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Price of Blood [Worm fanfic]

Discussion in 'Creative Writing' started by Ack, Nov 30, 2016.

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  1. doomlord9

    doomlord9 Experienced.

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    Not as a sudden understanding, but as giving her higher processing power to understand the basic physics that allow them to work.

    Tinkertech isn't magic. The entites only have it to distribute because another race already made the tech. Tinker shards simply give out the end process without giving the understanding of the forces that allow it to function, understand that and Tinkertech becomes perfectly understandable.

    It won't be easy regardless, but with enough processing power and motivation she can make progress in that direction. It could be as little as working out what the coating on her armor is and with a few books on chemistry theory and she begins to understand something that was entirely out of her reach before. It doesn't even need to be tinkertech, simply having her understand an advanced chemical process within a few days when normally it's an entire course of chemistry would point them in that direction.
     
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  2. Ack

    Ack (Verified Ratbag) (Unverified Great Old One)

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    If Tinkertech could be understood with extra brainpower, Alexandria would have a Tinker rating.

    Tinkers (IMO) actually adjust reality in their vicinity so that the kludged-together BS actually works to do stuff it should never be able to do. The regular 'maintenance' is no such thing; fiddling with it lets them re-establish the altered physics that lets it keep working.
     
  3. SwiftRosenthal

    SwiftRosenthal Well worn.

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    Dragon does. IIRC, she had a Tinker rating before she actually triggered.
     
  4. Ack

    Ack (Verified Ratbag) (Unverified Great Old One)

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    No, she was credited with inventing containment foam, and creating the Birdcage. She may have been considered to be a Tinker, but the people giving her that rating didn't know about her creator.

    WB was a little hazy on dates (he admits this himself) but confoam doesn't necessarily need to be a Tinkertech creation, just a very complex molecule (which Richter's AIs could have designed, and Dragon presented to the PRT).

    Before she triggered, she had no powers. After she triggered, Saint needed a boost from Teacher to keep up with her programming changes.

    The only Tinker whose creations can be studied and replicated by engineers is Masasume. All other Tinkertech is impossible to understand if you're not a Tinker.

    Canon says that, over and over and over again.

    Bug control will never give Taylor a Tinker rating.
     
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  5. RoninSword

    RoninSword Sky God

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    My understanding is that even Masumunes things is only because the items she mass produces arent too far ahead of everyday engineering as well.
    Confom i have always thought was just a complex bit of chemical engineering, not tinkertech.
     
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  6. Ack

    Ack (Verified Ratbag) (Unverified Great Old One)

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    Masasume is specifically a Tinker who actually produces advanced tech, that's not so advanced that she needs to cheat with the materials and energies produced in order to make it work. (This means she wouldn't need to 'maintain' each and every bit of Tinkertech, because reality isn't being warped around it).
     
  7. edale

    edale Versed in the lewd.

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    Spidersilk cloth and chitin armor plates. Especially the Spidersilk cloth.

    Easily worthy of Tinker 1 or 2.
     
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  8. Ack

    Ack (Verified Ratbag) (Unverified Great Old One)

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    Only in that nobody else can produce the armour.

    She's not a 'classic' Tinker, in that her stuff needs maintaining, or that it actually breaks the laws of physics. Or most especially, that she can understand other Tinker tech.
     
  9. doomlord9

    doomlord9 Experienced.

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    This is where it's wrong. Tinkertech doesn't break truly the laws of physics, it only breaks the laws of physics as we understand them which is, simply put, flat out wrong. Even today we know this, we simply don't know what the right answers are and are working with our least wrong answers that are the most consistant we can find.

    That's important and helped me figure out how to put what I meant by my idea into context.

    Tinkertech is simply advanced tech that operates on a more complete understanding of the forces of the universe than we have at the moment. Tinkers are giving blueprints and knowledge on how to construct it without being giving any understanding of how or why it works, and are giving maintenance instructions in the same way.

    Even our tech IRL works just like that. Any machine or device will only run for a limited amount of time without maintenance before it begins to break down. The difference is that the knowledge required to repair and restore the machine to operating condition are widely known. If we took a modern CPU from a completely normal smartphone back to the age of vacuum tubes, it would be considered Tinkertech and they would likely get at best a week of use out of it before they burn it out because they simply don't understand how and why it works nor how to operate it to the best effect.

    Taylor discovering she can acquire extra brainpower to rapidly process and analyze data would eventually allow this if she focused on it.

    It's not simply having the processing power available, it's a matter of application. Alexandria focuses on the soft sciences, politics and social sciences where the results can and will change minute to minute depending on the mood of the people involved, all the things needed to keep a shadowy conspiracy running behind the scenes.

    Tinkertech runs on hard science, pure numbers and repeatable data. Tinkers may not understand why it works the way it does, but they can make it do the same thing every time by putting in the same variables into the same devices.

    That is what Taylor can advance to. Not simply discovering she has extra processing power and then a couple days later she is making power armor, but instead discovering she can acquire extra processing power and deciding to use it to learn and understand the sciences, and then once she has the majority of the current understood model of reality that we have, she can then use the processing power to advance the knowledge to a more complete state.

    Would she be able to understand Tinkertech? Eventually, after a few years, a few billion dedicated brainbugs giving her more processing power than networking together every last CPU ever made and then overclocking them, and using them to advance the known set of knowledge we have a dozen tiers, earning her hundreds of science awards and making not only herself far better than a meer Tinker but in fact making everyone who is capable of understanding what she discovered able to understand, maintain, and even create what was until then known as Tinkertech and is now simply cutting edge advanced tech.

    If she doesn't focus on it? Then it will simply never happen.

    Mind you, it could easily fit the narrative that she is a Tinker who Tiggered from the Swarm, in that they would imply her Tinker focus is based upon making tech that will put a Swarm to a constructive use, like say processing and advancing scientific knowledge.
     
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  10. edale

    edale Versed in the lewd.

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    This assumption being false is why your whole theory breaks down.

    Shards intentionally blackbox Tinkertech, it's not just from hyper-advanced science principles.

    Also Leet completely disproves that repeatable data bit.
     
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  11. Ack

    Ack (Verified Ratbag) (Unverified Great Old One)

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    Except that making it requires the Tinker to do shit that would have engineers (and anyone else who uses logic and not weird shit) tearing their hair out to make it work. And no matter how closely they try to replicate what he did, it doesn't fucking work.

    Because there's exactly one Tinker whose specialty is "Tinkertech that can be retro-engineered and mass-produced".

