Part Twenty Eight: Haruspex Analytics, Below
It starts with a tremor, then a sound, then all of the cultists bursting into flame.
In the immediate aftermath of the fight Agent Grant brings everyone up to speed on Jenny’s group finding LaFleur along with three apparent defectors. Then the building starts to shake: the tremor is brief, but strong enough for CB and his group to stop what they’re doing and focus completely on the cracks forming through the stone floor. When the sound starts, it’s alarming enough that CB is about to suggest that they take the wounded and get David to make one of those convenient portals to hurry through when suddenly they are surrounded by fire, heat, and light. The strange red stone in the room and infused in the walls are engulfed in flame, followed shortly by every cultist in the room. Even the ones who turned to stone burst into blue-white flame. It’s an unnatural burn—it takes no more than a second, as all the cultists bodies and red stone are consumed like flash paper—and then all that is left are piles of ash scattered across the broken floor.
CB looks at the others. Blink is on the other side of the room, an instinctive reaction to suddenly being surrounded by fire. Brother Judgment is airborne, for pretty much the same reason, wisps of smoke rising from the hem of his trenchcoat. David appears untouched, though he’s swaying as if trying to catch his balance, and the strange shadow-bird he calls “Allard” is hanging in the air, motionless.
The only one who appears physically hurt is Agent Grant. He grimaces, thrusting his right hand between his left arm and his side. CB can smell charred flesh.
“Just a sec.” Grant speaks through clenched teeth, forcing back a gag. “I was trying to triage one of those assholes. Fuck, this hurts…” His outline blurs for a second, then he sighs in relief. The smell of charred flesh disappears, and as he drops his hand to his side CB can see no trace of burns at all. “Now what the hell is going on?”
The trembling starts again, stronger this time.
“Curveball.” Brother Judgment floats down beside him and points to the door. “Exit’s gone.”
Correction: Brother Judgment points to where the door used to be. There is no longer any trace of it, just a solid, stone wall that is cracking the longer the building shakes.
“What the hell?” CB races over to where there ought to be a door. “Doc, is this some kind of illusion?”
David frowns at the blank spot on the wall. “No. Give me a second, and I’ll summon a portal. Where do you want to go?”
“Good question,” CB says. “Grant, tell Travers to reach out to Sky Commando. Looks like we need to group up.”
* * *
Alishia Webb banks sharply, the Sky Commando suit responding far more nimbly than its size would suggest, as one of the building’s cables flies past her in a blur. The end strikes the side of a nearby building, knocking out a human-sized chunk of concrete and causing spider fractures to form around the impact.
“Status!” She’s yelling, an unnecessary but altogether reasonable reaction given all the adrenaline pumping through her right now. She’d assumed all those metal plates being scattered across Manhattan was the worst-case scenario. She was so very, very wrong.
The building’s right leg (the building’s right leg??? How the hell is that a thing?) stands on the street, its left on the edge of the small park. The building is too large to fit entirely on the street, it can’t go any further without pushing through other buildings first.
This is clearly what it intends to do.
“We’ve expanded the perimeter.” Captain Banks sounds a little calmer than Alishia—on the other hand, he’s not dodging sky tentacles. “Sky Commando, we’re lucky, I suppose, that this is happening now. Not as many people here. But there are still people…”
“Understood. I’ll get you more support.” She switched channels, activating the band reserved for civilian metahumans who assist law enforcement. “This is Sky Commando, calling all Licensed Metahuman Assets. You unlicensed ones, too—I know you’re listening in. We need any metahumans with abilities or resources that can assist in evacuating the area to report to Captain Paul Banks as soon as possible. I’m sending his location now. We need you to focus on getting people out of the area instead of engaging with the…”
Her voice trails off as she tries to find a word that accurately describes the walking building without actually calling it a walking building. She can’t find one.
“Kaiju?” Whoever is making the suggestion doesn’t bother identifying himself.
“You know what, at some point someone is going to post this entire conversation on the Internet and there will be a subreddit devoted to how wrong that is, but I can’t think of anything better right now. If you are tasked with evacuating civilians, do not engage the kaiju. The point is to get the civilians out of the way. Air Force is en route, I don’t want civilians caught in the middle when they show up.”
