Mystic Chapter 1

Unknown Location

"Gah!" I yelped, snapping into consciousness and looking around frantically, my heart racing. The last thing I remembered was...the Locker...the insects...ugh, I think I'm going to hurl...

"You can't throw up here." a slightly cheerful male voice said. "Since, you know, you aren't here physically."

My head snapped around to face the direction the voice had come from, and I saw...a man wearing a fairly boring brown suit, complete with a boring tie. He wore a white mask over his face, one that simply had eyeholes and no other facial features. The guy was stat behind a wooden desk, with

"Wh...what do you mean?" I asked warily, looking around, seeing I was standing in some kind of gray void, totally bereft of anything other than my 'host' here.

"This is a dreamscape, not a very stable one either." the man said with a shrug. "Unless it's a nightmare that you're having, I don't think you've ever thrown up in a dream, right?"

"That's...a point, I guess." I answered, still not moving from where I sat. "So...I'm dreaming or something?"

"In hospital after they pulled you from that Locker, I'm afraid." the man corrected me. "You've been unconscious for...three days thus far, I'm sorry to say."

My stomach roiled. "So...that...that actually happened?" I asked bleakly.

"Unfortunately so." the man said, sounding sympathetic. "Now, I'm afraid my time is short, so we must get to business here. Kindly pull up a seat so we can have a nice little chat."

Despite myself, I found myself sitting opposite the guy a short time later. He adjusted his suit jacket for a moment before continuing.

"You should be aware that the fact you're in a coma hasn't made your father very happy. He's currently marshaling every favor owed to him by everyone in Brockton Bay and beyond to get justice for you, Miss Taylor Hebert." the man said, clasping his hands together on the desk.

"How...?" I asked.

"Taylor Anne Hebert, daughter of Danny and Annette Rose Hebert. Only child, fifteen years old, possesses a more than reasonable amount of intelligence." the man rattled off. "Formerly best friends with Emma Barnes, and suffering from a decided lack of self-worth due to an extended and pervasive campaign of bullying by said former friend."

I swallowed at the amount of information the guy had on me.

"Suffice is to say, I know quite a bit about you." the man said. "I brought you here in order to give you an offer, one I think you'll approve of. You see, I intervened when you were in the Locker, just as you were about to become a Parahuman. I know which power you would have gotten, and wanted to offer you a different one instead."

"You what?!" I demanded. "What was my power going to be?!"

"Arthropod control, the ability to control any and all arthropods inside a two-to-three block radius around you." the man answered. "Not exactly a greatly strong power, correct?"

"No...it isn't." I said heavily, furious at the unfairness of it all. Bullied for fifteen months, thrown in a locker full of filth, and I get fucking insect control?!

"The power I wish to offer you is a lot more powerful. It's called Interfusion." the man stated. "By interfusing with an object, you become aware of everything around it, and you are able to use various abilities depending on what the object you have Interfused with is. A fire grants you minor pyrokinesis, liquid grants you the ability to head it up and splash it on people...the list goes on."

"It does sound...interesting." I said with a blink. "But...there have to be limitations to it, right?"

"True. You can only Interfuse with two objects at a time, at least initially." the man admitted. "And the range, again, at least initially, is only eight meters away from yourself. Another limitation is that the powers you can use take their range from their object's location rather than yours. Allow me to show you an example."

With a wave of one hand from him, a screen appeared in front of me.

Shackle (Basic Interfusion)

(Interfusion with Metal Object)

Range: 4 meters

Damage: 2

Wrap metal into grasping appendages that PINS a single enemy for five minutes.

I blinked at this screen for a moment. "Looks like a game." I said, my mouth moving faster than my brain.

"Sharp. That's exactly what I'm offering you, Miss Hebert." the man inclined his head towards me. "You'll have a power which works similar to a game, an RPG to be precise, with which to fight and defeat your enemies. And you can be whatever you want with your powers. Hero, villain, nothing at all...do as you please."

"You...don't care?" I asked carefully.

"It's not so much that I don't care, more along the lines of 'I can't do anything to stop you', Miss Hebert." the man corrected me. "I can only talk to you while you are asleep or unconscious, and only for a limited time every night. On that subject, we are running out of time."

