If you don't normally, make sure to check out the note at the end of this chapter.


PV panels in a ballasted system are typically not attached to the roof and rely on their weight and friction to counter the effect of wind and seismic forces. In some cases, ballasted systems are provided with attachment points to increase the friction forces.

The following white paper documents were developed by the Structural Engineering Association of NYC (SEAON) in the effort to further clarify with procedure steps while applying the structural building code provisions to solar photovoltaic systems:

1. Seismic structural requirements and commentary for rooftop solar photovoltaic arrays (SEAOC PV1-2012).

2. Wind Design for low-profile solar photovoltaic arrays on flat roofs (Report SEAOC PV2-2017).

Engineers should use ASCE 7-16 for the definitive requirements that are not included in these white paper documents.

These documents should not be considered a substitution for ASCE 7 standards.

FINDINGS...

A ballasted solar array system can be used on flat roofs without a positive connection when the following requirements are met:

1. The seismic design of ballasted PV arrays shall comply with CBC 1613.3, ASCE 7-16 13.6.12, with the guidance of PV1-2012. The displacement can be determined by one of the following procedures:

- Prescriptive design seismic displacement; or

- Nonlinear response history analysis; or

- Shake table testing.

2. The wind design of ballasted PV arrays shall comply with CBC 1510.7.2 Exception, ASCE 7-16 29.4.3 or 31.6, with the guidance of PV2-2017.

The wind design load can be determined by one of the following procedures:

Prescriptive pressure coefficient GCrn; or wind tunnel tests.

3. Post a placard: Permanently affix a durable weather and fade resistant placard on or near the photovoltaic system, visible from all sides of roof location. This may require placards in multiple locations. The placard shall state in letters with a minimum letter height of 5/8 inch the following:

WARNING

THIS IS A BALLASTED PHOTOVOLTAIC PANEL SYSTEM.

DO NOT REMOVE / RELOCATE ANY ARRAYS AND/OR BALLASTS (specify ballast type). ANY CHANGES TO THE PV SYSTEM, ROOFING MATERIAL, ROOF STRUCTURE, AND OTHER ALTERATIONS SHALL BE MADE WITH ALL REQUIRED BUILDING AND ELECTRICAL PERMITS.

DO NOT REMOVE THIS PLACARD

4. Signage or roof markings (e.g. yellow stripes) shall be provided delineating the area around the panel that must be kept free of obstructions. Identify on the roof plan.

SUBJECT A…


I put the file back down, rubbing my temples.

I appreciated Hera's help, but Zeus, this file was dry to read. It was an entire breakdown of every asset in some Oscorp facility in Hudson- the same town Piper and I ran into Medusa. The Thyrsus was somewhere in there.

Funny how all of this random Greek mythology-related stuff just happens to poof out of nowhere in one concentrated area. Misery loves company, I guess. So does evil.

I opened my notebook, scribbling some more notes down.

So far, SUBJECT T was what seemed to be the Thyrsus. There were extensive notes about its handling, and its care, as well as how to carefully and meticulously draw energy out of it. Unless it was some other form of energy- a battery, maybe- and it was just given that placeholder, it had to be Mr. D's mystical staff.

I was fairly confident in that, anyway. Some of the experiments went unnamed, others were labeled, along with this mysterious SUBJECT A that was mentioned.

Most of them seemed like technology or infrastructure, but A…I don't know. It was much too vague to tell.

All in all, I was a bit put off.

I dropped half of my points into INT, just to be able to sift through this, and there were still things I couldn't wrap my head around.

"Here's your coffee- cinnamon, two sugars, right?" Peter said, coming back to the dinner table.

Piper was behind him, holding a tray of pastries- cherry muffins, glazed donuts- you name it. They settled into their seats. Peter's aunt, May, called into the kitchen a moment later, telling us we had a few more minutes before MJ got here.

We were headed to the Fall Ball- Peter and Piper were going together- in a couple of minutes, but beforehand, I wanted to get some studying in. Ha, ha, yeah, nerdy- shut up.

What did I tell you about the Peter and Piper thing, though, huh? They were hitting it off. It still felt a bit early to speculate on the nature of their relationship- seeing as they met a week or two ago- but, still. Yesterday, after the amazing news I received, Peter insisted in bringing Piper along, too.

