Interlude 27A – Virginia Dare

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She should have seen it coming. She should’ve been ready for it. Ready for the monster that was puppeting Columbus Porter to make her move.

But she had gotten complacent. In the weeks since they had discovered the truth about the Seosten that was possessing the boy, Virginia Dare had been almost constantly on edge. The thought of letting that creature continue to control any one of her students, let alone one of…

It was almost impossible. She wanted pretty much nothing more than to imprison ‘Columbus’  and use that spell to force that thing out of him.

Over time, however, she had forced herself to settle down somewhat. The fact was, Charmeine had no reason to make any overt moves that would reveal herself. They needed to keep an eye out for other things, but the Seosten woman should have been relatively docile, particularly with Dare sitting practically right on top of her, and another Heretic directly in front of her. She had been very subtle so far, and since she didn’t know that her cover was blown, there should have been no reason for her to expose herself with an open attack.

Except they were wrong. Something had changed. Either the Seosten knew that she had been exposed, or she didn’t care. Either way, she wasn’t being subtle at all anymore. A fact that was driven home with the brutal, sudden murder of Josiah Carfried and ejection of Dare from the car.

Even though she had not been expecting any overt action like that, a direct attack still should have set off at least one of the danger sense powers that Dare had collected over the years.

Which was clearly why the Seosten hadn’t directly attacked her. She had simply turned the car insubstantial around her so that Dare fell out. And with her powers, that wouldn’t have been enough to really hurt her, even if she had been completely asleep.

That was sometimes the danger of mixing certain danger senses with other powers. They worked off of what would actually hurt the person. So if an action wouldn’t hurt them, it didn’t register to the danger sense.

It all happened too quickly, and took the woman too much by surprise for her to activate the power that allowed her to create the time-stop bubble before the cab had disappeared. Not simply ahead into traffic, but disappeared entirely.

“No!” the blonde woman gasped while staring at the spot where the cab had just been. It was only for a brief second before her mind started working again. But that brief second was enough time for her danger sense to actually go off.

She felt it then, the rush of air, the sudden presence of more mass than had been there before, the sound of a fast heartbeat, and more all exposed the presence and exact location of her attacker. She could also hear the whistle of his blade as it cut through the air, and sensed its metal content nearing her neck.

Spinning, Dare caught the hilt of her sword with one hand and gave it a quick toss straight up out of the sheath without holding onto it. At the same time she raised her other hand into position, so that when the enemy’s blade slammed into hers, as it floated in the air from the toss, her sword was knocked backwards into her waiting hand before stopping, her own strength halting the enemy’s sword.

And it was a massive sword indeed, the blade stretching over six feet in length, and as wide as Dare herself was. Her own slight blade and slender form stopping it in mid-swing appeared almost comical, a result only of her enhanced strength and the quality of her weapon.

The figure before her, holding the weapon, was a match for its size. He stood over nine feet tall, with a body that was covered in short, dark, coarse fur. Yet, beneath that fur, she knew that the skin was as hard as solid rock. His face was twisted and leathery, some mixture between a human and a gorilla.

“Kariwase,” Dare announced the figure’s name while their blades remained locked. Her voice was dark. “I don’t have time for you right now.”

Kariwase had been an Iroquois warrior centuries earlier, before his own arrogance had resulted in the death of his entire hunting party, including his young son.

Torn apart by grief, yet still unable to accept his own responsibility and grow from it, the man had sought the help of a witch in order to gain the power to not only kill the man behind the slaughter, but to entirely wipe out their whole tribe, his goal to make it as though they had never existed.

He’d gained the power he needed, becoming a creature known as a Genoskwa, often seen as the larger, much more aggressive cousin of the Sasquatch. And with that power, Kariwase had killed hundreds before a young Dare and her then-mentor, Tiras, had stopped his rampage long enough for a few of the tribe to escape, scattering to the wilds. And from that point on, he had seen the two as his mortal enemies, repeatedly appearing at the most inopportune times.

