B13.14 Call of the Sleeper

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Basil and Amy stared at each other for a handful of heartbeats.

Then she raised her hand towards him, and he snapped his left hand’s pinky finger against its thumb, igniting a chaff grenade attached to the back of his armour’s belt, and another in the front.

The grey smoke and dark grey metal chips spread explosively, with enough force to seriously hurt anyone who wasn’t armoured, obscuring him entirely from her vision, though the cloud didn’t reach her.

Amy snarled, annoyed that she’d slowed herself down by gesturing and detached her second ‘viewpoint’ from her natural one, raising it higher; she was preparing for an attack from multiple angles, ready to grab him as soon as he was within sight again – once she had him in her telekinetic grip, it’d be over, no matter what tricks he still had up his sleeve.

Two black cables shot out from the cloud, aiming for the ceiling above Amy, followed by a bulge in the smoke as Basil shot out from above, the canisters on his belt continuing to spew this annoying smoke, but it was too little – she saw him, and so was able to grab a hold of him, her telekinetic might wrapping around his torso…

She watched in horror, then confusion, as his arms, head and thighs – the only visible parts of him – detached from the torso portion, pushed onwards by momentum; so distracted, she at first missed it as Basil, stripped down to his impact suit, gauntlets and boots, slid out from the smoke below, propelled forward by a deafening blast of force unleashed from his gauntlet.

Before she could reorient and grab him, he slid past her right side, his hand reaching out and taking a hold of her right boot’s heel, twisting it off at the same time as he reversed his adhesive soles’ function, causing them to repel the ground, launching him upwards, feet-first.

Amy cried out when she felt him grab her right arm and pull it upwards, forcing her to bend over – but before he could dislocate it, before she managed to react, he touched one of his boots to the pillar she’d been standing next to, and repelled it, launching himself down at her, flipping the knife she’d hidden in her heel open.

He slammed into her back, tackling her to the ground and twisting her right arm behind her back, trapping it between their bodies as he knelt atop her, bent over.

With her head turned to the left, her cheek on the cold metal, she stared up at him with wide eyes, feeling the tip of her own knife held against her ear, ready to plunge straight into her brain, Basil’s own lips just centimetre away from either.

“I win.”

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120 thoughts on “B13.14 Call of the Sleeper

  1. I really enjoyed today’s updates. Can’t wait to read the coming chapters of this amazing story, I would love to see the reaction from the UH (will we get to read something like this?).

    And it is nice to see that we got those five updates this month, despite the fact that you slipped below your second patreon tier.

    Thank you and keep going.

    • The UH reaction will be interesting. My guess is that they’ll bury their heads in the sand. You know, say that Mindstar got close enough to subvert Brennus, and that the fight was staged as part of some devious plot.

      Then again, Ties has been proving me wrong a lot, lately.

      • They have to do something, atleast upgrade his castification/threadlevel. It will depend on the course of the arc, how public the events get and how much the junior heros tell to their superiors, about the whole Brennus/Mindstar siblings thing.

        I guess we have to wait. But if Ties keep puting out new chapters, at only half the rate of the last week (fingers crossed), it won’t be a too long wait…

      • @janember
        The UH might not even believe that Brennus and Mindstar are siblings. I mean, it would give Mindstar the perfect excuse to be near him, so it would make sense to fake it if it wasn’t true. Similarly, she staged losing that fight so the UJH’s memories would ‘prove’ that she was beaten.

        The UH might figure that the following events occurred:
        1) Mindstar enslaved Brennus. Maybe tricked him into honestly thinking that she was his sister.
        2) Brennus was then forced to lure the entire UJH (minus Outstep) into Mindstar’s range, so she could expand her control to the lot of them. She would have to have been careful to not let them see her, though, so their own memories would vindicate her.
        3) Mindstar then threw her new minions at this base as part of a personal vendetta. Eventually, she was forced to intervene personally against Skulls.
        4) To try to salvage her cover, she staged her meteoric entrance partway through the ‘dungeon crawl’ even though she’d been there from the start.
        5) She deliberately ‘lost’ to Brennus to make it look like she had less control over the situation than she did. This would be part of a desperate attempt to hide her crimes.

        I mean, it’s paranoid… But I bet Amazon would rather believe that story than the truth.

  2. Well that was a lot shorter than i thought it would be. But i guess it makes sense since i don’t see B6 winning against Amy in a drawn out fight

    • Still, i can’t wait for the repercussions of the fact that their siblings especially from hecate. Man, you’ve been on fire with these past few chapters

  3. Damn. That was a lot shorter than I was expecting it to be. Probably longer than Amy was expecting, heh. Makes sense, though; Amy is just too powerful to be beaten any other way than hard and fast. Give her a chance, and she can walk over just about anyone, as she proved last time.

