Field Trip 28-03

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I was under absolutely no delusions. We didn’t stand a chance against Radueriel. If he was one of the Seosten who apparently posed as the original Olympian gods, that made him something like over three thousand years old. We didn’t have a prayer. We’d gotten our asses kicked by Charmeine. She would have basically taken us apart completely and for good if she hadn’t purposefully dragged it out so that she could show off. If it hadn’t been for Columbus nailing her with that hit because she’d completely dismissed him and her dragging things out, she would have easily won. And I sincerely doubted that Radueriel was going to make the same mistake.

No, there was no question. He could put us down in seconds. It might have sounded arrogant or unfair, but the simple fact was that if Avalon and Rudolph weren’t enough to help Roxa and me deal with Charmeine, then Jazz, Gordon, Sands, and Isaac weren’t going to be enough to deal with Radueriel. And that was if he’d been by himself, let alone with the rest of his soldiers.

The Seosten spoke, but I didn’t understand the words. It sounded kind of like some of the spells that we’d learned that year, but I didn’t think he was casting anything. When none of us responded, Radueriel paused, then spoke again. That time, he tried English. “Ah, correct, humans don’t speak Old Seosten anymore, do they? This language then? You understand the trade language?” His voice held far more curiosity than anger as his gaze passed over all of us.

Some part of me wondered what the man was thinking as he looked at us. We had to look like a strange group, even to him. We had two human girls; Jazz and Sands; a couple human boys, Gordon and Isaac; a mechanical cougar, Gidget; a werewolf, Roxa; and a werelion; me. I had no idea what exactly this guy had been expecting Charmeine to send to him (besides me in a far more captured state), but this definitely wasn’t it. I wondered how much he knew about what had happened. The Seosten were supposed to be connected to each other ‘if they were on the same mission’, but was Radueriel considered to be on the same mission as Charmeine? Did it even work over that much distance? Or was he completely clueless as to why and how things had gone wrong?

When it became obvious that the man was waiting for an answer (and lacking much in the way of other options), Sands was the one who took a step forward since neither Roxa or I could actually talk in these forms. She had her mace in one hand. “We understand you just fine.”

The man’s eyes lit up, and he smiled. “Ausgezeichnet. Oh, no, that’s still wrong, isn’t it? Fremragende? Excellent? That one then. Excellent. We can have a proper conversation then.”

Did you catch any of that? I asked my ride-along partner.

There was no response. I paused, then thought, Tabbris? Hey, you okay? I know it’s scary, but… Tabbris? Tabby? Still, there was no response. She wasn’t responding. Tabbris wasn’t responding. She wasn’t–where was she? What–that was stupid, she was still in me, right? She was– she had to be. She couldn’t just disappear, she wouldn’t just leave me like this. She–

While I was busy panicking inwardly, the Seosten man continued. “Right. Let’s try these introductions again, shall we? My name is Radueriel, of the Faustian Choir. You are all here because you were selected to be subjects of a series of tests that I am… currently engaged in.

“Of course you’ve caused a bit of a, what was your word for it… ruckus since your arrival, but I suppose you can hardly be blamed for such attempts. What was your goal here?” He gestured to the park area behind him with the stream just in sight. “Were you going to sneak through our water portal to escape the station? Clever. And ambitious. Yes, I don’t fault you for that. But you should put those thoughts far from your mind, because it will absolutely not be happening.”

Tabbris! I was all but ignoring Radueriel then, focused totally on the silence within my own head. Still, I got no response, no indication that there was anyone in my thoughts other than myself.

Clearing his throat, the Seosten stepped forward. His mechanical leg whirred audibly with the motion. “No, I don’t blame you for trying to escape. You wouldn’t be very good test subjects if you simply laid down and accepted that fate. But I assure you, your options now are limited. You can either surrender, in which case you will be taken to your assigned quarters to wait until I happen to be ready to work on you. Or you can attempt some kind of resistance. In that case, I’m afraid you’ll be damaged enough that you’ll need to be put back together in our medical facility. It will be an entirely unpleasant experience, I can promise you that. And afterward, once you are pieced together, you will still be taken to your quarters to await your turn in my lab.”