“Still no papa figure, huh?” he taunted while pulling his sword away from hers. “That’s too bad, I would’ve liked to make the old man swim in your blood and see if he could resist taking a little sip.”

“I dunno,” a new voice spoke as Dare felt, heard, and smelled another arrival. “ I don’t think she’s going to have much blood left when this is over.”

The newcomer stood only slightly taller than Dare herself, and looked fairly normal, all things considered. Except, of course, for his four arms, each of them holding a different weapon. Two held swords, one a hammer, and the fourth held a whip. From experience, Dare knew that the man was scarily proficient with each of them, particularly when using them all together.

“Roscoe,” she almost snarled the name. Another vicious man from her past, this one she had met after arriving in England and being taken by Gaia as an apprentice.

“You two don’t normally work together,” she announced while letting her eyes flickered back-and-forth between them, “which means this isn’t a coincidence.”

She didn’t have time for this. Felicity and Rudolph were in trouble. And Columbus too, if the Seosten was so willing to expose her infiltration of him. And yet, Dare could not simply ignore them. The two were deadly enough separately, let alone together, that the moment she let her guard down to summon a portal or make a call, they would have been all over her.

“Coincidence?” Roscoe echoed, showing her a thin smile beneath his mop of shaggy blonde hair. “No, see… when we heard that you were gonna be out here, all lonely and stuff… well, we had to come keep you company. Just the kind of nice gentleman we are. Ain’t that right, Chewie?”

“Not my name,” the fur covered rock man grunted in his gravelly voice.

Roscoe sighed. “I know it’s not your name. I was… you know, the big furry alien, plus you kind of eat people, so…” he sighed, shaking his head while gesturing toward Dare with one of his weapons. “Never mind, she gets it.”

Using her thumb to flick one of her spell cylinders into place with the switch on the hilt of her sword, Dare spoke flatly. “You need to leave. You have no idea how little time I have for this right now.”

Roscoe mocked her words. “Oh, you don’t have time? Well, I guess we’ll make this quick then, won’t we?”

He suited action to words by jerking his lower right hand up to make the whip lash out. Fortunately, his whip wasn’t anywhere near as impressive as Gaia’s, which Dare had seen extend to the length of a football stadium with a single snap. It was still dangerous, of course, but she had been ready for the move. As the whip lashed out toward her wrist, she triggered the spell that she had readied in her sword’s hilt. A nova cloud of frost expanded out from the sword, catching the incoming whip and freezing it in place.

Spinning simultaneously on one foot, she kicked out with the other, catching Kariwase’s wrist as the big man grabbed for her. She also used it as a boost to push herself into the air, twisting around so that her other foot could kick out and hit the furry rock man in the face. Strong as she was, it was still like kicking a brick wall would have been if she didn’t have any powers. The big guy barely noticed it. Yet it was still enough to knock him back a step and buy her a little space.

Still in the air, she glanced back and pointed one finger at the ground between herself and Roscoe even as he swung that big warhammer of his. A two-foot thick pillar of concrete six feet tall erupted from the ground directly in the weapon’s path.

The concrete itself was no match for the strike. The warhammer pulverized it in that single blow, crashing right through the raised concrete and sending dust and chunks of it flying in every direction.

Good. Dare let the dust and bits fly, as the four-armed man moved through it. Then she used another power to reassemble the pillar, repairing the damage that had been done. Only in doing so, she reassembled it directly around the man himself. Roscoe was effectively trapped in a pillar of concrete that had assembled itself around him.  Which had been the point. She couldn’t trap the man in the pillar like that just by pulling it out of the ground, but she could make him destroy it, and then reassemble it as he moved through the space it was in.

Finally landing on her feet, the blonde woman snapped her small sword up in three quick, successive moves, each catching a powerful swing from Kariwase’s massive blade.

Clang, clang, clang. The sound of the weapons clashing together filled the air, even as Bystander vehicles continue to pull around them. Dare had long since stopped thinking very much about what they might be seeing when things like this happened.

With his free hand, the Genoskwa threw an unbelievably fast punch for someone his size. Dare barely managed to twist her head aside far enough to let the punch sail past her. It struck a nearby parked car, and sent the thing flying sideways a good twenty feet to slam into a building.

