle up like this?”

“Is everyone here aware of the observations I made during my stay with Hastur?” he asked.

“You mean her mind reading and regeneration?” asked Tyche.

“Not mind reading, at least not true mind reading, but a more… specialized form. Anyway, she seems capable of dropping in on communication between people.”

“And however did you come to that conclusion?” asked Succubus with a drawl. For some reason, Prisca turned her head to look at her and he got the feeling she was glaring.

“Not important right now. Anyway, I have a theory that Tartsche is using a variant of the same ability which protects Desolation-in-Light, a-“

“Wait, what?” Tyche shouted in surprise, closely echoed by Outstep.

Brennus grunted, annoyed at the interruption. “Focus, people. We can discuss power theory later on.”

Oh, the irony me matey.

Shut. Up.

“Anyway, as I was saying, Desolation-in-Light is immune to all perception-powers – even indirect ones fail around her – so it is possible, if not even likely, that Hastur will be unable to eavesdrop on us if we’re under the protection of his power. Now, to get to the matter at hand – Silver, would you please replay the video you showed us before?”

Silver gave a chirping sound and aimed its – her? – head towards the floor in front of the group, projecting the video.

They saw the security camera feed from the Menstall shelter – over a hundred people were gathered together.

A flickering, then three shadows appeared in one corner of the place, in plain sight of everyone, along with Hastur – who proceeded to pull down her hood without much further ado. The recording only showed a flickering shadow where her face should be, just like with her victims – and immediately the shelter turned into a madhouse.

One of the refugees, a young woman huddled together with her family, burst into fire, growing into a flaming bird even as her body began to twist and break – and she threw a fireball towards the assembled group, much to Hastur’s apparent surprise. The young girl threw her arms up to shield her face, but not fast enough – only the intervention of one of the shadows shoving her aside saved her from having her whole body incinerated. Instead, the side of her leg was burned, as was one of the shadows standing behind her.

Hastur screamed and fell to the floor, clutching her burned leg and rolling over, as the phoenix threw another fireball – and hit her straight in the back, incinerating her whole body, reducing her to ashes. Then she screamed again (the Phoenix) as she bent over… backwards, audibly breaking her back as a new, white feline head burst out of her belly and her left leg exploded only to reform into the head of a black turtle. Then, the same flickering discordance covered her in the recording.

Before their eyes, the ashes that were left of Hastur reformed into the same girl… including her burned leg.

“What. The. Fuck,” said Tyche.

“Agreed. This is most… unusual,” said Rising Tide, his voice now an octave or so higher.

<I’ve never heard of regeneration that worked like that,> Polymnia threw in, her face twisted in horror as she mostly looked at what could be seen of the victims of the attack.

“Wait for the next part,” said Brennus. “Silver, please proceed.”

The dragonette did so, showing the video from a hospital surveillance camera. It showed a hallway, and soon enough, Hastur limped through the window, now in a different pair of pants. The time stamp showed this scene to take place about an hour after her attack on the Menstall shelter.

“Soooo… she can’t regenerate from some stuff? Where’s the logic?”, Hecate asked.

Gloom Glimmer swayed a little and said: “The next part is also important. Silver, please show the final video.”

It was a traffic camera recording of the Chinese cape’s rampage through New Lennston’s entertainment district (also known as The Brights). While Huang Long herself was hidden beneath the shroud of flickering distortion, they saw Hastur show up with some of her attending victims and cross a nearby street – only for Huang Long to lash out and throw another fireball at her, incinerating her once more. Hastur recovered – though she retained her limp and her pants were still burned, not yet replaced – and cursed towards her victim, then vanished along with her group in a flicker.

Silver cut off the video feed.

“Gilgul here,” Brennus said, nodding towards Prisca, “Thought that Hastur might be vulnerable against her own victim’s attacks.” Prisca, Phasma and Gloom Glimmer all turned to look at him, surprised that he had even noticed that. He would have smirked at them if they could have seen it. “Them is not so. I theorize, instead, that she is vulnerable to those whom her power is affecting at the time… or, in other words, the only way to harm her is to look at her face while you do it.”

That made everyone hold their breath and think.

Polymnia was the first to say something: <So we just use a time-delayed camera or thermal vision or something and we can take her down?>

Hecate shook her head. “No. Brennus was doing that when she kidnapped him, and he couldn’t hurt her, right?”

