Uprising 29-07

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Please note that there was a mini-interlude focusing on Vanessa and Tristan (with a bit of a surprise at the end) posted yesterday. If you haven’t seen that yet, you might want to use the Previous Chapter button above. 

So, taking stock. I was in the middle of the Seosten slave camp. Something like a hundred troops were scouring the whole place looking for me, including flying overhead. The few Seosten themselves who were there would clearly stop at nothing to have me either killed or captured after I had shown that I could do to them what they did to everyone else. And I had no way of getting out of the camp without revealing myself to the dozens and dozens of beings that would dogpile me the instant I appeared, before I could actually do anything useful like escape.  

But on the bright side, at least I was pretty much acing that whole ‘distract all of the Seosten troops so they let the slaves escape instead of chasing them’ thing. With any luck at all, they would all be long gone by the time this situation resolved itself. I just had make sure that ‘resolving itself’ part didn’t end up involving me either dead or a Seosten slave. Somehow.

Some of the guards were walking around with strange-looking flashlight devices that gave off a pale red beam. They were shining them everywhere as they scoured the camp, and I could see more of the same crimson lights coming off the hoverbikes gliding slowly by overhead.

Any idea what those red light things are?  I asked my partner after watching them for a moment. Because I’m kind of getting the sneaky suspicion that they detect stealth powers somehow.

I–um, I’m not sure, the response came slowly. Mama didn’t mention them exactly. But she did talk about stuff that could make invisible things not invisible. Maybe that’s what they are?

Maybe, I agreed. Either way, they don’t seem to be affecting us right now. The lights already hit us a few times and none of them reacted or anything. So we’re safe as long as we don’t move.

The other girl’s response was a pointed, But they’ll call for Radueriel as soon as they fix that thing, and he’ll probably have a way to find you. Plus, you can’t just stay here forever, anyway.

You, I noticed. She kept saying ‘you’ instead of ‘we’ or ‘us’. Tabbris was still so accustomed to keeping herself out of the situation and being a completely unseen presence that she kept instinctively not counting herself in things like that. Which was… yeah, we were gonna have to talk about that. We were going to have to talk about a lot of things, whenever there was time.

You’re right, I replied, we can’t just stay here forever. But we’ll have to time and plan it right. We don’t get a do-over. Once we pop out of here, they’ll be right on us. We won’t even be able to hide in another bit of wood, because they’ll see it happen that time and we’ll be sitting ducks.  

Wait, the response came a second later, I think you can do something else besides sit here.

She told me what her idea was, and I felt myself smile a little bit (despite the fact that I didn’t really seem to have a physical body at that particular moment). Yeah, you know what? I’m pretty sure that the Seosten are gonna get really sick of me using their own tactics against them.

Good. The response from Tabbris was unusually firm, even a little vindictive. They deserve it.

Again, we were going to have to talk about a lot of things. But for the time being, I watched as the troops continued to search for us, waiting for the right moment. I needed one of them to come closer at a time that others weren’t actively looking in the same direction. Which was tricky, especially with the ones that were flying overhead. The timing for it had to be just right.  

So we waited, and waited. Nearby, there were several guards working on fixing the machine that I had shot up so that they could call for help. But from the sound of things, it was gonna take them awhile. Which the nearest Seosten wasn’t happy about. Even without Tabbris translating, I could tell from his tone that he was chewing them out pretty thoroughly. If I hadn’t known any better, I might have said that he actually sounded nervous. Funny how that worked.

Still, no one seemed to be in any hurry to come close enough to the fence post that we were occupying. This was taking entirely too long. Even if they couldn’t get the intergalactic telephone working again, I had no doubt that one of the Seosten would know a spell they could use. Once they got over the initial search and effort to fix the machine, they’d go for the magic solution. So for every minute that passed, we kept getting inexorably closer to Radueriel showing up.

Finally, however, we got a little bit of a break. Unfortunately, it was two guards that approached and stopped near the fence that I was occupying, rather than one. Still, I braced myself and watch both of them with bated breath, ready for the first possible opening.

There! The guard who was nearest to the fence was looking at the building where the communications equipment was being restored, while his partner had his head turned around the other way to stare up at one of the nearby guard towers. They were still right next to each other, but they weren’t actually looking at each other. And there were no hover bikes overhead. That was going to have to be good enough. In that moment, I really wished that I had Shiori’s power that told her when she was being observed. Actually, I just really wished that she was here. I missed her. I missed both of them, Shiori and Avalon.