I'm still not over that dumb idea. My coach is…eccentric, for sure, but randomly making all of the basketball players go to a ball with cheerleaders? That's out of the left field, for sure. Maybe he's chaperoning or something?

I took the offered cup with a thank you and sipped slowly, flipping back through the file to get to SUBJECT T.

I could more or less understand the contents of the file, but the part that I just couldn't understand at all was how Luke was smart enough to figure all of this out.

Even assuming he doubled his INT, I couldn't shake the fact that he couldn't have done all this alone. There was an almost inhuman amount of foresight- from everything to the handling of the staff to its extraction.

Just the instructions on safely handling it were twelve pages long. Twelve pages.

What are the chances of Luke figuring out how mortals can safely wield a godly item, putting it into instructions anyone can understand, and then actually going through the work of publishing it? Has he really grown that formidable?

No. That doesn't make sense. Is it Kronos' influence? Is my grandpa just whispering in Luke's ear, telling him exactly what to say and do? I remembered the feeling of being merged with a god- was that just what he was doing at the moment?

Hera did mention how much of a threat Kronos was. Is this just an example of that? Am I going to see his tenacity firsthand?

"If you think any harder, you're going to explode," Piper offered helpfully, a milk mustache forming on her upper lip. She bit into a muffin, and continued, in a muffled tone, "What's the problem?"

"I just feel like there's something dodgy about this whole thing," I said, scratching my head. "Luke…I don't know. There's some weird stuff in here that I can't grasp."

"Let me look," Peter took the file from me, leafing through it. He had somewhat of a vested interest in this. Unlike MJ, who I hadn't spoken to at all after her party, Peter had taken the news rather well. I didn't plan on telling him about the Apollo thing, but yeah. He was as well-adjusted as you could hope to be after finding out Greek gods were real. "Huh. Lots of science in here."

"Yeah. What's your take on it?" I had a few ideas of my own, but as I mentioned before, this dude Peter is next level when it comes to anything science-related. I'd take any help I could get.

"I…think…well, it's tough," Peter scootched his seat closer to me. He pointed at the fifth page. "Here, look. They take about transferring things, right? Well, you'd assume they mean energy or something, but here's the thing: energy can only be transferred from one object to another or between energy stores within the same object. Think about a game of pool, for example. When the white ball hits another ball, energy is transferred from the kinetic store of the white ball to the kinetic store of the other ball. That's how the movement works, and that's kind of how energy transfer works."

"I'm with you so far."

"Generally speaking, there are 4 ways energy can be transferred; mechanically, electrically, by radiation, or by heating," Peter continued, flipping through some more of the pages. He stopped toward the end, "But here, that goes out the window. They're talking about something else entirely. They're talking about this T thing, or whatever, and somehow, they're creating a cannonade store. Honestly, I have absolutely no idea what that means."

"Does it say anything about how they're going about it?" I asked. Maybe it was some sort of mana thing.

"Kind of. Apparently, they're drawing some sort of energy out of it, and trying to transfer it into a host," Peter scratched his chin. "But I can't tell what."

That was…troubling. If by a host, he meant a biological agent, yeah, no, this was a major problem. I ran a hand through my hair. Imagine an army full of monsters, all beefed up and saturated with Mr. D's mana.

Fuck me.

I didn't want to go in, guns blazing, but I was beginning to think I was running out of time. I'd had the file for two weeks, been studying it and making theories for two weeks, and nothing about the mission had budged an inch since.

No word from Hermes, Hestia, or Mr. D. Osborn was still nowhere to be seen; Luke was laying low- the only constant change at all was the increase of monster activity around camp.

"Fuck it, I might have to hit this base soon," I said, leaning back into the chair. "I'm worried about this."

"What's worrying you?" Piper asked curiously, a carefully hidden look of surprise on her face. I don't think she's used to me being completely worried. Honestly, I don't even know if I'm used to being this worried about something.

"What Peter just said. Given the situation, I think the most probable idea here is that they've somehow found a way to infuse godly power into other living things- or, if they haven't found it, they've worked toward it, at the least," I exhaled. "That's bad. Mega bad. Could you imagine if the Titans had an entire army full of enhanced warriors?"