    If you hadn’t said in the comments of the previous chapter that this one would be the whole fight start to finish, I’d have said she wouldn’t accept defeat. Really, having him on top of her and holding still means she knows exactly where to target her TK to yank him off, or to try to shut him down with a mind-control before he can stab her. She has no way of knowing what a bad idea the latter would be, of course. And he does have freaky-fast reflexes, so it’s understandable not wanting to chance it, even if she could do it without any outward signs…

    ((Commented on the previous chapter too, if you missed it.))

    • He did win – if he hadn’t stopped himself, he’d have jabbed that knife into her brain before she could react, and she knows it.

      Amy’s been in Basil’s brain before, and several times, remember? She knows more about the dangers therein than pretty much anyone else.

      • Wasn’t the Raging Heart somewhat dormant the last time she was in there? Or am I forgetting another instance?

      • No it was there, just kept inside a pit. She definetly saw what it looked like.

  4. I wondered how he was going to win.

    Now that he has, I’m trying to set up the flowchart in my head of who beats who and how that all adds up (not that it’s really transitive, but still). Because Mind Star is one of the most dangerous capes in the world, and Brennus beating her is significant.

    That said, I don’t think Mindstar was going anywhere close to all out in that fight. As much as she wanted to win, I somehow cant imagine that turning her brother into a red smear was really an option for Any. And as impress as Basil is, I don’t think a head in brawl plays to his strengths as much as it does Amy’s (even with all the trickery and mind games thrown in), and he probably would have lost that fight if the gloves had come off.

    But anyway, I’m looking forward to seeing how the next chapter plays out. This group is poised to fall apart fast if Basil isn’t very careful and very lucky.

    • Amy was quite obviously going for “catch and subdue” not “crush into silly putty consistency”, while Basil knew that the only possible chance he had was to go for the kill – even if he never intended to actually follow through with the final step.

      • Yeah I figured. For a moment I started going down the rabbit hole of “wait, Basil beat Amy, but X beats Basil while Amy should trump Y, etc.” before I actually stopped to think things through.

        What I was getting at was that Basil’s claim of surpassing his sister in an out and out brawl might have been hastily made, for all that he won the fight. If this was a fight that actually mattered, with an opponent who actually wanted to harm him,
        there may have been a very different result. (Not that his winning here is any less impressive – Amy’s still an absolute powerhouse even if neither of them are willing to go all in)

      • his statement is a little more complex than that.

        He specifically said he’s “stronger”, not “more powerful”. He’s not referring to raw power (Amy has him quite thoroughly beat in that regard and he’s well aware of that fact)

      • I’m with you on that. I’m just not sure that his being able to defeat Amy is proof of him being able to defeat Amy level threats in general.

        With Amy, neither of them are willing to escalate as much as they are able too, which I think benefits Basil more than it does Amy (because it forces the nature of the conflict more towards Basil’s turf).

        Whereas if you compare them against somewhere outside of their little family, Amy’s probably going to have much better odds in a straight fight than Basil would in the same place (because that’s playing towards Amy’s advantages).

        So it becomes a question of how you measure “strength”, which is sort of nebulous.

        But the fact that Basil’s even in that ballpark is incredibly impressive, and sort of the point of the exercise, if I’m reading this correctly.

      • Actually, I think he should be able to take on Any level threats without too much trouble. We know that both he and Macian are still holding back and haven’t used all of their toys yet. And now that the Dark’s block on his power is gone and he is receiving money from the UH for his inventions it shouldn’t take him too long to build some really badass new weapons.

    • Ah, before I forget – turning invisible takes a few seconds for Amy to do, and limits her usage of her powers (she can’t use her telekinesis or telepathy at all outside the sphere of her invisiblity, once she pulls it up)

  5. Hecate is likely not taking this well…

    Oh hey, somebody (by which I mean Brennus, since he’s the one with the projector) should show Amy the footage of what happens when Basil remembers his worst fears. She what she thinks. If there’s time, which there might not be if the new party is just flying in instead of hiking.

    Brennus should also ask Gloomy to give everybody who wants out a ride back to town, since this is kinda definitely not the teamup they signed up for, and he has alternate transportation. (I hope nobody wants to bail out, but I mean, Jesus)

    • Solid point about it not being the team-up they agreed to. My guesses:

      Hecate and Tyche will stay. Hecate will be very conflicted, but she’ll stay. I doubt that even she will be able to say whether that’s for Basil’s sake, or hoping for a chance to kill Mindstar.

