Termination 21-y (Interlude: Break)

Blasting forward, flying over the city, Herbert was back in his element: being the tip of the spear.

He had his body enhancing powers, and he had his superman-style flight powers. Both were as easy as breathin' to use, since one was just moving, while the other was just wanting to fly that way, but the rest?

The rest were a pain in the ass to use.

Not on their own, then he could use them as easy as the original person could, and then some, but the coordinated shit? Using them all together, blending and mixing into things that the original users never could? Like the alphaiest of alpha strikes he'd done on the Endbringer Spawn?

Fuck that shit.

No, that left him with two options, either he could out Eidolon Eidolon, picking a handful that seemed the best and just using the fuck out of them, or he could let his Shard handle that shit, the crystal supercomputer way better at turning what he wanted to do into powers. It's what it already did in a way, so Break had it just do that, but more.

The other groups he'd called were flying behind him, all of them with the ability to either hit shit on the ground while flyin' or hit shit in the skies to watch the first's backs, and now they all could take hits they normally couldn't. Looking at the other portals, Break cast his intent outwards, wanting to know what was going on there, his visions shifting, one of his copied powers giving him zoomed in depictions of what was going on.

They were fighting, and, yeah, there'd already been casualties, hits with the energy bolts enough to break bones and scorch skin of regular people, while others were just fucking stabbed to death. One idiot charged forward with a fist crackling with lightning, throwing it in for a punch, only to be stopped by the shield of the ES he was fighting, 'cause duh, the return stab taking him in the chest. The idiot froze, staring, in horror, as the ES's spear glowed for a full second before it shot a bolt, in the guy's ribcage, causing the Striker to be blasted apart, his top third flying through the air, his waist and legs flopping uselessly on the ground.

Remembering Lee's briefings, and warnings, and unable to just see the Endbringer's power, Break watched carefully, but the ES didn't get seem to get stronger from the kill, nor did the dead guy get back up, or parts of him didn't, possessed or something. His friend had worried that it was the biblical Legion, the demons from the bible that Jesus had apparently shoved into a bunch of pigs, hogs not cops, and then forced 'em all to run into the sea and drown, which was metal as fuck, and meant that they could be dealing with some mass body-hopping bullshit, like Butcher on crack.

Well, more crack.

That chick -or maybe it was a dude now- had been a bitch to run off, especially when the crazy fucker had kept trying to get him to kill her to body jump into him. It'd taken-

Head in the Endbringer Fight, Herbet, he reminded himself, already a little tired from his opening move, wishing he'd taken a nap before all this bullshit had started, but Cauldron had needed to talk, and that'd taken a while.

Right. Yeah, he was pretty sure these guys were still biblical, since there were Romans and stuff in the Bible, they just weren't that biblical.

Thank God.

He and his team were starting to approach the main group, easily a few hundred of them all gathering up into squads. Twenty-five of them. And, looking around, yeah, there were twenty-five portals around the city. That probably didn't mean anything good, so it was time to handle 'em, but some were already turning their way, spears dropping down to point at his group, which meant it was time to stop moving with the others and get stuck in.

Blast power, hits there, big and bad, covers that large a space, Herbert requested, trying to cover the entire area, but his Shard wavered a little before his hand started to glow orange, which he'd learned from practice meant 'here's the closest I got'. He had time to tweak it, so tried to cover half the groups, which was no go, but the power was ready to fire.

Suggesting just a quarter of them got the mental click that told him it'd work, so he fired it off, a thick spinning ring launching hard enough he had to force himself to keep moving at the same speed. He looked at another group, not needing his Shard to charge another blast and fire it with the same power. The first ring hit the area between the groups to the left, missing the raised shields, then seemed to shrink before growing really fuckin' fast, like a daisy-cutting lightsaber blade, burning through troops, and killing them all.

Charging the third shot, he let it go as the second landed, but the ES' had already moved their shields around to turtle up, and while the expanding cutter hit a few that were out of position in two groups, it was stopped by the ES' glowing shields surrounding the other four, trying to expand around it, but they'd circled up, leaving them fine. The two that didn't get in place had the ring expand through them, taking them out, but he'd gone from getting them all to getting less than half.

Shit. They're smart, Break thought, but none of the real Endbringers were exactly dumb. He'd just hoped, since minions were normally kinda stupid, Endbringer Minions would be too, but no dice.

