B012.7 Born At Sleep

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“I don’t like this,” Amazon grumbled as everyone gathered on the rooftop of the UH’s headquarters.

As one of the three principal divisions of the organisation on the North American continent (the other two were based in San Diego and Toronto), it housed a great many parts of its bureaucracy, thus justifying the fact that the building it was housed in was one of the tallest ones in the city.

The fact that it made an impressive statement was a deliberate bonus. It was also a good place to look out over the city from.

It was a pain to get up on, at least for Basil, as there were no other buildings nearly as tall within a block of it. It would’ve taken a while for him to get up on top with his grappling hooks, so Prisca had picked him up and carried him to the top, trailed by the entirety of his unkindness of ravens (he’d originally deliberated whether to use ‘conspiracy’ or ‘unkindness’, then settled on the latter; merely calling them a ‘flock’ was just too boring).

They’d been greeted by Amazon, still the only adult superhero in town who wasn’t a street-level vigilante. With the cold war now growing rapidly hot, that was unlikely to change any time soon.

The entirety of the Juniors was present, save for Polymnia, as well, from Gloom Glimmer (whom Basil was quite glad to have on their side in any crisis) down to Spellgun and Osore, whom he wouldn’t have expected to join, based just on their powers – Spellgun had some nasty shots, but was otherwise just a normal human, lacking any versatility beyond what his rifle and ammunition provided, while Osore’s ability to make people afraid – devastating though it had been in its accidental use against Basil – didn’t seem that useful in the usual S-Class situation.

He was still glad about every bit of added support.

Amazon, though, didn’t seem too pleased with the situation. The first thing she’d done had been to protest taking teenagers into an unknown S-Class situation, new laws be damned. Even Gloom Glimmer was only supposed to provide transportation, not engage.

No one wanted to hear that and she was quickly convinced to let it go; now they were just waiting for Polymnia to get there – she’d been in the middle of some work and was just now stepping out of the elevator.

Basil took the chance to look her power armor over, feeling a pang of envy – of course she could still afford one, unlike him. It even looked like she’d improved it since the last time he’d seen it – the armor was noticeably more streamlined, more form-fitting, the transparent purplish-pink material (he still wasn’t sure what kind of alloy it was made of) more opaque than before, probably because it was also more dense – either that, or she’d sacrificed protection in exchange for making it more skin-tight, and he doubted she’d do that. Her robotic arms had been redesigned entirely and, unless she’d been hiding or developed a different specialisation, not by herself – they were less like a spider’s legs now and looked more like segmented metallic tentacles, with the segments painted with the same colour she used on her hair and lips. He’d done some research on that a while ago – the colour did not react to movement, per se, but rather to vibrations in the air – to sound. Which was why her hair always turned into a light show during her concerts, as Vasiliki had been all too happy to demonstrate by playing all of Polymnia’s concerts on the big screen and speaker system in his lair. Right now, the colours moved rather lazily across the metal and her hair. Since they all reacted to the same sounds – which, currently, came mostly from Amazon, Tartsche and Hecate arguing about who’d get to come along – the effect seemed to start at the four tentacles closest to the arguing trio and travel across them, over her hair (tied into a high pony tail today), her lips and onto the other four. As before, the top two tentacles held a selection of speakers, the two below were lacking in anything but the clawed tips all eight shared, meant for combat and movement, the next two held the two pieces of her keyboard-like control system and the last two were like the second set, currently on the ground to help balance the weight of the others.

Maybe she just took the servo-motors out of her armor, he thought as he appraised her work. She is strong enough to move her armor on her own and her tentacle-rig can carry and balance itself. Yeah, that made sense. It would make her armor more reliable, as well – less parts that could be damaged or fail.

The only part of her setup which seemed unchanged was her visor.

He noticed her eyes roaming over his load out, as well, as she appraised his new setup the same way he’d done with hers. Normally, he’d have approached her and started talking shop, but today… he just had too much on his mind.

So he just nodded to her and turned around, walking up to the trio.

Tartsche was just making a point about them needing every bit of firepower possible when dealing with an unknown S-Class – especially if the people in question had already proven to be reliable in no less than two such events – but Amazon didn’t seem convinced.

“Amazon,” Basil said as he stepped into the triangle they’d formed. She was, amazingly, taller than he was – no mean feat – so he had to look up at her, if only slightly. “I understand and appreciate your concern for our well-being,” She smiled, relaxing a bit, “but we are determined to participate in this. You can either take us with you and integrate us smoothly into whatever command structure will be in place there, or you can leave us behind – in which case we would arrive by alternate means.” She tensed up again as soon as he pronounced the ‘but’ and only got more agitated from there.

“Why’re you here, then?” she asked between clenched teeth.

“Because Gloom Glimmer is still our fastest, most reliable way to Esperanza and we’d also like to be, as I already explained, integrated into the local command structure, which should go much more smoothly if you take us along as reinforcements – S-Class protocols allow you to recruit any volunteer without an extended kill warrant on their head for such a situation.”

She growled at him under her breath, trying to transfix him with her gaze – but honestly, compared to Amy’s scowl, her’s was rather cute and pleasant.

He stood there, giving her fifteen seconds to process his words before he continued in a softer voice, “Look, we just want to help. We are heroes, and we live dangerously, anyway. So just let us do our job.”

“It’s not your job,” she said softly, deflating. “None of you have a duty to do this.” She turned to the junior heroes. “There is no shame in sitting this one out. You don’t owe it to anyone.”

“Oh, good, I’ll wish you all a nice d-” Outstep began, before Spellgun slapped him over the back of the head.