      Polymnia will want to stay. She’ll figure that Mindstar’s boss being Irene’s dad will keep her safe.

      Tartsche will be very reluctant, but he’ll remember the briefings about Mindstar not being allowed near Brennus. His sense of duty will force him to stay as a witness.

      Spellgun won’t leave without Tartsche.

      Bakeneko will also be reluctant. But unwilling to leave either her team, or Basil.

      Osore? He’s not really developed enough to guess on. But he knows he’s on thin ice with his team. And I doubt that he, personally, wants to be the one that takes Gloomy away from the party.

      Gloom Glimmer… Will likely refuse to play taxi, anyway. There’s no way that she’ll leave Melody behind, at any rate. Besides, she’s probably sure that Mindstar is no threat to the group.

  6. I honestly have no idea why you haven’t published this. Your work is amazing. Even the arcs you said kind of rambled were still interesting

      • Another round of editing would be good too. I mean, I love your writing but recent chapters are way smoother than the first few were, so I’m confident you could get it even better with your current skill level.

        AFTER you finish at least a full book though. We need those new updates as fast as they can reasonably be made, not spaced out between updates and revisions to old stuff.

        And when you do finally publish, mark me down for at least one guaranteed purchase.

      • That is my intention, yes. Finish book one, then take some time to edit it, while preparing for Book 2. Publish book 1 for sale online, start book 2.

      • A rapid reply (before bed)

        I actualize a post on the length of Brennus and its parts.

        At the moment all parts, files and cast represent 672k words equivalent to 1796 paperback pages. It could be a little unwieldy to publish in one tome.

        I DON’T suggest you suppress either interludes part VII Vra or XI Monkey Family, both parts are important notably in respect to the Gefährten/Companions or part V An Ember of Hope fundamental for Macian/Amy/Henry,

        Considering the resting chapters in part XIII and the announced 4 parts and epilogues you could think to publish in five or six volumes for example :

        A : Parts I to V 166k words 427 pp

        B: Parts VI to VIII 151k words 398pp

        C: Parts IX to XI 132k words 349pp

        D: Parts XII to XIII 187k 502pp (more certainly)

        E: the rest or if as long as XII and XIII two volumes.

        I First Run 26,3k 70pp (with prologue)
        II Rising Stars 34,7k 93pp
        III Forbidden Garden 53,1k 140pp
        IV Introduction to Metahuman Studies 22,1k 60pp
        V An Ember of Hope: Little Giants 30,2k 80pp
        VI Big Game Hunt 31,8k 85pp
        Interlude 7 – Monkey Business 16,9k & Interludes 8 & 9 5,7k = 22,6k 60pp
        VII Hastur, Shrouded in Dread 45,9k 122pp
        VIII Vra 51k 133pp
        IX Family Matters 32,6k 87pp
        X Falling Hearts 27,4k 73pp
        XI Monkey Family 72,3k 190pp
        XII Born At Sleep 96,6k 253pp
        XIII Call of the Sleeper 93k 251pp (for the moment)

        Brennus Files 29,4k 84pp
        Cast 3,2k

      • That is an idea that has floated my mind, yes – the problem being that the earlier parts in particular need to be edited a LOT to be… well… readable.

        However, I do agree that, even electronically, publishing the whole thing in one go would be unwieldy.

  7. UJH Report
    Profile: MindStar

    SOCIAL: Little known but is reportedly mentally unstable and is known to be very flashy and overt with displays of power.

    APPEARANCE: Female. Exceptionally tall(6ft+). Long black hair. Caucasian skin tone.
    Is publicly seen wearing a skin tight purple suite, matching cowl, and large high-heels.

    POWERS:(Caution; Full capabilities unknown):
    High Level Telekinesis, Able to lift in excess of 60 tons and can use it on her self for high speed flight. Her telekinesis has no visual effect and a large range.
    High Level Mental Manipulation/Domination, this power is highly dangerous and it’s range is unknown, but has shown no variation from most mental abilities.
    She has been able to simply ‘vanish’ out of certain areas when retreating, but left nothing that indicates her standard method of flight.
    Considering current statistics of meta-human abilities this most likely some form of shape-shifting or invisibility rather than outright teleportation.

    She has demonstrated exceptional skill with all confirmed abilities and has almost a full decades worth of combat experience, and unlike most telekinetics she has demonstrated no need to keep a line of sight on a target either after or before grabbing it.