No, had to focus. Without waiting another second, I started to extend myself out of the fence. As I emerged, I quickly grabbed the nearest guard by the wrist while using the possession power, and felt Tabbris helping at the same time.

I was in, seeing through the guards I even as his gaze finished snapping down to where my hand had been on his wrist. I felt him in the back of my mind, struggling against my control. But it was even less than the Seosten’s resistance, barely a spray of water from a hose against a brick wall.

Beside us, his companion was turning away from his study of the tower while asking something. Tabbris immediately translated in near-real-time.

“Did you see something?” the other guard asked. From his voice, he sounded a bit nervous. I wasn’t sure how much of that was fear of me, and how much was fear of what his masters would do if they didn’t find me. To be honest, it was probably weighted about ninety to ninety-five percent in the latter direction. I knew for a fact that I wouldn’t want to be in his position.

Trusting Tabbris to translate my words way she had before, I started to respond. I told the man that there was nothing there, and then asked him if he thought ‘they’ were really still in the camp.

In response, the other guard grunted something about how bad it would be for all of them if I had escaped. Lifting his red flashlight device, he gave it a slow pan around the area. Despite myself, I braced a little bit as it passed over me. But nothing happened. Which, I supposed made sense. As much as the Seosten depended on being able to possess their troops, I really doubted they would hand out a bunch of ways to identify them.

Uh huh, Tabbris agreed. Mama said that the Seosten have been unified and working together for so long that most of them can’t even conceive of the idea that they might actually have to defend against their own abilities. She hesitated a bit then, before adding, That’s what the regular Seosten think anyway. Mama said that she thought that the ones who did show any kind of, you know, resistance to the way things were got taken away somewhere so they wouldn’t ‘infect’ anyone else.

There was a lot that I wanted to say to that, but we had to focus. So I looked down at the flashlight thing in my hands and access the guards memories briefly to see how to activate it. Turning it on, I swept the beam around before pausing as it hit a corner of the nearest tower down near the base. “Hey,” I spoke while nudging the guard next to me. Again, my partner translated my voice. “Did you see that?”

The man’s head snapped that way, and he stared intently for a moment before shaking his head. His hand was already reaching for something on his belt as he replied, “Better call it in anyway.”

Quickly, I made my host shake his head while hissing, “Are you crazy?” When he stopped to look at me, I continued. “What if there’s nothing there? Do you want to be the one who calls them over with the mood they’re in? You think they’ll just laugh it off if they think we distracted them for nothing?” With that, I started to walk that way, gesturing with the pistol that the man had been carrying in his other hand. “Come on, watch my back. We’ll check it out, then call it in.”

Walking that way, I led the other guard over to the tower. No one was paying attention to us, since they were all so intently focused on searching for… well, me. The tension in the air was obvious, and I was pretty sure that it wasn’t because these guys were afraid of what I might do.

Leading my guy over to the base of the tower, I stepped under it and into the shadows. There was a bush there, and I took a knee while making a big show of peering under the bush. The whole time, the other guard kept asking increasingly nervous questions about whether anything was there. He also mentioned more than once how close we were to the edge of the camp.

“Wait,” I muttered, then leaned in to pantomime grabbing something. Keeping my hand closed into a fist, I turned while staying on one knee to hold the hand up toward the other guy. “Think they dropped this?” Then I opened the guy’s hand only a little bit, deliberately keeping a couple fingers in the way so that he couldn’t see that my hand was actually empty.

With an annoyed grunt, the other guard reached out to push my fingers away, telling me to let him see. As my host’s open and empty palm was revealed, I made him smile (though it was hidden behind the mask). “Oops. Guess it escaped.” Then I abruptly grabbed his wrist while telling Tabbris, Now!

Two things happened simultaneously then. First, the Seosten girl knocked out our current host after wiping out his memory of the past few minutes. At the same time, I shot upward out of the body, my actual hand replacing his on the other guard’s wrist. Then I was inside of him, looking down at the first body as it fell collapsed right back into the bush that I had positioned him near. Since he was already kneeling, it barely made a sound.

And just like that, I was in one guard’s body while the other had been knocked out and hidden away. Sure, it wouldn’t be long before the body was found (I had the sneaky suspicion that this whole thing had started because someone had found the last body I left in some bushes). But it didn’t need to. The cat was out of the bag now. We just had to get out of here. And honestly, them finding an unconscious body with no idea how it got there might work in my favor.