    To quote Wildbow:

    It literally does not matter how much extra borrowed brainpower you throw at Tinkertech. If that brainpower isn't connected to an actual Tinker shard, all you'll get is "I can see what it does. How is beyond me."

    Otherwise, Alexandria (who is a Thinker due to her shard, which makes her smarter than basically anyone on the planet) and Tattletale (who can intuit basically any fact, given the most minuscule of data) and Contessa (who can Path to any victory) would be routinely building Tinkertech.

    They aren't.

    Because they can't.

    The only reason Dragon can is because that is literally what her Thinker specialty is. Yes, if you're not a Tinker, you literally need a Thinker power with the exact specialty to understand and replicate Tinkertech in order to do that shit. Otherwise, forget it.

    Canon has said this, over and over. Please cease with the 'but what if's. They are invalid.
     
  12. edale

    edale Versed in the lewd.

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    I thought the only Thinker element Alexandria had to her power was an eidetic and/or photographic memory (yes, there is actually a difference)? Her name being a reference to the Library of Alexandria from that aspect of her power.
     
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  13. RoninSword

    RoninSword Sky God

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    Alexandria has a perfect memory. She has used this ability to learn to cold read people superhumanly well. Combined with likely being able to go over her memories to pick out details she may have overlooked at the time, its more like her thinker power itself is minor, but can be used much more than one would imagine.
     
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  14. Ack

    Ack (Verified Ratbag) (Unverified Great Old One)

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    She's also able to think much more clearly.

     
  15. Valint

    Valint Not too sore, are you?

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    Not going to bother wading into the rest of this discussion, but this part seems completely wrong to me.

    The entire point of Tinkers is to allow shards to explore technologies and abilities from other species. Your idea that Tinkers are just playing make-believe, that it's all just props backed up by a reality-warping field, makes that nonsensical.
    ... and sure, there probably are parahumans that are classified as Tinkers that are just reality-warpers. Gallant pretended to be a Tinker; it's entirely possible that there are other parahumans that honestly think they are (if, for example, Myrddin convinced himself he needed to use props, maybe he'd get classified as one).

    But, when we talk about parahumans of the "I can make technology using principles that Earth science doesn't know about" variety, I think it's pretty clear that it is actually technology they're making, not just props for their powers.

    I would think that the reason why tinkertech is difficult-to-impossible to copy is that most Tinkers come with secondary sensory Thinker powers as part of the package, e.g., their power tells them they need to rub the metal sphere three times before installing it, which is an essential part of the process today based on minor fluctuations in the Earth's magnetic field, but would cause everything to blow up if you tried that next week.
    Tinkertech isn't magic. It's just that it expresses as essentially an art rather than a science, so duplicating it is like trying to copy your grandmother's recipe, without understanding that her "you add a pinch of this" depends on her precise analysis of the freshness of the other ingredients, and with the pressure that if you don't get the goulash just right, it might blow up and take out your house.
     
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2019
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  16. Ack

    Ack (Verified Ratbag) (Unverified Great Old One)

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    Except that if Leet tries to make the same thing twice, it fails. In fact, the closer he makes one thing to something he's already invented, the more likely it is to fail. If he makes one thing, and then makes it again, exactly the same way, the second one fails, every time.

    They are making things that literally can not work given the materials they're using, and the level of tech they're using to make them. If Leet tries to make the same thing a second time, the reality-warping field fails to form, or forms and then drops in such a way that the device fails explosively.

    The key evidence for this is the fact that despite Tinkertech having been around for decades, the only one who has ever successfully retro-engineered someone else's Tinkertech and perfectly recreated it is Dragon, because she literally has a Thinker power specifically set up to allow her to understand 'how that bit of Tinkertech works'. No engineer, no scientist, nobody who's not a cape has ever managed to copy the principles behind any Tinkertech (except that one Tinker whose power was specifically to make Tinkertech that could be mass-produced).

    Tinkertech is basically made possible (IMO) by a short-ranged long-duration Shaker effect, different with every Tinker, that lets mundane parts act as though they were produced by super-science 500 years in advance of ours. "Maintaining" the Tinkertech merely refreshes the Shaker effect.

    Canon agrees with me. It doesn't agree with you.

    Also, to paraphrase Wildbow: no amount of poking or prodding by engineers will ever allow them to figure out Tinkertech. Not 'maybe, with enough time'. Word of God is a flat 'no'.
     
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2019
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  17. Valint

    Valint Not too sore, are you?

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    ... okay. Did you not read what I just quoted?

    Here's more for you not to read, I guess.
    ... and some more...
    Leet's shard is fucking with him. So, when he makes something once, it helps him out, letting him know that he needs to tap the item three times because that creates the precise vibration needed for metal that exact temperature, and then wait exactly 10 seconds before installing the power source because of the magnetic fields that day.

    And then, the second time he tries to make something, it shuts up, and lets him do exactly the same thing... but it doesn't work this time, because the variables are all different.

    This is just straight Ack fanon.

    I'm saying--and repeatedly quoting Wildbow to say--that the shard participates during the manufacture, but there's zero in canon about tinkertech just being a prop and every Tinker being a secret Shaker.

    Okay? Wasn't arguing this part, just the Shaker effect you pulled out of nowhere.
     
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  18. Prince Charon

    Prince Charon Just zis guy, you know?

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    I'm sure I've seen quotes where the Shaker effect is strongly implied (in fact, the WoG could itself be said to imply it, because if it's impossible for mundane science to ever reverse engineer Tinkertech, then either there are components that mundane science is literally unable to detect at all, ever; there's a Shaker effect involved; or the brains of said mundane scientists are being messed with to prevent reverse-engineering). It's possible that those (other) quotes are fanon, but they might not be. Also, something more people on the internet should consider: It is quite possible for two people to read exactly the same text, and interpret it in opposing but equally valid ways.
     
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  19. Ack

    Ack (Verified Ratbag) (Unverified Great Old One)

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    Well, given that no amount of study by engineers will let them retro-engineer Tinkertech (also Word of God) the shard has to be adding something over and above insights into how to build it just right.

    It takes a genius to build something for the first time ever. In the normal run of things, it doesn't require a genius to figure out how it was built to work that way. It just requires someone with a knowledge of engineering and the patience to keep looking until things make sense.

    Except that canonically,

    1) it does actually require you to have powers to even figure out how to incorporate ideas from someone else's Tinkertech into yours, and
    2) you need a specifically focused Thinker power to recreate the original Tinkertech for your own use. (Or a specific Tinker power to mass-produce it).