“We’re coming,” Tartsche said. “At the very least, we can help with the evacuation. Gloom Glimmer is probably our most powerful healer…”

“Not a reliable one, though,” Gloom Glimmer whispered, her face hidden in the shadows of her cowl. Polymnia put an arm around her shoulders, giving her a friendly (if stiff) squeeze.

“Brennus has excellent medical and field aid knowledge,” he continued unperturbed.

Not that I have any idea where I have it from, Basil thought in turn.

“Spellgun, Tyche,” he pointed at her sniper rifle, “Hecate and Polymnia can both support from long range,  I can tank any hit and no one’s better at high-speed evac than Outstep,” he concluded.

“Speaking of high speed,” Basil interjected before the speeches could continue, “We are wasting time.”

To his annoyance, it looked like she was going to further object, but she was interrupted by a cabin – an elevator – rising up from the ground next to the helipad, and a slovenly dressed, unshaven man rushed out.

Basil barely recognised Jason Widard – he’d never been one to pay too much attention to his appearance, even when he appeared on television, but he was looking positively run-down now!

“Why’re you still here!?” he asked, his face tight. “Our precogs just upgraded their threat assessment! From Green to Yellow!”

Amazon looked at him, briefly, then turned to the teens. “Alright. I’ll take you along – but you do as I say, when I say it, got it? I have more experience at this than all of you put together, and by God, you will obey me and the other veterans!”

“Yes ma’am!” they all replied at once, before they gathered around Gloom Glimmer.


Basil blinked, feeling more than a little confused. He’d expected some manner of effect, something to mark the transition, but… one moment, they’d been clustering around Gloom Glimmer (who’d stayed uncharacteristically quiet, judging by what he’d seen of her before), the next they stood on a large market square, with numerous other capes and cowls gathered near them. The transition had been instant.

First things first… He checked – Prisca was there. They’d been worried, briefly, about whether or not a teleportation ability would work on her, and whether she could sustain her projection at such distance.

She looked at him, nodding with a small. Everything appeared to be alright.

Whispers rose among the gathered metahumans – and there were really only metahumans around. Unless Esperanza had had a sudden surge in non-powered costumed figures.

“Stay where you are,” Amazon told them before she walked towards the stage.

Basil recognised a few of the people gathered. The United Heroes’ Esperanza Division stood on a portable stage, their Juniors stood in a small cluster off to one side.

Father Manus, their field (and spiritual) leader, in his priestly black robe with the stiff white collar, wearing no mask, his porcelain-like face sporting a serene yet determined expression. Basil didn’t know whether he was permanently transformed or whether he could change into a normal form.

Hollywood, his daughter, stood to his right in stark contrast, her risqué outfit looking like something halfway between a ball gown and a bikini, made from pure white silk that contrasted with her caramel-coloured skin and jet black hair. She eschewed a mask, much like her father, but wore professionally applied make up.

To Hollywood’s left stood her husband Waverider, looking quite boring next to his inhuman father-in-law and his glamorous wife in spite of his movie-star-slash-surfer-dude looks. He wore a practical set of body armor over thick pants, the only difference between it and standard special ops gear being the light blue wave patterns covering it. He had one arm wrapped around Hollywood’s waist, holding her close.

Next came Little Boy, a man who seemed to be morbidly obese, with no hair at all, wearing a thick long coat he barely seemed to fit into. Yet a second look revealed that he was growing, getting fatter and bigger in small increments as he kept building up his destructive power.

Finally, another pair stood to Father Manus’ left, a man and a woman holding hands.

The man, Silver Falcon, wore a skin-tight dark blue bodysuit with a wing-like, silver cape and beak-shaped mask. He looked more slender than muscular, but there was a kind of natural grace to his stance.

His sister Charybdis, the West Coast’s heavy hitter (even more so than Little Boy, really), was the shortest person on the stage, shorter than her own brother by more than a head at least, even though they were supposed to be twins. She wore a thick blue-black bodysuit with tight, molded armor reminiscent of blue-green scales on her chest, with matching greaves and bracers, as well as a similarly designed helmet which enclosed her head entirely, save for her mouth, showing off pale skin and even paler lips.

There were even more figures gathered, at least fifty capes and cowls, not counting their own group. Quite a few villains he recognised, as well…

Oh shit.

Amy was there. With Kraquok and Lamarr. They stood a good deal away from the heroes, with the local street villains clustering around them.

Kraquok looked the same as every time Basil had seen him on television or on the internet. Big, freaky beyond belief with his crocodile-like double-face and his weirdly patched-together physique, combining elements from human, saurian and weirder anatomy into a world-renowned nightmarish blend.

His teammate, Lamarr, looked positively average next to him in his three-piece magician’s suit with the purple velvet top hat and wide cape, holding a black-and-white wand in his gloved hands. Unlike the thirty or so villains around him, he looked utterly at ease, as if he was just out on a walk.

Amy… was staring daggers at Basil. She was, in fact, shaking with barely restrained anger, apparently barely held in check by Kraquok having placed a clawed hand on her shoulder (not that physically restraining her would mean anything).

Vasiliki growled next to him, her eyes fixated on Amy. Though he couldn’t determine her expression, it was no big deal to guess what she was thinking.

Amazon did not seem pleased to see Amy, either, and she was much more obvious about it than Vasiliki.

Fortunately, though, the two groups stood far enough apart from each other for it to not be obvious that Amy was looking at him specifically.

I am going to feed your spleen to you through your nose, Amy spoke straight into his head, her mental voice fairly bubbling over with rage.

Provided I still have one, and a nose, after this, he couldn’t restrain himself from thinking back at her, feeling a flash of irritation. She hardly had the right to criticise his choices, considering her own.

If you die here, I’m going to kill you, she replied calmly.

I love you, too. Be safe.

Look who’s talking.

