Chapter 76

“I feel like you’ve skipped something incredibly important,” Loren said frowning, “If the mechanism to make the chemicals is inside your—cube, then how does that heal me if I’m injured?”

Alicia glanced up from her place by the wall, the bright light that the Cube was emitting forcing her to squint her eyes.

“I will shoot the load directly into your body,” Cube said, “A projectile would be the most efficient method of delivery.”

Alicia made a noise of surprise, and Loren coughed into his hand for a moment.

“Slow your role there, buddy.” Loren interjected quickly, “I appreciate you getting me out of the cell, but not that much.”

“I do not understand,” Cube said.

“What type of projectile are we talking about?” Loren said, scratching his cheek. “I really don’t like the idea of getting shot every time you want to top up my health points.”

“As far as I am aware, you do not possess these, ‘Health Points,’” Cube said, “Given my current capabilities, the projectile would resemble a thin casing of kinetic energy, one millimeter in diameter, hollow..”

“Is that a big enough dosage?” Alicia said quietly, “A bigger load might be preferable.”

Loren shot her a wary glance.

“Dosage will be calculated at the moment of injury,” Cube said. “Biometric scanning will ensure that it is accurate.”

“Okay, fine.” Loren sighed, not exactly happy with the idea. “We’re still underwater; what’s the plan to get back to the surface?”

“Given that this facility is pressurized at theoretical sea level, you do not have to concern yourself with bubbles forming inside your body during our ascent,” Cube said, “The environmental shield is strong enough to withstand the conditions, the temperature and provide a personal air supply unaffected by the pressure.”

“What the hell do you mean bubbles forming inside my body?” Loren said, horrified.

He attempted to picture what that might look like and reached a hard wall—what the hell?

“You’ve never heard of decompression sickness?” Alicia said hesitantly. “You said you’d escaped once before; how did you avoid it last time?”

All valid points that he had no idea how to answer—this place was pressurized? Loren didn’t even know what that meant.

“There are no existing records in my database indicating that my host has escaped this facility,” Cube said, “It is possible that he has managed to escaped before I first came online at 7:02 AM, but without my assistance, it is extremely unlikely.”

He gave the cube the stink eye for a moment.

“Yeah?” Loren said, vaguely offended, “What if I had access to other expressions at the time?”

“The chances of escape would increase depending on the expression,” Cube said plainly.

“Did you?” Alicia said hesitantly.

“If I escaped before, why would I come back here?” Loren said vaguely, “Let’s move on; Cube, can you expand this environmental shield to cover Alicia as well?”

“Provided you are both in close physical proximity,” Cube said. “I will be able to shield you both.”

That was one thing dealt with; they’d just have to—Loren frowned.

“I don’t suppose you can conjure me up some clothes first?” Loren asked.

“I do not currently possess an expression that would allow for such a thing,” Cube said.

“It’s fine,” Alicia mumbled, “I don’t mind if it means we can leave this place.”

The real problems would start once they were free.

Someone would notice they were gone, and then Untold and Reset would come to send him back to his room—how was it that they had managed to locate him so quickly? Alice was on him almost the minute he made it to the beach, something that most likely would have required them to know where he was in advance.

Give that he was moving at the time—a large ass distance as well, given how long they had been traveling for, she would have needed to know where he was most likely to make landfall. That was something he didn’t even know at the time, so how had they figured it out?

“You were talking about scanning earlier,” Loren wondered. “Do either of us have anything on us that would allow someone to track us down?”

Alicia looked down in concern.

“You have a small computation device located underneath the skin of your right forearm; Alicia does not possess one,” Cub said immediately, “It is currently offline but will most likely activate upon leaving this facility.”

Loren stared at his forearm for a moment before looking back at the Cube.

“You didn’t think that was important to mention before?” Loren said, stumped.

“The device predates me. It was already embedded inside you when I first activated,” Cube said, “I expected you were already aware of it.”

“Is there anything else I should be worried about?” Loren said, watching it warily.

“There are no other devices located in or on your person.” Cube said, “Would you like me to remove the device?”

“Yes—without destroying it,” Loren said, “We can leave it in here.”

“Understood,” Cube said.

The light that was emitting from the Cube vanished, leaving them in the pitch dark once more. A buzzing noise sounded out in the dark, and then he felt pain lance up his forearm. Loren gritted his teeth, unable to stop himself from pulling his arm back—the pain followed, the movement failing to muddy the aim of the Cube in the slightest.

“Fucking—Goddammit,” Loren grunted as the pain spiked for a moment. “Maybe you should turn on a damn light so you can see what you’re—”

“Loren?” Alicia said, sounding distressed.

Loren gritted his teeth—here he was complaining about something like this when she was getting cut to pieces on the regular.

“I’m fine,” Loren managed.

He could feel something dripping down his arm, and then something small and sharp stabbed his wrist.

“I require no additional light to function,” Cube said, as the pain started to fade. “I have removed the device.”

“Yeah, well, I can’t see shit in the dark.” Loren managed, “Think you can do something about that?”

“Activating HUD,” Cube said.

Loren blinked as white lines rapidly wrote themselves into the air detailing the room and its occupants. It was still pitch black, but he could now see the shapes that made up the room easily.

“Okay, that’s way better,” Loren said quietly.

He swiped his hand in front of his face in an attempt to disrupt the illusion, but the lines were somehow behind his hand. Either they were actively being updated within his vision, or they were actually being projected into the air at the appropriate locations—he couldn’t tell.

“Alright,” Loren said, getting his bearings. “Let’s get out of here before they do a manual check and find us up and moving around.”

Loren watched the white lines that made up Alicia’s figure turned struggling up to her feet in the dark. The Cube itself showed up as a simple three-dimension shape, perfectly steady in midair and looking much the same as it had in the light—smooth black faces and white edging.

Alicia took a hesitant step closer to him, and he reached down to take her hand—ignoring the way her grip tensed at the touch. Loren guided her towards the door until they were standing in front of it, the small red led above them.

A white line lanced out from the Cube before a translucent barrier washed upwards, over them, sealing itself tightly against his skin, and then over their joined hands, up Alicia’s arm, and then they were both covered.

It felt different from both the multifaced mess he’d created with the energized wind layers and the crackling barrier that had destroyed everything he touched. Loren clenched his hand, but his fingers simply passed through the field and then touched against his palm without issue, the field remaining sealed around him.

“I can’t feel it,” Alicia said worriedly, squeezing his hand. “Is it working?”

“It’s working,” Loren mumbled, trying to once more psych himself up for the ocean to come bursting through. “Cube, let’s go.”

Alicia’s hand clenched tighter around his own at the words, and then four bursts of white light smashed into the door—a white wedge of energy appeared directly in front of them, illuminating the dark. A torrent of water rushed through the opening, parting around the wedge, and within seconds the room was submerged in water.

The wedge of kinetic energy vanished, leaving them floating in darkness once more except for the white lines that made up the framing of the building.

They were off the floor now, floating in the middle of the room, and Alicia’s hand was doing its best to break his fingers. She might have been saying something, but if she was, he couldn’t make it out. He used his left hand to start swimming closer to the door, kicking off the roof and further down to grab onto the door frame.

The Cube followed silently, and then they were outside—white lines washed outwards over the immediate environment, sketching out the shapes of everything nearby.

Loren spun, getting a wireframe view of the exterior of the facility. It was a large seamless octagon, with hundreds of poles branching off into the trench sides, staking into the rocky surface. It matched the impression he’d gotten from the water generation power completely.

Loren kicked in the water, using his left hand to swim upwards, and he could feel Alicia doing the same with her own freehand.

“At your current speed, the ascent to the surface will take 4 hours and 42 minutes,” Cube said, destroying his motivation right at the start. “Suggestion; Modified Rapid-Fire Kinetic Cannon deployment for upwards acceleration.”

A marker appeared above him, with the estimated time placed beneath it—there was no way he could keep swimming for that long, especially not with only one useable hand.

“Do it,” Loren muttered, pulling Alicia closer to him.

The Environmental Sheild grew thicker at his feet, and then two circles of white light appeared bright in the darkness they were floating in. Then he felt the shield shudder, and the white outline of the facility started to shrink below them before vanishing completely.

Loren could feel the repeated bursts of kinetic energy impacting against the shield with each iteration, but other than that, there was no feedback on their position or how fast they were moving. He watched the timer that Cube was projecting into his sight shrink—the only method he had with to judge their progress.

He couldn’t stop his mind from pulling him back to what Alice had said on the beach; that everyone was dead. How was it that nobody had ever discovered that Alice was working against them?

Loren couldn’t remember when exactly she’d joined the Peacekeepers, but it had been sometimes around when the group had first formed. Was she still Alice then? Or had she already been emptied out and replaced by whoever was now inside her?

Paragon being a clone made far more sense now—Loren could remember one of the meetings where the Peacekeepers were present.

Artisan had mentioned that Paragon had gone missing several times, the most recent of which had been on the 6th of January until the 9th of January. Someone had mentioned they’d had a meeting the day before, and the timing was suspicious—three whole days where he couldn’t be accounted for.

Alice had known right then and there that Paragon was already gone—she’d sat at the table with them, playing the part of the grieving teammate when she’d be the one to orchestrate it.

“We are now approaching the surface,” Cube said. “I will begin slowing our ascent.”

They breached the water seconds later, and Loren kicked his legs to remain afloat. Alicia did the same, her free arm pushing the water down.

“We made it,” Alicia said, stunned. “Thank you, cube.”

“You are welcome,” Cube said.

“That wedge you made—was that the Kinetic Barrier you figured out earlier?” Loren guessed, “Think you could make us a platform to sit on?”

“Yes,” Cube said, the second string of white light lancing down into the water. “One moment.”

Something touched his feet and lifted—he managed to get his foot flat against it, and Alicia scrambled onto it as the white pane of energy lifted them up out of the water. The liquid caught on top of it washed off the sides in a rush, and then Loren sat down, crossing his legs.

“Which direction are the nearest land masses?” Loren asked.

“Scanning for Landmasses,” Cube said, “Southwest, 3,000km. West, 5,100km. East, 7,000km. Northeast, 7,100km. North—”

“Uh, hold on,” Loren said, frowning. “Can I get the names of these?”

His first thought was to go to the closest one, but the immediate problem was that it was probably the most expected place for him to go. They’d most likely found him so quickly the last time from the tracker; without it, they might start searching the closest places to Antaeus.

“My database does not contain this information,” Cube said, “I suggest we investigate these locations and attempt to locate geographical data.”

“Alicia?” Loren sighed. “Any ideas?”

“Go Southwest,” Alicia said hesitantly, “Find a computer with access to the internet?”

“How long would it take us to get to the Southwest landmass?” Loren asked.

They’d likely only get one chance at picking here, and if they spent another twelve hours of travel to end up on an uninhabited island he was going to—

“44 minutes with current power constraints,” Cube said, “Expressions required; Environmental Shield, Kinetic Barrier, Rapid-Fire Kinetic Cannon.”

“Forty-four minutes?” Loren managed.

Judging by the numbers it had listed off, somewhere above 7,100km had been what they had traveled during the last loop—how fast did this thing think it could go exactly?

“That’s…” Alicia said, closing her eyes. “4,000 kilometers an hour? A bit less?”

“4222 kilometers per hour,” Cube corrected.

“That’s like Mach 3?” Alicia said hesitantly, “Cube, I don’t think we can survive going that fast.”

“Incorrect, Alicia,” Cube said, “Survivability is calculated at 99.99%, provided outside forces do not act against us.”

“Oh,” Alicia said lamely. “Sorry.”

“Whatever,” Loren sighed, “Let’s get moving.”

“Understood,” Cube said, “Please remained seated.”

Alicia dropped down beside him as the pane of kinetic energy sealed itself around them. The Cube slipped inside the barrier before it closed, and then water exploded behind them as the construct began to move.


“Approaching landmass,” Cube said. “Reducing speed.”

Loren opened his eyes and searched around for a moment. The place they’d reached was very, very green—trees, mountains, and sprawling fields of grass. The coast was all beach, but he could just see a road with a few buildings lining it.

They touched down on the deserted beach, and the layers of energy shielding vanished—fuck, it was cold.

“If you feel anyone flying towards us, warn me.” Loren said seriously, “There are people that want to kill us—the same people that locked us up.”

“Scanning Area.” Cube said. “There are 40,000-plus signatures nearby. There are also non-trivial databases in this area—Permission requested to interface.”

“Sure,” Loren said, frowning, “Just don’t break anything.”

“Understood.” Cube said before falling silent.

“Loren?” Alicia said, holding herself. “It’s cold—can we find some clothes?”

Loren just nodded, tracking his way up the beach onto the road, thankfully empty of people or cars.

There were houses all along the road, and it seemed like a pretty nice place to be. Setalite City didn’t exactly have much room for backyards, with most of them having a token strip of grass at best. This place had backyards, front yards, side yards—who had the time to mow all of this?

Loren shook his head.

“Cube, anyone in that building?” Loren asked.

“The building is unoccupied.” Cube said without pause.

“Can you open the door?” Loren said, skedaddling across the road and vaulting the fence.

“Affirmative,” Cube said.

Alicia followed, having a more difficult time, but managing to catch up when he reached the door. Cube generated white light inside the keyhole, and the door clicked open. Loren clapped his hands together in apology before sneaking inside, and Alicia followed.

He headed straight down the hallway, checking each of the rooms as he went until he found a bedroom. The closet was full of clothes, and he quickly nabbed a full set to wear before moving out of the way so that Alicia could pick out her own.

“Interfacing complete,” Cube said. “I have obtained access to a vast collection of networks.”

“It took you that long to figure out the wifi password?” Loren said. “I could have done that by flipping the router over and reading it off the bottom.”

The Cube spun to watch him—did he actually manage to get under its shell?

“Are there any computers in the house?” Loren asked.

“There is a portable computation device to the left of the entryway,” Cube said.

Loren stood up and moved to the door.

“Wait for me,” Alicia said, struggling to pull the hoody over her head.

Loren did so before moving to the room cube had indicated, there was a laptop folded up on a small table, and he flipped it open. It took about six consecutive lifetimes to boot up, and by the time he’d finally managed to make it to the login screen, Alicia had died of old age.

“Finally,” Loren muttered. “Uh, I don’t know the password.”

“Perhaps it is written on the bottom, Loren.” Cube said plainly.

Loren raised an eyebrow at the Cube.

“Oof,” Loren noised, “Point taken—help?”

The screen flickered, and then he was on the desktop; he pulled up the browser, typed in Setalite City, and switched to the news tab.


Thank you to all the supporters, on Patreon, on here, and everywhere else, you guys are what is making it possible to keep improving on my passion, and I really appreciate all of you. If you’d like to help support my mission to snap as many elbows as I can get my greasy little mitts on, but aren’t in a place to chip in–you can support me for free as well! Leaving a comment, or a review on any of the other fiction websites I post my content on helps out more than you know. 

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Chapter 75

The world spun violently, and he felt the layer of energized wind flaking away from the impact. Loren fought to regain control before he hit the water’s surface and then found himself completely submerged.

He’d spent more than enough time with horrible life-ending injuries that he could say this one could have been far worse. As it was, his arm was sending waves of agony racing across his body, but it was still mostly intact.

The energized wind had managed to reduce most of the impact before breaking, but he was forced to spend precious seconds rebuilding it, painfully holding his arm down at his side and out of the way the entire time.

Loren felt a person move to hover above the water, directly over his position—whoever it was obvious knew exactly where he was, even though the water should have obscured him. He felt out the air around them, and as crude, as It was, the shape of the body revealed it to be a woman.

As Alicia was still on the beach, now in a prone position and unmoving, Salubre was missing entirely, and he’d never even seen where Reset had ended up. He could safely assume that the person tracking him was Untold.

His mind groped for an explanation—if Reset was here, then the three teams they had organized had failed to capture him. Alice had been one of the team members sent after him, along with Iza and Alana.

If she was here, fighting alongside Reset of all people, then they must have somehow lost—something he hadn’t even considered a possibility before. He could imagine very few people who could stand up to a combined assault by Ogre, Wraith, and fucking Untold.

Even Paragon would struggle against those three working together—If they’d failed that takedown, then they might have been unable to get Lecture as well, which could explain why Untold had just attempted to take his arm off at the shoulder.

How had the entire plan they’d come up with to deal with Epilogue failed so badly?

Loren took a deep breath of the energized air he surrounded himself with and then opened his eyes—He moved, heading parallel to the beach, remaining underwater, and Untold followed him above without pause.

He’d personally seen her trade blows with an out-of-control Paragon, and that single hit had been enough to tear through the shield of air he had spent all day practicing. This just wasn’t a fight he could win without going lethal.

Alice was an ally, captured by the enemy. Were the rest of them under Lecture’s influence as well? Was Alana working against him now? Iza? Had Epilogue won completely? Could he even afford to do this in a non-lethal way?

He doubted he could stop Untold if he held back.

“Sorry, Alice,” Loren said quietly.

He reached up with his power, and the energy in the air spiked, a bubble of hardened air flashed into existence around her. Loren pulled all of the air out of it and dragged it down into the—Untold broke through it before it even touched the water.

Loren tried again, double the air layers, but this time she moved before it could encircle her completely, tearing herself out of it and strafing to the side. Loren dragged himself to the side as Untold crashed down into the water, barely missing him—she turned within a second, surging towards him, unfettered by the water.

Untold had been a world-renowned hero for years at this point, and her powers were well documented. Even when she’d fought Paragon above Setalite City, she hadn’t been able to fly; she had relied completely on Seeker catching her with telekinetic platforms. If there had ever been a time to reveal she had been able to fly all along, it would have been then.

Loren was aware that you could improve your powers over time once you unlocked them; he’d had loads of personal experience doing just that—But at what level did absorbing sound to increase your strength, durability and speed turn into flying?

The answer was it didn’t.

He surged upwards out of the water, creating seven flat shields of air behind him—Untold crashed through each of them without stopping, barely slowed. He left an air drill behind him, facing her direction, and this time she veered around it rather than slam into the buzzing white vortex.

Loren used the space to spin in the air to face her, and she came to a stop.

“Since when could you fly, Alice?” Loren said quietly.

Alice lifted her chin, a knowing smile plastered on her face.

“What would you say, I wonder,” Alice said lightly, “If I told you I always could?”

“I’d say bullshit,” Loren said, “I’ve seen you fight Paragon, and you never used it then.”