"Are there any more limitations to Interfusing that I should know about?" I asked at once.

"Hmm...well, there's a size requirement for an object to be targetable for interfusing." the man admitted. "Any object has to be bigger than a sandwich toaster, but smaller than a van, so a car is a perfectly fine as a target. Additionally, unless you advance your Class in a specific way, you cannot Interfuse with humans or animals. Oh, and casting a spell through an object damages it. Most wooden objects are destroyed when a spell is cast through them, so keep that in mind."

Taking all of this in, I sighed. "OK...so what does my 'character sheet' look like?"

"Glad you asked." the man said and pulled a sheet of paper from...somewhere...and handed it to me.

Name: Taylor Anne Hebert

Cape Name: N/A

Class: Mystic

EXP To Next Level: 0

General

Health: 6 (6.2)

Speed: 4 (4.5)

Recovery Rate: 1 Health per Day (1.2)

Defense

Armor: 0

Warding: 0

Dodge: 47

Block: 47

Offense

Melee Accuracy: 100

Ranged Accuracy: 100

Stunt Chance: 16

Bonus Damage: 0

Spell Damage: 0

Potency: 0

Stories

Charisma: 30

Tenacity: 20

History

The Story of Taylor Hebert: Born to a loving family, Taylor had always known that she is loved by her family. Then her mother died, leaving her to prop up her father, who collapsed in on himself in grief. Later, she was betrayed by her best friend and victimized through the first year of High School, to the point that she Triggered.

Enduring Aspects

Alive

Student

Bullied

Determined

Reckless

Human

Young

There was a lot to take in there, so I sorted my thought before asking anything. "Why does it say that I have zero EXP to the next level?"

"Because the transition from civilian to Mystic is a mere act of will." the man explained. "There are seven levels of the Mystic Class; you are going to step into the 'Greenhorn Mystic' once you fully accept this power, while the very top of the heap is called the 'Blackhorn Mystic'. For every individual you defeat, you get five Experience Points. Battles give you Experience Points. I may, if I so wish it, issue you a quest, which will also grant you Experience Points should you complete it. I must ask you at this point to verbalize your acceptance. Procedure, I'm afraid."

"Fine. I accept the Mystic Class." I said. It had to be better than insect control, whatever this whole 'Interfusion' business was all about.

"Thank you." the man nodded. "You have now ranked up into a Greenhorn Mystic. Here are your stat changes."

Name: Taylor Anne Hebert

Cape Name: N/A

Class: Mystic

EXP To Next Level: 36

General

Health: 6 (6.9)

Speed: 4 (4.5)

Recovery Rate: 1 Health per Day (1.2)

Defense

Armor: 0 (0.1)

Warding: 0 (0.4)

Dodge: 52

Block: 47

Offense

Melee Accuracy: 102

Ranged Accuracy: 102

Stunt Chance: 16

Bonus Damage: 0 (0.2)

Spell Damage: 0

Potency: 1.4

"Those changes are pretty...minor." I noted.

"Sadly, they are, which is why you'll be going through a tutorial mission in a moment to teach you how to use your abilities." the man stated, placing three slips of paper on the desk before me. "Before that, however, you must choose one of these paper slips. Each has an enhancement for your powers. Read them carefully before making your choice."

Nodding I picked up the first one.

Arches (Advanced Interfusion)

The Hero bonds with the Earth, and can summon from a seedling a mighty tree which PINS surrounding enemies.

While it sounded cool, there weren't many in the way of seedlings in The Bay, so that was a nope. I placed it back down and reached for the next one.

Mythweaver (Advanced Interfusion)

The Hero becomes able to bond better with textiles and books. Offers the following benefits and Advanced Interfusions.

- Mythmeld (Passive): When Interfused with a statue, your Potency is raised by one per statue.

- Clothing Empowerment (Passive): When Interfused with clothing, there is a flat 50% chance that damage inflicted upon you will be reflected onto the one dealing it.

- Lore Dump (Instant): When Interfused with books, overload an enemy's brain with knowledge, dealing damage and stunning them for ten minutes. Deals (1D4 damage + ½ (Potency + Spell Damage)) as Magic Damage. Range: 2, -1 Health to Books.

