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!

Reroll – Season 3, Chapter 70 – Live.
Ameliorate – Chapter 9(NSFW)

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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!

Reroll – Season 3, Chapter 69 – Live.
Ameliorate – Chapter 9(NSFW)

Chapter 66

Hero HQ, Setalite City, 6:07 PM.
Thursday, February 24th​, 2022.

Loren began the day like any other, doing his best not to think about the incredibly high chance that he would be dead before the day was done. He followed his routine, making himself breakfast, orange juice, eggs on toast, and apple, eating silently.

“An astounding success,” Aaron said cheerfully, “The winners of the first-ever Crescendo tournament, Team Coffee—comprised of internet sensations Coffeet, Yamete! and my own personal favorite—Paragon’s Biceps! No doubt she did all the heavy lifting!”

Loren snorted.

“I still can’t believe people actually pay money to go watch this kind of thing,” Jean said, shaking her head. “It boggles the mind!”

“The only thing that boggles my mind—is the whopping one-hundred-thousand they took home with them!” Aaron cheered, “That’s thirty-three to each of them for a single day’s work—not bad at all!”

“Ludicrous,” Jean said alarmed, “How could—”

Loren clicked the tv off, wondering if he could somehow work winning the tournament into his eventual escape from this week—that extra hundred thousand would do wonders for him getting out of this shitty building. Besides, letting Chloe and her friends win the entire thing completely uncontested rubbed him the wrong way.

He left the building unaccosted and found the weather to be exactly how it always was with barely a cloud in sight—his phone vibrated in his pocket, and he answered it a moment later, unhurried.

“I’m on my way now,” Loren said in greeting. “I’m about ten minutes out.”

“Twelve minutes at your current pace,” Alana said seriously.

Loren wished she could have seen the deadpanned look on his face—goddammit; she could be creepy at times.

“I don’t think I’ll need the extra two minutes to save the world,” Loren commented, waiting for the lights. “How is everyone doing—nothing went wrong? Paragon didn’t decide to do a quick lap around the planet?”

“No, the Paragon clone remains inside Secluded’s power,” Alana said, “Artisan, Alleviate, and Empress are on-site to observe the process. Artisan seemed optimistic about halting the deterioration given enough information and the correct conditions.”

Loren nodded to himself, already assuming that nothing was ever easy and it would take longer than a single run.

“How are you feeling, Loren?” Alana said after a moment.

“I’ve been better.” Loren sighed, “I keep wondering if I’m going to get ganked by one of the others.”

“Lecture, or Reset?” Alana said quietly.

“The former, more than the later,” Loren said, “I’ve died enough that I can almost push past it, but Hannah Bell, ‘Lecture’ just terrifies me. I hate not being in control, and her power is designed to take that away.”

“I understand.” Alana said slowly, “Provided nothing goes awry, and the events remain somewhat consistent with your previous experience, you should be gone before she arrives.”

“I know,” Loren agreed, sighing. “Doesn’t make walking towards the subway any easier.”

The foot traffic was growing thicker the closer he got to central, and he found himself distracted by all the hero paraphernalia. Seeing everyone just cheerfully walking around, completely unaware they would have all died today—it was jarring.

Arrot City and Setalite City both actually—without the Hero HQ branches of both cities, The Peacekeepers, and even Loren himself, millions would have died in the explosions. They would probably never know about it either because releasing that kind of information would just cause a panic.

“Did they get a hold of Trendsetter?” Loren wondered, searching for a distraction.

“Yes,” Alana said simply. “He has agreed to play the part of Paragon at the speech. Hopefully, we can avoid alerting the public to Paragon’s absence for as long as possible.”

Loren bit his lip as he spotted the subway entrance.

“I was thinking about that,” Loren murmured, stalling. “Trendsetter uses illusions, doesn’t he? Think he’s actually Mathew Kline in disguise?”

“I do believe he was halfway across the country at a fashion event,” Alana said, amused, “Unless his range has increased from ten meters to thousands of kilometers, I do not believe he is both a hero, a villain, a pop culture icon, and a Janitor.”

“Yeah, I guess not—that seems like a lot of work hours,” Loren admitted, taking a deep breath.

“Loren,” Alana said quietly, “The main cellular network will be ‘going down for maintenance’ in exactly one minute. Phone signals will become completely unavailable in central; you won’t be able to contact us—be careful, and good luck.”

He shook his shoulders out, hyping himself up.

“Luck, Alana?” Loren smiled, “I don’t need something like that—I’m the Wildcard.”

The subway was filled with people, something he should have felt upset about, but if they’d warned everyone off, it would have been far too suspicious. He’d spent the better part of this morning planning about how to approach this, and he promptly threw it all away.

Instead, he was going to do what he did best.

“Mara Melancholia, fancy seeing you here,” Loren said, smiling as he sprawled on the bench beside her. “It’s been a while, huh?”

Mara stared at him with wide eyes, looking like she had no idea what to say.

“Don’t tell me you’ve forgotten me?” Loren complained, “I stop dying my hair, and you forget all about me? Come on, that just hurts.”

“I remember you,” Mara said quickly, flustered. “I just—I thought you were lying. You really are immortal.”

“Of course I am—why would I say something weird like that if I wasn’t?” Loren said, feigning bemusement before gesturing to the tracks. “Come to see where it all began, huh? I actually saw our mutual friend the other day—you remember Emma?”

A ‘friend’ wasn’t the appropriate identifier for a girl who’d she’d only spoken to for a few minutes on the worst day of her life, but the longer he kept Mara off balance, the better.

“I remember her,” Mara said, blinking, “Um. How is she?”

Loren almost laughed at the awkwardness.

“She’s doing fine, Mara.” Loren smiled before pushing himself back to his feet and holding out a hand to her. “Hey, moping around down here sounds boring—I’ll buy you a coffee, and we can catch up properly.”

Mara stared at the hand, looking completely lost—Loren held his smile, raising an eyebrow in expectation, letting the social pressure for her to accept his offer build. Mara slowly brought her gloved hand up and took his own. Loren pulled her up to her feet before steering her back towards the entrance. He felt something move underneath his hand, barely a ripple beneath her coat and paid it no mind.

The only thing that mattered was that Mara was coming willingly.

“Aren’t you scared of me?” Mara said hesitantly, keeping her head low. “Last time I—I killed you.”

Fingers, stretching, branching off into a thousand directions, reaching into him, pain beyond anything he’d ever felt—Loren laughed out loud.

“Of course I’m not scared of you—do you know how many times I’ve died, Mara?” Loren said in answer, “I’ve lost count at this point, honestly.”

They stepped out of the subway, and Loren was beyond relieved that Lecture wasn’t waiting at the top for them. Nobody even gave them a second glance, and he steered them back towards where he’d come from.

“O-oh,” Mara said in understanding, glancing around worriedly. “I didn’t realize.”

It was obvious that she was paranoid that someone would recognize her, but the likelihood of someone recognizing her through her mask, in the mess that was Setalite City downtown—during the height of the Evergold festival, no less, it just wasn’t worth mentioning.

“Nobody can tell who you are; you’re fine, dude,” Loren said, nudging her shoulder with his own. “Don’t worry so much,”

You knew who I was,” Mara murmured. “Even with the mask.”

That was a good point, actually—

“I’m immortal, Mara.” Loren said brightly, “Of course I knew who you were—as if I’d let a mask hinder me.”

“That doesn’t make any sense,” Mara said, bemused. “Immortality doesn’t confer any type of mask-bypassing ability.”

“Does so,” Loren argued before pouting at her raised eyebrow. “Fine, I knew you were going to be there—I’m also a time traveler.”

“That’s how you knew who I was, back on the train?” Mara smiled, no doubt pleased to have ferried out his darkest secret.

“Yeah, I was trying to stop you from getting your powers,” Loren admitted outright, keeping his tone upbeat to avoid the mood crashing. “Thought you might appreciate a normal life, you know, finishing school, partying, crushes, and all that—but I didn’t have the full picture of how the train thing went down, so it still happened.”

Mara opened her mouth and then closed it again, unsure what to say.

“That was the ideal outcome, anyway,” Loren continued, “I probably should have asked you in the present first, though—get a better idea of how things went down on the train before I went back. I’m kind of impulsive, though, so that’s not really how it panned out.”

Loren steered her into the same Café he sometimes met Chloe in, hoping he wasn’t about to get his now regular coffee place nuked. He bullied a favorite order out of Mara and paid for both drinks.

Mara took the drink in hand and followed him back to a table in the corner; he chose the seat with the view of the window, so she could have her back to the rest of the store and keep anyone from seeing her face should she remove the mask.

“Now that I’ve got you alone with me,” Loren said seriously, watching her tense. “What the hell is in a Miel latte?”

Her tension fell away, and she scrunched her nose up at him, almost offended by the judgment.

“It’s an expresso with honey instead of sugar,” Mara eyed him, making sure he wasn’t about to make fun of her again. “There’s cinnamon and cream in it as well.”

“Interesting,” Loren said, noting it down to try next time he was here. “When was the last time you had one?”

“Three months ago,” Mara admitted, looking down at the table. “I got yelled at for going out.”

A ‘weapon’ going out for coffee was probably not allowed—although he seriously wondered how they went about making Mara Melancholia do anything at all. Loren just nodded, not engaging on the topic because he needed her to keep her thoughts away from Epilogue and her phone.

“Listen, it’s okay to have bad taste in coffee,” Loren said gently, patting her gloved hand. “I won’t judge you.”

“You’re judging me right now,” Mara complained, narrowing her eyes at him.

“I would never,” Loren grinned, sipping his own drink.

He watched her eyes, trying to gauge her mood by that alone—she lifted the mask from the bottom, taking another sip before replacing it.

“Um. You’re immortal, right?” Mara said, hesitantly, “You didn’t—how long did it take for you to come back?”

Loren knew that he was going to have to keep lying to her now—he really was the worst.

“Not going to lie—that one took forever,” Loren lied with a smile, “It was like three years before I had pulled myself together enough to remember what had happened.”

Mara looked incredibly relieved that he wasn’t upset at her from the question—it was a strange feeling to have one of the most dangerous villains in the world be worried that he might be upset. His choice of ‘pulled myself together’ was deliberate; it would draw her attention to what had happened on the train and hopefully away from scrutinizing anything he said too deeply.

“Does it usually take that long?” Mara asked, meeting his eyes again.

He didn’t really have a way to answer that, because technically his return to life was instant.

“It’s usually pretty quick,” Loren flapped his hand about, as if it existed within a range, “I was three years in the past when I died that time, though, so that probably had something to do with it taking so long.”

“Sorry,” Mara lowered her eyes again, “Three years is a long time.”

He tapped the back of her gloved hand, drawing her attention back to him.

“I didn’t even feel a thing during those three years—it may as well have passed in an instant,” Loren said honestly, brushing it off. “I’m happy to see you’ve used that time to get so much control over yourself, though—you must have practiced a lot; good job.”

Mara smiled, eyes crinkling.

“It took months to stop attacking everyone near me,” Mara admitted, swinging her cup enough to swirl the liquid inside. “Most of that time, Hannah had to use her power to stop me.”

Loren hated the idea that the woman’s power was actually good for something, but he didn’t let it show on his face. Lecture’s power somehow working in spite of Mara’s impervious nature—that was confusing in its own way. Mental powers, in general, didn’t work on Mara; they’d been tried in the past, along with everything else in the hero’s bag of tricks—Lecture’s power must be far more potent than they’d known.

Maybe they could chain powers together—have someone take control of Lecture, and then have her get Mara to surrender.

“You managed it, though; that’s the important part, Mara,” Loren tilted his drink at her in recognition, “You should be proud of that.”

“I am,” Mara confessed, ducking her head to hide her smile.

“Hey, no hiding—” Loren smiled, “It’s not every day you get to have coffee with an immortal.”

The light-hearted brag evoked a different reaction than he’d expected, and she hesitated.

“I know another person who is immortal,” Mara said. “I don’t have coffee with her, though.”

Loren’s heart skipped a beat, trying to parse that information. ‘She’ meant that it wasn’t Reset or The Researcher, and it wasn’t Deceitful or Taker because he’d seen both of them die. He hoped it wasn’t Lecture, but unless she was commanding herself to ‘not die,’ the most likely candidate was Tiamat.

“Tiamat’s trying to steal my thunder, huh?” Loren pouted, “As long as I’m still your favorite immortal, I can deal.”

Mara relaxed at his uncaring attitude, lifting her mask once more to take a sip of her coffee.

“You’re in my top two,” Mara said impishly, clearly enjoying herself.

Loren chatted quietly with the lonely girl, keeping her attention firmly on himself and away from the fact that her friends were likely fighting for their lives. Untold specifically had made it clear that she didn’t intend to let any of them escape after what they’d done to Julian.

Rivaled by spite and eclipsed only by indifference, vengeance was a driving force like few others—he couldn’t exactly bring himself to think less of her. It hadn’t exactly been an uncommon opinion amongst the rest either, Mareke at the forefront making sure that each member of Epilogue had long been listed as Capture or Kill.

Just how much of himself was he expected to leave behind in order to fix all of this? Would the Loren that came out of this even be recognizable at all? He could almost envision a younger self watching him; he may as well have been a stranger—Something was wrong.

A short red-headed boy, perhaps thirteen at most, stepped into the café.

He looked around for a moment before spotting them, and then he smiled, circling one of the benches in the middle of the room. Loren watched him approach in those same strangely smooth motions.

He forced himself not to react, completely unable to figure out why he was going against the plan.

“It was the first time I went outside since I’d joined,” Mara said smiling, “Naomi took me to—”

Loren flinched violently as he was showered in blood and viscera.

Threadbreaker’s fist hovered in front of his face, sticking out the front of Mara’s head, and for a moment, he couldn’t understand what was happening. Mara’s body tipped forward and crashed onto the table, unmoving.

“Yes!” Threadbreaker shouted. “I got her!”

People were screaming and rushing out of the Café now, but Loren couldn’t take his eyes off the blood spreading across the table in front of him.

“Damn, kid,” Vapid said, appearing beside them. “I didn’t think you could actually pull it off—thought I was going to have to save you both.”

“Loren?” Seeker’s deep voice said gently. “I’m sorry for the change in plan; Threadbreaker decided to act on his own despite my contentions.”

“Who cares?” Threadbreaker argued, “We just killed Monstrous, dude. Everyones going to be talking about this for years!”

A piece of Mara lost its grip on his cheek, falling to land on the table with a wet noise.

The final chapter for Season 2, Chapter 68 – Tiamat Interlude, is up on Patreon. That’s two 100k seasons completed so far my dudes, it’s been a fun ride so far and I hope you’re all enjoying it. Now we’re headed straight on into the final season, gotta keep up the momentum.

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!

Reroll – Chapter 68 – Tiamat Interlude. – Updated.
Ameliorate – Chapter 9(NSFW) – Updated

Chapter 65

Hero HQ, Setalite City, 8:57 PM.
Wednesday, February 23rd​, 2022.

Loren took the moment to continue his elevator pitch.

“They are all in Setalite City, preparing for an attack of some kind,” Loren continued, “We know for a fact that they’ve already replaced Paragon with a fake, and Deceitful had plans to kill that fake at the speech tomorrow.”

