A/N: Chap 26 review responses are on my forums as normal. As for this long chapter? It is violent, but also important. But for those who are queasy, be warned. Coil is not a very nice man.


Chapter Twenty-Seven: Wealth Attends Only A Short Time

Lisa leaned back in her chair and swallowed two ibuprofen dry. Through the wall of her room in the Undersider's lair, she could hear Alec's thrash metal blaring while he played one of his games. She knew Brian was apartment hunting while Rachel was wherever Rachel and her dogs went when they didn't have a job.

She looked back at her laptop where the latest news release set the web on fire.

The PRT didn't do things by half-measures with Telos. Chief Director Costa-Brown herself flew in to Brockton Bay and had a joint news conference with Director Piggot to announce a series of criminal investigations into the "attempted assassination" of Taylor Hebert, whose cape name was now Telos. They were spinning it masterfully, naming Coil personally as the true villain of the whole affair.

They then went on to paint a word poem of the saintly Telos, who selflessly healed North African refugees in Spain. The story heavily implied but did not say outright that Hebert initially triggered during the Moroccan Endbringer attack. No word of the elder Hebert, or where the Endbringers were.

"Though there were misunderstandings and friction, due to the selfless work of Legend, Alexandria and Narwhal of the Guild, I'm proud to announce that Telos has agreed to a full associate status with the Protectorate," Costa-Brown said. "Telos voluntarily agreed to power testing in New York and will be returning to school. And this morning, based on that power testing and her potential to save countless lives, the President of the United States designed Telos as an essential asset in the common defense of the United States under Title 6-71. Now, are there any questions?"

"Will there be any consequence for Shadow Stalker's death?"

Lisa's power helpfully informed her that the question was scripted and the reporter a plant. Then again, most of the cable news networks were essentially mouthpieces for the establishment.

"Telos was not aware that Shadow Stalker was a Ward. More importantly, she could not have known that Shadow Stalker had been suborned by Coil. All she knew was that a parahuman dressed like a villain shot her repeatedly in the back with the intent to kill while she tried to defend her school against a greater parahuman threat. While the death of any Ward is tragic, the prosecuting attorney has determined that Telos acted in self-defense."

"Wow," Lisa muttered. "No respect for the dead." Lisa knew from her own research that Shadow Stalker was not one of Coil's agents. No, the girl was just a sociopathic cape with a hate-on for Nazis and a deeply mistaken understanding of who and what Telos was.

"And the Park Ranger agent she killed in the White Mountains?" The planted reporter managed to make herself sound antagonistic, putting herself at the head of those who didn't quite believe the narrative before any of them could question it themselves.

"That was a tragic accident. Telos intentionally removed herself from a populated area. The Ranger pilot, not being aware of what was happening, moved to investigate the disturbance and his craft was caught in turbulence caused by Telos power. We have eye-witness testimony that she made every effort to heal him, but was unsuccessful."

Lisa turned the video clip off. She switched back to the PRT official page where they had every Protectorate and Protectorate-associated cape listed with known power classifications.

Telos (Associate Cape)

Brockton Bay, NH

Power Classification: Trump 10

Biography:

Telos is a powerful trump with an impressive array of abilities ranging from Mach 150

flight to Alexandria-levels of strength and endurance. She can speak any language, can breathe underwater and can heal nearly any wound or illness. Because

of her wide array of powers and the strength those powers display, Telos has been

designated a Title 6-71 cape and is considered a major asset in the defense

of the nation against possible Endbringer threats.

The boards on Parahumans Online were already exploding over the story. A shadowy villain setting up a new powerful cape to fail? Whoever that deputy director was that uncovered the plot was probably already in line for a promotion, if he didn't already have one waiting.

Trump 10. How else would they classify a god?

The gang violence had died down completely. As news filtered out that both the Empire 88 and the ABB were both manipulated into open fighting at the hands of a third villain, neither showed any interest in continuing the fight. Still, Lisa felt her nervous. After all, she'd just stolen five million from her boss, and as of that morning had finished her secondary insurance policy. She had something to be nervous about.

Her power didn't warn her to run just yet, but she knew the time was fast approaching.

As if just thinking about him was enough, her work phone rang with the boss's select tone. She answered on the second ring. "Yo."

"You've seen the news release?"

"Yeah, they're kinda throwing you under the bus, aren't they boss? Did you see on PHO where one of Kaiser's stooges said they'd pay a million for your head?"

