Site Description: The Strongboat

The Regime’s new flagship is, to put it kindly, an ugly, lurching scow.  Unpainted steel mingles with scavenged plastics, conjured rivets cross hastily patched gaps.  The ship is an aesthetic nightmare.

This is due, predominantly, to the haphazard and slapdash method of construction.  Adder’s and Copyer’s powers, used jointly, allow for the creation of essentially any kind of matter.  This permits the Strongboat to grow as needed, expanding every day like some manner of sea cancer.

The Strongboat’s power source is a nuclear furnace.  To call this unsafe would be to understate the case.  A scavenged device which reportedly used to power an American submarine provides all of the energy that the vessel could need.  Haunter’s shadows strive mightily to keep it two steps away from calamity.

The Strongboat mounts a single gun, mounted on a turning surface near the first prow.  This gun is surprisingly large for the vessel’s length, and is unofficially known as Peggy’s Cock.  Haunter’s experts have opined that firing it would pose a structural hazard to that section of the ship.

The Strongboat’s armor is difficult to measure.  The ship is, in truth, a series of smaller boats.   The Company Men, expanding it day by day, generally create watertight compartments, and then fuse those on.  Some are heavily armored, others much less so.  Under kinetic assault the most likely outcome is that the Strongboat would split apart, and some portions would sink.

Its travelling speed is slow, and growing slower.  Each day there is more mass, more drag.  The engines, never mighty to begin with, are taxed to their limits pushing this ungainly mass through the waves.

Its crew, however, makes up for all of the above.  With two Fists and a member of the Inner Circle on board the Strongboat is carrying some of the deadliest Ultras in the world.  They are considered more than sufficient to deal with any possible threats to the mission.

Except perhaps one another.

No update this week: Gen Con

Hey folks, I’m going to be attending Gencon (Gen Con? GENCON? red underlines everywhere!) this week, so I won’t be updating TFD until the 23rd.  But when I get back we are starting the Strongboat arc, and I’m going to try and level up my writer abilities by it in the third person!

Thanks for reading!


Character Description: Fisher

Fisher’s Lure is a stunningly gorgeous woman, with fair skin and dark hair.  She looks like the post-makeover heroine of a romance movie.  In the midst of a crowd of the post-apoc denizens of the Regime, she absolutely draws the eye.

Fisher’s outfit is typically something impractically tight, often strategically ripped.  The Lure’s ability to dip into and out of her shadow form leaves her free from the more mundane considerations that other people suffer from.  She carries a pistol, and knows how to use it.  She hasn’t put much thought into generating other devices with her Lure.

The only obvious Ultrahuman trait about Fisher, aside from the rank impossibility of an actual person maintaining the Lure’s appearance, is that her shadow doesn’t obey the normal rules of light.  If she has both of her bodies out it stretches between the two.  If she only has one of them out then it moves as she wills.  It is actually very hard for her to mimic a real shadow with it.

Fisher’s attitude is generally calibrated to get what she wants out of an interaction.  She is frequently either seductive or threatening, depending on what seems most likely to do the job.  Her relationships with her teammates are probably the first real ones she’s ever had.

Fisher is mostly amoral, generally concerned with maximizing her chances at getting through the next day.  Her concession to her burgeoning feelings for Nirav is to add him to the concept of ‘self’ that she protects, but so far it doesn’t seem as though this empathy will generalize.


People who know Fisher well generally don’t have strong feelings about her.  She makes a heck of a first impression though.

Fourth Fist: Reflections on the Strongboat


I have faced a number of difficult choices in my mission, but helping with the Strongboat wasn’t one of them.

It isn’t that I support our mission.  I barely understand it.  Prevailer is, for the second time, sending us to talk peace with Her enemies.  All well and good, except for the fact that everyone knows She has no interest in peace, and particularly not with the Pantheon.

It isn’t that I can’t stand to see a good ship mistreated.  The Strongboat was never a good ship, and I always rooted for Army back when there was the big rivalry.  I could’ve watched the Regime fail to accomplish a task as old as the Odyssey forever.