Iza, who had been valiantly attempting to fit all of this into her world view was once again overwhelmed.

“This is not how you go about convincing someone,” Fracture said, frowning.

Loren didn’t acknowledge the man’s complaint.

“Once she had Paragon’s body, she was going to destroy the city,” Loren explained, “So we took her and Taker down; they are currently in a cell downstairs. Now we need an experienced team of combat-ready capes to take on the rest of them before they hit us back.”

“Is Paragon dead?” Iza managed.

“We don’t know for sure, but all the evidence points to him being in Epilogue’s hands for an unknown period of time—and based on the kinds of things they do,” Loren frowned, “The assumption that he’s dead wouldn’t exactly be a stretch.”

“The idea that Paragon somehow lost—this is insane,” Iza said, shaking her head. “Loren, why are you asking me?”

“Because you’re an S-rank villain, and you live in Setalite City,” Loren said truthfully, forcing himself to stare her down. “You don’t want this city destroyed any more than I do, and you have the power to do something about it—it’s nothing more than that.”

Iza looked away from him.

“What exactly are you asking me to do?” Iza murmured.

Loren closed his eyes for a moment—Mareke had said to get her on their side or get her out of the building. He was probably only supposed to get her to help out during the battle and then vanish—but Loren had a better idea.

“I’m asking you to put the villain stuff behind you, Iza,” Loren said nodding, “Welcome to the Hero HQ.”

Iza stared at him.

“You’re not even part of the Hero HQ!” Fracture said in alarm, “You can’t make that kind of decision—I can’t even do that!”

Loren shrugged.

“Mareke ordered me to get her on our side, and I’m doing that.” Loren said seriously, “You’re just here to make sure I don’t steal anything important—stop being such a wet blanket.”

“That’s absolutely not what he meant!” Fracture said quickly.

“Denied—I don’t trust your judgment on the matter,“ Loren said easily, “You couldn’t even stick to the plan, remember? You were supposed to be the serious one, not the hysterical one.”

Fracture flushed at his complete disregard, but Loren kept up his momentum, not allowing the other man time to recover.

“Who do we talk to about a job application?” Loren continued, opening the door wide. “Actually, I’ll just go down and ask the receptionist for you, hope you have a copy of your resume on hand.”

Loren stepped out of sight and started down the hallway, and Fracture scrambled to catch up.

“Why the hell would I have that on me?” Iza said incredulously, stepping outside with them. “Wait—I haven’t agreed to anything yet—Loren!”

Loren made sure to keep his gaze forward.

“Indecision is a terrible trait,” Loren called back. “You’ll have to work on that—hero.”

What are you doing?” Mareke said, strained.

“Applying for a job?” Loren said scathingly, rubbing it in the man’s face. “You’re the one who told me to get her on our side—if you’re going senile Mareke, maybe you should step down.”

Mareke bared his teeth, looking like he was about to explode.

“I’m sorry, Sir.” Jane, the receptionist, said hesitantly. “Fracture was with him….”

Fracture rubbed at his masked face, perhaps feeling unfairly blamed for the current situation.

“It’s fine,” Mareke said, forcing his expression blank. “I’ll take care of it from here, Jane. You three come with me, now.”

Loren fell in step behind him, walking just slow enough that the other man had to adjust his pace not to leave them behind.

“Why don’t you guys have applications at the front desk?” Loren wondered. “Jane was looking at me like I was an alien.”

Iza snorted.

“Because it’s absurd to expect a civilian to reveal their identity in order to enter this building and apply for a job,” Mareke scoffed, sending a scornful look back at him. “If an unknown person were to enter in costume, they wouldn’t make it much further than the counter before someone interceded.”

Loren coughed into his hand, remembering the homunculus loop where he had one of them deliver the envelope through the front door.

“How do you actually apply for a job here then?” Iza frowned.

“There is a website application,” Fracture sighed.

Loren smiled to himself.

“Why should I even consider this ludicrous request?” Mareke said after the silence had grown strained.

“Because it was your idea, idiot—Fracture!” Loren complained, rubbing his arm where the man had punched him. “So this is the violence of the state; how unprofessional.”

Mareke eyed him for a moment, completely unimpressed, but nodded to Fracture—bastards.

“You want my help dealing with Epilogue; that seems like a good enough reason to consider it,” Iza said, seemingly uninvested in the idea.

“Why would a villain want to help us?” Mareke said without pause. “What’s your gain in this mess?”

“I get to stop robbing a different bank every month—” Iza said, her voice turning vaguely amused. “Being able to make money, legally, and without having to continually fight off the Rapid Response Team would be nice.”

Loren smiled; he’d managed to get her to consider it after all.

“That is no longer a consideration—we are aware of your civilian identity, Iza Gracen,” Mareke said flatly, “We know who you interact with, we know where you live, and we know where you sleep—you’re criminal antics are at an end.”

“Dovetail knew where The Crew slept aswell, Mareke.” Loren snapped, unable to help himself. “If you’re trying to remind us that you’re the good guys, you are doing a really shitty job about it.”

Mareke’s mouth curled into a snarl, but Loren wasn’t quite finished.

“Besides that, you only know where she lives because I messed up and told you,” Loren added. “That isn’t a mistake I’m going to make next time.”

Iza watched him with a mixed expression on her face—she was probably pissed he’d been the one to reveal her identity in the first place.

“The more often you use the threat to cut me out of this,” Mareke said coldly. “The less likely I’m going to respond to it in the future.”

Loren’s expression must have changed because Mareke’s eyes narrowed further.

“You won’t respond to it in the future,” Loren said wryly, appreciating the easy dunk. “Because I won’t tell you about it in the past—Ow! Stop hitting me!”

Fracture stared at him with the gaze of a man who was mere seconds away from punching him a third time.

“You’d be forcing me into a corner if you came after me like that,” Iza said, without care. “Feel free to look up my history, I always leave them in one piece afterward, but I don’t have to keep holding back, you know; it’s a courtesy.”

That was an alarming thought, even for him. He’d seen some footage of her battles, and the size she could grow to was terrifying already—learning that was her holding back just made it worse.

“A villain with manners,” Mareke snapped, “Now I really have seen everything.”

They reached the conference room, and Loren wondered how many more times he’d have to see this room today. Alana was already inside, but the rest of the rapid response team were nowhere to be found.

“Thanks,” Iza said, nodding at Alana. “I owe you one.”

Alana ducked her head fractionally, and Mareke grunted in annoyance, taking his seat on the opposite side of the table.

“Sit down; we need to decide exactly how this is going to work,” Mareke frowned, waiting for them to be seated.

Loren groaned into the mattress, enjoying the feeling of the cool material against his skin. It felt like it had been an age since he’d last laid down on his own bed. It felt even longer since he’d had a restful sleep—he wondered if tonight would be any different in that regard.

The headache that had been present almost the entire day had leveled off to some degree, ever-present behind his eyes. He wanted nothing more than to sleep, but his mind wouldn’t settle—not exactly unusual for him.

Between the upcoming fight with Epilogue and the sheer amount of mistakes he’d made in the last couple of days—a nice restful sleep was something very distant.

Some of those mistakes had actually led to good outcomes—or informative ones at least, Mathew Kline’s identity as the leak in particular. That had been something he’d been attempting to discover almost since the beginning, and now he was a single loop away from being able to get some answers on that front.

Unfortunately, that was where the mistakes stopped having fortunate outcomes—Loren had caused unnecessary pain to Mongoose, he’d taken his stress out on Alana, ruined the Rapid Response Team, unfairly inflicted Mareke’s presence on everyone, and even doxed Iza Gracen.

Listing them off in his head made him realize just how much pain he could inflict when he stopped actively curating his own actions. When he went off-script, or when he was feeling aimless, it almost always turned out badly.

He simply knew far too much about everyone around him, and it led to a type of casual cruelty that hurt to think in-depth about.

The right thing to do—that’s what he’d said to Mareke earlier. He’d have liked to call It a justification for how he’d handled the Mongoose situation, but it was more apt to call it an excuse. He’d felt morally justified to tell her and that anything that came after wasn’t his problem.

Loren pressed his fingers against his eyes; it was the only thing that seemed to stop the ache.

When exactly did the right thing to do reach its limits, and where was the line? Was honesty still a moral action when it caused far more suffering to a person than ignorance?

Loren had always considered that to be true for him; that if someone withheld information that he deserved to know, that they were taking a stance against him. He wanted autonomy, he wanted to make his own decisions about it, and any action to hinder him here should be treated as hostile.

It should have been simple—not telling a person that their significant other was cheating on them to preserve their current happiness was stripping away their ability to make an informed choice. It was saying that you thought you knew what was best for them; it was robbing them of their autonomy.

A few short months ago, it had been such a significant part of his morality and something he would have never considered changing his mind on. But now it was crumbling, and he wasn’t sure if he should try to fix it.

He didn’t want to see these people suffer; he didn’t want Emma’s brightness turned to pain, and he didn’t want to turn Mongoose into a mess by telling them what Mark had done. Loren didn’t want to be the catalyst for that kind of pain.

When the next loop came around, and he was confronted with it, he didn’t know what he was going to do—The room brightened, and he turned over enough to see his phone screen, the bright white ’10:46 PM,’ glaring back at him.

He titled the screen and unlocked it, a message from Alana.

“It’s not locked,” Loren murmured, knowing she would hear him.

The window lifted, and the black-armored form slipped through the gap noiselessly. He watched her close the window and turn to face him from the corner.

“I apologize for intruding,” Alana said quietly, “I wished to speak with you about our earlier discussion, but you left the HQ before I was free to do so.”

“I thought you might,” Loren managed, forcing himself to sit up.

She didn’t respond, perhaps taking a moment to gather herself. Loren pinched the bridge of his nose, half to hide his face from her and half in an attempt to stifle the headache. Stubborn and neurotic he may be at times, he knew well enough that he owed her an apology.

“Alana, I’m sorry about what I said—and more than that, I’m sorry about how I said it,” Loren said quietly. “I’m having trouble dealing with everything, and I took it out on you when I shouldn’t have.”

“Was anything you said in my office a lie?” Alana said, voice changer in full effect.

Loren shook his head, closing his eyes.

“No, everything I said was true,” Loren admitted, “I’ve been in this loop for a while now; we’ve had a lot of different interactions since I first met you.”

Different doesn’t seem like a strong enough word to encompass the disparity between killing you and sharing your bed,” Alana said, without shame. “I find it difficult to understand how I could take such drastically different actions—I am not saying you are attempting to mislead me.”

“I know you aren’t—and it was a futon,” Loren murmured, feeling out of sorts. “Everything inside this forever week is on a hair-trigger, and we didn’t know anything at the start. I kept stumbling into dead ends—as in I died, all the time, from literally everything.”

Thinking of all the ways he’d been killed just reminded him of how much Cinematic pissed him off.

“I tried to tell everyone about the bombs a bunch of times in a row,” Loren muttered, “They kept getting set off early—at least now I can put that at the foot of Mathew-fucking-Kline. In one of those loops, you were one of the few survivors of the bombing. I’d made myself the prime suspect in the process of revealing the bombs to the HQ, so you came after me—well, technically, you came after us.”

“Us?” Alana murmured.

“My upstairs neighbor, Emma Young—the two of you are the most common interactions I’ve had through these loops.” Loren admitted, “She’s tied up in this as well; she was the woman Gradient was having an affair with, and we were both at the train station the day Mara Melancholia became Monstrous.”

He realized he’d derailed slightly, his mind not exactly working at its best.

“Long story short, you thought I did it and went looking for me,” Loren mumbled, “We fought, I lost, the end.”

“I think the conclusion deserved more elaboration than that,” Alana said, “But I believe I understand the events that took place—did I also kill Emma Young?”

“Yes,” Loren said quietly. “Anger wasn’t exactly an uncommon reaction towards me in that loop—Crescent did basically the same thing after her team died in their cells, only she destroyed a few city blocks looking for me.”

The two of them fell into silence, and Loren wondered if he shouldn’t have lied to spare her the guilt.

There was a series of muted click noises, and the armor folded back from her torso, then her legs, allowing her to step out of it, leaving her standing in front of the empty suit in a black bodysuit.

Alana reached up and removed the helmet, turning to place it with the rest as the armor closed once more. His power lit up, copying her movements and his headache worsened—of course, It was power-related.

He closed his eyes.

“It is an uncomfortable feeling having a stranger know so much about you,” Alana murmured, turning back to face him. “Particularly about events that other versions of myself have participated in—it feels as though I am at a distinct disadvantage, and I cannot say that I enjoy the feeling.”

Loren tried to simulate how he would feel if their positions were reversed, but he mentally got stuck on the idea of the genius hero Wraith coming to the civilian Loren for assistance for anything—his tired mind failing him entirely.

“Yeah,” Loren muttered, “Sorry.”

“May I sit down?” Alana asked politely.

“Hm?” Loren wondered, “Sure.”

Alana moved to perch on the edge of his bed, and he opened his eyes again, turning to face her; the now hollow suit of armor loomed in the corner, judging them. He waited for her to gather her thoughts.

“There is a particular way two people speak to one another when they first meet,” Alana broke the silence, “An uncertainty exists between them, neither knowing enough about the other to encode their communications appropriately.”

Loren nodded, able to follow along with her thoughts.

“I have noticed it takes many forms, depending on the personality and the experience each of the participant’s command in a social setting.” Alana continued, closing her eyes in thought. “The more successful interactions they have, the more reliable that encoding becomes, with each of them making adjustments, and eventually tailoring both the delivery and the contents of the message to maximize the information exchange.”

“People get to know each other the more they talk,” Loren said wryly, “More news at nine.”

Alana’s eyes opened, already narrowed to slits—her cheeks flushing.

“Since you contacted me, our communication has not followed this pattern,” Alana said slowly, eyeing him. “You know how I will react to something, and you’re able to tailor your communications to me in a way that far outstrips my ability to do the same—and it is in part what contributed to our unfortunate discussion earlier.”

“Yeah,” Loren said quietly. “I remember all of our prior conversations, so I know how to ‘encode’ everything, but you don’t.”

Exactly,” Alana said, pleased that they’d arrived at the same conclusion. “It is extremely annoying.”

Loren snorted.

Fanfiction drop and Ameliorate chapter 9 are released today, I’ve been pretty stretched thin, sorry it took a few extra days. If you’re enjoying reading Reroll so far, leave a review, comment, or check out some of my other stories and do the same!

Reroll – Chapter 66.5 – Fracture Interlude – Updated
Ameliorate – Chapter 9(NSFW) – Updated

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Chapter 64

Hero HQ, Setalite City, 7:37 PM.
Wednesday, February 23rd​, 2022.

Surprisingly, the group’s first solution had nothing to do with him—and it made him wonder if his ego hadn’t experienced an abnormal growth without him noticing. He’d expected them to suggest using him as bait, much like Alana had with the Deceitful situation.

“You could tell Mara we have her parents here, and they want to meet with her.” Haunt offered blandly. “We know that they’re still alive after all.”

Loren found himself frowning at the suggestion.