"I'm worth far more than that." The tone was cool, but her power assured her the man was stressed. Still confident, oddly, but stressed. "Still, I believe Brockton Bay is no longer the best location for my operation. I wish you to begin researching locations in Richmond that might be suitable for your gang."

"I'll get on it, Boss. When will we get word on the next job?"

"Oh, I'll have something ready for you before the end of the day. Normal terms, with bonuses possible. I'll see you soon, Tattletale."

He ended the call.

She opened her second burner phone; her hands shook as she pushed a programmed number on it. Brian answered on the first ring. "I'm busy, what do you need?"

"Busy doing what? Did you already find an apartment?"

"What? No, the boss found me and Aisha a place in Florida. Van's already here, and Dad's helping me pack up and grab Aisha. We're leaving in a few minutes."

With every iota of acting skill she had, Lisa forced a grin so her horror wouldn't reflect in her tone. "Right. Sorry, just wanted to make sure you got the message."

"Yeah, last night. Call me when you to get to Boca Raton. Boss said we'll have a job pretty quick to get some rep going among the locals. Already has a couple of new teammates for us."

He hung up.

Tattletale calmly put the phone on her desk, shut down the five browsers she'd been using, and then screamed as loud as she could. She screamed until her throat ached and her voice cracked.

Alec moseyed into her room without knocking. "What's with the screaming?"

Her power was still running at full speed, and just like the first time she met him, she summarized the young man's entire existence in the blink of an eye.

Affected interest only, feels obligated to inquire because she is a teammate. Doesn't really care. Lack of engagement, lack of pupil dilation or contraction coinciding with eye contact: limited emotional depth, deeply repressed emotions and/or depression. Sociopath.

"Oh, nothing much. Our boss is going to kill us."

"No shit? Huh, you'd think he'd send us on more jobs first."

Even with her power, Tattletale couldn't tell if he was serious or being sarcastic.

"Get your stuff. We're leaving. I'm not shitting you, Regent. Our boss is Coil. That new cape completely fucked up his plans here, so he's going to liquidate his assets and leave. We're his assets. Get it?"

"Huh. Better go get my games."

Lisa was not surprised by his priorities and chose not to exert energy on helping the broken young man figure out what he should or should not flee with. He fled from his father, the parahuman serial-rapist Heartbreaker, with less.

She resisted an urge to scream again; her throat hurt too much from the first time. She already had a Thinker headache brewing. When she called Rachel, the phone rang six times before going to a voice mailbox the canine-master never bothered or even figured out how to set up.

Brian was pragmatic. His morals were flexible, but his loyalty wasn't. Because Coil helped him get his sister away from his drug-addled mother, Coil had earned his loyalty.

Coil recruited Lisa, on the other hand, at the point of a gun. Both she and her boss knew she was only as loyal as he could force her to be under threat of violence. She would absolutely betray him at the first opportunity. Already had, in fact.

Regent wasn't even capable of loyalty. His father damaged him so badly he wasn't capable of any in-depth emotions. And Rachel? Rachel Lindt, known to the public as Bitch, was loyal only to her dogs. If she didn't answer her phone, it was because she was probably already dead.

Through the wall, she could hear Alec shuffling through the various games he was going to run with; not clothes or money. Just video games.

She, meanwhile, got up from her desk and walked to her closet. The Kevlar vest was uncomfortable, but she slipped it on anyway before throwing an oversized sweater over it. She put on her hidden pocket holster before changing from her working pajamas to a pair of oversized, water-proofed cargo pants that would hide the holster better.

She grabbed her bug-out bag, filled with a few essential personal items, a lot of incriminating evidence regarding Coil's spy network, and fifty grand she'd been skimming off Coil since he first recruited her. The real money was with the Number Man, the cash was just for emergencies. She grabbed the .32 mm Barretta from inside and slipped it into her concealed holster.

By the time she reached the living area of the loft that served as the Undersiders lair, Alec had gathered twenty video games and a can of soda into a woman's purse that he'd thrown over one shoulder. He was standing between their new white leather couch and the window, having just grabbed his scepter and the porcelain mask he used as part of his costume.

"Right. So, Tats, where are we…?"

His chest blossomed in red. Blood sprayed all over the couch. Lisa did not hear any report.

"Man, that sucks. That was a new couch," Regent said, as if talking about a coffee stain, before toppling over the back of the sofa.