    Also, 3) most Tinkers are working with mundane materials to create their designs.

    If powers are the only way to create it, understand it and recreate it, if you can get effects that should be impossible with the materials you're using, then there's only one logical explanation.

    The powers that are letting you create it are cheating.

    They're adding something that lingers after the device is completed. Something that bridges the gap between what you've used and what you're trying to achieve. Something that can't be detected, analysed or synthesised in any of the undoubtedly dozens of secret government research facilities that would've sprung up the first time any government got their hands on some Tinkertech. (Because being able to recreate that shit? They'd throw money at you).

    That's my explanation. It fits all the facts (including the fact that only the Tinker can maintain his own gear) and ties in to the facts that a) Shaker powers exist and b) Tinkering is a power, not a skill.
     
  20. edale

    edale Versed in the lewd.

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    TinkerTech is highly advanced technology that can't be copied because it's missing several key pieces.
    Ack fanon? Strange, it's proven by your own Wildbow quote:
    Think of it this way:
    You're a Tinker, you build the most amazing TinkerTech computer ever. It can handle 10^999999 operations per second, while running just as many processes parallel.

    Now from Wildbow's quote, one of a few things is happening here:

    A: You've built the computer entirely without a CPU. Where is that CPU? In the Shard itself, connected through dimensional shenanigans.

    B: You have a bunch of components suspended in a liquid mixture, that don't seem to be connected to each other in any way. Again, Shard uses dimensional shenanigans to make those connections so the tech works. Possibly even with a key component actually split into the circuitry of several of the other components, so there's no way to tell it even exists.

    C: Well, you get the idea, something else fixed by dimensional shenanigans.
     
  21. Ack

    Ack (Verified Ratbag) (Unverified Great Old One)

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    All of that. Also, Wildbow talks about how components only work because they're assembled at the right time and place for the earth's magnetic field to align specific molecules, et cetera, et cetera.

    Except that this is pure, unadulterated bullshit.

    I can believe that things like that will happen, and may do what he says ... but only if the mechanism as built by a layman would nearly work anyway. If there's no conceivable arrangement of parts that would allow the device to function without the Tinker taking a hand and assembling it just so, if a highly competent engineer couldn't nearly make it work, then no conceivable confluence of just-barely-detectable cosmic forces is going to complete the job and allow it to actually function.

    Or to put it another way, once you remove the spark plugs from an engine, no amount of hitting it with a hammer will make it work. A Tinker, on the other hand, will bash it just right here and there, and the fuckin' thing will actually start.
     
  22. Threadmarks: Part Eighteen: Spilled Blood
    Ack

    Ack (Verified Ratbag) (Unverified Great Old One)

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    Price of Blood

    Part Eighteen: Spilled Blood


    [A/N: This chapter commissioned by GW_Yoda and beta-read by Lady Columbine of Mystal.]


    Shadow Stalker

    Needing money to buy food was one thing. Getting it without drawing undue attention was quite another. She considered the age-old (at least, as far as she was concerned) fallback of mugging a gang member. They were criminals, so they had it coming. On the downside, there was the hassle of finding a gang member who was both on his own and had enough money to make the effort worth it. That kind of pocket money was only usually viable if money wasn’t a problem in the first place.

    No, she’d have to liberate some. With her powers, that was a lot less labour-intensive than taking it off some gang lowlife. It also fell more into a moral grey area, but she was perfectly willing to define it as ‘emergency mission funding’. If Coil wasn’t willing to answer his damn phone, then she had to pay her way somehow. And getting money out of her own bank account was as good as setting up a huge neon sign to the PRT (those who weren’t in on the mission) shouting “Here I am!”

    With her luck, Velocity would get the word and be there before the machine finished dispensing her funds. If it even gave her money at all. Had they gone as far as freezing her bank account? It felt like something they’d do, to give her absolute cover for the mission. Which of course made things harder when she went out of contact with the people she was supposed to infiltrate through no fault of her own.

    So, theft it was. She couldn’t just shake down random passers-by. They might complain (and who carried cash these days anyway?). However, there were other ways of getting her hands on fast cash. With a grin on her face, she pulled out Coil’s phone. There were still no messages or missed calls from him, but that wasn’t what she was after this time. Opening up the web browser, she tapped in, find nearest ATM. A moment later, a map popped up with several dots showing in the surrounding blocks. Several of them looked like they were installed in banks, which would present their own problems, but some were in shop-fronts.

    Score.

    <><>​

    The alarm went off unexpectedly, making her jump. It was the type of alarm that left a warbling in the ears afterward, coupled with what looked like flashing lights everywhere. She cursed and stuffed the stack of cash in the pocket of her cargo pants, then stepped away from the back of the auto-teller machine. The Safeway she was in had apparently shut down a month ago due to lack of business, but the ATM was still operational, and so were the alarms connected to it. There were also cameras around it, no doubt tracking her progress, but she was wearing the Spectre costume. Only Coil and Calvert knew who she was under it, so even if the bleeding-hearts in the PRT heard about this, they’d never connect it to her.

    Of course, the Undersiders also knew that Spectre was Shadow Stalker, but that wouldn’t be a problem for much longer.

    While there was no doubt more cash in the machine, and more room in her pockets, it was probably a good idea to get out now. The cops would show for sure, which she could deal with. But if they got the idea that a cape was involved, the PRT and Protectorate would be all over that shit like a fat kid with a McDonalds voucher. And while it was true they’d tagged her once upon a time, that time was now long past and she was a lot better at what she did. Now, if she went up against them, they couldn’t touch her on her worst day and their best day. But still, someone might have a brainstorm and recognise the way she went to shadow, which would probably make life difficult for her once she assumed leadership of the Wards, at least until Calvert cleared things up.

    All of which meant that she had to maintain a low profile. As much as she might want to beat seventeen shades of crap out of any cops that had the nerve to interfere with her mission, doing this would endanger the mission even more. God dammit.

    So as the alarm wailed and the lights flashed, she fastened down the pockets which were now bulging with money, then stepped out through the glass door she’d come in by. She had a date with a convenience store in her near future. Dealing with the Undersiders was going to happen, one way or the other, but she had to eat first.

    <><>​

    Amy

    Watching Armsmaster and Kid Win work was very cool (if sometimes mystifying), but seeing her rapidly-becoming-best-friend helping them do their Tinkering was amazing on a whole new level. Beetles were nice and strong, so Taylor had a selection of medium to large sized beetles on the workbench, industriously treadling away on tiny treadmills and lifting minuscule weights and doing other things to help the two Tinkers calibrate the items they were making. Amy was tempted to ask if they wanted her to modify the beetles to be stronger, but it wasn’t like Taylor would have access to her upgraded bugs all the time, so she kept the idea to herself for the time being. Besides, there were other ways bugs could be modified.

