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‘Back in the saddle again,’ Elliot couldn’t help but think. The command center could certainly use some dusting, but technically still ran like a dream.  The layout screened displayed what his father was seeing, heart rate, and energy output. The young man had several different news feeds giving him a multitude of different views on the conflict and was tapped into police scanners across a two block radius. There wasn’t a thing he didn’t know about, and there wasn’t a thing that the ‘Gold Standard’ couldn’t handle. He was quite tempted to crawl back into bed. Though he couldn’t deny it all had a certain thrill.

“How’s she holding up?” With every bit of data streaming right in front of him Elliot really didn’t need to ask. However he placed far more importance on his father’s input. Data couldn’t tell him everything.

“The Girdle’s a bit tight,” was the sarcastic reply. Elliot fought a grin. Yep data couldn’t tell him that.

“I’ll give you ten minutes before that thing snaps.”

“Have this whole mess wrapped in ten.”

Elliot would call him cocky but it looked like the situation could be wrapped in five if the old man took it seriously. Of course this was a special occasion hardly the end of the world.

“Don’t forget to put on a show.”


For Mrs. Brandt it was hard to work up much more than curiosity to the growing chaos though her immediate company required it. She was a sheltered school teacher who shaped young minds, or at least that was the image she wished to portray. Getting caught in a full scale riot should faze her slightly shouldn’t it? Granted her students could be a little rowdy but this was a few levels above that. She dearly hoped Deacon hadn’t noticed her lack of dread.

Amy was quite relieved when her husband didn’t patronize her with saying it’s ‘going to be okay’ or worse panicking. You never really know how someone is going to react until something goes awry, and regrettably she had some high standards. While Elliot was never the most romantic sort, when she was a teenager she considered him the bravest person she had ever known. If Deacon had freaked the first place they would have visited after the parade was couples counseling.

It was one of the risks of trying something new. Deacon had been something dearly different than what she grew up with. For one Deacon was normal.

Deacon worked as a doctor at a small clinic. He wasn’t going to win Mr. Archimedes by any stretch, he had a bit of a paunch, could stand to work out more, and absolutely detested any meal that was just a salad.  His hair was showing signs of thinning and his attire still needed a woman’s touch. Still he was a hero in his own way, defending the helpless against injury and illness, rather than would be super villains, and his smile could raise her spirits more than saving the day ever did.

She loved Elliot and his father, and they would always be family, but the two wouldn’t know normal if it bit them in the ass. Elliot certainly played at normal, but even years away from the job came across as eccentric.  Amy’s one hope is that she didn’t come across as ‘different’ as Elliot was to normal people.

It wasn’t that she was shooting for average, though Elliot would say otherwise, she was just a simple school teacher trying to make it work with her simple doctor husband. Any thoughts of pummeling rioters with steel fisted might were distant. 

Amy leaned on Husband both for appearances and that bit of comfort he could provide.  She wasn’t remotely afraid, but he was an anchor, to remind her the bad times were over. That she had moved on and was in a different place. A place where watching wasn’t just okay it was expected.

They had ducked into a café joining other citizens in retreat that were now hoping to catch the action behind the relatively safety of a pane glass window.

Deacon pulled her tight, not to protect her but to take some degree of comfort from her as they watched a swathe of people go mad.

Still, though her day had been categorically ruined, Amy was a bit more assured in her marriage. She pulled him just a bit closer as she watched the floats burn just a hint of gold was caught in her peripheral vision. The mood in the café changed instantly and she could feel the cheer aching to erupt upon confirmation.

The Gold Standard, golden armor adorned with its crisp black trim. The body of the armor conveyed a statuesque presence that invoked something that would appeal to classic Greek sculptors. Its very presence conveyed power, conveyed might have been an understatement she could nearly see the power crackling off of it. The old man had made improvements in recent years.

While Amy’s review was technical those occupying the café with her had no interest in that rather a wave of nostalgia enveloped them. The hero of just about everyone’s childhood had arrived and even competent mature adults had begun jumping around like kids in front of Santa Clause, Deacon included. The old man turned, seeing them all, and favored them with a thumb’s up causing the crowd to give an immense joyful cry.