He nodded. Obviously, Hecate must have read all his reports. “Quite so. I think one must expose themselves to her power in order to be able to hurt her. In that moment of her power affecting one directly, her defensive power probably does not recognize one as a threat. Allowing permanent harm to be done to her.”

Rising Tide tapped his chin, scowling. “I notice everyone is thinking towards the end goal of killing her – we should instead detain her, after all, her power is rather harmless when she’s locked away and-“

“No,” said Amazon. “Even if there wasn’t the issue of you Foresters potentially getting your hands on an S-Class threat, it wouldn’t work.”

“How do you know that?”, the Forester sneered.

Amazon sneered right back – and she had one hell of a sneer. “We know that because one of the Black Panthers survived and turned himself over to us. According to his information, they had Hastur in their custody for two weeks, but he observed the others growing more and more obsessed with her – upon closer inspection by our specialists, we found traces of subtle mental manipulation in his mind. It is very likely that Hastur subconsciously manipulates people to become obsessed with her, which would eventually lead to her escape.”

Rising Tide started to say something, but Gloom Glimmer cut him off: “Shut. Up.” She turned to Succubus, who had just opened her mouth. “You. Too.” Brennus was sure he saw something red flicker in the darkness of her hood for a moment. “Amazon, is there anything else we should know? Any information you got out of him?”

“Yes. Apparently, the person who set up the deal that got them Hastur was a Quinzen Walmers – a local ‘contract negotiator’… and their sponsor was a group calling themselves ‘the Companions of the Future’. They’re the ones who provided the funds necessary to buy a metahuman like Hastur.”

“Have you tried to detain Walmers already?” Brennus asked.

She nodded, but did not look pleased. “Yes, but he’s cut and run – there’s no sign of him.”

“We shouldn’t worry about him, anyway,” said Prisca. “We need to track down Hastur, and find a way to off her without having to sacrifice so-“

“And who in darnation are you, anyway!?” Outstep spoke up for the first time. He was looking rather ragged, himself, and quite tired.

“Her name is Gilgul. Newly manifested, high apex to god tier flying brick with a few twists,” Gloom Glimmer summed up. “Now quiet – she’s already proven herself by taking down BigShit along with Phasma here.”

That shut him up.

Brennus threw him a glare he could not see, then turned to the group as a whole: “I have a few ideas on how to take her down, but we need to find her. I don’t believe that she is just wildly teleporting around causing chaos – she is more likely to have a plan, even if it is a half-cooked one.” Especially if she has found an intelligent planer, or worse yet, a superbrain-type.

“I can find her,” Gloom Glimmer threw in. “It will disable me for a while – I’m already quite drained,” Her voice sounded almost normal now – though Brennus could only tell that it was usually strange by the lack of her usual inhuman harmonics – and she was slumping, which just did not fit her, at all. “But I should be able to locate her, maybe even get a glimpse of her goals.”

“Do that, then. We’ll take everything from there,” ordered Amazon.

Gloom Glimmer nodded and broke contact with Tartsche, stepping away and taking a deep breath as Silver jumped off her back, gliding a short distance away to land and watch her.

* * *

Gloom Glimmer took a deep breath, concentrated – once more, Brennus was sure he saw red flicker underneath her hood – and then collapsed onto her knees. “Ugh.”

Polymnia immediately went to her side, helping her back up and taking her back into the group huddle, holding her hand to Tartsche’s outstretched hand to spread his power over them. <What did you see?>

The weakened girl shook her head, then whispered: “She’s… she’s got a plan… She wants to use TeleCat’s instant broadcasting contrivances to broadcast her face.”

“Ah crap,” whispered Brennus.

“TeleCat? Who the hell is that? And what’s with that name?” asked Bakeneko. Brennus had almost forgotten she was there, even though she had a particularly provocative form right now… not that he would notice it next to Prisca’s new curv- Focus, damn it!

“A supervillain from the late eighties, he tried to take over the world by way of television. Built contrivances that transmitted images and sound across the planet with no lag at all, wanted to hypnotize the whole world,” explained Brennus. He had studied up on all tech-based heroes and villains he could find – or at least the most famous ones – and even contrivers. “But it makes no sense – TeleCat is locked up in the Tartarus Star; as powerful as she is, there is no way she is breaking him out of there to build her another contrivance. And all his old ones were destroyed.”