Piper's face fell. A little bit of panic worked its way into her expression, "Zeus. That's…"

"Terrifying," I supplied, and she nodded. I lightly patted her shoulder. "Don't worry. I'm going to get to the bottom of it. And when I do, I'm going to kill—"

I cut myself off as May walked in the door, MJ by her side. "—the Hawks this week. We are going to absolutely kill the Hawks this week on the basketball court. Playing basketball. For the school."

Piper coughed from across the table, "Smooth."

You know, looking back, I was definitely slack-jawed the first time I really looked at MJ that night. She was already pretty good-looking, but Zeus did she clean up nice.

Her red hair was spilling down to her mid-back, with braids running down the sides. I normally wasn't a fan of makeup, but it was barely noticeable on her face- her cheeks just seemed extra rosy, and her freckles seemed even more pronounced.

Her eyes were the greenest eyes I'd ever seen- did she have magic makeup or something? I felt like they were brimming with energy. She was mesmerizing. MJ was wearing a simple, yet tight black dress, but she made even that seem extravagant.

"You look great," I said quickly, shoving the file under the table, where my [Inventory] gobbled it up before anyone could react. "Amazing, in fact."

MJ's cheeks turned even pinker, "Thank you, Percy. You don't look half bad, yourself."

She noticed Piper at the table. "Oh, hi! I don't think we've met. I'm MJ."

"Piper," Piper offered, shooting me an impressed look- kind of like: Good for you, Percy. "I tr- work out with Peter and Percy."

MJ opened her mouth to reply, but May shuffled into the room, wrapping her cardigan around her torso. There was a devious glint in her eyes which I'd seen a few times before in my own mom's. "Come on, kids! I need pictures!"


The moment we walked into the dance, I knew something was about to wrong with my night.

I'd been in this cafeteria nearly every day for the last month and a half. I knew the lunch ladies. I knew the janitors. I even knew that one slice of cheese that had been stuck to the ceiling since the summertime- we called him Swiss Kevin, and he was basically a celebrity at this point.

That's why when we walked inside, I felt all the hairs on my neck stand up.

There were black and red balloons all over the floor, and guys were kicking them in each other's faces or trying to strangle each other with the crepe-paper streamers taped to the walls.

Girls moved around in football huddles, the way they always do, wearing lots of makeup and spaghetti-strap tops and brightly colored pants and shoes that looked like torture devices.

Every once in a while they'd surround some poor guy like a pack of piranhas, shrieking and giggling, and when they finally moved on, the guy would have ribbons in his hair and a bunch of lipstick graffiti all over his face.

I noticed some of the guys from the team with their dates. Flash had already taken his suit jacket off and rolled up his shirt sleeves. He and some other guy, Jack, I think, were playing paper football at their table while their dates looked miserable. I waved at them.

Some of the chaperones milled about. I recognized a few of them, like Mr. Lyman, and my coach- who was in fact a chaperone. Huh, mystery solved, I guess. He bounded over to me almost instantly.

"Jackson, good to see you made it out here, son," He clapped his large hand on my shoulder. "Is this your lovely date?"

"It is, coach," I gestured to MJ, who introduced herself. Why didn't he seem to know that? A moment later, I followed up with, "I mean, you did make all of us go to this thing, right, Coach? That's what Liz told me."

Danvers blinked. Once. Twice. Then, suddenly, as if nothing had happened, he chuckled heartily, "Of course, Jackson! Amy herself convinced me it was a great idea!"

Amy…she was popping up all over the place these days,

Just what was it with that girl? Why did it always feel like our paths ended up crossing, one way or another? I checked her up and down with all of the deductive abilities given to me by the Game, and nope. Nothing. She was just some weird normal girl.

"Come on, Percy," MJ grabbed my arm. She gave me a warm smile, "Let's go dance!"

Swallowing back my anxiousness, for now. I nodded, letting her drag me out to the dance floor where some of our friends were already dancing.

Gwen joined us instantly. "Oh, my goodness, MJ! You look so pretty!"