    Ideally we would be able to catch her unawares and have Gloom Glitter’s adaptability take care of any permanent defenses she may have.
    But in the case of a planned lethal-assault against a prepared MindStar, meta-humans with these powers are a must:

    Super-speed of at least Mach 2 capability, whatever her range, that level of speed easily surpasses the speed at which a non-speedster brain can process information.(Caution; Her reflexes or perception of time may slow down in high-speed flight.)
    Some method of blocking mental abilities; Whether it be by Contrivance, Gadgeteer device, or natural durability. This would limit her to purely physical and kinetic combat, she has demonstrated no other methods of attack.
    Barrier that keeps her trapped in an enclosed space, a shield manifesting power of decent flexibility and range should be adequate.
    Kinetic absorption, negation, or redirection to further limit her options.
    And powers or Gadgets that provide a way of constantly damaging a wide area would also be ideal.

    If all else fails: Use the standard procedure of teleporting in a long-range Dampener equipped with enhanced armor.

  8. Couldn’t Amy have just preemptively put a barrier around herself while grabbing for Brennus?
    Or is that not how telekinesis works in this universe?

    • Not certain, but I seem to recall that when she puts a barrier up, she can only affect things inside the barrier. So she could turtle up, but that wouldn’t allow her to win the fight. And she expected to have no trouble slapping him around a bit and dragging him out of this hellhole.

      Mindstar is virtually unstoppable at whatever she is currently thinking about, but her major weakness is limited multitasking ability. Brennus took advantage of that by switching apparent tactics too fast for her to account for and getting a single good stab in before she caught up to the situation.

      Plus if she did turtle up, he could break the force field anyway and take her down before she recovers. But she doesn’t know that part unless she’s been reading people’s memories.

    • She CAN make barriers, but only within her line of sight; thus Basil’s multiple distractions (the smoke/chaff to break line of sight; the fake-out with his armour being launched while empty) to slip by her before she could react.

      • So she couldn’t just put a skin tight shield around herself and wrestle him down?

        I thought that’s how she withstood high speed flight and crashed through the ceiling without hurting herself.

      • She can do it, but it’s not… familiar to her. It’s a power feat she’s worked out, but not one of the techniques she uses instinctively yet.

        She prefers simply forming a force-field around her, like a wedge or so, when flying.

  9. Was poking around comment sections. Made some notes but not really relevant to this chapter.

    “Now, if the cap got screwed off her power, then that’d be a different thing, but pretty much any metahuman could be as bad or worse than DiL if that happened.”
    WoG there from the ESP Brennus file.

    Not much of a theory, more like thinking aloud the obvious, but whatever made DiL manifest while still in the womb caused her power – i.e. her tenant to come to the foreground. There was no sense of identity to limit the power. There was no “person”, in a sense, to direct the tenant. Screwing the cap off, maybe, involves losing a part of oneself – or all of oneself – to a power. Obviously there’s much more to it than that.

    Also, while I’m into speculation, a lot of people have come to think Macian and Amy are Atrocity’s children. I’d agree with that but also add that she didn’t need to bear them herself, she could make plenty of artificial wombs…which in that case would even require her to “mother” them as such, just supervise their growth from embryos.

    • “Now, if the cap got screwed off her power, then that’d be a different thing, but pretty much any metahuman could be as bad or worse than DiL if that happened.”

      That seems… not true?

      DiL essentially has Omni-Adaptability and can develop any power based on the current threat.(With the exclusion of Power-Null.)
      PLUS, the more she uses a particular power, the stronger it gets, and that aspect apparently has no defined limit yet.

      ^I don’t see how any Meta could get that level of stupid-powerful with the soul exception of GodKing and Irene. And that’s only because it’s heavily hinted that she will get the same abilities.
      GodKing is well… GodKing, but I’m not sure how even he could stand up to DiL.

      • Take it from the guy writing this story… ANY metahuman could be as powerful or more than DiL, if all restraints were removed, each in their own way. Even seemingly simple/limited ones like Hecate or Polymnia have the potential, or had it before their current powers were established.

      • And is there a way for someone to screw off the cap of a metahuman’s power?

      • it’s called a swan song, and it’s usually lethal.

        There’s some who never had the cap on to begin with (the Hannibal Storm, the Nightmare Sun, just to name two).

      • And both of them don’t appear to have a physical form. Is that a coincidence?

      • they did find SOMETHING within the hannibal storm that they locked up in Tartarus Star. Whether or not it was a physical body is another matter.

      • Oh, well that explains things.
        I thought a Swan Song was just a very high boost + unlocking the potential of pre-existing powers. Which is why I figured that even with that Poly would never be as strong as Godking, DiL, or Irene.