No, the motivating factors here were Her tendency to kill the humans who failed Her, and my strong desire to have an ocean between us and First Fist.

First Fist.  Even the notion that they are after me chills my heart, but it is a fact that I have to face.  Remover wants me dead.  The woman who killed the old world, who toppled its cities and buried its people, is finally trying to finish the job.

I have no idea why.  They have always seemed generically evil, but I never imagined that they’d assail another Fist.  They never have before.  Something has set them against us, but for the life of me I can’t figure out what it is.  Only Her predatory interest in Dale saved us from a deadly confrontation.

It isn’t jealousy over Dale’s influence on Her, because they attacked us before they even knew about that.

Could it be their grudge against Preventer?  God knows the woman is obnoxious, but it is hard to imagine Remover risking their eternal lives to satisfy a petty grudge.

Ultimately, try as I might, there is no way to discern their motivation by sitting here and thinking about it.  The Jury chewed the problem over for a few hours, and didn’t come back with anything exciting.  That usually means that more information is needed.

At least the Strongboat’s construction went smoothly.  I had a few Navy men in the reserve, and some civilians who had owned boats.  They pooled their heads together and came up with a plan for Adder and the Company Men to follow.  It has been a wonder to watch the ship take shape.

Thinking about the Company Men, about Copyer, is sobering now.  During the building process I confirmed what we’d surmised.  We do not have final authority on them.  They check our instructions with another authority, and only act when She approves.

The method of this verification process is digital, but there must be more to it than that.  The Union would have tried what we are thinking of if it was just a matter of spoofing some electronic credentials.

I’m planning on asking Adder once we are out at sea.  His heart is in the right place, and I think that he’ll tell me.  Actually Fader might also know.

Thinking about it, the Strongboat is going to be a hotbead of rebellious sentiment.  With Adder, us and Sixth Fist there we have basically every one of Her internal enemies, all in one place.


I keep expecting Her to get bored of me.  I don’t know if I’m looking forward to it, or dreading it.  I keep thinking that today is the day that She’ll tire of me, but it never is.

Everyone knows that She goes through guys really fast.  A week or two, tops, and then She is on to the next one.  You slink back to your life and everyone tries to act like it didn’t happen, maybe a few nervous questions if you know some brave bros.

But it has been nearly a month now, and She shows no sign of moving on.  We eat breakfast together, She takes me to the Sniper Court.  A few nights ago She showed me some old movies.

It is super creepy.  On the one hand, She is generally at least a little kind to me, and Her protection is all that kept First Fist off of us that one time.  On the other I see the way that She deals with the people that She doesn’t like, and I keep imagining that it is my skull She is cracking, my guts She is ripping out.

I’m not sure what She gets out of it.  Physical pleasure, sure, but She barely seems to care about that.  We go through the motions, but She has been at this for a very long time.  Jaded doesn’t even begin to cover it.  I’m more like a prop than a boyfriend.  I fill some need, but I can’t ever figure out what it is.

I have learned some stuff I never would’ve guessed about Her though.

First off, She isn’t nearly as grand as I thought She would be.  I guess it is just a stereotype, but whenever anyone imagines Her they picture Her standing on a building, pointing up at the shattered moon or whatever.  She is much more likely to be found loafing on a couch or stuffing Her face with cookies.

She spends a lot of time with Subtracter, bossing Her around and generally being a big wheel.  She talks to Answerer every couple of days. That chick does not like me.  She gave me this death stare the first time we met, like it was my fault she is Her slave.

She also hangs out, from time to time, with First Fist.  Remover seems to be Her main gal pal.  Thankfully, She hasn’t asked me to go on any of these visits, but I bet they talk about me a lot there.  It isn’t a good feeling.

I’ve been thinking, lately, that She hasn’t got tired of me because She knows that I’m going out on this boat soon enough.  Like She is making sure to see me now, because pretty soon I’ll be far away across the ocean.

I think She thinks She’ll never see me again, but I can’t decide if She is happy or sad about that.


My mouth has finally stopped hurting, seemingly for good.  It took weeks, but I’m feeling much better now.  Still look like, in Her words, I spend my days looking for a dick to suck, but at least the pain is gone.