"I love what you did with your hair," MJ returned, smiling warmly at Gwen. "It really brings out your eyes…"

Percy…

I whipped my head around, feeling a hot tingle at the base of my neck. I couldn't see anyone, even with both [Observe] and [Mana Detection] up and running.

Percy!

I blinked a few times, recognizing that voice. It took me a few moments just because she sounded, I don't know, different. Strained. Lady Hera?

Good. You can hear me.

I can, I confirmed, frowning. What's up?

Prepare yourself.

For what?

I didn't get a response for a few moments.

It…I will tell you soon. In person. I...

With that, the tingling feeling left my body. I noticed MJ and Gwen staring at me weirdly. "Everything okay, Percy?"

"Peachy," I replied, my insides coated with ice. "Just peachy. Let's dance."

While we can.


I'll admit, MJ knew how to have a good time. The girl was basically made to party.

We danced for the entire first hour, throwing it down to everything from Cotton Eye Joe to Starships, and everything in between. I'd never really been a fan of school dances, but something about having her here with me made them…bearable, almost.

At one point, the strobe lights turned on, and I was hit with a wave of nostalgia. After partying in Atlantis, this school cafeteria just didn't hold the same appeal it would've if I was a regular teenager. Surprisingly enough, though, I didn't seem to mind too much.

"Oh don't you dare look back, just keep your eyes on me," MJ sang, bouncing around in front of me. "I said you're holding back, she said shut up and dance with me…"

How ironic.

As the song finished off, the DJ took the mic, "Hello, Midtown High! How are we doing out there? LET ME HEAR SOME NOISE!"

There was a loud roar in response. I whooped. The DJ grinned behind his setup, stepping back up, "AWESOME! Now, let's slow things down a little bit. Grab your date and get close!"

James Taylor started blaring out of the speakers, "How sweet it is to be loved by you…"

I stared at MJ, who was biting her lip and looking at me expectantly.

Ah, screw it. This whole time, I've been so preoccupied with what Hera said, I haven't even fully let myself enjoy the night.

I stepped closer to her, awkwardly, and gently placed my hands on her hips. She wrapped her arms around my neck. Almost as if on cue, we started swaying.

"See? That wasn't so bad," MJ whispered to me. I laughed in response, hugging her waist a bit tighter, and she repositioned herself so she was hugging me a bit too. We were nose to nose. Her heart was beating so hard, I swear I could feel it through her clothes.

Her breath smelled like cherry. She said, almost teasingly, "I've been waiting for you to make a move all night, you know?"

My insides felt warm. I let my hands tighten a bit more on her waist, "Is that so?"

"Mmmm," She hummed, closing her eyes for a moment. "I was beginning to wonder if you were just blind or something. Did you even see the dress? I thought I'd have to wear a sign telling you to put your hands on me if you acted any denser."

"Well, they're on you now," I shot back, pulling her even closer to me. Her body pressed into mine, molding against my suit. Her hot breath brushed my cheek, "I just…I felt bad because of the whole, you know, Greek gods exist thing. I thought you were avoiding me."

"I…well, I was," MJ admitted, her eyes flickering through all kinds of emotions. I felt her breath catch a bit. "It…it was a lot. It is a lot. I was scared, Percy. You might see stuff like that all the time, but I…I don't."

"What changed your mind?" I asked curiously. "I mean, if you changed your mind, that is."

"You," She moved one of her hands upward, cupping my face. It felt soft against my cheek, and her fingers were pleasantly tender. "You stood there and just…do you have any idea what you look like when you do that stuff?"

"Er…no…"

"There was this determined glint in your eyes. You were relaxed. Entertained, even. There was a monster in front of you and you looked just…so carefree. Just like when you play basketball," MJ whispered, almost like she was afraid someone else would listen in. She pursed her lips, "Then, he turned to me, and God…you snapped. That expression, your posture…everything switched up so fast. You were…scary. I saw Percy change from the relaxed, funny, charming boy that I know, into a violent, deadly, well, warrior."

I had no idea that sort of thing happened. I mean, mentally, sure, but I'd never considered what it looked like to someone else. I swear I could feel my blood roaring in my ears. She was so close, "You did?"