“-ing at?” Vasiliki said, pulling his attention back to his immediate surroundings.

“Huh?” he asked, momentarily confused.

She was looking at the stage again, though throwing suspicious looks over her shoulder every now and then, glaring at Amy. “I’d like to know what the hell that bitch is looking at,” she replied angrily.

“Language!” Dalia reprimanded her with a grin. Vasiliki almost blew up at her, visibly, but the redhead just pressed on, “Look, I know what you got against her, but we need to keep our heads clear here. Put your issues with her off until after this.”

“You…” Vasiliki tensed, almost lifting her staff – but then she deflated, lowering her head. “… are right. Thanks.” She took a deep breath and pointedly turned away entirely from Amy.

And just in time, too, as two armored figures approached the group.

Ah, finally, good news! Basil thought as he and Polymnia stepped forward immediately to meet them.

The two figures looked as different as night and day, yet there was an odd sense of… similarity about them which went beyond their outward appearance. Both were wearing power armour, but that’s where the similarities ended.

The taller of the duo was clad from head to toe in blackened,  steel. His armour was blocky, so broad it looked almost like a cartoon, and it moved quite stiffly, with exceedingly heavy steps which threatened to crack the pavement. The only colour to it, aside from several heat vents at his sides, were the circular red lenses over his eyes. The armour’s left arm ended in a huge cannon instead of a hand, looking as blocky and ragged as the rest of his equipment (though Basil was guessing about the gender – there really was no way to tell how the person inside that armour looked).

His name was Boom-Boom, one of the few teenage gadgeteers currently active in the USA – and a supervillain, as well.

In stark contrast to his appearance, the girl next to him looked like she’d come out of a science-fiction comic book. Her armour was sleek and – Basil had never thought he’d use the word in relation to power armour, except in jest, but it just fit – quite sexy. It was so thin and tight, it looked more like simple body armour, yet he knew that it was definitely powered. Her armour was made of some manner of silverly-golden metal, covering her from head to toe. It was segmented and sported an old-fashioned clock face with three brassy hands indicating the time in Roman numerals. The armor was so form-fitting, there was no doubt that there was a slender girl underneath – it was even molded to fit her breasts like a second skin, a feature not even Polymnia’s body-accentuating armour sported. Furthermore, each step of hers was accentuated with the sound of a ticking clock. A mass of long black hair tied into a ponytail poked out of the back of her armor, and a red-golden visor made up the upper half of her helmet’s faceplate. Two sleek guns rested in holsters on her hips, and a long, sleek rifle was strapped to her back. Each piece of her equipment ticked, much like her armour did, and they were all in perfect tune.

Her name was Tick-Tock. Second-youngest – though senior – member of the local Juniors, an up-and-coming Gadgeteer much like Basil and Polymnia.

The four of them came to a halt just a few feet from each other, looking at their respective equipment. Polymnia’s tentacles even folded back so as not to obstruct their sight.

Finally, after a few moments of quiet analysis, Boom-Boom spoke up, holding out his hand towards Basil.

“Cowl’s Boom-Boom,” he introduced himself, his voice modulated by a voice-changer and further distorted by his thick helmet, as they shook hands (his massive right gauntlet made his entire hand disappear). “Everything I make explodes.”

“Brennus,” Basil replied in kind, “Speciality still up in the air, though I currently trend towards some manner of Electromagnetic theory as part of it.”

“Ah, you’re still trying to figure it out,” Tick-Tock replied as she and Polymnia shook hands. “I remember that time.” She focused on Polymnia again, “Tick-Tock’s my cape, and everything I make involves a timer of some kind.”

<Polymnia,> the pop princess replied. <I specialise in acoustic effects. As well as music.>

Boom-Boom shook hands with her as well, while Basil exchanged greetings with Tick-Tock. “Nice to have some more techies on the team,” the blocky supervillain said. “Maybe we’ll even get a chance to work together on something. Here’s to us making a bigass electro-acoustic time bomb!”

Tick-Tock slapped the back of his helmet, making a bell-like ringing sound. “All you ever think of is stuff blowing up,” she complained. “Please don’t use this situation as an excuse to blow even more things up than you already have.”

He just shrugged, a truly impressive motion given his frame, despite the limited movement he could actually put into it.

<If we’re really lucky,> Polymnia interjected with a wistful smile, <We won’t have to fight at all, this’ll all blow over and we can all work on something fun.>

“Explosions are fun. They’re all the fun!” Boom-Boom countered with unsettling intensity. Tick-Tock slapped him over the head again, causing him to continue in a more normal voice: “Besides, we’re unlikely to work together outside of an S-Class party like this, seeing how I’m a supervillain and all.”

“Well, I am a vigilante, so technically that is not an issue for m- is that what I think it is?” Basil looked up at a nearby building – a bank, though he didn’t bother to check which one – along with everyone else as a penetrating hum filled the air, and a gleaming silver shape rose up over the roof, smoothly gliding through the air and over the market square.

It looked, at first glance, like a particularly blocky jet fighter, except it was the size of two school busses standing next to each other, with a squared snout sporting four black spheres, one on each side, which moved around like a chamaeleon’s eyes. Its wings were similarly squared, thicker than any jet’s wings were ever going to be; clearly, streamlining the craft had not been a priority. A huge cannon’s barrel – some manner of railgun, Basil guessed – extended almost from the very hind of the craft over the tip, facing forward. It had no other visible armaments. There were several depressions worked smoothly into the metal, almost like channels, which covered most of its surface, from the tip all the way to the back end, emitting a pale silver light. It moved with no visible means of propulsion, producing only that pervasive, pulsing humming sound. The air around it seemed to almost cling to its shape, causing slight distortions in the light that passed through, blurring the edges of the craft.