Right, under the tower so I was hidden from its sight, and no one was looking directly at me. Time to just slip away into the forest and disappear. Unfortunately, turning to step that way, I heard a steady humming. At first, I thought it was just a bit of ringing in my ears. But Tabbris quickly told me to stop.

I think it’s a forcefield, she whispered. They probably put it up to make sure you couldn’t get out.

Slowly, I turned back to look at the camp. Raising my gaze up a bit, I replied, Those hoverbikes are going in and out of it. So the field must not extend all the way up. Maybe I could drop this guy and staff-boost myself over it.

But we don’t know exactly how high it is, the other girl pointed out. And all those guys will be right on you the second you do that. Those um, those hoverbikes’ll run you down really quick.

She had a point. I might be able to boost myself over the forcefield, but even if I did, we’d have a dozen different hoverbikes right on our tails within a couple of seconds. It just wasn’t feasible.

Instead, I kept looking around the camp. Everything still looked the same. There were guards searching everywhere, hoverbikes overhead, Seosten barking orders as they strode back and forth, some technicians trying to fix the communications computers…

I’ve got another plan, I announced with a slow smile. But it might be a little crazy.

A little? Tabbris’s voice came back. I can, um, you know…  read your mind, remember? It’s not a little crazy, it’s a lot crazy. Like, um, the Mount Vesuvius of crazy.

Hey, I replied, remember when we did that report on that in eighth grade and made that working replica with all the little Roman houses? Dad stayed up all night with us like three days in a row to get it done in time.

There was a brief hesitation, and I felt the Seosten girl’s conflicting emotions at my words. Your… your dad really wanted you to do well on that project. He loves you a lot.

He loves his family, Tabbris, I reminded her. And as soon as he knows you exist, you’ll be his family too. You already are. You’re my sister. So you’re family. Got it? We’re in this together.

Again, I felt a rush of tumultuous emotions from the girl before she answered with a soft, Got it. So, um… If she had been physically present, I was pretty sure she would’ve been crying right then. Or at least sniffling. Time for the Vesuvius idea?

Time for the Vesuvius idea, I confirmed. Without wasting another second, I made our current host start walking back the way that we had come before.

We reached the middle of the camp, where two of the Seosten were standing. One was the guy from earlier, the one Tabbris had tricked into not checking out the tower when we had been sneaking our way in. To put it mildly, he seemed to be in a bad mood. Not that his companion was any happier. They were both shouting orders, demands that I be found or the entire camp would pay for it. As the single guard that we were possessing approached, both of their attention turned to us, and one of them asked if we’d found anything.

Wow, I started, you were right, they are not good at defending against their own tactics, are they?

Nuh uh, came the answer. Like Mama said, most of them can’t even consider the idea that they might have someone use their own powers against them.

Well, they were going to learn the error of that kind of assumption pretty damn quick, if I had anything to say about it. With that in mind, I made our host start nodding to the men as they blurted their demands. Raising the hand with the red flashlight, I used it to point back the other way. For just a second, the two Seosten glanced that way, instinctively looking the way I was pointing.

And then I used the guard’s gun to shoot the nearest one five times right in the middle of his chest. It turned out that this thing was a laser gun, firing out tiny orange balls of light that tore into and through him before he even knew anything was wrong.

He fell, collapsing to the ground with a look of shock. At the same time, a rush of pleasure flooded into me and I saw my aura flare up around our host. It wasn’t anything like when I had killed Charmiene. But still, I only kept moving because I had been bracing myself for it. Even then, I still staggered a bit.

His partner, the Seosten we’d seen earlier, was already snatching some kind of weapon from his belt. But it was too late. Tabbris sent us out of our current host, and I threw myself that way while he was still trying to get the thing up.

My staff was in one hand, but I didn’t swing it. Instead, after hitting the button to make it start charging up, I actually released the staff while throwing myself bodily into the Seosten.

Again, just like before, it worked. I was possessing him. This guy was even stronger than the last one. I felt his rage, even heard him making threats. Given enough time and focus, he might’ve been able to wrest control away from me for short bursts. But we weren’t going to give him that kind of time. Nor would we let the other remaining Seosten (whose locations I could sense through that connection they had) get to us.

Instead, I made his hand snap out to catch my abandoned staff before it could finish falling. Then I looked around quickly.