"I don't know what it's like for your demigod friends, but you were literally radiating power. It felt like I was next to a jet engine. You just…flicked a switch on, and destroyed it," MJ continued in her slow tone, as the song began to end. She put her other hand on my cheek too, grabbing my face lightly. "But you did it for me. You did it to protect me."

"I'd do it again," I replied, my heart hammering. "I wouldn't…I won't let anything hurt you. Not now, not ever."

"I know," MJ said simply, licking her lips nervously and leaning in.

I closed my eyes and leaned in too. I didn't know what I wanted, or if I even wanted anything, but damn it all, Triton was right. I didn't have to know anything. I just had to be in the moment.

Our lips touched, and for a moment, I swear nothing else mattered. A meteor could've hit the planet and wiped out all life and I wouldn't have even cared. I pulled her closer to me, deepening the kiss. Zeus, she tasted so nice. Her hands closed around my neck, and she moaned softly into the kiss. The warmth before radiated through my whole being.

And…I was lit on fire.

Yep.

I was lit on fire. My suit just caught fire out of nowhere, almost as if someone around me thought it would be funny to torch me with a flamethrower. Light red, almost pink-looking flames slowly swayed on my body.

I instantly backed up, patting my suit, which was burning rather quickly.

MJ looked at me, concerned, "Is this…is it like…"

"What?"

"You know! Do your powers get, um, weird when you're excited?" MJ said awkwardly. "Like, uh, sexually—"

"What? Oh, hell no!" I said as the flames died down. "Wait. No, not like…I'm not saying I'm not turned on or anything, but my powers don't do that! I have full control, even when I'm horny."

MJ gave me a triumphant smile, even though her cheeks were pink.

"WAIT!" I tried to double back again. "Not…I…"

"Percy," MJ said slowly. "Get back here and kiss me again. Fire or not."

"Yes, ma'am," I grinned, walking back to her. I grabbed her waist and she held my face. I leaned in…

This time, we were interrupted by Hera appearing next to us.

"Oh, you have got to be kidding me," I grumbled. Why does the whole fucking world want something when I'm kissing a hot girl! I tried to keep my tone level, "Lady Hera. Is everything okay?"

This time, for some reason, she hadn't bothered trying to blend in. She stood at about seven feet tall, with her face looking a bit more stern and stately than it had last time. She was dressed in a blue dress with a cloak made of goatskin, which hung over her shoulders, and her hand held a staff with a white lotus flower on top.

Here's where things get tricky. Before my eyes, she flickered. Yep. Flickered. Her image shifted from this gigantic goddess, to what she'd looked like when I'd seen her last. What the hell?

A quick observation answered my questions…and gave me even more.

Her name wasn't Hera anymore. It was flashing back and forth between [Juno] and [Hera].

"It's beginning," She told me, grabbing my shoulders tightly. Her godly strength was becoming uncontrollable- her hand felt like a vice grip on my shoulder. "Luke is beginning his move. You need to intercept the Thyrsus."

I had a million questions, but I kept my mouth shut and nodded, for now. "Okay."

She disappeared a moment later, and I turned to MJ, who was giving me a knowing smile.

"Uh…that was…."

"The Queen of All Gods," MJ supplied, tapping her head. "Give me some credit, Percy."

"Yeah," I said awkwardly, rubbing the back of my head. "I'm going to have to—"

"I know. I heard," MJ said, sighing. "God. You heroes, always just rushing off to save the day. Before you go, though…"

She reached forward, grabbing my shirt by the collar and pulling me in. She kissed me hungrily, our noses smushing against each other. Afterward, she pulled me in for a hug.

She mumbled, "There's more where that came from, Jackson, so you better come back."

How cliché, MJ.

"I will," I promised. I gave her one last kiss and ran out of the cafeteria, pulling my tattered suit jacket off and hopping into the Duat, hoping Hera wouldn't be too mad when she came to her senses and saw what I did with her gift.


Stealth missions were definitely more fun in video games.

In real life, well, not so much. They were kind of boring, honestly. Besides the obvious differences like dying if you got caught, there was also no way of knowing what corners people would and wouldn't check.

Therein lies the true beauty- and annoyance- of human thought. It's possible to kind of predict where things are going, but impossible to outright tell.