Rising Tide fiddled with the neck of his suit, apparently uncomfortable.

Gloom Glimmer looked at Rising Tide. “She’s going for your base under the Brights,” she said. “You have TeleCat’s Super Tele-Throne in storage – and since he’s still alive, it would still work.” She paused, taking a weak breath. “She sits on that thing and she’ll be able to throw her face on every active screen that is linked to the internet in the entire Northern Hemisphere at the same time, with no lag. It might suffice to let her power propagate through it – instant apocalypse.”

Brennus sighed. “Ah crap to the highest power.”

And then something strange happened. Gloom Glimmer just… slumped in Polymnia’s arms, the colour washing out of her, until… until she looked like someone had taken a scissor and cut a Gloom Glimmer-like shape into reality.

“What happened to Miss Perfect?” asked Bakeneko, only to earn a slap over the head by Amazon.

Polymnia answered the question everyone had: <It’s a kind of defense mechanism. If she’s knocked out or otherwise unable to defend herself anymore, her power uses its last reserves to kind of put her into a pocket dimension to protect her until she recovers. Right now, she’s just as untouchable as Desolation-in-Light. But she’s completely out of this world, save for this tether.> She nodded towards the featureless, three-dimensional void in her arms.

“Well, at least she’ll be safe,” sneered Rising Tide with a mocking tone.

Amazon threw Rising Tide a poisonous look, but did not rebuke him. “So, what do we do?” she asked into the round. Apparently, she was just as stunned as the others were. This was… quite a bit over their usual weight class.

Prisca turned to her: “How long until the Feral Family arrives?”

“How do y- nevermind, they’ll need at least another forty-five minutes.”

“Too long,” said Brennus. “But I have a different plan.” He looked all his erstwhile comrades over. “I will need all of your cooperation for it, just to make sure. And it will be really dangerous.”

“Not as dangerous as the end of the world,” said Prisca in support, gently bumping his shoulder with her fist.

He nodded, then turned to Polymnia: <Charge the S.M.O.G. up. We will need it for this.>


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64 thoughts on “B007.7 Hastur, Shrouded in Dread

  1. Better late than never, and not as late as last time. Just had a really busy weekend this time (exams are coming up).

    Votes on topwebfiction are appreciated: http://topwebfiction.com/?for=brennus

    As some of you may have noticed, I now have a Donation button on this site! And since I know no shame, I shamelessly steal wildbow’s way of getting money – bonus chapters. For every 5€, you get one bonus chapter. Thanks to Steven Elliot and Steven Owen, we already have three of them in the queue.

    The schedule thus looks like this:

    1. One more chapter in the Hastur Arc, maybe two if I can’t fit the finale in one
    2. Donation Interlude: Mindstar
    3. Jaag – Anger & Bargaining
    4. Jaag – Denial & Depression
    5. Jaag – Acceptance
    6. Donation Interlude: The Shoveler/Kopatel’
    7. First chapter of Family Matters

    • #6 – The Shoveler/Kopatel

      Hmm, i know this refers to the game, but i just can’t help but think of the film “Mystery men”.

      • Hmm, I don’t know any game with a character called “The Shoveler”

        This is strictly a referance to the awesomeness that is “Mystery Men”

      • I meant Kopatel online – a minecraft inspired game. Basic character is a mob that digs…..

        …and while we are talking of Mystery men, one has to wonder if the Spleen will pop up somewhere….

    • My apologies if this is the wrong area to ask (or if I overlooked it), but what’s your update schedule? Also, do interludes/bonus chapters impact said schedule?

      Regardless, since I’m commenting anyways, my congratulations on your world building, which is enjoyable enough to put you a head above the typical online fiction in my experience.

      • thanks for the praise!

        my schedule is supposed to be 1 Chapter each Sunday, plus occasional midweek updates. Any Donation chapters would be midweek stuff, not part of the Sunday schedule.