“Ah man this is way better than a parade,” Deacon said lost in the sudden goodwill.

Amy was just glad Nicholas had decided to get out of the house.


Mutatio felt a bit of nostalgia as he entered the lavish furnishings of the Apex Tower. From the ground floor to the peak of the grand penthouse above the building was a testament to all that made Archimedes great, past, present and future.  The building was not only one of the seats of power in the city, with the Emeritus council headquarters far above in said penthouse, but housed many an aspiring scholar and intellectual titan who worked on furthering their knowledge with all manner of tests, studies, and experiments on the foremost cutting edge of science.

Mutatio had spent days and weeks studying at the feet of masters hoping that one day he might further aid the city of his birth.

With a heavy sigh he accepted that today was that day though it would go about in a way that he never would have guessed in his youth.

“Boss you okay?” Douglass said at his back. Concern entered the brute’s voice though the doctor waved it aside.

“I had a lapse of nostalgia Douglass, a moment of weakness, come along.”

In his youth he had never been popular, but did have a collection of colleagues and associates. Never friends though. He always felt too busy to maintain all but the most professional of relationships but those he fraternized with were the crème de la crème of his generation. The keenest minds, the sharpest wits, what would they make of him now if they saw his new colleagues?

The guards were quick to recognize an off situation as all twelve of Doctor’s associates, or rather Douglass ’associates, carried with them the grit and grime of hard living and stood out quite sharply against the almost sterile confines of Apex tower.

“Gentlemen, gentlemen, no need for that,” Mutatio said gently raising his hands, even as his new associates walked in step behind him.

“Doctor,” one said in reserved polite terms, “you know you’re still on suspension and guests are limited to four at most.”

The Doctor briefly bristled at the mention of his suspension but didn’t let it show on his features. “That shall not be a problem, I have a release letter right here that grants me access.”

Perhaps if he hadn’t had a sterling reputation before his suspension, or perhaps if guards had just focused more on him rather than those who stood next to him, it might have made a difference. Regardless it only took a moment for the sphere to activate and for a few more to join Mutatio’s band.

“Now gentlemen if you’ll show us to the elevator’s we all have a meeting to attend.”

The collective of the armed willing and unwilling made their way to the elevators. Mutatio steps away from success still could find no joy in it. This was what needed to be done. Happiness played no part in it.


With little change in the seasons and no change in the weather it was easy for one day to bleed into the next in Archimedes and as such it becomes easy for a person to lose sense of time. It was a why celebrations such as this carried so much meaning. Remembrance Weekend functioned as something of a new year and even the council treated it as such.

It was the one time of the year when the members of the council could let their hair down such as it was.  

The Council was one of four branches of government, and of the four arguably the most influential. Those that made up the council were some of the most senior and most respected members of their fields. It was an appointment that lasted for life, and the current youngest amongst them was expecting a grandchild in next few weeks. So unlike the revelry in the streets this occasion was rather subdued.

The only highlight was for once the standard issue of politics was put aside for a nice bottle of champagne. While they didn’t stand for election there was no shortage of power plays, backroom deals, and the occasional backstabbing. This weekend was as close as the council could probably get to being free of ulterior motives. Or perhaps it was all more subtle Devson reasoned.

Devson was the most senior member of the council, and with that age and experience had resources and pull that made him an intimidating figure. While being on the council carried only limited political influence in the grand scheme of things, he had the ear of all those that wanted a taste of power.  There wasn’t a politician that didn’t seek his aid; there wasn’t a mover or shaker in this city that would move against his wishes. Of the council only the head minister, the public face of the council, rivaled him in power and she and he had an accord of sorts. He wouldn’t stab her in the back if she agreed to do the same. It was the closest thing to friendship for the man.  Even in this joyous time with a glass of chardonnay in his hands and a grin touching his lips his fellow councilmen gave him a wide berth.

His will certain and his word law, so when Mutatio calmly entered their hall as if it was his right, Devson was noticeably taken aback.  The man had the gall to even grab a glass of champagne.

“What in the in the heavens do you believe you’re doing?” Devson spoke quietly but there was an undeniable commanding tone that came with it.