I shifted on the light pole I was sitting on. I ditched the suit somewhere in the Duat, and now, I was dressed in my armor for Atlantis- it was crucial for stealth missions like this because it literally made me invisible if I stopped moving.

"The Yankees are doing alright this year," One of the guards walked underneath me mentioned. They walked past the light, back into the darkness of the night. "I like the way our rookies are looking, out there."

"Bah," The second one waved him off, with a heavy Long Island accent. "I don't like our chances in the playoffs. Los Angeles—"

I corkscrewed off my spot on the light and landed in front of them, smashing both of their heads together before they could make a noise.

As both of their bodies crumpled to the ground, I nicked the keys off of one of them and scaled back toward the front of the building.

Oscorp, for all of its technological advancements, kept its offshore bases like this rather primitive. There was an alarm, of course, and some motion detecting stuff, but the brunt of their security was focused on human guards.

Back in Atlantis, I'd hated that dumb lying exercise- I'm sure you guys remember that one. Now, though, I kind of get its importance. It isn't the lying, per se, that's important but that was never the goal of the exercise.

It was about analyzing things and looking underneath the surface.

Sure, at first glance, this base may seem primitive and unguarded, but there has to be a reason for it. A multi-million-dollar company wouldn't leave any sort of product- especially prototypes- out in the open for everyone to see.

Well, what does that mean?

The real fight's on the inside.

Oscorp intentionally wants to funnel potential spies into their building. Why? That part, yeah, I don't know.

I can make a few guesses though- most of the people who would steal from Oscrop would be corporate enemies.

No gang's going to fuck with a juggernaut like Oscorp. When was the last time you heard of, say, MS-13 going after Amazon to steal prototypes? Stuff like that doesn't happen.

The only people who would bother trying to steal developing products would be, as you'd expect, other companies. It's just the rat race. Get a product your opponent's trying to put out, put it out before them, blah, blah.

It's like the whole Apple vs. Android debate that springs up every other year. Well, with gods and titans and magical staffs involved, that is.

They want to make it enticing enough and straightforward enough for you to get in. That way, when you do, they can either straight up put you in the ground or take you to court. Knowing Oscorp's lawyers, I'd probably take the first option. A startling amount of corporate lawsuits end in death when it comes to them, anyway…

They weren't prepared for a kickass son of Poseidon, though.

I entered the facility rather easily, busting the door down.

"Percy!" Luke greeted, not even a moment after I walked into the facility. "Glad you could join us! Take a seat."

If there was ever anything good about working for Kronos, it had to be the living perks this man was giving out. At this rate, I wouldn't be surprised if he was giving out free healthcare and perks, too. Maybe even a company lease on a car.

Unlike the sterile, warehouse-type room I was expecting to find myself in, I was face to face with an old-timey bar.

You know, the kind that looked like it was straight out of an old Western movie. Worn down, wooden tables and furniture, faded jukeboxes. A line of lightbulbs framed the doorway, with half of them either dimmed or buzzed out entirely.

In a not-so-charming way, the entire room reeked of alcohol and smoke. It almost looked like the only thing keeping the place up was the beams up by the ceiling. It was damp.

I slid into one of the bar chairs, glancing at Luke.

He'd changed since the last summer. Instead of Bermuda shorts and a T-shirt, he wore a button-down shirt, khaki pants, and leather loafers. His sandy hair, which used to be so unruly, was now clipped short. He looked like an evil male model, showing off what the fashionable college-age villain was wearing to Harvard this year.

He still had the scar under his eye—a jagged white line from his battle with a dragon. I may not have even noticed this if it wasn't for my eye, but his entire being seemed to flicker for a moment.

Propped on the table was a magical sword- Backbiter, the game said- glinting strangely with its half-steel, half-Celestial bronze blade that could kill both mortals and monsters.

"Cousin," I said, placing an already unsheathed Riptide on the table. "You've had me doing a little goose chase."

"Sorry, Percy," Luke laughed good-naturedly. "But you know I had to. You would've found me too quickly otherwise."

"You won't mind me asking, how, then?" I cracked my knuckles against the worn wood of the counter. "Between friends, we both know there's no way you were this meticulous."