“At most, you’ve seen me fight the clone, Loren,” Alice laughed, “That’s hardly the same thing—I was never in any danger.”

Loren was starting to realize there was something far more wrong about this encounter than he’d first thought.

“Why are you attacking me?” Loren said, using the time to shore up the strength of his skintight shield.

“You haven’t figured that out yet?” Alice said, sounding disappointed. “This isn’t our first conversation, is it? How many times have you died inside Antaeus?”

Inside Antaeus? The idea that Morgan had named the prison after the man she’d butchered didn’t even manage to surprise him. The real question was—why did Alice know about that name? Would Morgan really reveal that kind of information to a Peacekeeper, even if they had her temporarily under their control?

It seemed very unlikely.

“One?” Alice said laconically, hovering in the air. “A hundred?”

“Sixty-eight times in total,” Loren said, not wanting to give her any real information. “I must say I’m looking forward to our next meetup.”

“I’ll be sure to dress the part,” Alice laughed.

Alicia’s prone form began to stir, sitting up on the beach.

“Who else did Lecture get?” Loren said quietly.

“You weren’t even aware of Hannah’s death?” Alice raised an eyebrow, “I’m certain that occurred before we captured you.”

Loren had left the earpiece behind, so he hadn’t heard the results of the other teams—Lecture had died as well? Had the Hero HQ always intended on killing them all?

Was Mara’s death planned out in advance as well?

“If Lecture’s dead, why are you working with Morgan?” Loren managed, feeling angry and confused. “Are you still under her control? Where are the others?”

Alice laughed, bringing her hand up to cover her face in an attempt to muffle herself. Loren caught sight of an eye, peeking through her fingers at him, the corner of her mouth turned up.

“Loren, I’m not working with Morgan,” Alice said gently, “She’s working with me.”

Loren stared at her, his confusion slowly turning to a cold fury in his chest. A member of the Peacekeepers was directing the leader of Epilogue? How could that even be possible?

“I saw you when Julian died….” Loren said, failing to understand. “You were crying—he was your friend!”

Loren vividly remembered the scene on the rooftop, where she’d screamed out Julian’s name as the man was reduced to so much meat…

“My friend?” Alice said, stifling a laugh, “Julian was never my friend, Loren. He caused me no end of issues; I was simply playing a part until everything was ready.”

“You’re not Alice,” Loren said, clenching his fist around a handful of the energized wind.

“In a manner of speaking, I am Alice,” Alice said, smiling. “Truthfully, the original Alice has been gone for a long, long time.”

“How long?” Loren managed.

“Years,” Alice smiled, “I found her the day she unlocked her powers—I was a bit desperate at the time—but then again, so was she.”

“Who are you?” Loren demanded.

“You don’t know yet?” Alice said, frowning. “I suppose this must be rather early in the game then.”

Loren struck at her with a spike of energized air. Her hand lanced up and shattered it without effort before more of the spikes began to emerge in the air around him, pointed in her direction. Alice lifted her hand up, inspecting it, and he tensed in preparation.

“Augmented Air? It’s a fairly common power, although you seem rather creative with it given you can’t have had it for more than a few hours,” Alice said, vaguely surprised, “Do you possess an enhanced learning capability with the powers you obtain?”

Loren didn’t answer, feeling like he was being dissected.

“You must, given your sudden proficiency—interesting.” Alice said lightly, “Not something we could discover during our inspection. You possessed the ability to mimic movements and store them last I saw, not something that would reveal such a talent for learning.”

Loren stared at the thing that was pretending to be Alice—her utter disregard for him as a threat simply fed his anger.

“I’m going to kill you,” Loren said quietly. “I’ll come back as many times as it takes.”

“Loren, while I’m sure I’ll have fun watching you try,” Alice said, amused, “I think you should know—you’ve already lost.”

“What the hell does that mean?” Loren snapped.

Alice studied him for a long moment before speaking up.

“All of your allies are dead, and you’re completely on your own now—nobody is coming to save you,” Alice said sympathetically, “It’s just you, in a cell, hoping for a lucky roll of the dice; how long can that anger keep you motivated?”

All of your allies are dead.

“What did you do?” Loren said, his anger twisting into horror.

“When you look at me like that, it makes it so very hard to wait….” Alice’s complained before sighing.  “I don’t think you’re quite ready yet; you are still far too lively.”

Loren’s attacks lanced through the air towards her without warning, but she swayed to the side, avoiding the rain of spikes by strafing to the right. He followed her path with a raised hand, using it as a focusing tool to generate more and more of them, thinning them out into needle-like shapes because smaller shapes took less concentration to fire off, and he could cover more area.

By the time he’d fired at her current position, she had already moved, and he simply couldn’t move his hand fast enough to keep up with her, the storm of needles falling short and crashing into the water below. Loren spun the other way, starting to fire them in front of her flight path, but she twisted up and over them, circling back towards him.

Alice was far too fast, and the projectile speed just wasn’t enough to catch her; he needed something faster, and judging by how she had crashed through his strongest barriers and broken his arm through the personal shield, he needed something far stronger as well.

A circle of water directly below him shot upwards, thicker around than a car, and slammed into his feet like it was made of concrete. He felt his impact through the shield, and it was probably the only thing that stopped his legs from shattering.

As it was, the pillar continued upwards, and he barely managed to stay on his hands and knees on top of it. He felt Untold racing up the side of the pillar, and before he could even get to his feet, her hand was around his throat.

Alice lifted him up into the air as the pillar of water lost its solidity, falling back to the ocean below. Her fingers were cracking the layer of wind protecting him, and her face was completely unstrained.

Alice was too fast, too strong, and he had no ability to hurt her. That wasn’t even considering the fact that he had seen her fighting at a level so much higher than this already, which meant she was going easy on him. Now she’d shown the ability to fly and to control the water in what was obviously a deliberate parallel to his own current power.

All of your allies are dead.

“Alice, what did you do?” Loren managed.

“I killed them all, of course,” Alice said, raising a thin eyebrow. “It’s kind of what I do.”


“Energy Field Detected,” A voice said politely. “Analysing.”

Loren didn’t move as the mental exhaustion from having spent the entire day concentrating vanished. Its sudden absence was replaced by a terrible clarity, and his mind was stuck on what she’d said…

I killed them all, of course.

Just like that, without him even having a chance to do anything to stop it—it didn’t feel real, her words alone failing to convey the magnitude of what that meant. It felt like her hand had was still wrapped around his throat, and he just lay there, unable to understand what he was feeling.

Would she lie about something like that? If her goal was to destroy his motivation to continue fighting them…

Loren couldn’t help but think it was working.

“Analysis complete,” The voice said. “Kinetic Absorption Field Replicated.”

Loren closed his eyes, paying no attention to the strange voice—he needed to keep his head. Alice was a liar, and until he had proof that she’d done what she said…

“Power Source Detected.” The voice spoke again, “Analysis suggests storage inexhaustible. Location; Twenty Meters north.”

He could try to fix whatever they’d done after the instigators of this mess were dead, and he wasn’t stuck in a cell. Loren would go back in time as he had with Mara—only this time he’d rip them all apart before they ever got the chance to start any of this.

“Detecting Signs of Life near Power Source,” The voice continued, “One signature, superhuman, female, increased proximity required for a more detailed analysis.”

Even if the thing that looked like Alice was telling the truth… The path forward was the same. He needed to get out of Antaeus, and he needed to wipe Alice and Morgan both from the face of the planet.

He’d need to escape first—the last time he’d gone back in time, he had woken up in the exact place his savepoint was located, and, if he managed to do it here, he would most likely appear in an unbreakable room in the middle of the ocean from which he wouldn’t be able to escape without a different power.

“Unsurvivable Terrain Detected,” The voice said, “Pressure exceeds Loren Parker’s ability to withstand without assistance, be advised.”

If he appeared inside Antaeus years in the past, then Morgan would find out about him far earlier—that sounded like a recipe for disaster. Then he needed to escape now, deal with them, and then work on reviving everyone afterward.

Loren sat up and looked at the smooth black Cube that stayed inexplicably in the air beside him.

“Can you get me out of here?” Loren said quietly, watching it.

“Short-Range Teleportation available,” The Cube said immediately, “Designate location.”

“On the other side of that wall,” Loren said, pointing to the wall he’d drilled through last time.

The light vanished, and he was suddenly in the octagon room, sitting in the dark in the same position he’d previously been in.

“Do you have access to long-range teleportation?” Loren asked, pushing himself to his feet.

“Long-Range Teleportation currently unavailable,” The Cube said, “I must observe this expression to replicate.”

“What ‘expressions’ are currently available?” Loren frowned, moving towards the power room.

“Environmental Shield, Kinetic Absorption Shield,” The Cube listed. “Rapid-Fire Kinetic Cannon, Short-Range Teleportation, Stealth Field.”

“Can you break the door?” Loren asked.

The door shattered inwards as a flash of white light emitted from the Cube, too fast for him to see.

“That was the canon, right?” Loren asked.

“Correct Designation: Rapid-Fire Kinetic Cannon,” The Cube said.

“That’s what I said,” Loren said dryly.

“That was the canon, right?” The Cube said in his own voice, playing back a recording.

“I don’t sound like that,” Loren said, annoyed. “There’s a woman in that tank; we need to help her—she has a helmet on with these needles sticking into her skull.”

“Understood,” Cube said. “Interfacing with Control Module.”

“What the heck is a control module?” Loren frowned.

“The device directly in front of you,” Cube said plainly. “It is responsible for the manual and automatic functions of the facility you currently reside in.”

“There are automatic functions?” Loren mumbled.

“Automated Primary Functions as follows; Container A1: Sever Limbs at Twelve Hour Intervals. Empty Tank at Twelve Hour Intervals. Liquify Collected Items at Twelve Hour Intervals.” Cube said. “System: Power Report at Hourly Intervals. Antaeus Occupancy Report at Hourly Intervals.”

Loren swallowed, sever limbs at twelve-hour intervals?

“Control Established.” Cube said.

The rust-colored water slowly lowered, revealing Alicia’s naked body dangling from the helmet wires, kicking her legs in the rapidly diminishing water. The entire section at the top of the tank lowered until her feet touched the tank’s floor. The protrusions on the helmet split open, and the needles were retracted simultaneously.

“When is the next hourly check for occupancy?” Loren asked.

He watched as the helmet uncoupled, and Alicia took it off her head slowly—The glass container sunk into the floor.

“54 minutes, 59 seconds.” Cube said. “Analysing Superhuman.”

Alicia stared at him and the Cube nervously as it moved closer to her.

“Can you make it send a false report, so nobody knows I’m free?” Loren said.

“False Report is possible,” Cube said, “Be advised, Manual check will discover true status.”

 “Is there a log of how often a manual check occurs?” Loren said, frowning, “Also, what’s the time?”

“Current Time: 7:06 AM.” Cube said, “Previous Manual Checks; 6:41 AM, 2:37 AM, 10:06 PM—”

“Stop, I get it.” Loren said, “So we have a couple of hours before someone checks.”

“Regenerative Chemicals Detected,” Cube said, “Replicating Production Mechanism.”

“Who are you?” Alicia said quietly. “Is—is Morgan here?”

Loren closed his eyes.


Fanfiction drop today. Seeking Direction and Just Deserts will be up in a few minutes.

Thank you to all the supporters, on Patreon, on here, and everywhere else, you guys are what is making it possible to keep improving on my passion, and I really appreciate all of you. If you’d like to help support my mission to snap as many elbows as I can get my greasy little mitts on, but aren’t in a place to chip in–you can support me for free as well! Leaving a comment, or a review on any of the other fiction websites I post my content on helps out more than you know. 

Keep on keeping on!


Patreon
Reroll – Season 3, Chapter 77 – Live.
Ameliorate(NSFW) – Chapter 10


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https://reroll.fandom.com/wiki/Reroll_Wiki

Chapter 74

The answer to the riddle of the bubble was a simple one, slowly extending the bubble inside the doorway and then opening up a seam for them to step through. Loren stood at the threshold, where the metal floor dropped off into the darkness beyond the bubble. He lifted one foot and placed it down on the platform of hardened air, slowly increasing the pressure when it didn’t break.

“Oh god,” Alicia mumbled, looking through the bubble.

Loren put most of his weight on one foot, feeling the pressure against the mechanism that let him manipulate the air—it was a fraction of the pressure bearing down on the bubble from every side.

The bubble held under his full weight, and Loren stood inside it, holding out a hand towards Alicia.

“Time to go,” Loren said quietly, concentrating.

Alicia wore the expression of someone who wasn’t sure she wanted to climb into a giant energy bubble that sat at the bottom of the ocean with a naked man.

“It’s not going to break?” Alicia said, worried. “What about—”

“I have no idea how long I can keep using this before I start to get tired,” Loren admitted, he hadn’t felt anything yet, but that didn’t mean he had an endless supply. “So I suggest hurrying the fuck up.”

Alicia took his hand and stumbled into the bubble with him—Loren focused on the seam he’d opened, and I started to close up.

 Once they were sealed inside of the bubble, he pushed the bubble away from the facility and into the darkness—the seal between the energy and the open room was broken. Loren grunted at the strain of holding the air pocket steady as the rush of water surged past the bubble and into the open doorway, trying to drag them back inside.

“Are you okay?” Alicia said nervously, wringing her hands together.

“Never better,” Loren managed as the force began to wane.

He focused, lifting the entire energy field upwards, finding it simultaneously harder and easier than he expected. The higher it went, the lesser the pressure became, but the top of the bubble was being subjected to more force as it pushed the water out of its way during the ascent.

“Are we moving?” Alicia said quietly, “I can’t tell.”

“Yes, we’re going upwards,” Loren said, less strained now. “We are pretty far down, and we aren’t exactly moving very fast—It’s getting easier, though.”

It was getting easier, but there was nothing around them to use as a gauge of distance traveled, and he had no idea how much time had passed before Alicia finally spoke up.

“I think it’s getting brighter,” Alicia said hesitantly. “It’s hard to tell through this.”

Loren felt her hand brush against the inside of the bubble and cracked his eye open again. The energy was far too bright for him to see anything beyond it like that, but maybe she was better at noticing changes in light.

The water rushed past the bubble as their ascent hastened, his proficiency with juggling all of the components increasing as the pressure decreased. They burst out of the ocean and into the air.

Alicia gasped, and Loren almost sighed in relief.

The light from above brought clarity to the bubble, and the ocean below them was revealed, stretching away in every direction. Water rained down the sides of the bubble in tracks before falling back to their source below.

“Wow.” Alicia said, “It’s beautiful.”

Loren didn’t think any of this could be beautiful—it was a prison, and getting a temporary glimpse through bars at the open expanse beyond was nothing but an exercise in envy.

“If you say so,” Loren mumbled.

“How far away from land are we?” Alicia asked.

He started manipulating the circular shape into something more aerodynamic, with a wedge shape at the front.

“I don’t know,” Loren admitted, “We are going to have to go as far as I can manage; if we’re right out in the middle of the ocean, it’s going to take us hours to find land.”

He started from the top, working downwards, and until they stood on a longer arrow-like structure of energized wind. It was shorter than the orb had been, and they’d both been forced to sit down to fit.

“Where are we going? North?” Alicia asked, sitting with her knees pulled up to her chest. “Most of the world’s landmass is that way… we could go west or east, it might be more likely to run into one of the larger places….”

Loren located the sun—It wasn’t particularly high in the air yet, and he thought he could safely assume it was coming from the east and that the opposite side was west. He’d better be able to tell once it had moved, but that would take time.

“I don’t even know which direction is which right now,” Loren sighed, pointing towards where he thought north was. “I think that’s north—thoughts?”

“Yes,” Alicia mumbled, checking the sun. “You can’t really tell without waiting for it to move.”

She had a better head for this stuff, apparently.

“Good enough for me,” Loren sighed, angling the wind construct towards the direction they thought was north.

Loren started slow, making sure the shape held, slowly increasing the speed they were moving. Soon they were skimming just above the water, fast enough to send water rippling away from their path.

The wedge shape at the front seemed much better able to deflect everything in front of them than the orb had been at pushing the water aside.

“What’s the worst-case scenario here?” Loren spoke, gesturing to the water. “My geography was always terrible.”

“The Southern Ocean, but I don’t think it’s cold enough for that,” Alicia said quietly, “The South Pacific after that.”

Loren nodded to indicate he was listening.

“We’re headed north, so if it was the first, it would be over 15 thousand kilometers until we hit land,” Alicia said slowly, “10 thousand if it’s the second.”

Loren frowned; that was far worse than the estimate he’d come up with—provided he didn’t get tired, he could probably keep this up for a day and a half, but he’d be exhausted mentally. He pushed the construct harder, at least doubling the speed he’d been going, and the water below them began to spray out on each side as they cut through the air above it.

“What about the north pacific?” Loren wondered. “Isn’t Hawaii around there somewhere?”

“The chance that we would hit Hawaii is incredibly low,” Alicia admitted, “Right in the middle of the north pacific, it would be 5 thousand kilometers? I think it’s almost a thousand kilometers an hour for a plane—I don’t think we’re going anywhere near that fast.”

“Feel free to get out and push,” Loren offered.

The concentration required increased the more resistance he was faced with, having to both harden the tip of the construct, hold the structure together, and push it forward.

“Sorry,” Alicia mumbled, “Can you keep doing this for that long?”

“We’re going to find that out,” Loren said distractedly, focusing on the tip once more.


Loren felt the construct wobble violently as his mind drifted once more, and he forced himself to direct his mind back onto the task again. There was a kind of mental resistance there, slowly building up the more often he had to force himself to continue the task.

The sun was now high in the air, and he’d reangled the direction to better face where he thought north was now that he had a better idea of what east and west were.

He could also feel his back and shoulders stinging painfully in the light, even through the top of the construct. There was no way to avoid it, he couldn’t make it any less transparent, and the light bore down on him without mercy.

Loren swallowed for the hundredth time, the dry feeling in his throat and mouth was getting worse, and his stomach was openly complaining about the lack of food.

Alicia was somehow sleeping, having spent the last twenty-five years training herself to sleep in the confines of the tank had apparently lent her the remarkable ability to be able to sleep anywhere. She was currently curled up into a naked ball and looking as pale and unburnt as she had before she’d left the tank; Her power acting to remove the sunburn as it occurred.

Loren had found his power becoming less taxing mentally the more familiar he became with it, and as a result, he could focus more on pushing it faster. He’d long since lifted them up and away from the water, hoping to see some kind of landmass from higher up.