“Unless we seek to actually contact her family, and involve them in this situation, let’s stay away from making any false claims.” Seeker said calmly, “It could only end badly if she were to discover that we were using her family to mislead her.”

Mareke didn’t seem like the kind of person to be that concerned with the feelings of an international killer, but Seeker appeared to have a hard stance on family.

“We’ll put it down as option two then,” Mareke said briskly, “If we do intend to go with that idea; We’ll have Seeker fetch them before the battle begins. Any more suggestions?”

Loren noted that Alana was looking at him.

It took him a long moment to realize what she was avoiding saying—and then he sighed. He’d never seen her this restrained before—and he honestly didn’t like it. It was like he had shackled her ability to function at her normal level, too busy trying to consider his own feelings.

Loren spoke up.

“I have a history with Mara,” Loren said quietly, “I could attempt to lure her away.”

“How?” Mareke demanded. “You’ve already described how badly that went the last time you attempted to make contact with her.”

“Loren’s goal was different then,” Alana answered, “He was trying to establish whether or not he had adversely affected the timeline and if she could be recruited away from Epilogue.”

Mareke frowned but accepted it, nodding for Loren to continue.

“Mara has her phone off when Reset and Lecture are trying to contact her, and there is enough time to ask her to follow me elsewhere,” Loren said, thinking about the variables. “Reset and Lecture are scouring the city for her—it’s possible I’ll be spotted with her at some point or more simply that she turns her phone back on.”

“Where the hell could you safely take Mara Melancholia?” Untold said, shaking her head. “This sounds like a really bad idea.”

“She’s already in the city,” Secluded said, rejoining the conversation. “It’s not like moving her a couple of blocks away would drastically change the risks involved.”

“Population density is a consideration,” Mareke corrected, “Moving her to a less populated area could actually lower the risks or at least the amount of people immediately exposed to that risk.”

“I don’t think I could get her to follow me into the suburbs or something. That would be a strange request and highly suspicious.” Loren said slowly, considering. “I can definitely get her to follow me out of the subway.”

“Splitting the enemy forces is an advantage worth considering even without lowering the risks,” Alana spoke. “Fighting Reset and Lecture as individuals is a far more manageable task than together—doubly so when Monstrous is involved.”

Mareke seemed to be considering it, and Loren decided to just ask.

“Who are you anyway?” Loren said, frowning, “I’ve never met you before—not even in the other loops.”

Raindancer kicked him again, but it seemed more opportunistic than an actual reprimand.

“Mareke Safar, Deployment and Structure Officer for the Hero HQ,” Mareke said, frowning. “I’m in control of the teams, the rosters, and deployment for all the heroes at the Setalite branch.”

Loren flinched at the title before he managed to force the feelings associated with it away entirely—that explained why everybody was deferring to the man so heavily, but it still seemed weird for his sudden inclusion here, especially considering he’d never showed up in the past.

“This is the first time you’ve been in one of these meetings,” Loren said eventually, voice flat.

“My presence here is something we will be discussing outside of this meeting,” Mareke said seriously.

Loren’s eyes narrowed at the man, bristling at Mareke’s attempt at holding some kind of authority over him. Before he could tell the man that he would consider it, Untold spoke up.

“If we follow through on that idea,” Untold pushed them back on topic, “How do we split up the other two?”

Loren let it go and focused on the question.

“We don’t need to really split them up because they arrived separately,” Loren said frowning, “Lecture found us at the subway first and then used her phone to call Reset to our location.”

“How long did it take Reset to arrive?” Seeker asked.

“A couple of minutes,” Loren frowned, “He must have been close by.”

Seeker smiled.

Loren remained seated as most of those present started to leave in preparation for tomorrow.

Eventually, the door was closed, and until only Wraith, Raindancer, Secluded, Fracture, Tag, and Mareke remained. It had become pretty obvious what Mareke had wanted to discuss, given who stayed in the room and that Loren had been included.

None of the other heroes were speaking to each other, seemingly even more restrained with their boss in the room now that their allies had left.

“Is this the first time we’ve had this discussion?” Mareke asked, frowning.

“I already told you, I’ve never ever met you before today,” Loren sighed. “I think I know what it’s about, though—look, I’m not trying to destroy the Rapid Response Team.”

“I have my doubts,” Mareke said immediately. “In less than two days, we’ve lost three members, and the rest have lost all sense of cohesion—how exactly did this occur?”

Raindancer tapped her foot against his shin, and Loren closed his eyes for a moment, doing his best to avoid going nuclear right off the bat.

“I’m not one of your employees, Mareke.” Loren said tightly, “Keep that in mind—if you want me to tell you anything.”

Mareke frowned but remained silent.

“I’ll explain it to you. If left unattended, Dovetail will murder both Stalk and Piston while they are asleep in their beds, for the reward offered by the insoluble contract.” Loren said eventually, “There’s no way you haven’t already heard this.”

Raindancer crossed her arms, avoiding looking at the others—she had been one of the ones who had disliked how they had handled the Dovetail situation.

“Dovetail is a career hero, with a total of twelve years in service in this very branch.” Mareke said briskly, “You’re expecting me to believe that he just up and decided to throw all of that away for money? When there isn’t a single shred of proof that he has even considered it?”

“I don’t care what you believe, and Dovetail’s actual motivations are his own.” Loren said simply, “The fact is, this is exactly what he’s done, at least a dozen times. If you accept that I have knowledge of the future, you need to decide now whether I’m telling the truth or if I’m lying—there is no halfway.”

Mareke was silent, but his glare said enough.

“It’s not like Dovetail has a spotless record either way,” Tag said, the first person to crack.

Fracture visibly winced as Mareke turned his burning gaze on his teammate.

“It’s true.” Tag defended, “Three years ago—you remember what he did to Sunder? How about when he broke Complexity’s legs a week ago?”

Mareke never had a chance to answer.

“Sunder was a known killer,” Raindancer scoffed. “Complexity is fine now as well—”

“Because we got him fixed afterward!” Tag snapped, “That doesn’t mean it’s okay to cripple someone—”

Loren was reminded of the time she’d put an arrow through his shoulder and attempted to drag him through a wall—this argument was taking a turn. They were more interested in making each other look bad than actually make coherent arguments.

“I didn’t say that,” Raindancer said, annoyed, “I’m just saying that it’s stupid for us to restrict our use of force so much when the other side is trying to murder us.”

Loren couldn’t help but wonder—if Louis had a history of being exceedingly rough with criminals, why weren’t they keeping a better eye on him? Twelve years in a violent profession, and nobody had noticed him slipping?

“Oh, so killing villains in their beds is what a hero should be when unrestricted?” Secluded interjected, “Listen to yourself—just because he’s our friend doesn’t mean we should be justifying his crimes.”

Mareke watched them all with a look that could have frozen fire, but they didn’t even notice.

“We’re back here again, are we?” Raindancer said acidly, “Want to go over how adamantly you backed your fuck buddy—right up until he decided to wink himself out of existence? I’ve got plenty of time.”

Secluded’s face was glowing an angry red, but Mareke stepped in before it could get any worse.

“Enough,” Mareke said coldly.

They fell silent, but Loren had a question of his own.

“How do you evaluate whether or not one of your heroes is stable?” Loren said, uncaring for the icy gaze that fell on him. “Is that something you actually check up on routinely?”

Mareke clearly had no intention of answering.

“We have mandatory, bi-monthly sessions with a team of therapists,” Alana said quietly, “They collate the data and pass on an evaluation.”

“I’ll thank you not to reveal any more of our internal protocols,” Mareke said icily, and Alana fell silent once more. “Let’s move on from Dovetail for now—why did you think driving a wedge between Mongoose and Gradient was an appropriate decision?”

Loren kept his face blank—this was something he did regret, and his foundation was far shakier.

“Mongoose had a right to know that her fiancé was cheating on her.” Loren said flatly, “I didn’t know that she would quit afterward, and I didn’t realize the rest of this team was so close to an implosion that Gradient would leave as well.”

“Did you not stop to consider the consecutive pressures you were bringing to bear on them?” Mareke said scathingly.

Raindancer’s foot bit into his shin again, and he closed his eyes for a moment, unaware that he was outright glaring at the man.

“I’m considering them right now,” Loren said tightly, “Unlike Haunt, I’m not a mind reader. I don’t have a long personal history with anyone on this team; I don’t know their reactions or how they deal with their issues. I made the right choice, not the best one.”

“Consider that if you had waited to inform Mongoose,” Mareke said immediately, twisting the knife. “We would have two additional combat veteran heroes to assist us in the current task.”

This guy was somehow mad dogging him while sitting down, and with a table between them—Loren was started to get genuinely pissed off.

“I’ve seen the advertisements; you’ve got ‘hundreds of heroes, ready to protect the city,’” Loren said forcibly, “Can’t you source a few of those to assist?”

The reply came so fast that Loren thought he was simply contrarian.

“No—there is a reason that these were the members chosen for the Rapid Response Team,” Mareke said condescendingly. “They were the best of the combat-orientated heroes, and now I’m left with the choice to send in less capable heroes as a replacement—ones that haven’t got nearly as much experience.”

Loren barely stopped himself from breaking the shackles of being polite. He forced himself to consider the argument he’d fallen into—He was now somehow asking the man to send inexperienced heroes up against the members of Epilogue, one of which was Monstrous.

This hadn’t been his intention at the start—the man was a damn snake.

“Then source from outside the HQ,” Loren said furiously. “Vapid or Ogre would probably be willing to assist us—Hell Ogre should still be in the medbay; I could go ask her right now if you want.”

For a moment, Mareke looked like he actually couldn’t even—and Loren realized he’d fucked up.

“Are you telling me that an S-rank Villain is currently resting in the medical wing?” Mareke hissed, alarmed. “Wraith?!”

Alana’s armored form slumped back in her chair, helmet tilted upward to stare at the roof, most likely bemoaning the day she’d ever met him.

“Shit.” Loren sighed. “I’m such an idiot.”

“You’re a walking field of landmines, honestly,” Raindancer said, amazed. “Why the hell is Ogre here?”

“Ogre was brought here because she had a power-related affliction,” Alana said plainly, still staring up at the roof. “Alleviate took care of it, and yes, she’s currently resting in the medical wing.”

Mareke stared at her with his mouth open.

“How was it that you were able to organize that without conflict?” Fracture said, impressed. “Ogre is known to be very territorial. Did she approach you?”

“I contacted her,” Wraith said simply. “I have a wealth of information about her due to Loren’s knowledge, and convincing her I could help was a simple task.”

“You allowed an untrained, untrusted civilian to interrogate a member of Epilogue,” Mareke said flatly, “You brought an S-rank villain—one who could destroy the entire building with little effort—into the heart of the HQ. You kept the knowledge of a time traveler, of bombs in the city, of Epilogue’s presence from me.”

Loren swallowed, reminded of how much Alana had actually done for him—it was easy to forget it all when she took care of it in the background. The fact that he’d taken his stress out on her after she’d done all of that.

He’d never been so conflicted before—his life had been so simple before all of this.

“Give me one good reason why you shouldn’t be joining Ogre and Dovetail in a cell?” Mareke threatened.

Alana didn’t say anything in her own defense.

“Because, if Ogre or Wraith ends up in a cell, I’ll make sure you are never included in any of these decisions in the future loops,” Loren said seriously, watching the man. “You’re only here because I fucked up—I’m already wondering If I should even bother contacting you in the next loop. So far, you’ve been more of a hindrance than an asset.”

Raindancer was busy trying to grind Loren’s toes into the ground through his shoe, and Mareke looked like he wanted to murder someone. The silence dragged on, and the man’s black eyes never left him as he considered the threat.

Loren empathized with Mareke to some extent, being left out of all of this, and finding out that it had happened in numerous past loops, and Wraith had apparently made the decision to exclude him multiple times. Being the one in control of all of these people and then having a twenty-something nobody come in and usurp him.

Loren understood all of that—but goddammit, the man was a giant asshole.

“Wraith, contact Vapid—see if she’s on board,” Mareke said through gritted teeth, “You, go speak with Ogre, either get her on our side or get her the fuck out my building—Fracture, accompany him make sure he doesn’t steal anything important. Raindancer, Secluded, Tag, stick around, were going to talk about your conduct.”

Loren closed his eyes to avoid jumping over the desk and kicking the guy’s ass with his newly trained Kung-fu.

“Very well,” Alana said quietly.

Loren got ready to leave, and Fracture stood up to follow. As he passed behind her chair, he reached out and yanked hard on one of Raindancer’s braids in revenge for his stinging toes.

“Hey!” Raindancer yelped.

“That could have gone better,” Fracture said in resignation.

Loren gripped the back of his neck and attempted to relieve the growing headache—too much stress.

“That’s an understatement,” Loren sighed, “I didn’t realize Wraith hadn’t told anyone who Alleviate was healing.”

“She did, a civilian called Iza Gracen,” Fracture admitted, “We weren’t aware of that was the secret identity of Ogre.”

“Yeah, I suppose it was to avoid grumpy back there from jumping on her about it,” Loren said dryly. “I know not to mention that next time.”

“Is there any special considerations when dealing with her?” Fracture prompted, moving the conversation in a more useful direction. “How can I assist in this negotiation?”

Loren blinked, having not thought about it—he was just going to straight-up ask her. Trying to trick her or something would just go badly. He spotted the door to Iza’s room and stopped outside of it.

“The plans pretty complicated,” Loren said quietly, and Fracture ducked his head down to listen. “Here’s what we’re going to do—”

Loren opened the door—and then immediately closed it.

“Because, of course, you decide to turn up right now—” Iza’s voice said, annoyed, through the door. “Fuck me.”

“That went so much better in my head,” Loren admitted.

“Negotiations have failed then?” Fracture tried lightly. “The plan needs some work.”

“I’m the comedian here,” Loren said, offended. “You’re the serious one—stick to the plan, for god’s sake.”

“I’m decent,” Iza said dryly.

“You didn’t give me a plan!” Fracture argued. “You just—”

Loren opened the door and stepped inside, and clapped his hands together in apology.

“Sorry, I was trying to be dramatic.” Loren said seriously, “I didn’t know you were changing.”

Iza just nodded, looking over his shoulder at Fracture and frowning.

“I really hope this isn’t what I think it is,” Iza commented.

“I’ve come to give you an ultimatum,” Loren nodded, and her lips thinned out. “Either help me beat the shit out of Epilogue tomorrow or go home today—it’s your choice. Fracture will manhandle you out of the building if you do not comply.”

Iza’s frown turned confused halfway through, and Fracture turned to stare at the side of his head in alarm.

“So I can still leave?” Iza said strangely, then more quickly. “You’re asking me to fight Epilogue—so he clearly knows who I am, why am I being allowed to leave?”

“We are now aware that you are Ogre, but that wasn’t the case when you were first brought in.” Fracture admitted, “This situation is complicated—”

“I told them I’d cut them out of my time loop stuff if they ganked you,” Loren said, speeding things along. “Epilogue is going to attack here tomorrow—more specifically, Monstrous, Reset, and Lecture are going to attack. We’ve already captured Taker and Deceitful.”

Iza’s eyes were wide.

Fanfiction drop and Ameliorate chapter 9 are getting pushed back to Friday(25th). If you’re enjoying reading Reroll so far, leave a review, comment, or check out some of my other stories and do the same!