Yeah, we had an audience. Shooting the first Seosten had attracted everyone’s attention. There were more guns pointed at me than I could count. Yet they didn’t fire. They didn’t dare fire. Their entire society was built around constantly serving the Seosten. Entire generations stretching back as far as they could remember had been serving the Seosten. The very thought of actually shooting one of them was probably close to impossible for them to even consider, after how much had been put into making them practically worship their masters.

So they hesitated, and I took advantage of that. Using the man’s fingers, I hit the button on my staff. The charge that had been building up released itself in a burst that sent us flying straight up, right at the nearest hoverbike. Its rider, who had been aiming down at me, was already jerking back. But it was too late. Just as we collided with him, Tabbris activated not my possession, but the Seosten’s.

And then we were there on the bike, possessing the man who had been riding it. Or to be more specific, Tabbris was possessing me, I was possessing the Seosten, and the Seosten was possessing the rider. How many more levels of this could we find a way to add?

Maybe I’d find out someday. For the moment, I simply let Tabbris take over, because she was better and faster at the next part. She instantly scanned the memory of our most recent host (the biggest pig in the Jekern pile, so to speak), checking for the controls. Then she grabbed the hoverbike’s handlebars, hit something with the man’s foot, and we were suddenly gone. The bike took off so fast it made those Formula One racecars look like they were standing still. She punched the gas (or whatever this thing used), and the bike shot straight out into the forest, engines screaming.

The other hoverbikes would be right on our tail. But we had the advantage, since we’d caught them by surprise. And since we were on the same kind of vehicle instead of on foot, they didn’t have that advantage. For the moment, we were out of sight.

In my head, the Seosten we were possessing growled a deep, You will burn for this. You cannot comprehend the force that will be brought down on you. We are the Seosten. Our rule is unchallenged and our vengeance unimaginable.

Yeah? I replied simply, Well as a great smuggler once said, I can imagine quite a lot. And for the record, things are changing. You might wanna buckle up. As Tabbris moved the man’s hand to snap something off the controls, I added, No, seriously, buckle up.

And with that, I threw myself backwards out of both the driver of the hoverbike and the Seosten himself. The speed that we were going at when I jumped off would’ve made me pretty much splatter into a fine paste, but I had timed it so that my body went straight for the nearest tree. A second later, I merged with it, even as the sound of the hoverbike disappeared off in the distance. Barely a handful of seconds later, a dozen more bikes went tearing off after it, having no idea that they were passing us by.

That thing you broke, I asked once the crowd of pursuers was gone, you sure it’ll stop him from turning that thing around any time soon?

Uh huh! Tabbris chirped. D-definitely! I promise, I made sure. And um, it’s bit. The last part came very quietly, like she was embarrassed to say anything.

Bit? I echoed, confused.

Han Solo, she quickly put in. He said he could imagine quite a bit, not quite a lot. I’m sorry, I just–it was… umm, I… really like Han Solo. He’s… he’s my favorite.

Aww, I replied, Now I know what movies were gonna watch with Dad as soon as we get back.

The bikes were gone by that point, so it was time to leave. Sending myself to the bottom of the tree that I had thrown us into, I stepped out of it while announcing out loud, “And I think I’ll call that whole possessing someone who possesses someone else the Choo Maneuver.”

“Good name.” The words came from my left, and I jerked that way to find a figure standing there. One of the remaining Seosten. He was too far back for me to grab, and from the expression on his face as he held his gun leveled straight in my direction, I was pretty sure that if I moved, he’d just shoot me and be done with it.

It took me a second to recognize that he had spoken in English, without Tabbris’s translation. And he’d understood my words. His smile was thin. “You have given us quite the scare. I would kill you now, but the rest must see you die. They must see it for themselves and know that your threat is ended as soon as it began. You are–”

And then his head basically exploded. It burst like a melon, as a familiar spiked metal ball appeared where it had been. A second later, an equally familiar pink aura flared up, and I heard a loud gasp of pleasure.

“Really?” Sands demanded once she had recovered. “You thought I’d just abandon you on your say-so? Do you have any idea what Avalon would do to me if I did that? Sorry, Chambers, but she’s scarier than you are.

“Now let’s get the fuck out of here.”

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47 comments

  1. Okay, well, if the Seosten didn’t already want Flick’s head on a pike, they sure do now, huh guys? Nothing like surprise-executing one Seosten before possessing another one to use as part of your getaway! And woe be to whoever draws the short straw and has to report in that not only do they still have no idea why they can’t possess that damn girl, SHE can apparently possess THEM without issue. Just… don’t really wanna be that messenger.