But the wound is not.  My lips still have a hole torn through them.  It isn’t getting any better as the days go by.

I’m going to kill Her.

I mean, I always was.  That was the plan.  I’m not safe while She is in the world, so She has to go.  But now that She has disfigured me I’m going to take a very particular pleasure in it.

I don’t age.  I can’t be harmed.  In a thousand years my lips will STILL have a gap in the center, and I’ll STILL have this stupid lisp at the edge of my voice.  There is no way to hurt Her enough to make up for this, but I’m going to give it a shot.

We have already deprived Her of Snitcher.  Let Her mount as many skulls as She likes on the walls, it changes nothing.  He is gone, and She is all but blind.

When we take Copyer away, She will be finished.  For, in taking him, we take the Company.

The real reason, I believe, that no one has killed Her, all these years, is the necessity of the Company.  The Process is in their hands, accessible only through Chens and Company Men.  When they are gone, there will be no new Ultras.

There’ll be no reason to keep Her alive.  The lords of the world, the Ruling Council of the Pantheon, who I just sent Andy to,  they will move on Her.  The Demon will be smitten down by the Gods of the Pantheon.

She’ll never know it was me, of course.  No desire for revenge could drive me to the madness that is being openly opposed to Her.  But I’ll know.

Even this latest idiocy serves my cause.  She is sending me to parley with the very people who will slay Her.  The very Pantheon who I have worked with at a distance.  I will finally be able to negotiate with them face to face, to grasp for myself the dynamics of the group that I intend to run.

That is the end game, of course.  The Fist will join the Pantheon when She is gone.  The Company being absent, Ultras will kill one another and dwindle as the years become decades.  Age will take its toll.  All save those of us who are immortal will pass away.  All save me.  The Fist and I will rule the Regime, rule America, at first on the Pantheon’s behalf, and later on our own merits.

When the history books are written, they will speak kindly of me.  I don’t wish to restate the old chestnut about that being because I intend to write them.  No, they will speak kindly of me because I will be standing over the reader’s shoulder, correcting any misapprehensions.


Nothing like a few weeks in Shington to bring you down.

I keep telling myself that I should be elated.  I should be walking around on Cloud Nine each and every day.  He is gone.  Condemner is gone.  My life is no longer slaved to the will of a terrible maniac.

Except, it kind of is.

Every day I go walking, I see the skulls.  They are impossible to ignore.  They catch my eye, and I get flashes of the bones of Condemner’s victims, crumbling away to ash.  These grisly trophies aren’t even granted the dignity of such a fate.

At least Condemner, monster though he was, actually killed for a reason.  The souls of the slain granted him power, an addictive high.  Prevailer doesn’t really give me the impression that She is really even aware of what is going on out here.  These people are dying because Remover wanted to kill them, and She didn’t care enough to ask for a decent reason.

Remover…now there’s a terrifying person.

I’ve been asking Haunter about her, as part of my general quest to learn some history, to fix some part of my blank slate.  Apparently Remover was part of the original government response to Her, they’ve been thick as thieves since back in the day.

Remover messed everything up, deliberately.  The glass half empty world we live in came about because she steered it here.  No one knows why.

Maybe it is just the fact that I’m learning all of this for the first time, but that seems insane.  Remover has the highest kill count of any known Ultra, her Fist spend all of their time committing atrocities…and now one has any idea of the reason.

I guess I can understand it.  Who cares what the misfiring brain of a rabid dog that is savaging you is thinking?  You just need to put it down.  But to me it just makes the whole situation more chilling.  What if First Fist dies and their hatred just moves to another host?  That doesn’t make any sense, but neither do their current actions.  There is something we don’t understand, and It scares me.

I’ll be glad to get out on the water, even on the Strongboat.  Sixth Fist aren’t the worst people in the world, and Adder is probably my favorite of the Inner Circle.  I can’t complain about the company.