He was sure they were moving far faster than a car, the waves of the ocean far below passing under them at a rapid pace.

“Levi…” Alicia mumbled in her sleep, curling tighter.

Loren was surprised there hadn’t been any response to his escape, the first time he’d made it to the surface, he’d reset within minutes, but this time it had been hours, and nobody had appeared. Then again, if the other teams had succeeded, Reset, and Lecture would be in custody alongside Taker and Deceitful, which left them with only Mathew, Morgan, and The Researcher to take action. He felt the cold fury burning in his chest when he thought of Mara once more—the construct shudder violently, and he pushed his anger away with gritted teeth, focusing on flying for a moment.

“Loren?” Alicia said, sitting up suddenly.

“Sorry, lost concentration for a second.” Loren managed, “There’s no land yet; go back to sleep.”

“Your face is burnt,” Alicia said quietly, leaning back to see behind him. “Everywhere else is too.”

“How did that happen?” Loren said dryly. “So weird.”

“Shut up,” Alicia muttered, spitting on her hand.

“Gross,” Loren said in disgust, watching her warily. “What are you—don’t you dare wipe that shit on me.”

“It will help the sunburn,” Alicia said quickly. “My bodily fluids—”

“I think I’d rather die,” Loren said seriously. “Wait—Hey!”

Loren stared at her in horror as she pressed her spit-covered hand onto his back—the contact brightened the pain, his nerves flaring in protest before a massive patch in the middle of his back just stopped hurting.

“That is disgusting,” Loren said sullenly.

“Deal with it, you baby,” Alicia mumbled, spitting on her hand again. “If you pass out from heatstroke, I’m going to be stuck out here in the ocean until sharks eat me.”

He shuddered at the noise, doing his best to force his attention entirely on the construct as she wiped more of her saliva on his shoulders.

“Good,” Loren mumbled. “I hope they start at the feet.”

Fuck, he was hungry.

“How did you eat with that helmet on?” Loren wondered, mind straying once more. “Or drink, for that matter?”

“I didn’t,” Alicia admitted quietly.

Loren opened his mouth, then closed it.

“You were in that tank for a long, long time,” Loren said hesitantly. “Your power… do you still get hungry or thirsty?”

“Yes,” Alicia said, nodding. “But it comes and goes.”

Loren felt like his own hunger and thirst were completely incomparable to twenty-five years of starving—Alicia spat on her hand before suddenly wiping it across his forehead like he would one day become king of the lions, and all of his sympathies vanished in an instant.


Loren started to get worried when the sun began to dip under the horizon, and everything began to grow darker. The endless well of energy inside him remained untouched, but his mind was getting sluggish.

He reached out into the air surrounding, feeling how the currents moved but completely unable to derive any meaning from it. The construct’s speed had tripled since the start of their journey, as both the shape and size of it had been streamlined, now a thin spike that neither of them could stand up in.

After what had to be at least twelve hours, he’d gotten so used to the application that the construct had almost fallen into the background of his mind. The loss of complexity had helped with the strain of concentration, but in turn, it had allowed his mind to stray further, growing tired and unware.

Loren was tired, more than anything, between the lack of food, water, and the constant sun exposure sapping his energy.

“I can see lights,” Alicia said, amazed.

Loren opened his eyes again, tiredly seeking it out—a blob of sparkles to the northeast, distant on the horizon and growing wider as they approached. He turned the construct to face it more fully, feeling a small glimmer of energy surge in him.

“We actually made it, huh?” Loren murmured, wiping at his eyes.

“It’s a city—no idea which one,” Alicia said softly. “I doubt I’d be able to recognize it after so long even if I did.”

It was a coastal city of some kind, but he couldn’t identify it either; he’d spent most of his life in Setalite City. When he was little, five or six, he remembered his parents had taken him to a beach at the harbor, and he’d seen pictures of Setalite city from the ocean.

Needless to say, it didn’t look like this; he had no idea where they’d arrived, but he didn’t care either.

The city continued to expand before them, and he could feel the wind currents changing, the landmass doing strange things to them—or perhaps being out in the ocean had done strange things to it, and this was normal?

It was completely dark by the time they reached the coast, the sun vanishing beneath the waves behind them—there was a bright pink dot in the air above the beach illuminated by the lights. Loren slowed their approach down to a crawl and brought them down the sand, the flying figure falling with them, matching their speed.

The man in the pink bodysuit was someone he recognized easily and another of the more popular people he’d been tasked to draw on commission.

“You had me worried for a while there,” Salubre said smiling, “I thought we had a missile inbound until I spotted you sitting inside. What brings you here—and where on earth are your clothes?”

Loren patted the sand once as if to reassure himself that he had indeed made it to land before standing up.

“We need help—we were both abducted,” Alicia said, still kneeling on the sand.

“Abducted?” Salubre frowned.

“There’s a prison, out in the ocean, underwater.” Loren said tiredly, “She’s been held captive for twenty-five years; I’ve been in there for—what’s the date?”

“Twenty-five years! You’re joking?” Salubre spluttered, reaching for the black rectangle on his belt. “Command—Salubre here, beachfront, it was two awakened, claiming long-term illegal abduction and imprisonment.”

Loren waited for the man to finish calling for emergency services and backup before speaking again.

“What’s the date?” Loren tried again.

“It’s the 1st of March, 2022,” Salubre said quickly, the device still pressed against his ear. “Sorry, please repeat—”

It hadn’t been long then; he’d been captured on the 24th, so he’d only been gone for five days—it could have been much worse than that.

“How many more of you are there?” Salubre said, speaking to them once more.

“It’s just us two,” Loren said, glancing at Alicia. “There was someone else, but only his hand was left—his name was Levi Elk.”

Alicia didn’t look up, hair hanging to cover her face.

“Flying? Whoever it is, they aren’t a part of this group—where are they coming from?” Salubre said, looking around.

Loren noticed there was a pink glow around his eyes, the same energy the man had been using to fly earlier. Loren started raising a barrier of hardened air around himself, pulling it close to his skin, his constant practice throughout the day aiding him.

Salubre snapped his head back around to look at him at the first sign of light, and Loren spoke.

“I’m not taking any chances that it’s an enemy,” Loren said flatly. “Call me paranoid—whose ‘they?’”

“Loren?” Alicia said quickly, standing up. “What should I do?”

Loren had no idea, but given her relative ability to heal from a grievous injury, he thought she’d be fine.

“Try and stay out of the way,” Loren said simply.

He tried to investigate the air around him but couldn’t feel anything that might indicate someone was coming. Salubre turned and looked up the coastline—apparently seeing something at a distance with his augmented vision that Loren had no chance of seeing with his poor base-human sight.

Salubre relaxed before turning to smile at them.

“No need to worry,” Salubre said easily, speaking to the two of them and ‘command’ both. “It’s a Peacekeeper.”

Loren almost sighed in relief—that meant that all of his allies likely knew something was up by now.

The man in pink had said ‘they’ though, and he spent a moment trying to figure out who it was. He struggled for a moment, trying to figure out who could fly beside Paragon. It had to be Seeker because the man was telekinetic—but it felt a bit off because the man could teleport, which would be far faster.

“She’s carrying someone,” Salubre said, still speaking to ‘command.’ “I don’t recognize the person though—blue bodysuit, white oval mask.”

Loren frowned because there was something very wrong with what he’d just said.

Firstly as far as he was aware, none of the women in the Peacekeepers could fly, and secondly, the only person he knew of that had a blue bodysuit, and a white oval mask was—Loren felt the wind change, and he pushed all of the energy he could into hardening the shield of energized wind pressed against his skin.

Loren glowed like a star in the night sky as Untold crashed into him.


Reroll 76 & Ameliorate 10 are up on Patreon. Seeking Direction(done) and Just Deserts(not done) is getting pushed back(again, ugh.) to the 30th.

Thank you to all the supporters, on Patreon, on here, and everywhere else, you guys are what is making it possible to keep improving on my passion, and I really appreciate all of you. If you’d like to help support my mission to snap as many elbows as I can get my greasy little mitts on, but aren’t in a place to chip in–you can support me for free as well! Leaving a comment, or a review on any of the other fiction websites I post my content on helps out more than you know. 

Keep on keeping on!


Patreon
Reroll – Season 3, Chapter 76 – Live.
Ameliorate(NSFW) – Chapter 10


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https://reroll.fandom.com/wiki/Reroll_Wiki

Chapter 73

Loren couldn’t even begin to imagine what his jailer had been thinking, but everybody did things for a reason, even if it wasn’t outright apparent to him. Mathew had clearly overheard several conversations at the HQ because, in order for them to plan this out, they needed to know several distinct details about how his power worked. They needed to know he was in a time loop, something which they only knew now because he’d broadcasted it around like an idiot.

They also need to know when he’d begun his interference in their plans, which was probably obvious given his first contact with the hero HQ started at two in the morning, and he’d spoken to Alana about his powers like he’d done basically every time he’d reset. He had even mentioned that as long as he reset before the week had been up that he could avoid locking anything in as permanent.

Loren closed his eyes in disgust.

That explained the knife, the room, the nakedness, and the obvious set up for him to either kill himself or die of dehydration. The next piece of the puzzle was why they’d decided to act when they did, but it was also far more obvious.

Discovering Mathew’s identity as the mole was damning for Morgan in a way few things could be—her identity would have been exposed the second they’d gotten him into a cell with Haunt. Morgan had been forced to act, to lock in a timeline where several of her pieces were caught, captured, or dead.

That’s why she acted to attempt to contain him when they did, and he’d unknowingly forced her hand.

Even if she had been wrong about the details of his power, it wouldn’t have cost her anything that she hadn’t already lost. Loren hadn’t seen who’d taken him; he didn’t even remember falling asleep in the first place—if he’d managed to reset, he would have returned without knowledge of the identity of the attacker.

Now it was different because he’d discovered her identity anyway. Forced to cage him in a cell that was powered by Alicia, someone with the same knowledge that Mathew had possessed. He hoped it galled her that he’d still managed to find out her name.

Time was his ally now, and Morgan better be counting the minutes.

“Anything you can tell me about Morgan that would let me defeat her instantly?” Loren said, glancing back at the door that led to the darker room.

Alicia just shook her head, and he noted that she was now covering her chest with her hands—Loren flushed as he recalled his own state of dress and the fact that his cock was dangling out in plain view for the whole world to see.

Loren turned to face the door.

“I’ve never seen her fight anyone,” Alicia mumbled, “I don’t think she does that kind of thing; she was always surrounded by others who could do it for her.”

A coward who sat back while everyone else did all the dirty work for her. Morgan was making herself more hateable by the second—he appreciated the help with dehumanizing the monster.

“You said we were in the ocean?” Alicia said hesitantly, “Can we—is there a way back?”

Loren closed his eyes again, thinking about the distance between here and the surface.

“I don’t think so,” Loren admitted, opening his eyes and moving towards the darker room. “Help me map the rest of this place, go right, follow the walls—call out if you find anything of note.”

“O-okay,” Alicia mumbled, watching him go.

It was even darker than before; the light that had been present inside the cell was no longer bleeding through the crack he’d made in the wall. The barrier was likewise gone, his removal of Alicia and his systematic destruction of the pillars leaving it without a power source.

Loren used his hand on the wall as a guide and followed it. The room was surprisingly wide—the angle of the wall changed, cutting inwards at an angle, and he frowned following it further. Almost a minute later, the angle changed again, and he realized he was going in a circle. The interior of the structure room wasn’t circular, though; it was either an octagon or something similar.

The cell sat at the center of it, and the room he’d found Alicia in had been the only protrusion he’d seen. Eventually, he spotted a small glowing dot in the dark, like the other one he’d seen—only this one was red.

He could hear stumbling footsteps in the dark as Alicia came closer to his position, following the wall in the opposite direction.

“Loren?” Alicia called back. “There’s another light—”

“I’m here,” Loren answered from in front of her, already moving towards it.

He checked and found the seam of the door once more, but it was locked tight as the other one had been. If he had to guess based on his walk through the darkened room, this door was most likely opposite the first one he’d broken into.

Loren flexed the energy field on his skin and pushed his fingers through the latch in the door—water burst through around his finger and over the both of them.

“Fuck.” Loren said quietly, feeling a sinking feeling along with a healthy dose of fear. “It’s the exit, and the ocean is on the other side.”

He’d killed them both—there was nowhere to escape the water down here. Eventually, it would fill up the room, and they would both drown deep down where nobody would ever find them.

“Oh god…” Alicia said quietly. “We’re going to die.”

Loren considered resetting immediately, but he wanted to see if he could get eyes on the outside of the structure. It would most likely be pitch black, given what he knew of the depth, but he may as well try—there might be some kind of exterior lighting.

His fingers weren’t being crushed, and they didn’t feel cold, despite the water most likely being freezing cold, and he thought the energy barrier might let him survive as long as he could hold his breath.

That wouldn’t be the case for Alicia—her lungs would collapse in seconds. Loren wondered if she would heal from drowning, and for a moment, considered the possibility of attempting to drag her to the surface above. Here was a chance she might float to the top somehow and wake up. Loren shook his head in the dark, the distance far too great for him to swim before he ran out of air.

“You should go hide in the tank room,” Loren said quietly, “I’m going to see if I can see what this place looks like from the outside.”

The door to the tank room was already compromised as well, but it might buy her a few minutes, at least until he could reset.

“Wait—don’t leave me here,” Alicia said, terrified, already backing up from the door. “Please.”

“Sorry, I need to check,” Loren said quietly, “I’ll come back and save you—go.”

The words were true, but the truth probably didn’t line up with her expectation of what ‘coming back’ meant.

Alicia ran, and he waited until the sound of her footsteps vanished. He took a few deep breathes, preparing himself as best he could, and then held the last one. Loren crashed through the metal door, and water washed over him, the force it carried deflecting off the barrier.

Loren managed to push his way outside into the pitch darkness, noting how bizarre it felt; he knew he was floating in the water, but it wasn’t touching his skin. He swam upwards, searching the dark and seeing nothing at all.

He kept on swimming upwards, but after a minute passed, his chest had begun to burn, and another minute later, he was once more incapable of telling which way was up—Loren gave up, and the world vanished.


Loren opened his eyes and sat up in the room, feeling an internal well of energy that connected to the air surrounding him. He lifted his hand up to his face, and his hair lifted up as wind started cycling around the room at high speed. The barrier started flashing white in arcs as the wind-scoured it but did no damage.

Loren knew a secret now.

He closed his eyes and focused on the octagon-shaped room beyond the walls of his cell; he started drawing the wind in and sent it rushing across the floor; at first, it hit the pipe feeding the energy to his room and washed over it. But he just moved it faster, cycling it around the room outside his cell, pushing more power into it, and then finally, the energy barrier winked out of existence as the pipe carrying the energy from Levi’s tanks was torn from the floor.

The light left with it, and he sat in the dark pushing a spiral of wind against the opposite wall; the thick wall was much harder to damage than the pipe had been. He searched for gaps in the wall but found few; it was a singular block of unknown white material with some minor airways built-in.

He pushed hard on both sides of the wall, spinning the wind inside the cell into a furious pace that would have thrown a person around with ease. He struggled to raise a barrier around himself, and once he’d managed to do both, he pushed harder.

He tightened the spinning air down to a point the size of a pen, and the swirling mass of wind and energy brightened, illuminating the cell. He pushed it to go faster, hardening the tip in the process—a tiny piece of the wall chipped off.

Loren smiled.

It certainly wasn’t normal wind, if the arcing white light that trailed after and through it was anything to go by. The energy inside him was fueling it, strengthening it into something that was sharper, stronger, and far more destructive.

Loren continued to savage the wall, slowly learning how to better use the wind, and eventually, he grew comfortable enough with it that he didn’t have to pay much attention to protecting himself, the barrier came down, but the wind no longer reached him—instead, it flowed around him then circled back to the drill.

No longer as worried about the backlash to himself, he pressed harder on the wall, the wind rippling in the air, a hundred tiny slivers of light flickering about in the dark.

Ten minutes later, Loren stepped through the hole he’d drilled out of the wall and into the darkness beyond. He used the air to map out the room around him, using it to avoid the broken pipes on the floor.

Loren started to drill the locked door down, the much thinner material taking a fraction of the time to breach, and with the lock entirely missing, he shunted the door open and stepped inside. He drilled through the rust-colored tank, and the disgusting water spilled out onto the floor. He pushed air into the tank and drilled through the wires Alicia was hanging from, dropping her to the floor.

He started working at the helmet; it broke easily—Alicia stumbled out of the hole in the tank, pulling the last of it off her head, gasping.

“Who are you?” Alicia managed, falling to her knees.

“Loren Parker,” Loren said quietly. “Stay still; I’m pulling the needles out.”

He worked through the gruesome task mechanically, his mind elsewhere. He groped around in the water outside and found it extremely difficult to generate any of his power outside of the containment area, the pressure of the water strong enough that he’d need to concentrate fully on the task to counteract it.

He answered her questions distractedly, focusing on a pinprick of energy growing stronger outside. It was the size of a marble at present, but when he forced more energy into it, it expanded an inch, a hollow bubble of air surviving at this depth.

“Twenty-five years….” Alicia whispered. “I can’t….”

Loren found a foothold in the water and slowly inched it outwards, enlarging the orb, slowly but surely. He beckoned for Alicia to follow him, and he led her around the larger room to the exit before sitting down in front of the door.

“Loren?” Alicia mumbled. “What are you doing?”

“I’m making an air bubble on the other side of the door,” Loren said quietly, “I’m going to break the door down once it’s big enough and use it to pull us up to the surface.”

He needed to figure out how they were going to stay in the orb as well because they’d just fall straight through it into the water below. He focused on making the outside of the bubble harder, like a platform of hardened energized air surrounding the empty space inside.

Loren split his attention again, one half on growing the bubble outside as he continued to feed the seemingly endless energy into it and the other half on Alicia, now sitting beside him in the dark.

“Tell me about Meteor,” Loren mumbled.

Alicia was quiet for a long while before she finally spoke up.

“Meteor? I… when I was younger, nineteen I think; I saw Eros—Alex Bell, for the first time,” Alicia said quietly. “He was doing interviews on the street, stopping people, talking to them. He stopped me, and we spoke for a while.”

Loren listened with half an ear as the bubble grew.

“What did you speak about?” Loren wondered.

“Pollution, mostly,” Alicia mumbled, “There was a company that had just been caught illegally dumping its waste in the ocean. I’d heard my dad talking about it, so I knew a little bit; I went home afterward and really looked into it.”