Reroll – Chapter 66 – Updated
Ameliorate – Chapter 8.

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Chapter 63

Hero HQ, Setalite City, 6:47 PM.
Wednesday, February 23rd​, 2022.

“He never had any problems using the equipment; my guess is that he is either a doctor of some kind or a has the skills of one.” Haunt said. “Seemed to lack the Hippocratic oath though.”

The joke, delivered in a deadpanned manner, fell flat in the room. The man with the mustache seemed to break out of his thoughts before speaking up.

“It’s far more than what we had before,” he said, nodding. “We need locational data, is there anything in here memories about where their base may be located?”

“Temperature seemed pretty typical of this area,” Haunt pondered, closing her eyes.

“Before the attack occurred, was she thirsty?” Alana interjected. “Hungry? Starving?”

Haunt blinked before tilting her head slightly. Loren tried to follow Alana’s thought pattern—was she trying to gauge how much time had passed between abduction and waking up?

“A little bit hungry? She’d eaten dinner about six hours before she got attacked, and she was drinking wine as well.” Haunt answered. “No water though; she was getting thirsty.”

“If she was only slightly hungry and in need of water,” Alana said simply, “The time between abduction and her waking up could be measure in less than a day. You are the best judge here; based on her levels of hunger and thirst, how much time passed?”

Haunt sat back in her chair and hummed.

“Twelve hours maximum,” Haunt said eventually, “Probably a lot less than that—8 maybe?”

That narrowed down the distance drastically.

“A solid indication that their base of operations is somewhere within a 1000-kilometer radius of Saltwall City.” The mustache man said, nodding.

The fact that Setalite City and Arrot City were both in that radius went unsaid. While they could probably be in a hole in the ground out in the wild, it was more likely they were close to a city—the power requirements for a medical facility could not be trivial.

“Mareke, how can you be sure they didn’t have a teleporter on hand? Or some other type of high-speed travel available?” Untold interjected, “That would have skewered the distance entirely—they are an international group for a reason.”

Loren almost sighed in relief as he finally got the man’s name, and Untold brought up a good point as well.

“Evelyn’s car disappeared at the same time as the abduction and is most likely the method by which Naomi Low transported her. Secondly, Epilogue historically doesn’t go out of their way to target individuals—this was Deceitful acting on her own revenge.” Mareke said flatly before shaking his head. “We’re wasting time now; we have a second captive that may have more pieces of this puzzle—and one that is likely less resistant to your power.”

Deceitful, obviously.

“Then it is too bad for all of us that I have overused my power today; I have at most a couple of minutes left before I run out of juice. Not nearly enough to get anything substantial out of the other one,” Haunt said blandly. “Besides, subjecting myself to Evelyn’s memories wasn’t exactly a walk in the park, you know.”

Having to witness all of that, even as a second-hand memory, couldn’t have been easy on her.

“Then we move on,” Alleviate said, “What are we doing about tomorrow? We’ve got Paragon handled, but it will tie up Untold, Empress and Seeker.”

That was a lot of heavy hitters being removed from the pool before it had even begun.

“Our opponents are three, Monstrous, Lecture, and Reset,” Alana said calmly, turning her helmet towards Loren for a moment.

Loren ducked her gaze, staring down at the table instead.

“What are they capable of?” Mareke said flatly. “Loren, was it? Since you have inserted yourself in our investigation, you may as well tell us what you know.”

Loren suddenly found it much easier to lift his gaze as an opponent presented itself.

“Fuck off,” Loren said easily, mirroring Haunt because he knew it would draw a reaction. “I’ve been working on this for months, and you’re the one stumbling into my investigation.”

Threadbreaker started laughing, and Mareke’s features blanked at the response, but his gaze remained firmly locked on Loren’s own.

Lanette kicked him in the shin under the table, and he glared at her.

“Everyone already knows what Monstrous can do,” Loren spoke, eventually, “She’s impervious to most forms of damage. I watched her walk-through hair that had been frozen in time, and it snapped against her skin. When Reset tried the same thing, it split his arm down to the shoulder.”

“Gross,” Threadbreaker said, “Did he die?”

“Breaker,” Haunt said, bored, “Just listen.”

Threadbreaker huffed but sat back in his chair again—Alleviate continued to slowly slump down into her chair, clearly wanting to be anywhere but here.

“We will get to Reset in a moment,” Loren nodded, moving back on topic. “Mara has openly expressed that she doesn’t like fighting or killing. Unfortunately, she is willing to do both to assist her ‘friends,’ and she considers Deceitful one of them. The same can most likely be said for the other known factors as well—that being Reset, Lecture, and Taker.”

“So, she will most likely participate in the fighting this time?” Untold frowned, “You don’t have anyone who can stand up to her—Threadbreaker here isn’t going to cut it.”

Threadbreaker looked upset at being called out by one of the most famous heroes in the world.

“I can totally beat her,” Threadbreaker said confidently. “I’ve hit her before.”

Loren wondered if the kid would still have that kind of blind confidence if he had seen what had happened on the train.

He found himself remembering it, the train filled with hands, and faces, Teeth and eyes, and far too many joints, the feeling of his skin being scooped out, his bones parting under her fingertips—Loren shook his head violently, trying to rid himself of the memory and returned to the present.

He found the others watching him, and he swallowed.

“She can reach outwards from any point of her body, in any direction, and I have no idea what her range is. She filled a train car in under a second with thousands of hands, and all of them were just as impervious as she is.” Loren said flatly, “Even if you get close enough to hit her, you’ll be within range of her counterattack, and unless you can teleport or have some kind of super-speed, you’re going to get hit.”

Threadbreaker did not look convinced, but Haunt seemed to be listening. Seeker spoke up.

“I have firsthand experience in this case,” Seeker said, nodding, “Even with the ability to teleport, you are not guaranteed to evade her. I lost my arm that way once already.”

“Yeah,” Threadbreaker said slowly, “Look, I get it. We can do it though, I know it. Last time she didn’t know I could hurt her, so she didn’t try to stop me; that probably won’t happen again. We just need to keep her attention on somebody else—I can hit her from behind before she even knows I’m there. Seeker should come with us, to be the mobility so I can get back out.”

Untold looked a bit unsure about that one because it meant she would be potentially fighting Paragon without her teammate’s assistance. The problem was they were tying up too many of the heavy hitters dealing with Paragon.

Loren fell silent for a moment as the others argued about combinations. They needed to take Paragon out of the equation with the least number of pieces possible, so they had more options against Epilogue.

“Paragon has long since refused to submit himself to sedation of any kind,” Mareke prompted, apparently thinking along the same lines. “Is this still the case?”

“Yes,” Untold said simply. “He won’t do it—the nano bomb incident has only reinforced his stance.”

Then if they couldn’t force him to sleep through it, the next best thing would be to remove him from play entirely.

“Have Secluded bring Paragon into the inner world,” Loren said eventually, “That free’s up everyone else to fight Epilogue.”

Secluded turned to look at him but maintained the silence.

“Secluded is one of the only other theoretical counters we have against Monstrous,” Alana pointed out, not looking in his direction.

Loren stared straight ahead through the three-seat gap between Threadbreaker and Mareke.

“You could get Seeker to ferry you around, picking them all up—” Threadbreaker laughed, “Make them fight Paragon inside you—that would be hilarious.”

There was a beat of silence.

“Yeah,” Secluded said tightly, “Really funny.”

Untold lowered her head to rest on her clasped hands, clearly restraining herself. Haunt reached out and slapped the kid over the back of the head, and he went white, spinning to face her. Loren was starting to figure out why Alleviate didn’t like the kid—holy shit, he couldn’t read a room at all.

“Don’t even think about it!” Threadbreaker said worriedly.

“Behave yourself,” Haunt threatened.

Threadbreaker watched her warily but was sufficiently cowed by the unknown threat, and so Loren answered the rebuttal in turn.

“Secluded has basically the same problem as Threadbreaker; she can’t get close without getting ripped apart,” Loren said quietly, “It is also possible that her power won’t actually work through Mara’s skin in the first place. I witnessed Mara walking around in an area of stopped time like it wasn’t even there… It could work, but if we try it, Secluded would be going in blind, with a fifty percent chance of painful death.”

Alana didn’t respond, and it took him a second to realize why—the earlier argument had rattled her, having what was essentially a stranger tell her all of those things. To know that she was capable of things she had never thought of doing, of killing and everything else he’d unfairly dumped on her.

Her expected counter here would have been to use this loop to determine whether the two powers did interact and then make a better choice the next time. Something the old him would have actively opposed, but now Loren just felt tired. Secluded could make the choice, and he’d learn from it, build on it if it failed.

Loren wondered how much further he could fall.

“Lecture is more simple—short-range vocal body control. If you’re within five meters of her, and you can hear her, it’s too late.” Mareke said eventually after they had exhausted the topic of Monstrous. “Once you’re under the effect, it has a natural lifespan of three hours; we also know that she is able to stack the duration by repeating the command.”

Loren didn’t know that, was there an upper limit? Or could she just repeat a phrase a thousand times?

“She can also cancel the effect,” Loren spoke up, “I was forced to stay still, but her teammate asked her to cancel it.”

“Interesting, but otherwise unactionable information.” Mareke said briskly, “Unless you plan on compelling her to remove the effect—avoiding it entirely is a safer option.”

Loren nodded, not exactly willing to be caught by the woman with the wandering hands a second time.

“A relatively simple method to do so is to wear sound-canceling devices.” Alana continued, “Not something you are usually able to employ when the attack is unexpected, but in this case, we know they will be coming.”

“Fighting without being able to hear isn’t exactly easy either,” Untold added.

“It’s not that hard,” Threadbreaker frowned, watching her. “Untouchable makes everyone practice that all the time.”

“It’s not easy for the untrained,” Untold amended, exasperated. “Not everyone has the same training you do.”

“Oh,” Threadbreaker laughed. “I guess so.”

“Let’s move on,” Mareke said, visibly annoyed. “Tell us about Reset.”

Loren found himself the center of attention again.

“I only fought him briefly,” Loren admitted, “He showed several different unrelated powers, but their mechanism was similar enough to my own to recognize. The overview seems simple enough; He can reset his body to a perfect condition, either on command like he did against Lecture, or automatically on death, and the reset comes with a different power each time.”

“What powers did he showcase during the battle?” Mareke prompted.

“He started our first fight with his whole body on fire, and I attacked him as soon as he got too close.” Loren answered, “I… hit him way too hard; I think I actually killed him.”

Mareke nodded, silently approving the tactic.

“Whether I did or not, his body went blurry for a moment, and then he got back up, perfectly fine—and with an entirely different power.” Loren frowned, thinking about the fight. “He was completely deranged, just running in regardless of the damage he was taking—I’m not sure if that’s his preferred fighting style or I did something to piss him off that I don’t know about.”

“What was the second power he used?” Untold wondered.

“Super strength—he ended up impaling himself on my own power.” Loren answered, “It was pretty obvious by then that he was just going to keep on getting back up, so I tried to retreat—when he resets, anything impaled in him vanishes, so don’t stick your hand inside him or anything.”

Threadbreaker snorted at the phrase, ready to make another interjection but cowered under the haunting look that was sent his way from his white-haired teammate.

“What power did you possess?” Alana said quietly, “Is this erasing aspect of his power conditional in some way?”

“I don’t know for sure. I was controlling my own hair to fight,” Loren answered in turn. “So organic things vanish at least.”

There was a moment of silence before he continued.

“After the hair impaling him vanished, time froze.” Loren frowned, “That’s what I was referring to earlier. The effect was completely indiscriminate. I could see and think, but I couldn’t move—Lecture was frozen in mid-air as well, so it wasn’t just a paralysis effect. He couldn’t get through all the frozen hair, so he had to change powers again.”

“There’s no connection between any of these powers.” Mareke frowned. “Were they effective against you?”

The firepower was probably the most effective, burning the hair away on contact, but he’d had that before the fight had even started.

“I don’t think he was getting powers that countered me if that’s what you’re getting at.” Loren said slowly, “It felt more like it was randomly selected—I might be biased there because that’s how my own power works.”

“Don’t get side-tracked,” Mareke said plainly.

Loren closed his eyes for a moment, both to gather his thoughts and to stop himself from saying something outrageous.

“He blurred again, picking up this horror-movie, blackhole-teeth thing that tried to suck everyone in.” Loren continued, “I managed to knock him down again and escaped the subway. Untold showed up at that point, just in time to save me from the metal-machine tail he’d grown.”

Untold blinked at the sudden attention.

“Don’t look at me,” Untold said, crossing her arms. “I don’t remember any of this crap.”

Loren smiled for a moment before shaking his head.

“After that, Untold killed him several times,” Loren said, nodding, and Untold smirked. “The first power was generating metal pillars and spikes in mass numbers. The second was some kind of… Directional control? Momentum? I’m not sure, he was bouncing around, and anything he touched, he could send in a specific direction at great speed. I got knocked out of the fight after that, so I couldn’t tell you what else he used before I woke up again.”

“He’s easily in S-rank,” Untold said, frowning, “The metal power alone would probably put him there, without even considering the time stop.”

“Yes,” Mareke said slowly, “The time stop is particularly concerning—you said Monstrous was walking around under its effect?”

Loren nodded.

“We have nothing to counter that combination.” Mareke said gravely, “He could freeze everyone, and Monstrous would be free to pick us off one, by one.”

“If the powers are truly random,” Alana spoke up, “It is extremely unlikely that he will get any of those powers again. Loren’s own ability is enough proof of that.”

Loren scrutinized that thought for a moment—his own power had yet to pick one he’d already had, so it was possible that Reset would get a different power every single time, even compared to the previous loops.

“So, we either enter the battle with the knowledge that we cannot beat that combination of powers,” Lanette piped up for the first time, “Or we enter without the knowledge of what he will use at all—are we fucked?”

Loren kicked her in the shin, purely out of revenge.

“Don’t swear,” Loren said seriously. “You’re making the Hero HQ look bad in front of our international allies.”

“Precisely,” Mareke echoed, “Show some professionalism.”

Raindancer glared at him, and he did his best to keep the smirk off his face.

“The obvious solution is to remove one of the two from the battlefield before they have a chance to use that kind of synergy,” Alana spoke to move the conversation back on track. “Unfortunately, both of them are the hardest ones to contain.”

“Reset could eventually hit on something that would let him escape any kind of containment we come up with,” Loren nodded in agreement, still not looking at her. “Monstrous will just walk straight through it—if it works on her at all.”

“Then we must use methods other than direct combat to achieve our ends.” Seeker said, voice calm and soothing. “If we cannot directly contain or defeat an enemy, we must distract, divert or mislead.”

“Well said,” Mareke said, looking impressed. “The question is, what do we have at our disposal, that would interest Monstrous or Reset enough to distract them from their goals?”

Loren had a feeling that he knew exactly where this was going.

Sorry for the late upload my dudes, rough day. If you’re enjoying reading Reroll so far, leave a review, comment, or check out some of my other stories and do the same!

Reroll – Chapter 65 – Updated
Ameliorate – Chapter 8.