“That… that is…” Boom-Boom stammered. If he wasn’t covered in more than a ton of steel, he’d probably be trembling.

No matter, the other three were trembling more than enough to make up for him.

“That is a Mark VII Subjugator,” Basil whispered in awe as their companions from New Lennston joind up with the small group of Gadgeteers. “It is the third-latest model of Subjugators, and the latest mass produced one. Why is it here?”

“It’s not public knowledge yet,” Gloom Glimmer replied to his question, her silken voice barely audible over the pulsing sound of the Subjugator touching down on top of the city hall, projecting a shimmering force-field in lieu of other landing gear, “There’s a major conference planned on the subject of nature protection and endangered species in particular. They expected delegates from all over the world, including GAIN and the AMU. In fact, unless I’m mistaken, there should be-“

She stopped speaking as the hum cut off and people started whispering among each other – but not about the Subjugator, no. Instead, their attention was drawn to the stage, where two new arrivals had joined the local heroes.

One was a very tall, almost freakishly thin man with a long, care-lined face, wearing a dark blue robe and wizard’s hat, while holding a long wooden staff in one hand.

The other looked, at first, like an elongated fur ball standing on four wooden sticks. A second glance, though, revealed that the sticks were actually its brown, gnarled arms, ending in over-sized, clawed hands; the fur ball was its body, wrapped in dirty brown fur which moved almost as if a breeze was running through it, despite the stillness of the air. Zooming in, Basil could see hints of shapes moving within the fur, like small ghosts.

“There they are,” Gloom Glimmer concluded. “Prospero and Totemic.”

“That’s one hell of a hippie conference,” Dalia said half in jest. “I wouldn’t have expected those people to be so environmentally minded.”

Gloom Glimmer shrugged casually. “It’s not something which comes up often in the media, but Sovereign is actually very environmentally sensitive. He’s backing most charities that share his passion for protecting nature – he just doesn’t care about humans the same way. As for Madd- I mean, Queen Madeleine, she’s not exactly an avid believer herself, but Totemic is a very active defender of endangered species. He owns the world’s largest zoo, as well. I suspect Prospero is here to serve as a translator and to keep an eye on him. The Queensguard never operates solo by principle.”

“Wow, I suddenly feel like we’re not even needed here,” Vasiliki breathed. “What’s next, are the Shining G-“

There was a loud sound, like a huge cord being strung tight, a booming explosion in the air, and a whirling golden portal opened on the stage, a tall, muscular woman in her mid-thirties stepping out of it; She wore leather pants, a white shirt and a leather jacket stepping out, sporting two bandoliers which held numerous vials and leather pouches, her dark brown hair cut into a practical bob cut. She was followed by fifteen others, all in similar garb – dressed like adventurers from Pulp novels – who took position in a line at the back of the stage, as she joined Prospero and Father Manus at the front.

<That,> Timothy spoke up through their comlink, his voice hushed, <Is Doc Feral. This is rapidly turning into one hell of a crisis crossover roster. “What’s next, are Lady Light and the Dark gonna show up and join in on the fun?>

Everyone around – including a few of the gathered heroes and villains who stood further away – turned to look at Gloom Glimmer.

The girl seemed to briefly shrink into her cape, as if startled by the sudden rush of attention. Then she replied, “I really don’t think so… I tried to reach them, but Mom and Dad are both… off. I don’t know where to or why, I don’t even know if they’re together, I just know that neither of them is reachable right now, even for me.”

“Unless we are about to fight DiL,” Outstep spoke up in an amused tone, “I don’t really think they’re going to be necessary for this one.”

As he spoke, Basil saw Gloom Glimmer twitch, briefly, her eyes flashing red for a moment before she got herself under control again.

What is that about? he asked himself, though he only said, “Way to tempt fate, mate.”

Outstep laughed out loud, though despite his bravado, he looked pretty nervous.

Before anyone could further comment on the issue, Father Manus stepped away from the other two capes and looked at the gathered heroes, clearly preparing to speak to them all.


“My dear brothers and sisters in arms,” the porcelain man spoke in a deep, sonorous voice, spreading his arms wide to include everyone on the square. “Welcome and thank you for appearing in such numbers to help protect our home from whatever calamity is fast approaching. We – by which I mean the local division of the United Heroes, as well as Doc Feral of the Shining Guardians – are well aware that many of you are volunteers from remote locations, and we deeply appreciate your willingness to help us in our hour of need.” He briefly bowed towards the people on the square, before he turned around to do the same towards the AMU delegates and the Subjugator up above.

Afterwards, he turned around again to adress the people on the square again. “Unfortunately, we’re still unclear as to the exact nature of the prophecised threat – we only know that it is a considerable one, tentatively classified as a Code Yellow S-Class event.”

“That’s just two steps below DiL,” Vasiliki whispered as she and Dalia moved a little closer to each other for comfort. Basil himself was already holding hands with Prisca, and most others had paired up. Boom-Boom and Tick-Tock were holding hands, as well.

“Since we don’t know when exactly it is going to make itself manifest, nor where exactly, we must move quickly into position!” Father Manus continued speaking while Waverider created a crackling blue-white disc of energy, on which Little Boy loaded a stack of small black boxes. The disc moved around the people on the stage – except for the heroes, who already had boxes such as those attached to their belts or chests. Everyone it passed by took one of those boxes. It came down and moved through the crowd as well.

“Waverider is distributing communicators,” the porcelain man explained. “They attach to your costume or body through a vacuum. Please speak your cape or cowl into them, confirm by pressing the blue button and keep them on your person at all times – they will allow us to contact you, coordinate your movements and…”

He went on explaining how the communicators worked, while Basil took one and attached it to his belt, next to his knife sheath (well, one of them) after entering and confirming his name.