- Spell Upgrade: Constrict (Instant) becomes Greater Constrict (Instant): A powerful snake of animated fabric coils round an enemy, applying 2 HOBBLE and crushing out its life. Deals (1 +Potency + Spell Damage) as Magic Damage. Range: 6.6, - 1 Health to Interfused Object.

The part of me which was a book lover was somewhat horrified by the idea of damaging and destroying books. The rest of me was interested in the different abilities...OK, spells, that were being offered with this one. If nothing else, it would be interesting, so I'd take this one if the last option wasn't good. Replacing it on the desk, I reached for the last paper.

Ignite (Advanced Interfusion)

The Hero becomes able to draw motes of heat out of the air and gathering them into a single point, creating an Interfused blaze on an area with debris.

- You must have flammable objects as a target to cast this Interfusion.

- While casting this Interfusion does not require an Interfusion Slot, if there is one available, it will be Interfused upon creation.

- As a bonus, the creation of the fire counts as an attack, and will immediately deactivate any grayplane-like abilities within a meter of its creation, confusing any that are displaced in such a way.

- Has an attack range of (4.6 + Potency/2) once created.

- Deals (1 + Potency + Spell Damage) as Magic Damage when used to attack.

"What's the 'grayplane'?" I asked curiously.

"Stealth, basically." the man replied. "The grayplane is an effect which is somewhat analogous to the effects of Stranger-class Parahumans, allowing someone with it to go unseen or unnoticed by sight, sound and the like. Ignite disrupts that ability, and confuses them for a while...huh, that last one's new though. I suppose it adjusted to the new paradigm rather quickly."

"I've noticed that there's some emphasized words in these, like PIN and HOBBLE." I asked. "What do they mean?"

"If someone is PINNED, they cannot move around for a certain length of time, but if they have ranged options, they'll still be able to use them." the man stated. "If someone is HOBBLED, then they lose speed for a certain length of time; they're still able to move, but not very far and not very fast."

I nodded. I'd guessed that those where the right answers, but it was better to confirm than guess when it came to these things.

"I'll take Ignite, then." I said with a nod. While Mythweaver was all-around better, having something that could disrupt a Stranger's power was something to take advantage of. Besides, there were a LOT of flammable things around The Bay.

"Very good." the man gestured and the two remaining sheets vanished as the paper with Ignite on it dissolved into motes of blue and somehow entered my body. It felt weird.

"The tutorial starts next, and thus you need a starting item." the man gestured again and two objects appeared to either side of the desk. One was a foot of wood with intricate carvings on it, while the other was a meter of wood with a carved circle of wood atop one end. "The wand is easy to carry and light, while the staff is better suited to pure power. Which is your choice?"

"The wand, please." I said immediately. No way could I carry that staff easily, and it wasn't exactly inconspicuous.

The wand floated over to me and I carefully snagged it out of the air.

You have equipped [Beginner's Wand]! Your {Spell Damage} is now 1! Your {Warding} has increased by 1!

"Not bad." I nodded. For beginner's gear anyway. I quickly tried thinking about my current equipment and a screen popped up.

Primary Weapon: Beginner's Wand [Tier 0] (Spell Damage 1, Warding+1)

Secondary Weapon: None.

Outfit: Casual Clothes [Tier 0] (Armor 1)

Augments

Shoulders: None

Chest: None

Waist: None

Head: None

"Now, regarding your stats. The system used here rounds down, regardless of how high-up the fractions go, so 1.9 is still seen as a 1. Sorry, but that's how it goes." the man shrugged. "Also, after every battle, you can claim a reward from me in the form of equipment. Additionally, battles in the dreamscape, such as the tutorial battle you're about to fight, can offer some opportunities to improve your equipment. If you see something which isn't a misshapen animal and seems to follow one of the classic elements, say hello."

"O...kay..." I said, unsure of what he meant. "So...I'm not going to fight actual animals, am I?"

"Nope. You're going to fight dream avatars, formed from the energy of your mental trauma. The more you fight, the more of it will be removed and you'll swiftly return to how you were before your mother passed away." the man answered.