    In any case, I hope you guys enjoyed that chapter. There should be one more for this arc before we get to the interlude. After all, can’t just leave them on this world, can we? 😉

    In other, very useful news, one amazing and wonderful reader Pondincherry has painstakingly gone through this entire story to set up an actual CHRONOLOGICAL READING ORDER. In other words, if you read the story in this order (so far), all events occur in sequential chronological order. Which means that you end up with a lot of early events at the front before we even introduce Flick. You can find that chronological reading order listed on a subreddit post right here!

    But yeah, thanks for reading! Tags for this chapter are: Everyone In The Comments Of This Chapter: Does Sands Have Possession Powers Now?!?, Felicity Chambers, Flick, Normal People: “Flick You Can’t Possibly Piss The Seosten Off More Than You Already Have.” Flick: “Hold My Beer.”, Sands, Tabbris

    Liked by 5 people

    1. In response to that one tag, I’d like to point out that Sands already HAD a possession power. Now, she may not have been able to possess PEOPLE with it, but it still counts, right?

      Liked by 2 people

    2. With the rate Flick keeps making enemies, pissing people off and executing insane plans, she somebody in her group should hunt down Cthulhu. Otherwise, there’s just no way to hold all those beers. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  2. There was a lot that I wanted to say to that, but we had to focus. So I looked down at the flashlight thing in my hands and access to the guards memories briefly to see how to activate it. Turning it on, I swept the beam around before pausing as it hit a corner of the nearest tower down near the base. Hey, I spoke while nudging the card next to me. My voice was translat there was a lot that I wanted to say to that, but we had to focus. So I looked down at the flashlight thing in my hands and access the guards memories briefly to see how to activate it. Turning it on, I swept the being around before pausing as it hit a corner of the nearest tower down near the base. “Hey,” I spoke while nudging the guard next to me. Again, my partner translated my voice. “Did you see that?”

    That paragraph really needs an edit fix, you sort of typed it, then typed an updated version without removing the old one.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I think that term definitely works better in the original sense of the meme. My fault for generally avoiding the comments beyond seeing what silly tag is going to show up in the first one. -g- My usage was a stretch and mostly promoted by the Seosten appearance in the chapter.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Eeee! Awesomesauce! More Seosten-powered Heretics are good news. Or maybe she will get Vanessa’s perfect memory?

    One thing…. this section:

    “Hey, I spoke while nudging the card next to me. My voice was translat there was a lot that I wanted to say to that, but we had to focus.”

    It looks very similar in portions to a sentence later in the same paragraph so perhaps a cut and paste error or your train of thought being derailed or something.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Well that was great. I’m pretty impressed that Sands managed to track them down so quickly.

    And I have never identified with Tabbris more than when she corrected a movie quote.

    Everyone In The Comments Of This Chapter: Does Sands Have Possession Powers Now?!?

    Actually, my first thought was that she got the multiplicative physical enhancement power. Sands’s powers seem to lean towards combat. So not EVERYONE in the comments will ask that. 😛 😉

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Hey, she got the ‘possess an inanimate object’ power, AND the ability to throw out sticky webbing and light it on fire.

        But yeah, I know what you mean. 😉

        Like

    1. And I have never identified with Tabbris more than when she corrected a movie quote.

      lol, yeah I figured some people would empathize with that urge.

      Actually, my first thought was that she got the multiplicative physical enhancement power. Sands’s powers seem to lean towards combat. So not EVERYONE in the comments will ask that.

      Fair point.

      Like

  5. >He loves his family, Tabbris, I reminded her. And as soon as he knows you exist, you’ll be his family too. You already are. You’re my sister. So you’re family. Got it? We’re in this together.
    Again, I felt a rush of tumultuous emotions from the girl before she answered with a soft, Got it. So, um… If she had been physically present, I was pretty sure she would’ve been crying right then. Or at least sniffling. Time for the Vesuvius idea?

    This sounds like it’ll be crazy even by Flick standards.

    >In my head, the Seosten we were possessing growled a deep, You will burn for this. You cannot comprehend the force that will be brought down on you. We are the Seosten. Our rule is unchallenged and our vengeance unimaginable.

    “Unchallenged”, eh? Part of this is nothing more than bravado, given the Fomorians are successfully challenging their rule and pushing them further and further back.