        Unfortunately, due to my shitty study life, I’m having trouble always sticking to my schedule

  2. hi,
    thanks for the new chapters

    He shook his head
    he needs a way to do that without showing it outside of the armor

  3. Brennus’s conclusion about Hastur’s defenses… it makes sense, but something’s bothering me.

    Also, when she regenerated from the second fireball, they mentioned that her pants were still burned, rather than the fresh ones she’d replaced them with.
    Maybe it’s not regeneration at all, but temporal shenanigans? When she takes lethal damage, she resets to how she was earlier (clothes and all), but nonlethal attacks don’t trigger the rewind and thus the damage stays? It doesn’t seem to be a period of time that she turns back by; it would either be long enough to not keep the burn on her leg or short enough to have her new pants instead of the burned ones. So perhaps she has ‘save points’ that her body restores itself to? They couldn’t be chosen voluntarily, or she’d have an unburned leg [i]and[/i] fresh pants… maybe a specific mental state? Hatred, surprise, fear… something that would go off just after one of her minions hurt her, but not very often otherwise.

    Basil’s conclusions seem to fit the evidence for the most part. I can’t call them wrong at this stage, and they certainly seem more solid than mine at the moment. But I really feel like more testing needs to be performed before anybody looks her in the eye for the final showdown.

    • Silver showed the videos out of order. Hastur was attacked and burned by Huang Long at the shelter. the first attack harmed her leg and didn’t regenerate – neither the leg nor the pants. then she went to the Brights and got burned again, recovering but retaining the damage to her leg (flesh and cloth both). finally, she went to the hospital after putting on a new pair of pants (and getting some mundane treatment for her leg) where she was still limping

  4. “Them is not so” needs correction.

    This story is getting so exciting! It bothers me that Basil and Prisca have to put their relationship on pause while Hastur lurks about.

  5. typos, grammar, and continuity …

    “And they finally knew how to take Hastur down” Not then, they didn’t. Perhaps “And they finally had a clue on how to take Hastur down” or “And they had finally seen that Hastur could be permanently injured”

    “Either was reason enough for him to pay attention and now he had both in front of him.” Mixed referents. Brennus is paying attention one direction or another. How about “Either was reason enough for him to not pay attention to the girl’s conversation and now he had both in front of him.” Still awkward, could use some more attention.

    “happening… thought ” Though.

    “The others, rather befuddedly, followed suit” First, befuddle or befuddledly (missing an ‘l’). Second, adverbs pair with verbs, adjectives with nouns. Since the verb “followed” was introduced after the adverb “befuddedly”, this is somewhat clumsy (but not incorrect). It would be better as “The others, rather befuddled, followed suit” or “The others, followed suit rather befuddledly”.

    “Silver, would you please reply” Replay.

    “in plane sight of everyone” Plain.

    You use dashes (–) as clause separators and pauses a lot in sentences. I do it myself, but some of my English teachers have objected to their over-use.

    “beneath the shroud of flickering distortion, the they saw” Extra “the”.

    “cursed towards her victim, vanished along with her group in a flicker” Not incorrect, but reads better as “cursed towards her victim and then vanished” or “cursed towards her victim, vanishing”

    “Them is not so.” That is not so. And Brennus gets negative boyfriend points for directly contradicting his girlfriend.

    “Obviously, Hecate would have read all his reports.” This is not obvious from Hecate’s character or past behavior. Perhaps “Obviously, Hecate must have read all his reports.”

    Gloom Glimmer separates from Tartsche to look for Hastur and Polymnia follows. Neither rejoins Tartsche before giving vital information. So, either the rejoining was unstated or Hastur just heard that. Either a continuity problem or a major in-world fuck up.

    “transmitted image and sound” Reads better as “images and sound”, unless it only transmits one image.

    • thank you very much for your help!

      Brennus gets positive boyfriend points for doing his level best to keep their relationship secret in front of at least the present supervillains (not to mention the Junior Heroes and Amazon)

      • Yeah, I think you get a 90% discount on the contradiction thing if it’s in order to save millions of lives. Plus he has an established precedent for putting truth before tact.

        Not to mention that he’s accumulated a massive stockpile of boyfriend points over the years. Like, MASSIVE. Like, this is not Fort Knox, this is Smaug’s hoard. He has enough boyfriend points for a very large metaphorical dragon to stretch out underneath a pile of them and be completely hidden from view. That metaphor might have gotten away from me a little bit.

  6. Hastur has quite the interesting set of powers – she is a character worthy of a certain other superhero-genre web serial.

    And we have yet another indication that Brennus is going to be walking funny after he and Prisca finally have some alone-time. Now, is the projection perfect enough to conceive?