    If she was understanding things correctly, this was where the normal run of things was reversed. Armsmaster, with his knack for building small and efficient devices, was building the initial control mechanisms, then Kid Win was taking them and rebuilding them to be modular. Dragon, via remote link, was looking over both their shoulders and making helpful comments from time to time. And out of this, they were creating something that all three Tinkers were sure had never been invented before. Which, in a world with Tinkers in it, was a pretty startling idea. Power armour, sure. Power armour with insect controlled arms? That had never been a thing, until now.

    And it was all my idea. Amy caught Taylor’s eye and smiled. Taylor grinned back.

    “Actually, I just had another idea,” said Kid Win, without pausing in his work. “Scarab, do me a favour and make a note?”

    “Sure thing.” Taylor grabbed a nearby notepad, left there for just that purpose, and held a pen ready. The great thing about her power was that she could do this without interrupting what her bugs were doing. Which absolutely fascinated Amy, especially when she observed the brain activity in the bugs within Taylor’s control radius. “Shoot.”

    “Okay,” he said. “Drones you can launch off the shoulders of your suit. Shaped like bugs, but with lifters in the wings, like the suit has. Controlled by bugs inside them.”

    “With cameras that transmit back to the helmet HUD and a fake remote control datastream, in case anyone’s monitoring,” added Dragon.

    “Able to carry onboard devices such as tasers or containment foam grenades, or even high-end surveillance equipment,” Armsmaster mused. “I can think of a dozen items I have in my halberd which would also fit inside such a drone.”

    “And if you had standardised sockets for the gear, like we have with the wing lifters, you could swap out modules as needed,” Kid Win suggested.

    Dragon’s image on the screen nodded. “I like it. It supports her theme and gives her far more options.”

    Taylor wrote down every word, not even bothering to suppress the grin that was spreading across her face. It was echoed on Amy’s face. She’d never been present for the creation of an entire superheroic identity before (not counting herself and Vicky, of course).

    This was so damn cool.

    <><>​

    Taylor

    I backed up to the armour and let it enfold me. The helmet came down over my head and the HUD lit up, icons flashing from red to yellow to green almost faster than I could follow. I knew the icons a little better now, and I frowned as I noticed a couple that shouldn’t have been there. “Uh, why are the arm control icons still in place?” I asked. “Aren’t we using bugs now?”

    “We are,” Armsmaster agreed. “But if you encounter a situation where you have no access to bugs of the right size, you still need to be able to control the arms, however clumsily.”

    “Ah.” I felt stupid. That was an extremely sensible precaution. “Okay, then.”

    At my direction, bugs crawled from the storage compartments in the lower back of the armour into the shoulder joints of the auxiliary arms. They settled into the control units with relative ease, following the LED guide lights.

    Each arm had eight beetles operating it. The first beetle handled the movement of the upper arm. Number two dealt with the rotation of the shoulder joint and movement of the elbow joint, while number three had control of the rotation and flexion of the wrist joint. Beetles four through eight were each in charge of a single finger (including the thumb), working the joints individually via tiny rocker switches. It seemed like an absurdly large number of insects to take care of something that any five-year-old could do by instinct, but robots looked robotic for a reason. The human hand and arm, I was coming to realise, was an amazingly versatile piece of biological engineering.

    Carefully, one by one, I had the bugs try out their controls. I could see them all in my mind’s eye, of course. I knew where they were and which control system they were in charge of. Each system, when tested, returned a positive result. Then it was time to get more complicated.

    Armsmaster had devised a series of exercises to get me used to the new control system. Slowly, I followed the instructions, raising each hand in turn and having it touch fingers to thumb, one at a time and then in reverse order. At first, it was excruciatingly clumsy. I had no innate proprioception for the auxiliary limbs, which meant I had to eyeball each and every thing I did. But as I worked on it, I found the movements coming more easily. That beetle, when it pressed on that side of that rocker switch, would cause that finger joint to bend that far.

    Still, the tolerances were extremely fine and it was easy for a bug to press slightly too hard or not hard enough. I was getting the hang of it, but there were still problems. “There’s got to be a way to make this easier,” I said, after the fifth failed attempt at touching my fingertips together with my eyes closed.

    “How?” asked Kid Win. “You’re already a lot smoother than you were with the manual controls. Are you saying we should link them up, so bugs do some of the work and you do some of it?”

    “No,” Amy said, a Eureka! expression crossing her face. “Put bugs in the arms.”

    “That’s the whole idea of this.” Armsmaster sounded confused. “She’s already using bugs to control the arms.”

    “No, no, no,” I said as I saw what Amy was driving at. “Bugs. Not controlling anything, just bugs. In compartments in the arms and hands so I can see where they are with my power. It’ll give me real-time feedback on what my arms are doing. Probably better than with my real arms, to be honest.”

    “Should we move the control mechanisms to the hands?” asked Kid Win. “Because that’s got a few problems involved if we try that.”

    “No, leave them as is,” I advised him. “I can have any bugs in the hands and arms. Houseflies, fleas, whatever. All they’ve got to do is be there. I’ve got a million types of bugs that can do that.”

    “So where do you need them?” asked Armsmaster. “Because putting a bug inside every joint is also going to be problematic.”

    I shook my head. “Not necessary. Elbow joint, sure. Wrist, maybe. Back of hand, yeah. And one in every fingertip. That should do it.”

    Kid Win nodded slowly. “I think we can manage that.” He looked at Armsmaster. “Twenty minutes?”

    The older Tinker had a confident smile on his face. “Make it ten.”

    “You’re on.”

    <><>​

    Fifteen minutes later, I settled the new bugs into their compartments. From what I could gather, it hadn’t been hard to arrange for said compartments to be incorporated into the armour. The bugs didn’t have to do anything, after all. They just had to sit there and be visible to my power. I could pop the compartments open and replace the bugs within in less than a second.

    Folding my real arms across my chest, I started playing with the auxiliary arms. From the very start, it became clear that Amy’s epiphany had been an absolute stroke of genius. Now, with the power-assisted prioproception, I was able to move the arms with confidence and ease, performing complex maneuvers even with my eyes closed. “Amy,” I said. “You’re amazing. This is perfect.” She blushed vividly, and I grinned inside my helmet. Flustered Amy, I decided, was too cute. Also, I owed her a huge hug for this.