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Chapter 62

Rooftop, Hero HQ, Setalite City, 2:47 PM.
Wednesday, February 23rd​, 2022.

Loren hadn’t even made it to the stairs before the feeling of justification faded entirely, leaving just the shame behind.

He sat on the concrete wall that bordered the building, just watching the flood of festival-goers passing by, superhero paraphernalia just about everywhere. The sky was clear, blue, and with not a cloud in sight, the same as it was every other time he’d made it to a Wednesday. While those below probably enjoyed the good weather, Loren was left wondering how long it had been since he’d seen it rain.

“Loren Parker.” Seeker’s deep voice said from above him.

It caught Loren entirely off guard, not having heard the man appear, and he twisted to look over his shoulder—and then to the side as the man stepped up to the wall to join him. He took a moment for his heart to stop thudding in his chest before he responded.

“Hey, man,” Loren commented. “I didn’t expect to see you up here.”

Seeker nodded, joining him in watching the people below.

“There is nothing more for me to contribute towards the situation at present,” Seeker said calmly, “I’m afraid my talents lay in other areas.”

Teleportation probably didn’t help much in the way of interrogation, but it certainly helped in bringing over the people whose talents did work there. It also didn’t explain why he’d come here of all places—

“Did you have an argument with Wraith as well?” Loren said lightly. “Must be the day for it.”

Seeker turned to look at him in confusion, and he felt a flash of amusement despite himself.

“No,” Seeker said, “I just needed some fresh air. Is that why you are here?”

Loren nodded, feeling like he was confessing his sins to a giant priest.

“I kind of threw a tantrum—took it out on her when I shouldn’t have.” Loren admitted, “Now I’ve retreated up here to avoid dealing with the aftermath—I’m something of a strategist, you see? Path of least resistance and all that.”

“Indeed.” Seeker said, amused.

They fell into an easy silence; apparently, he wasn’t much of a talker, but Loren didn’t mind.

“What’s the situation with Julian?” Loren said eventually. “Did you guys convince him to go into lockdown?”

Seeker didn’t even blink at the use of Paragon’s secret identity.

“He was willing to entertain us, despite not believing he’d been compromised.” Seeker explained, “Empress has set up a series of fields to both prevent him from leaving the area and to try and arrest any kind of transformation he may undergo.”

Loren listened carefully; while not a conversation initiator by any means, Seeker seemed to give detailed answers when questioned. This was information he would hear in a few hours anyway, but the early heads up was nice.

“Artisan has also contributed his own efforts towards discovering how the change occurs, and Alleviate intends on giving him a second inspection,” Seeker continued, “It remains to be seen if any of the measures we have taken will be effective or not.”

“You guys seem pretty on top of it,” Loren nodded, “Will those fields be able to contain him if he still… changes?”

“Unlikely.” Seeker said solemnly, “Untold and I will be on-site to help contain him.”

Well shit.

“Alice just about broke down the last time you two fought him,” Loren murmured. “That’s going to get messy.”

The casual use of their names seemed to finally draw a response.

“There are few others we can trust that both fulfill the power requirements and the will to place themselves in Paragon’s way.” Seeker said calmly. “Are you aware of all of our identities?”

Loren shook his head.

“You could try hitting up Vapid for assistance; she seems to want to fight anyone that moves—although if you stand still long enough, she’d probably attack you for being suspicious,” Loren said, amused, before moving on. “Paragon and Untold are the only members of your group that I know the identities of. This is actually the first time I’ve really had a proper discussion with you. You know how my power works?”

“I will discuss your suggested candidate with the others. As for your circumstances, we were made aware that you are currently trapped within a time loop, one which resets when you die.” Seeker said in answer, “However the exact details of your power are unknown to us. I find myself curious; when did you first awaken?”

“When I was fourteen,” Loren commented. “I just didn’t notice until recently.”

“That is because it was the first time you’ve died in your lifetime?” Seeker asked for clarification.

It wasn’t; he’d just forgotten about the first-time loop. Once more, he had the choice, explain in full to someone who was just going to forget it all or simplify it for convenience. Now that he was aware he was doing it, it had become so much more obvious—Loren sighed.

“Yeah, something like that.” Loren lied. “I died, everything reset, and now here we are. When did you awaken?”

There was a bit of social pressure behind the words; he’d given the other man an answer and expected response in kind.

“I awakened my powers the day Meteor destroyed Ragdim City,” Seeker said simply.

Loren frowned, eyeing the man and trying to guess his age.

“That was in 1997, wasn’t it?” Loren frowned, eyeing the man. “How old were you?”

It was before Loren was even born, three years before if he was right about the date.

“It was,” Seeker nodded. “I was nine.”

Loren swallowed at that.

The fact that he’d gotten the power to teleport was probably the only reason he was still alive at all. That city was a crater now, and the ten million people who’d lived there were long since buried—not everyone was as lucky as Seeker, it would seem.

The man must have had a family before; had they been with him when he’d discovered his power? Or had they perished with the others? Loren was well aware of how much traumatic experiences followed you, even decades later.

There was nothing he could say to make any of it right or better.

“Sorry,” Loren said anyway, but for what he didn’t know.

Seeker just nodded.

Loren remained on the roof long after Seeker had left, the quiet man leaving him with a reminder that the strategy meeting for tomorrow’s battle was rapidly approaching. He needed to get updated on everything they’d tried before the loop ended again, so he could take it with him when everything inevitably fell apart.

His phone told him he’d be late if he dawdled up here much longer, but it had just started to grow dark, and the stars were slowly fading into visibility.

He could almost pretend he was in that place, deep inside him where time stood still. Loren had tried, on and off during the quiet moments, to look for it—tried to somehow meditate himself into that place, but it hadn’t worked.

Closing his eyes just left him staring at the back of his eyelids and no closer to enlightenment. While attempting to think himself there just left him distracted, with his thoughts moving to every other problem he had no solution for.

A combination of meditation and intentionally resetting himself held potential, but he wasn’t getting his hopes up—another glance at his phone told him he was definitely late.

Loren groaned and headed downstairs, but he’d only made it to the correct level when the door opened, admitting Raindancer and an unfamiliar teenager with red hair and a pair of ski goggles dangling around his neck.

“You’re the dude!” The boy said, pointing. “You’re totally late, man.”

Loren looked to Raindancer for a moment, but she held her silence—he had enough context clues to guess who this was, even if he didn’t recognize him on sight.

“You’re Threadbreaker, right? I’ve been looking for you everywhere! There’s a job I have that only you can do.” Loren said seriously, and the kid’s face lit up. “I have a bunch of shirts that I need you to take a look at, they are really starting to fray at the edges; think you can tidy them up?”

Raindancer snorted as the kid’s face fell into a state of disappointment.

“That’s not even a little bit funny,” Threadbreaker complained, crossing his arms. “You boomer.”


“I’m only twenty-one!” Loren said, alarmed, before turning to the now laughing Raindancer. “Stop laughing; you’re older than I am!”

Threadbreaker stepped back through the doorway, and Raindancer followed.

“Come on,” Raindancer smirked before directing Loren to follow. “If we make them wait any longer, Wraith will kick all of our asses.”

Loren winced as he followed them out, his improved mood taking a hit.

“What were you doing anyway?” Threadbreaker said curiously, walking backward in front of them.

Loren watched as the kid navigated the hallway like he had eyes in the back of his head—only he wasn’t even paying a shred of attention. His own power told him he was completely at ease, and the movements copied over as everything else did—apparently nothing at all strange about them.

But he had his doubts, Threadbreaker had been known to land hits on people far outside of his weight class, in both speed and experience. Seemingly able to find opportunities and moments where he could enter into the fray and land a decisive blow.

“Watching the stars come out,” Loren admitted, considering asking the kid if he had some kind of passive power.

“Lame,” Threadbreaker said, and Raindancer gleefully echoed him a moment later.

Loren’s thoughts were completely derailed, and he gave them both the stink eye until they reached the room. Threadbreaker walked into the still open doorway and announced his presence without shame.

“Were back!” Threadbreaker said into the room, speaking to everyone at large. “Did you miss me?”

Most of the eyes in the room were on them now—

“No.” Alleviate’s deadpanned voice responded without pause.

“Nobody asked you!” Threadbreaker cried out, offended.

The now-standard meeting room was filled with more heroes than last time, with Seeker towering over everyone present. Untold, Alleviate, and Empress accompanied him at the end of the table. Loren swept his gaze over the others for a moment—He’d drawn enough commissions of Haunt to recognize her on sight, her pure white hair and pale white skin standing out even with all of the costumes present.

Wraith sat at the other end, hands folded in front of her, as she looked straight ahead. Secluded and Fracture sat on her left, both looking tired. There was another person present that he didn’t recognize, an older man with sunken eyes and a mustache, sitting on Wraith’s right-hand side.

Threadbreaker rounded the table and dropped down into the seat next to his teammate, and Loren was left standing by the door with Raindancer.

“Loren,” Alleviate said in greeting, “Sit down already—I’d rather not be stuck in a room with these two for the rest of the night.”

“Rude,” Threadbreaker huffed.

“Go fuck yourself,” Haunt said casually, seemingly at ease.

The older man with the mustache closed his eyes, seemingly annoyed at the language but didn’t comment. Loren just nodded, taking a seat closest to the door, and Raindancer dropped down next to him.

“Haunt,” The man with the mustache said sternly, “You’ve performed your own interrogation and had access to the… impromptu one that was performed early. What do you have for us?”

Loren couldn’t help but wonder who this was exactly—usually, Alana was the one to lead these discussions or Artisan—when he was actually present. They seemed to be deferring to him, and the position at the table suggested he worked for the Hero HQ in some capacity, but the lack of costume said civilian.

“She didn’t want to help out; that much was obvious,” Haunt said unhurriedly. “Three hours isn’t enough time to whittle someone down either—and she’s resistant to empathic reading as well.”

“Are you saying you got nothing?” The man said scornfully.

Haunt leaned back in her chair, yawning, long and loud—the man’s face tightened at the disrespect, but he held his tongue.

“I got plenty, but It’s probably not what you’re looking for.” Haunt allowed, “Evelyn Miller, 23, previously went by Wallflower, as part of the Saltwall City Hero HQ. Worked under Windbreaker before he died—”

“All things we already know—” The man interjected, but Haunt didn’t even bother to stop talking.

“2021, 9th of May rolled around, and she was attacked in her bed in the middle of the night by her dead mentor, Windbreaker.” Haunt paused for a moment, glancing down at Threadbreaker, “I’ll spare you the details of what exactly happened in that room, but it’s exactly what you’re all thinking.”

Loren closed his eyes in disgust.

“What does that mean?” Threadbreaker frowned, but he was ignored. “Did he torture her?”

Haunt didn’t respond to her teammate’s prompt for more information.

“Evelynn was drugged at some point near the end of the encounter, and the next time she woke up, she was tied to a bed in a hospital—that’s my interpretation of it, by the way, it looked like a hospital room, one of the private ones, lots of machines, no labels, custom-built stuff.”

Loren wondered how exactly Haunts power worked for her to get that kind of information. Was she reading surface thoughts of whoever she attached to? Or did she have complete access to their memories?

“Of the members of Epilogue,” Alana spoke for the first time, “Deceitful, Lecture, and Monstrous—none of those have the ability to create custom medical equipment. Reset could stumble onto a power that allows him the ability to do so. Tiamat or The Researcher is most likely responsible for its creation and usage.”

“It could simply have been purchased from Insoluble,” The mustached man pointed out calmly, but Alana shook her head.

“Taker’s modifications alone would require an in-depth knowledge of powers, equipment, and the human body,” Alana expanded, “The presence of custom-built equipment combined with the modifications to Evelyn imply an expert was involved for a long period of time.”

The mustached man nodded at the breakdown.

“While it’s possible that they also hired an expert from insoluble, it gains us nothing to assume that they sourced that expertise from outside of their own organization.” The man said in agreement, “Especially when you consider their names are likely a direct representation of their power usage or interests.”

“Tiamat was that God who made all those serpent monsters, right?” Threadbreaker said curiously. “Kind of makes sense.”

“Tiamat was a Mesopotamian goddess,” Raindancer corrected, surprising Loren. “Known for being the personification of salt water.”

“I’m still right, though,” Threadbreaker said smugly.

Raindancer rolled her eyes, and Haunt rejoined the conversation.

“After that, it starts to get progressively harder to follow along, her memories are seriously messed up, and almost every waking moment is her under the influence of a dozen drugs that make it near impossible to read anything. At some point, empathetic, visual, and audio registering just falls off completely,” Haunt meandered her way through the conversation, unrushed. “I couldn’t estimate how long, but it’s just pain, disorientation, and a bunch of awful things I’d rather not say in front of Breaker—Audio comes back eventually, whatever they did to her hearing made it way better afterward, her sight likewise returns; perfect night vision, and she can partially see heat signatures through walls as well.”

Haunt took a breather, seemingly thinking about where to go next.

“Visual and auditory returned,” Alana prompted, “Empathy did not?”

“It returned, but she’s basically deadened her own ability to care about anything at this point—in response to everything that happened to her.” Haunt amended before frowning. “The one with the mind control? Lecture? She made regular visits to her throughout her captivity, constantly reinforcing their control over her—that woman’s power is no joke; I was getting edgy just hearing it second hand.”

Loren understood completely; he’d been under its spell before—there was no way to fight it without some kind of immunity.

“Who was present during the experimentation?” Loren asked quietly, mind on a specific person.

“The Researcher was there all the time, and he never entered the room without a face mask,” Haunt said distastefully, “He had a habit of… doing things. Evelyn’s perspective throughout this made it difficult to see what exactly was being done to her visually, but she certainly felt it all. He removed all of her limbs three separate times; for instance, the third time ended with a buzzing sensation along each of her fingertips.”

Her claws strange ability to both shred defenses and paralyze on contact.

“That’s horrible,” Alleviate said, disgusted.

“Tiamat was also present frequently—Evelyn saw her uncovered face several times; she’s a middle-aged woman, in her forties maybe, dark auburn hair, five and a half foot at a guess.” Haunt estimated, “It’s also notable that Evelyn was moved into a new room at some point, specifically after some kind of fire destroyed the first one. The new room had a large glass container present to one side—there was a lump of flesh growing in it.”

“The Paragon clone?” Untold murmured without feeling.

“Unsure. Soon after, her memory just goes black, and it never really comes back afterward.” Haunt frowned, “They did something to her head, but I couldn’t tell you what—she’s clearly still experiencing, but the most recent memories are completely inaccessible to me.”

“When was she in the room with the tank?” Loren spoke.

“In relative time?” Haunt wondered, “She was taken in May, and it felt like weeks or even a month, so that must have been in June or later?”

“Did you see any indication of what The Researcher or Tiamat could do?” Alana prompted.

“No on both accounts,” Haunt frowned, “You were talking about an expert earlier—I’d say The Researcher has some kind of intelligence-based power, but it would be an unsubstantiated guess at most.”

Chapter 61

Cellblock, Hero HQ, Setalite City, 11:47 AM.
Wednesday, February 23rd​, 2022.

“She won’t speak to anyone,” Alana said simply. “It’s highly unlikely that she would speak to you either, but you do have a habit of surprising us.”