“I’m giving you one last chance to admit you were wrong and admit before the gathered assembly about your sins,” he said after a sip of the bubbly. The rest of the council had gone deathly silent, though not entirely out of fear for Devson. While he was the undisputed head of the council there were still those that wished to replace him and those that were happy to see the man humbled now and again. Mutatio was a man of much potential, a seat on the council would like be his in a decade or two, seeing him lock horns with Devson was far more entertaining than idle gossip or that dreadful parade.  

“You’re going to give ‘me’ a chance? Your theories were folly and insult to your predecessors. You’re belligerent attitude gave you a well-earned suspension and you should be grateful I didn’t make your embarrassing research public.”

“Well you don’t have to worry about that because I’ll happily share that with everyone here.” He turned to those accompanied and set his glass aside. “I know how to return us to the world beyond, and more than that I know what lies beyond.”

There was a moment of silence before gentle laughter began to spread through the room.

“Stop,” Devson began with a feral grin, not attempting to hide his amusement. “I tried to spare you this humiliation but it’s not too late to spare you more. You have your career ahead of you don’t throw it away chasing this dragon it’s broken many a man before you. Many a better man I might add.”

Mutatio had been smiling up until that last sentence, but on that utterance he openly scowled and strode in front of Devson.

“It’s those men that I represent today. Men who were browbeat and pushed aside, and made laughingstocks for their research when in truth the head of the council has known, and has always known the way out!”

If nothing else it was spectacular theatrics and had the attention of the entire council. Devson was, however, in no mood to entertain.

“Conspiracy theories now? I’ve had enough of this guards,” he began though the sound of automatic gunfire drowned out his words. Content to let the Doctor work they didn’t intrude until it was necessary, but once it was clear communication had broken down Douglass and his colleagues didn’t hesitate to act.

“Apologies ladies and gentlemen but we’re not leaving until my discoveries are brought to light.” He made sure to look directly at Devson, disgust evident on the doctor’s face. “And all sins made known.”


Whether it had been on advanced orders, or the ‘Gold Standard’ at his present weight resembled a parade float, the hypnotized masses began to turn their attention to the new arrival.

“Remember just civies you don’t need to-

“Boy I was dealing with mind controlled masses before your mother would let me hold hands with her.”

“Fine stylistic advice then,” Elliot said changing topics as soon as possible.

While his frame showed no outside emotion Nicholas gave a derisive sigh.

“You’ve got nets, bolas, and other restraints if I recall correctly.”

“And not a lot of time, they’re advancing.” He said calmly. Those mind controlled thankfully weren’t much if not given outside orders.  Adaptation and recognition were just barely there so without direction they were little more than shambling heaps.

“Go with sedatives, one blow, remind them who you are. One shot, one kill, well so to speak…”

“I thought you wanted this to be dramatic>” The veteran hero already had his fists raised, and targets acquired.

“There’s the boss for that.” Elliot said with a mischievous grin. It’s not like he was mad at the person who had him working at 10 am on a Saturday, but saving some of the Gold Standard’s more esoteric weaponry for him seemed appropriate.

“Right then,” Nicholas said as the boots in his jets erupted, vaulting him a good ten feet in the air, and providing a clear shot at the shambling masses. There was not dramatic lightshow from his hands, or signature sound effect the public could latch onto. However over a dozen rioting individuals froze on the spot and slumped to the ground at once.

“The cocktail is seems stronger than I remember.”

“Trying to compensate for the passionate youth of today,” Nicholas said without much conviction, a nervous hilt in his voice.

“They’re supposed to just wake up with mild dizziness.” If he had known they were that strong now he would have used one before bed the previous night.

“Well it’s a holiday I’m sure they were prepared for a hangover.”

“Ten more incoming on your left, perhaps we should think of something that won’t cause any lasting damage? Just a thought.”

“Killing a few brain cells is just a part of being young and you should know that better than anyone.”

“Perhaps a more colorful display then?”

Nicholas brought his hands together, a growing energy gathering and crackling with potential between his palms. Once again lifting off the ground, more for the admiring crowd than any tactical purpose, he let the approaching mob gather toward him.