    “So all it took was a few more bugs?” Kid Win shook his head. “I never would’ve thought of that.”

    “I should have,” I admitted. “It’s my power, after all. And, to be honest, I probably would’ve in the end. But Amy got there first. It was definitely her idea.”

    “Well, it certainly seems to make the operation of the arms far more efficient and capable,” Armsmaster noted. “If anything, you’re more dextrous with your bug-controlled arms than with your real ones.”

    “Oh, hey, how good are you at typing with all four hands?” asked Kid Win. He pointed at a keyboard they’d been using to update the notes on the armour. “If you’re as good with that as you are with other stuff …”

    “Ooh,” I murmured, stepping up to the keyboard. Sneakily, I deposited twenty-six different types of bug on the keys, took a deep breath, and started typing. I was slow to begin with, as I initially had been with the arms themselves, but I quickly became accustomed to what I was doing. By the time Armsmaster stopped me, I was three-quarters of a screen into a mishmash of stream of consciousness writing and bad puns.

    “One hundred and seventy-five words per minute, with six typos,” he noted. “All the typographical errors were with your original arms. I am very impressed indeed.”

    “So when are you going to have them replaced with bug-controlled arms?” quipped Kid Win.

    I gave him the finger, times four. “I,” I said loftily, “am going to try out my new armour. Fancy a flight around Brockton Bay?”

    “Uh, sure.” He glanced at Armsmaster. “If that’s okay?”

    The older Tinker nodded. “I was going to suggest something like that myself. This way, you can observe its operation in the field and perform any maintenance that it might require, if something fails.”

    “Just take care,” Dragon noted. “This is strictly a training flight.”

    “Absolutely,” I agreed. “No fighting bad guys, no way.”

    I even meant it, too. Though I didn’t think it really needed to be said. After all, what were the chances we’d even run into a bad guy?

    <><>​

    Shadow Stalker

    Once she’d dealt with the basic necessities, Sophia had turned her attention to locating the Undersiders. She knew the rough area of town they were in, but narrowing that down was likely to take a certain amount of effort. While she’d gone with them to the Hillside Mall, she hadn’t bothered keeping track of the streets along the way.

    It was a large brick building, she knew that much. There’d been a name painted on the side. Something or other welding. Settling down with Coil’s phone, she did a search for local welding companies. It took a little while, but eventually the name Redmond Welding popped up. That one looked about right, so she entered it into the system to see if there was a location attached.

    Thirty seconds later, she grinned savagely. Bingo. Not only was an address given, but it fitted with her vague memories of the location.

    After that, it was a simple matter of roof-running until she reached the right location. Her initial instinct was to go straight in and take them down, but a rare impulse of caution held her back. While she knew the layout, so did they. Grue could flood the internal volume of the base with darkness in just a few seconds, taking away her one big advantage. Also, she wasn’t sure the dogs would be prevented from tracking her by smell.

    The best time to hit them would be when they were off guard. Absent invading their base, that moment would be when they were just setting out. They’d still be feeling a false sense of security from the proximity of their base so when she hit them, she’d take them totally off guard. She settled down to wait. If it gave her a cleaner shot at them, she could afford to hold off for a while.

    <><>​

    Grue

    “... check out this map,” Lisa announced grandly, unfolding the map in question with a flourish then spreading it over the table. A scattering of dots was spread across it, and she tapped her finger on them. “I’ve been running the numbers. These are all the Shadow Stalker sightings I’ve been able to pin down. Between now and when she actually finds out Coil’s been taken down, she’s likely to revert to her old patterns of movement.”

    “So is this before or after she tracks us here and does her best to end us all?” asked Brian. “Because I recall you telling us that’s what she was going to do.”

    “Oh, once she finds out, she’ll come looking for blood, of course,” she replied blithely. “But I’m reasonably sure she’s got no idea he’s either captured or dead. Hell, I know it’s one of the two, but even I don’t know which one. And until she finds out, the odds are good she isn’t going to act against us. But while she doesn’t have access to Coil’s base, she will be reverting to her old habits. Which makes her predictable.”

    “So we stay as far away from her as possible,” Alec said. He looked from Brian to Lisa as they each stared at him. “What? I’m just saying what you’re thinking.”

    “It’s what I’m thinking.” Rachel’s voice was as blunt and uncompromising as her expression. “If she’s trying to kill us, why the fuck are we going near her?”

    Lisa crossed her arms, the picture of irritation. “Because if we don’t take her down and hand her over to the PRT, our options are either wait till she manages to track us down anyway, or until the PRT decides to come down on us for the murders at the Hillside Mall. And if they get their hands on her before we do, she will do her best to screw us over as hard as she can.”

    “So what’s stopping her from doing that anyway, if we’re the ones to hand her over?” snarked Alec. “Her sense of fair play? Oh, I forgot. She doesn’t have one.”

    “If we hand her over, we get to set the narrative before she ever starts talking,” Lisa said with a smirk. “By the time I’m done, they’ll be ready to Birdcage her.”

    Brian had to admit she had a point. If she put her mind to it, Lisa could pick apart the thoughts and motivations of people until they doubted everything they’d previously thought was true. Convincing the PRT that Shadow Stalker was entirely at fault for everything that had happened—especially as that was essentially the truth—would take no effort at all.

    He sighed. “Fine. We’ve got to bring her down. What’s the actual plan?”

    Lisa grinned like a particularly satisfied fox. “We equip with tasers, then trail our coats through her most travelled areas until she bites. She’ll want to get close. When she does, we cloak up in your darkness, and taser her into a twitching heap.”

    “Aww, and here I thought you had a complicated but risky plan that was going to require careful planning and synchronisation,” jibed Alec. “That’s just daring her to hit us and then hitting her back first.”

    “Complicated plans have a way of getting overcomplicated,” Lisa retorted. “When dealing with Shadow Stalker, it’s best to keep things simple, because she has a tendency to ignore anything resembling rules.”

    “And tasers?” Brian raised an eyebrow. “Where are we going to get those from?”

    Lisa snorted. “I started making enquiries when Shadow Stalker first showed up on our doorstep. They’re bought and paid for; all we’ve got to do is go and pick them up. We’ll go in civvies but hiding our identities, so the seller can say in good conscience he has no idea who he sold them to.” She pulled on a jacket and jeans over her Tattletale costume. The mask went into her pocket, and she put on a pair of sunglasses over the eye makeup that she’d already applied. Finally, she buckled the belt around her hips, with the holster for her small pistol. Removing the weapon, she hefted it briefly and nodded then reholstered it.