        But if she just gets completely new and unrelated abilities on top of old ones that are all S-rank powerful, then I guess she could be.

      • mind you, an actual swan song would likely be more controlled than just plain screwing the cap off her power and there’s no telling what form it’ll take until it happens – depending on the circumstances, a swan song might take completely different forms

  10. Is it possible for a meta-human to get relatively useless powers?
    For example(From other stories):

    Bubble Girl: She can materialize a few bubbles from the palm of her hand. Can’t control them in anyway, just make a few non-soap based bubbles.

    Chameleon: Can change the pattern on any article of clothing.

    Lucid Walker: Can make illusions of pretty much anything; illusions that only he can see.
    So more like controled hallucinations.

    ^Things of that nature.

    • Chameleon doesn’t seem even remotely useless. If that guy/girl is smart, they’d be hell to fight.

      It’s not possible to get a totally useless power, no. It might have a really obscure use, or an insanely high learning curve or an obscene cost associated to it, but no power is ever truly useless for SOMETHING – though that something does not have to do anything at all with combat (see repeat mention of agricultural gadgeteers and similar powers)

      • Well, in the story it’s just the ability to change the pattern. Not the color itself, or even the shading.
        So if you give him something with one solid color: He can’t do anything.

        Although he makes a killing selling one-of-a-kind shirts and pants with “impossible” designs, but that’s about it.

        Thanks for the reply though.

      • Have him put on a shirt with two or three colours. Have him use his power on his own shirt to create nauseating, vertigo-inducing shifting patterns. Anyone who looks at him is gonna be debiliated.

        Have his teammates wear capes he can affect. Spread cloth around the battlefield. Turn it all into a huge “you’re gonna barf/fall over” zone for his enemies

      • I would be utter and completely terrified of an agricultural gadgeteer. Just imagine how much damage one could do if he/she decided to develop some sort of super plant that spreads fast and kill existing plants in the progress.
        By the time someone realized what was happening the food supply would already be collapsing. (Assuming he releases the seeds simultaneously over a wide enough area)
        And he could also weaponize plants in a more direct way, imagine a shroom launcher that shoots super fast growing gigantic parasitic mushrooms or deadly pollen.

        And as a hero he could also work to help in cases of natural disasters. (emergency food supply, trees and roots to stabilize buildings, plants that filter gas and dust out of the air, …)

      • Lucid Walker could be useful during battle to filter out useless distractions.
        And Chameleon could be useful for espionage. Just give him a T-shirt with lots of different colored pixels on it and he could change it’s colour by shifting useless pixels to the inside. Could be useful if you know you are going to be tailed. And he could also use different patterns to encode intel onto his clothing. Nobody expects nuclear launch codes on a T-shirt…

      • Yeah, that’s not how patterns work.

        At most you’d get a headache from trying to follow a really complex one, but that’s about it. Or make you dizzy if you stare directly into a moving one for too long.

        But hardly debilitating in combat, let alone enough to induce something like vomiting.

      • @Ansraer

        How would controllable Hallucinations/Illusions be useful at filtering distractions?
        Only he can see them.

      • @Malik He could filter out distractions like texts on billboards, flashy colors, not relevant noises and so on during combat. And should someone use a smoke bomb he could trick himself into seeing the battlefield the way it was before he lost vision.
        Would also be a pretty neat ability during training or to reconstruct a crime scene in his head.

        The pattern guy is a bit more complicated. I am afraid that the only combat related thing he would be good at is espionage.
        Oh wait, he could be really powerful if he teamed up with a contriver. Changing the “runes” on a magic robe could make him quite powerful.

    • plus, it would be especially useful if another member of the team was able to share his power amongst his team mates.

  11. REPOST!!! (waited three hours in case wordpress was bugging around. Delete it should my previous comment appear)

    Hey Tie, any hint on who the unknown super was that helped kill the Godking of Mars? The only reason to completely cover up someones involvment in this suicide mission would be if they were really bad. And since we know that the UH publicly cooperates with even some of the worst villains in case of an S level threat there are not that many possibilities that they would have a reason to hide their participation.
    DiL would come to mind… I mean, we know that GG keeps her power under control just by using placebos. And you already told us that a huge price had to be paid in order to defeat him back then and that the only reason why DiL is quite that terrifying is because her “cap got screwed off”. Would fit nicely if DiL’s sanity was the price they had to pay to kill Emyr.

    And yes, I know that there was a chap a while ago about DiL’s first appearance. But Macian and Amy are living proof that it IS possible to mess with memories and even if not, nobody said that she stayed insane for her entire life. Once she finished speed ageing she might have been self aware enough to suppress her powers at least for a few months. I am not exactly sure how good her timeline matches with Blackhills though.