“As we don’t have sufficient information to create an elaborate battle plan, I’ll ask you all to remain in your teams with the people you have already worked with. If you don’t have a team, please find at least two other people to team up with for the duration of this event,” the priestly superhero went on. “Each group will be given a location to get to and await further developments.”

The gathered capes and cowls listened quietly, with not even any whispers to break the quiet in between his sentences.

“There is not much time, but let me say this – thank you for being here. Be safe. Stay together. Take care of each other. And God be with you.”


After briefly exchanging well wishes, Basil and his team had been directed to a high-rise apartment building near the waterfront, where they’d landed on the rooftop to take up positions. Someone had turned the roof into a garden with benches and tables, and they spread out, taking seats to try and calm down a bit before the storm.

“If I’d known it would take this long, I’d have waited before coming here,” Prisca said after five minutes of nothing happening, as she sat on a sun chair, in full armour. “I’m wasting time. Literally.”

“You could not have flown here that quickly,” Basil replied. He was the only one not sitting, having instead taken up position at the West edge of the roof, staring towards the bright blue ocean. “Not without burning more time than you would gain from waiting. And teleporting here would require Gloom Glimmer’s cooperation, which would require explaining your power to her.”

She made a grumpy sound, but didn’t press the issue.

“Hey, B-Six,” Dalia spoke up from where she was lounging on a swinging bench. “What’d you mean when you said we had other means of getting here?” she asked curiously, one leg dangling from the bench, using her toe to cause it to swing back and forth. “I didn’t know we could do something like that.”

“I’d like to know about what you meant, as well,” Vasiliki added, turning to look at him – she’d been sitting at a table, sketching something on a pad she’d pulled out of her bag of holding. “You pressured Amazon a lot there.”

“I was bluffing,” Basil admitted without turning to look at them – he was too busy distributing his ravens across Esperanza.He felt their stares on his neck.

<Duuuuuuude,> Timothy breathed. <That’s… I didn’t know you could bluff like that.>

<Yeah, I figured you were one of those ‘always speak the truth’ types,> Stephi commented.

Basil barely held himself back from laughing out loud. Well, they do not know me very well after all, do they?

“It was just a simple bluff, nothing worth mentioning, really,” he said. “Though I do feel bad about being so pushy. But then again, her concern really was misplaced.” Honestly, compared to what we have already been through, how bad could this be?

As if trying to reprimand him for even thinking that, there was a loud beep from their communicators at just that moment.

<Unknown object coming from the West,> spoke a calm woman’s voice. <Something massive is approaching the city from beneath the water. All teams, be ready to deploy.>

The girls leapt up and joined Basil in watching the ocean, forming a single line. Prisca stood to his left, and her hand found his, gently squeezing it. He squeezed back, as they saw a large shadow approach the beach littered with sunshades and various booths – fortunately, the civilians had already retreated into the numerous shelters built all around the huge metropolis.

“That… looks big,” Dalia commented lamely.

The approaching shadow looked like it was the size of a football field.

As it came closer, the water rose, bulging as the colossal shape rose up, simultaneously moving forwad and somehow shrinking back, as if the act of rising up forced it to redistribute its mass, changing its shape.The water rose higher, until a pillar of water forty meters tall stood just in front of the beach, with a darker, slightly shorter shape standing within.

The creature – whatever it was – appeared to be humanoid in shape, though very roughly so, its torso nearly pear-shaped with no visible neck between its conical head and its barely distinguishable shoulders – if it even had shoudlers – visible in this state. It was barely possible to distinguish two thick, round arms which reached down to the knees of its disproportionally short legs.It seemed to just stand there, for a few moments, the water around it never falling off until it suddenly leaned forward, taking a slow, lumbering step onto the sandy ground in front of it.And with that, its water shroud fell off, revealing…

“Oh, come on!” Basil shouted. “First a giant pile of shit, and now… now this!?”

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61 thoughts on “B012.7 Born At Sleep

  1. Honestly… I am kind of amazed I managed to finish this by now. In case you haven’t guessed, I’ve had a rough time lately.

    I’ve been pretty sick for the last two weeks, and for the last week, I was laid out by the side effects of the meds I had to take – including, but not limited to, forgetfulness, dizzy spells and a constant lack of energy. Meanwhile, I’m attending classes and I have a job on the side, as well, so…

    Yeah, I didn’t expect to finish it any time soon. Still, I hope that there’ll be smoother sailing for now. I’ve sorted out most issues with the university, my class schedule is finally settling down, the jobs’ running smoothly and I seem to have recovered from the three separate infections I was suffering from.

    Hopefully, I’ll be able to deliver the next one at far greater speed.


  2. Ah, all those little details, Amy showing up, big gathering of heroes, and yet, no sign of Terry.
    Anticipation is rising quite well my friend, keep up the good work.
    PS: I am reasonably sure Amy and Basil are going to end up fighting side by side, or at least save one another.

  3. sigh l was wrong. T_T. in himd sight it obviously couldn’t be S6 cause if it was that easy to predict them they wouldn’t be nearly so succerrful. i’m still holding out for Terry though, all Ties said was that the EC juniors were there. Aap sadly is a bust, sense there is no way Basil wouldn’t know who the number five speedster was. covrre if the S6 aren’t hitting EC then that means…NL? ooo that could be intererting. P.S. is it wrong that i kimda hope a few of these charecters get killed off so i will have less people to keep track of?

    • I do believe that Basil’s reaction was from seeing some big junk… Seriously though, I hope they will find a way to dispose of it before it trash the whole place, I don’t see this ending without some sewer property damage though. But maybe the monster isn’t hostile, maybe it just woke up hungover and confused and it doesn’t remember why he’s naked, you know the feeling, I’m sure we’ve all bin there. Just give him a little time to process all that shit and he’ll waste no time before turning back to where it came from.