    Brian still thought it was bullshit that she could tell if a gun was fully loaded just by picking it up.

    “Can I still hit her with my sceptre?” asked Alec. “Because I want to hit her with my sceptre.”

    Brian rolled his eyes. “Once we take her down, yes, you can hit her with your sceptre. Once.” He zipped up his jacket, then took his helmet and dropped it into his backpack. Biker leathers were a little on the unusual side for about-town wear, but in the absence of the helmet they did nothing to mark him out as a cape. Emulating Lisa, he put on a pair of aviator shades.

    With a petulant air, Alec shrugged on a jacket that covered his frilly shirt. A pair of jeans served to hide the lower part of his costume, and his mask and sceptre went into the backpack he slung over one shoulder. “Come on. Just once? She’s gonna be trying to kill us. That’s good for three or four jabs, at least. Maybe we should keep her until I’ve got control, then I can walk her into the Director’s office and make her confess everything.”

    “That won’t work, and you know why.” Lisa’s tone was long-suffering. “The moment Piggot decides she’s been Mastered, all the testimony goes out the window. Worse, that’s handing her an automatic pass for what happened at Hillside Mall, putting everything back on us.”

    Rachel’s entire preparation involved shoving her dollar-store dog mask into a ratty backpack, along with a bag of doggy treats. Getting up, she whistled her dogs to her. They clustered around her, panting eagerly. Bending down, she ran her hands over their heads, then clipped leads to each collar in turn. “We going to do this, or what?” she asked.

    “Three jabs, then,” Alec said as they headed down the stairs. “Come on. It’ll be fun.”

    “If you keep this up, you won’t get to use your sceptre on her at all,” Brian warned.

    “Lisa, Brian’s being mean to me.”

    “Shut up, Alec.”

    “Shut up, Alec.”

    “Alec, shut the fuck up.”

    Still bickering, they left the factory, letting the door slam behind them.

    Too late, the dogs began to growl. Lisa looked up and around, opening her mouth to say something. Before she could get the words out, Shadow Stalker smashed into her, driving her into the pavement.

    <><>​

    Shadow Stalker

    When they came out of the doorway, she eyed each of them in turn, waiting for them to let the door swing shut. The last thing she wanted was to let them escape back into the building.

    The door had just slammed when the dogs got her scent and began to growl, so she leaped from the roof. Her initial target was Grue, but at the last instant she spotted the pistol on Tattletale’s hip and changed direction. The decision came just in time as she saw the girl looking up at her. Tattletale’s hand was halfway to the pistol when Sophia collided with her, knees-first. She felt something snap as Tattletale began to fall, then she went to shadow.

    Hitting the pavement, she rolled to the side. Her hand, still in shadow, swept through Tattletale’s holster and came away with the pistol. She came to her feet, turning solid again a couple of yards away from the fallen blonde, thumb flicking the safety off.

    Blackness billowed out from Grue, but Sophia was ready for him. She squeezed the trigger and the pistol went off with a flat crack. Grue staggered, falling out of the cloud, and Sophia fired again. Hellhound, still turning toward them, drew in a breath. “Brut—!” she shouted.

    Before she managed to finish the word, Sophia turned the pistol and fired again. Hellhound staggered backward against the wall, her voice dying in a choked gurgle as blood began to spread down across her shirt. More blood was pooling on the dirty concrete under Grue as the last of the blackness dissipated, but Sophia wasn’t watching him. Regent was still up, eyes widening as he focused on the sudden threat. Her hand twitched and the gun went off target, but she spun and launched a vicious kick into his stomach. He doubled over and fell to the ground, where she kicked him again in the side of the head.

    She drew a long, shuddering breath, looking at the Undersiders strewn around her. Tattletale groaned and stirred, and Sophia reflexively shot her in the stomach. The blonde’s sunglasses had fallen off, revealing black makeup around her eyes, which opened wide at the impact. Gasping noises arose from her throat as she doubled her hands over the entry wound and fought for breath.

    Blood leaking between the fingers clutched to her throat, Hellhound slid down the wall, leaving a trail of blood behind her. Her dogs clustered around her, whining and licking at her face. She tried to articulate words, but her strength seemed to be waning by the second.

    “So that’s what it fucking takes to shut you assholes up,” Sophia commented. “I should’ve brought a gun to the party a long time ago.” She turned to Grue, who was looking at her. Like Tattletale, his shades had fallen off. Even with two bullets in him, his eyes were open and aware. “Okay, now it’s time to fucking die.” She levelled the pistol at his head, lips skinning back from her teeth in a savage grin of pure atavistic glee.

    I fucking got them, she exulted, savouring the absolute triumph of the moment. Me. I did what nobody else could do. I fucking ended the Undersiders. Slowly, glorying in the rightness of what she was doing, she began to squeeze the trigger.

    Why nobody else had ever done this before, she had no idea.

    <><>​

    Taylor

    “Everyone should try this,” I said as I soared over Brockton Bay. If I ignored the HUD icons, it was almost possible to imagine that the suit didn’t exist, that I was flying under my own power. According to Kid Win, the suit had ‘learned’ my reflexes and movements, so that each time I did anything, it would react a shade faster until it and I were moving in near-perfect unison. “You guys are amazing.”

    As it was, I felt as though I were wearing the most comfortable full-body suit in the world. The climate control ensured that I wasn’t too warm or too cool, and I couldn’t even feel the helmet any more.

    Tilting my arms and moving my hands, I swooped around in a long turn to the north. Just as the suit had learned my reflexes, I had learned the suit’s. I knew a lot more about how the tolerances were set, and what motions made it do certain things. A little way away, paralleling my course, Kid Win cruised along on his flying skateboard.

    “On behalf of myself, Armsmaster and Dragon, thanks.” He almost sounded embarrassed at the praise. “But we should really be thanking you.”

    “I … really what?” It took me a few seconds before his words caught up with me. “Why thank me?” I couldn’t think of anything I’d done that merited thanks.

    “That suit is something totally new,” he explained. “Armsmaster, Dragon and I all had input into it, and we all learned something out of it. If it wasn’t for you, it never would’ve been built. I know for a fact my tech is going to improve because of it. And Armsmaster’s actually asked if I could give him pointers on modularising his bike.” He sounded a little choked up at the end there, which didn’t really surprise me. I’d be choked up, too. It would be like Alexandria casually dropping in and asking if I was free to go on patrol with her.