Lisa didn't even have time to scream before another bullet slammed into her Kevlar vest and sent her stumbling back onto the floor.

Sniper. Professional. Goes for body shots, not headshots.

Heavy caliber but not armor piercing. Penetrated vest but not deep enough to enter chest cavity. Broken rib, bleeding. Sending spotters to confirm kill. Coil not overseeing operation, using power elsewhere. Would be dead already if Coil were overseeing. Holy fuck this hurts.

That meant she had a chance. As much as she hurt, she didn't dare move. Just seconds after the shots were fired she heard the door downstairs kick in with a heavy, metallic thump. Two men ran up the stairs. Lisa dared not open her eyes yet; instead she followed their progress over the floor.

"Handle the master," a gruff voice said. "I'll take care of the thinker."

Five yards and closing. Going for single round head-shot, point blank. Not going to risk anyone playing possum. Sniper maintaining overwatch.

A single shot rang out with shocking volume. Alex already dead, second shot didn't hurt him.

Her own death was only a few feet from her now; the mercenary intended to walk right up, put the barrel to her forehead, and kill her.

She heard his foot come down close to her and acted. Without opening her eyes, she kicked as hard as she could at his planted ankle. Brian could have broken the ankle. Lisa didn't have that much physical strength, but what she had was enough to twist the man's ankle through his boot and cost him his footing.

A gun fired so close she felt something burn across her cheek. Her ears rang from the discharge. He shouted a warning to his partner as he stumbled. She reached into her hidden holster for her gun. Rolling to her left, she tried to keep her assailant between her and the sniper. She snapped her eyes open just in time to see the man trying to bring his weapon to bear on her again before she fired her gun for the first time ever at a living target.

His head snapped back. Headshot. Fatal wound.

Lisa scrambled to her feet before a tract of fire burned its way through her side. She couldn't help the scream as the second merc fired at her. The bullet hit a weak point in her vest and went straight through. She returned fire, using her power to extrapolate the best places to shoot with her admittedly limited skill.

It took four bullets before one finally hit the second gunman despite him only being a few feet away. Lisa collapsed under the table as another sniper round took out the vase over her head. Laying prone and aiming with both hands, she fired two more shots at the second man where he fell. Taking her time to aim, both shots hit—head and neck. The merc stopped moving.

Sniper calling in reinforcements. Reporting to Coil. Need to run.

She switched out clips and grabbed another pistol from the first merc, a heavier weapon than what she was used to. Still a Berretta, she noted. She grabbed an extra clip for the new gun from the man's vest, slipped one into her hidden pocket holster and another into just her pockets, and paused only long enough to grab her bag before she crawled, bleeding profusely, toward the old laundry chute that she and Brian had fitted to be an escape route if the lair was ever attacked.

She reached the old factory's basement just as boots echoed across the floor above. A full squad of mercenaries came this time, five in all.

Part of original hit squad. Occupied with other target until now. Rachel's dead.

The basement door led out into a narrow alley behind the red-brick building that, fifty years ago, helped make Brockton Bay a manufacturing powerhouse. It didn't surprise her to see a mercenary keeping guard attentively near the entrance. Even if Coil wasn't personally supervising, he only hired the best.

She aimed through the barred basement window at his ankle. She tried not to wince at the sound of his bone shattering. He hit the ground with a cry of pain that her second bullet ended. Only then did she rush out and dash across the alley into the neighboring building.

This one wasn't abandoned. A virtual army of half-naked Japanese women, all of them drenched in sweat from the horrid working conditions, looked up in alarm as the armed blonde woman stumbled in.

"Oh, don't mind me!" Lisa said over the noise, heat and stench, as she ran through the center of the drug production floor. Brian never understood why they set up their lair so close to an ABB sweatshop. He would if he were there at that moment.

She could see a pair of ABB enforcers running toward her. The thought barely had time to register when Coil's mercenaries burst into the door behind her. The hundred or so Japanese women screamed and hit the floor at the first shot. The ABB men, having to choose which was the greater threat, decided the five heavily armed mercenaries were more dangerous than the bleeding, running blonde girl, and reacted accordingly.

The front of the store as she charged out looked like a dry cleaner. More angry shouts reinforced how little she was welcome. She rushed through the storefront without a care, slipped her gun back into its holster, and emerged into another street in the middle of the old industrial side of the Docks neighborhood.