  4. I have been thinking for the past few weeks, and I read the Monkey chapters for the first time and I realized that the great powers of your universe are forming up into classical pantheons. You have the goddess of light with her eternal and forbidden love with her dark counterpart. The shining guardians provide the light side of the pantheon while the dark five make up the well… dark side. There is even the trickster god, in the form of Aap. A son of the Dark and a mortal trained by his father to take up his mantle but rebeled to play tricks and have fun, sure he has a ruthless side but most trickster gods do. This is not a perfect comparison but the similarities hit me when I was reading the Monkey arcs.

    On the subject of Brennus my ideas have changed slightly. I am still not a fan of the electromagnetism theory but that may just be because I liked my own theory so much. What I am going with right now is that, when compared to other gageteers, Brennus’s power is flawed. It doesn’t just hand him the schematics to build what he wants to. Instead he is given the place to start and an understanding of the concepts he is working with. This, combined with his native intelligence allows him to(with varying degrees of success) finish the project. I think that this second part of his powers, along with the previously mentioned intelligence, allows him to grasp concepts and ideas outside his specialty with greater ability than would be expected. He cannot work in those fields with the same ease and intuition that he finds in his specialty(which may or may not be electromagnetism) but if he learns the concepts and practices with them he can reach levels of proficience no normal scientist could hope for. As far as medicine went I think it is pretty clear where that skill comes from. He had probably one of the most skilled teachers in the multiverse. Note that I did not say good teacher, just skilled. Macian, who unless Ties pulls some serious plot twisting is or is VERY closely linked to Brennus grew up around and is probably the son of Atrocity. No telling who the father is but if Basil and Amy are full sibling I would guess Mindfuck, that would go a long way towards explaining Amy’s issues. Basil probably learned medical skill from Atrocity, she might not have taught him intentionally but being a genius gageteer with messed up powers around her and he might have learned medicine out of self defence. We know that living with the Six did a number on both of them. From Macian’s Two-Face impersonation to the *shudder* body horror that was hinted at in the chapter where Basil got his name. In such a situation Basil might have taken on a kind of sub-specialty in medicine and human-machine interface, as evidenced by is cybernetic… I wanna say upgrades but that seems a little to cheerful. I would also like to point out the robots, force weapons and forcefield that don’t really seem all that closely linked to the EM spectrum.

    Thus ends my dissertation. I’ve got french homework to do, au revoir.

  5. Husband waverider should be ‘her husband waverider.’

    I sense a shout out to Worm in this chapter a bit. Water creature and all.

  6. I believe a group of crows is called a murder, but I could understand if Basil was reluctant to refer to his own creation with such a negative name.

    “Here’s to us making a bigass electro-acoustic time bomb!” <- I like that guy's thinking. Also all je gadgeteers turning full fanboy/girl over the mere sight of one of Sovereign's creation was totally adorkable.

    The chapter was well worth the wait.

  7. Ties, question – what did Basil do to Prisca in that last surgery that saved her life? It was bad enough that he threw up afterwards, so I’m guessing something that seriously crossed social norms?

      • Was he at least able to close her up? Or does she look like something Giger came up with?

      • he closed her up, but she now has several tubes and wires sticking out of her chest. as well as really nasty scars.

        there are some compelling reasons why she no longer considers her physical body to be her “real” body

  8. Nice chapter for setting the stage, thanks!

    I wonder if this is the arc where we get our long awaited Amy and Basil meet in costume disaster? The potential for misunderstanding from everyone else is just too awesome.

    • Normally, I’d say yes. But Ties is the sort of person that would tease us about it, too. I think it comes with being the author of a serial.

      Recall that there’s a Chekov’s gun basically saying that Amazon can cut loose on Mindstar if she get’s within about ten feet of Brennus. Turning on someone helping in an S-class event would likely see Amazon in deep trouble, but she might act before thinking things through. Especially since she’s looking for any excuse to attack Mindstar.

      • And considering Amy will likely go to his defence if he’s in trouble… My genre savvyness almost calls this as a forgone conclusion.

      • I’m half expecting Amy to either evacuate Basil, or end up giving him a ride home. The difference is basically semantics. Either way, I expect pretty much everyone else to freak out as he gets ‘kidnapped’. Basil, I’m sure, will greatly enjoy setting everyone straight. /sarc

      • i know this may be an unpopular opinion, but i strongly disagree with Magnus. i feel for Baril and understand his desire to “fix” her. but by and large Amy is an evil urepentant monster who seems to enjoy greatly abusing others phisically, mentally. and sexually(whether it is real or implanted does not matter, not when you cant tell the difference). in the end Amy deserves to be imprisoned for life or killed. frankly i have lost a lot of respect for Basil do to his handleing of Amy.

      • She’s is sister. You can forgive a bunch of crazy things for family. Especially if you take in consideration the fact that before getting their new personnality they pretty much only had each other.

        Also the whole unrepentant ivil murderess rapist might be part of the fake personnality, something implanted on purpose to make her scarier, it may have been set up to be removable easily under certain circumstances.

      • lol i have 12 siblings and we are farly close i know all about forgiving family. however forgivness and letting your demented sister get away with the 2 most horrifying crines in human society is completely different. maybe at the end someone will snap their fingers and all will be erared and there wont be a mass of victims or their families and frriends, but i don’t think so. so should she get away with it all because her brother loves her? Varliki loved her cousin too, lots of her vhctims probably had clore loved ones. why should she get a pass when SHE killed someone for slightly injuring her beloved brother?