The Pantheon are reputed to be savages, but so are we.  Reputations can be wrong.  Krishna wasn’t nearly as bad as the people in Shington.  I’m still not sure what exactly went down on that night, but I’d bet my Sigil that there was more to the story of Condemner and the Pantheon than we pieced together.  Depending on what it is, we may have a very interesting reception waiting for us.

Most importantly, there will be an ocean or two between us and Her.  I’m not sure that’s far enough, mind, but it is a start.


The Strongboat is, objectively, garbage.

You’d think, with the ability to literally create matter, we could make a decent boat.  It seems like the ancients pulled it off without any Ultra powers at all.  They literally used machines to push stuff around.  And yet we weren’t getting anywhere until Haunter stepped in.

Apparently the orders were a big part of the problem.  She wanted a boat that carried aircraft, and nobody was willing to tell her that wasn’t going to fit in the river, so we had Company Men sinking portions of a super huge boat in, that would never float on their own.

By the time they got past that, the next problem had become obvious.  They build in the water.  So there is nowhere stable to work on things.  They were assembling the boat out on smaller boats.  Haunter put a stop to that quick enough.

None of this was unavoidable.  Adder could probably have solved it in an afternoon, if he cared.  Prevailer is from the old world.  She could have told them what they were doing wrong.  (Probably, I don’t really know what She did back then.)  She didn’t.

It is hard to avoid the realization that we are, as a whole, staggeringly bad at doing anything that doesn’t involve fighting other Ultras.  This is the capital of the Regime.  If there was anywhere we were gonna have our act together, it would be here.  But it is this ridiculous circus.

First Fist are still putting up more heads.  I doubt anyone has ever been fooled by this talk of a new Snitcher, but they are keeping at it.  I fervently hope that they are just having Company Men replicate some poor sucker for endless beheading, because otherwise we are going to run out of daggers.

If Haunter hadn’t shoved that guy into Remover’s beam, we’d have had a fight between Fists, over literally nothing.  Just two of our best units trying to kill one another.

Not that I’d mind if First Fist turned up dead, mind you, just pointing out yet another instance of the Regime screwing ourselves over.

It really speaks to Her power that she can proceed in such a pants-on-head fashion, and still fend off all comers.  It is kind of terrifying.

Haunter and Preventer seemed to have made up, at least most of the way, and that usually means something is afoot.  I don’t know what those two have planned, but whatever it is they are probably going to put it in action at this meeting with the Pantheon.

That’s fine by me.  I’m here for whatever the rest of the Fist decides.  As long as it isn’t Torturer there is nothing that can get to me.

Not with Condemner gone.  Not once there is an ocean between me and that place.

I don’t know how far apart Fists can get, but once we are on the other side of the ocean, I’m thinking about testing it.  Nirav and I could live quite happily away from all this madness.

Character Description: Condemner

Nirav is a young man, tall and dark.  He has short, straight dark hair, cut severely around the sides and kind of piled up tall on the top.  His clothing is part of his form, and is generally jeans or something similar.  Nirav doesn’t have any wear or tear on his clothing or flesh, as it is recreated from time to time.

There isn’t really anything distinctive about Nirav.  Aside from his Sigil (typically a golf visor or something similar) you wouldn’t even necessarily know that he’s an Ultra.  When Condemner is manifesting control or influence over him a portion of his form, typically his eyes, becomes flame.

Condemner’s flames, by contrast, are obviously Ultra in origin.  They only behave like normal fire when he isn’t manipulating them.  Otherwise they form daemonic forms, race across flammable surfaces in search of fuel and otherwise betray their unnatural nature.

Nirav is friendly and generally affects an easy demeanor.  He is a bit naive, a bit innocent, and is easily impressed.  Nirav’s overall attitude is that of an awe struck tourist.

Condemner, by contrast, acts like essentially id personified.  It revels in destruction, glories in the abomination that it wreaks upon the world that fuels it.  Any words it speaks have only proven to be levers that it uses to arrange the world in a more flammable configuration.


Nirav isn’t the sort of man who anyone has a strong impression of.  Condemner is feared by all who know of it.

Fisher 5:1

I kept on walking after Nirav headed back.