He still shot off the third ring, since it was already charged and all, dropping the power and asking his Shard for a Meteor drop with physical attack landing, instantly getting the click of the power slotting in that he wanted.

Surging forward, his body warped and twisted, growing plates of insect-like armor from the gaps of his clothing, cutting off his vision as it covered him completely, but he still had the x-ray power, which was pretty darn useful, and he was glad Lee had given one of their people that ability.

The ES' of the last group fired on him, but he was a biological meteor at this point, his Shard liking to be literal whenever it could, and it worked with his toughness abilities to take the hits with ease as he dropped down, knowing the faster he went, the harder he'd hit.

Landing, the shields of the last seven ES squads were all pointed his way, but from that first attack of his he'd seen their shit stopped energy.

And right now?

Right now he was being a complete mass- hole!

The armor exploded off him, no, it extended, the solid pieces actually tightly wrapped tendrils, which he could direct to shoot forward like a hundred spears of his own, the force of his landing channeled down them as they slammed into the ES, then through them.

The soldier's shields were tough, but they weren't invincible, tearing apart when he hit with enough force to punch through a tank, and it was kinda awesome that he actually knew exactly how much that was. It didn't stop there though. No, they died, and the ones behind 'em, with their shields lifted high, only the ones in the back able to survive, his attack bleeding off damage through every target, either not enough to break through their shields or not enough to kill them after stabbing in at the very end.

Power to control these bug-tendrils he requested, his Shard giving him one, which let him move them like his own hands, which was weird, but he was able to dig into the impaled ones and rip them apart, while going after the ones that had their shields

DANGER his precog senses yelled, and he thought, Get me over there!

Some transformation power went off, and he turned into a volley of bullets, flying away as fast as, well, a speeding bullet, reforming where he wanted, turned around already, able to see that survivors from the other groups had fired on him while he'd stood there, which, duh.

Wall I can fire through, made a glowing green stone wall pop into existence, with the little archer things castles had, which wasn't what he really wanted, but it was good enough. Keeping it up he asked for, Bazooka power that I can shoot through this hole which made an. . . actual bazooka. A thin one, made out of green and black energy.

"Huh," he said to himself, the power telling him exactly how to use it, and putting the launcher into the crack, he fired it. "Guess Miss Milita's here."

The missile streaked out, the glowing projectile hitting a shield and. . . winking out of existence.

Bazooka power I can shoot through this & not energy, he specified, the explosive counting as 'energy' for the other guys shields, which sucked for her, but wasn't that big of a deal for him. Instead his hand crusted over with ice, as his wall started to crumble, taking hit after hit, but, glancing over, his cavalry was almost here, so he let loose instead, firing crystals that fit through the thin opening but got bigger as they moved, ones he could direct, and they. . . exploded?


Laying down a hail of them, curving them every which way, they stuck to the shields, covering the area, until, taking cover himself, and shoring up the wall, he commanded it all to, Detonate, like the biggest Needler volley ever!

The blast was huge, the force throwing the ES all about, breaking all their formations, just in time for his people to come in like color-blind avenging angels, throwing down a shit-ton of fire, metaphysically speaking, ripping the survivors apart.

And there were a lot of survivors, more than he'd hoped, these guys all having a brute rating themselves, one he hadn't seen when he'd hit them with enough shit to make Leviathan back up and take notice. Squinting, he gave them maybe a two on toughness, and then another point or two since they didn't have any organs, just crystals, though a headshot still killed them, which made no sense, but Break wasn't going to punch a gift-horse in the dick.

With his people there, though, the ES were mowed down, Herbert switching to a physical, ranged, small area fuck you power as he flew up with the rest of them, which turned out to be a thing which fired a bullet, then multiplied it in flight, so each shot hit everything in a cone with, like, 3 .50 cal rounds per square inch every few seconds, since they also multiplied forward and back in flight. The first time he used the power it was just .22 rounds, so he was like, 'why not bigger' to his Shard, and itwas like 'I don't know, that's just the normal use', which was kinda dumb, but whatevs.

But it couldn't be that easy, because of course it wasn't, and the ES were still marching through the portal, in larger and larger numbers, and faster, with their shields up to try and block his people's shots, but there were enough of the PD there that didn't matter. Then the soldiers started firing the second they got out, but the shots were, like, fastball speed, maybe less, big, and glowing, so easy enough to dodge.