    >Han Solo, she quickly put in. He said he could imagine quite a bit, not quite a lot. I’m sorry, I just–it was… umm, I… really like Han Solo. He’s… he’s my favorite.
    Aww, I replied, Now I know what movies were gonna watch with Dad as soon as we get back.

    …Oh dear. Tabbris is not going to like The Force Awakens then, I highly suspect. On a side note, Flick got out-nerded, heh.

    >Good name.” The words came from my left, and I jerked that way to find a figure standing there. One of the remaining Seosten. He was too far back for me to grab, and from the expression on his face as he held his gun leveled straight in my direction, I was pretty sure that if I moved, he’d just shoot me and be done with it.
    It took me a second to recognize that he had spoken in English, without Tabbris’s translation. And he’d understood my words. His smile was thin. “You have given us quite the scare. I would kill you now, but the rest must see you die. They must see it for themselves and know that your threat is ended as soon as it began. You are–”
    And then his head basically exploded. It burst like a melon, as a familiar spiked metal ball appeared where it had been. A second later, an equally familiar pink aura flared up, and I heard a loud gasp of pleasure.

    Several things happened here. Flick and Tabbris didn’t maintain situational awareness and got surprised by a Seosten who had them dead to rights. However, the Seosten also lacked situational awareness in addition to monologuing and going for Flash over practicality.
    Good on Sands for saving Flick’s life, though, out of Fear of Avalon if nothing else, lol.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. This sounds like it’ll be crazy even by Flick standards.

      Which seems impossible, but here we are.

      “Unchallenged”, eh? Part of this is nothing more than bravado, given the Fomorians are successfully challenging their rule and pushing them further and further back.

      Yup. Says something about the way the Seosten teach/train/raise their soldiers too.

      Several things happened here. Flick and Tabbris didn’t maintain situational awareness and got surprised by a Seosten who had them dead to rights. However, the Seosten also lacked situational awareness in addition to monologuing and going for Flash over practicality.

      Indeed, that’s both sides making the same mistake one after the other.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. So who else is thinking that Sariel might be possibly be slightly censoring information for Tabbris again here? Such as why she thought that the resistance showing ones were taken away?

    >that’s what the regular Seosten think anyway. Mama said that she thought that the ones who did show any kind of, you know, resistance to the way things were got taken away somewhere so they wouldn’t ‘infect’ anyone else.

    I wonder how much of Sariel’s skill was driven by the need to be hard to replace after Apollo left given that the two were partners. And when she grew aware of this as if it was before she got captured then her changing from normal operation methods by not taking control was probably some amount of risk for her.

    Like

      1. I was thinking more of Sariel withholding her own history. She has done that before when she let Tabbris think she somehow persuaded Haiden rather than Haiden saving Sariel from a suicide attempt when she decided that she wasn’t going to waste time with Larissa’s life on the time with Haiden trying to kill her instead of getting Larissa to the hospital.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Ah, the unspoken plan guarantee. The MINUTE the narration skipped over Tabbris’s plan I knew it would work.

    Goddamn, Tabbris is good. Her plan boils down to shamelessly exploiting a giant doctrinal blind spot, knowing that the vast majority of the enemy troops won’t even be able to comprehend acting against Flick while she’s using that blind spot, and that the enemy leadership doesn’t want the grunts thinking about the existence of the blind spot.

    This is basically Flaw Exploitation: The Chapter. The only reason ANY of this worked is because Flick abused the hell out of psychological quirks in her opponents.

    And apparently the Seosten regime ships off any Seosten who disagrees with how things are done. Probably to Kushiel’s place. Thanks for confirming that the current regime is basically irredeemable, Cerulean.

    And the SEOSTEN basically can’t concieve of having to defend against their own power set? It’s not just the grunts that are blind to it? Oh hai there ginormous blind spot, I’m Tabbris, I’m Flick, and we’ll be exploiting you relentlessly for the foreseeable future.

    So did Flick get much of anything from her second Seosten kill? And when the guy she left on the overclocked hoverbike in a forest crashes will she get anything?

    And here’s the problem with making your mooks worship you and never consider acting against you at all: When someone body-snatches you they bluesceen.

    So Tabbris is a Han Solo fan. Not surprised. The Force wouldn’t seem all that special to someone in the Knowledge, but Han Solo’s cunning would be something very special.

    And the killer is Sands, with a Construction Mace, in the forest. And it seems Seosten have a crippling weakness to getting cheap shotted.

    DOES Sands have possession powers now? I’m hoping for the boost, actually.