His gaze fell on me then. Even in my lion form, I had the feeling that he knew exactly who I was. Not that it would’ve been hard. Even with no other information, he had a fifty/fifty shot between Roxa and me. His smile grew. “And you, yes, you must be the one who killed the charming Charmeine. Or did you know her as Nemesis? Did you know her at all?” He shook his head. “I suppose it doesn’t matter. You stole her possession ability, didn’t you? Yes. But you won’t be using that again. Not here, not now.” As he spoke, Radueriel held his clockwork mechanical arm up. At a touch from his other hand, part of the metal forearm flipped around, revealing a small keyboard. He tapped a few of the buttons, and there was a brief, high-pitched whistle. As it faded, I saw every guard in this enclosed wilderness area abruptly snap to attention, straightening noticeably.

“Every being within this facility has been… upgraded,” the Seosten announced. “You will find them to be much stronger, faster, and more resistant than those outside my control. In addition, they have also been upgraded in other ways, such as their implanted teleportation devices, which allow me to either transport any of them to any of the others, or even transport myself to any of them. Instant transportation to anywhere that any of my people are located. You may start by facing one man, only for that one to become dozens within seconds. That,” he boasted, “is how you find yourself facing this many now, instead of the few that I posted at this entrance upon your initial disappearance. You could have emerged anywhere, and met this same force, including myself. Anywhere you run to, if one of my men finds you, I will be there.”

He was still smiling at his own genius before shaking his head. “But that is not the upgrade that need concern you now. No, you see, when needed, such as now, my people also obey my thoughts. I direct them. And you’ll find that your possession ability is very useless when the mind of your subject has nothing to do with the actions their body performs. After all,” he remarked while tapping the side of his head a couple times, “you never know when you might need to defend against the very gift that defines your entire race. It pays to be prepared. You’ve fought my people once. You did well. I congratulate you on that. But now, you will fight me. All of me.” At his words, the man lifted one arm. Simultaneously, every single one of the guards did the same.

The announcement horrified me. Somehow, Radueriel had implanted devices in all of his people that allowed him to take direct command of them at any point. Not by possessing them, but with a thought. Now he could, what, direct them just by sitting back and watching the fight? That meant… that meant that they’d all fight with his skill, his knowledge. The brief thought passed through my mind that he couldn’t divide his attention that much, but really, he probably could. I sincerely doubted that someone like him would forget something that basic. Honestly, even after all the different things I had seen this year, multitasking like that still seemed like cheating. But yeah, he’d probably managed to upgrade himself that much.

And… and where was Tabbris? Despite only being aware of her presence for… what… how long had it been? Maybe an hour? Less than two. Despite that, I already felt like a huge part of me was missing when she didn’t respond. Her silence was one of the most terrifying things I had ever experienced, and it was all I could do not to physically freak out right in front of everyone.

Tabbris! Tabbris, wake up! What’s wrong with–Tabbris? I was still trying to get her attention. What was going on?

Radueriel paused then, letting that sink in briefly before finishing with a simple, “Any of you who wish to surrender now may do so. You will be allowed to go to your quarters and await your turn in my lab. It will not be a fun time. But I promise, you will enjoy our medical facilities far less.”

“Um. Flick?” Sands’ voice was quiet, her eyes darting to me. “What are we supposed to do? We can’t fight this many guys, not if they’re all like… like…” She stared at the assembled army.

“I’ll tell you one thing.” That was Jazz, the dark-skinned girl standing there between her two teammates with her falchion raised. “We don’t surrender to this assface. He wants us to walk in there willingly, without even a fight? Fuck that. I don’t care if we take out one of his guys or fifty. I don’t care if we cost him an inch or a mile. But we’re gonna cost this son of a bitch something.”

Beside her, Isaac’s mouth opened. “Now, hold on. I think if we–”

Whatever the boy had been about to say, he was interrupted by Radueriel. The Seosten had been patiently waiting there, watching us for a moment. But now, he shook his head (the assembled guards did not do the same. Apparently that was an order he didn’t send them) and lamented, “Well, I did try. Remember that, children, as your limbs are being reattached later.”

Oh! Oh, Flick?

The sudden voice in my head made me jerk. The timing probably made it look like I was recoiling from Radueriel’s words. But I didn’t care. Tabbris?! Are you okay? What happened?! I felt kind of like a mother whose kid had wandered off in the grocery store or something.