    PS: Considering everything we know Osore’s power just got a LOT more terrifying. So far it is only making Basil stronger because it brings out Macian, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he could do the same thing with other metas if he was boosted by someone or just became stronger.

    PPS: New chap this weekend? please? We could help you with proofreading if that would make it easier for you to get the chap out. I really want to know how this arc ends.

    PPPS: Just to remind everyone before this arc gets finished: Should they come back from their mission just to find out that the S6 pulled the city into their pocket dimension while they were away, I told you so already an entire arc ago.

    • Your previour comment hasn’t appeared yet. Dunno what’s wrong there.

      There’s two reasons why the unknown metahuman has remained unknown, one of them being that EVERYONE ELSE involved in that fight died. There’s just a handful of people who know who it is, Lady Light and the Dark among them (and through them, Gloomy, because good luck keeping a secret from her).

      I can definitively say it’s NOT DiL. She was born almost twenty years later.

      I’m working on the new chapter right now, and I hope to have it finished tonight, or in the earliest morning of sunday.

      • Damn. I knew that DiL was a long shot, but I am still somewhat disappointed. It would have just fit so perfectly. Is there any reason why the unknown member of the team was never mentioned? Or was everyone just to lazy to inform the general public.

      • Wait, so whoever helped kill Emyr wasn’t a member of the team that traveled to Mars? Was Emyr betrayed by one of his own people? o.O

  12. A note about the duel. Mindstar specifically notes slowing herself down with needless hand gestures. If she hadn’t made that mistake, or had played dirty by getting a telekinetic grip before the fight started, she probably would have won.

    Ultimately though, that’s all meaningless. You could debate the minutiae of a fight between two equals just as readily. Ultimately the fact that he can even fight her at all, however desperate and clever he has to be to have any chance of victory, already means that he is, if not an equal, at least in the same weight class.

    • Difficult question, since the first few chapters are most definitely fake memories. Not enough time for a rocket to reach Mars though.
      I think that the current canon date is either 2012 or 2014. If we assume that the story started in 2012 that would be somewhat between a few months and 2 years? There was a date a few chapters back in one of the interludes I think…
      Let’s hope that tie can help us after he posts the next chap.

      • Unless I misremember the timeline (always a threat, because I suck at lining up timelines), it’s been a little over half a year since the prologue, about 3 months since Basil went on his first run (it’s currently late mid-november)

    • “The total journey time from Earth to Mars takes between 150-300 days”
      Since there was a mention of the Mars mission in on of the earlier chapters I guess we can assume that not more than one year has passed since the first chapter.

  13. Approximately how many Metas live in the US?
    And what are their demographics in relation to the whole superhero thing?
    I’m guessing:

    • People with useful powers seem to be recruited pretty heavily, and so far we haven’t heard of anybody with a power that isn’t good in a fight. So I’m guessing independents are the least common, and most of them are hiding their powers rather than using them for civilian purposes.

      Given the traumatic nature of most origin events, villains probably outnumber heroes by a very wide margin.

      • The reason you don’t hear much about people without combat-applicable powers is because the story is about the fighters, and they are mostly just interested in combat-metas.

        And negative/traumatic origins are more likely (by an order of magnitude at least) to produce combat-powers than non-traumatic ones, so…

    • Uff, I really suck at numbers like these. So don’t take these for gospel truth, just an approximation:

      About 100k metahumans in the entire USA (including territories).

      As for affiliations, it’s about…

      1) Villains: 40%
      2) Independents: 35%
      3) Government Service (Military, etc): 15%
      3) Heroes: 10%

      • What does independent mean? Someone who doesn’t really use his powers or a rogue villain/hero with no affiliation?
        And are the UH part of Government Service or Heroes?

        Sorry for asking, but could you also give us an update on the chapter? I really want to do something other than learning for university. -.-

      • I’m working on the chapter now. Didn’t get it done before I had to go to a nephew’s baptism (took 7+ hours…)

        Independent means you’re not a cape (hero or villain) nor in government employ. Aap Oordra (private investigator/security) is independent.

        The United Heroes are an NGO who are associated with many, but do not actually belong to any government.

        Rogue heroes and villains are still heroes or villains, as far as this count is concerned

      • That’s a little less than I expected but still a lot compared to most fiction.

        Now: Does the Government have coalations of different metas to help boost their own power?
        (A group of recruited Agricultural Gadgeteers to help with general defense and infrastructure.)