“Not that I’m worried or anything, but I will remind you incineration does not fall under the umbrella of non-lethal.”

“Trust my tools boy,” Nicholas said showing little patience for Elliot’s snark.

As the mob edged closer the Gold Standard sent the gathered energy toward them. Instead of leaving a nice pile of ash as Elliot joked, or even blow them off their feet in an impressive show of force, the energy coalesced into a binding force that swept over the mob and held them collectively in place as if they were trapped within the confines of a web.


Show off.”

“What’s my time?” He said continuing to prod. Waving to the crowd as the applause began below.

“4:50 mastermind’s still on the board though.”

“You can’t be including him in the ten are you?”

“Hey you said it not me, you still have five minutes in either case and there’s a disturbance at the council building. I don’t suppose you’ll need a map?”

“It’ll be wrapped in three,” The old vet grumbled.


“I don’t know what you hope to accomplish with this.” Though held at gunpoint by the young usurper Devson did not show sign of changing his tone.

“You know just as well that that device that’s gotten you this far will have no effect within the confines of these walls, and safeguards have been given to the police,” He snorted in derision the situation becoming more amusing the longer he spoke.  “If the guards had been the least bit diligent you wouldn’t have even made it up here.” Devson shook his head with as much condescension and pity as possible for the man all of which Mutatio gave the barest of notice.

“This childish rebellion will be put down hard.” He sounded more like the demanding headmaster of Mutatio’s youth than a man in such a precarious position. It nearly brought a smile to his face. But only nearly.

“You’re undoubtedly right. They’ll likely detain the crowd and be on their way within a half hour or so. Considering I have the highest officials in the city at gunpoint the hostage situation could last hours.”

“Gold is in the city boy,” Devson said smugly, playing one of his cards just because he was held hostage did not mean his knowledge network was disabled, he awaited what he imaged would quite the reaction from the young doctor.

“Not wholly unexpected, change the estimate to perhaps a half hour.” Mutatio said without distress. “Still more than enough time to do what needs to be done.”

“Kill me you mean? Over your failures and crack pot theories? And then what? Is a lack of funding  and suspension worth rotting in prison?” If Devson, or any attendance, expected Mutatio to falter they had entirely misjudged him. If anything he seemed to be enjoying himself.

“Funding?” He asked with mock confusion. “Oh! You seem to be entirely missing the point. I’m not concerned about the funding of my project, because I went and completed anyway.”

Only Devson reacted. While the guns barely warranted a scoff, this new bit of information left him clammy and pale.

“You what?” It was like they were the only two in the room, everyone else left in the dark and for the first time today Mutatio seemed to take joy in just what he was doing.

“I said I did it anyway,” He said slowly as if explaining to a child, “your funding would have made things easier but in the end a great mind prevails. I was sore about the complete rejection of my ideas without any exploration on your part but my success tempered any anger I had.” That joy quickly evaporated into another emotion. The violence, the riots, the coup, he handled them all dispassionately but with this he reacted with fury. “That is until I discovered just what that led to.”

Devson’s reaction was becoming noticeable to others, the thought that Mutatio may have been bluffing, if not outright lying had been the chairman’s hope. The conviction in his eyes told the older man differently. “You have no idea what you’ve done.”

“I know precisely what I’ve done, more so than anyone in this room. But that’s about to change because I know how to bring the walls down.”

All but Douglass and his associates reacted. There were shouts of denial, and even another bout of laughter, Devson however didn’t react with humor he just looked frightened. A reaction that was slowly realized by the remainder of the council.

“If you know so much you wouldn’t joke about that,” Devson said feeling quite ill

“Wait what is he saying? There’s no basis to what this loon is claiming is there?” The minister first content to be quiet for fear for her life, then feeling quite content to watch Devson squirm, could no longer stay silent.

“Preposterous! The greatest minds this city has to offer have worked this problem since its beginning there’s nothing that can be done.” Feeling the discussion more open another voiced their concerns, there were no threats and there was no brandishing of weapons. Mutatio seemed to welcome debate.