We’d started out on our trek in order to give Preventer and Haunter time to vent, and we’d basically done that, but in the process I’d realized something else.

Nirav was in a great mood, borderline euphoric.  I, by contrast, was a big swirling bundle of insecurities.  I couldn’t stay around him. I’d be bound to bring him down.

So when he turned towards Preventer’s big house I split off, waving him on.  I wasn’t going to stay out long, but I needed to walk alone for a bit.  Get my sulk on.  Feel sorry for myself.

As I strode along I let the Hook fade out, pulled my sigil off.  I didn’t want to be part of Fourth Fist for a moment, didn’t need the pressure or the attention.  I wanted to be anonymous, isolated.  To really let my bad mood kick me around for a while.

Why had I let Torturer’s memory get to me that way?  Why couldn’t I leave it in the past?  Nirav had a psycho monster sharing his head and he never let it get to him like this.  Haunter literally let someone die every time she fell on her face, and it never seemed to get to her.

Well, that wasn’t true.  She was forever teetering on the precipice of some kind of existential plummet, but she always kept on tottering onward, like some kind of wind-up martyr doll.  Why couldn’t I just do that?

After all, it was in the past.  I was out.  Nirav loved me, and the rest of the crew had my back.  I didn’t have any reason to be worried that I’d be subjected to Torturer’s gift ever again.

I stopped, slapped my fist against an angled piece of rubble.  I’d actually trembled when I’d had that thought.  Literally quaked in fear of someone who was locked in a dungeon.  Pathetic.

“Don’t do that!” someone called, under their breath.

The dagger kneeling on the stoop was looking up at me with unfeigned terror, his hand fluttering in a ‘get over here’ motion.

It took me a second to realize that he didn’t know who I was.  How long had it been since I’d met someone like that?

I walked over to him, not sure whether or not I was going to correct his mistake.

He was a young man, not out of his teens, the beard he was sporting clearly the first of its kind.  Dark skin, though lighter than Nirav, with the slight build typical of those who subsisted entirely on the Regime’s protein powder.  Poorly off, to judge by the condition of his clothing, or at least not in the service of any important Ultra.

“Are you crazy?” he asked.  “Are you not from around here?  If you mess with the skulls they will kill you!”

Mess with… I looked back.

There was, indeed, a skull set high up on the doorframe that I’d hit.  He must have thought I was trying to jolt it into falling down.

“I wasn’t messing with the skulls.” I told him.

“You want to explain that to the Knights?  They’d kill you for seeing you do that!  Jeez.  When did you get to Shington?”

How long had it been since I’d dealt with a human without invoking the Regime’s authority?  It was hard to even recall.

“Just today, just now.” I told him.

I slid the Hook into his shadow, felt quickly through his priorities.

“Oh, wow.  You must be wondering about all this shit.  Here, let me explain.”

As you’d expect for a resident of the Regime, he put keeping himself safe at the top, along with some other boring stuff.  There were a few lower priorities relating to impressing and helping me though.  I started boosting them.

“A little while back some KEM guys snuck up and killed one of Her slaves.  She got super pissed and had them crack down.  You gotta stay away from the Ultras or you will get gacked.”

“Oh…thanks.” I said, giving an expression that was shooting for something between ‘relieved’ and ‘thankful’.  “Is that all that’s going on…?”

“It’s Paul, and that’s the biggest thing.  I mean, there’s also the ship thing on the Potomac, but that’s not going to be of any interest to you.”

He wouldn’t normally have said that, but right now he was strongly incented to be helpful.

“Ship thing?” I asked, reaching out and taking one of his hands.

He jumped slightly, then spoke in a slightly higher pitched voice.

“Haha, yeah, um, there’s a like a ship that they are building out on the river.  It is way too big or something and it keeps sinking and the Knights are all around it and stuff.”

I felt my spirits lift, slightly, at the opportunity to investigate something.  It would keep me away from the rest of the group while I worked through this bad mood.

“Thanks,” I told him, and started walking off.

I wasn’t surprised to hear him call out to me as I moved away, I might have juiced him a little too hard.  I waved a hand over my shoulder at him and he got the message though, settling back down into his door frame.