U-um, Mama, the reply came quickly. It was another memory, a-and I kind of… got lost. There was a pause, and I could sense her embarrassment at the admission. B-but it’s okay, we’re okay. We can get out of here!

The soldiers were already coming for us, while Sands and the others set themselves to meet them. They were saying something to me, but I didn’t hear it. All I could focus on was the voice in my head. What? Uh, maybe you tuned out for too long, but we’re kind of screwed right now.

No! She blurted. We’re not screwed, I p-promise. We can get out. We really can. You just have to say, ‘Sevesensiel’. Out–umm, outloud, I mean. And then make everyone run. I’ll explain later, I promise. You’ve just gotta say it!

The fight was already happening. Though it wasn’t much of a fight. With every one of the guards following Radueriel’s mental direction, it was basically turning into a slaughter. The ‘fight’, such as it was, would be over in a few more seconds, if it even lasted that long.  

Sands shouted something at me, clearly wondering why I wasn’t helping, why I was just standing there completely frozen. Still, I hesitated. I can’t change right now. You know how fast those guys would be on top of me? Even as I spoke, my point was proven as three of the soldiers bypassed the others to come right for me. I bounded forward, lunging up and over them to land near the others.

I couldn’t take the time to shift, and I couldn’t talk in this form. One word (at least I assumed it was one word) and I couldn’t say it. I was a fucking lion. What was I supposed to do, roar?

F-Flick! Tabbris’s voice was panicked, and I felt her take control for a moment, making me lunge sideways away from the guard who had been coming after me during my brief moment of distraction. If you can’t talk, possess someone who c-can! You can possess one of the others!

Oh. Right. Maybe I should have hesitated. Maybe I should’ve found a way to ask permission. But there wasn’t time. At this point, as the unified, Radueriel-controlled soldiers easily swatted aside any defense that the others tried to put up as if we were all children, seconds counted. Milliseconds counted. There was no time for anything except the only action that I had left.

Spinning on my paws, I lunged directly toward Sands. While leaping, I blurted, Do the thing!

The brunette barely had time to glance my way, seeing my positively massive lion-form coming at her, before I was there. And to my immense relief, Tabbris interpreted what ‘do the thing’ meant. It probably helped that she was in my head. Either way, as we leapt that way, rather than colliding with Sands, I was suddenly seeing through the other girl’s eyes. I felt her panic as she jerked backward from what had been a gigantic lion leaping straight at her, stumbling and barely stopping herself from landing on her backside.

Sands! I sent as ‘loudly’ as I could, basically screaming in my own head while trying to direct it at the other girl. I didn’t want to take her over. I refused to take her over, even right now. I wouldn’t do that, unless I had to. Sands, say Sevesensiel! Say Sevesensiel right now! Say it!

“Sevesensiel!” Sands abruptly blurted, clearly having no idea what she was saying or why.

On the heels of that word, there was a flash of light that seemed to come from the Seosten in the back. And just like that… the wilderness around us was empty. All of the soldiers were gone. Radueriel was gone. We were all alone.

What the fuck was that?!” The demand came from Sands, Isaac, and myself all at once.

“Flick, Flick, are you in my head?!” Sands demanded out loud. “What are–”

Run! Tabbris interrupted her, though it was obvious that only I could hear her. Make them run, he’ll be back! Go, go, now, now, you only have about ninety seconds! Hurry, go!

Jazz and Isaac were both demanding to know what the hell was going on. Roxa was growling from where she stood in her wolf-form, clearly not sure if she should change back. And Sands was still asking me if I was in her, if I could read her mind, and so on.

Run! That time, it was me shouting it. Ninety seconds, they’ll be back in ninety seconds! Go! Get to the portal, we’ll figure it out from there. Just go, damn it, go! Run, run, run!

I was about to ask Tabbris to get us out of her, but she was already one step ahead of me. I was suddenly back in my own (well, my lion) body, stumbling a little. My gaze snapped across the room, and I focused on the stream ahead. Then I ran toward it, making a noise that was something like a half-roar to get everyone’s attention.

To her credit, Sands didn’t wait around questioning what I’d said. “Go!” she shouted to the others. “They’ll be back in a minute, just go! Questions later, running now!” Even as she spoke, the other girl was already running after me. And the others, thankfully, were right behind her as we hit the stream and turned to follow it to the portal.