“I didn’t think she could talk at all; her mouth was stitched shut the last time I saw her.” Loren said quietly, “I thought we were bringing in Haunt for this?”

“She broke the embedded metal holding her mouth shut when she bit Untold,” Alana nodded, gesturing to the door. “Threadbreaker and Haunt are due here in two hours, but anything we gain now will make it easier in the long run.”

“I don’t even have access to the pheromones anymore,” Loren pointed out awkwardly. “I don’t think I’ll be surprising anyone.”

“I am aware,” Alana said dryly—well, she had set it up after all. “I think you are far more persuasive than you give yourself credit for—keep in mind I haven’t been exposed to those pheromones, so I would consider myself an accurate gauge in this instance.”

“So you want me to get her to talk about what exactly?” Loren mumbled.

“Anything,” Alana said simply, “Once somebody breaks their silence, they are far more likely to open up in summary conversations. Establishing a connection with her now can only benefit us in future interrogations.”

Loren gripped the back of his neck for a moment, uncomfortable. Just getting her to speak to him, it wasn’t like that was wrong, surely? If it was just to get her to open up…

The room looks like the cell he’d been kept in when he’d had the time stop power, and Taker was practically mummified in restraints, mostly designed to keep her claws and teeth away from any of the others.

Loren picked his way up to the cage and stood in front of it; Taker looked up, then went back to looking at the floor. The patterned scales could almost be mistaken for a tattoo, and the yellow skin seemed almost pink without direct sunlight.

Her eyes were glowing, a far more vivid yellow that drew his gaze than anything else about her.

“Hey, Evelynn,” Loren said quietly. “It’s good to see you again.”

Evelynn looked up again, studying him without expression—Loren knew from her perspective she’d never seen him before, so it had probably caused some confusion. They’d place a blanket around her in an attempt at modesty, but it was starting to slip down her gaunt shoulders and exposing her neckline.

Even sitting down, she was intimidatingly tall, and he used his hand to brace himself against the ground as he sat down on the floor. Evelyn Miller was far too thin for someone so physically powerful—stretched to the degree that would have perhaps been cartoonish if it wasn’t so horrifying.

The shape of her face remained remarkably unchanged, and she still looked like the photos he’d seen of her before they’d done this to her. The two sharp and pronounced canines drew his eye for a moment—the metal stitching that had once held her mouth shut was snapped at the corners of her mouth.

“You wouldn’t remember me, but we’ve spoken before.” Loren admitted, “Well, I spoke to you anyway—My name is Loren.”

Evelynn continued to watch him, no longer looking away. Loren studied the black fur that seemed to emerge from her wrists, surrounding them not unlike a lion’s mane. Her legs were hidden beneath the blanket, but he knew there was matching fur around her ankles.

Loren decided to act while he still had her attention.

“I’d just killed Naomi at the time when you caught up to me,” Loren said, squashing the sick feeling building inside him at the memory. “I like to think you and I bonded over that.”

Evelynn twisted slightly, sending the chains and restraints rattling against each other, but her gaze remained locked on his face. He needed to break the silence, to get her to respond to his words in some way.

“That probably doesn’t make much sense to you,” Loren commented, leaning back on his hands.

One of her claws scraped lightly against the ground, drawing his gaze, the ground remained undamaged.

“I can explain it for you if you would like.” Loren wondered. “You’ll have to nod if you’re up for it.”

Loren fell silent, and the two of them stared at each other through the cage. Almost ten seconds passed before Evelynn slowly nodded her head. Loren forced a smile onto his face, feeling awful that he was manipulating her.

“Okay,” Loren nodded back, “I’ll tell you something really interesting, but I’ll need you to do something in return—you’ll need to call me by my name. Sound like a deal, Evelynn?”

There was another long pause before Evelynn ducked her head slightly in agreement. Loren swallowed at her compliance; maybe Alana was right about him after all. He leaned all the way forward until his forehead rested against the bars—lucky for him, there was no current.

“I’m a time traveler,” Loren whispered. “I’ve seen a lot of things that I shouldn’t have, and I can always go back again, you know? That’s how I knew you were in the sewers and where Naomi was hiding.”

Evelynn stared at him, so he kept speaking.

“One of the times I went back, I tracked Naomi down and killed her,” Loren continued, fudging the actual events in the purpose of persuasion, “That’s where I met you—I’m sorry to say that you got hurt pretty badly during the fighting.”

They fell into silence again, and Loren sat back, letting her think about that for a moment.

He tilted his head back enough that he could stare up at the lightbulb on the ceiling above him. For a moment, he wondered if simply observing it might cause it to shatter—Loren had recognized something about himself these last few loops, something that he wasn’t sure how he should feel about it.

He was changing.

If someone had told him at the beginning of this mess, he would have been horrified at some of the things he would go on to do. Treating people, even enemies, without mercy was something he’d never thought himself capable of—breaking Arret’s shoulder was a recent example that immediately came to mind—putting Vapid in the hospital because he hadn’t wanted to let her walk all over him.

Killing Naomi in the middle of a fight. Fighting Reset with the intent to kill because he knew the villain would survive it. Killing Beat while he was helpless in a fit of anger—he’d lost pieces of himself, and it hadn’t been an even process.

His tight grip on his morals had begun to slip, sometimes a little, and sometimes a lot. It wasn’t always fighting and killing either—he’d begun to lie to people for the sake of speeding things along like he just had with Evelynn. He’d stopped completely explaining things to these living, breathing people because it had grown exhausting, having to catch them all up, again and again.

He’d begun to misrepresent things because he knew it would evoke certain reactions, fast track them towards more useful conversational places. White lies, manipulations, broken promises, to himself and others, all the things he’d hated growing up. Somewhere along the line, he’d begun to use those same methods.

It was even worse because he was able to justify it—To think that for all of his stubbornness, all of his promises, and all of his spiteful adherence to his morals… All of that meant nothing in the face of a reason that had reached the threshold of ‘good enough.’

He’d braced himself to avoid falling, only to dive straight off the cliff anyway.

“To be fair, Naomi’s managed to kill me a few times as well,” Loren allowed because he knew it would draw her interest. “I’m not sure on the exact score, but it’s a few on either side, you know? I’ve got a bunch of stories if you want to hear some, but it’s your turn first.”

Surprisingly enough, Evelynn spoke.

“I am not supposed to speak, Loren,” Evelynn murmured, barely audible.

Evelynn’s voice didn’t rasp or sound at all strange, despite the fact that it had remained unused for so long—it was the voice of a woman and not the amalgamation they’d made her into. It didn’t at all match her appearance.

“I figured it was something like that,” Loren said eventually, “I wouldn’t worry about following those orders right now—I plan on going back again pretty soon, so all of this will be erased. So feel free to ask me anything you want to know—everyone’s going to forget it anyway.”

Another twisted truth, spoken with confidence and aimed to show her that he wasn’t at all worried about consequences.

“If she killed you several times,” Evelynn murmured, “How are you still alive?”

Loren answered, keeping her speaking was the main goal here.

“I’m kind of like that teammate of yours, Reset,” Loren responded. “If I die, I just come back to life again. I’ve also met most of Epilogue, if you were wondering how I knew about him, more than once in the majority of cases. I know how I feel about them, but I’m more curious about how you feel—do you like any of them?”

Evelynn stared at him for a long while.

“Reset,” Evelynn mumbled.

A one-word answer wasn’t the best sign to give her previous sentences.

“Really? I thought you were going to say Mara,” Loren said, genuinely surprised. “Reset seemed a bit angry—maybe he’s not always like that, though.”

Something about his appearance had set the villain off; he’d been almost at ease before Loren had turned around.

“No. He is always angry,” Evelynn murmured. “I understand him.”

Loren wondered what exactly it was about Reset’s anger that made him so relatable to her. Naomi was an incredibly anger person, but it wasn’t like he could expect Evelynn to like her.

“What about Tiamat?” Loren wondered. “Do you like her?”

“No,” Evelynn said flatly.

Another step backward, but the reaction was more potent.

“The Researcher?” Loren pressed.

Evelynn didn’t respond, and her mouth formed into a thin line, lips pressed together tightly. Reset was relatable to her, and there hadn’t been any response he could gauge when he’d mentioned Mara. Tiamat and The Researcher seemed to be off the table entirely; either she was too angry to talk about them or too scared.

“I don’t know enough about either of those last two to have formed an opinion honestly,” Loren admitted, “I’ll run into them eventually though, it’s bound to happen at some point. I guess I’ll have a chat with them then, see if we hit it off.”

“You should avoid them,” Evelynn murmured. “Unless you wish to become like I am.”

That was a piece of information that held some hidden facets—they’d done this to her, something that had already been speculated about to some extent. This was confirmation, though, and it also outlined to some extent what they could expect from them.

“Those two were the ones who did this to you? I’d come to the conclusion that they were the ones who switched Paragon out with the fake, so it makes sense.” Loren said, taking a stab in the dark.

Evelynn just stared at him, eyes glowing—and it took him a moment to understand that she was confused and then what it actually meant.

“You didn’t know about that?” Loren said, surprised. “Naomi didn’t either?”

“No,” Evelynn responded, still staring. “Paragon is gone?”

If she truly didn’t know, what did that mean exactly? Was Epilogue actually not involved in the whole Paragon situation? Or were they the type to compartmentalize their plans? Why would they keep something like that from Evelynn—why would they keep it from Naomi? Her stated goal was to kill the man and take his powers before moving onto the other Peacekeepers—if it had been Tiamat and The Researcher that had switched them out, why wouldn’t they have told her?

“I’ll admit that doesn’t make much sense to me,” Loren said slowly, “Do your teammates not share information or plans with each other?”

There was a small pause before Evelynn started to laugh quietly, and it was filled with so many horrible things Loren probably shouldn’t have called It such.

“You know so much,” Evelynn murmured, “But you don’t know this? Epilogue isn’t a team, Loren.”

Seeing how Lecture and Reset had interacted in the subway had shown him that there was some tension there, obviously, but he’d spent enough time around other teams to know that was pretty much universal—Everyone had bad days, even serial killers.

“You all work together towards shared goals,” Loren said lightly, “That says team to me; dysfunctional doesn’t equate to non-existent.”

Evelynn shook her head, and the heavy blanket slipped off her shoulders entirely, exposing the entirety of her gaunt and still naked form.

“I am pointed in the same direction as the other weapons,” Evelynn said, watching him. “I had a team once, and this is not that.”

Loren nodded in understanding, trying to unpack what that meant exactly. ‘Weapons’ was a loaded term if he’d ever heard one, and it didn’t sound like she was speaking poetically about it. It came across more like a title that had been assigned to her—and possibly the other members.

“I suppose that means Tiamat is the one aiming you?” Loren wondered, paying careful attention to her expression.

“Yes,” Evelynn said tightly.

Then that made her the one that Loren needed to be aimed at; cut off the head, and the body will die held a certain amount of irony given what the woman had named herself—but it should be effective either way.

There was a noise from the door, something heavy and metal striking against concrete, and he took that to indicate it was Alana’s method of informing him that his time was over. Evelynn had clearly heard the noise as well, and it served as a reminder to them both that they didn’t exist in a vacuum; her glowing eyes trailed away from the door and landed back on him, considering.

“Well, she spoke to me,” Loren admitted, shaking his head. “I guess that means my real superpower was making friends with villains all along.”

Alana cupped her armored fingers together on the desktop, knuckles down and thumbs interlocked.

“Yes, It seemed to go well. I apologize for interrupting you; it wasn’t my choice.” Alana apologized, “I had a difficult time getting permission for a complete unknown to speak with her, and that permission was quickly revoked once the information reached those in higher positions—I imagine this was something my other selves must have dealt with to some extent.”

“Yeah, we never spoke about that in the previous loop.” Loren admitted, “I ended up getting assassinated by Naomi before we had a chance to talk about that.”

Alana bowed her head fractionally before removing her hands from the desk, but Loren’s thoughts were pulling away from the current discussion despite himself. He couldn’t help his thoughts looping back around to the fact that in the past, he would have handled that conversation with far more empathy.

Loren hesitated before it all came pouring out of him.

“I’m changing,” Loren said, voicing his concerns. “I knew I would, right from the start. It’s happening in ways that I don’t notice right away, but it’s also getting harder to ignore.”

Alana took the complete topic change in stride and seemed completely unbothered by his expectation that she keep up.

“It is not unusual or even unexpected for situations as difficult as this to have an effect on you,” Alana responded. “Our frame of reference is vastly different, Loren. You are as I have always known you to be, and we only met yesterday. If you were to elaborate, I would be able to give you more constructive feedback.”

He wasn’t at all the same person, and the words were like an unexpected spike to the chest. Once again, he was made aware that all of their previous interactions were entirely one-sided. Alana had forgotten all of the previous struggles they’d gone through, the discussions, the battles, and everything else they’d shared.

He regretted speaking up because now he was confused, hurt, and angry.

“I keep noticing myself doing things that I wouldn’t ever have done before,” Loren murmured, “Taking the quick route when I know I shouldn’t, putting things off to deal with later because I know the other person will forget… It’s just…. Did you know that we used to argue about everything, Alana? Tactics, morality, how to deal with all of this? Now it barely happens anymore…. I just follow your lead—even when I think it’s wrong.”

Alana’s helmet stared back at him, revealing nothing—was she surprised? Had she already come to that conclusion somewhere in the back of her mind? She took a moment too long to respond, and it fed into his growing anger.

“There was a time where you locked me in a room and forced me to watch the death of Setalite City,” Loren said challengingly. “Because I refused to let a single person die, and I kept getting involved, trying to save everyone. Running around like an idiot and dying before the end of the city—it wasn’t the optimal course to take; it was a lesson and a punishment.”

Alana didn’t speak, and they stared at each other, the featureless helmet weathering the mixture of hurt and fury on his face. The silence grew strained, but instead of snapping, it just kept on growing, along with the rest of his bottled-up anger.

“You killed me once, you know?” Loren said, aiming to get some kind of response. 

Wraith vs Wildcard(Homunculus) – Artwork by Jocamecht.

“Put your hand right through my face and out the other side.” Loren continued, “Murdered me out of a mistaken revenge because the pain of losing all of your friends got the better of you—then a few loops later, you turned around and forced me to watch all of mine die in turn.”

“Loren…” Alana said softly, but he was too far in it to stop.

“I have to give you a pass, though, because it’s not the present you that did it, is it?—You’ve hurt me, jailed me, saved me, taught me, killed me—fucked me,” Loren spat, taking an awful pleasure in seeing her flinch, visible even within her armor. “We’ve been through so much, Alana—and you don’t remember any of it. What constructive criticism do you have for me? How am I supposed to feel about this?”

Alana didn’t have a response for him, and the chair clattered backward as he surged to his feet. Loren spun away from her, heading for the door—angry, hurt, and entirely disgusted with himself for taking it out on her.

Another one down my dudes.

We’re getting close to the end of season 2, which probably lands about chapter 70ish, give or take a few chapters. Were also at 180k words, which always blows my mind every time I see it. After this, we’re onto the final season. If you’re enjoying reading Reroll so far, leave a review, comment, or check out some of my other stories and do the same!