I moved through the city once again, but this time with a purpose.

I’d never actually gone towards the docks on the outer part of Shington.  I just figured it was pretty much the same as the rest of the ruins around the Lair.  I was surprised to find that it was much more lived in than the other parts of the city’s outskirts.

People thronged on every block, their numbers dwarfing anything I’d seen in any of the Regime’s outlying cities.  It made sense.  People sought the capital, then fled the Lair, and ended up here.  The abundant Company Facilities and the safety that came from hiding under Her shadow let them prosper.

The skulls mounted on the buildings reminded me, of course, that that prosperity was dependent on a madwoman’s whim, but it had apparently been real enough to fill the outlying areas with people.

I started having to weave between folks, the streets were legitimately crowded.

I passed the kind of buildings that you rarely saw in the rest of the Regime.  Purpose built structures that weren’t just repurposed ruins.  People had actually come together and erected these houses, and they were well maintained and looked after.  It honestly wrong footed me a bit.

The actual waterfront was more abrupt than I figured it would be.  There weren’t beaches or anything like that, just rubble dropping down to the river’s surface.  People were fishing, so I definitely wasn’t near anything restricted yet.

I moved down to the water’s edge, looked up and down the river.  It wasn’t hard to pick out what the guy had been talking about.  There was a large boat like thing about a half mile to my right, away from the Lair.

I started down the shore towards it, seeing more details as I got closer.

I didn’t know too much about boats, but this one didn’t look like any that I’d ever heard of.  It was boxy, for one, rather than narrowing to a point it sort of just sat in the water.  It looked more like a building’s top floor, resting firmly on the hidden supports, than it did anything floating.

There were walls rising up around the edges, and some kind of horn things, decorations I presumed, coming from each corner towards the middle.  The entirely thing looked vaguely ramshackle, bolted together in a way that made me deeply suspicious as to its seaworthiness.

Knights barred my way as I pushed along the water’s edge, the nearest holding up a hand to halt my progress.

“Her orders say no dag-“

He trailed off as the Hook manifested above him.

I smashed him aside and continued, the other Knights rushing to his aid as he skidded across the ground.  Refiner’s power would shield him from harm, probably.

They hadn’t verified that I belonged here, but they still wouldn’t try to stop me now.  Knights were for bossing around daggers.  Without an Ultra to command them, they wouldn’t dare to move against me.

With both bodies, and having gotten a little closer, I could see the ship better.  It actually had a prow, or whatever you call the front of a ship, I’d just been viewing it on edge before.  It was still a fat ugly scow though.  The disparate pieces that made it up seemed to come from a bunch of different boats, and probably some buildings.  I couldn’t tell how they’d been fixed together, but surely the comically oversized rivets had to be just for decoration.

The next person to try and stop me was an Ultra, leaping up out of the water.

I was caught off guard by this, my attention had been fixed on the boat.  She landed right between my forms and slapped the Hook sprawling into the dirt.

“Wait, hold on!” I yelled, even as the Lure jumped into the water.  Even as I spoke the Hook was rising again, and she was bearing down on it.

She was just as big as the Hook, and nearly as monstrous, with long tendrils for arms that swiftly entangled the Hook.  I struggled, but with both forms out I wasn’t nearly as strong as her, and she had the Hook pinned down in a moment.

I swam the Lure up against the side of the land, hiding it behind some rubble.  I was just about to drop the Hook into my shadow and try to escape when I heard a familiar voice crying out.

“Stop bullying Fisher, Twister.”

At that, the woman pinning me down went limp, allowing the Hook to get away.

Twister…shit, she was from one of the other Fists.

I pulled the Lure into my shadow, then remanifested it alongside the Hook, facing Twister.

It was definitely her.  She was a distorted woman, arms and legs much longer than they ought to be, with blade-like spines running along the edges.  Even her neck was a foot long, and as I watched she began to sort of ‘coil’ these various appendages back in, shrinking her size down to something like a big person’s, rather than the ten foot battle form she’d confronted me with.

“Sorry,” I said.  “I didn’t recognize you.”

