|Date posted||30 October 2012|
Regent emerges from the cell with Victor under his control and explains that Victor's power is awkward to use as a puppet. Regent cannot tell what abilities he's using or who he's stealing from without Victor actively helping, and Victor is unlikely to do so. Grue questions how they are going to get around this, but since Skitter is leaving soon agrees to see what can be achieved at that moment. Covering Victor in darkness, he initially picks up a foreign language (an insulting phrase in a Scandinavian language). Tattletale proposes that Grue is only picking up what Victor is using currently and suggests Regent makes use of Victor's muscle memory to perform some martial arts. Grue begins to slowly pick up some form of martial art although he laments not being able to learn it on his own in the future. Grue begins picking up a language again, and Tattletale deduces that Victor is mentally tapping into other skills to throw Grue off. She announces that she will see Skitter off and then ask Coil about the possibility of drugging Victor to mess with his mental functions.
Skitter and Tattletale make their way out to the metal walkway, from which Skitter observes the soldiers working. She questions Tattletale on Coil's reasons for keeping them around, and Tattletale explains that part of it is to prevent the soliders being employed by other people, but they also play a role in his plan as either a contingency or larger part. Tattletale proceeds to talk about the jobs Skitter will be doing tonight. The Travelers have a shaky relationship with each other and, as Cherish pointed out, especially with Trickster. Ballistic could potentially be disatisfied enough that he could become a mole for the Undersiders, giving insight into any plans Coil is keeping secret from them. She also explains that any plans Coil made will have been made since the morning, and she expects it to happen during the visit to the mayor. She affirms that she is positive Coil intends to kill Skitter, because all the details add up if she assumes as such. Tattletale then reveals that the rest of the team has been considering making Skitter the team leader, since Grue is now less reliable to hold his own in high pressure situations. Skitter does not believe she is particularly good at improvising other than for herself and argues that Tattletale has seniority and more experience, however Tattletale says Skitter underestimates herself and that dueling Mannequin is better experience than what she has.
Tattletale spots Ballistic approaching and gives Skitter some final information. Ballistic and Trickster were once good friends but have grown distant, and Ballistic is less interested in finding a fix for Noelle than the others, more invested in finding a solution to a secondary issue they have. Ballistic arrives and comments on their hushed discussion. Tattletale shares the fact the Undersiders are looking to change their leader, as a way of showing trust, before leaving to discuss drugs for Victor with Coil.
Ballistic quickly questions why Skitter is so interested in coming along on this mission. Skitter explains her desire to organise infrastructure and help people, and is interesting to see other territories to get ideas and see how people are handling things. Ballistic sees his duty as closer to that of a watchdog than a 'lord', and is satisfied with sitting back with cash and a fearsome reputation. He dismisses the idea of working hard to make people a little happier when the world will end soon anyway.
Skitter realises that Ballistic's anger is very different to Bitch's, his mostly manifesting as apathy rather than aggression. Skitter questions why he is so frustrated with her coming along if he only cares about power and money. Ballistic complains about the poor ettiquette of inviting herself along and his distate for Coil deciding to okay it, viewing it as undermining Ballistic's ability. Skitter questions why she should care about annoying him if the end of the world is coming, but Ballistic argues that coworkers shouldn't have to be concerned about infighting. Skitter declares that she works closer with people of her territory than the Traveler's members, and when Ballistic determines non-capes are distinctly different she points out the poor relationships between the Travelers. He notices her attempts to get information on the team, but she explains that while she is curious about the Travelers she needs to understand him to work properly with him.
Skitter begins to categorise Ballistic as someone intent on breaking ties and avoiding working with others as much as possible. She asks why he is angry with Trickster, however he deems that she doesn't need to know and the Travelers have a deal such that they avoid telling even Coil some things. Skitter questions if perhaps he needs to talk to someone about it more than she needs to know, but he brushes off the idea of a guy needing emotional support and asks why she is so intent on getting details beyond that needed for coworkers. Skitter is unable to vocalise a reply and the conversation halts. Ballistic then speaks up again, explaining that Trickster made a series of bad decisions that has left the Travelers with nothing but the group remaining of their old lives. He believes the other Travelers don't hate Trickster but respect him, or vice-verse, however Ballistic both hates him and doesn't respect him. Ballistic realises that Coil has no actual solutions to the Travelers' problems and knows that if he solved them he would lose their services, but despite caring little about his team or Coil is satisfied enough with his easy job that he doesn't want to confront anyone. Skitter asks how he's ok being alone, but Ballistic says he will be powerful and rich enough to get groupies and he has no interest in the long term with the end of the world looming. Skitter realises that making any progress here is unrealistic and ceases the conversation.
Approaching Dolltown, Skitter offers to attack first and take only half credit if she suceeds, with full credit to Ballistic otherwise. Ballistic sees this as confirmation that her intentions of coming with him and questioning him on the Travelers were done as part of a plan to get herself a larger reward later, and she intends to supplant the Travelers. He dismisses her claim that just wanted to give him a way to talk about issues and tells her he will make the move to take out Parian first and make it clear it was his work. Skitter agrees to this, but tells him she will stay out of the way since she has annoyed him, which he agrees is a good idea.
Skitter decides that she can still acomplish something with this mission, and makes her way in to Dolltown. She locates Parian with her bugs, and when Ballistic begins launching cars at buildings Parian follows instructions written out by bugs and meets Skitter in a damaged building. Parian is surrounded by people of her territory who are wearing concealing clothing to hide the work Bonesaw performed on them. Parian asks why Skitter has come, and Skitter explains that she has gone behind Ballistic's back to warn Parian and prevent Ballistic using her as an example. Skitter detects someone sneaking up on her and tells Parian she wants to talk rather than get in a fight. She offers to help get doctors for Parian's friends and family using her resources and money, under condition that Parian joins the Undersiders. Parian instantly refuses, but Skitter insists it is the best way to prevent Ballistic leveling Dolltown to hunt her down, and joining the team would allow her to keep things operating the same but with better access to resources. At this moment, the person sneaking around outside steps closer. Skitter turns to keep and eye on her, but she lunges at Skitter and effortlessly sticks the spikes held between her knuckles through Skitter's costume and into the bone at her shoulder. Flechette proceeds to shove Skitter to the floor and reiterate that Parian had refused the offer.
- Skitter is captured by Flechette.
- list any interesting facts about this chapter here
The Residents of DolltownEdit