Reroll – Chapter 63 – Updated
Ameliorate – Chapter 8.

Community Links

Chapter 60

Setalite City Hero HQ, 9:22 PM.
Tuesday, February 22nd​, 2022.

Loren was the first to return to the meeting room, feeling both out of place while walking around the HQ and having little to contribute in the way of investigating that the others couldn’t. It didn’t help that the cracks were beginning to show, as each of the heroes had begun sniping at each other.

He sat down at the table and placed his head against the dark, reflective material of the tabletop.

The fractured nature of the group was almost entirely his fault—all of the discontents stemmed from the decision to report Dovetail at the start of the loop. Within two hours of being reported, the man was locked in a cell below the HQ, and his team was hit with the first stress point as a long-time member came under scrutiny for planning a cold-blooded murder. A wedge had formed between them—Secluded, Tag, and Fracture had banded together in support of the decision, while Raindancer, and Gradient, opposed it.

The second stress point was revealing what he knew to Mongoose—that had obviously caused a rift between her and Gradient, but further than that, it had resulted in the creation of an Anti-Gradient faction within the Rapid Response Team.

Secluded was clearly aware of what happened between Mongoose and Gradient, given her comments at the previous meeting, and it was entirely unlikely that the others hadn’t found out either, whether from that comment alone or by the fact that Mongoose had apparently left the team.

Those two things had contributed to the current configuration of the loop, and he wondered if there was anything he could do to improve it. Obviously, he could just not tell Mongoose about Gradient, as disgusting as the thought was, if it helped them survive the week…

The alternative and somehow even less attractive of the two options was to not report Dovetail—a terrible choice to make, but there were other ways to handle it. He could advise Alana not to bring him in initially and instead attempt to blackmail the man into inaction, leaving him in a state of not committing murder but also being around to assist his team in the coming fights.

Loren was hesitant to try that for obvious reasons, not the least of which was the moral implications for both of them and the fact that Dovetail would avoid punishment in the process—something that kind of pissed him off, given how the man had acted towards him in the previous loops.

He wasn’t sure what he would do exactly, but it was something to think about later. The main issue for now was—the door opened, and he glanced up.

“He’s nowhere in the building,” Raindancer said, moving to sit at the table. “No sign that he was in that hallway at all actually—the equipment that was on camera is still locked away in the closet, untouched.”

Loren listened quietly and nodded.

“His power clearly isn’t defensive immunity to other powers than,” Loren said in response.

“Yeah,” Raindancer said, “Doesn’t make sense anymore, given what we know.”

“I was thinking about it,” Loren mumbled. “He knew exactly when to disappear to avoid a confrontation, and now we find out that he was never in that hallway to begin with.”

“Mm,” Raindancer said, encouraging him to continue. “I’m listening,”

“Let me think for a minute,” Loren requested, leaning forward onto his elbows and closing his eyes.

“Did you forget to turn your brain on?” Raindancer said, amused. “I hope that’s not a reoccurring problem.”

Loren blew a huff of air out of his nose before turning his thoughts inward.

It was a matter of strategy and desire—People only ever did things they wanted to do or things they received some kind of benefit from doing. So it was a matter of simulating what a person might want or do in a situation.

‘Mathew the Leak’ wanted to mislead them, he wanted to gather information, and he wanted to avoid being caught.

Somehow Mathew had learned that they were going to attempt to apprehend him—Loren’s first thought had been directed, perhaps uncharitably, towards Secluded and Tag having something to do with it. Given their spirited defense of the man, it wasn’t impossible that either of them had warned him in advance.

That thought had changed over the next hour as some of the facts made their way back to him.

Mathew had drawn their eye to a specific part of the building and concealed his real location in the process—well enough to avoid being picked up on a camera in the building or the surrounding ones. He’d somehow known they were watching him in real-time and dropped the fake scene in the hallway the very second they’d gone after him.

Mathew could mess with what they saw, heard, and felt; that much was obvious—the cart had rattled when it was pulled to the side, the wheels failing to catch on the slippery floor; Touch, sound, and visual elements were present. Yet the water had vanished along with the rest of the equipment, which had apparently never left its place in a locked room. So the question was, where was Mathew while they were watching the empty hallway?

Loren knew where he would have been.

“He was in the room with us,” Loren said slowly, opening his eyes. “That’s how he knew what was happening—he was using his power to make us think he was on the other side of the building, but he was here listening to everything that was said.”

Raindancer sat up, alarmed, pressing her finger against her earpiece.

“Wraith, timeguy says Mathew was in the room with us during the meeting, be advised he could still be around,” Raindancer said seriously. “What? You could have shared that with us already—”

Loren turned his attention to the room as Raindancer complained about Alana’s tendency not to share her deductions. If he was right, it was entirely possible that Mathew was still here, or at least still in the building.

Having a couple of hundred invisible hands right now would make him feel a lot safer.

“Anything else I should be passing on?” Raindancer said, annoyed, hand still to her ear. “You both seem to have a theory on his power—Somebody share it with me?”

Loren hummed quietly to himself, figures that Alana had already worked it out. There had been a furious discussion after he’d first vanished about the nature of his power, and the common theme spoke aloud had been some kind of teleportation due to his abrupt disappearance, but it hadn’t fit properly.

Alana hadn’t mentioned her own theory then either.

“He created a fake but physical scene that worked both in-person and via a camera—either he’s messing with anyone that looks at him and causing some kind of guided hallucination, or he’s leaving a multi-layered illusion over an area before leaving.” Loren said, frowning, “If it’s the first, he could go literally anywhere, and nobody would be able to ever tell because they would fall under the effect as soon as they saw him. The second is probably better for us, so let’s hope it’s that.”

“Why would it be better?” Raindancer prompted. “Not you! I’m talking to timeguy. You had your chance to share with the class.”

Loren could almost imagine Alana’s sad face under the helmet.

“A passive effect doesn’t require him to know that we’re looking for him, and we would get caught in the effect even if we snuck up on him,” Loren murmured before looking up at the ceiling. “I’m not even sure how you could get around that without a power that directly countered it somehow… Scratch that, we could make a big deal out of something secret and lure him to a building that will lockdown after a certain amount of time; once he’s inside, we fill it with gas.”

Raindancer stared at him silently, but he was lost to himself for the moment.

“The multi-layered illusions, on the other hand, would be an active ability that he has to be aware enough of a threat to use,” Loren nodded to himself. “It would still depend on how paranoid he is—if he’s walking around and constantly dropping new illusion fields, it would be difficult but not impossible for one of you to gank him with those annoying darts that Wraith uses.”

“Did you get all that?” Raindancer said, talking to Wraith over the earpiece. “Yeah. How long? Tag didn’t even back us up over the Dovetail thing, you sure you want to trust her with this? I can do it.”

Raindancer removed her hand from her ear.

“I’m on timeguy guard duty until tomorrow,” Raindancer said like she hadn’t just twisted Wraith’s bracers.

“That’s not my name,” Loren said dryly, “Lanette.”

“Doxxed by my comrades, at my own workplace no less,” Raindancer said sadly, “Never thought I’d see the day. Lucky for me, there’s about seventy-three Lanette’s in the phone book—I already checked.”

“I already knew your name long before that,” Loren pointed out, “I was stuck in a cell next to your brother Darius once—had a front-row seat to you breaking him out.”

Lanette looked taken aback as he dropped her brother’s name.

“I don’t have a brother—and for the record, I absolutely would never break a villain out, regardless of their relationship to myself,” Lanette said quickly before swallowing. “Okay, I’m starting to realize that you are a lot more dangerous than I first thought—Loren.”

Loren decided to keep the fact that she was also responsible for killing both him and Emma when she flooded the building under wraps. Instead, he decided on a more lighthearted comment.

“I think that’s how Darius Felt,” Loren said dryly, shattering the last of her false courage. “When you gave him the step-bro treatment in front of his teammates.”

Loren patted himself on the back as her expression turned alarmed once more.

Suburbs, Setalite City, 9:47 AM.
Wednesday, February 23rd​, 2022.

“The fact that I had to wake you up speaks volumes of your ability as a bodyguard,” Loren said, amused.

“I’m a light sleeper.” Lanette insisted solemnly. “I would have been up in half a second if anyone tried anything.”

Loren just shook his head.

“So the snoring was just a show to lure an attacker into a false sense of security?” Loren mumbled.

“Exactly,” Lanette agreed.

His attention had fallen back to the handheld monitor Artisan had given him—a series of small drones were streaming a feed to the device in a rotating sequence. He swapped back to the camera that showed a bunch of kids messing around in the nearby park. One girl, shorter than the rest, was trying to join in but was being mostly ignored by the others, while a few adults paid the minimum required attention to the scene.

Eventually, her persistent nature turned the irritation of the other kids into anger, and one of the larger girls pushed her to the ground. Loren found himself watching it on edge, knowing that the girl on the ground was Naomi Low in disguise, and if any of the children had known, they would have run screaming from the park.

A woman that Loren identified as Kallin Dale—the same woman that Naomi would go on to ruthlessly torture and kill—walked past carrying a grocery bag in hand and paused when she spotted the group of children surrounding the downed girl. The parents that had been nearby moved to intercept the group around the same time that Kallin did, and soon the group was dispersed, leaving Kallin alone with the short girl.

They spoke to each other at the edge of the park, Kallin looking concerned before Naomi took her hand, and they left. Loren felt sick watching, knowing that the woman whose only sin was helping a small child walked towards her gruesome death, completely unaware. He switches camera feeds as they left the stationary drone’s field of view and tracked them as they moved towards the Dale residence.

Loren switched cameras until he found the one in the sewers, unnaturally bright and clear given the location—some kind of solution Artisan had come up with to see in the dark. This drone was moving, slowly creeping through the dark, and he could just see the top of Untold’s head at the bottom of the frame—something inhumanly tall strode past ahead of her, gone too quickly to be identified. An alert flashed at the bottom of the monitor, followed by a beep. An overlay appeared, showing a series of yellow dots and a single red one all moving through a labyrinth of transparent blue walls.

“They found Taker,” Lanette said, far more seriously now.

The camera lagged behind as Untold sped up, and before it had even turned the corner, there was a small vibration beneath them. The camera showed Taker on the ground, with each of Untold’s limbs pinning the much taller woman’s own to the ground in a full mount.

There was a moment when it looked like it was already over, and then the two of them blurred—something clipped the camera, sending it spinning away once it had regained control and reorientated itself on its position, there nothing to see, as the ceiling had collapsed.

The comms lit up, and voices started making callouts rapidly.

“Taker is topside; she’s headed further into the city.” Untold grunted, sounding muffled. “I’m down; she managed to bite me—Seeker, pull me out once you’ve wrapped things up.”

“Understood,” Seeker’s calm voice said. “Artisan?”

“Follow the plan.” Artisan said evenly. “I’ll intercept Taker.”

Loren switched camera feeds again until he found Artisans assigned drone; the man was standing in the middle of the street, hands at his sides, looking unconcerned.

“Wraith?” Lanette said into her own comms. “Want us to assist him?”

“No, stay off the field. We are moving on Deceitful now,” Wraith said calmly, “Radio silence, please. Seeker?”

“We are ready.” Seeker said calmly.

Takers form appeared on Artisan’s drone, silently landing on a removalist truck at the end of the street. Two seconds passed as the two stared at each other, and then Taker vanished. The front half of the truck crunched downwards as she kicked off it before reappeared directly in the air in front of him, crouched on something invisible.

The invisible object flickered once, and a tall humanoid figure made from a smooth silver material appeared. An instant later, some kind of forcefield washed down over it again, removing it from sight once more.

Taker was thrown backward, but she kicked her legs up, arcing into a perfect somersault and landing on the road lightly. She turned to look out of frame for a second before something shattered the road beside her and then impacted on her face, sending her tumbling to the side.

The drone moved higher to show more of the street—Taker blurred, and a silver humanoid flashed back into existence before vanishing again, and once more, Taker was hit from the opposite side by something invisible.

“There’s more than one of them,” Loren said in understanding.

Each time the automaton’s appeared, they were perfectly unharmed, and Loren frowned as he tried to figure out what was happening. Was it the invisibility field? It was being canceled every single time they were hit, but the attacks weren’t going through?

Taker seemed to come to the same conclusion; after she managed another hit on one of them, she went after the visible form before it could vanish once more, and she managed two consecutive hits on it before she was intercepted by the others. The invisibility field came down again, but now two sets of claw marks marred the surface of its armored form.

“Taker has discovered a winning strategy,” Artisan said calmly, “Status?”

An automaton landed an invisible attack on the back of Taker’s thin leg, pressing down and shattering the tarmac around them before it was hurled away, missing a leg.

“Still paralyzed,” Untold said, bored. “Hope someone comes and digs me out soon.”

Taker spun suddenly, claws outwards, and three of the automatons appeared, reaching for her. One of them lost its arm, shoulder, and entire lower half as she turned the spin into a downward kick that ended up buried in the road.

“I have Deceitful contained,” Wraith said immediately. “Kallin Dale is safe and has been removed from the battlefield.”

The other two automatons vanished again, and Taker stumbled backward from a strike to her torso before dragging her foot backward and stomping downwards—the one with the missing leg appeared, impaled on her leg and its hand wrapped around her thin ankle.

“Secluded and I are ready to assist,” Seeker said calmly. “On your call.”

The remaining two automatons went down soon after before Taker turned her attention on Artisan. She almost made it to his position before she stopped in mid-air again, and her arms were pulled out to each side.

“Seeker.” Artisan said calmly.

Taker ripped her arms free of the invisible restraints as Seeker, and his passenger appeared on the feed directly behind her. Taker vanished, leaving Secluded standing with her hand outstretched as the now broken silver cables fell to the ground around them.

“I’ve got Taker,” Secluded said, sounding subdued.

“Holy shit,” Lanette said, surprised. “We actually did it?”

“I don’t think we did anything,” Loren commented.

Loren switched through the feeds until he found the one where Untold was still buried and was just in time to watch as the debris started to float upwards and out of sight. The drone followed Untold as she was raised out of the hole and into the light. Seeker’s tall form spent a moment creating a raised barrier around the hole in the road with the debris before the two of them vanished.

“Our objective is complete,” Artisan said calmly. “Wraith?”

“Regroup at the HQ,” Wraith responded. “The cells are ready, but we have no restraints capable of holding Taker for long should she prove persistent; Any assistance you can provide towards that end will be invaluable.”

“Of course.” Artisan agreed.

Chapter 60! We’re getting close to the end of season 2, which probably lands about chapter 70ish, give or take a few chapters. Were also at 180k words, which always blows my mind every time I see it. After this, we’re onto the final season. If you’re enjoying reading Reroll so far, leave a review, comment, or check out some of my other stories and do the same!

Reroll – Chapter 62 – Updated
Ameliorate – Chapter 8.

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Chapter 59

Setalite City Hero HQ, 7:22 PM.
Tuesday, February 22nd​, 2022.

Before he’d even realized it, Loren had spent the rest of the day at the HQ. Between the training with Mongoose, the meeting with the Peacekeepers, and accompanying Alleviate to Iza’s location, he’d managed to completely lose track of time.