"Perceptive as always, Perce," Luke complimented, drumming his fingers. "You're right. I did have help. And, you could, too."

"Luke, if you're going to try to convince me to join you, the least you could do is be here in person," I smiled, waving a hand through 'Luke,' who flickered. "Tsk. Just bad manners, really."

"You understand my caution, cuzzo," Luke said unabashedly. "You defeated Oceanus. I can't have you ruining things for my lord."

"So, what now?" I asked. "Are you going to blow up this base on me? Try to wipe me out?"

"Percy," Luke said a little sternly, and for a moment, I could remember the Luke I'd met when I'd first gotten to camp- the one that taught me how to wield a sword.

The thought made me sick.

Luke continued on, "I wasn't being insincere. I would like you to join me. I just don't have the time to be there right now, so I'm having you meet with a…liaison, of sorts."

His hologram beeped out before I could even say anything, and a man appeared in front of me.

The man behind the counter stepped forward a bit so I could get a good look at him. He was taller than an average human—about seven feet and dressed in a tux. His black hair was tied in a ponytail. Dark round glasses covered his eyes, but what really caught my attention was the skin on his face. It was covered in scratches, like he'd been attacked by a small animal— a really, really mad hamster, maybe.

He waved his hand, and two drinks appeared on the table- an expensive-looking bottle of Hennesey for him and an ice-cold Coke for me.

"Percy Jackson," he said in a silky voice. "It's a great honor. I'm sure you're wondering what I'd like from you, and I do value your time, so…to business." Tux Dude extended his hand. "I am Prometheus."

I shook his hand. His fingers were oily, "The fire-stealer guy? The chained-to-the-rock-with-the-vultures guy?"

Prometheus winced. He touched the scratches on his face. "Please, don't mention the vultures. But yes, I stole fire from the gods and gave it to your ancestors. In return, the ever merciful Zeus had me chained to a rock and tortured for all eternity."

"So, how—"

"How did I get free? Hercules did that, eons ago. So, you see, I have a soft spot for heroes. Some of you can be quite civilized."

"Thanks, I think. So, what do you want from me?"

"I want you to join me. Us, rather. I'm the Titan of forethought. I know what's going to happen. I supported the gods in the last war. I told Kronos: 'You don't have the strength. You'll lose.' And I was right. So, you see, I know how to pick the winning side. This time, I'm backing Kronos."

"Where do I fall into this grand plan of yours?" I asked sarcastically. "Do you want me to be your bellboy or something? Follow you around? Be your champion?"

"I'm good on all of those accounts," Prometheus returned simply. "At any rate, our forces are growing daily. Someday, whether it is in a week, month, or year- you will be overwhelmed. You'll be forced to retreat to the Empire State Building- Olympus. There you'll be destroyed. I have seen this. It will happen."

"It won't," I sipped from the offered cup from before. "Not as long as I'm here. Which, I suppose, is what you've been trying to get at this whole time."

"Perceptive," Prometheus complimented in a way that sounded more like an insult than anything. "You need not be my enemy, Percy. I have always been a helper of mankind. Why, I helped shape your very nature."

A wiggling lump of clay appeared in his hands. He fashioned it into a little doll with legs and arms. The lump man didn't have any eyes, but it groped around the table, stumbling over Prometheus's fingers. "I have been whispering in man's ear since the beginning of your existence. I represent your curiosity, your sense of exploration, your inventiveness. Help me save you, Percy. Do this, and I will give mankind a new gift—a new revelation that will move you as far forward as fire did. You can't make that kind of advance under the gods. They would never allow it. But this could be a new golden age for you. Or . . ."

He made a fist and smashed the clay man into a pancake.

"I'll admit, Prometheus," I said, sticking out my hand. "That was a damn good offer. Those door-to-door evangelicals could learn a thing or two from you."

Prometheus smiled, "Thank you, my boy."

He reached out and grabbed my hand. I met his gaze, "Unluckily for you, I don't take threats lightly."

I switched gears, slipping into what little Arabic I knew, "I call upon you, Heket! Banish this usurper into the clutches of the Duat!"


[THE TEN RIBBONS OF HEKET] activated!