Before the man could pull his arm back, she flicked the cylinder in her sword over to a new spell, and triggered it. As she did so, her blade turned red hot. She snapped it up, slicing clean through the rock man’s arm at the elbow.

Kariwase gave a loud, terrible bellow at that, reeling backward as the stump of his arm bled profusely.

Blinded by outrage, the big guy took a wild swing with his sword, cleaving through the air like a small airplane wing. but Dare was ready for that. Giving a little hop, she landed on the flat of the wildly swinging sword, and let the motion carry her up into the air, where she did a quick little flip over the man’s head, turning as she landed behind him to put her still heat-enchanted blade through his back. His terrible scream proved that she had hit something important.

But not quite important enough to put him down. The furry rock man spun around, his quick motion snapping the sword out of Dare’s hand, leaving it embedded in his back. In mid-spin, he lashed out with a backhand from his remaining arm that nearly took her in the face. It did, in fact, go right through her head. Fortunately, she had already used her power to turn her body into an insubstantial smoke-like form, making his massive fist pass right through her harmlessly. A single word activated one of the spells on her glove, summoning the sword from its place in the rock man’s back to her hand once more.

By that point, Roscoe had extricated himself from his concrete prison, and was coming up on her from behind as she reformed. As one of his swords drove for her back, Dare pivoted on one foot, parrying the blade aside with her own with a diagonal upward snap of her wrist. In the same motion, she continued her spin, adding a little hop to plant her foot against the man’s upper right arm as he swung at her with his other sword, knocking it out of the way. A slight lessening of gravity allowed her to stay up just long enough to invert herself, planting her other foot into the man’s face with enough force to break his nose, and send him stumbling backward.

Using the force from her kick to the man’s face, Dare pushed off to propel herself the other way, even as Kariwase came charging right in. He had already regenerated the arm that she had cut off, aptly demonstrating just why it was so hard to fully kill the monster.

Still, Dare didn’t mind giving it the old college try. Or she wouldn’t have, if she wasn’t in such a hurry.  As it was, she didn’t have time to waste. All she could do was make sure that the two were down long enough that they could not follow her easily.

To that end, she allowed her brief flight to take her within a hair’s breadth of the rock man’s furry fist. Catching his extended arm at the elbow before she would have passed by him, Dare used her momentum to flip herself up and around, wrapping one leg around the furry monster’s neck, and twisted to take him all the way to the ground. As he collided with the ground in a mighty, thunder-like crash, she caught the back of his furry head and slammed it even harder down into the concrete with enough force to break through, leaving a hole there.

Before the Genoskwa could recover, Dare inverted her grip on her sword, driving the blade straight down into the cement beside him. It would take far more than a single blade to the head to actually kill the monster, but she could make sure that he was too occupied to follow her.

A flick of her finger activated another one of the spell canisters in her sword. This one created a light blue, semi-translucent bubble around the area that the sword had struck. In this case, it enveloped the fallen man.  As Dare threw herself up and off of him, his head rose up, then slammed it down into the concrete once more, seemingly of its own devotion. This repeated again, and then again. Thanks to the bubble that she had trapped him in, his body would continue to repeat its last action until the spell wore off in about ten minutes, or until someone pushed him out of it.

With Kariwase out of the way, Dare could turn her full attention to Roscoe. The four-armed man was already coming at her, while starting to bring that mighty warhammer of his up for a swing. Even as he started to swing it up into position to however, Dare made a quick gesture toward it, lessening the gravity right where the man was swinging. The strength of Roscoe’s swing, once just enough to haul the heavy hammer up into position, was abruptly far too much. The weapon weighed barely a tenth what it once had, making his swing turn wild, as the weapon actually flew out of his hand and arced away.

The blonde woman took advantage of his brief disorientation, launching herself off the ground while snatching her sword up. Even as he snapped his gaze back to her, her foot collided with his stomach, doubling the man over. Pivoting and ducking under the wild, blind swing of his sword, Dare put herself behind him before spinning up into a roundhouse kick that took him in the center of his back. The blow knocked the man forward and down.