"Oh...so I'll literally be beating my trauma up?" I snorted. It sounded ridiculous, but for whatever reason, I just couldn't disbelieve what this guy had to say. "By the way, I can't just keep calling you 'the man' in my head all the time. What's your name?"

"I have to go by an alter-ego while I'm here, so just call me...the Facilitator." the man said with a bow of his head. "Now then...off you go to your battle."

Before I could say anything else, I was suddenly standing in front of a large, ruined tower, a wand clasped in my hand as my only weapon and a floating screen in front of my face.

Mission Start!

Tutorial: You can't really expect to fight in real life without some experience in using your powers, now can you?

Objective: Defeat all monsters (0/3) in the Tutorial Tower.

Rewards: 1 Class-specific Outfit, 30 EXP, 2 Iron, 2 Fabric, 2 Spell Thread.

Bonus: Complete Mission without losing any Health.

Auto-Accepted.

...well hell.

Shaking my head, I looked around. Outside of the 'Tutorial Tower', there were a couple of rocks, as well as some kind of weird plant-thing. Pointing my wand at the plant-thing, I saw a pop-up appear.

Creeper Vine

Plant

1/1 HP

Spell if Interfused

Wild Grasp: The plant sends out tendrils that grab and draw in an enemy, dealing damage and pinning them. Target is dragged back to the closest open point to the plant. (Potency + Spell Damage damage, 5.6 range, -1 health to Plant)

Interesting. And this was just with an ordinary plant; imagine what a car could do...

Shaking my head again, I crept forwards toward the door to the tower. It was a largish wooden one, with florin spikes dotting its surface. It was also ajar, so pushing it open was fairly easy, and I got my first peek into the tower.

The bottom floor of the tower was divided, evidently, with the room in front taking up half of it. There were bookcases full of old books, small piles of wood and detritus, even some wicker baskets full of rusty old spears.

Oh, and some kind of mutated dog-deer-thing standing at the entrance to the next room! I quickly pointed my wand at it and saw its profile.

Roe

Gorgon Beast

A deer corrupted by the Gorgon Sickness, it is one of the first beasts to be corrupted. Despite a lack of natural weaponry, its speed and agility makes it a troublesome foe. Hooves thrown sloppily around beneath it, it runs staggering, bellowing in agony.

Lore: "You may think to prey upon the roe of the woods. The last thing you'll see is blue light, four stony hooves, blackness." - Birchtom of the Yellow Hills.

Quickly, my wand shifted to point at one of the wicker baskets with weapons in it conveniently next to the door. "Interfuse!"

Almost faster than I could see, a nigh-invisible rope of white energy lashed out from my want and hit the basket. Now I could see what spell it gave me.

Barrage

Basic Interfusion

Tools are torn into a deadly whirl, rending targets in a nearby area with their tooly teeth. The Interfused object's health adds to your range accuracy. (AOE 2.1 radius, 3.6 range, Pot + Spell Damage + 0-2 damage, destroys Tools).

Most were spears and swords, but hey, who am I to argue with my interface?

"Barrage!" I commanded, swiping my wand. With a roar, the basket dissolved and the contents were turned into a whirling dervish of rusty steel that sliced into the Roe with no hesitation before they fell to pieces.

Roe is dealt 2 damage!

And it wasn't dead. Fuck. I quickly Interfused with a bookcase on the other side of the door, and got a much better spell.

Splinterblast

Basic Interfusion

Explode a wooden object into a shredding blast of splinters that savages an area. The Interfused object's health adds to your range accuracy. Spreads debris and fire. (AOE 1-3* radius, 2.6 range, 1+(Potency+Spell Damage)/3 damage, (Potency+Spell Damage)/2 shred, (Pot+Spell Damage)/2 pierce, destroys Wood).

"Splinterblast!" I commanded.

The bookcase exploded into a wave of wooden splinters that pelted the Roe's side, making it yelp.

Roe is dealt 2 damage!

My wand was already pointing at a coat stand covered in moldy old woolen coats. As the Roe snapped around to glare at me with its blue glowing eyes. "Interfuse!"