      • She has paranormally enhanced libido, and is capable of moving and feeling independently for the first time in years. He very much wants to make her happy and is feeling lust for the first time, as far as we can tell. And Gloomy was what, twelve when she started? Less?

        Not saying there isn’t a little bit of ick there (though if both of them are 14 that does technically pass the n/2+7 rule). Definitely not saying I want it to be “on-screen” or anything like that. But unless there are other mitigating factors, like it somehow doing bad things to her real body… They’re gonna fuck.

        As for the other question… not sure, but it seems unlikely. First, we don’t know what any of the rules of her abilities are, but so far nothing she’s touched has “stuck” to her. And that includes internally, or else the combination of powerful explosions and large quantities of fecal matter would not end well. Second, the projection would have to be maintained continuously for nine full months without any interruption, and I don’t think I’ve ever heard of a projector type who can do that. And finally, we don’t quite know how her regeneration works, but since there was no apparent delay on the healing it’s likely that it either resets the projection or restores it to an earlier “perfect” state, either of which would be very bad for a fetus. So unless there’s a clause on most of her powers that lets her keep the changes she likes (which seems awfully convenient, especially for this universe’s system) I very much doubt her projection could carry a child to term. For that matter (if you’ll excuse one more bit of squick before I stop thinking about this) it seems likely that her hymen would restore itself immediately after withdrawal.

      • (to Sindri)
        Thank you for confirming my impressions. I didn’t think I misread the situation that badly.

        (to Tieshaunn)
        Yes, there are legal, social, and moral problems and implications. But they have several strong reasons to get together:

        They are both interested and healthy (when healed, that is).
        Rescuer/rescued relationships are common (although often short-lived).
        As the US military discovered to its embarrassment, combat stress + mixed gender units = lots of unsanctioned behavior (although that was helped along by lots of boring non-combat time also).

        On the other hand, I vaguely remember a line from the Teenagers From Outer Space (TFOS) DM guide that said sex isn’t funny, frustration is funny. So there is a lot of comedy and, well, tension to be had by forgoing sex: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/UnresolvedSexualTension It all depends on how you want to play it.

      • I just realized, if Bren is really Mac reborn, than Bren would actually be 28’ish.

      • Am I missing something, timeline-wise? Because Macian was a kid, and I was under the impression that the whole Ember thing was a fairly recent development.

      • I think of ember as 18’ish, But the actual age was never discussed, not to mention that embers healing power might well have stopped him from ageing past his peak.

      • Ember and Macian were each eight or nine or so back in 2006. Brennus is 14 or so. The ages fit except for Amy — Macian’s sister was younger than him, whereas Brennus’s is older.

      • I can imagine Prisca and Brennus’s disappointment after discovering that the Gilgul body is just a giant Barbie doll anatomically.

  7. I wouldn’t worry too much. Sex with the projection wouldn’t result in pregnancy, and he would literally kill her if they did it with her regular body. But it does happen, though teenage pregnancy is going down here in the US. I assume Basil would take precautions anyway. I wonder what Hastur’s backstory is. Doesn’t matter what it is, they should still kill her, but it might give her more depth. In worm I actually felt bad for bonesaw, though they still should have killed the bitch anyway. I forgot to vote before.

  8. About Prisca’s power. I may be wrong but her “regeneration” and her “permanently clean” ability seem to me to one and the same basic ability to project herself in whatever form she wishes and if anything happens to that form to immediately recreate it in her desired form. If you recall when she first manifested, she gained her weapon only when she desired it, and I think this applies to all of her power. So if I’m right, she should be able to become pregnant by wishing to be pregnant. Of course without fertilization, she would only reproduce a clone of herself. The only problem left after this is being able to sustain her projection for nine months. Then there is the possibility that the baby might just end up as an extension of her projection and would only exist while she is asleep. There are really to many complicated uncertainties to consider until Tieshaunn reveals how her powers work.

  9. Ok, I may have missed it (and I went back and searched), but when did brennus start talking to the man in the moon, or even become aware of him? He has a history of talking to blazing sun, but as far as I can see this sister and the Dark are the only ones that know about the moon…

      • I thought it was before that. Wasn’t it the man in the moon’s idea to not join in with the main fight and instead be backup?