Sixty seconds. Tabbris’s voice was nervous. I couldn’t blame her. Hurry, Flick. Hurry.

She didn’t have to tell me twice. Err, three times. I saw the portal up ahead and kept running, pushing myself hard while the others scrambled to keep up. The portal glimmered a little as we approached, and I splashed my way through the water before going right through. There was a sudden tingling, disorienting sensation as the world went weird around me (they apparently didn’t build safeties into portals that were just meant to carry water).

Then I was through, emerging into some kind of metal building with the river running through the middle of it. There were consoles and several technicians standing around, along with a few more armed guards. This place was clearly some kind of filtration plant or something. And from the look of things, there were several more separated streams of water running through it to different portals. Probably all running to more space stations.

Leaping out of the ditch, I crashed into the nearest armed guard. He was shouting something, but I didn’t care. His hand was grabbing for the pistol on his belt as my frying pan-sized paw slammed into his head so hard it left pretty much nothing but mush behind.

A brief rush of pleasure rushed through me, my aura flaring up even as the others spread out through the rest of the room. The technicians were making a break for it, and there were only a few guards for Sands, Roxa, Jazz, Isaac, Gordon, and Gidget to make short work of.

Tabbris, I managed, using the moment of kill-pleasure as cover to stay still for a second. What was that? What the hell was that word?

The console, over there to the right! She urged me that way. Destroy it, so the portal shuts down before Radueriel recovers!

As I moved that way, bounding up a short flight of stairs that led to an overlook area where the console in question was, she hurriedly explained. Mama’s old partner, Apollo. He quit the Seosten a long time ago and um, he disappeared. Like, a really long time ago. But he and Mama were friends. He told her a… about something he set up the last time he had, um, the last time he had to deal with Radueriel. It was supposed to be a get-out-of-jail free card in case he ever got caught, and he told Mama so she could escape if she needed to, if she ever changed her mind about leaving. Because he trusted her. She didn’t report it back then because it would’ve… umm, given them a big excuse to come after Apollo a lot more than they were. He quit, and that was bad enough. But if they knew he had ways to stop or, um, or stall them, they would’ve sent a lot more people after him.

That word thing? I guessed, using my lion paws to utterly demolish the console. As I did, the portals shut down, winking out of existence so that the water in the little metal gutters throughout the room just started quickly filling it up. It was time to leave. And wait, that makes Apollo almost like your uncle if they were… partners, wait a second, does that mean your mother was–

Uh huh, she confirmed. Mama was Artemis. And it was a, um, a magic hack thing that Apollo installed into R-Radueriel’s equipment. When it was triggered, it took over all his stuff and transported him and everyone he was controlling to a random location, then shut down all his upgrades and other stuff he installed in himself for ninety seconds.

I absorbed that for a second while the others shouted at me to hurry up. They were already by the nearest doors. So I’m guessing that won’t work again. One shot thing, teleports him and everything he’s controlling somewhere else and EMP’s his stuff, then it’s gone?

Um. Y-yes, just that one time. Which… I guess we’re lucky no one else ever used it, huh?

Really lucky, I agreed. But wouldn’t he have upgraded his equipment at some point in all this time and noticed it?

It wasn’t just scribbled on his mechanical arm or anything, Tabbris explained. Apollo put it on one of the bits of equipment that was going inside Radueriel, part of his reinforced metal skeleton. It makes him a lot tougher than normal Seosten, and there’s no reason for him to take it out. Weapons and stuff, yeah. But the reinforced skeleton, that’s kind of permanent, you know? Like… like putting a spell on the foundation of a house instead of on the furniture. Furniture gets moved around and changed. Foundation stays the same. That’s why Apollo chose that one, cuz he knew it’d be a long time before someone used it. Then Radueriel got transferred out here instead of spending his time on Earth, so… I guess Apollo never ran into him again.  

I nodded a little at that, thinking about how much I really wanted to hug this Apollo guy while leaping off the raised platform to land by the others. They’d gotten the door open by that point, revealing a forest beyond that didn’t look too different from the artificial one we had just left. But this one was at least on a planet instead of an enclosed station.

