"Dozens": Looking for answers, The Centipede assures Vernon Boyne that he will kill him, but how he dies will depend on how cooperative he is.
- Ungh... Call those guns? Your guns are stupid and ugly and fat, I hope they get cancer, I'd *** them if they weren't so ***... And that squad car's a slut and a Nazi and a ******. My insults burn.'
- -- Flame War
Appearing in "Dozens"
- Nelson Jent
- Flame War
- The Centipede
- Vernon Boyne (Dies)
Synopsis for "Dozens"
Looking for answers, The Centipede assures Vernon Boyne that he will kill him, but how he dies will depend on how cooperative he is.
Meanwhile, Roxie Hodder and Nelson Jent are on the plane to Toronto, having learned that the second dial they were seeking was stolen from Atlantis by the Canadian government. Nelson is hopeful that whoever has the second H-Dial is, in fact, a hero. Roxie is less optimistic. Not to mention her worries about Nelson's increasingly obsessive need to use the dial is bordering on addiction.
The Centipede gained his powers when he was testing an experimental time machine for the Canadian military. Though the machine didn't do what it was intended to do, he was affected. He can unstick time to the extent that he can move at unusual speeds, enter past versions of himself, and get several versions of himself to help him complete tasks. The Centipede has learnt of Roxie's address from Vernon Boyne, and searches her house. Whomever is using the H-Dial that turned up in Littleville was being watched by Boyne until Manteau saved him. In the hidden room below Roxie's house, he discovers her computers and phone research. Unfortunately, her computer initiates an emergency wipe when it detects him there. While down there, he discovers that Roxie is Manteau, and has his superiors prevent her computers from wiping her data. A trace on her passport shows she's in Toronto.
Meanwhile, Manteau is out delivering some research to a web-admin on the website "Leakspace", but is cornered by police during her escape. As it turns out, this particular hero's power is to cause fires by insulting things. Though this power helps her escape, Manteau can't keep a hold on the persona, and throws away the mask, revealing the hero Flame War. In fact, this was Nelson all along, using the Manteau mask as an experiment, to see if it would help him retain his identity. It didn't work very well. To wit, he is hallucinating former heroes that he dialed, unsure of what is real anymore. Eventually, though, he regains control, and remembers who he is.
Unexpectedly, Nelson turns to see another hero standing in front of him, the dial on the newcomer's belt indicating that this one is not a hallucination. This is who they were looking for. Nelson tries to explain that he has come to help, but this Lad Autumn character barely seems to understand what he's doing, let alone how the dial works. Before Nelson can get anywhere with him, a helicopter appears and soldiers swoop down to steal Lad Autumn away. Nelson returns to Roxie, unaware that he is already being watched by the Centipede.
On his way home, Nelson reverse-dials, changing back into his regular self, still being watched. Despite orders to capture Nelson, the Centipede claims that he escaped, but continues to follow him. In the middle of the street, he accosts Nelson and takes his dial, mocking the fact that despite all of their research, he and Roxie don't even know what the mysterious "O" they had heard about stands for. It stands for Operator, he claims, before threatening to use the dial himself.
- This book was first published on January 9, 2013.
- "Sitrep" is a shortform for the phrase "Situation Report".
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