Loren wondered if that was a coincidence or if Eros had set her on that path with his ability.

“It was messed up, the company—Wrightway, denied all involvement,” Alicia shook her head, “They actually managed to get out of paying any of the fines, and there were protests about it. I met Levi at one….”

The bubble was strong now, about half the size of a person, and while he couldn’t see it from inside, he somehow knew it was glowing in the darkness of the ocean. It was pressed right up against the other side of the door, leaving no gap for water to slip past.

“Wrightway is still around,” Loren said distractedly, “It’s run by a guy called Alexander Wright.”

Alicia muttered something he didn’t catch.

“One of the two sons; Malcolm Wright used to be one in charge,” Alicia mumbled. “I kind of fell down the rabbit hole after that, and Levi was dragged along for the ride. I met Alex again when I was twenty-two, and after I’d told him about everything I’d been up to, he invited me to join what was at that time an infamous activist group—Meteor.”

Loren hummed as the bubble grew to almost completely cover the outside of the door.

“It felt like I’d found a home, with people who cared as much as I did,” Alicia said shakily, “and then a few weeks later, he introduced me to Morgan for the first time.”

“Did you have your powers already?” Loren wondered.

“I did,” Alicia mumbled, “I got my wrist broken during one of the protests, and it fixed itself within seconds—I hadn’t told anybody about having them, not even Levi knew about it… but somehow Morgan knew.”

Loren lifted one of his hands and pressed it against the door in front of him, and it felt hard to the touch—he could feel the pressure from both his hand on this side and the bubble pressing towards him on the other.

“She took a bunch of blood samples and other stuff—Morgan was the one who told me how it really worked, about the chemicals and everything I make,” Alicia mumbled, “When Levi got his own powers, I brought him to her, and she helped him as well.”

Loren swallowed, the amount of guilt she must have felt at having introduced her lover to the woman who would eventually do what she had done to him.

“Caelus—Jake Plum, was… off, in a way I didn’t understand at the time.” Alicia said hesitantly, “I thought he was just shy at first, but sometimes I’d catch him watching me from across the room. It always felt like he was waiting for something to happen, expecting it even, but I never knew what.”

“He was the one who destroyed the city,” Loren said, more of a statement than a question.

He recalled that much; Caelus had been a man who could create zones that erased everything inside.

“He was,” Alicia mumbled, “His power changed—he’d never been able to make it bigger than about the size of a car.”

“Morgan?” Loren guessed.

“I think so,” Alicia whispered. “There were these black boxes, placed on the outskirts of the city, in three cardinal directions. Levi told me about them when we were meeting up with the group, and Jake was the fourth cardinal point.”

Loren could easily envision it, four squares at the north, south, east, and west sides of the city, and massive barrier growing up into the sky above glowing in the dark of the early morning—that was one of the pictures that had been taken from people on the highway outside of the city.

“Jake was able to lift the zone all the way up, far outside of his normal range, and then the other boxes linked the zone together.” Alicia mumbled, “Then the city was gone, along with everyone inside it—just like that.”

Loren remained silent, hand pressed flat against the door.

“Jake looked the same as he always did,” Alicia managed, shaking in the dark. “Just looking expectant, like he was waiting for something to happen.”

Loren pressed the bubble into the door hard, but it didn’t budge; he started on a tiny drill, setting it to work on the door.

“Morgan was smiling,” Alicia mumbled, the light from the wind drill revealing her haunted face. “She told us we’d taken a step forward, towards a better world. I didn’t know what to do, I was… I couldn’t even speak. Levi was angry, and I remember he hit Jake—It all kinds of blurs together after that.”

“What was Daisy Kline doing?” Loren wondered, watching the shadows flicker across her skin. “Or the other two?”

“Daisy was just standing next to Morgan.” Alicia said quietly, “Alex was holding his wife.”

“Mathew wasn’t there?” Loren asked, already knowing he wasn’t.

“He wasn’t,” Alicia recalled, “I remember asking at some point, but I don’t remember what she said.”

The door broke, and Loren carefully reached up, taking the handle. The door slid open, and the bright white shine of the bubble remained, covering the open doorway in a rectangle.

Now he just had to figure out how to get inside.


Fanfiction + Ameliorate drop on the 26th, i’m a little bit behind.

Reroll character stickers! We got Wildcard, Sparklite, Outplayed and Gradient for now, I’ll add more when I find the time.

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Thank you to all the supporters, on Patreon, on here, and everywhere else, you guys are what is making it possible to keep improving on my passion, and I really appreciate all of you. If you’d like to help support my mission to snap as many elbows as I can get my greasy little mitts on, but aren’t in a place to chip in–you can support me for free as well! Leaving a comment, or a review on any of the other fiction websites I post my content on helps out more than you know. 

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Reroll – Season 3, Chapter 75 – Live.
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Chapter 72

“I don’t know how many others are still here, but it wouldn’t be many,” Alicia mumbled, “Levi must still be alive—you said the walls were covered in a white energy?”

Loren lifted his gaze to the white-filled pillars but realized he could see them from this side of the room, the partitions that stuck out on either side covering them completely from view of the tank.

“Seems like they’re siphoning off the energy from something,” Loren frowned, “Pipes were stretching from your tank to these pillars—behind the partition there, filled with the same energy. Then it’s fed into the room I was in through more pipes.”

He recalled the murky black shapes in the center of the pillars, too much of the thick white energy to see through to identify what exactly it was—but now he was starting to wonder if he wanted to know in the first place.

He wasn’t a mad scientist or a prison designer by any means, but there was a tank that farmed preserving chemicals from one person and fed it into a series of smaller pillars filled with something that was generating the energy.

“Levi!” Alicia called out, projecting her voice across the room. “Can you hear me?”

Loren didn’t think Levi was in much of a state to respond.

“Wait until I get these out,” Loren mumbled, feeling his anger at her state to dissipate.

The last three needles came out quickly, and then Alicia struggled to her feet—too much time floating in a tank of water had left her completely unused to having to support her weight. Loren didn’t move to assist, still not willing to make too much contact if his power acted on a stray thought.

Loren stepped down off the tank, wincing as he stepped on the glass, but felt nothing as the energy barrier surrounding him protected him. Alicia had no such protection and cried out when she landed on the mess. It didn’t stop her from scrambling through it, leaving a bloody trail behind, and by the time she’d made it to the partition, the bleeding had already stopped.

“What?” Alicia mumbled, knocking on the glass of the closest pillar. “What the hell is this?”

Loren turned the corner to find her leaning close with her hands cupped around her face, squinting inside the container. The dark shape inside was impossible to see from the outside, even as close as she was to it.

“Can you break this one?” Alicia pleaded.

Loren closed his eyes for a moment, absolutely sure that whatever they found was going to be terrible. He stepped forward, moving in between her and the tank, and then placed his hand against the glass. Loren opened his mouth to say something to warn her, but he couldn’t figure out what he should say.

The glass shattered, the energy rushed out, scouring everything around them, and he felt Alicia duck further behind him with a cry of pain. The white energy lessened, vanishing on contact with his skin and then faded away. Loren stared at the white, bloodless hand lying on a thin pedestal in the middle of the broken pillar.

Alicia screamed.


Loren broke the final pillar, already expecting another hand, as all of the others had contained the same thing—Another left hand, identical to the rest, severed at the wrist, and definitely male. Twelve of them in total, and most likely the part of the body that was responsible for generating the white energy.

Alicia hadn’t moved from her place by the first pillar, mumbling Levi’s name and cradling the hand.

Loren wasn’t sure what to think—he found it hard to comprehend that someone had deliberately engineered this place. It felt so clinical, so detached from reality that someone could see something like this through.

How could anybody be this cold?

“Who was Levi?” Loren said quietly.

“Antaeus,” Alicia sobbed once, fighting to stay in control.

He’d heard the name before in association with the group, but he didn’t know much about the person himself. Alicia was breathing shakily now, no longer bawling, and since she’d responded this time, he continued his questions.

“Who is Morgan?” Loren pressed. “What was her name when you were all in Meteor?”

“She didn’t have one,” Alicia mumbled, “We just knew her as Morgan, with no last name.”

“You said she was the leader,” Loren frowned. “Why did anybody follow her lead?”

Alicia’s voice shook when she spoke.

“I was one of the last people to join, so I don’t know how they met her or why she was the leader.” Alicia managed, “But… Morgan was brilliant—she always knew exactly what to do, and she always had a plan. Morgan knew how most ability’s functioned, and she’d give amazing advice; nearly everyone went to her for help.”

Someone that could come up with something like his place had to be insane, but there was probably an element of brilliance in that. He needed to know as much about the person who’d placed him here as possible.

“What was she like personally?” Loren pressed, moving to crouch down in front of her.

“Um,” Alicia mumbled, ducking her head down to avoid his gaze. “She-she always had time for me, we’d talk for hours, and she was so kind—I don’t understand how any of this happened. I don’t know why they killed so many—oh god… Levi… why would she do this?”

Because she’d obviously never cared for any of them, she played on the feelings and emotions of those she recruited before discarding them when they outlived their usefulness, or worse, converted the living breathing people into more useful things—like a prison.

“Who was in the inner circle that helped her wipe out Ragdim?” Loren muttered.

It was possible the ones that had followed through with erasing the entire city were still working with her. It was twenty-something years ago, which wasn’t exactly a death sentence when you were only in your twenties.

They’d still be alive if they weren’t in the city at the time.

“Jake Plum, Alex Bell, Daisy Kline, and… Levi Elk,” Alicia said quietly.

Two of those names sent a spike of something through him, and he gritted his teeth.

“I don’t know the civilian names,” Loren managed. “What were the names they used?”

“Sorry…” Alicia mumbled, “Caelus, Eros, Theia, and Antaeus.”

“I’m sensing a theme here,” Loren muttered. “You said two names I recognize. Alex Bell, is that a relative of Hannah Bell?”

Alicia looked hesitant.

“I don’t know that name,” Alicia admitted.

“Lecture,” Loren clarified and was stumped for a moment when she didn’t recognize it. “Epilogue? Nothing? Paragon?”

“I don’t know any of those names,” Alicia said, cradling the dead man’s hand. “I’m sorry—”

“How long have you been here?” Loren said, horrified.

“I don’t know,” Alicia admitted quietly.

“Do you recognize the name, Mathew Kline?” Loren managed.

“That was Daisy’s son,” Alicia mumbled.

Loren felt some things slot into place, and he stared down at her mind, racing.

“What happened before you ended up in the tank?” Loren said slowly.

Alicia stared down at the hand in her lap, and Loren followed her gaze.

“Levi woke me up at one in the morning,” Alicia said slowly, “He wouldn’t tell me why, but he made me get in the car with him. We drove out of the city and met the others on the outskirts. I don’t know how Jake made the zone so big; he’s never been able to do something like that… After the zone went up… I tried to leave, and then I woke up in the tank.”

Loren stared at her for a long moment, stunned.

“How are you still—” Loren managed, cutting himself off.

“My power,” Alicia mumbled, “It heals everything, and because all of the chemicals are inside my body, it heals me too. I’ve only had my powers for about a year, but Morgan was pretty sure I’ll stop aging soon.”

Loren clenched his fist by his side, feeling the energy barrier on his fingers crackle against the one on his palm. Alicia wasn’t even aware of how much time had passed since that day; she was speaking as it had only just happened.

It had been over two decades since Ragdim City was erased; He would need to be more patient with her, she had no idea… Loren’s thought pattern trailed off for a moment, and he actually considered it properly.

More patient?

He was in the worst position he’d even been in his life, and he was still thinking about others… He couldn’t allow himself to keep falling into this… He had to stop getting pulled around by every single tragedy he encountered. He couldn’t afford to shackle himself like this anymore—Alicia had made her choices, and this was the result.

The fact of the matter was, Loren was no longer in a place to play by the rules he’d built around himself. He no longer had the element of surprise or the advantage of foreknowledge; he no longer had all the time in the world to work out an answer that everyone could live with.

His enemies knew who he was, and they knew what his power did; they’d trapped him, forced his own power to work against him. They’d killed his friends over and over again, without regard for the morality of their actions or their effect on him.

Loren couldn’t keep walking the path he’d stubbornly set himself on because he’d already lost once already, and Mara had been torn from the world because of his failure.

This unknown woman—Morgan, had caused him untold suffering over the last few months, so he’d follow her example; it was no longer time to stumble on through the minefield attempting to be the good guy.

He’d spent months trying to solve this impossibly delicate puzzle with its constricting rules, and he’d failed to find a solution. So he’d take a step back and reframe it all. This was no longer a tiny, fragile eyelet that he needed to thread himself through. He no longer had to work within the system he’d built to retain his morality.

All of this was now a game in which the winning condition was Morgan’s death, and Loren hated losing.

“Who were the others that were with you?” Loren said flatly.

“The same people I said earlier,” Alicia mumbled, “Morgan, Jake, Alex, Sarah, Daisy, and Levi.”

“Mathew wasn’t there?” Loren pressed. “Who was the other person—Sarah?”

“Sarah Bell, Alex’s wife,” Alicia said quietly. “Mathew wasn’t with them.”

He was starting to have a creeping suspicion here.

“Did Sarah have any powers?” Loren said slowly, “What could Alex do?”

This had all happened years before he was born, and Loren wished he’d spent some time looking into it. He knew that their names hadn’t been known, only the alias they’d gone by. Some of the members hadn’t worn masks, but most of them had never been identified.

“I don’t know if Sarah had any,” Alicia admitted, “Eros was our spokesperson; he had a kind of supernatural charisma; he could convince people to do things just by talking to them for a little while. It’s how we kept getting our information on all the companies we exposed.”

Loren fell silent at that—there was no chance in hell that was a coincidence.

Meteor erased a city full of people and most of the members of their own organization. A small handful of their members survived; Antaeus would be cut up into parts, and Gaea would be forced to preserve the dead flesh of her lover to power a super-powered prison. Daisy had a son, Mathew Kline.

Eros, a man called Alex Bell, who had the power of supernatural charisma and could talk people into doing things—a man with a wife called Sarah who’d survived. Almost two decades later, a girl named Hannah Bell becomes Lecture, someone who can control anyone who hears her voice and is known as a prominent member of Epilogue.

The two organizations were linked.

“What was Morgan’s power?” Loren frowned, “You said she was brilliant?”

“She could understand powers, but mostly she was a healer like me. My power needs me to either bleed or spit on someone for it to work—all of my bodily fluids work really,” Alicia admitted, “I’ve seen Morgan using her power, but she needs to be touching them to do it, and it’s a lot slower than mine.”

“Why would Morgan abduct me?” Loren asked, not really expecting an answer.

Alicia had been away from the world for a long time, long enough that Paragon hadn’t even started his career yet, and she had no idea who Loren was.

“I don’t know,” Alicia mumbled.

“There is a group of villains knows as Epilogue; they’ve taken a whole host of hostile actions.” Loren said concisely, “One of their members is a twenty-something woman by the name of Hannah Bell, whose power allows her to take control of anyone who hears her voice. We discovered that there was a leak in the heroes, a janitor with powers whose name was Mathew Kline.”

Alicia glanced up at him, looking confused.

“Alex and Sarah didn’t have a daughter—” Alicia said hesitantly. “Mathew is only little, five or six maybe?”

“Meteor destroyed Ragdim City in 1997,” Loren said flatly, “It’s 2022; you’ve been in this tank for twenty-five years.”

Alicia looked stunned.

“There are two people in Epilogue whose identity isn’t known; from looking through the memories of one of the other members, we found out one was a woman, middle-aged, in her forties, with auburn hair, roughly five and a half feet.” Loren listed off what he remembered of Haunt’s description. “She goes by the name Tiamat and is rumored to be a biokinetic of some kind.”

“Twenty-five years…” Alicia mumbled, barely listening.

“Alicia,” Loren said, catching her attention. “What does Morgan look like?”

“What you said—auburn hair, five foot five, early forties,” Alicia mumbled. “That’s Morgan.”

Loren felt a spike of something rush through him at the confirmation—The leader of Epilogue was the former leader of Meteor. Tiamat had abducted him, sealed him away in this place, and locked in Mara’s death as a permanent point in history.

“Is that so?” Loren said quietly. “I can’t wait to meet her.”

Loren pushed himself up from his crouch and glanced around the room.

He’d seen nothing to indicate how they’d gotten into the prison, and given they were so deep in the ocean; there had to be either a vehicle that could survive at this depth or some kind of teleportation at work.

A prison’s function was to keep someone inside, but given his power, they knew he would eventually escape. The question here was would they leave a way for him to leave the facility safely if he did manage to escape the room? Obviously not; if he was going to escape this place, it would be through rolling the correct power.

“I’ve been messing with her plans for a while now,” Loren said frowning, “She had me at her mercy; why am I awake and walking around right now?”

Alicia placed the hand on the floor beside her and managed to get to her feet; the effort needed was difficult for her.

“Maybe she wanted to use you for something—like she did with me and….” Alicia clenched her eyes shut and trailed off.

“No,” Loren frowned. “She wouldn’t have let me wake up given what she knows about my power.”

“I don’t understand,” Alicia admitted. “Morgan had a reputation for knowing how powers worked; maybe there was something about yours that she needed you awake for.”

Loren frowned; she would have had days to investigate him, days to mess with his body—not a nice thought. Why hadn’t she cut off his arms or legs before the save point updated? Rendered him even more ineffective? Why hadn’t they gotten Hannah to take control of him as they’d done with Evelynn Miller?

Maybe Fracture’s team had succeeded in capturing her.

“Like what?” Loren muttered, more because she was still staring at him worriedly.

“Um.” Alicia said quietly, “Marcus—one of the other members of Meteor—his power kept triggering in his sleep. Maybe yours does the same?”

Loren shook his head.

“My power isn’t like that,” Loren muttered. “I can’t do anything while I’m asleep; they’d have won completely if they kept me asleep. If Morgan is as good as you think, she would have figured that out.”

“Maybe your power does something strange if you’re asleep for too long?” Alicia mumbled. “Like it explodes after a month or something—what is your power? The glass didn’t cut you… and you broke the helmet….”

Loren didn’t answer—He’d learned that the hard way already, and while they already knew the details of his power and apparently had long enough to investigate his body for more information, he wasn’t going to be handing it out to someone he’d just met.