Constrict

Basic Interfusion

A serpent of animated fabric wraps round an enemy, hobbling it and squeezing away its life. (6.6 range, Pot+Spell Damage magic damage, hobble 2 turns, –1 health to Textile)

Now that's what I'm talking about!

"Constrict!" I shouted, gesturing at the Roe as it started to charge.

In an explosion of fabric, the numerous coats became, as the spell description said, a serpent of fabric, speeding over to the surprised Roe and winding around its legs and neck, constricting suddenly.

Roe is dealt 2 damage!

Roe has been defeated!

As the mutated deer-thing collapsed, its flesh and skin dissolving into nothing and leaving behind some weird blue goo that I resolved to stay the fuck away from, I quickly Interfused a stone statue of a heron nearby. Better safe than sorry in case another Gorgon Beast showed up.

A good thing I did too, as a large wall of muscle appeared in the doorway, with flowing blue tusks.

Rager

Gorgon Beast

A corrupted boar. Stubborn and aggressive beasts by nature, the boars welcomed the power the Gorgons gave them. Their bellows echo among trunks. Mountainous tusks hunger for blood. It charges without seeing, tusks swinging wildly.

Lore: "There has to be an easier way to make bacon." - Bardolf the Breadmage

That last bit gave me pause. What the hell? Bacon from that thing? Breadmage?

Then I decided to cast the spell that Interfusing with a stone object game me.

Discus

Basic Interfusion

A stone disk launches at an enemy or scenery and then ricochets to another nearby enemy, dealing half damage to the second target, round up. For the purposes of determining Flanking, the first hit comes from the Interfused object and the second comes from the first target. The discus cannot hit through cover objects. If the first attack misses, the second does not occur. (4.6 range, Pot + Spell Damage + 2 damage, -3 health to Stone).

"Discus!" I shouted, already planning which object to use next.

The stone heron exploded into shards, save for a plate-shaped section of the base that whirled around and sped towards the mutated boar and slammed into its head, making it squeal.

Rager is dealt 4 damage!

One damage has been negated by its natural armor!

Fuck, this thing has thick enough skin to act as armor?!

I quickly Interfused with a lamp hanging from the wall, which allowed me to see two new spells.

Steal Fire

Basic Interfusion

The restless fire is unleashed onto a nearby tile, burning where it lands and dealing half damage to units it passes through. Extinguishes the Lamp. Destination area can be occupied by foes, but not by other Blazes. (Line 4.6 length, Pot + Spell Damage + 2 magic damage, 1 pierce, fire).

Flare

Basic Interfusion

Amplify the radiance of this light source to excruciating levels, blinding enemies. The flare counts as an attack for flanking if it hits. (AOE 3.6 radius centered on the Lamp, blind 1 turn, -2 health to Lamp).

I had two choices, and judging by how tough this beast was, I couldn't use Steal Fire and come out ahead. The damn thing was going to charge me, and I doubted I could put it down in less than two strikes. That left me with one choice.

"Flare!" I ordered before looking away and closing my eyes. Even then the blinding flash of light left spots dancing in front of my eyes. As I turned around, the sound of the lamp shattering in my ears, I blanched when I saw the stupid boar charging at me regardless. I threw myself out of the way and gaped as it smashed a bookcase which I'd been standing in front of to kindling.

That actually gave me an idea, so I invoked my only upgraded spell on the area where the Rager was standing, recovering from its charge.

"Ignite!" I shouted, pointing my wand at the debris under its hooves.

In a flash, flames blazed beneath of it, making the Rager squeal in pain once again.

Rager is dealt 3 damage!

Aha, so its armor was useless against magically created attack! Good to know!

I felt an Interfusion link snap into place between me and the newly blazing fire, so I decided to use it.

Fireleash

Basic Interfusion

Line attack for fire damage, does half damage to enemies along the path and full damage where the fire stops. Additional burn for 2 magic damage, 1 piercing, will be dealt at the start of the target's next turn. (Line 3.6 length, Pot + Spell Damage + 2 magic damage, 1 pierce fire).

"Fireleash!" I snarled, just about done with this bloody thing. A wave of fire pierced through the Rager's massive body, burning it from within.

Rager is dealt 4 damage!

Rager has been defeated!