It had been one of the most productive days he’d had in recent memory; even if his optimism was eventually smacked down, and the whole martial arts thing didn’t carry over to the next loop, he would still feel this had gone far better than he’d imagined. A permanent solution to the pheromone situation felt like the invisible pressure that had been slowly crushing him had finally backed off—just a little.

“Well, my job is done here,” Alleviate said before tilting her head. “You’ll probably need me to do this again next time, right?”

Loren dragged himself out of his thoughts enough to answer, glancing over at Iza, who still sat on the bed.

“Yes,” Loren said, “Is there some way I can personally contact you at the start of the loop to get you to help me out with this? I know I have the Peacekeepers code phrase, but being able to call you up individually might prove way more efficient.”

Alleviate scratched her hair before shrugging.

“I’ll give you my number, but I’m really not one for codes and stuff.” Alleviate said, flashing him her contact details on her phone. “Just tell Wraith to pass it on to us with the other stuff, and I’ll drop by.”

Loren took them down to memorize later; as far as temperament went, Alleviate was on the same side of the scale as Emma in a way. Easy-going, laidback, with a take things as they came up attitude.

“When did you first get your powers?” Loren prompted, genuinely curious.

She seemed roughly his age, perhaps a few years his senior.

“Hmm? Oh, I got them during the battle against Starsealer, same as a lot of people,” Alleviate said, looking vaguely haunted. “I was just a normie working at a casino, and the first I’d heard of it was when the building started coming down on top of us during the fight.”

Loren nodded in understanding. It hadn’t been the first nor the last of attacks of that nature, but it had been one of the more notable. Starsealer, Levima, Marrow, and Monstrous were only a few of the tragedies that had happened across the city in recent memory, and he was now in a position to know that they weren’t even the last. Every time something happened on that level, there was a surge of people who awakened powers in response.

“One of the women who was at my table had her arm cut off when the roof came down—then there were bubbles everywhere!” Alleviate said it suddenly, waving her arms up. “I had no idea what was going on, but I was stuck in there for a while, so I figured it out eventually. The woman lived, but she lost most of her arm and then tried to sue me afterward for trying to heal her.”

Loren didn’t know what to say to that, but Iza shifted enough to draw their gaze, and she paused at the sudden attention.

“That’s when I got my powers as well,” Iza admitted, perhaps feeling pressured to explain her reaction. “That entire day was just—I sometimes wonder if I shouldn’t have just left Setalite after that.”

“I don’t think it’s much better anywhere else,” Loren mumbled, thinking about it all. “Ragrim City is gone now.”

“That was gone years ago,” Iza said archly, “I wouldn’t have gone there—Saltwall maybe?”

“Ah, yes.” Alleviate said, gathering her possessions and nodding to them. “Nothing bad has ever happened there. I’m out, cya!”

Loren snorted, and even Iza shook her head, amused.

“Thanks for fixing us up,” Loren said seriously.

“Don’t worry about it,” Alleviate said easily, brushing it off. “No more sleeping pills!”

Alleviate waved and shut the door behind her as she left, not even waiting for Iza’s own gratitude. Loren realized he was now standing in a small room, completely alone with Iza—he quickly opened the door once more and stepped through.

“I’ve got stuff to figure out for this whole time travel thing,” Loren said in explanation, “Stay safe, alright?”

“Hey, Loren?” Iza said quietly.

“Yes, Iza?” Loren said hesitantly, watching her from the door.

“Did you ever think about me?” Iza said murmured. “After?”

Loren studied her for a long while—the early interactions with her had changed his view on the world fundamentally. It had opened his eyes in many ways, but it had also stripped away what was left of his trust in adults and authority figures.

Loren had spent an uncountable amount of time thinking about her—how ironic was it that she’d spent all that time thinking about him as well.

“All the time,” Loren admitted, quietly shutting the door.

Loren left the room and its occupant behind, thinking about everything. He found himself growing worried despite himself—he likely wouldn’t be able to tell with Alana, given she would be wearing her armor. But everybody else he encountered would be without the filter of the pheromones.

He’d spent years with them there, and suddenly they were gone—would people treat him differently now? Had the personality he’d developed in response to how everyone treated him no longer hold up under social settings? Would his jokes no longer land? Would his words upset those he had grown close to? Would his personality be revealed to be as shallow as he feared in the moments he was left all alone?

The janitor mopping the hallway moved his cleaning cart to the side to let him pass, and he nodded to the man in thanks, unwilling to speak.

He made it down to the next floor and was halfway to Alana’s office before he realized that something had been missing from that exchange. He slowed his pace, lengthening the time it would take him to reach his destination, frowning.

Loren was well aware of the man’s identity—He’d seen the pictures of him before, and he knew that he had yet to be cleared of suspicion and was still under covert investigation. Nothing had been strange about the man’s actions, not really, coincidence perhaps that it had been on the same floor that he was on, but it was the man’s job.

Loren came to a stop outside of Alana’s office.

He played the man’s actions over in his mind again, closing his eyes to concentrate. The janitor had spotted him coming and had leaned back to grab the handle of the cart, pulling it towards him and onto his side of the hallway.

Nothing strange about it—why did it feel like something was missing? The door opened, revealing Alana in her armor.

“Is there a reason you’re standing perfectly still outside my office?” Alana said curiously, “You didn’t knock.”

Loren opened his mouth for a moment and then closed it. He stared at her armored hand, pressed against the door, widening the space slightly.

“Loren?” Alana said, concerned.

“I can’t copy your movements,” Loren said slowly.

“Of course you can’t,” Alana said hesitantly, “You cannot see my body while I am inside my armor; we discovered this earlier today, do you not remember?”

Loren turned to stare at the elevator at the end of the hallway before turning his gaze upward to the ceiling.

“I couldn’t copy the janitor’s movements either,” Loren said strangely. “Mathew Kline has powers.”

The meeting took minutes to organize, and soon they were all standing inside the room. Loren hovered at the edge of the room, doing his best to remain out of the way. Mongoose was noticeable by her complete absence, but Gradient stood by the door with his arms crossed, staring at the ground.

There was a noticeable tension in the room that had nothing to do with the reason for the meeting, and Loren eyed them all warily.

“Wraith?” Tag said, breaking the silence. “What’s the situation?”

Fracture, the last to enter, moved from his place by the door to stand next to her.

“You are all aware we are currently investigating one Mathew Kline for criminal involvement with an unknown outside party. Mathew has now been discovered to possess powers,” Wraith said calmly, watching them. “We do not know what form the powers have taken or how long he has had them.”

Raindancer looked surprised by the topic but relatively uninvested.

“What?” Secluded said flatly, clearly on edge. “The only reason I went along with this was that you said it was to clear him of suspicion. I’ve known Mathew for years—he’s never shown any indication of having powers before.”

“I haven’t known him that long, but I speak to him all the time as well,” Tag added, concerned, “I haven’t seen him do anything suspicious—How do you know he has powers? What’s the rationale?”

“Loren,” Wraith said, not in answer, but as a request.

Loren moved up to join them, hovering at the edge of the group and opposite Gradient, feeling like he was intruding as their collective gaze fell upon him.

“Any movement a person makes that I can clearly see, I can copy perfectly, and it’s a very noticeable sensation.” Loren said in explanation, “I can copy every single person in this room, through your costumes, and through video footage, as long as I have a good visual of your body.”

He wasn’t sure exactly where the line was drawn between full-body latex and full-body armor, but it was there somewhere.

“The only person I’ve seen that I can’t copy is Wraith, and I’m guessing it’s because her armor completely blocks her actual body from sight,” Loren explained, “However, the uniqueness of her ability to frustrate me is no longer unique; When I passed by Mathew Kline earlier, my power didn’t work on him.”

There were some glances tossed about, but they seemed to take the information seriously.

“Loren, could it be that his uniform crosses whatever your threshold is—” Tag tried before realizing how weak the argument was. “No, that doesn’t make sense because it works on full-body costumes—never mind.”

Tag trailed off, but Secluded bounced off the argument, taking a different track.

“Perhaps it’s a defensive power of some kind—something that cancels other powers passively,” Secluded said pointedly, “It may be that Mathew had the power for a while but doesn’t even know it’s there.”

He remembered Secluded’s comments on the man’s ‘well-maintained body’ in the other loop and how he kept himself in shape. It had given him the impression that the two of them had perhaps dated in the past or were even currently involved in some manner.

“You’ve never used your power on him?” Loren wondered.

“Spicy,” Raindancer cut in with a laugh, seemingly unaffected by the building tension.

It was a bit inappropriate to mention that in front of the group, but if he had power like that, he’d definitely have used it to have some fun with a willing partner. Secluded grew flustered at the unexpected comments, and it hadn’t gone unnoticed by any of the others.

“I—yes. Okay, I have used my power on him before, and it worked.” Secluded amended, vaguely defensive at being caught arguing in bad faith. “That doesn’t completely discount the idea; it could be an immunity more specifically aligned towards visual powers like your copy ability, or something else entirely—Look, Mathew is a good guy, just because he might have powers doesn’t mean he’s the leak those two things aren’t mutually exclusive.”

“Dude, you’re a total Mathew simp,” Raindancer accused, grinning. “If he is the leak, then what? Are you going to become his lawyer next? Give him that pro bono because he gave you the prone bone’o—”

“Oh my god,” Secluded said, flushing completely.

Loren did his best not to laugh despite himself, but the battle was hard-fought.

“Shut up, youdumbass.” Tag managed, trying and failing to hide her smile.

“Lanette,” Fracture said, exasperated. “Please try to be serious.”

Raindancer shrugged like she’d done nothing wrong.

“Can we move this along?” Gradient said flatly, the humor unable to penetrate his bad mood. “Is he still in the building?”

“Yes,” Alana said, nodding. “He is still on the medical floor.”

“Share the feed.” Gradient said, without feeling, “See if it was a fluke or if Loren can use his power now.”

Alana turned, and a small black protrusion rose from the shoulder of her suit, projecting a crystal clear image of an upstairs hallway on the wall behind her. Loren stepped forward and watched for a moment—but he still felt nothing. He turned back and made sure his power was working on those in the room with him before trying once more.

“I’m not getting anything from the feed,” Loren admitted. “Can you bring up a second one—this room will work; I can compare the two, see if I get anything from the other one.”

Another protrusion and a second feed appeared—Loren looked between the now-waving Raindancer as she spun to find the camera and Mathew cleaning the hallway. Raindancer’s motions were as clear as day to his copy-sense, and still nothing from Mathew.

“I’m picking up everyone in this room fine, but I’m not getting anything from him,” Loren said honestly. “He definitely has some kind of power.”

“Mathew failed to disclose that he had powers when he joined the hero agency as a member of the support staff. He signed legal documents to that effect when he joined, just like everybody else does.” Gradient said, “That makes him a criminal—we need to take him in now; we can figure out if he’s the leak afterward.”

It was clear that he had already made up his mind on the subject; Raindancer seemed to be on board with it as well, judging by her easy nod of agreement—That wasn’t the case for the others, though.

“Hold on!” Secluded snapped. “We don’t need to rush this, Mark—let’s just talk to him first. We can ask him if he’s willing to undergo some tests to determine what his power is—we don’t need to go in hard on this one.”

The undercurrent of tension that had been hiding in the room revealed itself, no longer content to stay in the shadows.

“And if he isn’t willing to go along with it?” Gradient shot back, “What If he’s aware of his powers, and he is the leak? What if he’s been actively working against us this entire time? We will have lost our advantage over him; the bomb may be gone already, but that doesn’t mean this guy doesn’t have a backup plan—and he’s in on the plan to kill us all; stop treating this so casually.”

“You’re already treating him like he’s the bad guy, without even talking to him first.” Tag said, frowning, “He may still be an innocent.”

“This isn’t the time to argue—” Alana tried, but they ignored her completely.

Gradient’s attempt at maintaining civility vanished entirely.

“Real cute, Skye! That’s what I said to you about Louis, wasn’t it?” Gradient snapped, raising his voice. “How interesting that you didn’t give a shit about it then—what’s so different now? Is it because he’s your friend this time—fuck you.”

Tag flinched but lashed out in return.

“It’s different! We knew that Louis was planning it!” Tag said, shocked, “We have a fucking time traveler feeding us information!”

“That doesn’t mean he was going to do it this time!” Gradient shouted, stepping forward and stabbing his finger at her. “I could have talked to him—made him understand! You all just abandoned Louis for something he hasn’t even done yet! You’re playing at being the fucking thought police—”

“Mark, look—we’re all stressed, but we haven’t abandoned Louis at all; you know we’re seeking rehabilitation.” Fracture said gently, interjecting. “Nobody wants—”

Fuck off, Erin,” Gradient snapped, startling the man, “Always the voice of reason, aren’t you—after everything’s already been dealt with, grow a fucking backbone! You stood there like a coward while our friend was thrown in a cell.”

Fracture looked genuinely hurt.

“He was planning the murder of four people! You’re arguing for leniency for Louis, but here you are, ready to put Mathew in a cell with no proof.” Secluded said furiously, “You’re slipping, Mark—Leena, should have stayed; we can do better than you.

Loren noted the hypocritical nature of her argument but didn’t speak up—if Mathew was the leak, then he was complicit in planning the murder of an entire building full of people and the rest of the city as well.

Leniency, in that case, would be better served for the lesser crime—Dovetail.

“Eloise—” Alana reprimanded, most likely noticing it as well.

She did have time to finished, as Mark spun around on his heel and booted the door open, shattering the locking mechanism—he caught the door on its backswing and looked back at them.

“Bunch of real heroes, aren’t you? Sit here and defend your criminal fuck buddy all you want, Eloise—I’m going to go do our fucking job and stop the guy who is trying to kill everyone in Setalite.” Mark said, absolutely livid. “Then, I’m putting in for reassignment—I’ve had about enough of you fucking hypocrites.”

The door smashed into the frame as he left and swung open again as the lock failed to catch.

Secluded snarled, making for the door, but Alana’s hand clamped down on her shoulder. Loren hadn’t even seen her move; he’d place it more at the feet of his own distraction than her stealth this time.

“Fracture, assist Gradient. Make sure he stays non-lethal.” Alana said icily, “Everyone else, stay where you are.”

Fracture was out the door in under a second, a long rectangle on his back already unfolding in a series of complex motions and taking shape as his energy rifle. There were a few tense moments where Loren expected Alana to disappear into Secluded’s inner realm.

Alana eventually let go of her shoulder, and Secluded stayed still—the clenched fists spoke of great effort.  

“Well shit,” Raindancer said belatedly as the door swung closed again. “That didn’t go well.”

Loren glanced up at the projection on the wall, just in time to see Mathew Kline vanish into thin air, along with all of his cleaning equipment.

“He’s gone,” Loren said belatedly.

Another one down! 

Reroll – Some of the commission character artwork is now up on the wiki; Rapid Response TeamOgreOutplayedSparkliteWildcard. So go check it out. Discord roles for Reroll now available for Patrons as well.

Contention – Been working on a map for the new story, making sure I know where everything is before I start writing. Got some interesting stuff here, slowly figuring out the biome for the island the story begins on. Creatures, resources, etc. 

Reroll – Chapter 61 – Updated
Ameliorate – Chapter 8.

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