Before he could rise, Dare extended her free hand and made a pulling gesture. As she did so, a nearby parked car was yanked over, sliding into place directly over the man. Another quick, simple gesture collapsed the car against the ground with the screaming noise of protesting metal as it was bent and broken, pinning Roscoe there.

Before the man could push the hunk of collapsed metal off of himself, Dare was already there. She slapped her blade against both the concrete and the remains of the car while expending one more spell canister. As she did so, the modified repair spell fused the metal and the pavement together, trapping Roscoe between them for the time being.

Turning, Dare closed her eyes briefly to focus on her own telepathy. Gaia, she sent, Felicity and Rudolph are in trouble. The Seosten made their move. She paused briefly before adding in a slightly subdued tone, Josiah is dead.

I know, the tense reply came. I did not wish to distract you while you were occupied. But the Seosten have done a lot more than take Felicity and Rudolph.

Dare’s head snapped up at that. What? What happened? What’s going on?

It seems, Gaia answered, that a sizable force has descended upon the city. They’ve attacked half a dozen Minutemen outposts and have killed several Heretics already. She paused then before adding, Deveron and Marina were attacked as well. they are dealing with the situation, but it will take time.

Distraction, Dare knew. It’s all a distraction, they’re trying to keep us away from what’s really going on. What about Wyatt, his security measures?

The answer came shortly, and did not make her feel any better.  The spells that he has placed on Felicity have somehow been blocked. Wyatt believes that he can break through it, but it will take time.

We don’t have time, Dare retorted. What about Avalon’s? Are you with her now?

If possible, Gaia’s response was even more tense. No, I find myself also distracted. A spell has been triggered here at the school. If left unchecked, it will engulf the entire island within a soul blaze.

A soul blaze, Dare knew, was magical ghost-like fire that could not be put out by any conventional means. A single touch from one of the flames could incinerate even the strongest metal to ashes.

Distractions upon distractions. The Seosten were making absolutely certain that they had time to complete their objective.

Where is Avalon? She asked finally. I’ll get to her.

At the hotel, the tense answer came. Virginia, if they have poured this much effort into their attack this time, and are willing to go this far…

I’ll get to her, Dare promised before cutting off their connection.

She had just taken a step when an alert from her danger sense made the woman quickly dodge to the side, just as a bullet went whizzing past the space where her head had been. Snapping her head up, she saw what looked like a grown humanoid lizard in a old-fashioned cowboy outfit. He was holding a glowing revolver. Spedis, another old enemy. And he wasn’t alone, the road ahead of Dare was populated by another half dozen enemies. Enemies that she had made over the centuries, all of whom have been pulled together to stop her, or at least slow her down.

The words escaped Dare in a snarl, even as her form began to grow and shift. “I do not have time for this.”

She grew quickly. Whereas centuries before, the woman’s mastery of her original gift had only permitted her to become a regular sized wolf, things were different now. Within moments, the slender blond woman had been replaced by an enormous, bus-sized wolf, the full power of her Amarok blood.

As the group that had been assembled to stop her took a collective step back, Dare lunged.

*******

She arrived at the base of the hotel just in time to see two figures in the air above the street. Felicity and another. From the girl’s description, Dare knew that it had to be Charmeine.

And Felicity’s staff was currently embedded through the woman’s chest. As Dare watched, shifting back into her normal form, the blonde girl jerked the weapon up through the Seosten’s head.  And a second later, Roxanne appeared on her flying board, catching Felicity while she was caught up in the pleasure from the kill.

Unfortunately, just as relief and joy flooded Dare at the death of the Seosten, a very different glow interrupted the one from Felicity’s aura.

A shout formed itself on the woman’s lips, whether it was a warning, a promise, or anything else, she didn’t know. But it didn’t matter, because before a sound could leave her lips, the light exploded outward, and the girls were gone.