        They probably wouldn’t use Contrivers for obvious reasons.
        Wouldn’t want all the toys to blow up when the inventor dies.

      • they do organise their metahumans, of course; however, the only government to have an entire corps of agricultural (or related) gadgeteers working together is the Sovjet Union, and their gadgeteers are 99% Joyous Folk…

      • “Joyous Folk”?
        Is that a reference to some lore I missed?

        I know there’s a big-bad meta there with a very OP spawning power.(And he can apparently sneak them across seas and border security. )
        But that’s about it.

  14. Hey Tie, could you tell us who built the first fusion reactor and whether or not he was a meta?
    I have this really good theory about Basil’s power I want to confirm…

    • Hm, to give a general reply:

      Fusion reactors, outside of specialised gadgeteer tech, are not a thing yet.

      FISSION reactors were invented in the late 40s by the american government (manhatten project) along with the nuclear bomb. later, in the 50s, a gadgeteer managed to improve heavily on the design, producing high-end fission reactors that are superior to what we have today.

      Fusion reactors are being researched, but since fusion is REALLY DAMN HARD to control, it hasn’t become wide-spread yet. There’s rumors that Sovereign has fusion reactors powering his infrastructure, but they’re unsubstantiated (and people always say he has everything, anyway).

      Only very few gadgeteers have been able to build fusion reactors, none have been able to make them any smaller than a building – except for Basil, so far.

      • So you are telling me that Basil wasn’t the first gadgeteer to build a working fusion reactor? Oh, that sounds promising! Guess I have to reread all the Basil chapters while I wait.

        And could you also confirm that Macian got his powers after the first time he had contact with a member of the S6?

      • Also, yes. He wasn’t the first. Though he’s the first to make one that small (his fusion reactor is basically a 1.5m pillar)

      • Really? As far as I remember the first time Macian appeared was when he helped Ember. At that point he already had his power and already was in the pocket dimension- Ohhhhh.

        I just found B007.e Sweet Dreams. No idea how I could forget it. And my theory is still working!

      • OK, so I just reread all the chapters tagged Macian. I forgot sooo much important stuff.

        1. He is only a minor gadgeteer. His speciality is implementing, combining and improving tech.
        2. The reason why we all thought that he is so powerful is because he also is some sort of telepath, and from what we know quite powerful considering how he is equal to god in his own consciousness. It would explain why his inner world is so different and how he could kick out both Amy and the Dark without much effort. The important thing is that his power somehow connects him to all the other gadgeteers on the planet. We know that Ember described his inner world as a loop of pictographs depicting the process of inventing. Some sort of giant invention factory. When Amy went into his mind she saw little suns that were tending to different buildings. If we assume that all those buildings are inventions that would mean that the suns are inventors or gadgeteers. He never really invented anything, he only subconsciously borrowed different inventions from other gadgeteers and then combined and refined them for his own purposes.
        We know that none of his inventions is anything new. Forcefields, AI, medtech, fusion reactors, all of them were already created by someone else before him.
        And it was already confirmed in canon that his work reminded UH of inventions from other gadgeteers.
        3. I dare say that he might also have heightened intelligence and some sociopathic tendencies, considering how he was able to still analyze his inner world after being cut of from his power. No normal nine year old should be this calm. Super intelligence could probably also boost his understanding of the designs of different gadgeteers.
        4. Assuming that at least some off my above ideas are correct it would mean that his abilities are a combination of Mindfuck, Atrocity and Hemming. Which makes sense, considering that it is confirmed that he never left their pocket dimension and powers depend on your connections to other people.
        Let’s take it a step further. Let’s assume that Atrocity can clone other people. (It would make sense since Herretic was most likely killed by DiL quite a while ago, yet still appeared in one of their meetings later)
        Now what if Basil is the result of Atrocity combining the DNA of every team member who had mental abilities? It would explain why he had powers of all three of them while only having a really strong connection with Atrocity (who created him).

        Have a few other ideas, but these are the more interesting ones. Let’s hope that at least some of them are correct.

      • How would sociopathic tendendies help him analyse his own inner world? How would it make him more likely to do so than a “normal” 9yo?

      • just to let you know, you used a different tag (“…/tag/amanda-blake/”) for Amy in the earlier chapters. Took me a while to find the older Amy chapters. (I am looking for the one that describes Basils inner world)

      • And ignore the grammar mistakes in the mega comment above. I am on my phone.

      • What about the ceramics for his armour? didn’t someone said that was completely new?

      • “How would sociopathic tendendies help him analyse his own inner world? How would it make him more likely to do so than a “normal” 9yo?”