Another channel lights up—one of the reserved ones. Alishia gains a little altitude to bring herself above the writing cables, then activates the reserved channel. “Sky Commando.”
“Hello, Sky Commando.” The voice is pleasant, professionally friendly, and exceptionally calm. “This is Pete Travers.”
“Travers!” Alishia feels herself tense. “Agent Henry told me to expect your call. What’s the status of your people?”
“It’s complicated,” Travers says. “Most of them are in the building at the moment, but we’re about to extract them somewhat rapidly. Can you give them a safe place to exit? Keeping in mind that we would prefer they not be shot at, or arrested…”
“Since none of them are a 50 story tall walking building I think that’s not going to be a problem,” Alishia says. “Get them to the Alpha MCV—sending location now. Agent Henry and the rest of his team are already there.”
“That’s convenient,” Travers says. “Location received. I’ll contact again once everyone is out.”
“Hurry,” Alishia says. “The Air Force is on its way.”
At last! Muchas gracias. Read the whole thing, mind is thoroughly blown.
You may wish to fix the typo at paragraph 6, first line. The “f” is missing from Red Shift’s name.
Oops: that’s part two, paragraph 6, line 1.
Typo immune to spell check, part 6, paragraph 91, sentence 3. Did you mean, “The small one jumps to his feet” rather than “his feat”?
Oh ouch, that missing f is *terrible*. 🙂
Fixed that, and feat/feet. Thanks for finding them.
Re-reading part two, section where the scene shifts to Jenny: second paragraph refers to Liberty as Toby’s grandfather, third paragraph refers to Liberty as “his great-grandfather.” In context, the intent of the second reference could have been “his grandfather” again or “her (Jenny’s) great-grandfather”.
Another good catch. Liberty is Toby’s grandfather and Jenny’s great-grandfather. I’ve cleaned that up.
Great to have you back in the harness – so to speak.
Minor typo: Part Two, Para 5: a ‘d’ is missing in: one arm hangs limply by his sie as the empty sleeve…
Thanks minrich, should be fixed now.
eternal joy, thatit seems we are alone no longer.”
eternal joy, that it seems we are alone no longer.”
“Well, look, your Liberty’s great-granddaughter”
“Well, look, you’re Liberty’s great-granddaughter”
Thanks Bjarne. Fixed.
That spacing issue (“thatit”) is weird because it doesn’t show up in the original manuscript.
faint gold spark appears toRed Shift’s right.
faint gold spark appears to Red Shift’s right.
Annnnnnd… fixed. Thanks!
Part two, second section (Jenny), second paragraph, last sentence, linguistic quibble: “At the moment he’s laying down” should be “At the moment he’s lying down”. It may be said that in the previous episode when David moved Toby after casting his protective spell, he laid Toby down, but now Toby is lying down. For edification and amusement, you may wish to go to dictionary.com, enter the word “lay” in the definition blank and hit enter, then scroll down to the “Lay vs. Lie” video and enjoy.
That’s fixed. I don’t know why I mixed those up. But viewing grammar videos on the web is _never_ enjoyable. 😉
Part 9, paragraph beginning “He can see the Chairman”, last sentence: Richter is misspelled “Reichter”. Possibly Freudian slip?
Part 10, first paragraph, second sentence, first word should not contain the apostrophe. (Autocorrect does that to me sometimes, substituting the contraction for the possessive pronoun. Bad autocorrect!)
– second paragraph, first sentence speaks of “dimly lit florescent lights” but I think you meant “fluorescent” since the dictionary says “florescent” means “flourishing”.
– fourth paragraph from the end, beginning “There is a low hum”, another “it’s” that should be “its”.
OK, got these too!
APOLOGIES FOR THE FORMATTING:
I just finished reading an excellent and enthralling tale (obviously shaving your head did nothing to kerb your style – I was worried a la Samson and Delilah that you might lose your talent).
Anyhow, the following typos, misspelling(s), and possible misunderstandings, by me, of your choice of words/phrases to this left-pondian, who only lived in the US for 21 years, triggered my antenna – but the story demanded that I keep reading. This resulted in a quick copy and paste (without commentary) and then a quick insert of the Part Number (so that you have a vague clue where to look).