    “That’s amazing news,” I said, and it was. Since he’d figured out his speciality, he’d visibly come out of his shell while helping build the suit. “I think—”

    It seemed that what I thought didn’t matter to the universe, because just then a warning message popped up in my heads-up display. GUNSHOTS REGISTERED. An overhead map faded into view with a flashing red dot on it, then twisted and translated to an overlay of the buildings we were flying over. The red dot was a little way ahead and off to the right. Just to drive the point home, I got a quick replay in my earpieces; two shots in rapid succession, followed by two more a few seconds apart. The echoes were weird and scratchy, which indicated to me that the suit had pulled the sounds out of the background noise of the city and cleaned them up in the time that it had taken to put up the original warning. Okay, now I see what Dragon meant about the software she put in this suit.

    “— holy shit, my suit just picked up gunfire!” I exclaimed. Instinctively, I angled toward the red dot and jammed my toes on to the pressure plates as hard as I could, then braced against the surge of acceleration.

    “Wait, what? My suit can’t do that—hey, where are you going? Slow down, I can’t keep up!”

    “Call it in,” I said tensely. “I can’t wait.”

    “Don’t run toward gunfire until you know what they’re using!” he protested. “What if it can go straight through the suit?”

    Apparently Dragon had thought of that as well, because as if in answer to his question, another line of data popped up. SINGLE WEAPON. 89.34% PROBABILITY .38 CALIBER PISTOL. DANGER TO WEARER: MINIMAL.

    “Suit says it’s a thirty-eight. Minimal danger.” I blazed past the last intervening building and saw where the red dot was situated. A grey-clad figure standing over four people, with bright red blood on the pavement. “Fuck, it’s a cape!”

    And then I saw a spark from the end of the cloaked figure’s hand, and a second one. Red ripples spread out from the flashing dot, and more words scrolled across the heads-up display. GUNSHOTS REGISTERED. A moment later, the shots racketed in my ears, a lot clearer than the previous four.

    The previous information regarding the weapon repeated its scroll across my HUD, except that the probability was up to over ninety-seven percent. I paid it barely any attention at all. Pointing my arms down, I dived toward the shooter.

    <><>​

    Shadow Stalker

    Riding the high of her triumph, Sophia didn’t even see the incoming suit until it dropped out of the sky like a thunderbolt. Wings spread wide, the blue and black powered armour slammed into the ground in the classic one-knee-and-fist landing, sending cracks radiating all around. As it stood up, the wings folded out of sight on to its back.

    “What the fuck?” she yelped, her own voice barely audible to her ears. She levelled the pistol and fired twice, the bullets sparking off the power armour’s chest. Oh, right. That’s why we don’t usually use guns.

    Then, as the gun clicked empty, she recognised the suit. Or rather, the look of it was familiar. It wasn’t the one that had been on the news, but the colour scheme was the same. From the appearance of it, it was definitely an upgrade from the previous model.

    It stepped forward. “Stop right there!” The voice was amplified and obviously modulated, but she was pretty sure there was a girl in there. Not that the sex of some unknown Tinker mattered in the slightest to her. Even if it was Hebert driving the thing, which Sophia still wasn’t entirely convinced about.

    “Not fucking likely!” she yelled and threw the gun at its face, then went to shadow. As it lunged forward, the gun bouncing off its helmet, she whirled and dived through the door into the building beyond. A second later, she heard the crash as the suit collided with the door. It didn’t sound as though the barrier would hold up for long, but that didn’t matter. All she needed was a few seconds of head start.

    <><>​

    Taylor

    I slammed my fist against the door. “She got away!” Then the pain hit. “Ow, ow ow ow!”

    Kid Win swooped into sight on his board, arrowing down to where I stood. “What’s the matter? Are you hit? I thought you said it was only a thirty-eight.”

    “No. Ow.” I turned and hobbled painfully to the nearest victim. Three dogs, which had been clustering around her, turned to growl at me as I approached. “Nobody ever told me that landings like that are really hard on the knees.” I stopped before they got too agitated and leaned forward to get as good a look as I could. She had dark hair and squarish, blunt features, but I wasn’t looking at her face. Blood covered the entire front of her shirt, as well as her right hand, which was lax in her lap.

    FACIAL RECOGNITION: LINDT, RACHEL, supplied my heads-up display. AKA HELLHOUND. SEVERAL OPEN WARRANTS. SUBJECT DECEASED.

    “Jeez.” I swallowed as Kid Win came in for a much less dramatic landing beside me. My first day out as a superhero—not even my first, really, given that this was a test flightand I’d already witnessed at least one murder. “She’s dead.”

    “These other ones aren’t looking so good either,” Kid Win said unsteadily. Paradoxically, this heartened me. Kid Win had been a Ward for a few years, and he’d surely seen far worse than this, especially in Brockton Bay. If a tried and tested superhero like him reacted this badly to a murder scene, it meant I was allowed to feel a few qualms myself.

    I turned away from the body of Rachel Lindt and her now-whining dogs, and focused on the next person. This was a teenage boy with dark curly hair, maybe a little younger than me, curled up on the pavement with a pool of blood spreading from under him.

    SUBJECT LOSING BLOOD, offered my heads-up display. MEDICAL ATTENTION URGENTLY REQUIRED.

    “This one’s alive,” I said, pointing at the boy. “The suit says he needs urgent medical attention.” As Kid Win went to his knees beside the victim, I turned toward the blonde with the weird eye makeup. She was watching me with her hands clasped over a blood-welling wound on her stomach.

    “I’ve already called base and notified emergency services,” he said breathlessly as he pulled something off his belt. “Armsmaster said Glory Girl’s inbound with Panacea. Also said to yell at you for charging a gunman.”

    “Consider me yelled at,” I said absently as I focused on the message scrolling across the heads-up display. FACIAL RECOGNITION: SARAH LIVSEY. SUBJECT OF MISSING PERSONS REPORT. SUBJECT PULSE RATE IRREGULAR. MEDICAL ATTENTION STRONGLY RECOMMENDED.

    I heard a hiss as Kid Win applied something to the kid’s injuries. Sarah Livsey stared up at me, then one of her hands detached from her stomach and pointed weakly. I turned my head to see she was indicating the big black guy who was slumped nearby. When I turned back, her lips moved as she tried to speak. I didn’t hear anything, but then the suit replayed her words. “He’s got a sister.”

    I blinked, then she pointed again, this time at Rachel Lindt. “She’s got dogs.” A labouring breath. “Near Empire territory.”