There was a lot more I wanted to ask Tabbris. There was even more that the others probably wanted to ask me. There was a lot to talk about in general. But right now, only one thing mattered. Only one thing was going to keep us away from Radueriel and the other Seosten long enough to figure out what the hell we were supposed to do now.

And only one thing was going to spare me from thinking about what everyone back on Earth was doing right now.

We had to keep running.

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28 comments

  1. Well, there you go, guys and girls. Anyone who had, ‘Sariel manages to save them yet again despite being locked up’ wins the betting pool this time. Though I’m pretty sure that with this particular explanation, they have to share credit with anyone who might have thought that Apollo would be the one to randomly show up and save the day.

    In any case, hope you enjoyed this. Over the next couple parts, we’ll be having a lot more in the way of conversations, the kind of conversations that you’ve all been waiting for. 😉 Oh, and in the next couple days, we’ll also be seeing the next mini-interlude, so tune in for that too!

    Tags for this chapter are: At Some Point These Bad Guys Are Going To Figure Out The ‘Knock Everyone Out Instead Of Standing Around Waiting For Them To Surrender’ Rule., Considering This Is A Former God Intervening Through A Machine – I’m Pretty Sure There Has Never Been A More Literal Deus Ex Machina., Felicity Chambers, Flick, Gidget, Gordon Kuhn, Isaac Acosta, Jazz Rhodes, Radueriel, Roxa Pittman, Sands, Tabbris

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    1. I dunno, Roger Zelazny’s “Lords of Light” may have beat you to the “literal DeM” moment, there, Cerulean. 🙂
      Or, possibly, the Goa’uld from Stargate — jumped-up alien parasites masquerading as gods, whose “powers” are all technology….

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  2. Hmm. Radueriel seems a textbook personification of Affable Evil, doesn’t he?

    As for the override codeword, how handy that Apollo created it and that it was never used prior to now. I’m predicting Radueriel will feel a mix of confusion (how did they know about it?) and admiration. Tabbris and Sariel have come through again, butthey are still very much on borrowed time atm.

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    1. Hmm. Radueriel seems a textbook personification of Affable Evil, doesn’t he?

      Pretty much, yes. He was even being honest (from his point of view) when he told them that they’d suffer much less if they just surrendered, and that they would be taken to private quarters to be taken care of. Sure, being experimented on would be the equivalent of torture, plus there’s the whole enslavement thing, but he’d make their time OUTSIDE of that be pleasant enough.

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      1. Radueriel: “I rather object to being labeled ‘evil,’ although I comprehend that from your POV I would appear to be so. As to ‘affable’, well, I’m _practical_ — unlike certain of my colleagues, I take no pleasure in inflicting suffering for it’s own sake. Or at all, really — I simply apply it, and the threat thereof (or promise of avoiding it) as _necessary_ to achieve maximum compliance from my test subjects. Really, I don’t see why everyone is so confused over the ‘carrot and stick’ approach — eliminating unnecessary suffering reduces resistance, which increases efficiency. It also makes it easier to inflict suffering when it _is_ necessary, if your test subjects understand that it’s merely necessity and compliance is the quickest route to ending it.”

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  3. Flick seems to have forgotten about Gordon in her list of people Radueriel sees. She says “one human male” when describing Isaac, and while Gordon isn’t actually a male human, Flick has no way of knowing that

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  4. “Assigned quarters.”

    Radueriel’s use of that phrase has my attention. Weird, since it’s basically irrelevant now, but I can’t stop wondering why he called them that when they were probably just bare cells. He’s taking it for granted that these kids are part of the Seosten military structure now and that’s such a weirdly fascinating thought for me.

    Much less fascinating is the way he clearly sees them as equipment rather than people, but on that note I’m curious about what he was planning to do to them, since I thought everyone not named Felicity was going to be given to Seosten soldiers to start hunting the other Heretics in Seosten space right away.

    I had no idea what exactly this guy had been expecting Charmeine to send to him (besides me in a far more captured state)

    Was Flick supposed to be sent here originally? Charmeine’s monologue last arc made me think Flick was originally supposed to be sent to a different facility than the survivors.

    Other thoughts:

    – Flicks’ panic at Tabbris’ lack of response was well done. I was actually freaking out a little to. The comparison to a mother losing her kid in a grocery store is apt, I’ve felt that with my little brother a few times.