Red lines shot out of the hand that was still in Prometheus' grasp. His eyes widened, and he tried to pull his hand away, but it was too late. They bit and encircled into his body, forcing a portal into the Duat open behind him.

This wasn't anything like the portals I made most of the time, glancing off the surface. It was a one-way trip to the depths of the Duat.

"Arcas!" He screamed as the ten divine ribbons spun around him, faster and faster. Somewhere off into the distance, I heard a loud creaking noise. "Arcas! I command you to fight!"

One of the ribbons wrapped around his mouth, muffling his screams. His hands burned intensely with energy, and he kept trying to change forms, but the ribbons were too restrictive- he was stuck.

"Have a good trip," I said, pushing him backward. He dropped into the Duat, and the portal closed around him. "Prick."

I grabbed Riptide off the bar table and began walking toward the base when my instincts screamed at me to duck.

I rolled, and a monstrous bolt of lightning slammed into the table behind me with the force of an artillery shell, exploding it into a million different pieces. A leg impaled itself on the soda machine, which began spewing fizzy water.

I covered my face instinctively as splinters shot everywhere. Damn, that stung.

Even as the ringing continued in my ears, the lightning-shooter was on me again, raising a curved blade.

I slid out from underneath him, blasting him backward with some of the fizzy water from the soda machine.

As he spluttered, I [Observed] him, and what I found, well, I'll let you be the judge of it…


Jason A. Grace [PROMETHEUS' WING]

Level- 75

HP- 50,000/50,000

SP- 70,000/70,000

MP- 20,000/20,000

Allegiance- Prometheus

STR- 88 (+15)

VIT- 45

DEX- 97 (+20)

INT- 63 (+15)

CHA- 40

WIS- 85

LUC- 20

Abandoned by his mother and sister at a young age, Jason was found by Prometheus, who, upon learning of his heritage, kidnapped him and raised him to be a warrior. Jason has had his memories of life before Prometheus wiped clean.

REP: N/A!

Perks: Son of Jupiter, Master Swordsman, Immolater, Cannonade Store*

*The Perk [Cannonade Store] is a direct benefit from soaking the Thyrsus' energy. It grants a flat boost of 2X to all stats!


AN: Hello, all. We have a lot to talk about!

First, off, the poll! I'm unsure of why some people can't see it, but to those who have voted and/or are curious, Artemis is in the lead. This matters little to my own judgment; I just wanted to gauge how the viewers felt. I want to reiterate that the final pairing could be any of those names I mentioned. The poll is just there for you to get your voices heard.

The poem! Funnily enough, I wasn't drunk, and I definitely wasn't high when I posted it. Let's talk about it! Aside from the obvious joke of Frank Ocean singing it (it's an unreleased mixtape, so no copyright problems there), I wanted to give optional exposition, so to speak. Symbolism and themes are something I take very seriously and important in this story, and in the past, I've been a bit too vague with them or had unrealistic expectations for what my readers should and shouldn't be expected to understand.

Enter the previous chapter, and that's my way of saying- go ham. A lot of you already made a connection with Alcyone, which is good, but trust me, those 234 words have a lot to do with the past, present, and future of this story. It's up to you how much you decide you want to read into the lyrics, and how much you want to speculate on, but if you do analyze it, you can get a clear picture of where things are going.

To help out, here are some hints and things to keep in mind.

"I took a walk with the palm trees, as the daylight fell, sangria in a canteen, talking to myself, this tattoo on my left hand, is turning purple-ish blue."

Making out before the judge, with my teenage wife, got a wedding band done, that I just might die with..."

"This wedding ring won't ever wipe off,"

A purple tattoo on his left hand? Palm trees? Teenage wife? Wedding band that won't come off? Those are just some surface-level things.

If you want to get real fancy, consider the following: "How do Greeks view other cultures? Does Percy consider himself American or Greek?"

Or, well, don't. I'm not an English teacher, and if you don't care about the symbolism, that's entirely fine. Just enjoy the story :)

But, if you do, well, my PMs are always open about theories. My boy Nirm's gotten most of it already, and The Prophesied? The man knows me better than I do. I won't be doing a Q+A just cause most reviews are about pairings, so take care everyone, and I'll see you soon.