    Flick’s rapidly becoming boogeyman for Seosten. Immune to possession, no-sells their magic, breaks out of inescapable traps, subverts and wrecks their infrastucture, possesses THEM, has no compunctions about causally cheap-shotting them and every time they think they’ve got her something goes horribly wrong.

    And this is with Chibi Joselyn teaming up with Chibi Sariel. Imagine the adults teaming up. Or don’t if you’re an HE villain who would like to ever sleep well. Jophiel and Elizabet will have nightmares about how close they came to dealing with a Joselyn and Sariel team when they find out about this.

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  8. I think you have a “granted” where you meant “grunted” in there.

    Just how many layers deep can this multi-nesting possession go, I wonder? And why can’t I stop thinking about a Scooby-Doo style scene where someone starts “unmasking” the villain, and half an hour later they’re still finding another Seosten inside their Seosten….

    “Yo dawg, I heard you like possession, so I possessed your possessor so you can be possessed while you’re possessing.”

    That last Seosten was a little bit smarter (or a bit less blinded by his own superiority) than the mooks Flick spent the last half-hour beating on. It’s a good thing she didn’t run into him first. And he’s proof that, while the Seosten may have huge blind spots right now, they won’t stay that way too long if Flick keeps pulling stunts like this on them.

    I think “hold me beer” is going to become a code phrase around Flick….
    “And that’s when Chambers pulled a ‘hold my beer’ maneuver.”
    Audience: (leans back by instinct) “Dis gonna be gud!”

    Liked by 3 people

    1. The thing is that even if the Seosten lose the blind spots, they can’t let the mooks start thinking about possession countermeasures, because any possession countermeasure effective vs Flick and Tabbris is also effective against regime Seosten. This means that they’ll ALWAYS be vulnerable to such shenanigans to a degree.

      Note that the converse is not true, as Tabbris is vastly more skilled at using the power than most Seosten, and Flick’s possession power is vastly superior to that of the average Seosten. Together they’re basically budget Sariel.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Heck, Sariel’s defense for Larissa that Haiden is also borrowing, and likely everyone else is also a nasty bit of possession countermeasure as it doesn’t explicity deny complete possession – just to all but one Seosten. Which when you’re not trying to control everyone but just boost/hide/heal/what other tricks that Seosten have when it comes to hosts that is a dream come true. Depending on the fine print with how it works it may not work against blood relatives, (since Seosten have trouble when it comes to blood relations being allowed possession when they really shouldn’t be) but given how the Seosten don’t have a way to track that as far as we can see that wouldn’t be of any aid.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Wait a minute. All of the Seosten are already possessing someone, right? To get more powers? So how is Flick able to possess any of them? She should be stopped from possessing the Seosten-possesses Alter because of the internal Seosten just like they’re stopped from possessing her by her inner Seosten.

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      1. They’re not all possessing someone, these guys are all out in the open because they don’t rank high enough to get Heretic hosts.

        I’m not sure why they don’t just possess other Alters though.

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      2. Because A. they’re arrogant shits with massive superiority complexes and B. the possession might or might not be an upgrade. From the Charmeine fight it appears that Seosten physical boosting is more powerful when not possessing someone and Seosten have good base physical parameters in the first place. Add in the option of using possession as a fuck you I win button in combat and it make sense to not be in a host if they don’t have anyone potent handy.

        They weren’t expecting to be up against heretics who have enough firepower that being in a host doubles their survivability by preventing insta-kills, and they certainly weren’t expecting to be up against anyone immune to possession.

        And generally, these guys aren’t going to be hot shit because there’s a REASON they’re doing prison overseer duty.

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      3. As Hendy said, the Seosten we see here are not possessing anyone. They are just in their own bodies. Which is partly out of Seosten arrogance, as well as the fact that they want their slaves to be afraid of and respect them, which is hard to do if they never actually SEE the Seosten because they’re always in other bodies. Yes, there would be a bit of a boogeyman element to it, and they do use that quite a lot. But generally speaking, they want the other races to be able to point to/look at the Seosten themselves and be intimidated.

        Basically, in a normal, day-to-day work camp situation like this, there’s no particular reason for them to be possessing people regularly, outside of ferreting out escape plans or just plain messing with their prisoners.

        Liked by 2 people

  9. Either way, that upgrade was good for Flick. Either she got something else Seosten-y (always useful), or her Possession power upgraded from “Controls Seosten, with possibility of unwanted twitching, to: “Shut up back there, I’m driving and there’s dick-all you can do about it.”