“That’s what I told myself gentlemen, when I breached the wall weeks ago I briefly marveled in my genius, but then I asked why did I succeed when others have failed?” He didn’t hid the vile glare he shot Devson.  “I am not so arrogant that I am that far above my predecessors that I alone would solve it. No it’s much simpler than that,” He said with a gesture toward Devson who was now the subject of focus of everyone in the room.

“You don’t have the power to bring it down it was destroyed.” There were no pretenses here, no denial anymore. To Devson that all came second to reassuring himself that it was impossible. He would gladly take a hit to his reputation even expulsion from the council than face what Mutatio was suggesting.

“You knew there was a way to free us from this damnable prison and you had it destroyed!” The minister bellowed, ignoring the drawn guns and nearly bowling over Devson herself.

“There were reasons it had to be done, it had to be destroyed!”

“Your anger is well placed madam minister, but he once again is lying. I believe it’s all he can do now.” Mutatio said with eased candor of a victor.  “Even in the darkest days one can’t abandon hope, apparently your predecessors had more faith in those that would follow than you do. Undoubtedly they told you about it in the off chance it might be used, but you would rather us all die in this hovel than have a chance.”  He produced the key found the night before by dear Douglass. Devson reacted immediately pushing his way past the minister he made a lunge for the key only to be brought short by some of Douglass’ associates.

“Where did you get that?!” He bellowed held by the gunman easily enough.

“A great mind prevails, the one truth you ever told me.” Mutatio smirked, victory at hand he turned to the council and bowed.

“Madam Minister and the rest of the council, no doubt my methods have been harsh, and when this is over I will submit to whatever punishment you see fit. But given the corruption and lengths taken to see what every citizen has desired for a century denied, I do not regret my actions for an instant.”

From madman to revolutionary in the span of a conversation, murmurs amongst them all turned from what is to what may be. But eventually it all turned toward the Minister now without a doubt the one in charge.  “Indeed.” She said solemnly.

“Don’t let this silver tongued devil trick you! He’ll doom us all.” One of Douglass’s fellows took the opportunity to forcibly gag the Devson, and no one protested.

“Councilman Devson it’s disturbing that the one coming off as a lunatic is not the one holding us hostage. As loathe as I am to conduct business like this, such a find takes precedence over all else. What do you need Mutatio?”

“If I’m not mistaken the device like the key was never destroyed, it’s likely still here and would match this design.”  He produced a paper toward her and from Devson’s fraught reaction she had no doubt that it was real.

Upon looking at the design and didn’t know whether to laugh or feel disgusted. “It’s above the door to the senior chambers, to think it’s been there this entire time.”

“Excellent lets proceed now!” Almost giddy Mutatio nearly broke into a run.

“Mutatio a moment!” It was all proceeding so fast. While the Council may have been some of the most senior and learned of all the city’s populace. They were still only human.  None, not even Devson, were alive when the city was last free. It was oh so tempting to ride this sudden wave. But the council was built and designed to be a bulkhead against sudden impulse, no matter how tempting.

“While Devson has done himself no favors with his outburst, I wish to know his concerns and the defense of his actions before we proceed.”

The gleeful look on the Doctor’s face vanished. “Surely you cannot take the word of a proven liar seriously?” His tone was reasonable but the gunmen behind her were now all too noticeable.

“I have no idea what drove Devson or the previous members of this council to hide their findings, or if there is any merit to what they’ve done. You are to be commended for the exposure of this atrocity and even with your actions I would suggest the utmost leniency given the circumstances.”

“But?” He spat.

“There is no need to be in a rush, there’s no deadline here, you have given us immeasurable news and while I to wish to act there’s no sense in acting rashly when we are so close.” She smiled perhaps thinking she was offering reassurances, that she would be able to reason with him, that this was all a disastrous mistake and that it would soon be resolved. The perfect cap to the centenary a new beginning, a miraculous new beginning!

It was not to be.

“I do apologize for my actions Madam Minister, Douglass.” The brutish man grabbed her from behind and gripped her tight. Her protests silenced as a burly hand wrapped across her face.

“We are operating on a schedule, what has been put in motion cannot be stopped.” Motioning Douglass to follow, the Man’s expression hardened and there would be no bartering with him at this stage.  Douglass cohorts tightly encircled the remaining council including freshly gagged Devson.  Making sure the doctor wasn’t given any further interruption.