He had no way to check if his power activated after a certain amount of time asleep—It was possible, but there wasn’t any precedent. The longest time period he’d slept for since he’d gotten his powers was that one time Alana had tranq’d him—actually, that wasn’t true, seeing as he’d slept for at least four days before he’d woken up in here.

His power somehow knew when he died and activated immediately. Was it also possible that if he was asleep for too long that his power would consider him non-functional or something and initiate a reroll?

Loren knew there was an automatic function built into it that chose his powers, so it wasn’t that far of a stretch to assume there was a second one that dealt in incapacitation.

“Would Morgan be able to know something like that? Is this part of her power?” Loren said slowly. “How detailed is the information she gets about them?”

“I think it must be,” Alicia said quietly, staring at the tank. “She’s figured out some very precise things before; I don’t know how detailed the information she gets is.”

Then she would have had to of known that he could reset on will as well, surely? Yet they’d still placed him in the room, and with a knife as well as if they expected him to kill himself with it, instead of just resetting.

Loren pinched the bridge of his nose, attempting to figure it out.

If the mechanism that called for a reset when he died was obvious to Morgan, then surely the mechanism that called a reset on will was also obvious? Or was it part of a larger package, and she could only see the top level?

Could she even see it in that much detail, or was it more like the feeling he got when he chose his own powers in the field of stars? Maybe she saw ‘Revive,’ ‘Return,’ or something similar?

What he did know was that Morgan wouldn’t have let him wake up, and she wouldn’t have bothered to place the knife in the room if she’d known he could reset on will. Because it broke the purpose of the cell; for him to either die of dehydration or choose to kill himself with the knife. The fact that she had let him wake up meant Morgan didn’t know he could reset on will, even after her investigation of his body.

That also meant that there had to be a separate reason that she didn’t keep him asleep—he just didn’t know what it was.


Reroll character stickers! We got Wildcard, Sparklite, Outplayed and Gradient for now, I’ll add more when I find the time.

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I started writing the first chapter of Contention last night, it won’t be up anywhere for a while but I think it’s going to be just as fun a journey as Reroll has been so far. I’m getting started on the fanfiction drop this week as well, should be up on the 23rd, or the 26th if I fall behind. Enjoy. 

Thank you to all the supporters, on Patreon, on here, and everywhere else, you guys are what is making it possible to keep improving on my passion, and I really appreciate all of you. If you’d like to help support my mission to snap as many elbows as I can get my greasy little mitts on, but aren’t in a place to chip in–you can support me for free as well! Leaving a comment, or a review on any of the other fiction websites I post my content on helps out more than you know. 

Keep on keeping on!


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Chapter 71

The room was on fire when he returned; his power was stuck in an active state. He lifted his hand—there was a vague outline of twisting fire that may have been an arm, but it was lost in the sea of fire. He tried to pull back on it, to attempt to revert to some kind of human state. The fire twisted, merging down into a roughly human shape, but there was nothing human left about him, only fire.

Loren could somehow still see, and the barrier was hot beneath him, a gradient of bright white beneath him to a duller, faded white against the walls. He wouldn’t be escaping from the room with this power; he couldn’t generate enough energy to dismantle the barrier, let alone deal with the water beyond.


Loren opened his eyes to a room without fire, and clenched his hand—there was something pressed against his skin, the feeling wrapping around his entire body. He lifted his hand to study it, a tiny film of white, translucent energy—not that different in appearance from the barrier that was trapping him.

Only, he was failing to make it do anything; he couldn’t move it, pressing it outwards did nothing. He couldn’t make it brighter, and he couldn’t dismiss it; it was just there. Loren moved across the room and rapped a barrier-covered knuckle against the barrier covering the room.

It winked out of existence, leaving the smooth white metal behind, cold to the touch. He reared back and punched the wall—the wall broke beneath his punch, leaving a fist-sized hole in the metal. He blinked, not at all expecting it to work.

He pulled his hand out of the wall, and then the barrier regenerated, covering the walls in white. It had done that the other time as well; whatever was powering, it took a few moments to kick back in.

“Alright, time for an adventure,” Loren said firmly.

He tapped the barrier and then slammed his shoulder against the wall the second it winked out of existence. The wall broke before him—but it was also far thicker than he had first assumed, and he stumbled forwards. The barrier came back up while he was halfway through but winked out of existence again—and Loren was thankful it hadn’t sheered him in half.

Loren punched forward again, cutting through the wall like it was made of sand and shouldering his way the rest of the way through as it broke around him. The faint resistance vanished, and he stepped through the wall into a more open space.

The crack in the wall that he’d made during his escape let light flood through in a narrow beam that illuminated some of the metal floorings. It was basically the only source of light outside of the barrier room, and he could just see faint shapes in the dark.

There was a small green dot, up in the dark, about as high as a door might reach, and he moved towards it. His foot kicked something in the dark but didn’t break through it.  Loren wondered if there was some kind of intent needed for his power to start breaking things—he hadn’t fallen straight through the floor after all.

He knelt down, running his hands over whatever it was; round, ridged, and seemed to be running towards the containment cell. It was a pipe of some kind, and he stood up using his foot as a guide to follow it along the floor in the dark.

Loren almost tripped again as a second pipe intersected the first, and after finding some footholds, he stepped over them—more pipes, coming from different angles, but he was pretty sure they all reached back to the containment room.

He fumbled around in the dark until he found something, a large rectangular block where the piper ran to. Patting the thing down led him to what felt like a larger pipe that seemed to be made of smaller ones bound tightly together in a large cylinder—It ran in the direction of the green dot he’d spotted.

“Ever heard of a ceiling light, idiots?” Loren complained to no one as he followed the pipe. “Or did you forget to pay the power bill?”

His outstretched hand hit the wall, and he searched it in the dark, finding a seam—a handle, lower and beneath the green dot indicated it was a door. He opened it—or attempted to, it was clearly locked. Loren punched through the locking mechanism and pulled the door open—light flooded into the room, blinding him for a moment.

“Fuck,” Loren complained, shielding his eyes and stepping inside.

The pipe passed through the wall by the door before branching out in a bunch of different directions.

Each one seemed to lead to a column that hummed with white energy, a small black shape vaguely noticeable right in the middle—a quick count left him with twelve of them. Each of them had large pipes that fed into the largest object in the room.

A large clear container on the opposite side of the room, filled with murky, rust-colored water. The inside of the glass was far too filthy to see what was inside—something in the tank moved, sending the dark water swirling.

Loren hovered by the door, suddenly hesitant to investigate further.

This was obviously the power source—the white energy of the barrier came from these pillars and whatever was inside them. Whatever was in the larger tank… he had no idea what its purpose was.

“Hey,” Loren said quietly. “Can you hear me?”

Something dark pressed against the tank glass, smearing the rusty grime and sending more of the water spinning.

Loren swallowed, forcing himself to take a step further into the room. His eyes fell to the console that was connected to the larger tank—a series of switches ran along its length, no monitor in sight. He glanced over to the columns, but none of them had switches of their own. Each one had a little divider that covered it from view unless you were standing right in front of it.

A thump came from the tank, and he flinched.

“Fuck!” Loren yelped, flushing. “Fuck this horror shit!”

He stomped across the room to the tank, ignoring the noises that came from inside it and studying the panel again. The labels were useless to him; each had a series of capital letters and a number, none of which revealed themselves as an actual word. The top left row was labeled ‘SLA1’ to ‘SLA5’, and then there was a gap between the switches. The next one started with ‘SRA1’ and once more ended at ‘SRA5.’

He had no idea what they were supposed to represent, and he did a quick search of the other sequences. The right side of the console broke the pattern; ‘FT,’ ‘ET,’ ‘CMS.’

“Why can’t you label these things properly?” Loren sighed.

Loren took a deep breath and then let it out—he flipped the one labeled ‘SLA1’ down. A barely audible high-pitched noise came from inside the tank, and he quickly flipped it back up, horrified.

He hesitated for a long moment before flipping the next sequence below it. ‘SLL1’ elicited the same response of pain, so he turned it off and moved away from the left side of the console. The similar naming conventions most likely meant that they were more of the same type.

“FT, ET, CMS,” Loren said uneasily. “What does that mean?”

Another thump from inside the tank, and he glanced up—the palm of a slim hand was pressed against the glass, the rusty grime coloring it orange. Loren stared at the hand for a long while—it was a person, they’d put a person in this tank and left them here to power the cell.

Loren recalled thinking that this prison hadn’t been created for him, that a week was nowhere near long enough to design this.

How long had this person been in the tank?

Loren pressed flipped the switch labeled ‘FT,’ and its purpose became clear, as the water in the tank did the same. The rusty orange grime started to fade, pulled downwards, in a swirling, smoke-like motion as it was filtered out of the tank. The hand that had remained pressed to the tank flinched back as the light flickered over the glass, and then the grime lining it began to flake off, pulled into the tornado of grime.

Loren stared at the person in the tank—a woman, skin so pale that blue veins showed through all over her body. There was a black helmet over her head and cables running from it to sections on the back of the tank.

Her left hand and left foot were lying on the bottom of the tank, bright blood flooding from the stumps like red ink in the now clear water. The smoky red cloud was sucked down into the spinning water at the bottom of the tank vanishing from view. Loren realized what the labels meant now; each one must have indicated a section of the corresponding limb being cut off.

He’d just cut this imprisoned woman’s limbs off.

Loren bent over at the waist, coughing; he dry heaved several times. There was nothing in his stomach to bring up except a white foamy substance and a feeling of accompanying revulsion. His eyes watered as he attempted to regather his bearings, and he prepared himself to reset—he caught sight of her leg.

It was growing back.

The blood had already stopped leaking into the water, and the same was the case for her hand. Within seconds she was once more undamaged, and she reached out with her returned hand, pressing it against the glass next to the first.

Loren spent a horrifying moment wondering just how many times she had experienced what had just occurred. All of these different switches—someone had actively designed this… system. They built it to keep her in the water, to sever her limbs at different sections.

“Why would somebody do this?” Loren mumbled, searching the console again.

‘FT’ must have meant ‘Filter’ or something of the sort, which meant ‘ET’ might have been emptying the tank? Removing the limbs on the bottom, perhaps? He prepared to reset in case it did something really bad, took a deep breath, and then flicked the switch labeled ‘CMS.’

The console crackled, and the sound of shaky breathing flooded the room.

“Morgan?” A woman’s voice mumbled.

Loren couldn’t bring himself to speak—trying to come to terms with the idea that there was still enough of her mind left to speak.

“Please, Morgan,” The woman murmured, “I just want to see Levi—I won’t try to run again, please.”

Loren opened his mouth and then closed it—he slapped himself across the face, and it landed with a crack. He felt nothing, the impact absorbed by the barrier that covered his skin.

“Can you hear me?” Loren said, staring straight at her helmet.

“Who are you?” The woman said. “Where is Morgan?”

“My name is Loren Parker.” Loren said, “I have no idea who Morgan is; what is your name?”

“Alicia,” Alicia said, confused. “How did you get here? Where is Morgan?”

“I don’t know who Morgan is,” Loren repeated, “I was locked in a room with a white barrier, I broke out. This room was the first place I found—”

“A room with white barriers?” Alicia said quietly, “Levi must be here. Have you seen him—”

Her hands scrabbled at the glass in her rush, and he quickly spoke up.

“I haven’t seen anybody since I woke up,” Loren said gently, “There’s no one here but us two—I think. Alicia, I’m pretty sure I can break the glass and free you—that helmet isn’t going to explode or cut off your head, is it?”

“You’re going to….” Alicia said shakily. “Morgan really isn’t here?”

Her hands lanced up in the water to the helmet, and she turned in the water enough to give him a better view of the cables. They were spread out in a pattern across the back of the helmet, and she tapped one in particular.

“You’ll need to be careful pulling these out,” Alicia said quietly, “They’re in my skull, but if you can break the glass….”

Loren moved to the side without the console and reached out with his hand. The glass shattered into a million pieces when his hand passed through it. Water began to rush out, flooding over the edge, and he dragged his hand downwards, carving out a larger gap.

Alicia cried out as she was left to hang from the wires, and he stepped up into the knee-deep water, then paused before touching her. He didn’t know if his power would break her like it had everything else, and he wasn’t willing to test it yet.

He carefully reached up and dragged his hand through each of the wires—Alicia fell to her hands and knees on the bottom of the tank, the water now barely a puddle. The communication system that allowed her to talk cut out the second the wires were severed, so they were left without the ability to speak once more.

Loren reached out to the helmet and very carefully wrapped his fingers around one of the extended sections—it remained stuck; he needed to remove the helmet casing first. He pressed a finger into the casing, scooping it outwards in a shallow grove to avoid cutting her scalp.

Alicia stayed still on her hands and knees, unable to move or unwilling.

When he had a groove that almost completely bisected the helmet and ran down the back to where her neck was, he started pushing through the metal to her head. The barrier cut through it like scissors on paper, and she pulled her head away when he accidentally scraped her head.

One of her hands started to tap on her throat, and he realized she couldn’t breathe now that the helmet was disconnected from the air supply. He gritted his teeth, remaining steady, and once he hit the last edge, the entire thing cracked apart into two sections.

Alicia gasped, sucking in air as quickly as she could and sitting up. She was right about the protrusions being stuck in her skull, looking like massive needles—He caught sight of her face.

“Thank you…” Alicia said, gasping.

Brown hair, matted to her head in a mess, blue eyes, and a face full of freckles—Alicia sat there, dripping wet, completely naked, and panting for breath.

“I know you,” Loren said slowly.

Where had he seen her face before? He’d never known anyone with the name Alicia; why did she look so familiar?

“You do?” Alicia mumbled, carefully reaching up and touching the back of her head. “Oh god… Can you take this out?”

He’d absolutely seen her before.

“You sure you want me to mess with them?” Loren murmured, “I’d suggest a hospital, but given we’re in the middle of the ocean—it’s probably going to hurt.”

He moved to stand behind her, and she tracked him with her head—she swallowed and looked down when he touched the first one.

“We’re in the middle of the ocean?” Alicia said, confused.

“Why were you in the tank?” Loren pressed, holding the first one tightly and bracing his other hand against her head as gently as he could.

“Morgan wanted to use my power for something; I don’t know what it was.” Alicia swallowed, “I’m ready.”

Loren pressed slightly with his left hand, and when her head didn’t cave under his fingers, he pulled harder with his right—the thick needle slipped out far easier than he had imagined, and her matted hair quickly grew red with blood.

“That wasn’t—so bad,” Alicia said shakily, clearing crying.

“What’s your power?” Loren said quietly.

He readied himself to do the next one, watching as the hole in her head sealed itself shut.

“I’m a healer,” Alicia said, sniffling, “My entire body creates these chemicals that rejuvenate things, keep them from aging. It will regenerate missing limbs and other things as well.”

He waited for her to finish speaking and then pulled the second one out. He’d seen how quickly she’d regenerated her hand and foot already, and he had a front-row seat to see the next hole in her head seal itself shut.

“Who is this Morgan person?” Loren frowned, moving on to the next one. “If he’s responsible for you being in here, then he’s probably the motherfucker who locked me in here, and I plan on destroying his fucking life.”

“Morgan is a she,” Alicia said hesitantly, flinching as he pulled the next needle out.

“Whatever,” Loren mumbled, “Women can be motherfuckers too, you know? Answer the question.”

“She was the leader of our group,” Alicia mumbled.

Loren paused at the word group; it triggered a memory of a picture he’d seen a long time ago. His hand stilled around the next needle before he leaned forward to see her face again. Alicia glanced up at him from her position, upside down.

“You were one of the members of Meteor,” Loren said slowly.

He’d seen her face on one of the many group shots of the self-proclaimed ‘Villain-Activist’ group, right at the front; she was one of the more prominent members—His hand clenched almost unconsciously jarring the needle, and she gasped.

“I was Gaea,” Alicia managed, sobbing from the pain. “Please don’t hate me.”

He spent a small moment thinking about putting all of the needles back in her skull, fixing the tank up, and then peacing the fuck out—card declined for mass murder.

“Your team killed an entire city filled with people,” Loren said flatly. “There were millions of people in Ragdim City—I don’t think there are many people in the world right now that don’t hate you.”

Considering what she had apparently been subjected to, she’d likely been paying off the karmic debt ever since.

I didn’t know that was going to happen,” Alicia whispered, hunching in on herself. “Most of us didn’t.”

The fact that she was still alive when everyone else from Ragdim was dead, he had a bit of trouble believing her entirely.

“Who did know?” Loren said, “And who else besides Morgan is still around?”

What you know about rollin’ down in the deep? Enjoy.

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Chapter 70

The seething fury that had almost whited out his sight was gone, and when he opened his eyes, Loren was once more lying on his back in the unbroken room. The feeling of anger was quick to start building back up again, the chemicals in his brain starting to catch up once more.

He grabbed at the cool, sharp feeling in his right hand, and metal lanced outwards, striking the opposite wall with a million needle-thin spines. The wall flared bright white but resisted the attack without a hint of stress and no visible damage.

The metal dissolved in the air into sparkling silver dust that covered almost the entirety of the floor. He tried again, focusing on a single spine this time rather than a mass of them. It lanced forward, growing at speeds he couldn’t even track with his eyes, and it struck the wall.

Unexpectedly it skated off to one side, up to the top left of the room, and then stopped cold in the corner. He held onto the power for a moment too long, and with nowhere for the metal to grow further, his hand was pushed backward and to the side with an audible crack.

Fuck.” Loren hissed.

He quickly dropped the power, the metal spine dissolving into crystalline dust once more. He gritted his teeth against the pain and then forced himself to reset.


Loren woke up on the floor, and once more, the fury was gone completely, the chemicals responsible vanishing with the reset; he stared at his now unbroken wrist sullenly. The pain that had flooded the area was now replaced with another sensation, both hands filled with some kind of grimy energy.

He forced himself to sit up and then think for a moment rather than lash out again—he needed a plan.

Loren was definitely trapped in the room, but it wasn’t foolproof—he’d already managed to destroy it once. The problem was, even if he managed to get past the barrier that absorbed physical damage, he would need to contend with the fact that he was now sitting at the bottom of a large body of water.

There was a very uncomfortable feeling associated with water and the idea that he was surrounded on all sides…. He could distinctly remember a time when Emma had attempted to break him out of the Hero HQ.

Groping in the dark and desperately trying to find which direction was up, hands coming into contact with a body—Loren swallowed and shook his head, doing his best to focus on figuring out a solution.