Her beat-up old Fairlane sat right where she'd left it. It was one of the ugliest cars she could find, but she kept it working for just this reason. She climbed in, started the car, and drove.

After the first few moments in the Fairlane passed, the reality of being shot twice settled in a grinding agony in Lisa's chest and side. "Fuck, fuck, fuck," she whispered as her vision narrowed. She could not afford to pass out-she'd never wake up again.

Telos can heal. She can heal me. She can protect me. "I don't want to die."

The Fairlane chugged along, moving north toward the Docks neighborhood where the entire city knew Telos lived, since she was an unmasked cape. Had she started school yet? Lisa couldn't remember.

She paused at an old stop light, looking constantly around her while her chest and side throbbed and bled. She was still too close to the Boardwalk. Too close to their lair. Finally, the light turned green. She pushed down the sticky gas pedal and felt the car jerk tiredly forward. She was a third of the way into the intersection when she saw fast motion from her left.

Black van targeting me. Coil's men.

With a curse, she slammed her foot down on the gas. The old Fairlane's engine roared, but like an old lion it produced more sound than power. She wasn't able to completely clear the intersection before the black van slammed into the rear of her car.

The Fairlane spun; she turned into the spin and hit the gas until the car stabilized and she drove back the way she came, back toward the Boardwalk. The van spun around faster than she could have managed and roared after her.

"Fuck," she cursed. She had to blink away tears so she could see.

There was no way she was going to make it to Telos. Coil must have known she was going to try. The SUV that even now tailed her was probably just one of dozens. She'd never make it within a mile of the place.

Have to find a public place.

She considered driving to the Police Headquarters on Lord and 2nd, but quickly dismissed the idea. She'd been shot; they'd hospitalize her under police guard, and she'd be dead within the hour. Coil had even more plants in the BBPD than he did the PRT.

Her salvation came in the form of a school bus. The orange BBSD buses carried not just kids, but even from where she sat three blocks away, large brass instruments.

Holy fuck. It's the city's sesquarcentennial! Brockton Bay was 350 years old that day. The banners on the light poles told her. She flitted her ailing old Fairlane right behind the bus, only for another and a third bus to fall in behind her.

Her tail backed off. Lisa allowed herself a brief sigh of relief as she followed the bus loads of Middle School band students to the Boardwalk. She drove past the school buses toward one of the three parking garages that served the Boardwalk entertainment district. She drove past the first two until she reached the smaller, third garage. She parked and walked as quickly as her pained body allowed toward the tourist area. She just reached the edge of the Boardwalk when she spotted a different black SUV drive into the same garage behind her.

Tracking my car. Tracking me. What… Fuck.

"Stupid, stupid, stupid!" she hissed with tears in her eyes as she pulled out her primary phone. She pulled out the SIM card, snapped it in half, then threw it away. She pulled the memory disc and slipped it into the pocket of her pants before tossing the phone into the garbage. The damage was done.

She remembered reading about the city's official celebration, and whether it would have to be cancelled because of the gang violence. The Wards and at least one or two PRT members were supposed to be on hand. If she could find the Wards, they might give her shelter on the Protectorate HQ.

The buses had unloaded the various bands from the city's five middle schools and they were all setting up on temporary bleachers in Symphony Green along the edge of the bay. The crowds ahead were already gathering. Breathing was hard. She looked down at the red leaking between her fingers and down her legs under her pants. Losing blood. Risk of hypovolemic shock due to blood loss. I'm being followed.

Lisa's whole body shook as she walked down the Boardwalk toward the crowd. It took every ounce of will she had to walk straight. She couldn't afford to stagger or fall; she did her best to hide the fact that she had a hole in her side that was slowly soaking through ballistic vest she wore. The same vest is all that kept the blood from her chest from showing.

The brisk air made her teeth chatter so hard it was difficult to keep her eyes focused.

Ahead of her, it seemed almost as if the world stretched out away from her gasp. It felt almost as if the Ward Vista were playing with her; or like that scene in Poltergeist when the hallway stretched out before the desperate mom who wanted to help her screaming kids. Her power caused a sharp, pained spike from overuse behind her eyes.

Two men behind me. Dressed like Boardwalk Enforcers coming fast. Not Coil's front line. Too eager. Sloppy. Expendable.

Want to make me suffer. Will make me suffer.