Pulling back up the exploding ice power he'd grabbed, Break fired with that one too, since he could kinda feel the shots, and wanted to fuck up these assholes on the other side of their gate before they showed up, but sending them through the portal he lost track of his shots, which sucked. He tried a probe sensor power his Shard gave him, which made a little eye thing he could see through, and was kinda dizzying, but sending it through while he kept firing just had it cut it off as soon as it went through, which also sucked, but kinda made sense, as the army of assholes on the other side probably toasted anything that came throguh. Trying one last thing, he used a minion creating power to make a bird made of circuitry, and sent that through.

Well, he tried to send it, but it got shot down before it even got close, but the eighth made it, and instantly died.

Shield other power? he asked, getting it, realizing he should've used that on the third bird, and sent this one through too, the power enough to easily tank the shots of the ES, as the barrier got stronger as it got smaller, and the bird was pretty small compared to people, but it got destroyed the second it went through. . . or, did it?

Watching closer, he sent another, and, no, it disintegrated as it touched the portal, it was just his connection got cut all at once. Clone power, he asked for, taking a second to look at this one carefully, not wanting to use an Oni-Lee style power, but this one made a short-lived clone with a fifth of the original's abilities. It would be new, so that meant it only copied the powers right next to it when he made it, but it was tough enough for him to throw at the portal.

It bounced.

And then the other-him jumped a few ES', getting ripped apart by them since it was naked, but still taking a few out, which told him having someone try and go through it probably wouldn't work.

Well, we got this, he thought, looking around, checking in on the groups. Most of them were having some trouble, but were setting up a few killboxes. One group, of about fifty, were marching this way though, their portal surrounded by corpses, and that was it.

No, the soldiers were exactly fifty. That seemed. . . important.

DANGER! yelled his progs powers, specifically telling him 'Four!' 'Chartreuse!' and 'Expansion!', so he commanded everyone to ~Get back!~

He flew away as well, still firing, until his precog powers calmed down, the others moving even further behind him, but, from the portal, he saw different soldiers show up, five of them spread across the length of the gate.

And these ones were carrying flags.

They were on spears, but it was obvious what they were. Seafoam green, like the rest of their equipment, these ones had the Roman leaf crown thing on it, only, looking closer, it was made of Shards. And in the center, was a coiled snake.

A coiled snake covered in spikes.

One he recognized.

On Vejovis' chest.

Which meant it was an Entity.

Which meant they'd stopped playing coy.

Which meant this was really, really fucking bad.

He didn't even need to give the command, everyone was already firing on the guys with flags, but the flag-bearers had slammed them on the ground, and a translucent green shield expanded outwards, moving over the soldiers without a problem, taking all the attacks without even slowing.

It stopped a couple dozen feet away, and formed a bubble, as it took everything they could throw at it without flinching.

"Well, shit," Break swore, asking for a shield-breaking power, which he got, throwing a lance of pink light at the bubble which. . . made it jiggle a little. Like Jello. And that was it.

Tossing a few more as fast as he could make it, that's all that happened, as more and more ES marched out, forming the same twenty-five groups they'd made before, but faster. And, looking around, the soldiers were coming out faster from every portal too, starting to overwhelm some of the defenders, though others were okay.

Activating another Glimpse, Break sighed, telling the others, "Taking a precog break to plan. Relax."

The forty-nine others with him just nodded, knowing this might happen, Billy Blitz holding up a hand and asking, "You want us to go see who needed help the most?"

"Yeah, do that," Herbert smiled, even as Alexandria flew up to him.

"Where did they all go?" she demanded. "You- No- Precog? You can copy. . . of course you can," she sighed, as she always did this fight.

"Yeeeeep," he nodded, stretching.

The coldest of latina's was quite for a moment, letting him think, before commanding, "Tell me to implement plan twenty-three-Demeter."

"Which is?" he questioned, not going to do that at all, but maybe if he knew what it was, he could 'come up with the idea' himself.

"You don't need to know that," she informed him, knowing exactly what he was doing, and he had no way of making her with his current power. . .

Power to let me get the information I want from Alexandria? He put out there, but his Shard just shrugged, so, yeah, that would've been too easy.