A terrible, soul crushing scream filled the air. For a half second, Dare thought that it was her own. But as she raised her gaze, she saw Avalon standing in the remains of the window on the fourth floor.

Her scream continued.

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32 comments

  1. Bonus chapter, bonus chapter, bonus chapter, whoooo whooo! 😉

    Thanks for reading, voting, and donating, you guys. You’re the best, the absolute best. Head back here on Friday for the second Interlude for this arc!

    Tags for this chapter are: Avalon, Felicity Chambers, Flick, Gaia Sinclaire, Kariwase, Man It’s Almost Like Those Roscoe And Kariwase Guys Are Intended To Show Up Again. Weird., Roscoe, Roxa Pittman, Spedis, There’s Subtle Seosten And There’s ‘Let’s Use A Soul Fire Spell To Distract The Headmistress While We Frame Her Kid For Undecuple Homocide’ Seosten., Virginia Dare

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I think you must be tired or rushing or something, because this is the highest volume of typos and grammar errors I’ve ever seen in something you’ve written. I’ll go through and make a list, so anyone else thinking of doing that, feel free to wait so our efforts aren’t redundant. Unfortunately, in its current form I couldn’t enjoy the fight at all, and I was really hoping we’d get to see after the banishment. Oh well. More positive commentary after I’m done collecting mistakes, I promise.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. There, fixed a lot of them. Everything I could see on one pass through. Do let me know about any more you find. Thanks. 🙂

      and I was really hoping we’d get to see after the banishment.

      That’s why I included several interlude options for the actual vote that continue past that point. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You fixed most of it that I can see with a cursory glance, so I no longer care enough to comb through it for anything you might have missed. That said, the second-to-last paragraph has “Dara,” not “Dare.”

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Hmm, the most jarring to me was

        If left unchecked, it will in golf the entire island within a soul blaze.

        in golf

        The word’s engulf.

        I have no words to express how confused I am at that mistake.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. You fixed most of it that I can see with a cursory glance, so I no longer care enough to comb through it for anything you might have missed. That said, the second-to-last paragraph has “Dara,” not “Dare.”

        Fixed, thanks.

        in golf

        The word’s engulf.

        I have no words to express how confused I am at that mistake.

        lol, fixed now.

        Like

      4. I just started reading but dang how did you guys miss that one.

        I’m not sure, but I might have added that in while correcting others (using the ‘find’ feature and typing without looking). Either way, it’s fixed now.

        Maybe this is just an English idiom I don’t know but I’m mentioning it anyway cause it makes no sense to me.

        Some MIXTURE between. Fixed now.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. “Turning, Dare closed her eyes briefly to focus on her own property.” What is this supposed to mean? I’m thinking there’s probably a mistake here, but I can’t figure out what should go in place of “property.”

        Like

  3. The thought of letting that creature continue to control any one of her students, let alone one of…

    I’m gonna take this as confirmation.

    Anyway, good fight scene. Seeing a high level Heretic like Dare fight is awesome. A full sized Amorak transformation? Damn. I kind of wish there was a little more, but that was awesome.

    Apart from that, there are a lot of spelling mistakes in this initial draft. A lot more than usual.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. be it Dare or Avalon, I smell the crusade to “fuck up bad the bastards that took their loved one/students from them”. I wouldn’t like to be one of those indrence after that.
    On another note, the “seosten detection device” is now in seosten space… Manachiel can continue his dark schemes…
    also… Isaak: in seosten space
    pseudo Paul: fighting and probably fucked with Dare soon there and pissed…
    now… who’s the Fossor mole (who will have to report to him that his new toy has gone missing…)?

    Like

  5. I still find this to be not very readable.

    Here are some I found:
    Typo: “hshe feer move”

    “She felt it then, the rush of air, the sudden presence of more mass than had been there before, the sound of a fast heartbeat, and more all exposed the presence and exact location of her attacker.” — Does not parse well to me

    This broke the flow for me due to complex structure (and that too in action sequence):
    “At the same time she raised her other hand into position, so that when the enemy’s blade slammed into hers, as it floated in the air from the toss, her sword was knocked backwards into her waiting hand before starting, her own strength halting the enemy’s sword.”