Her lungs burned and her eyes watered as she tried to accelerate her steps.

Trap. Something worse waiting for me. Coil now personally involved. Will never make the crowd.

The men behind her would not care if she screamed. Especially not now that the bands began playing. From the way they moved and the almost bestial hunger on their faces, they'd probably enjoy it more if she did. The fact that she was in a public place did nothing to aid her, especially not when the distant bleachers exploded into a horrible sound that was supposed to be the National Anthem.

God, Middle School bands suck. All the parents applauded and cheered their kids on, only one out of five of which could actually hit a note correctly, and of those only one in three could hit the note at the right time. The cacophony actually made her power hurt as it unhelpfully provided information on every single wrong or mistimed note.

A figure drifted out of an alleyway between the Express Espresso and the Cape Emporium directly in front of her. Short, compact and muscular build. Clean shaven, short-cropped hair, with a huge, prominent and oft-broken Sicilian nose and a torn left ear. The edge of the crowd watching the bands perform was just a hundred feet behind him.

Creep. Coil's personal bogeyman. Sociopath. Deviant.

None of Coil's other captains would have him. Even among professional killers, Creep was a monster. And right now, that monster was looking right at her with an utterly blank face. No smile, no smirk. Just a quiet, simmering hunger that communicated so much to her power that Lisa groaned. She felt hot fluid mix with her blood as she momentarily lost control of her bladder. She lowered her eyes as she slowed.

"I don't know if you can really hear prayers, Telos, but I could use some divine intervention about now," she whispered. "A deus ex machina would be awesome." Her eyes burned as she squeezed them shut. Telos, please, hear my prayer!

Creep moved forward. The two Enforcers were coming from behind. So, close she could see their smiling faces, she watched proud parents beaming as their brats flailed about on old, donated tubas and trumpets.

Telos, please help me! I don't want to die.

Terror forced her body to move regardless of what her power said. Her desperation overrode what her power was telling her, forcing her to turn to the nearest illusion of safety. She ran into a bakery shop.

Mistake.

The back of the shop looked empty—no one stood at the register or behind the glass case of pastries. Four men and two women sat at various tables. Lisa recognized every one of them. The red-head was the very same British woman who was there when Coil first forcibly recruited Lisa into his organization.

The villain himself sat at a booth in the corner, out of sight from the windows. He was in his full costume with his featureless hood covering his face. The white snake silhouette ran around the otherwise black body suit in a grotesque fashion that carried all sorts of Freudian suggestions.

"Have a seat, Tattletale," Coil said. He motioned the bench opposite him. "Before you fall over and make a mess."

"All this just for a donut?" Lisa said, forcing a grin. "Jeez, boss, you should have just told me. I'd have picked you up…"

A strong hand gripped the back of her neck hard enough to elicit a whimper. The owner of that terrible grip half-pushed, half-lifted her toward the table. The hand squeezed so hard Lisa cried out and her knees collapsed, plopping her right down on the bench across from Coil.

"You're not looking well, Tattletale," Coil said. The fucker sounded smug. "Are you getting enough sleep?"

"Oh, you know, me and Prince Ambien are good friends. I'm sleeping fine."

"Good, good." He sounded amused. "I wish I could say the same. I've had several sleepless nights as I was forced to close down my operations here. Do you what know bothered me the most?"

"Is it the living goddess with wings who breaks your power?" Tattletale guessed flippantly.

Coil was not amused. "Creep, please cut off Tattletale's right ear."

Means it. "What? Wait! Please! Please…I'm sorry. I'll…"

A strong hand slapped the back of her head so hard her face slammed into the table. It then pushed down on the side of her skull even as she flailed weakly, until a line of fire sliced efficiently down the side of her head, cutting off her ear in one fell swoop.

The thing about it that confused her was that her nose actually hurt worse than her ear. She could feel blood pouring down the side of her head into her shirt line, but it was the throbbing of her nose that really made her head hurt. She felt dizzy and nauseous. She didn't bother turning away when she vomited bile and blood onto the table.

Coil didn't even flinch.

"Hmm, blood in the vomit," Coil said with clinical detachment. "Never a good sign. Let me explain something to you, Tattletale. I'll make sure to use small words so you understand. You are going to die. Keep that in the forefront of your mind. You are going to die. We both know that you would betray me at the first opportunity. So, when closing down my operations here, there really was no alternative. The reason why it's been so painful so far, though, is because you made it personal. You stole from me, Tattletale."