Right now he had no way of making her with his current power, so he just nodded, reset the Glimpse, told his people to go get info, and popped a Stranger power that make Alexandria lose track of him, going over to Legend and asking, "Hey, what's plan twenty-three-Demeter?"

"What?" the beamy-dude questioned, glancing Alexandria's way, before shrugging and saying, "Pull back and seed the area with mines. Uh, also set overwatch, and focus on what we can. But how do you know-"

Break reset the Glimpse, Legend always a bro when it came to this stuff. Giving out the same command to check in with the others, he looked up his teams on his phone, promising Alexandria he'd give the order that'd out him as a precog because this battle was just so fuckin' important he should sacrifice all his secrets, while she kept hers tighter than a crab's ass. Thankfully Legends' fucking whistled when he needed it to, but Herbert had to focus. He spent one getting the teams he needed, then a second Glimpse finding a couple 'mine' powers, another two figuring out how to use them, and then spending another Glimpse just hyping himself back up.

Which was another problem with doing this, as it hard-reset his Vampirism power, stopping the fight cold so his gain in strength and toughness from it went back down to base, which sucked, but managing people was important.

Also, he couldn't spar with it, then take the gains into the real world.

He'd tried.

After Taylor suggested it.

Dropping back to the real-world, after spending an hour going over his plans, he started tossing out the energy packets from five different powers, some of them disappearing when they hit the ground, others burrowing under, while others sat like giant 'danger' signs, but they were all mines, so it didn't really matter. ~Muin, Uath, Alpha, keep overwatch here,~ he ordered, using telepathy ability, ~Raido, Straif, go help the group to the South-South-Southwest. Omega, go get Ehwaz to help you with the one to the West-Northwest. Dagaz, go get Kappa and handle the portal to the North. I'll take the group that's marching down from it. Go!~

At his command, they all split off, with their missions, Alexandria flying like superman a moment later, crashing into the dome, only to bounce off it like it was made of rubber, thrown into a building that started to collapse.

The barrier didn't move an inch.

"You figure this out!" he yelled her way, knowing she heard him, then reached for a go to that point power, falling into a tunnel made of what looked like brown marshmallows and falling out the other side over and in front of the group of ES, who didn't stop marching, but fired at him all the same.

Dodging to the side, he let loose with his ice-crystals, but the ES somehow knew to shoot them instead of just blocking them, sending tiny fragments everywhere.

Hive-mind, he realized, as these guys couldn't've seen what he did to their buddies. Guess they're a bit 'we are Legion' after all, he nodded, still firing the ice power, but they were good enough that not a single one touched them.

Which was fine with Break, as he was ahead of them, and the little bits still counted.

Bounded blast power, he requested, getting one that required a little charge time, but he could use that, indirectly peppering the ground with even more of the tiny sharp crystals, but the barefooted ES' walked over what was pretty much a thick carpet of broken glass without issue.

What was an issue was when he blew it all the fuck up.

Thrown into the air, almost all of them were right in range as he let off the blast, which compressed into something the size of a marble, and which seemed to wind its way forward, like a drunk firefly, before it bloomed into a completely circular inferno, one hot enough and out there enough that it destroyed everything inside completely, only limbs caught outside the area intact, and they were completely unharmed, falling to the ground.

A call for a pierce ray had him shooting a blue beam that punched clear through the survivor's heads, a faintly glowing square hole drilled through each, and, looking around, everything seemed to be going really well.

Nodding to himself, he flew back to the PD's group, which had power-created walls up around the portals, guns, beams, and stuff firing near-constantly. The ES were coming out in a near solid stream now, trying all sorts of tactics, formations, and shit, but they were cut down instantly. Looking further away, Grace and Dragon had the one on the other side of them locked down as well, but the other twenty-two portals weren't doing nearly as well. The two portals he'd sent two teams to handle now had four groups of seven fighters each, and were holding their own, but some of the others were starting to be strained, losses easy to see.

When a freak blast was all that it took to kill a third of the capes here, it was just a matter of time.

"Good to see you rejoin us," Lee's voice said from behind him, tone fakely happy, and Break whirled about, seeing the Projection staring at him. 'Vejovis' was generally a lot more positive and upbeat than Lee was nowadays, but the Projection's voice had a bit of an edge to it. "Now that you're done playing with them, what are we doing about the next wave?"