Dire, the last thing he wished to happen, and in his heart he knew what came next. The glass windows shattered inward with a deafening almost righteous sound. . The Gold armor floated in like an Archangel from heaven, ready to deliver judgment.

His guards flinched at their first hint of opposition, and some faltered outright. They didn’t get a chance to do much else. As one they were targeted, and as one the armor put them down to sleep with a volley of the potent cocktail. Only loyal Douglass holding the minister was spared the immediate knock out.

“Was that even ten minutes?” Mutatio asked with almost a hint of admiration.

“Don’t have much time to dawdle at my age.”

“Douglass, the Minister if you please.” The brute quickly passed her to the Doctor, Mutatio’s grip on her wrist perhaps fiercer than Douglass’ own.  “He needs to be occupied for just a few minutes more,” he stressed ‘ minutes’ though given how he dashed away from the minister it was likely he expected less of his henchman.  

“I’d rather if you stepped aside son.” Nicholas spoke trying to give the younger man an out. Years of fighting the worst this city had to offer gave the old man an insight on what a man was. When he looked at Douglass criminal, gangster, killer, didn’t cross his mind. Zealot did. This man wasn’t a bad sort, but he believed, and that made him dangerous.

Douglass looked like he wished this too but raised his hands as if to defend himself, any hint that the brawny thug was going to be easy as his compatriots vanished as Nicolas recognized the gloves that henchman was wearing, confirmed a heartbeat later those meaty fists of his began to glow. Energy crackled with a reddish hue and it was quite obvious that the Doctor had not contented himself with stealing only one prize from the vault.

“I think I remember this one…’Count of Monty Fisto?’ That man wasn’t all there,” Elliot quipped over the line. His father might have shared in his musings if didn’t have to dodge an unnaturally powered fist.

I’m sure dodging isn’t exactly necessary.”

“If you remembered the Count you’d also remember I ate my meals through a straw last time he landed a clean hit to my face.”

Instead of a reply there was only the sound of chips being scarfed down on the other line.

“You’re enjoying this!”

“Am not,” Elliot said with his mouthful.

Douglass made a lunge which Nicholas easily sidestepped, the man’s fist plowing into priceless marble statue and shattered it with merely a glancing blow.

“I’m starting to feel this fight might take more than a minute.” Elliot teased to both the drama was strictly limited to a mad scientist that had stolen a few toys. A larger narrative didn’t even occur to them.

Douglass pursued him relentlessly throwing lefts and rights with reckless abandon. The man was determined and was undoubtedly loyal to the doctor. However as a fighter his talents were limited muscle and size. While the gloves gave him unmatched striking power they didn’t give him the skill to make himself a true threat. The previous owner of those gloves had been a trained boxer. Douglass meanwhile looked like he picked up most of his skills in bar room brawls.

“No,” Nicholas stated as Douglass made a clumsy lunge. As the man overextended and left himself open the Gold Standard delivered his own blow to Douglass’ midsection, though practically made of muscle the man folded over in pain. It was a testament to his strength, and perhaps his resolve that that wasn’t the end of the fight right there. Biting back bile, and struggling to his feet he went to raise his fists again only to give a startled cry as both of his hands blossomed with fresh pain. Nicholas, well aware of his time limitations, fired two low level shots at both of the brute’s hands with less than friendly version of the energy he used before.

Low level being  a relative term, was more than enough power to leave the gloves disabled and Douglass hands in a great deal of pain. There was still, however, that look of defiance in the brute’s eyes.

 “The doctor said a minute and I can last a minute!” He roared, though not the sharpest knife in the drawer it was clear Douglass didn’t care much for his chances either. While deceptively fast for his size Douglass was leagues below the ‘Gold Standard’ and the hero thankfully ended the fight with one punch to the larger man’s jaw; the blow knocking him flat to the ground in an unconscious heap.

You’re getting soft in your old age,” Elliot’s voice chimed in.

“I respect a man that knows his limits and tries to overcome them,” Nicholas said turning to find where Mutatio had disappeared to only to find Devson already pulling him along; the elder statesman unceremoniously ripping the cloth from his mouth and speaking in desperate tones.