Part Seven: Haruspex Analytics, Jason Klein’s Suite
He wouldn’t be the first to abandon a good team in favor of a promising promotion. To become “a suit,” as Billy would to say.
Part Eight: New York City, Downtown
David grins in spite of himself. “Because it’s better ‘Doctor Weird, Warlock Supreme.’”
Part Fourteen: Haruspex Analytics
Shewatches, calm and remote, and waits.
She at Justin. Without hesitation, he bolts toward the still glowing tear.
Part Eighteen: Haruspex Analytics, Ground Floor Lobby
The torso comes together in a rough outline, and in a matter of seconds he can the pieces of rock fuse together as the golem begins to reform.
Blue light flares up again, but it’s different this time. It flickers erratically, like a fluorescent light just before it does.
Part Nineteen: Haruspex Analytics, Upper Floors
Street Ronin crouches on the landing tile, his rifle trained on the closed door
Part Twenty Two: Manhattan, Alpha Checkpoint MCV
“That’s right,” the Senator’s image says. “Remember when I said the first virus—the that didn’t kill
It’s bad, Captain. Bad in way that, historically, cuts across old boundaries. . . . .. We’re talking genetic plague, Captian.”
Part Twenty Seven: Metamorphosis
As the wind rises, so dow the sound, the thummm growing louder, and behind it a second sound.
Part Twenty Nine: Downtown Manhattan
Para 2: It can’t move beyond this spot because the buildings surrounding it are too fall.
Alishia flies closer to the golem, keying up a volley of anti-vehicle missles
Part Thirty One: Ingress
No games, Sky Commando. We have a way to take out thegolem.
Part Thirty Three: Haruspex Analytics Golem, The Labyrinth
he knocks a new hole in the side dof the building and jumps.
Part Thirty Four: Aftermath
David starts looking through the crowd. “Now we round everyone up and go back to the Nautillus.
Thanks minrich, these are all now fixed!
Back again. Just checked the amendment that you made re. Part Nineteen (which is the deja vu all over again and again) and “on the landing tile” appears at least 5 more times – thanks be to Ctrl-F.
Can you be more specific? There are multiple times I use that phrase, but the ones I see are deliberate.
Sorry, my misunderstanding, my septuagenarian vocabulary didn’t extend to ‘landing tile’ as a thing, but google.com showed me the error of my ways – since multiple peoples being advertizing them are.
not fighting against the other awareness, but fusing to cede what remains of his own identity.
refusing to cede?
She twists his arm, and the he cries out in pain as the carbine clatters to the floor.
then he tries?
part 24 “Where are these thingscoming from?” Jenny keeps
not sure if missing a space?
All fixed now!
And now to see where Regiment was during all this kerfuffle…
Thanks for coming back!
Part 22, paragraph 43: “Sky Commander” should probably be “Sky Commando” unless the point is that Captain Banks (understandably) is so badly shaken he isn’t even using Sgt. Webb’s proper title. He gets it right two paragraphs later.
Part 22, paragraphs 39 and 41: not sure about this. 39 refers to “the worst of the group” as a tossup between Crossfire and Overmind. In 41, Sky Commando tells Captain Banks that Haruspex is “much worse than either of those groups could hope to be”, where “either of those groups” seems to be a reference back to Crossfire and Overmind. Am I misreading this, or is she calling Overmind a group?
One of those typos that spellcheck will never catch: Part 26, paragraph 1, last sentence: “standing father back”: s/father/farther.
Part 27, paragraph 15, sentence 4: the word “shifts” is missing an “f”.
Thanks for catching those. They should be fixed now!
– sentence 5: need a space here: durabilityconverging. “durability” is in italics in the actual text.
– next to last sentence: “it’s attention” should be “its attention”.
Paragraph 44, next to last sentence: “one a little to low” “to” needs another “o”.
Paragraph 48, last sentence: “She adjusts her position, putting as much of the base of her cable between herself and the ones closing in.” “as much” seems to want another “as” but I’m not sure exactly what you want here.