    “Don’t try to talk,” I said. “Save your breath.”

    She shook her head, her lips stretching in what looked like a painful smile. “Kidney shot. Internal bleeding. I won’t last five minutes. One last thing.” She tried to inhale, but a spasm of pain crossed her features. “Spectre. Shadow Stalker. She did this.”

    I couldn’t control my reaction as the name hit me like a ton of bricks. My eyes opened almost as wide as my mouth. The phasing trick was a significant clue, but to have it verified by one of the victims was still a considerable shock.

    “Shit, you know her?” she rasped. She tried to inhale again, with limited success. “Good. Once you’ve kicked her ass up between her shoulderblades, look her in the eye and tell her Tattletale says fuck you.” Her grin was still painful, but she looked positively gleeful at the prospect.

    “I will,” I promised, then I cut the external speakers and activated the icon for the radio. “Scarab to PRT control. We’ve got four gunshot victims, one deceased, the others in serious condition. Where’s the emergency services?” I tried not to let the urgency in my voice make me sound shrill, but it was difficult. “Where’s Glory Girl and Panacea? People are dying here.”

    “Make that two deceased,” Kid Win said, his voice heavy. I looked around to see him bending over the big black guy. “This guy took two to the body and one to the head.”

    “Shit,” I muttered, remembering just in time to cut the microphone. “She said he had a sister.” A moment later, my HUD verified Kid Win’s verdict: SUBJECT DECEASED. A moment passed, then it was replaced by another line. HELLHOUND AND TATTLETALE: VERIFIED MEMBERS OF VILLAIN GANG ‘UNDERSIDERS’. FOUR MEMBERS: GRUE, HELLHOUND, TATTLETALE, REGENT. Three images popped up; a blurry black silhouette against darkness, another blurry image that could’ve been Sarah Livsey in a lavender costume, and one clear picture of Rachel Lindt. There was nothing for Regent, but I was willing to bet that the kid with the curly black hair was him.

    Braving the pain in my knee, I crouched beside Tattletale and took her hand in mine. “I’m not going to stop till I’ve brought her down,” I promised.

    “I know.” Her voice, even amplified by the helmet’s systems, was barely a whisper in my ears. “Tip for you. Want to draw her in? Tell her Grue’s alive.”

    She didn’t draw another breath. Her eyes, a moment ago alive and shrewd, turned dull and lifeless. I held her hand a little longer, then let it slip limply from mine. I didn’t need the heads-up display to give me the news: SUBJECT DECEASED.

    And then, as I painfully rose to my feet, I heard the first incoming sirens. Overhead, I spotted the gold and white of Glory Girl as she descended with Amy in her arms. I watched numbly as she touched down and let her sister down on to her feet. Amy looked at me and I pointed at the curly-haired kid. “I think he’s it.”

    She hurried to Regent’s side and crouched beside him, ignoring the pool of blood her robes were trailing through. Her hand found his skin and she concentrated for a moment, then sighed and stood up again. “Sorry,” she said. “He’s gone.” Apparently by reflex, she checked the other three. She was stymied by Rachel’s dogs until Glory Girl took the leashes and pulled them away from their owner’s body. After finishing her checks, she shook her head. “They all are.”

    “God damnit,” I said. Kid Win echoed me. I made my way over to Amy and put my hand on her shoulder. “It’s not your fault. You got here as fast as you could.”

    “Thanks,” she said dully. “But it never makes it any easier to take.” She looked up at me, or rather, up at the suit. “Are you all right? You’re limping.”

    “My own stupid fault,” I muttered. “It doesn’t matter. What matters is that Shadow Stalker did this, and now it’s up to me to bring her down. To bring her to justice.”

    “That’s not your job,” Kid Win told me. “You’re still new at this. She was one of us. We’ll find her. We’ll take her down. You’ve done your bit. It’s okay if you want to take a step back.”

    I shook my head.

    “Not on your goddamn life.”

    [A/N 2: Next chapter is last chapter, woo!]


    End of Part Eighteen
     
  23. Rieverre

    Rieverre I trust you know where the happy button is?

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    Finally kicking Wildbow's half-baked anti-gun excuses. Have a like.
     
  24. Darkarma

    Darkarma Loli Tentacle Slime

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    Damn Ack, you're a mean GM, total party kill? Ouch. At least for once, the dogs live. Me thinks Taylor and Amy have some new pets.
     
    ShadowStepper1300, Zackarix and Ack like this.
  25. preier

    preier Know what you're doing yet?

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    sorry, Ack, but my sod has been broken, here.

    I mean who ever heard of a GUN killing people? don't you know that those fluffy pieces of metal only shoot mint favored sunlight and cancer-healing puppies?

    (for those not following on other forums... let's say i would never have expected someone to be accused of 'anti-gun bias' because of a scene where a gun was used to kill people. i now fear the anti-masstransport accusations the next time we see a character take the bus...)

    keep heart Ack and let us contemplate the only infinity freely available ;)
     
    Ack likes this.
  26. Slith10

    Slith10 Not too sore, are you?

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    Hmmm, good chapter but why did they wait until today to get the tasers instead of getting them sooner?
    Even if they felt SS would search every room while she was on their team, waiting until now to pick them up seems like it was solely for the twist.
     
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  27. Prince Charon

    Prince Charon Just zis guy, you know?

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    Yeah, same. I mean, Regent already has a taser in his sceptre canonically, and they're not that difficult to obtain in real life... nor are cattleprods.
     
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  28. Caerwen

    Caerwen Getting sticky.

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    Regent has a stun gun in his scepter not a taser. tasers shoot those little wires out that stick in people to zap them. Neither are difficult to get but neither does you a lot of good against a gun unless the gun shooting you is inside the short range of a taser. For a stun gun you need to be in grappling distance, same with cattleprods.
     
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  29. Ack

    Ack (Verified Ratbag) (Unverified Great Old One)

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    She only managed to get them ready to pick up that day.
     
  30. Simonbob

    Simonbob Really? You don't say.

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    Hey, Ack.

    With modern medicine, killing people like that, with a light pistol, is harder than it might sound.

    I'm not saying it's impossible. But, it takes time. Even if the heart stops, the brain doesn't die that moment. They have minutes, 2-3 of them, before that's gone.

    If you're not hit in the head, you've got a remarkably good chance of living, roughly 90%, if the ambulance can get to you before you bleed out entirely.

    You might be astonished at the people that have lived, and what they've lived through.
     
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