“No time for banter or quips we need to go now!”


“Where is it?” Mutatio was a mix of eagerness and frustration. He yanked the minister along and it was clear his restraint dimmed with his growing impatience.

“What is your rush, and why do we need to move now?!  Until you can give me a rational explanation I won’t dare help!”

The words died on her lips as she found the edge of a slender blade pressed against her neck. “I take no pleasure in this Madam Minister, but you and I are out of time. I don’t act against this city, or its people, but those outside will not look kindly on what has happened today.”

“You’re not making any sense!”

Despite himself he had to chuckle. “No I suppose I’m not, but you have two options, you help me and it will all makes sense in a moment. Or-” he pressed hard enough just to draw blood, “I damn myself and you die knowing only that this city died because of your hesitance.”

Her voice never betrayed her. No matter her curiosity she could recognize the eyes of a madman. Whatever Mutatio had done, whatever he had been through he was not the man he once was, she could not willing help him and regretted that her curiosity had even brought him this far.

She could not prevent reflex however and as the blade pressed against her neck her eyes briefly darted to the prize he sought. An ornate shield, decorative, dare say pretty, but not one people gave more than a passing glance to. Not enough to notice that though it was covered with multiple thick protruding points that it seemed that one was missing.  

Despite his growing madness he instantly caught her gaze and followed it and instantly recognized what he was looking at. “I do wish to apologize Madame Councilor the last days have been stressful. You’ll see though, even if you do not forgive my actions, you’ll see I was right.”

Whether he said it for the history books, posterity, or perhaps just convince himself of his actions would never be clear. His steps were confident, and his stride without falter. If there were any regrets within him they did not show.


Everyone in city, from now until the day they would die, would remember where they were at that very moment when the key was inserted and turned.  It was the temperature first they noticed, a city and a people who throughout their very lives had never known the slightest natural chill, shivered under the first breeze in nearly a century. This, of course, was nothing compared to when the sky began to turn blue. Rays of sunshine cascaded down with serene warmth that had been denied the citizen of Archimedes for a couple generations.

Rich and poor, civilian and even hero, paused and gazed up at the sky in absolute wonder.

Only Elliot’s voice could tear his father away from gaping outside the council windows. “What am I seeing?”  His son, buried within the confines of their hideout, could only see through the armor’s eyes.

“A miracle.” Nicholas whispered as if it would all vanish at the slightest provocation.

“An abomination!” Devson may have been the only one in the entire city who gave not the slightest pause to their sudden freedom.  “Every life in this city and the billions outside need that wall back up now!”

“You’ve already exposed yourself as a fraud Devson!” One of the council spoke tearing his way from the miracle. “You knew this would happen.”

“That and a dozen things besides, but we need to move now before,” He began to shout back but was not allowed to finish.

The barest of tremors interrupted him, before Nicholas could dismiss it as fantasy alerts lit up under his helm. There were tremors, numerous instances, emanating from close by and getting closer.

“Something serious is happening,” Elliot said providing the understatement of the century.

Acting in concert with the tremors the screams from below soon followed. With growing horror everyone in the council searched to see if they could catch a glimpse from the windows. Even Nicholas only managed to avoid succumbing to base instinct.

 Elliot not so limited scanned the television signals. Static reigned supreme but for sounds of horror and panic, tension gripped him until he finally found one feed that was still active.

“We can only speculate but it seems to have come out from whatever was holding us in we,” static absorbed the screen again leaving Elliot hanging on hoping for the visual to return.

When it did he breathed a sigh of relief only for that sense of peace to be shattered as the camera focused on one of the abandoned floats obliterated by what he could rationalize as a gigantic boot.

The cameraman, bless his soul, kept the eye on the action as it followed the movement. As it moved away the camera caught more of just what it was, what she was. A gigantic woman at least ten stories tall was making her way down main street as hundreds of civilians not scared off by possessed rioters finally gave up the ghost on the parade.

“Dad,” He said finally finding his voice. “I think we can stop treating this like a joke.”


Chapter End Notes:

Woo finally got to the giantess content now things should move just a little bit faster.

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