      • We’re not giving her a pass, and we shouldn’t. Basil isn’t giving her a pass either- and he shouldn’t. For several reasons, I believe he’s doing the right thing for his situation.

        From a logical stand point, this is the best he can do. He has told her he disagrees with what she’s done, and is working towards redeeming her. He is not ignoring the issue, or giving her a pass. That would be contrary to his moral beliefs. He also isn’t fighting her as a hero on this, because that would be stupid. She is several orders of magnitude stronger than Brennus. And turning her in would both relinquish his chance to help her, and probably not result in the danger she poses going down. If anything, without the thought of Basil, Amy might truly go off the deep end and do things that can’t compare to her record.

        On the sentimental side of things, keep in mind Basil has more than a decades worth of memories of Amy being kind, helpful, good, all around a great sister. And for his personal experiences, that hasn’t changed since she told him she was Mindstar. Her behavior around him has not changed, so it would be extremely hard for him to overcome his bias towards thinking “Amy is good”. And even now that he knows, she’s still his sister. He will not take any actions that will harm her, despite whatever horrific things she’s done. To quote another web serial

        Vince: If tomorrow your father robbed a bank, would that stop you from loving him?
        Ralph Chapman: It might if he killed a man in the process.
        Vince: Then I feel sorry for you. You must have a pretty crappy father if he’s that easy to stop caring about.

        He has what in his mind is a great sister who has cared for him. He won’t betray her or doing anything he thinks will hurt her, unless he is in a position to stop her from hurting a good person. Because he loves her and cares about her, he will do his best to help her, while following his moral code.

        And that doesn’t even get into how I agree that she can’t be held responsible for her actions if they are in any way caused by or related to the mental manipulation her and Basil have gone through.

      • first off bastardjas that was a very good counter, you bloodied me a bit. (bloody grin “my turn”). his “strategy” thus far seems to be a snooty attitude. even when they had a real argument off screem it ended with him looking for an apology gift. he should not have done that, frome a strictly psychological standpoint he gave up the high ground and retracted his arguments. now she can chalk up the whole thing to teen angst and just ride the storm out. after all he gave up once most likely he will agan and hey she’ll get some sweet swag in the process! i agree he should fight her as her brother rather then a hero sense that will have a greater impact on her. but i dont think there is any redemption for her. what exactly could she do that would make up for her past sins? redemption inplies remorse, her response to him criticiring her on the first people she killed was a languid shrug. this is not a person capable of remorse and whthout that there is no redemption. furthemore she has shown that she both knows the difference from right and wrong and simply does not care. ultamately what is his plan anyway, “kill” Mindstar and add a new hero to his team roster, bam! clean slate? NO i say! this is the same problem that made worm unreadable to me. it doernt matter your intention or your desire to change. if you do wrong you face the consequences no matter how inconveniate! also current fan theory has Mindfuck as her and Basil’s dad, but becaure her victims are legal adults she is somehow better?(shakes head) so in coclusion unless he somehow he covinces her turn herself in i personally will see anything less as a cop out on his part. P.S. loue the SP quote love that story. hate Camille. no reason to add that last bit just sayin’. lol

      • To pitch in my own two cents:
        1) Amy has probably been mindraped. Thus it’s pretty hard to blame her.
        2) Most of her acts villainy have been offscreen.
        3) We’ve seen some proof that her biggest on-screen act actually didn’t happen.

        Conclusion: We, the readers, can’t prove her guilt in anything. At the same time, we can make a good case for her being blameless.

        Next topic, about what should happen to her, there are two very important questions we’d need answered to not make a stupid choice:
        1) Is it possible to ‘fix’ Amy?
        2) If not, can she still be used to achieve more good than she’ll do harm in the future?

        Final topic: As a reader, I judge fictional characters on a very different scale than I do real people. So with that in mind, I like Amy. Ethical problems be damned.

      • okay i am probably over conemting about this subject, lol last points on this subject for this chapter, for me anyway. 1. a past wrong or crime, no matter how horriable, perpetrated on you does NOT in any way give you the excuse or right to perpetrate.wrongs or crimes on others(only exception being self defence or defence of others). again this is why I only made it to the fifth arc of Worm. 2. Switchbitch did in fact die hn the end. (deservedly so) so i think some aspect of what she does is in fact real. 3. i really wouldnt be surprised if she turned herself in and then got turned into some kind of asset for the goverment or heroes. it doesnt seem all that uncommon in this harsh world. 4. if she is fixable, it would make it sadder, but unless it also erases all aspects of her crines against iooocent humanity, i dont think it should matter io regardr to punishing her(ouher than making her a more desirable prisoner asset). 5. im the oppisite of isa, because i know so much more about the charecter and their motivations i tend to judge them more harshly then real people, cause so much of what you hear is bias hearsay and spinning things that are said so far out of context it becomer a completely differmt quote. it gets pretty pointless to form an opinion about anyone in real life. 6. Basil CHOSE the job of prtecting the people. rorry but i eelieve he ir not only failing by letting her run free for mow. but more important he is seriously endangering his team. Any is extremely unstable and.she will kill them all if he is seriously harned or killed. 7. @Tierhaunn, sorry if it feels like im critisizing your writing, im not. just treating fake people like they are real.(immmm i might have a sobblem.)

      • to quote Ties [quote]This has lead to a wider acceptance of the LGBT community, especially in the West. When a third of your society’s super-powered protectors are openly lesbian, gay, bisexual or somehow transgendered (or weirder), you learn to deal with it. While prejudices still run strong, especially in the more fundamentalistic parts of society, the public perception of the matter is far more open than in our world. That is also due to many Heroes (Lady Light at the forefront) campaigning for LGBT rights for decades now.[/quote]

        It’s horrible to think about, but they’ve probably had several heroes with overwhelming compulsions to rape, kill, cannibalize, kleptomania, pyromania, defenestrate, religiously convert, and the whole rest of the list of anti-social behavior. HEROES.