"Next wave?" Herbert repeated, feeling a bit dumb, but around Lee that wasn't new, so it'd make sense a Projection of the man would make him feel the same. Glancing around, Break froze, seeing the sun high in the sky, no, he saw two suns, no, he was seeing. . .

Turning off his copied Power Sight, the text having been so bright it was almost blinding, there was Scion.

Arms folded as he looked down, the golden man was frowning.

Obviously searching for something.

Doing fuck all to help.

"You think Scion's gonna-" Break started to whisper, panicked. He was having trouble managing all these Endbringer Spawn. To fight the big bad that Lee couldn't yet-

"No, Break. The central portal," the Projection sighed, pointing, and the man followed the power-created beings finger to-

"Oh fuck," Break swore as he saw the small army that had gathered under the green bubble shield, groups of soldiers arranging in, again, squads of fifty, were starting to march out, passing through the shield like it wasn't even there, like that one Star Wars movie, the one with the child slavery and Jamaican frogs.

The Projection snorted, "Indeed. Now, what are you going to do about it?"

Me? Break thought, panicked. Why was this my responsibility?

Right, because Lee asked, and you accepted, he had to remind himself, kicking off a Glimpse, 'Vejovis' vanishing, along with all the ES, but it gave Herbert time to think.

And he needed that.

He could handle each group, but there was only one of him, and there were now fifty different groups of enemies, fifty-onw if he counted the central area which. . . were those tents?

Flying over, ignoring Alexandria as she flew up to him, Break saw that, in the bubble, which still existed, he could still see the flags, thirteen of them now, which kept the bubble going, even if he couldn't see the ES holding them, but there were also seafoam green tents set up.

That seemed. . . important, but he didn't know why.

Flicking the Glimpse off, he was returned back to where he was, really, and, watching, could see that soldiers were also coming, one after another, out of these tents.

Which meant they were mini-portals.


Glimpsing again, he spent five-minute chunk after five-minute chunk looking over his people's forces, harassing Alexandria, then Legend, to get an idea of who they brought to the table, and, two hours later, even more tired than he was before, five minutes nowhere close to enough time to rest, Herbert nodded to himself.

They could hold them off, if they worked together.


Like, all of them.

. . .

They were screwed.

Dropping the Glimpse, he started ordering groups around, and while his own people listened to him, and some of the independents did too, the Protectorate didn't, and Grace just scoffed when he popped over to her and turned her back on him, going back to holding off her own portal pretty much single handedly. It was only when Narwhal, the head of the Guild, outright ordered the girl to go intercept the oncoming group that Lee's Cousin did what Herbert had asked, not hiding how pissed she was over being told what to do. Herbert gave the forcefield clad woman a thankful nod and moved on to the next group, getting people together, while handling his own.

It was hard to take out the full group of fifty, and the same tactic didn't work twice, the ES' learning after each pass, which wasn't a problem for him, as he it was a pain to do the same tactic twice, but, while the first wave of fifty-ES squads from the main camp was taken care of, and the second, the third was harder, and the defenders were still taking losses.

This thing's the anti-Behemoth, Break finally realized, with dawning horror. That fight had been over in a few minutes, but this one couldn't be, not until the real Endbringer showed up, probably on some sort of timer. Rocky Bomb-boa had been a single opponent. Powerful, yeah, but everybody could focus on it, while this son of a bitch was in dozens of places at once!

They'd been at it close to forty minutes, and that brought up another issue, their potions. They'd all only brought one, because, one way or another, these fights were all were decided in about that time. Either you had a chance to fight off the Endbringer, or you didn't, and while Behemoth took a while to get where he was going, he couldn't be stopped, so it was a pretty obvious timeline of if you could hold him off for long enough or not.

Then someone fucked up.

He didn't know who it was, he was taking care of his sector, but, in the middle of taking down another group of fifty, they all froze for a second, white eyes flaring and shifting, turning bright yellow, and then they moved.

The attack he'd killed a few with already, a net made out of red-hot knives, was ripped apart through brute strength, and his other attack, a geyser of acid, was blocked by shields, not getting between them as they used to, the glowing edges of each expanding, meeting the others, sealing to make an impenetrable wall. More than that, the Endbringer Spawn were suddenly faster, no longer almost superhuman but now well into it, stabbing forward with glowing spears.