    – If all of Radueriel’s subordinates are modified like that, why didn’t any show up when they attacked those guards last chapter?

    – Apollo is awesome.

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    1. I bet Radueriel wanted to wait until he could surround them in a more open area. That or the guards have to be conscious for Radueriel to teleport to them. (If not, imagine how bad it would have been if Radueriel teleported the guard to himself while Flick was possessing the body!)

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    2. Radueriel’s use of that phrase has my attention. Weird, since it’s basically irrelevant now, but I can’t stop wondering why he called them that when they were probably just bare cells. He’s taking it for granted that these kids are part of the Seosten military structure now and that’s such a weirdly fascinating thought for me.

      Actually, he intended to give them actual livable rooms for them to rest in when not actively being tested or used. So, more than bare cells. Like you said at the end of that, he saw them as part of the Seosten military structure, so they would have recieved what are essentially lower officer’s quarters.

      I’m curious about what he was planning to do to them, since I thought everyone not named Felicity was going to be given to Seosten soldiers to start hunting the other Heretics in Seosten space right away.

      Not immediately. He wanted to do some work on them first.

      Was Flick supposed to be sent here originally? Charmeine’s monologue last arc made me think Flick was originally supposed to be sent to a different facility than the survivors.

      Yes, she was always intended to come here first. I’m not sure where you got that impression other than her saying separately that the others would be sent and that Flick would go on a trip, but that was only because they STARTED OUT separate, because Flick was already captured at that point. It wasn’t saying they were going to separate places, it’s just that the statement of ‘the people over in that motel will be transferred’ and then later on ‘and you will be transferred’, basically. The reason for the separation of those statements was that Flick WAS separate from the others at that point. And that Charmeine was waiting to make Flick watch everyone lose before she was transported as well.

      Plus, ya know, Radueriel is here, why would Flick be sent somewhere else if they wanted to find out why she’s immune to being possessed? 😉

      If all of Radueriel’s subordinates are modified like that, why didn’t any show up when they attacked those guards last chapter?

      Because the upgrades only work when he wants them to. It’s not like he’s just going to have them running around like that willy nilly without his control. Oh, unless you mean ‘why didn’t more guards teleport in when the others were under attack’, in which case… because they didn’t have a chance to call for reinforcements? It’s not an automatic thing. It’s transportation, they still have to call for help.

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      1. Actually, he intended to give them actual livable rooms for them to rest in when not actively being tested or used. So, more than bare cells. Like you said at the end of that, he saw them as part of the Seosten military structure, so they would have received what are essentially lower officer’s quarters.

        That’s such a weird thought to me. Part of me wants to see that enough to wish they didn’t get away this quickly. Is it common for captive Heretics to get quarters like that when not being used?

        This arc is making put even more thought into what life is like for the Heretics in Seosten space.

        Not immediately. He wanted to do some work on them first.

        I got that part, but what kind of work? Was he going to give them all the same implants his direct subordinates have? Something else? Enhance the powers they’ve already gained?

        Plus, ya know, Radueriel is here, why would Flick be sent somewhere else if they wanted to find out why she’s immune to being possessed? 😉

        Raduerial wasn’t at the facility she was originally supposed to be sent to, so I figured she was intended to end up somewhere like that.

        Because the upgrades only work when he wants them to. It’s not like he’s just going to have them running around like that willy nilly without his control. Oh, unless you mean ‘why didn’t more guards teleport in when the others were under attack’, in which case… because they didn’t have a chance to call for reinforcements? It’s not an automatic thing. It’s transportation, they still have to call for help.

        Well, Radueirel said “Anywhere you run to, if one of my men finds you, I will be there.”

        I was thinking he should be able to notice those guards getting knocked out and react to it. Am I wrong?

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      2. That’s such a weird thought to me. Part of me wants to see that enough to wish they didn’t get away this quickly. Is it common for captive Heretics to get quarters like that when not being used?

        Depends on who they’re assigned to. Radueriel is ‘nicer’ in that regard than some others, and not as nice as a few.

        I got that part, but what kind of work? Was he going to give them all the same implants his direct subordinates have? Something else? Enhance the powers they’ve already gained?

        Yes.

        Raduerial wasn’t at the facility she was originally supposed to be sent to, so I figured she was intended to end up somewhere like that.