        What do they do when someone like this comes up, and asks to sign up? It’s probably a more powerful meta too, given how derangement are distributed.

      • @cannonfodder
        1. I’ll agree that being the victim of a crime doesn’t excuse a person for their own acts. But at the same time, let’s suppose a teenager is kidnapped, tied to a chair, and has alcohol poured down his throat while his nose is plugged. Should he be punished for underaged drinking? By saying that Amy was mindraped, I was meaning that she probably had about as much choice in her crimes as that hypothetical kidnapped teenager. I meant that the mindrapist stole her free will and turned her into a living weapon.

        4. I have a more utilitarian view on punishment. You can’t fix the past, so the purpose of punishment is to make sure that the punished act doesn’t happen in the future. The only reason I could see for punishing Amy if she were ‘fixed’ would be to try to convince other people that they don’t want to do the same.

        Punishing people because “they deserve it” seems to me like torturing someone to make other people feel good. If someone is an irredeemable threat to others… Just kill them. Anything else feels wrong to me.

        6. I’m not sure how big a threat Amy is to the rest of BGHT, so I can’t address that part. But the rest of this point was the same thing I dislike about Lady Light’s detractors. Brennus is choosing at times to take actions to improve the world. Every one of those actions is more than I think anyone else has a right to expect from him. Basil is a volunteer. Since he is not being paid to do heroics, it is not his job to stop Amy.

        If Basil goes out of his way to cover for Amy, or otherwise assists her in supervillainy, that’ll be different. Same if he joined UH, and started accepting pay to be a superhero.

  9. Ooooh. Fireworks! Amy, Amazon, and Basil are all in the same area. I’ve been waiting for this confrontation to explode. Vasiliki just adds more potential to the mix. Though if everything gets revealed, it could break team BGHT… Not sure if Dalia’s power will allow that.

    I can just imagine how Basil’s ethics would be stressed if Boom-Boom later tries to hire him to assist in something big. On the one hand, criminal activity. On the other hand, another chance to heterodyne, and more money for construction.

    Also, possible mistake: Unless Tartsche knows Tyche’s real name, he said the wrong thing when pointing out that she could do long-range support.

      • It’s one of those simple, easily missed mistakes. Figure most characters have three names (first, last, cape), and you switch between them as needed. Using the wrong one here or there is something that I put on the level of forgetting a minus sign somewhere along the way in Algebra. Or forgetting a semi-colon in programming.

  10. Random idea:

    Basil and Vasiliki already tried seeing what would happen if they used contriving and gadgeteering together. But what if they brought Dalia along to tweak luck while they were at it?

    Yes, I know full well that this isn’t the smartest of plans. It’s the sort of thing I’d do in a video game after asking my roommate, “Am, I dumb enough to try this?”

      • Famous last words…

        Also how do you know Tyche’s luck did not impact the result of their experiment? They managed to destroy it in a controlled way, without collateral damages, they weren’t injured, they still have a hideout… eck there wasn’t even any damage to the equipment mentionned!

        From what we know of mixing contriving and gadgeteering it really seem like an incredibly lucky outcome.

      • tyche’s power has no range limit. look back at first run, where all three of them just HAPPEN to go out for the first time on the same night and just HAPPEN to attack the same drug deal, etc

      • Ah, RWBY, truly, the pinnacle of American animation together with Avatar: The last Airbender and The legend of Korra

    • tyche’s power only works on herself and her mother directly. Tyche being lucky and her mother being unlucky. their omly real chance i think is if they make somethng for her while she is in the room. though that much good luck would probably kill her mother, leaving team BGHT(bite lol, RWBY fan?) as the next potential victims for her bad luck drops. unless The Dark intervenes like he said he woule way back in the first arc, it has bad bad BAD potential m matter what happens!

      • What’s that bit about bad luck for her mother? This is the first time I’ve heard of it.

        Also Tyche’s luck can affect other in the process of helping her like in her first outing where every blow Brennus landed on the Snow Queen was on a weakpoint of her armor.

        It’s perfectly possible that her luck affected the outcome of their experiment because otherwise the consenquences would have reached the whole city or at the very least, destroyed the hideout (which would be an inconvenience to Tyche).

      • Tyche does not have to deal with the usual backlash that “true” probability manipulators suffer, of getting equal amounts of bad luck, because it is loaded off onto her mother instead

      • Tyche’s power caused Basil to bump into Vasiliki at school, providing a clue that later let Brennus figure out Hecate’s identity. This was the turning point that caused her to join the team. Tyche’s power has a scary reach. So all it would take is Tyche honestly thinking to herself, “It would be awesome if Basil and Vasiliki teamed up and made me something”, and it might make it happen.

        And yes, “Team BGHT” was inspired by RWBY. I mentioned it in a comment a while ago, though I was thinking of pronouncing it “Bright”, or perhaps “Bought”. The second one being something of a jab at Basil’s financial issues. I find myself thinking “bite” in my head, though.

  11. I have a few questions about names. The gadgeteer in this chapter, Tick-Tock. Is it intentional that the name is the same name as the time manipulator in Australia? And is it Totemic or Totemiac? I don’t know if somebody has asked this before but is the Dark’s last name Goldman or Goldschmidt? (he has been called both in different chapters)

    • 1) it’s a case of the same name being used by multiple people. since the australian tick-tock is not registered as a superhero, there is no legal conflict

      2) Totemic

      3) Goldschmidt. any instance of Goldman is a mistake on my part (previous version of the character)

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