He didn’t get a good idea of the scale of the building he was in because everything had been pitch black after the lights had been destroyed. It could have been the size of a warehouse, or it could have been just the room he was in—he didn’t know.

The energy in his hands most likely wouldn’t allow him to defeat the barrier, and even if I did, it probably wouldn’t allow him to survive the pressure of the water outside of this place. There was a chance it did something extremely exotic that solved all of his problems—he would need to check just in case.

Teleportation was most likely the best method to escape, provided it wasn’t limited by line of sight or had a range that was shorter than the distance between the room and the top of the water. Actually, he could probably survive as long as it got him at least two-thirds of the way up.

Loren pressed his hand flat against the barrier and pulled at the power—his hand glowed orange, and when he removed his hand from the barrier, an orange handprint remained on the barrier, glowing gently.

“What did that do?” Loren muttered.

He pressed his hand against the barrier again and left a second-hand print next to the first. He frowned, lifting his left hand and trying the same thing to see if there was any difference—the two handprints started glowing brightly when he twitched the power in his left hand.

The world exploded; fire, smoke, and noise washed over him, tearing at his face. He slammed into the opposite wall, the barrier holding easily against the explosion. The force was strong enough to keep him flat against it as it tore his body asunder.

Loren died before he’d even had the thought to attempt another reset.


He opened his eyes, staring up at the glowing barrier above him, stunned for a moment—the pain was already gone, but the memory of it was still present in his mind. Loren sat up slowly, checking the barrier and finding the handprints missing.

It had been a long time since he’d gotten such destructive powers; he was starting to wonder if there wasn’t some kind of intentional selection at work. The first power had broken the containment entirely, but he’d still died.

The second one failed to break the barrier, but he hadn’t died—while the third was far more potent but ended with him dying again. He didn’t need more force because the barrier hadn’t even twitched against the level of that explosion, and he couldn’t survive against anything that had a backlash inside this small room. Even if he’d managed to break down the barrier, he would have died trying to swim to the surface.

He turned his attention to the feeling of water surrounding him in a large rectangular shape. With all of the water touching everything, he could almost see the outside of the containment area. He could feel the bottom of the water pressed against the ground and the two flat expanses of what had to be the craggy ocean floor penning his prison in. The sense of water didn’t extend far enough to get an idea of where he was exactly, but he was starting to think he was in the ocean.

He pulled at the water surrounding the structure, trying to figure it out. There were thick struts that he could only imagine was some kind of metal coming off it in every direction, punching deep and securing the structure between the stone walls of the trench.

Loren hadn’t seen any of that when he’d seen a glimpse of the outside world, his power erasing his container and the trench from existence. There were no gaps for the water to slip into; even the struts in the trench wall had been sealed in with something.

He pressed the water down hard, directing as much of it as he could in an unending rush against the top. He felt the vibration through the container as he amped up the pressure; the vibration continued harder, but he couldn’t generate enough force to break anything.

In his focus on breaking the container, he’d failed to realize that his skin had turned transparent, rippling like water. He pushed outwards, and the water that now made up his body surged outwards, filling the room in an instant.

Loren generated more and more water, straining against the barrier, but it just glowed brighter, and he found it increasingly harder. The force of his water pressing outwards just outright lesser than that the barrier could withstand.

His power reached a hard limit, unable to fit more water in the space, the pressure too great to move—Loren abandoned the power in favor of something else.


Loren was starting to realize just what this trap was meant to do—it was forcing him to dismiss powers that would otherwise be incredibly useful. If he’d had the water power a week ago—he’d seen what someone like Raindancer could do, and Liquid was supposed to be just as good.

Now, if he got a physical augmentation power, he’d have to abandon it because he wouldn’t ever be able to get out of here with that kind of power. Loren gritted his teeth—he’d been too blasé about the details of his power, and this was the result.

He didn’t want to imagine how much worse this could have been if he hadn’t been able to reroll on command. He would have been forced to wait until he died or to use the knife—neither option was something anybody should be subjected to.

A small part of him wondered if Alana would have done something like this to push him towards being more willing to reroll instead of playing out every single loop—an attempt to train him into being more effective.

Loren shook his head, pushing the thought away.

There was something in the air around him, or at least it felt like it. It was also in the barrier and behind it. He pulled on it and frowned as nothing changed—except a tiny spark of sensation at his fingertip.

He pulled harder, then again—he blinked; his breath was coming out as mist. Loren turned around—a thin film of ice was rapidly crawling up the stone pedestal. He checked where the pedestal met the barrier; the ice was slowly encroaching over it. Loren knelt down, touching his fingers against the ice—it wasn’t at all cold to the touch; either it was some bizarre form of ice, or he was immune to cold.

“Am I stealing the ambient heat?” Loren wondered.

He continued to draw on it, pulling more and more of it into that tiny spark at his finger. It was growing, bright to his senses, but when he checked, it was completely invisible. The entire barrier sealed itself over with ice, but he could still see the play of white energy beneath the surface.

The spark at his fingertip lit up visibly, tiny white and crackling; it continued its erratic growth the more energy he fed into it until the room seemed to be growing darker and darker; somehow, the spark had begun to leech the light into itself.

Loren stood in the dark, surrounded by ice, steel, and water, before slowly lifting his hand, finger extended—The spark lanced outwards, vanishing the barrier, the wall behind it, and everything else for miles.

The water surrounding the pillar of destructive light froze solid; a tunnel of ice remained, stretching far out of his sight—the barrier flickered back into existence seconds later, covering over the entrance to the tunnel.

“Holy shit,” Loren said quietly, holding his hand well away from himself.

He stared through the barrier and through the tunnel beyond it—If the water hadn’t frozen, he would have died again. Loren was starting to think that most of the powers that would allow him to escape through brute force were going to leave him dead immediately afterward.

The tunnel was useless as it was, it would melt eventually, and it was almost completely horizontal. He wouldn’t be able to walk up to steep of an incline, but if he got it roughly angled correctly, he could potentially walk to the surface through the tunnel—Or run rather, because the idea that it might melt while he was moving was a very real possibility.

Loren tried to picture that brief moment he’d seen when he had erased everything around him to guess at the angle required. He started pulling on the ambient heat again; he crouched down, rested his elbow on the barrier, and then angled it up slightly. The barrier sealed itself shut behind the ice once more, and the light bled out of the room, drawn into his spark.

Loren made one final adjustment and then fired—the world went white.

The instant it left his finger, he surged upwards, sprinting through the entrance to the newly made tunnel before the barrier could regenerate. He almost slipped on the ice but managed to keep his footing.

He started pulling slightly on the heat energy again, hoping to counteract the column of ice melting around him. The incline was good enough that he could almost jog, but while he was thankfully immune to the cold, it was still a fight to remain upright on the surface.

The barrier flickered back into existence behind him, and he sped up his pace.

Loren wasn’t exactly an expert on ice melting times, but he didn’t want to be stuck in the tunnel when it broke. Now that he was thinking about it, if the base of the tunnel broke off from the containment area, the entire thing would just fall into the ocean—or would it float?

Loren didn’t know, but he intended on being on the surface when it happened.


More than an hour later, Loren found himself wondering just how badly he had misjudged the distance or the angle of the tunnel.

Water was beginning to appear, and each drip that fell on him reminded him that he was running out of time.  Something cracked far behind him, and the tunnel moved—he started pulling harder on the ambient heat, and the spark in his finger grew.

Loren turned back, aiming straight back down the tunnel, unsure. Would it fix the tunnel if he fired again? Or would he destroy too much of the containment facility? Would the entire thing collapse if he hit it again?

“Fuck it,” Loren said quietly.

Loren fired, the spark lighting up the world once more—the tunnel shuddered before stilling. He waited a long minute, but nothing moved again. He turned and started up the tunnel, charging a second spark, ready to flash freeze the upper half.

Once the light vanished, he continued his journey.

Loren wondered if when he made it to the top, what would he see? He was almost certain this was the ocean now, given how salty the water that had dripped down on him at been. Would there even be land in sight?


Loren stepped out onto the lip of the tunnel, surprised by the sheer thickness of the pillar. The remaining ring that made up the bulk of the tunnel had to have been at least five meters thick, with a meter and a half hollow core.

There was nothing in sight, in any direction he looked—where ever he was, it was in the middle of an ocean. The chances of anyone finding him out here were basically zero; maybe Alana could come up with a brilliant solution to do so if she’d know where to look in the first place.

The tunnel began to move beneath him again, and rather than fix it, he pulled hard on the ambient energy, and the water surrounding the tunnel started to freeze over rapidly—he stepped out onto the icy platform gingerly, hoping it wasn’t about to collapse. It held but broke away from the tunnel as the massive column of ice sunk several inches.

Within a minute, the pillar vanished beneath the water, leaving him standing on a small platform of ice, completely alone and in the middle of the ocean. Despite his apparent immunity to cold, he didn’t share an immunity to heat because the full force of the sun, up high in the sky, was already becoming uncomfortable.

Despite his miraculous escape, Loren knew without a shadow of a doubt that he wasn’t going to be making it anywhere on foot. He could start shooting more sparks around, creating walkways of ice, but with nothing in sight, where was he supposed to go?

It had taken him hours just to make it to the surface, and he was already tired from the effort. He could very well be thousands of kilometers away from land—and he wouldn’t be crossing that on foot in any survivable amount of time. He’d die of thirst long or grow so weak from hunger that he’d collapse long before he reached land if that were the case.

That wasn’t even considering how long he would last directly exposed to the sunlight for any significant time. It took something like thirty minutes before you started to experience a sunburn, and then past that, it would only grow worse.

He had escaped the cage, only to find himself in a larger one.

Loren sat down on the platform of ice, watching the water—being able to break the walls down would only get him so far. What he needed was a form of teleportation; anything short of that left him dealing with an entire host of other things that would kill him.

“When did you have time to set this up?” Loren murmured.

There wouldn’t have been enough time for someone to build this kind of containment in a week—he refused to believe it. Then again, maybe it was already here, and it was being recycled as a tool to get him out of the picture.

He wondered if he was under surveillance—did they know he’d already escaped?

Loren frowned; from their perspective, he must have woken up and then immediately broken out—he hoped that caused some alarm. If they were watching, then sticking around for too long, outside of the containment was just asking for them to attempt to apprehend him again.

Unable to be removed from the board entirely, his effectiveness and ability to take easy action were crippled instead—He couldn’t make the kinds of mistakes that led him to a place like this again.

Loren had spent years locked away in a facility, with his ability to act taken away from him. He’d already lived this hell once—there was absolutely no way he was going to sit back and accept it this time.

He took one last look at the ocean and then closed his eyes—the world fell away.


The train to hell has no brakes. Enjoy.

Thank you to all the supporters, on Patreon, on here, and everywhere else, you guys are what is making it possible to keep improving on my passion, and I really appreciate all of you. If you’d like to help support my mission to snap as many elbows as I can get my greasy little mitts on, but aren’t in a place to chip in–you can support me for free as well! Leaving a comment, or a review on any of the other fiction websites I post my content on helps out more than you know. 

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Chapter 69

Loren dreamed of an endless field of stars. Countless bright sparks contrasted against an inky void. There was a distant sense of awe and a building feeling of hope that, somehow, he had found his way back to this place.

A pair of eyes opened in front of him, and he realized he was staring at Mara Melancholia, whole and without the damage that Threadbreaker had wrought on her. She stood on the platform of nothing that was holding them both up and watched him quietly.

He tried to speak and found his voice simply gone—something red slipped dripped down from her hairline, trailing over her nose and down off her chin. He reached up, holding his hand out—and then stopped.

Loren didn’t have a hand; there just was nothing—he looked downwards, and his body was equally as gone. The realization rushed through him, and his sense of stability left him.

Loren fell down into the nothingness below; Mara’s pale face watched him go, now running red with blood—Loren opened his eyes, staring up at the bright ceiling with his heart beating in his chest.

Something was obviously wrong here because this was not his bedroom, and he was entirely without clothes.

His throat hurt, but with everything going on, it was the least important thing he could think of. It wasn’t freezing in this strange room, but it was uncomfortably cool, like the thermostat had been turned just a few degrees out of normal.

The potent embarrassment of being naked in an unknown place washed over him, but he didn’t let it rise to show on his face. The fact that someone had moved him here and seen him without clothing just made it that much difficult.

He sat up slowly, studying the room—four walls, about three meters by three meters. A pedestal sat against one of the walls, carved from smooth white stone, and he could see the handle of some kind of knife lying on top of it.

The walls were glowing with pale translucent energy that moved slowly across its surface in an unending crawl. He could see no gaps—when he checked, all of them were covered in it, along with the floor and ceiling. There was too much grey in the stone for this to be inside Secluded’s dimension, but the smooth walls did remind him of it a little.

He’d been laying on the floor before he’d woken up, and it hadn’t seemed to harm him any, so he reached down and touched it with his fingers. It glowed slightly brighter, spreading outwards and then fading away into the rest once more.

“Hello?” Loren said slowly.

There was no reply, and he pushed himself up to his feet, watching the energy glow beneath his feet brighten once more. He was right—it was a knife sitting on the pedestal, thin, sharp, and with a leather handle.

It wasn’t the first time he’d woken up somewhere strange—Wraith had done it to him on several occasions. This wasn’t one of the cells from the HQ, though, and it wasn’t the room she locked him in to sit out the end of Setalite City.

If it had been, there would have been monitors for him to actually watch it—Loren moved to the closest wall and pressed his hand against it. Once more, it lit up, and when he pressed harder, the glow brightened once more.

The brightness faded quickly, spreading out and most likely feeding into the rest of the energy field. It reminded him distinctly of one of the many powers he’d had—the one that absorbed any force he created or was hit with. This was obviously a room designed to keep someone from damaging the walls, which meant it was more than likely a prison—for him.

It was also a prison that couldn’t hold him.

“Let’s not waste any time—I’m not stuck here,” Loren said, frowning, folding his arms. “I can leave whenever I want to—you might as well do whatever you brought me here for.”

There was no response to his statement, but he waited patiently, knowing he could simply reset to escape. It was certainly possible that whoever was imprisoning him wasn’t actively watching him—he could wait a while to see if anyone showed up.

The situation was honestly a bit baffling—if they were going to all this trouble to imprison him, they must have known about his ability to go back in time.

So why on earth would they put him here?

They’d built a room that he couldn’t escape, so the obvious outcome—for literally anybody modeling his actions—would be that he would use his ability to escape the room. They had even left him a knife to use—they clearly wanted him to reset everything.

They obviously didn’t know he could reset on command, or they wouldn’t have bothered with the knife. Loren was something of a contrarian at times, and if somebody was going to all of this effort to force him to do something, he had no problem doing the exact opposite, for now at least.

His first thought to who was responsible for thispointed firmly at Mareke—what with him being the most recent obstacle. But the longer he thought about it, the less it fit—Mareke wouldn’t want him to reset because he’d immediately lose control over the situation, so he could probably eliminate him as the culprit.

Alana had a history of doing things like this, but there were zero reasons for her to attempt to make him reset in this roundabout way—she would be well aware of what Threadbreaker had done—he closed his eyes, doing his best to push away the image of a red covered hand.

It was easier than he liked to push everything down and away, and Loren wondered if he was getting better with dealing with these terrible things or if he was just one step closer to become a hollow man, numb and without feeling.

Loren pushed past the thought—Alana had no reason to force him to reset, and given what had happened at the café, she would have known that he had intended to regardless.

It was possible that she was playing a layer deeper on this, and locking him in this room was an attempt to trick him into not resetting by placing him in a situation where it was the only answer he had.  If he ended up thinking himself into believing this was a trap and that resetting was a bad idea—he’d end up locking in the new timeline when Tuesday rolled around.

“Wraith, if this is some kind of complicated mind game,” Loren said, frowning. “We are going to have a serious problem.”

While he couldn’t put it past her entirely, it still didn’t feel like it fit—the knife specifically didn’t feel like something she would do. Its presence spoke of sadism or mercy, perhaps—Neither applied to Alana; if she wanted him dead, he would have woken up in his bed, unaware of what had happened.

The other option was Epilogue; Taker and Deceitful were already captured, and they would obviously be unhappy with Mara being killed. Loren had left long before any news of the fights against Lecture and Reset come back to him, so he wasn’t sure how that had played out.

It was possible the heroes had caught the two of them by now—but it was speculation. How much time had passed exactly? Loren remembered Alana guiding Haunt through the process of estimating times based on her hunger and thirst.

Whoever had abducted him had attacked him while he was asleep—Loren was kind of hungry, and he felt as dehydrated as he always did after he first woke up. He felt like he could go a few hours before needing to actually eat or drink—so it was most likely Friday morning.

Something like eight-to-twelve hours, then?

Wraith would have attempted to contact him to update him on what had happened by now, either before midnight or around seven in the morning. She would have immediately noticed he was missing, given her lack of boundaries.

What was the best play here? It was possible Alana, or the other heroes would find him in the next few hours. If they didn’t, he could wait, see if he could find out who was responsible for this, then reset.

It would be annoying not to know who was responsible, but he’d know not to return to his house after Thursday in future loops or to set up a trap to catch whoever it was.

Loren knew the next loop was going to be different—he wasn’t going to have a mental breakdown, and in turn, Alana wouldn’t end up self-reporting to Mareke. He wasn’t going to tell Mongoose about Gradient, and he was going to make sure Emma had a place to say.

Loren would suggest to Alana to get Mareke involved right from the start to avoid any bad first impressions. If he ended up still being a complete asshole, Loren would make sure it was the last time he bothered.

He still needed to come up with a solution to Dovetail, though, and the more he saw how that affected the heroes, the more he was leaning towards blackmailing the man in private.

“Look, this is a nice place to dream up exactly how much of my foot I’m going to shove up your ass when I find you,” Loren said bored, “But if you’re waiting for me to kill myself, it’s not going to happen—can I get some music or something?”

Once more, there was no response, and he sighed—maybe they knew his actual weakness and wanted to bore him to death.

Loren moved to approach the pedestal, snagging the knife by the handle and picking it up. The leather of the handle was actually far more worn than he’d noticed from afar, and the blade was covered in a hundred imperfections.

He wasn’t some kind of knife appraisal expert by any means, but it certainly looked old—like it had come from a time long since passed. It was also sharp; he could tell without touching the blade, and it was shiny enough that someone must have taken relatively good care of it.

Loren reared back and stabbed the wall with the knife as hard as he could—and the tip snapped off, spinning past his face and barely missing him. The momentum of the strike dragged it off to one side, drawing a searing bright white line across the field.