        He never showed that much emotions during the entire arc. At first I attributed that to his gadgeteering powers, but then he calmly analyzed Embers power after being cut of from his powers and came up with two quite plausible theories. And he never showed any real signs of PTSD or any other mental problems which he most definitely should have considering that he spent his entire life in a pocket dimension together with a group of madmen. Being a sociopath isn’t really a bad thing, it just means that he can be more calm and calculating in critical situations and is generally more observant. (Look at business CEOs)

        Ok, yes, sociopathic personality disorder is no longer in the official diagnostic handbook due to some (highly entertaining) legal reasons, but it’s still used widely enough to be understood. And Macian doesn’t really qualify for anti social personality disorder.

        Btw, am I close with some of my ideas?

      • Statistically speaking, you’re more likely to be of below-average intelligence if you’re a sociopath. Just saying, in regards to the common stereotype of “genius sociopaths” and all. They also tend to be far less rational than normal people, due to lacking impulse control and the ability/inclination to consider long-term consequences of their actions (look at Ellaria Sand and the Sand Snakes from the GoT series; they’re good examples of what used to be considered a sociopath).

        Sociopathic Personality Disorder… I don’t know about any legal reasons, but my father is a psychologist and according to him, the reason that disorder is being taken out of the books is because it plainly doesn’t exist. There’s a HOST of different conditions that’ve been lumped together as “sociopathic”, which is shoddy science if you ask me.

        Macian’s lack of emotion in regards to his situation can be just as easily explained by him being used to it – he literally grew up in that world. Plus you only saw him during high-stress situations, when he had trained himself/been trained by circumstance to work at peak efficiency. For all anyone knows, he might have had a complete breakdown after each “game”.

        Not saying it’s not possible that he’s a sociopath or has such tendencies (as I said, hosts of issues in that ‘condition’), just pointing out possible counter arguments.

        While I am loathe to just plainly deny an imaginative theory – and yours very much qualifies – I’m gonna nix the whole “global network of gadgeteers” idea. Macian IS a gadgeteer with a specific speciality, it just happens to be a really broad one PLUS he’s been training it for years, studying the work of at least one other master gadgeteer (Atrocity) plus samples of other gadgeteer’s works looted during games.

      • Ceramic is being used for bulletproofed vests for quite a while now. And I wouldn’t be surprised if Sovereign developed some newer versions. We already know that he has his own private army. And Basil didn’t simply create ceramic plates, he created a machine that creates ceramic plates (automation, eh?)

      • Nooooo. Everything would have worked out so well. I mean really, I could have explained everything. Even the fact that he could somehow interact with other gadgeteers power would make sense considering that he somehow remembered his own manifestation.
        Well, at least I found some really interesting information in all these Macian tagged chapters. Time to come up with something new.

        Main reason it was removed was cause pretty much every criminal had himself diagnosed with sociopathism hoping to have their sentence shortened due to his “serious medical condition”. Another problem was that there never was a clear definition and distinction between sociopath/psychopath in the first place. There are some really entertaining scientific papers out there about what it was supposed to be. (most of them contradict each other :D)
        When I used the term I referred to one of the more general definitions (the absence of most emotions and empathy as a coping mechanism for critical situations) for which the Sand Snakes most definitely don’t qualify.

        Nowadays there is aspd (and something else with another name) that is a lot more extreme. I think it also requires a history of mental problems in order to be diagnosed.

        PS: Did you block me? WP won’t let me comment with my real account anymore…

      • I have never blocked anyone from commenting on this blog. In fact, I wouldn’t even know how to xD

        I could elaborate on my knowledge about and opinion on the subject of sociopathy, psychopathy etc, but I prefer to work on the next chapter right now. Might come back to it later.

      • Lack of empathy and lack of emotion are very different things. IIRC there are a couple dozen disorders that used to fall under the psychopath/sociopath label, and some deal with lack of empathy or difficulty with expressing emotions but I don’t think there’s anything which can remove emotions entirely from a human mind. Those who don’t display emotions in the typical ways often feel them very strongly beneath the surface. If somebody doesn’t display any reaction to a very trying situation, that might mean that they are very carefully keeping their emotions under control in order to deal with it logically (which is a matter of experience, training, and willpower) or it might mean that they cannot or do not communicate with the same nonverbal cues as typical people (which could be from trauma, chemical imbalance, or detachment from society). Any of these could apply to Macian, but I very much doubt that he isn’t acting on emotion given how much time he spends endangering himself and those around him to do something he knows is a bad idea or highly unlikely to succeed but wants to do anyway.

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