    Is this correct? “some next year between a human and a gorilla.”

    Another sentence that could be restructured maybe: “Strong as she was, it was still like kicking a brick wall would have been if she didn’t have any powers.”

    *****

    Since I think this is the first time when I am commenting on this story, I need to say this: Your story is really entertaining, with just the right amount of humor and action.
    (My only issue is with pacing — lots of open mysteries, no end in sight or even inkling of one — We haven’t even finished Year 1 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! I’m glad you like the story. The first typo you pointed out has been fixed. And so has the ‘next year’ (should be mixture). Thanks a lot for helping out.

      As for the others, hmmm…

      Can you tell me what feels ‘wrong’ about

      “She felt it then, the rush of air, the sudden presence of more mass than had been there before, the sound of a fast heartbeat, and more all exposed the presence and exact location of her attacker.”

      It’s just listing the things that gave away his presence to her more creatively than just saying ‘her powers warned her he was there’

      And this

      “At the same time she raised her other hand into position, so that when the enemy’s blade slammed into hers, as it floated in the air from the toss, her sword was knocked backwards into her waiting hand before starting, her own strength halting the enemy’s sword.”

      I’m not sure exactly how that should/could be changed. Oh, but ‘before starting’ should be ‘before stopping’. I can fix that. 🙂

      Another sentence that could be restructured maybe: “Strong as she was, it was still like kicking a brick wall would have been if she didn’t have any powers.”

      Reading it through… I can’t see anything wrong with it. Maybe ‘if she hadn’t had any other powers’?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s just listing the things that gave away his presence to her more creatively than just saying ‘her powers warned her he was there.

        I got that, I think in retrospect, it was “and more all exposed… ” which was confusing. You were breaking down sentences with the lists and then immediately continued with the conclusion.
        Maybe: “and countless other things, which exposed the … ”

        But it is your wish since, on the second read, I was able to understand it well enough!

        > “At the same time she raised her other hand into position, so that when the enemy’s blade slammed into hers, as it floated in the air from the toss, her sword was knocked backwards into her waiting hand before starting, her own strength halting the enemy’s sword.”

        The first confused me I think — as to what it was referring to. Was it referring to Dare’s sword or Enemy’s sword?

        And for the last bit, yes. Since reading that line and next is an exercise in negatives. You state a fact, then negate. Then negate that, and then negate that 😛 I think it served its purpose, but maybe could have been restructured better.

        Like

      2. “She felt it then, the rush of air, the sudden presence of more mass than had been there before, the sound of a fast heartbeat, and more all exposed the presence and exact location of her attacker.”

        It’s just listing the things that gave away his presence to her more creatively than just saying ‘her powers warned her he was there’

        I think it’s punctuated incorrectly, but there definitely needs to be something to separate “more” and “all”. I’m not the greatest at this, but maybe…

        “She felt it then: the rush of air, the sudden presence of more mass than had been there before, the sound of a fast heartbeat, and more. All exposed the presence and exact location of her attacker.”

        Or maybe a hyphen? I think you probably definitely need a colon for the list? I’m not sure.

        Like

  6. >And it was a massive sword indeed, the blade stretching over six feet in length, and as wide as Dare herself was.

    Sounds like this aggressor has been playing too much Dark Souls.

    *reads about his past*
    Kariwase truly is a monster of his own making, engaging in genocide to ignore his complicity in his son’s death.

    >Before the man could pull his arm back, she flicked the cylinder in her sword over to a new spell, and triggered it. As she did so, her blade turned red hot. She snapped it up, slicing clean through the rock man’s arm at the elbow.
    Kariwase gave a loud, terrible bellow at that, reeling backward as the stump of his arm bled profusely.
    That is certainly a useful trick to pull on overextended opponents.

    The Seosten really pulled out all the stops didn’t they? I’m starting to agree with those that are saying that the masquerade for the Seosten is pretty much blown.