The line remained visible for a lot longer than his other investigations before finally fading away.

“Whoops,” Loren said, hoping it was expensive.

There was no response, and he couldn’t help but be disappointed—whoever had put him here wasn’t going to be baited out, and he’d exhausted pretty much everything he could think of at this point. Continuing to taunt some unseen person who might not even be looking wasn’t going to get him anywhere.

Loren considered trying to offer his warden information in exchange for revealing themselves—but he knew it was unlikely to accomplish anything. Whoever it was already had some idea at how his power worked, and they knew that giving him their identity would be a bad idea.

He wouldn’t learn anything else.

Loren couldn’t help but find himself annoyed to be forced into this position—he didn’t like resetting early; it was a waste. He could potentially have learned so much more if he’d made it to at least Monday.

He’d made some mistakes along the way; he’d completely lost track of Emma this loop, hurt both Alana and Mongoose unnecessarily. He accidentally ruined the Rapid Response Team as well—but they’d accomplished so much good as well.

The Peacekeeper had stopped the bombs in both cities; Paragon had been contained, Mathew had been ousted as a villain, Taker and Deceitful had been captured. Cinematic had failed to kill Gradient, Outplayed, and Isometric. Alleviate had even managed to resolve both his and Iza’s pheromone situation—that was big.

They would have had time for Haunt to interrogate Lecture, Reset and Deceitful properly, and potentially find out the location of Epilogue’s hideout. They might have discovered what Tiamat and The Researcher were doing in Setalite City while the other members made a mess of the city.

It was almost a perfect run—right up until Threadbreaker had put his fist through Mara’s face and ruined it all.

They could have learned so much with the remaining time—Loren closed his eyes again and pushed the anger away as best he could. He reached inside himself, spending a moment looking over the green energy field that had allowed him to get beaten up by Mongoose.

There was nothing to indicate they had attempted to impair his current power, but then again, it wouldn’t have allowed him to get out of this place anyway—he couldn’t exactly suplex the room into letting him out.

“What a waste,” Loren sighed as the world bled away.


Loren opened his eyes, and the small knot of confusion started to grow—He was still in the room, naked and hungry.

He’d felt his ability start to work; the world had faded, everything had gone dark—Had he fainted?

The confusion started to grow into something far closer to worry as he turned and looked across the room. The ancient knife that he had broken and tossed on the floor was back on the pedestal. He pushed himself to his feet, took a step forward, and stopped.

The knife was completely unbroken, the tip back in place. He stared at it, his mind trying to accomplish the same feat the knife had but kept failing to put the pieces together.

Loren reached inside of himself, searching for the pervasive green net of energy, and found it missing; just a tiny black orb sitting in the middle of his chest remained—he’d definitely rerolled his power, but for some reason, he hadn’t left the room.

He frowned, staring at the unbroken knife, and then it dawned on him—Loren had taken his current state of hunger and thirst as proof that only half a day had passed. But that wasn’t the case at all—it wasn’t Friday like he had assumed.

If he was right about how his power chose it’s save points, then that meant today was Tuesday, the 29th of February—He really didn’t want to consider the fact that they might have kept him sedated for far longer than that.

It had to have been at least four days—which meant that they would have needed to feed him somehow or keep him from dying of dehydration. A feeding tube would have accomplished just that—most likely that was the reason his throat hurt.

Loren slid down the wall next to the pedestal, a bright white blob followed his path down, feeding the barrier.

“My reset point has changed,” Loren said slowly, forcing himself to say the words out loud.

Loren stared down at his hands for a long moment, just considering the situation he was in. He was imprisoned in a room that seemed to absorb damage, and they’d kept him unconscious long enough that it had become his new spawn point.

All of the mistakes he’d made the last week were now permanent.

Alana would always know about their argument, and Mongoose would always have received news of her fiance’s infidelity in a carelessly cruel way. The Rapid Response Team would always remember the day they’d been torn apart. Mareke would always know that Alana had gone behind his back. Mathew Kline would always be allowed to escape uncaught.

Mara Melancholia will always have died, sitting in his favorite café, drinking a Miel latte with a smile on her face.

Loren couldn’t remember ever being as angry as he was in the moment of Mara’s death, but as the translucent barrier covering the room flashed bright white and then shattered like glass, he thought what he was feeling right now must have been close.

The stone walls dissolved like paper under the unrelenting omnidirectional force that rippled outwards in the air. The unseen lights illuminating the room flickered out, and Loren felt the floor vanish beneath him.

Loren fell into the darkness below as the force continued to grow outwards; a hole opened in the dark, light burst into existence, revealing the sky, far above. The light illuminated everything, the water towering over him on every side, seemingly pressed outwards in the shape of a perfect orb.

The field of erasure vanished as it hit some outer limit, and the water crashed back inwards, sealing the light away someplace he couldn’t reach and leaving him to the dark.


First chapter of Season 3 my dudes and dudettes, Chapter 69(Nice), lets get it.

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Chapter 68 – Interlude: Tiamat.

“It’s certainly an interesting power, and I do see the similarities as skin deep as they are,” The figure said. “If I’m honest, I am far more interested in the other one they brought in to assist them—both Julian’s durability and Mara’s impervious nature have succumbed to it in the past.”

Morgan hummed, Haunt and Threadbreaker were both unexpected choices to bring in.

“Yes, I recall it caused quite a stir when he broke Julian’s arm,” Morgan nodded, “Mara being injured, on the other hand, was completely unexpected—I’m sure the mechanism by which it works would be fascinating to dissect.”

“No doubt,” The figure agreed, apparently amused, “Unfortunately, he doesn’t seem to possess any natural physical augmentations to assist with his combat abilities besides that strange probability field—he’d most likely end up becoming a serious threat.”

Morgan sighed.

Threadbreaker would have made a good member of Epilogue, he was young enough that it wouldn’t take much to grind him down, and his power was useful. It would have been far too much work to build him back up again—Taker had been far too time-consuming as it was.

It was hypothetical, however, as, in the end, he boiled down to a baseline human with an unblockable punch, and almost anyone capable of high-speed movement would destroy him. There were more effective and more interesting ones running around—that man with the sword in Cinematic, for instance.

“It’s unfortunate that Julian’s reputation remains unmarred, but I suppose I should be happy with winning in the end.” The hooded figure said, smiling. “What was that saying you told me back when we first met? A body for a body?”

“An eye for an eye, I believe, but the meaning is rather universal,” Morgan said smiling, “It must be satisfying to finally put a pin in this page of your life.”

“It is—this planet was not the one I expected to give me so much trouble,” The figure stretched languidly, “I must admit, though, things seem to be quickly going awry as of late—this Loren Parker is infuriatingly persistent.”

“He does possess an incredibly troubling ability, and I can finally see what Mara meant when she said he was immortal,” Morgan frowned, “Looking at it from an objective standpoint, I think we may be playing a losing game.”

“Yes, but that is the reality of this situation,” The figure sighed. “Acting to destroy his body will simply remove the knowledge we’ve gained about him—how frustrating.”

Morgan considered the problem that Loren Parker’s ability brought on them.

They couldn’t just kill him because he would return to the past, even more prepared than before, and unless they managed to assassinate him unseen, he would know who killed him, outing each piece they had on the board one after another.

Essentially, they were increasing the difficulty of the scenario every single time he died.

He’d already ferreted out the explosives in both cities, and worse than that, he’d discovered Illustrious. Then he had somehow managed to organize the capture of both Taker and Deceitful.

Morgan couldn’t fault him on that last point, as he’d unknowingly saved everyone from the threat of a Naomi with Julian’s abilities—that had been entirely unexpected. They had made sure to keep her away from the original for exactly that reason.

She shook her head—Loren had even spent some of that time unknowingly interfering with the main part of the plan, actively slowing the rate at which the awakened died. Cinematic, for instance, who’d put their names down on a significant amount of assassinations in Setalite, had failed to take down a single target.

The worst part was that he’d somehow manage to do all of this over the course of three days—it was perhaps the most frustrating thing she’d ever experienced—and Morgan had experienced a lot.

That perspective disparity made it look worse until you realized that Loren Parker had been working at this for a significant period of time. It hadn’t been three days to him; he’d apparently spent—at a minimum—weeks trying to stop them, and by all sense of reasoning, he was getting more effective every time.

It was only a matter of time before this Loren followed the threads all the way back to the source, and then, once they were discovered, he would begin to strike at them directly—That wasn’t really a problem to them now because he’d absolutely fail with his current level of power.

From what they’d managed to gather, he was at most a C-rank combat threat, with baseline physicals and no potent attack methods. The problem was that while they could easily kill him now, he would be coming back with an unknown level of power.

Even besides the power he gained, the world would reset, and they would forget all about him once more. How many reset’s would it take before he gained a power that allowed him to cut them down? How many times until the Epilogue fell before him?

“At first glance, it is an unwinnable scenario,” Morgan frowned, breaking herself out of her thoughts. “However, if we were to approach this from a more meta standpoint, we may be able to change the rules enough to make it winnable.”

“Oh?” The figure said curiously, “Do tell.”

“We know that we cannot kill him outright, so we must aim to impair him in some manner, trap him so that his movements are restricted.” Morgan said thoughtfully, “If we were to place him in a situation where he cannot easily escape, or where escape would result in consequences that he would find difficult to live with.”

“He is far too versatile for a static trap to work for long,” The figure said thoughtfully. “He’s shown himself able to overcome a multitude of situations already, a situation that never changed would eventually become trivial to him—foreknowledge is a powerful tool.”

Cinematic’s failed attempts to kill the capes of Setalite City was an example of this; they were competent assassins, and yet they had failed to kill any of their selected targets in the time frames they usually worked within.

They hadn’t failed because they were incompetent; they had failed because Loren Parker had moved the pieces on the board around enough to mess up all of their attempts, forcing them to fail by discovering each of their targets in advance and then feeding that information to the heroes.

“From his own perspective, he likely considers his own situation as something of a trap—but it is one that is naturally occurring and isn’t targeted at him specifically,” Morgan said easily, “He exists within our scenario, but he was never the intended target—there are a million gaps where he can slip through, cracks where a well-placed strike destabilizes everything.”

“Hmm.” The figure said, considering, “You’re suggesting a more targeted type of trap, one that is tailored to him in particular—If we were to restrict his ability to interact with others, force him to rely solely on his own ability to act.”

Morgan smiled.

“Placing him a location designed to be hard to escape would reduce his versatility significantly,” Morgan nodded, “For instance, a room invulnerable to physical damage would force him to disregard every loop that gave him a physical ability because it would be useless. If we were to trap him underwater, he would be forced to only keep abilities that had mobility or spatial displacement aspects.”

The figure sat up, far more interested than they had been at first.

“You’re suggesting we lock him inside Antaeus?” The figure said, intrigued.

Morgan couldn’t help but smile.

“It certainly kept Julian trapped for a long while—more than long enough for even the strongest hero to exhaust himself,” Morgan said, savoring the memory, “It should be far more effective on Loren.”

“Artificially restricting his choice of abilities, and thus reducing his effectiveness in other ways,” The figure said, smiling. “Such an interesting mind you possess.”

Morgan smiled brilliantly at the praise.

“We must still contend with the other problems that exist,” Morgan admitted, “From Loren’s perspective, Antaeus would force him to reset until he discovered an appropriate ability, and while it might take him two attempts, five attempts, or even a thousand—he would eventually land a power that enables him to escape.”

“From our perspective, however, he would escape immediately,” The figure said in understanding, “I see.”

Morgan nodded.

“We can reduce his effectiveness in other areas, as well,” Morgan said lightly, “Consider what his experience would be, should we leave him in Antaeus for a week, long enough for him to die of thirst perhaps, or a month of starvation if we were so inclined.”

The figure raised an eyebrow, clearly interested in where she was going.

“If Loren were to experience death by starvation several hundred times, while stuck all alone in a room—well, I can’t imagine he would be in the right frame of mind.” Morgan continued, smiling. “Isolation has been known to have severe effects on the human mind, and such a scenario would invariably lead to a loss of sanity, erratic behavior or even render him catatonic.”

“He could resort to killing himself to avoid a longer period of isolation and more frequently change abilities. Although I doubt that would do much for his mental state either.” The figure said, for the sake of argument. “It also doesn’t solve the issue of the world reverting to its previous state every time he perishes—we would be trapping ourselves in a neverending loop.”

“From our perspective, we would simply place him in Antaeus and then check back in on him daily. He would die eventually, and then the world will revert once more.” Morgan smiled brightly, “From his perspective, he will have spent an unknown amount of time in an empty room, waiting to die. This will repeat until he no longer responds to any form of outside stimulus; we will know that his mind has been ground down to nothing. We may then remove him from Antaeus and place him on long-term life support to avoid any further world revisions.”

The figure started laughing, unable to help themselves, curling forward in mirth and sending the hood swaying.

“Ah—I sometimes forget just how absolutely ruthless you can be,” The figure managed through laughter, “We are so very alike, you and I.”

Morgan flashed her perfect teeth in another brilliant smile, content to wait for them to fully gather themself.

“You know, Morgan, the very first time I first saw you, I was genuinely shocked—I simply couldn’t understand how such a pleasant young creature could have such a high number.” The figure said, shaking its head. “It’s why I approached you—I’m curious by nature, you see? I just can’t leave a mystery unsolved—and certainly not one so interesting.”

Morgan pressed a hand to her flushed cheeks, feeling a bit bashful.

“I’ve had the pleasure of traveling to so many places and, I’ve experienced a million different worlds, each with their own distinct culture.” The figure smiled, “Each with their own structure—I’ve seen warlords with numbers in the thousands, and King’s with a hundred times that—the influence doesn’t need to be as direct as killing them by hand, you see?”

Morgan nodded, already well aware.

“I remember killing a being once—not that unlike myself—with a number barely half as large as your own,” The figure shook its head again, “To think I would find someone like you on this little blue planet—I glad I got the chance to meet you.”

“I’ve had a lot of time on my hands, and I’d like to think of myself as something of a hard worker,” Morgan said, feeling her cheeks redden further, “I can’t imagine my number compares much to your own, though.”

“I can’t imagine many that would,” The figure smiled before returning to the focus of their discussion. “Have you considered how to go about entrapping him in the first place?”

“From the conversations he’s overheard, Illustrious seems to believe that Loren’s power works on something of a weekly timeline,” Morgan said, “The most likely starting point for that would be Tuesday morning, as that is when he first noticed something strange occur at the Hero HQ.”

“So we need to ensure he’s inside Antaeus by Monday at least,” The figure hummed, “It’s a shame that Taker was captured; she would have been perfect for this—it can’t be helped, I suppose.”

“I may have to undertake this part myself,” Morgan admitted, “Depending on how the situation tomorrow plays out.”

“Yes,” The figure sighed, “I’m afraid Hannah will most likely be captured as well, give the current plan they’ve come up with—and interfering now would only tip our hand, ensuring that Loren doesn’t learn anything new is our current priority.”

“It’s unfortunate, but Reset and Monstrous should be able to free Taker and Hannah once we’ve dealt with Loren.” Morgan said easily, before sighing, “Deceitful, however, is becoming more of a liability every day—it may be time to terminate her. How on earth she managed to seduce the clone, I have no idea.”

“She is marvelously resourceful at times, isn’t she?” The figure said, amused, “Was Joseph working with her, or did she indeed steal the bomb from him?”

“He continues to insist it was stolen, but I cannot be sure without Hannah’s presence,” Morgan sighed, “I’m inclined to believe him, however—to think we were so close to having another Paragon on our hands, however temporary it may have been.”

That was the only saving grace—Deceitful would have had an hour in her stolen body at most before she started to rapidly deteriorate, given the modifications they’d made to the clone’s body.

“Have you discovered the mechanism that prevented me from taking Julian’s body?” The figure wondered.

“I’m almost completely certain it is a result of his calming aura,” Morgan said, narrowing her eyes together in concentration. “It must be an outwards projection of his soul given what you’ve told me about your own ability.”

“I already assumed as much,” The figure admitted, “Can you interfere with it somehow? Shut the projection down?”

“Not in his original body—we could grow another variant, attempt to remove the parts in question,” Morgan said, humming. “I do, however, have a suspicion that his physical abilities come from the same place, and by stopping the aura, we’d most likely end up with a body without any tangible power.”

“It may be time to give up on taking Julian’s power for myself entirely then.” The figure sighed, “This world has been a most frustrating experience, truly. I honestly didn’t expect to encounter so many expressions of power in one place.”

“Is it unusual?” Morgan wondered. “For this many to be in one place?”

“It’s uncommon, power usually leads to conflict, and conflicts that involve large amounts of power have a tendency to wipe out civilizations,” The figure said wryly, “When I first arrived here, I expected a handful at most, not an army with Julian at its forefront—It’s my own fault for attempting a frontal assault, I suppose I’ve become overconfident after so much time uncontested.”

Morgan didn’t comment further on what was obviously a touchy subject—that would just be rude.

“If you’ve given up on Julian, perhaps you could take Loren’s power instead?” Morgan suggested. “That would be one way to remove him from the situation.”

“I was considering it, given how rare his ability is.” The figure confessed. “Expressions of power are far more likely to be direct, an exchange of energy for augmentation, for physical force, or elemental—it could be a hundred different things, but they commonly work in that kind of direct manner.”

Morgan nodded, easily following along—she had something of a knack in this area, in large part because of the being sprawled in the throne in front of her.

“Expressions like my own, ones that are able to grow, change or absorb others, are much rarer but still relatively common—Deceitful is an example of that type, albeit far more limited compared to my own, or even others I’ve seen.” The figure said lightly; the tone was empty of pride. “Loren’s power, however, is the first I’ve seen of its kind—well, the second given the variant you helped create, but Reset’spower is far less useful—thirty seconds is nowhere near long enough to master a power.”

Morgan sighed—when Mara had first joined them, it had been entirely surprising, and the arm of a self-proclaimed immortal man that she’d brought with her had been doubly so. She’d done her best to regrow the sample, making sure that he’d be easily terminated once he awakened—but the end result had been far from a success.

The variant’s randomly changing powers had him fluctuating between uselessness and being an unstoppable force—he’d been angry, confused, and completely without socialization. No memories of his past existence and kept in line only by the threat of his power failing him as he dissolved into a puddle of useless meat should he turn against them.