I was mostly trying to buy time and settle down.  I hadn’t run into someone who overpowered me quite so handily since Subtracter had jumped back by the Castle.  Twister had overcome me utterly.

She didn’t say anything, but looked over to the side where Blinder was walking towards us.

I couldn’t tell if Blinder was using her gift to distort what I was seeing or not.  It was depressing to think that she could fool me even when I was scrutinizing everything I was seeing, but it was also depressing to think anyone could look quite that put together while they were stationed on guard duty in a wharf.

Blinder looked perfectly composed, her tuxedo flawlessly pressed and carefully tailored to fit.  Her sigil was a beret, and she wore an armband with a great big 6 on it.  There wasn’t a spot on anything, not a single speck out of place.

I could never really sympathize with Alerter, who was, of course, a maniac, but the rumors that she’d been driven over the edge by trying to compete with her elder sister made a bit more sense when I confronted her in person.  She positively radiated competence and a serene confidence that made me want to hit her with a brick.

“Fisher, so good of you to drop by.  I thought you’d still be getting settled in after your trip,” she said.

I tried to keep the embarrassment out of my voice.  Bad enough to get jumped and thrashed, but to have it happen in front of another Fist was just the worst.

“Oh, wow.  You know me?”

What was I saying?  Of course she knew me, from the interview.

“I’ve been reading all about your adventures.” She said.  “Subtracter has been filling us in on them.”

I managed to avoid flinching at the mention of Subtracter, but I couldn’t stop myself from quickly scanning the sky around us.  No sign of Her attack dog, but of course with Blinder around I couldn’t really trust my eyes.

“Reading?” I asked.

“We get reports.  Back when Snitcher was active they were much better, of course, but even now they are pretty comprehensive.”

I chuckled, as though I was amused at the idea of an Ultra as mighty as Blinder reading about us.  Inside I was shaken.  Who was reporting on us to Sixth Fist?  Was it some kind of Regime system that I could be tapping into to read about the others, or something special about us?

“Why…here?” asked Twister, her voice a metallic rasp.

“I was just going to check out the boat.” I said, once again responding before I thought better of it.  I was pretty sure that if I could check my own priorities ‘impress Blinder’ would be climbing to an unhealthy level.

“That makes perfect sense!” declared Blinder.  “We are going to be shipmates, so of course you would want to check it out.  Do you have any ideas about what to call it?”

“Shipmates?” I asked.

“Dumb…name” rasped Twister.

“Wha…no, I didn’t mean for-“

“Esther, it is NOT a dumb name.” scolded Blinder.  “Don’t be so down on the newbies.  Naming boats isn’t something you can do wrong.”

I mumbled something under my breath, even as I registered more fully what she’d been saying.

What did she mean we’d be shipmates?  Prevailer was putting two Fists on a boat?  What possible purpose could that serve?

“Bad…Name…” insisted Twister.

“I mean, what did you mean that we are going to be shipmates?” I clarified, the Lure flushing slightly.

“You will have to ask Fader about the details,” she said.  “We are going to be sailing around the world, assuming we can get the boat to stop sinking.”

I took that in for a moment.  Sailing around the world with Sixth Fist.  What possible reason could She have for making us do that?

“I’ll ask her.” I said.

Even as I watched, a section of the boat, one of the strange horns that overhung the main deck, clattered down in ruins.  Shouting could faintly be heard from across the water as people rushed over to it and tried to do something.

“We are going in that?” I asked.  I tried to keep the skepticism from my voice.

“Yeah“ said Blinder, with a breezy lack of concern that I kind of envied.  “It is being built big, so that it can handle whoever the Pantheon sends to talk.”

“The Pantheon are going to be talking with us…on a boat?

This was insane.  They knew that Indulger needed the ground under him in order to do anything.  I wasn’t really any better in water.  None of us were, honestly.  We had zero experience in aquatic environments.

Why not send Third Fist?  Leveller’s power made her supreme out on the ocean.

“Not…with…us,” buzzed Twister, her voice cutting through my thoughts.  “They…talk…with…Adder.”