"Oh, thank fuck." I huffed.

A mutated deer and a mutated boar. What next? A mutated raccoon?

Don't answer that.

As the last monster wasn't coming out, I decided to go to it; besides, this room was wrecked. I needed new ammo for my spells. I just wish that the damned spells didn't destroy when I Interfused with them.

The next room was a simple quarter of the base of the tower. It was full of odds and ends, not to mention a crude forge for some reason. It didn't have the last monster though, so I moved to the closed door and pushed it open, revealing another room that looked like an mirrored copy of the last one...oh and a giant goddamned raccoon with a pair of tentacles with glowing blue spikes on their ends!

I just had to tempt fate, didn't I?!

Raccoon

Gorgon Beast

The remarkable mutation of the raccoon gave it the ability to throw thorns of crystallized fluid, the spikes so sharp they pierce metal. Cunning animals, their aim is difficult to outguess. Scrambling through shadows, its barbed appendages eagerly twitch.

Lore: "You can see them at night, their azure eyes. They seem to have more on their minds than eating your garbage." - The Low Wizard.

Fuck. Me. Running.

My wand lashed out towards a...pot(?)...that was near to the abomination of a raccoon. "Interfuse!"

No sooner than the link was established than I invoked the spell that it had inside.

Scalding Rain

Basic Interfusion

Boiling liquid burns away armor and gnaws at the enemy's flesh. (4.6 range, Pot + Spell Damage + 1d2 damage, 2 shred, –1 health to Liquid)

Not exactly pleasant, but it's what I had to work with.

"Scalding Rain!" I commanded, swishing my wand from the pot to the raccoon.

The pot immediately shattered, with the liquid inside shooting up into the air and then descending upon the mutated beast, steam coming from it as it did so.

Raccoon is dealt 4 damage!

Raccoon has had 2 points of armor shredded! 0 remaining!

It had armor too?! Well, not anymore.

I quickly ducked into cover behind a large anvil as the two tentacles spat crystal barbs at the doorway, before coming up and Interfusing with an old set of armor near to the beast.

"Shackle!" I shouted, the spell animating the armor into a crude set of manacles and shackles that pinned the monster into place. I noticed that I was panting. Was all of this spellcasting tiring me out?

I ducked again, just as another barrage of crystal points flew over my head. I steadied my breathing before standing up again and finishing the Raccoon off with another Ignite/Fireleash combo.

Raccoon is dealt 4 damage!

Raccoon has been defeated

Mission completed!

I yelped as the scenery warped around me, and suddenly I was back sitting in front of the Facilitator's desk. I was under the impression that he was beaming at me behind his mask.

"Well, well, well. That was an exemplary solo clear. Not as quick as a warrior or a hunter could clear it, but very fast for a mystic." the Facilitator said with a nod. "Here are your gains from that fight."

For defeating three monsters, you gain 15 EXP!

For completing a mission, you receive 10 EXP!

Mission Complete!

Tutorial: You can't really expect to fight in real life without some experience in using your powers, now can you?

Objective: Defeat all monsters (3/3) in the Tutorial Tower.

Rewards: 1 [Embergown], 30 EXP, 2 Iron, 2 Fabric, 2 Spell Thread.

Bonus: Complete Mission without losing any Health.

Bonus Reward: [Volans' Masked Cowl]

Congratulations! You have leveled up! You are now a Bloodhorn Mystic! See The Facilitator for your level-up rewards!

"And here is your newly adjusted stat page." the masked man said.

Name: Taylor Anne Hebert

Cape Name: N/A

Class: Mystic

EXP To Next Level: 71

General

Health: 7 (7.8)

Speed: 4 (4.5)

Recovery Rate: 4 Health per Day (4.2)

Defense

Armor: 1 (1.2)

Warding: 1 (1.8)

Dodge: 52

Block: 47

Offense

Melee Accuracy: 104

Ranged Accuracy: 104

Stunt Chance: 16

Bonus Damage: 0 (0.4)

Spell Damage: 1

Potency: 2.1

"Next, your new equipment." The Facilitator waved a hand, making a long purple and lavender robe, complete with leather boots, appear on one side, a matching purple cowl and mask on the other.