“The power needed for Loren’s expression to function is almost unfathomable, and from what Illustrious has overheard, he actually claims to possess a link to countless other expressions as well, an endless field of stars where each is its own distinct power.” The figure hummed again, “The variant’s expression is far more lackluster—the power required to revert his body is orders of magnitudeless than his counterpart reverting everything else.

Morgan nodded; it was a pale shadow of its origin, but it certainly could be powerful at times.

“The correct combination of expressions could allow you to reach the source of that link,” Morgan said thoughtfully. “You may even be able to accomplish it with the ones you’ve taken already.”

The figure hummed thoughtfully.

“I must admit the allure of his power is incredibly strong.” The figure confessed, “But to once more subject myself to the climb back to power…. I had not intended to die on earth to begin with, but to do so a second time on the same planet? The population here does make it far faster to recover than some places I’ve been to….”

The figure frowned in consideration, but Morgan smiled.

“My world has spent thousands of years under siege of the parasites that roam its surface, raping its bounty without reverence, care, or concern, but… if I have to wait another decade to see it healed, so be it,” Morgan said lightly, “I certainly wouldn’t mind spending that time by your side; to see you leave so soon would be far too sad, I think.”

“Truly?” The figure said, seemingly surprised.

Morgan just smiled.

“I must also admit that Epilogue has been a fun distraction, albeit I was far more fond of Meteor,” Morgan admitted, allowing herself a moment of nostalgia. “This little saga was almost like reliving my youth.”

The figure watched her for a long moment, considering.

“Thank you for the discussion, Morgan—it has been enlightening.” The figure said pleased, “I will think on what we’ve discussed—for now, I must ask you to rouse the Researcher and have him start preparing Antaeus. Use your own discretion on when to act in regards to Loren; I do believe that Illustrious is on hand to assist you if you find yourself in need of aid.”

“I’ll take care of it,” Morgan smiled, “I shouldn’t need any help—good luck for tomorrow, although I have my doubts that you will need it, Starsealer.”

Starsealer’s amused eyes, set in a face she knew very well, followed Morgan as she left, closing the door quietly behind her. The walk back to the research wing was peaceful, and she wondered if Joseph Holis had come around yet.

The discovery of Decietful’s plan had required a rapid response—thankfully, their enemy had taken care of it for them before it could really become a problem. Morgan’s first act had been to question Joseph and establish whether he had actively aided the attempt—but he wasn’t exactly a strong-willed man by any means, and she was pretty certain he hadn’t participated in anything like that.

He hadn’t needed that kind of will to be useful besides; his intelligence was where he’d shown his worth—Insoluble had been an incredibly fruitful tool over the last decade.


Double Interlude power. This is the last chapter of Season 2, but worry not, we’re barrelling head first into Season 3, the final season of Reroll.

Thank you to all the supporters, on Patreon, on here, and everywhere else, you guys are what is making it possible to keep improving on my passion, and I really appreciate all of you. If you’d like to help support my mission to snap as many elbows as I can get my greasy little mitts on, but aren’t in a place to chip in–you can support me for free as well! Leaving a comment, or a review on any of the other fiction websites I post my content on helps out more than you know. 

Keep on keeping on!


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Chapter 67 – Interlude: Fracture.

Setalite City, 7:02 PM.
Thursday, February 24th​, 2022.

“Nothing yet,” Erin said, unable to stop himself from scratching at the seam of his new helmet. “He’s still inside.”

Wraith had assisted him in constructing the helmets, and they were pretty ungainly given the time constraints they’d been working under. He wished he had time enough for a rubber seal or some kind of cloth lining.

The metal rubbing directly against his skin was starting to edge into his focus.

There was always the chance that Lecture’s power had some sort of visual component, that reading her lips, or comprehending what she was saying in any way, even without the auditory stimulus, would still enthrall them. The best bet was to avoid doing anything that might lead them into that situation in the first place.

“I can see him; he’s with a short woman in a coat—I can’t see her face,” Skye said nervously, “It’s scary to think that she can just blend in with everyday people like this—she could have just walked up to the HQ, and we wouldn’t have even realized it was her.”

Erin used his visor to zoom in on Loren’s hands; the helmet distorted the view slightly, the second layer adding another obstacle for it to parse. It was enough that he could make out the fingers on both hands. The left one was resting on the small of the woman’s back, steering her onto the path and heading further into town.

His right hand curled up at his hip, extending two fingers downwards.

“He made the signal,” Erin said, relieved.

“This helmet is annoying, Erin—couldn’t you have put some lining in it? Hold on a second; Loren has his hand on her back!” Skye said, incredulously, “Why the hell is he trying to pick up Mara fucking Melancholia?”

“It’s not a romantic gesture; it’s a reassuring one,” Erin said, returning his gaze to the entrance to the subway. “They most likely are on pretty good terms; he said he’d known her for a while—which is kind of alarming, honestly.”

“That isn’t reassuring at all, and alarming is a time traveler appearing out of nowhere,” Skye said in disagreement, “Trying to bang a member of Epilogue is insanity.”

An alert on his hud popped up, and he opened the channel again.

“There is no sign of Lecture,” Erin said clearly, “Loren has removed Monstrous from the subway; he’s currently headed west.”

“Recognized,” Alana said calmly.

“Let’s go!” Threadbreaker’s voice came over the public channel, “I want to get a better look—”

Erin closed the channel, switching back to local.

“Contact,” Lanette said, breathing heavily; there was a grunt of effort that might have been her landing on a rooftop and the sound of rushing water. “Heading east, towards the subway—average height, black hair, cut short in a pixie cut, swept to one side; exactly how he described her.”

“No costume?” Skye asked, tone going flat.

Erin was thankful that they were able to put aside their anger enough to work together, but he’d expected nothing less. They were professionals, and he knew they could keep it together—at least until they’d dealt with Lecture.

“No, she’s wearing civilian clothes,” Lanette said, finally catching her breath. “She keeps on stopping to talk to people.”

Erin frowned, turning his gaze to the west, hoping to spot the woman in question.

“She’s looking for her teammate,” Skye said evenly, “Not exactly unusual for her to be asking around—has she tried to use her phone yet?”

“Not that I’ve seen,” Lanette said, moving again. “Eye’s up; she’s approaching your position.”

Erin peeked over the edge, studying the crowd and spotting her almost immediately. Hands stuffed into the pocket of a tight hoody, she meandered along the path, refusing to move out of the way for anyone.

She stopped, reaching out and snagging a middle-aged man by his tie—the man stumbled at the suddenness. He shook his head, then nodded, and she patted his tye flat before continuing on her way.

The man fished out his own phone and then held it up to his ear—before moving it back and trying again. Erin watched as she stopped half a dozen more people, leaving them behind in her wake, and each of them attempting to use their phones and failing.

“She’s trying to contact someone—most likely Reset, or Monstrous,” Erin explained, “The fact that she keeps trying means she’s aware the phone network is down.”

“Target is inside the subway,” Lanette said, appearing from an alleyway below him.

“Move in,” Erin said firmly, tossing his cable over the ledge.

Already hooked to it, he leaped off the side, sliding downwards, using his foot against the face of the building to help control his descent. He touched down, leaving the cable behind and meeting the other two at the entrance.

“Keep your helmets on no matter what,” Erin insisted, sliding the compacted kinetic rifle off his back. “Don’t take any chances with her, and don’t try to read her lips; avoid staring at her face at all if possible.”

They reached the bottom of the stairs, and Skye went flat against the wall, peeking around the side before pulling her head back. She made a gesture to the pillars, then held up her hand, peeking around again. Erin burst forward when her hand dropped, silently covering the gap and posting up behind the pillar, getting eyes on the target.

Lecture was standing in a group of three, looking annoyed—he frowned when she struck the woman across the face, sending her to the floor. The man on her left started to interfere but then froze where he stood.

Erin cocked his weapon and took aim, unwilling to shoot while there were civilians next to her. Lanette moved next, swinging around the corner and to the right, moving quietly behind a pillar out of sight.

“Skye, knock the men down, Lanette, block her from running.” Erin said plainly, “Three, two, one.”

Two arrows crashed into the legs of each man, sending them down beside the woman, and a wall of water rushed outwards, forcing her to move closer to them. Lecture dove on top of one of the civilians—the man beneath her spun them over, shielding her from sight.

The woman that had been struck scrambled to her feet, sprinting past the three heroes and heading up the stairs. The second man stood up slowly, moving to place another body in between them and her.

“This is why we should be going lethal,” Lanette muttered, but the helmet transmitted it regardless.

Erin moved left to the next pillar, attempting to get the angle on Lecture, but the man stepped with him.

“Lanette, disrupt them, nonlethal,” Erin said, frowning. “Skye, see if you can pull the taller man out of there.”

The wall of water changed directions, slamming down on the three of them and sending them tumbling across the concrete. Erin took the shot at Lecture, and red energy burst forward, crashing into her right hip and sending her back to the ground as she tried to break the line of sight.

Skye loosed another arrow, and it impaled the man’s leg at the shin, splattering blood on the concrete—he didn’t even look at it, eyes locked on them. His leg was violently yanked out from under him, dragging him away from the others and slamming into one of the pillars in the process.

The shorter man moved closer to Lecture, standing directly in front of her with his arms out wide.

“Why is she smiling?” Skye said, concerned. “She’s planning something.”

Don’t look at her face,” Erin reminded, leaning to get the angle—something moved in the corner of his eye—

A fist crashed into his helmet, sending him stumbling—people were flooding down the stairs, dozens of them. Skye was already on the ground dogpiled by the people clearly under Lectures control, and then water erupted outwards, surging up over him and everyone else in the subway.

It smashed into the walls, rising higher, and then he was entirely underwater; he could see perfectly with his helmet because it was equipped for this exact scenario.

There were people everywhere, diving down and trying to find the three of them. Erin dove down, recovering his rifle and swimming closer to the tracks—Lecture was swimming towards the tunnel, hoping to escape while they were distracted with her army.

“Lanette, she’s at the tunnel; bring her back in,” Erin ordered, lining up and sending a red bolt of energy crashing into one of the people trying to rip Skye’s helmet off.

“On it,” Lanette said.

Skye’s power finally kicked in, having targeted the clothing of those who’d dogpiled her, and they were sent rocketing backward through the water away from her, slamming into walls and pillars.

Lanette surged past him in the water, currents swirling around her, and he saw the water twist into a funnel—Lecture was drawn backward, violently spinning in the water despite her best efforts. Erin switched his focus back to the civilians; they had to be running out of air now, but for some reason, they weren’t attempting to flee the water.

Instead, they just kept on mindlessly attacking, and they were getting slower every moment.

“Civilians are out of oxygen—Lecture doesn’t care if they drown; you should start pulling the water back.”  Erin pressed, easily holding back one of the last men who’d managed to get close enough to grab his rifle. “You’ll need to start drawing the water out of their lungs.”

Lanette didn’t reply, and he got a visual on her—there was an orb of violently swirling water right in the middle of the room. She right next to it, feet on the underwater platform with her arms outstretched.

“Lanette,” Erin said flatly, “Get rid of the water now.”

“I’m working on it,” Lanette said snapped.

The water levels lessened rapidly, and his feet slapped onto the wet concrete; the man who’d been struggling with him landed on his hands and knees, coughing up water but otherwise out of the fight.

“Lanette,” Skye said, approaching the orb of now slowly spinning water. “Is she unconscious yet—”

The orb broke down, and Lecture’s remains smacked into the concrete, twisted, broken, and lacerated beyond recognition; the only thing left untouched was her face.

“Mission complete,” Lanette said easily, “Better phone it in, let the others know.”

Skye stared down at the body in horror, and Erin wondered when everything had become so complicated. Skye grabbed her by the arm and yanked Lanete around to face her.

“Why did you kill her? She would have gone unconscious like the rest!” Skye snarled, “We could have resuscitated her and then taken her back to interrogate—”

“Lecture had two dozen hostages!” Lanette said scathingly, ripping her arm away and stabbing a finger in her face. “You should have shot her in the head right at the start, you fucking coward—”

He’d been far too optimistic about them remaining professional while in the field, but at least they’d waited until after they’d dealt with Lecture.

“Enough,” Erin snapped, and they jumped from the volume. “Lanette, give me the phone and then go save the civilians. Skye get up top; we need eyes on the crowd outside.”

Lanette ripped the phone she’d stolen out of her pouch and handed it over to him before stalking away—it was perfectly dry, the water having been drained out of it by her power. Skye didn’t move to follow his directive.

Instead, she stepped closer to him, unclipping the helmet.

“Lanette killed her!” Skye whispered furiously, “This is just like Louis—no, it’s fucking worse because she actually went through with it.”

“This isn’t the time for this discussion, Skye,” Erin said quietly after he’d removed his own helmet. “We need to finish this job; then we can discuss this back at the base. We need eyes up top and someone to stop any more people getting down here—go.”

Skye spun on her heel and stomped away, leaving the helmet to fall to the floor next to Lectures mutilated body. Erin hit the power button and then held the phone over Lectures face to unlock it. He searched quickly through the contacts and found the one he was looking for.

He switched to public channel once more.

“Wraith. Lecture is dead; we have two dozen civilians down, we need emergency services on site.” Erin said concisely. “I have the target’s phone. Is your team ready?”

“Yes,” Wraith said immediately, “The network is back online, and emergency services are already inbound—Make the call.”

He dropped off the public channel again.

“Skye, we’re making the call; keep everyone upstairs,” Erin said over the local line, “Lanette, I hope you’re a better actor than I am.”

He dialed the number and then placed the phone on the concrete. A man’s voice spoke, and he shot the ground next to the phone and then once more further away from it.

“She’s getting away!” Erin shouted, firing again. “There’s too many—deal with the civilians first; she won’t get far on foot!”

“Get these assholes off of me!” Lanette cried out, “Fracture—help me!”

“Dammit! We need some backup—Lecture’s made it into the park!” Erin shouted again, firing three shots into a pillar. “She’s heading south through the trees!”

He shot the phone, sending shards of plastic and glass shattering everywhere and ending the call.

“That was terrible,” Lanette snorted.

Erin flushed but ignored her, instead moving to the nearest civilian and checking her pulse. He opened the public channel once more.

“Team two is green; all objectives are complete.” Erin said clearly, “Reset should be on his way to central park; he knows she’s heading south.”

“Perfect,” Untold said seriously. “I’ve been looking forward to this.”

“I haven’t,” Ogre said, bored. “I come in for a checkup, and now I’m a hero.”

“You got scammed,” Haunt said, amused. “You want to join a better team? I’ll put in a good word for you with the rest of the Patheon.”

“I’ll consider it,” Ogre said curiously.

“Good work, Fracture,” Wraith said, interrupting the chatter, “Team three is in position; checkup in three minutes.”

The three of them dropped off, and he stayed on the call with Haunt.

“How’s team one doing?” Erin said, making sure another man’s airway was clear, and he was breathing steadily.

“They haven’t been in contact for a while,” Haunt said, yawning, “Last we heard, they were flirting over coffee—this Loren guy is something of a lady killer, huh? Or maybe he’s just into killer ladies?”

If the latter was true, he’d be in Lanette’s pants by sundown—Erin winced at the thought, mentally chastising himself. Everything had become such a mess—and it had happened so quickly that the consecutive shocks had rendered him mostly numb.

Louis actively planning the murder of The Crew had been completely out of the left field, and despite what Lanette professed, it wasn’t something any of them could have picked up on in advance. They’d all injured someone more than they’d intended during their careers; it was something that came with the job.

Erin had believed him about Sunder, and he’d acted apologetic afterward; it had been hard to take the word of the villain over his long-time teammate. Louis had an easy confidence about him, and when Erin had first joined the team, he’d reached out immediately.

They’d built a friendship, along with Gradient, with the trimmings of mentorship about it; he’d taught them both so much about how to be a hero, about how to approach things with the right mindset, to consider all aspects of something before taking action. Now he knew that Louis had never believed in being a hero at all—or maybe he had, at some point, and he’d lost that piece of himself to the job it along the way.

Lanette was falling into his orbit now as well, being drawn downwards into Louis’s fall from grace. Mareke had given them the green light on using lethal force if they couldn’t capture her, but the expectation had been that they would at least try and capture her first.

There wouldn’t be any consequences for what she’d done here today, Erin already knew—she’d be praised for taking down a member of Epilogue and did so while working within the orders she’d been given. Lanette herself would feel encouraged by it, and he couldn’t help but wonder if in a year he’d be thinking his way through the same situation, only with Lanette in a cell instead of Louis.

The sirens outside grew closer by the moment, and Erin hoped that nobody else would need to die today.


The conference room was in complete chaos when he arrived, and Erin hovered at the threshold, hair still wet from his shower, trying to piece together several discussions at once. Erin stared around—Lanette and Skye were already here as well. Along with most of the others, but Loren was nowhere to be seen.

“—Where did you leave him?” Wraith said shortly.

“At his residence, he said he needed to be alone,” Seeker said quietly, “He was extremely upset by what happened to Monstrous.”

“It’s not my fault!” Threadbreaker said, looking harried. “We took her down—who cares if he’s gone off on his own? Why does it even matter?”

“It matters because—” Haunt said, seriously, her quiet voice overrun by the other conversations.

“I don’t see a problem,” Vapid shrugged, “Two out of three is way better than we expected anyway, right? Threadbreaker took out our target, I’m happy with that.”

“Our guy didn’t even turn up,” Iza said, leaning against the wall. “He must have seen through the phone call or saw us before we saw him and fled.”

Erin winced, hoping his acting wasn’t the cause.

“I doubt he wants to see any of us after what Threadbreaker apparently did in the café,” Untold sighed, “He was friends with her, right? Despite the fact that she was a villain?”

“He seems to make a lot of friends like that,” Iza said, plainly, “If you’ve got any plans to hit me next, we’re going to have a problem, kid.”

“Why would I hit you?” Threadbreaker said, confused. “Who the heck are you anyway?”

“Forget it,” Iza snorted, looking away.

“He’s not answering his phone,” Wraith said, frowning.


Thank you to all the supporters, on Patreon, on here, and everywhere else, you guys are what is making it possible to keep improving on my passion, and I really appreciate all of you. If you’d like to help support my mission to snap as many elbows as I can get my greasy little mitts on, but aren’t in a place to chip in–you can support me for free as well! Leaving a comment, or a review on any of the other fiction websites I post my content on helps out more than you know. 

Keep on keeping on!

Patreon
Reroll – Season 3, Chapter 69 – Live.
Ameliorate – Chapter 9(NSFW)

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