    The “He loves his family, and that’ll include you, as soon as he knows you exist. You’re my sister, and we’re in this together. Got it?” passage hammered on my “Awww” button.

    Also all the reveals about Tabbris’s psych issues come across very organically. Great chapter.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s very unlikely she got a meaningful increase in possession “power” from this, just because the guy she killed was pretty much an ant compared to Charmeine and the strength of the power acquired scales with the power of the deceased.

      Even if she got say 20% of Charmeine’s power, and 100% of that of the guy she killed here, that’s not going to be much of an increase just because of how much stronger Charmeine was.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. And since getting more of the same power is more likely than getting a new one, we probably won’t notice a change from this kill. Well, unless Tabbris tells Flick about it on-screen.

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  10. hmm, 5 Sesten at the camp, 2 have been killed and 2 others were openly seen getting possessed. Not good for their aura of invincibility.
    **
    Hendy: I’m not sure why they don’t just possess other Alters though.

    Me: because that might make the grunts think they are _scared_
    **
    Shawn: Either way, that upgrade was good for Flick. Either she got something else Seosten-y (always useful), or her Possession power upgraded from “Controls Seosten, with possibility of unwanted twitching, to: “Shut up back there, I’m driving and there’s dick-all you can do about it.”

    Me: unlikely, I doubt that dickwad was powerful enough to add any real strength to Flick’s current possession power. Yeah it’ll go up (assuming she didn’t luck into a new power), but only a tiny bit.
    and Alex covered his already. 8P

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Because that wouldn’t do much for their combat effectiveness compared to the additional goon. That’s why.

        Their boost power seems to work better on Seosten than on possession victims and they have a fairly solid base statline to work with compared to most species we’ve seen. There needs to be a substantial improvement in threat level to justify having one combatant instead of two, and I doubt they have anyone potent enough for that handy.

        Especially with those guns providing a fairly good minimum threat per soldier.

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  11. In response, the other guard granted something about how bad it would be for all of them if I had escaped.

    “grunted” maybe?

    Turning it on, I swept the being around before pausing as it hit a corner of the nearest tower down near the base.

    “beam”

    And then we were there on the bike, possessing the man who had been riding it. Or to be more specific, Tabbris was possessing me, I was possessing the Seosten, and the Seosten was possessing the rider. How many more levels of this could we find a way to add?

    Ahh, Matryoshka Seosten. If Flick was a little more bloodthirsty she could just possess a bunch of Seosten and slip from one, knocking them out and letting another Heritic kill the first one and just keep doing it. But, well, we can set up as many Alter farms as we want, it’s not going to be any less evil. (And you can’t really devalue mermaid bones to fix it. (I don’t even play that game and I know this reference. Thanks to TV Tropes.))

    (the biggest pig in the Jekern pile, so to speak)

    This made me chuckle.

    Welp. Flick really should have looked around before leaving that tree but she had backup so no real foul. This time.

    Looking forward to the next one.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Great story.
        So do we know how Sands ended up standing behind the bad guy? I am guessing she possessed one of Flicks items and then popped out but I wasn’t sure if that was it since I thought Flicks items-sense ability would detect the Sands within. I also thought that might not be the answer because I assume Sands reappears next to the item which means she popped out didn’t get noticed by either Flick or the sneaky Seosten and then walked around behind him.
        On another note how did the Seosten get there so quickly? Can he run almost as fast as a hover bike and was just in pursuit?

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      2. Thanks! And good question(s). The answer is that this Seosten was chasing Flick using his own hoverbike, and THAT was what Sands was possessing, because she was watching, saw the guy heading for the hidden bike, and quickly possessed it so that he’d take her with him. On the way, just so that she wouldn’t lose him, Sands switched from possessing the bike to possessing the Seosten’s own clothing. Which was a good thing, because when he saw Flick dive off her bike, he abandoned his as well, leaping off rather than taking the time to stop.

        That’s how Sands ended up behind him. It was his clothing she was possessing, not Flick’s.

        At some point when they have two seconds, I will be sure to have Flick actually ask all that in-story!

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  12. Okay, i have a completely irrelevant question that’s been killing me for ages. Is Fossor’s real name (Merakeul) meant to sound like the word miracle, or is that just a coincidence.

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  13. Just so people know, Cerulean said that Sands got Seosten boosting from this particular kill. Seven or eight seconds of 3x strength/speed/whatever with a recharge.

    Or basically TRANS-AM.

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