    >The words escaped Dare in a snarl, even as her form began to grow and shift. “I do not have time for this.”
    She grew quickly. Whereas centuries before, the woman’s mastery of her original gift had only permitted her to become a regular sized wolf, things were different now. Within moments, the slender blond woman had been replaced by an enormous, bus-sized wolf, the full power of her Amarok blood.

    Aka, Dare is DONE with your bullshit.

    >A terrible, soul crushing scream filled the air. For a half second, Dare thought that it was her own. But as she raised her gaze, she saw Avalon standing in the remains of the window on the fourth floor.
    Her scream continued.

    *Winces* Yeeaahhh, I wasn’t expecting Avalon to take that well. Not looking forward to what she’ll be like next time we see her.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Were the Seosten HIGH when making this plan? It’s not remotely suitable for using any student as the patsy, because it makes such extensive use of resources beyond any student. And it does jackall to hide damning evidence.

    They didn’t even manage to keep Gaia from finding out what they were up to near instantly. I’m not sure if it was Wyatt actually having the failure-activated ward I mentioned or something else, but they couldn’t even manage that.

    And how did they expect to wipe out the Minutemen without any evidence of the coordinated attack getting fired off on more general channels that Elizabet couldn’t sanitize?

    And unless they thought they’d be able to take Dare down their framejob has to cope with it being known that Columbus was possessed.

    It’s abundantly obvious to everyone that someone with very high level resources did this, even with just publicly available evidence. And that rules out Flick, save as someone else’s agent. Meaning that even on mission success in New York the Seosten are left desperately hoping that Ruthers can get five more Committee members to fall for his delusions that Jocelyn Atherby would ever, under any circumstances, consider this kind of thing. If not Gaia’s sitting pretty. “An unknown third party has been at war with us, and I’ve been telling you that, and you’ve been ignoring me, and it’s just been spectacularly proven that I was right the whole time” is a pretty damn strong position to be in, politically.

    This has Charmeine written all over it. Total lack of subtlety? Only works if humans are morons? Relies on Elizabet and Jophiel to clean up their mess and make the plan actually do anything useful? Vastly more convoluted than it should be if she wasn’t going to take time to get her sadist on? Yeah, it’s hellbitch’s plan from start to finish.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Gonna give a cliff notes version of what I said on SB to this.

      – The Seosten are desperate, not high.
      – They only wanted to frame Flick and Avalon for the student fight, not the whole attack. The two could be framed for involvement with the attack, but not planning the entire thing.
      – The Seosten weren’t trying to stop Gaia from finding out what they were doing, only distract her so she couldn’t rush in to get involved.
      – The Minutemen were also only supposed to be distracted, not wiped out.
      – A sizable chunk of the Committee already believe Flick is working with Joselyn, and that Joselyn is capable of doing something like this. Enough are on the fence that having “Rudolph and Paul” provide a Seosten-approved testimony on what happened could easily convince a majority of the Committee to imprison Avalon.
      – There is nothing to suggest that Gaia has ever told the Committee about any “unkown third party,” although she may be able to leverage Charmeine’s corpse to start saying it now.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Major issue here, Dare reduces gravity, this does NOT make the swing too fast, but will in fact slightly slow the hammer.

    Imagine an astronaut on the ISS trying to chop wood.
    Gravity will not help the axe fall down on the log, but the axe still has mass. Therefore the astronaut still has to exert appreciable force to cause the axe to move down.

    Analogously the hammer requires MORE force to move downward in lower gravity. Though at the forces used in a high speed fight, the difference may be neglegible.

    A quick fix wourd be for Dare to invert gravity. Inversion would slow the hammer even more.

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    1. As Alex Walters said, she lessened the gravity when he was swinging it UP for an overhand blow. As far as I understand, less gravity would mean when he swings it up, it takes less force because he’s not pulling AGAINST gravity.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I bet that a) they were really confident Gaia could stop it, and b) they had a kill switch. If Manakel is possessing Kohaku as lots of people have guessed, b) could work really well, as the Head of Security stopping an attack on Crossroads at the last minute wouldn’t be remotely suspicious.

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