Break threw up the shield he'd used before, only to be skewered, as they punched through it with ease, even digging into his enhance flesh by a couple inches, which was up there with hull plating in toughness now, only the blaring of Danger from his precog abilities keeping one from piercing his throat, the weapons starting to glow, and he dodged, but they fired in half a second, instead of the full second they had before, one blast hitting him with the force of a small bomb, stronger than before as well.

Away! Was his panicked thought, as he teleported, bleeding from a dozen wounds, though passive healing powers were already closing them, and reaching for contained fuck-you got him the same 'firefly of doom' as before, which darted inside the formation, but the soldiers were reacting to it the second it emerged from his hand, turtling up. Gravity pull power! Break requested, feeling the click and activating it instantly, taking these coked-up soldiers off their feet for a moment.

A couple fell, but four used each other to stabilize themselves, hunkering down and pulling their shields together, everything obscured as the blast went off, destroying everything.

No, Herbert realized with worry, those four survived, turning and firing at him as a group, but, using the same teleportation power he appeared behind them, tossed another firefly into the middle of them, accepting the stab to his gut as the price of doing business, teleporting back out as it detonated, killing the last four, his vampirism healing him in an instant because of that.

What the fuck, Herbert thought, looking around, and grimaced as he took in the battlefield.

Whereas before people were holding out, tired but having gotten a system down, everyone was scrambling once more, independents dying in droves, and he activated his Glimpse, flying up to give himself time to think, only to realize that the portals had moved.

Now instead of ten miles away from the central portal, they were a bit over six, having closed a third of the distance, and it was easy to see why when he dropped the Glimpse.

In one spot, where he saw red and green troops starting to move, someone from the Protectorate had let the group going in meet up with the group coming out, and now a full hundred troops were starting to march inwards, but instead of the steady jog they were now moving at a full sprint, all while keeping a full defensive formation, shields bleeding over into each other.

Yeah, no, Break thought, the teleportation ability he was using short range, but casting out for a longer one he disappeared, his body seeming to shatter like glass, reforming a few hundred feet up, his Precog warning him to dodge the incoming barrage of shots that were moving twice as fast as before, and sent his way with a lot more accuracy.

But he had power of his own, and, without having to worry about anyone, Break played the same riff he had at the start of the fight, bathing the area with all sorts of attacks, taking the shots that hit him, his arm breaking from the constant hits, then a leg, but they were repaired in an instant, the deaths of the ES' below him traded for his healing.

His practiced set ending, Herbert started to turn away, only for the feeling of DANGER to spike once more, so he dodged, a crescent of energy slicing through where he'd been, and, looking back down, one of the soldiers had survived, but he was different.

It was taller, its armor was more complete, but what little bits of red flesh he could see seemed to be damaged. It had a full face-concealing helmet, its eyes glowing bright yellow, but more than that it wielded a seafoam green sword, not a spear, a shorter one, which it slashed again, sending that wide arc of energy at Break once more.

The short-range teleport got Herbert close, and the enhanced Spawn lacked a shield, so was blasted in the face by one of Legend's beams, only to have the. . . centurion block it on a glove, its sword slashing out and sink into Break's left shoulder, and get stuck there, which hurt like a bitch, but seemed to take the Spawn by surprise.

Snarling in anger, Break shoved his right hand into the thing's face, and asked for Striker annihilation power, feeling the click of one prepping as he grabbed its helmet and sunk his thumb, charged with power, into its eye, hitting the hard surface of its crystal flesh, before, with a soft ringing, like windchimes, the helmet came free, the centurion's headless corpse dropping to the ground, its skull dropping from the armor in roughly chopped chunks.

Tossing the helmet aside, Break wrenched the blade free of his flesh, which hadn't broken apart like the normal ES' spears did on death. Was it because it was in me when he died? His shoulder knitted back together instantly, and, after wanting to Return this home, the sword disappeared, teleported back to his room back in Eclipse. Flying up, and looking, Break saw twenty-three more Centurions, all of them at the new portal locations, some already dead, some slaughtering the defenders that rushed to try and get into position, and he activated his Glimpse again.

"FUCK!" the man bellowed in frustration, the fake-versions of everyone else suddenly taken off guard as the things they were struggling against disappeared. Flicking the Glimpse off, he looked towards the center, and, yeah, twenty-five more of the fuckers had emerged and were casually walking over to twenty-five still-forming groups of a hundred soldiers each, all getting ready to go out.