He leaned forward and propped his elbows on either side of the pool of vomit on the table. "What you have to ask yourself is whether you wish to die today, with a clean bullet in your head, or if you wish me to give you to Creep as his personal plaything. Understand that if you choose that route, I will ensure you have the best medical care so as to prolong Creep's pleasure. I will also personally cut out your tongue and remove your feet. Creep, as you might imagine, has no interest in conversation, and he doesn't care to dance."

"Please," Lisa whimpered, so desperate she tried the one thing she'd never tried before.

"My dear, it's far, far too late for 'please'." He reached out one gloved hand and caressed her cheek, like a lover. "The cash you skimmed off my daily accounts was nothing. Fifty-thousand could be forgiven with a simple bullet. But imagine my surprise when I followed up with Saint and discovered a five-million-dollar discrepancy between his price, and my payment. More importantly, my computer experts tell me that a significant amount of my private databases have been compromised. I want the money returned, and I want to know who you gave that data too. Give me what I want, and I promise you won't suffer any more."

She knew he won. Because if he didn't win, he wouldn't be there. How many versions of this scenario did he play out with his precognition before all the pieces fell where he wanted? Did he let the scenarios run out just to see how much he could make her suffer before she died?

"Mailed a USB drive to PRT Boston," she whispered. Even to her own ears…ear, she sounded dead. Hollow.

"When?"

"Last night. Post office drop off."

"And the money?"

"Number Man."

He leaned back. "Business knows no loyalty, it seems," he muttered. Of course, he'd be familiar with the parahuman money launderer. Most parahuman criminals in the world dealt with the Number Man in one form or another.

Abruptly something changed. Coil's masked head jerked as if he'd just been punched. The motion was followed by an angry curse.

"Omega!" he called urgently to his people. "Creep, shoot her."

Coil's mercenaries all jumped to their feet, brandishing the most advanced tinker-tech weapons Coil had in his arsenal. It didn't matter. The front doors exploded in a shower of glass, twisted steel, and feathers.

Creep, having just reached toward his holster, made a strange sound as a blade made of feathers bisected not just his head, but the entire length of his body. Other mercenaries flew against the walls or collapsed under fists that easily shattered bone as the very person Lisa prayed to earlier easily laid into them.

Lisa collapsed to her knees and threw up again. Her head throbbed with the double whammy of power abuse and her many wounds. Her side, chest, nose and ear all hurt so bad she was crying from it even as she crawled weakly toward the half of Creep that held his weapon. Blood and innards had spilled across the floor in a disgusting mess that she didn't even consider, so lost was she in her own agony.

Coil, of course, thought only of escaping. He was running toward the back door with the red-headed mercenary at his side. The whole room exploded in a gale of wind when Telos flapped her wings and sent the villain and his henchwoman flying into the glass countertop where the store sold its goods. The red-head slipped on Creep's intestines and fell hard enough to crack her head on the tile. She lay still after. Unconscious.

Coil himself regained his feet, pistol in hand, and quickly emptied the entire clip.

Telos just stood there in jeans and a blood-sprayed blouse. She didn't have a costume yet. She wasn't even looking at Coil; she was looking at Lisa. Her gaze felt like sunlight in the desert—too bright. Almost painful. Honest and clean.

Lisa held Creep's gun.

Eye for an eye.

Lisa lifted the gun, hand shaking, and fired.

Coil stumbled, clutching at where her shot took off his left ear and left a bloody furrow along the side of his head, separating the fabric of his mask in the process.

"I could make you rich," he said.

"You already have," Lisa said. She emptied Creep's clip. Each bullet made a satisfying thunk into the skinny villains' chest, one after the other, until his legs buckled and he collapsed to the floor, leaving a bloody trail on the glass of the bakery counter.

The gun fell from nerveless fingers.

"Thanks," Lisa managed.

Telos nodded. Her arms took on an ethereal, cold blue fire. "I heard your prayer."

The goddess walked to the dying villain and leaned over him. "Oh no, little Thinker, you won't escape so easily. Alexandria told me what you did. Your soul is mine."

Lisa's power cracked as she saw Telos' blue flame lift something from Coil's body that her parahuman ability could not comprehend. "Huh. That's...fucking terrifying," Lisa said. She then passed out.


And yes, sesquarcentennial is a word.