  10. As far as the whole pregnancy debate so far, you guys need to remember, we don’t have all the details of her powers yet. What if Prisca can change the appearance/powers/physics/etc.. of her projection? What if she gets more (or less) powerful over time? What if she can’t get rid of the projection at all? What if she doesn’t even need her real body, I mean she hasn’t expressed hunger nor thirst nor anything else of that nature so far. Given time, I hope that we are given more details about just exactly what the hell she is doing. *looks pointedly/pathetically at Tieshaunn

      • I thought Queen Madie triggered after braindeath, so I wondered if prisa did to.

      • Seeing as Brennus’s power also extends to medical knowledge or at least did so after the Dark assisted a bit during his first night out and there wasn’t any mention of the “I’m losing her” kind i can remember I find it unlikely that she experienced brain death.
        Admittedly that was a very taxing situation so it would be possible that emotional attachment like Brennus undoubtedly has to Prisca brought him to simply not acknowledge that something like that happened.
        From his normal behavior though I find that unlikely.

        What has me confused is where you draw the comparison from that whatever happened to the Queen to it being more likely to happen to Prisca too. Did I miss a connection there somewhere?
        And now I’m off to look for the chapters with world-building since I only sort of skimmed over queenie due to her not yet being involved in the main story.

      • If you read the comments from the prologue, you’ll find that Basil is explicitly a medical gadgeteer, with a sideline in vehicles. I’d guess he only needed help from the Dark because Hecate was his first subject, and he really didn’t have any instruction prior to that.

        The UH is probably going to have a freakout when they haven’t seen his best work yet – that would be the machines he’s working on to keep Prisca alive.

      • I’m not sure if I would go as far as calling him a medical gadgeteer. That would imply it being his main focus. The tech he has in his room when he first reveals it to his sister is as far as I know not medical in any way. Since I think especially in the beginning he’ll probably be drawn to build things that are easiest for him to do i.e in his field of specialization that would mean that medical tech is something he can do but not his defining characteristic.

        Regardless what I meant to say in my earlier comment is that with his knowledge of medicine it would be improbable for him not to notice her not breathing or the blood flow stopping for long enough to actually threaten brain death and therefor it being unlikely that Prisca triggered in that way.

        Also I’m not sure about the UH freaking out but I could see them being very interested in trying to get him to share said emergency equipment.

  11. Like I said, Word of God from the author:

    [quote]if you know mutants & masterminds 3E (the p&p), then he has the powers Enhanced Expertise: Science, Enhanced Expertise: Medicine, Enhanced Technology, Enhanced Treatment and Enhanced Vehicles – not enhanced intelligence; as well as the advantages Eidetic Memory, Inventor and Skill Mastery (Science, Technology, Treatment, Vehicles) as power features tied into his enhanced skill set.[/quote]

    I’d call that a very strong focus on medicine, myself. And if he’s doing this good off his main focus, imagine what he’s like in it. The freakout is when they realize he might be as much as a whole rating above what they’ve seen. Although that’s just my interpretation of the data we’ve been given.

    • I am neither confirming nor busting your hypothesis, I just want to clarify something:

      those traits came about due to the functional limitations of the M&M system, since it treats medicine as seperate from science as a whole (thus the distinction between Expertise: Medicine & Expertise: Science), as well as applied sciences (Technology) and applied medicine (Treatment) as two different skills, and it wasn’t possible to combine both into one, thus he gets both. these traits, at least, were never meant to convey a particular importance of his skills in medical science & technology

      • I feel the need to add that Macian had evidently created cybernetic parts for his own body – probably under stress or battlefield conditions (Given the nature of the replacements). While I always thought of Basil as more of a generalist – having excellent medical and cybernetic skills seems to be a given. Some evidence given for this when he makes the medical bracelet for Prisca during the rescue.

  12. I’m beginning to think brennus has a secondary ability allowing himself to compress time while working.

    Also if it turns out prisca can control her form she could adopt a crow theme, call herself Morrigan and become a battle couple with brennus.

    • I’m pretty sure they’ll be a battle couple regardless of naming and/or costume theme. And even though Morrigan would be a fitting moniker if she simply wanted to fit in with his theme I doubt she’d take it. Adopting the raven theme that clearly could imply her being an underling, someone who simply follows orders and I doubt that is the kind of person Prisca has imagined her Superhero persona to be. I also seem to recall her armor to be kinda golden and shining which at least for me doesn’t fit that theme either.