Glimpsing again, swearing again, Break knew the fight was lost.

Knew that they were fucked if they stayed.

But also knew that no one else would realize that.

Or, if they did, they wouldn't care.

Standard protocols were that anyone who got a permanent upgrade from Flamel could only get one. It was something he'd argued with Lee about, his friend relenting, and he'd done it for this reason. After three potions in twenty-four hours, bad shit started to happen, and so everyone had to be able to take two.

He ignored everything else, exhaustedly going through the backup plans Lee had made him make for this fight, until he got the ones he needed.

Ending the Glimpse teleporting back to the PD camp, which, while entrenched, was kind of useless now, he saw 'Vejovis' directing people, having some gather materials while sending others to secure the new portal, the Projection shooting a scathing look his way. Part of Herbert wanted to ask what the fuck had he done to deserve that, but, looking around, re-Glimpsing, he realized that while he'd been out fighting, 'Vejovis' had been the one actually leading.


Well, he'd get the ass-reaming from the real Lee later, and he ended the Glimpse, opening up the comms, which he'd muted early in the fight and forgot to turn back on, and gave his prepared speech. "This is Break. The situation has evolved into a Tier Six threat," he announced. "Anyone not rated for Tier Seven combat is to head to the extraction zone and get to safety. Everyone who is and wants to stay, drink your Haste Potions, and, if things get worse, get ready to make a run for the exit. The Legionnaires all got a power up, and are Tier Five threats, and now we have to deal with Centurions, who seem like Tier Six, and I'm pretty fuckin' sure there's worse waiting for us before the real Endbringer shows its ugly head. We've already got a shit-load of intel, and only the heavy hitters should stay if we need more. If their eyes flash, I don't give a shit if you're Eidolon himself, you will disengage or, if they don't kill you, I'll make you wish you were dead. Do you understand me?"

A chorus of assent rang out over the comms, but not enough, and Break pulled a bit on a Master power that was floating about in his head, one he'd tried on the second wave of ES to no effect, but would work here. "I said, Do You Understand Me!?"

"We Understand!" his people responded as one, which, yeah, kinda creepy, but they got it.

"Good!" he replied, as people started streaming to the middle of their entrenchment, Mouse Protector popping in and out, ferrying people back to their fallback position, outside of Eclipse in case this thing could somehow follow them home. That was more of a 'If Legion Possesses People' thing, but they still had it set up that way. "Speedsters, collect samples! Thinkers, get vantage points. And if anyone kills a centurion, bring its body back. They drop loot, and I'm sure Arachne will be happy with you if you do! Alright everyone, move out!"

Toggling off the comms, he looked to 'Vejovis', asking, "Better?"

"Better," the Projection nodded, smiling slightly, turning to look out, narrowing his masked eyes. "Khione and Alexandria have this quarter; you'll do better in the Northwest."

"Isn't that where Eidolon is?" Break questioned, turning.

"That's where Eidolon was," 'Vejovis noted dryly. "He's hiding, putting himself back together. He was taken just as off-guard as you were by the step-up in the fighting. Now, try and delay the inevitable for long enough for us to get our people out, as well as the Guild's," it said, nodding towards that group.

He knew it was dumb, but he asked, "And the others?"

"If you want to try and talk the Triumvirate down, be my guest," 'Vejovis' noted. "Legend was clipped in the change as well, and is out, so it's just Eidolon and Alexandria."

Yeah, Herbert didn't have to use his Thinker powers to know that wouldn't work. "Well, once more into the breach and shit," he offered.

"Indeed," the projection smirked. "Do not take responsibility for their deaths, for their fault, dear Break, is not in their Shards, but in themselves."

". . . there's something wrong with their powers?" Herbert asked confused, wondering if he should do something to help.

"I, no, we're fighting fake Romans, so a quote from. . . You've never read Shakespeare, have you?" the partial version of Lee asked.

"Watched Romeo and Juliet once. Well, a movie of it," Break offered. "Fell asleep halfway through. Kind of boring. Nothing happened."

'Vejovis' stared. "Nothing happened? There's a gang war and, you know what? Nevermind. We're wasting time," he declared, with a wave of his hand. Pausing for a moment, the Projection ordered, "Go chew bubblegum and kick ass."

Now that was a quote Break knew, grinning, as he charged up a new attack power.

"Too bad I'm all out of bubblegum."