Embergown

Tier 1 Mystic Outfit

A common design for clumsy and novice-level Mystics who appreciate the fire-resistant properties of these treated fabrics for the accident-riddled pursuit of their work. Embergown Robes tend towards the simple.

- +0.5 Armor

- +2 Warding

+1 Spell Damage

Volans' Masked Cowl

Tier 1 Augment

Worn by the novice Mystic Volans before he would later rise to become the Chief Mystic of the Collegiate of Mystics, he wore this when out and about in order to hide his identity in case he screwed up in public and didn't want to admit it was actually him. Carries spells to protect the head from incoming flying objects, such as boots.

- +0.5 Armor

- +1 Potency

- +1 Warding

...why was it that these descriptions were pretty funny? And made Mystics out to be accident-prone? Whatever, they were better than my casual clothes, and could act like a costume, so I'd take them.

"As for your advancement...I can only urge you to take the first one." the Facilitator added as he laid three more sheets of paper before me. "As your skills stand, you can only affect the most basic of human-worked artifice."

I blinked at that and scanned the first lines of the first paper.

Humanist (Advanced Interfusion)

Advanced Interfusions based on human artifice, instruments, and accidents. A requirement to use Interfusions on advanced technology from the modern era.

"So I have to take this one to be worth a damn in the real world?" I asked with a frown.

"Sadly yes. Interfusion was created in the age you would compare to the early medieval era, so their basic abilities are designed around that era." my benefactor informed me. "Once you have become powerful enough, you will be able to manipulate everything in the modern era that you are capable of manipulating right now."

"Well that's something. I'll take Humanist then." I said with a sigh, not even bothering looking at the other two.

As the new ability fused with me, the Facilitator laced his hands together and regarded me for a moment.

"Miss Hebert, I believe I can now tell you a little bit more about why I'm giving you these powers." he said seriously.

"I kinda figured there was a story to it." I admitted.

"That's because you're one smart cookie." Facilitator snorted. "The truth of the matter, Miss Hebert, is that the corruption disease that birthed the monsters you fought, the Gorgon Sickness, is coming to Earth Bet. Science will not be able to cure it. Panacea's powers will not be able to alter it, although that does mean that Bonesaw and Blasto will be equally stymied. Parahuman powers will slowly start to have less and less of an effect on even the weak Gorgon Beasts, never mind the actual Gorgons. Your powers, however, are from the world where the Gorgon Sickness originated from, and will never lose their effectiveness."

"I'm...a countermeasure." I said, my mind whirling at the realization, scrambling for questions even as I sought to parse the answers already given to me. "B-But why is the Gorgon Sickness coming to my world? And how?!"

"To answer in reverse order, the Sickness is arriving via small inter-dimensional gates." the man stated. "And as to why...I am what many would refer to as a ROB, Miss Hebert, a Random Omnipotent Being. I am granting you powers in order to counter the actions of another ROB who has a grudge against the existence of Parahumans. I literally can't tell you any more than that due to the rules my kind operate under in regards to gambles."

"Gambles?" I hitched an eyebrow.

"There are two rules that my kind follow." Facilitator explained. "First, there are infinite worlds and thus, infinite resources. Worlds and their inhabitants claimed by one of us cannot be so much as touched by another, let alone actually harmed. To do so is to invite severe punishment from those far more powerful than I. They also cannot be stolen. We can trade, gift, bargain, sell and gamble them, but never steal them. Second, it is the responsibility off all to ensure that new members of our race know and understand the rules. An unspoken third rule is that conflict between my kind has to agreed upon and properly define win and loss conditions beforehand."

"So...you want to stop him from killing all Parahumans?" I asked slowly.

"In a manner of speaking." Facilitator temporized. "Sadly, you are due to wake up in about thirty seconds, so I must bid you goodbye until when next you sleep. Oh, and for your equipment, simply will them into existence as and when you need them. Farewell for the moment, Miss Hebert."

As I faded out of the dreamscape, I could tell that he had likely ended the dreamscape prematurely, so I guess he was uncomfortable about something. Exactly what...I would find out later.

So, anyone want to guess where this came from? Stupid muse...