      There has been enough speculation about Brennus having a secondary ability of some sort that I wouldn’t be surprised if it turned out to be true. I do however find it unlikely that its time compression at least not if its supposed to be active outside of his fits of forgetfulness. I think if that was the case either Gloomy or Polymnia would have noticed something during their heterodyning session. Or his team for that matter during the (what has it been now a month?) time they have spend together. Personally I like the idea of him being so fast in comming up with ideas because Macian is giving him pointers appealing.

      • You know I have actually been wondering for a while if maybe basil isn’t a proper meta-human at all. So far as i know he is the only person to awaken with out any stressful crap going on, like he just sort of got outa bed one day and was like “Hey cool im a meta-human”. I was thinking what if Macian had some how created a clone or artificial human that could tap into his own “star” without a real awakening?(tap into Macians star just to clarify)

        And also I haven’t seen any other comments on it but doesn’t it bother anyone else that basils parents just died but know one seems to care or have even had it cross there minds after the first arc? I mean that would make sense for there to be no emotional impact if the memory were fake and there never were any parents, or something else hinky. Also on the outside chance that my theory were true it would be cool to see him awaken but retain access to Macians star.

      • Well, if Macian and Brennus are in fact literally the same person, then he would have already been fully awakened before he ever took on the name ‘Basil’. But since his powers have no physical symptoms, it would be a fairly simple mental block to prevent him from using or even noticing them. So the second time around, he would never have to properly Trigger or go through any stress which might lead to such, he would just have to figure out that he already had powers. Perhaps after long enough the mental blocks started to fade (also explaining his gradual increase in awareness of the other voices in his head, and of Ember). Or perhaps he just sort of fell into it when he tried to build himself a desktop computer or something, like an amnesiac suddenly discovering that they know how to play the piano.

        But yeah, Basil’s backstory is suspicious all over the place.
        We know he didn’t start out with the identity he currently has, but he and Amy presumably passed a background check from The Dark. His parents are simply a non-factor.
        Either he has a previous connection to Amy (and she had had absolutely no glimmer of weirdness in her memories in all this time, despite being one high level mentalist closely watched by another), or that’s artificial too (and whoever did the memory alteration managed to create artificial affection strong enough that their instinctive familial bond overcame, well, everything).
        His relationship with Prisca, adorable and awesome as it is, is also suspicious as all hell. He met her under still largely unexplained circumstances. He never mentions or even thinks about her during his first, what, months as a hero? He even has distinct, functional plans for vengeance on the one who harmed her, without any memory of creating those plans or any time slot in which he could have done so. Everything about her part of the story strongly implies that things are *still* screwing around in his head.
        Overall I think that ‘what happened to his parents’ is the smallest and most easily explained question here.

      • The parents thing is pretty easily explainable, Mindstar decided she didn’t want to go into a foster home or let Basil go into one either, so when their parents died she convinced all the relevant authority figures to give her custody of Basil.

      • Well Astral I’m with you about her maybe having been able to influence the authorities to let Basil stay with her especially if at that time she already had access to The Five’s resources but the main point of discussion seemed to me at least the lack of emotional reaction whenever they come up and the suspicion of them maybe not ever having been real or there being more to the story of what happened to them.

        If that is the case however and they didn’t really exist or something more than is mentioned in story happened to them then the information was planted in such a way that the Darks organization was either fooled when they looked into it (presumably that would include mentalists PI’s and The Dark himself) or they did find something and Amy simply doesn’t know about it (which is unlikely since awesome telepath and member of The Five).

        Same with Basil having some kind of mental block. Neither The Dark nor Amy (nor presumably any mentalist working for The Five) found something like that when they checked him. Admittedly since Amy didn’t know about the man in the moon before her minddive the reliability of such tests may be questionable.

  13. For those of us who don’t follow the IRC, what’s up? Did the author’s computer die a hard death? Did his schoolwork become a tarpit for time, or did he disappear from the net, presumably for unfortunate reasons?

  14. I kinda want Brennus to start dating Polymnia because the Prisca thing is boring. Also why do i have a sneaky feeling that Aap Oord is somehow related to brennus?

  15. “The dragonett followed after them”

    I think you mean ‘dragonette’.

    “Them is not so. I theorize, instead,”

    I think you meant ‘That is not so’.

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