|Date posted||7 July 2012|
With the four members of the Slaughterhouse Nine blocking the exit to the garage, Skitter begins desperately trying to formulate a plan that will let the group escape or fight, but the Siberian's presence removes most of the options. As she devises an idea with Grue's darkness and a retreat in the direction they had come from, Cherish speaks up to comment on this spark of "hope and inspiration". She describes Skitter as a worm; as low as someone can get while still having an identity of their own. Jack warns Skitter and anyone else who might try anything that him and Siberian will attack and even if they killed him they would die for it.
Bonesaw talks about her intention to make her test fair because she likes both of the candidates present, which Skitter realises does not include Noelle since Cherish would know she was elsewhere. Bonesaw talks about the possibility of having both Vasil siblings on the team and then expresses her love of dogs, revealing Bitch as the second nominee. Siberian and Bitch stare at each other, indicating the former to have been the members of the Nine who nominated Bitch.
Jack comments on the meetings being planned to plot against the Nine before going on to talk about the tests they will face. Failing a test has a consequence that is decided by the person who set the test and is not always death. Mannequin and Siberian give the same tests every time; Mannequin makes them alter themself in a way that costs them something and Siberian hunts the remaining half of the candidates after half are gone. Jack himself tends to wait till last and explains that unlike Bonesaw, he has no interest in playing fair. Regent asks what tests Cherish had, out of curiousity to what his sister had to go through. Jack reveals that when she killed Hatchet Face, Crawler considered his test to have been passed because he didn't think she was worth his time. Bonesaw created a parasite that remained in the blood for 48 hours and removed her powers while it was there, with the extra stipulation that if she didn't drink lots of blood the effects would be permanent. The amount or type of blood was not specified. Siberian hunted her on the second day of the parasite's effects and for the following two days, catching up to her twice. Immediately after Siberian's test, Shatterbird trapped her in a room with nothing but a glass shard in it that would attack her if she tried to rest. Skitter notes that this shows Shatterbird has longer offensive range than Cherish. Jack continues to say that Cherish failed Burnscar's test and refuses to explain it. He then makes her show them the horrific tattoo on her back that she got for Mannequin's test, explaining that this was the point where she finally broke and accepted that she was one of the Nine. Jack then makes her turn around and show them another tattoo across her chest, revealing that he made her do all the tests again. Regent comments that Cherish is not headed for a fate worse than death; she's already there.
Cherish threatens Regent, saying that the rest of the Nine will kill him better than she ever could. Tattletale questions why she needs the rest of them and Cherish and her argue about each other's attempts at manipulation. Tattletale reveals that Cherish intends to take over the Nine in the long term using her power to make them attached to her. Jack lashes out, slashing Tattletale's cheek all the way from her mouth to the edge of her jaw. He explains that the Nine were already aware of Cherish's plans and wanted to wait until she tried to pull it off. Bonesaw had fitted the group with safeguards that would have removed Cherish's control and fitted artificial neural connections so Cherish wouldn't realise the group knew. He expresses great disappointment that he didn't get to see the look on Cherish's face when she failed. When Cherish questions what they will do with her, he dismisses it as not a pressing concern.
Skitter and Regent attempt to use cloth to stop some of the bleeding, though Jack claims Tattletale will die of blood loss before anything can be done. He goes on to explain the main reason he came was to give two warnings. Firstly, to encourage the two 'heroes' who are candidates to take part in the tests, Bonesaw has devised an unspecified biological weapon transmitted via water that will be used if some candidates fail to play along. The second warning is that Shatterbird will "sing" in 34 minutes and Jack encourages them to keep clear of glass or beaches and remove any objects with screens from their pockets, explaining that it wouldn't be good for the candidates to die before they can be tested. The members of the Nine then turn to leave.
Tattletale manages to indicate that she wants to use a pen and paper and Skitter interprets her shorthand writing and conveys the ideas to the Nine. Tattletale asks what happens if there is more than one candidate left at the end and Jack replies that they are pitted against each other. She proposes a game; if more than half the candidates survive all the tests the Nine leave the city with one volunteer. When Jack questions what the Nine get out of it, Skitter explains that it is a challenge and will keep things interesting and fair. Jack decides that the Nine will discuss the idea but will add their own terms and a harsh penalty for their victory.
Skitter is desperate to alert her dad and the people in her territory of the impending attack but is reluactant to leave Tattletale. At Tattletale's urging, she leaves her in the care of the others and begins running towards home. She tries to call home, but recieves only an automated message saying the number is not in service. She judges that she has five or six miles to run in 30 minutes, and the streets are in terrible condition.
- Cherish's deceptions and plans are revealed.
- Skitter goes to alert the city.
- A "Glasgow Grin" are famous because people are know to survive and carry those scars with them for life.
- Thus Jack showcasing his sadism.
|Chapters||12.1 • 12.2 • 12.3 • 12.4 • 12.5 • 12.6 • 12.7 • 12.8 • 12.x • 12½|
|Battles and Events||Meeting at Crater Lake • Skitter vs Mannequin|