Paragraph 11, first sentence, after the second dash: “is throws it”: s/is/it
Paragraph 31: last sentence: “keeping out of site” out of “sight”?
Beautiful, beautiful work. Thank you so much for sharing.
Partway through Part Seventeen there appears to be some paragraph-level cleanup needed at the point where the Chairman nearly comes in to check on Artemis, but then changes his mind. Two versions of the same passage? –>
“Our guest…” Suddenly the Chairman sounds weary. He sighs. “The resources we will need to expend to keep him in check will be… prohibitive. I fear we will be forced to leave him behind.” Phyllis is surprised by the amount of regret in the Chairman’s voice. Who is he talking about?
“I should, at least, say farewell…”
Footsteps close in on the door, and when the door handle begins to turn her heart nearly stops. But it stops, then returns to its original position as the hand on the other side lets go.
“No,” the Chairman says. “We don’t have the time. It galls me to leave him behind
Ah. Yes.” The Chairman hmmms thoughtfully. “I fear we won’t be able to take him with us. The resources we’d need to expend to keep him in check are best used on other things. Come, the door is here.”
The group comes to a stop, and for a terror-filled moment Phyllis is convinced they’ve stopped in front of her door. Seconds pass, then something clicks on the other side of the hall, and the footsteps move off carpet, onto stone. The door clicks a second time as it swings shut. The hallway is silent once again.
@cuatroojos: thanks for the extra updates. They’re all fixed. Sidenote: the issue with the two words being crammed together without a space between them is an oddity because it never shows up in my original text — it’s a result of dumping the text into WordPress. So far I haven’t figured out what it is that’s making WordPress remove the spaces. I assume it isn’t random, though it looks that way to me.
@Christopher Krebs: aaaaaAAAAAAaaaaaAAAaaaaaaaaAAAAaaaaaa fixed now. 😀
You’ve done a terrific job keeping so many different narrative strands going without getting all tangled. Bravo.
Part Twenty-Eight, paragraph 4, another sentence-level blip: “He grimaces, thrusting his right hand left arm and his side.”
That’s fixed now as well.
Part 17, third-to-last paragraph, last sentence: “careless” needs to be in its adverbial form, “carelessly”.
– Paragraph 73 begins “Int he”; “In the”?
– Paragraph 93, beginning “David doesn’t reply”: in the second sentence, “exends” looks like it wants to be “extends”.
– Paragraph 11, first sentence, “more than match”, maybe “more than a match”?
OK, those are fixed now too.
Part 22, paragraph 41, last word: s/Captian/Captain
It was literally SURROUNDED by other instances of the word spelled correctly. Sigh. 🙂
> It was literally SURROUNDED by other instances of the word spelled correctly. Sigh.
If your fingers are anything like mine, they don’t *care* how many times you have spelled a given word correctly. And I echo your Sigh.
C.B., Thanks so much for this! Amazing!
It’s been so long since 35 (and 35 made no sense to me at the time!), that I just bit the bullet and reread from the beginning, and then crashed straight through 36. Wow. Really well done – I can see where the breaks would be for 36a, b, and c if you could break from “year 3”, but boy does it work as a whole.
I actually thought it would be the complete wrapup, since it took that long to “pull in all the loose ends and stories”. But no – it’s just the cliffhanger to Year 4, “on the clock” as it were. Can’t complain about that!
Since I did do a compleat runthrough (spelling intended), I then did it again, trying to pay attention to blips and continuity issues. I have a bunch of notes (some on 36 might already be noted here), plus a Liberty Family Tree – what’s the best way to get them to you, should you want them? I could post it here or the forums, but it is the size of one of your smaller chapters; plus some of the questions are “I could very easily be wrong here, having not understood context”, so, not sure you want those ideas that public.
Note: the email registered with my account is live and commonly read, if you don’t want to put anything out in the open yourself!
Also note: there were threads running through the story that I only saw on the “editing runthrough” – and I’ve read (what was, at the time) the whole story, I think 5 times now. Love the world and character-building that has clearly always been there, but I haven’t noticed happening in serial form.
I would love to see those notes! You can send them to
– at –
– dot –
sent (in case I sent it to the wrong address). Wow, again!
Wow what a trip!