        Oh nah, that was called, ‘originally she was going somewhere to be debriefed/interrogated before being sent on to Radueriel, but when that was messed up, he stepped in personally’

        Well, Radueirel said “Anywhere you run to, if one of my men finds you, I will be there.”

        I was thinking he should be able to notice those guards getting knocked out and react to it. Am I wrong?

        Yeah, again, they’d have to actually call it in before he could react to it. He didn’t take active control/see through their eyes/etc until he actively said he was doing it, when the men went all stiff for a moment. As I’ve said to another comment/question, it’s not an always on thing as far as the ‘him controlling/seeing through all his people’ stuff goes. And he MEANT ‘when one of my men sees you **and reports it,** everyone else, including me, can teleport straight to them.

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      3. Depends on who they’re assigned to. Radueriel is ‘nicer’ in that regard than some others, and not as nice as a few.

        So basically, Columbus thinking that Charmeine saw him as a horse was even more apt a comparison than it looked at first. Some Seosten take better care of their “tools” than others. I wonder which Olympians/Infiltrators have Radueriel beat in that regard other than Jophiel and Sariel.

        Yes.

        I’m going to take that as a “both.”

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  5. Isaac’s mouth opened. “Now, hold on. I think if we–”
    …surrender? Methinks Isaac is tired of getting beaten up in fights he has no allegiance to.

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  6. One is forced to wonder how there is still a war with the Fomorians if the Seosten have technology that allows for “Possession Plus” battle-multi-tasking? If all you have to do is microchip slaves to make them the fighting equal of a millennia-old Seosten combat monster, how are Fomorian bio-horrors holding the line? Sheer quantity?

    Also, universally effective 24/7 possession-defense of a technological nature? How are the Seraphim not literally shitting themselves in terror at the thought of someone like Nicholas conducting a little raid and running off with some of this technology? Definitely seems like something that can broadly affect the advantage the Seosten have empire-built with, would be under the supervision of numerous Seraphim.

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    1. One is forced to wonder how there is still a war with the Fomorians if the Seosten have technology that allows for “Possession Plus” battle-multi-tasking? If all you have to do is microchip slaves to make them the fighting equal of a millennia-old Seosten combat monster, how are Fomorian bio-horrors holding the line? Sheer quantity?

      Just because Radueriel is capable of it doesn’t mean they all are. He has upgraded himself substantially, and it’s all experimental. Plus, it’s not ‘just microchipping slaves’, their bodies have to be CAPABLE of doing what he wants them to do, for one thing. He can only spread his multitasking out so far. Plus, if his technology falls into Fomorian hands, that kind of screws them over a lot.

      Also, universally effective 24/7 possession-defense of a technological nature?

      Nope, again, it only works that way when he’s literally controlling them. He can’t do that forever. We know the possession isn’t ‘universal 24/7 possession defense’ because Flick already possessed TWO of his soldiers while it wasn’t in active use.

      How are the Seraphim not literally shitting themselves in terror at the thought of someone like Nicholas conducting a little raid and running off with some of this technology?

      Nicholas’s troops and all his followers/their families are already immune to possession from that spell. And, again, it’s not ‘immune to possession’ it’s ‘the person possessing you can’t control your body, because some other person is physically controlling you’.

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  7. Huh, it would have been pretty hilarious of Gordon had been the closest person to Flick when she needed to possess someone. Very dark, but hilarious.

    Isaac could also have been interesting, but for a very different reason.

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    1. I think it might be possible that possessing Gordon wouldn’t be fatal to Flick. I could very easily be wrong about this, but I think the hybrid immunity to Seosten possession might only apply to Seosten and not Heretics with the possession power.

      It’s a possibility I’m keeping in mind.

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    2. Nothing in the chapter actually said Sands was closest. I’ve been assuming since last chapter that if she ever needed to possess somebody in her lion form, it would be Sands because they trust each other the most. Plus, although she didn’t have time to think of it in this case, she knows for sure that Sands isn’t a hybrid, so she’s the safest move.
      Also, Flick seems to have actively avoided reading Sands’s mind as much as possible, and she was focused on things other than Sands’s thoughts anyway, so it’s entirely possible that she wouldn’t have gotten anything from Isaac. Of course, if someone where to change who she possessed, they might as well have her pay slightly more attention to create some storytelling possibilities.

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