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In moments of despair, you receive the strength that will help you become something more than...
English is not my native language or the language I am learning. so I don't understand where I should press to start uploading. it seems like other authors posts looked different than normal comments, so I'm not sure if I'm doing something right
although I do not deny that I could be wrong
"Sorry, Antonias," the shop owner says. But I have to fire you. Skinheads tried to break the windows last night, and I can't stand this loss because of you. Even though you haven't worked enough, I'll still pay you for the days worked. Here, here, forty-three dollars and fifteen cents for the entire time. Now, go away, please. I don't need more problems with the Empire.

- I understand. Thank you for that as well," I said devastated, heading for the exit. Thank you for letting me do some work.

I went outside and exposed my face to the currents of the wind. The day was sunny, and to someone else it might seem quite pleasant. But not to me. Not now. Not when I've exhausted the chances of a good life, or at least a semblance of one.

I'm sorry, I didn't introduce myself.

My name is Antonias Russell and I am the one the world is playing against. Loudly said? Well, let's see...
No, don't think, everything was very good... the first five years of my life.
My parents were quite wealthy and respected people, they loved me and they could afford any luxury. I grew up in chocolate. So why am I complaining, you ask? Oh, I was five when it happened... My parents suddenly went bankrupt and died.
I had no other relatives, so I was given to a foster family. It was a very kind and sweet, albeit poor married couple, but they were already of advanced age. Guess what happened after a few short happy years? Correctly. Death.
Well, at least from old age. A couple of years before the death of foster parents, I decided to connect my life with theatrical art. I was told that I have a talent, I was prophesied glory in this matter. But I lost my chances for such a life when, by pure chance, I ended up in a clash between two local gangs and got into a shootout. To be more precise, due to a few random bullets, I had to amputate my arm, and my leg still hurts like hell from any movement. What? Yes, that's right.
Then I did not give up, my parents supported me and were able to purchase a not very expensive, but rather high-quality prosthesis, I learned how to use it, and then I decided that if I could not earn a living with my body, then I would earn with my brains.
Yep, right now. In the entrance committee of the university, as I later found out, half were "sympathetic" to the fucking Imperials! You see, I do not fit their ideals from the word at all. After all, I'm a cripple, and also a mulatto, nobody in this city needs such people.
I buried my family a few months ago, and now I'm just trying to survive and not get to the Merchants.

The crash after crash that made up my life brought me here.

But it is, digression, just so you know who I am. I want to note that here we will talk not so much about the past as about today. After the death of my parents, I didn't have much left: a cheap house, debts and an amount of money not much more than them. After paying off my debts, my livelihood was too low, and I decided that I needed a job. After a long search, I found a store where a cripple could get a job. And then another. And further. Anyway, I couldn't work anywhere for more than a few weeks. Not that it was my fault, at least not directly. I can't change the color of my skin or grow an arm. And today I met another failure.
Another collapse, failure, human bad luck!

This was to be expected, right? Yes, I was really expecting something like this. But for some reason, this case hit me especially hard. No. He broke me.

Devastated and broken, I went into my house, without bothering to lock the door behind me with a key, went into my room, lay down on the bed without undressing, buried my face in the pillow and ... wept. I don't remember the last time I cried, really. I've never been particularly emotional. But now I've been torn apart. At one moment, the whole burden of what I had to endure, all the falls seemed to fall on me ...
Failure after failure, failure after failure.

- Fuck! But why?! I violently slammed my fist against the wall, causing it to rattle. Pain ran through my whole arm. Tears streamed down my cheeks in a burning stream, landing on my lips and leaving a taste of salt on them. Why can't I just live normally? What the hell is this?!

- Am I asking too much? I can work, I want to work, I want to represent myself! I'm just asking for a chance at a normal life, not this shit! —

— Purpose —

- I just! -

— Agreement —

- I want to get -

— Trajectory —

- a chance to change -

— Error —

- something in your fucking life! -


At that moment, I lost consciousness, and at the same time, my connection with reality.

I had a dream in which two entities of impossible size floated in an empty, black and gray space. They looked like worms woven from crystals, if worms could bend the very space around them. The appearance of these creatures was not repulsive, but one could not find pleasing in their appearance.

A part of one of these creatures detached itself and moved towards me. And although she was only a crumb compared to their bodies, she was larger than me, larger than the city, larger than our entire planet. But she couldn't get to me, because something even bigger appeared from the side, knocking this baby off the route and taking her place on the way to me. And when it, moving through the void, entered my head, I fell into a quiet abyss of nothingness, feeling nothing and thinking about nothing. Many consider this to be the decisive end, the point at the end of a sentence, but for me it was the beginning.


Yeah, that was the introduction, and now it's time to tell the rules. These rules are just a translation of the rules from the English fic, but I think that these are normal rules, so I will not change almost anything:

Force manipulator

You start with the following abilities and cannot reproduce them:

You can produce and store "charges" - related to the story written about you;

You can combine charges of equal strength to create a charge of greater strength;

You can use these charges to create new powers;

If you cannot provide enough charge when creating a new power, the process fails but the charge is not used;

The Power created is in accordance with your intentions, and any excess charge is wasted.

You cannot create abilities that:

Change the rules for accumulating charges;

Will change your strength;

Destroy your power;

Break the charges into smaller components.

Additionally, you start with 5 charges.

For every 500 words written about you or your actions, you are charged with power manipulation.

Each charge is approximately equivalent to a "1" in terms of PRT Threat Rating. That is, technically, a single armed officer can handle the carrier of such power, and, as a rule, it provides a smaller tactical advantage than military training and equipment.

In truth, the real measure of the value of a charge is the balance between instantaneous power, constant power, maximum duration, range, complexity, and uniqueness.

Examples of the total power that one base charge can produce:

The power of the Mover, which allows you to act twice as fast.

The multiplier will increase to four times if you add a limit that reduces stamina, as if you ran the equivalent distance in a run.

The power of Shaker, which allows you to pick up any dust or other small particles within a few meters of you.

If you simplify the force so that it weeds out all dust and small particles, this range increases to at least ten meters or allows you to move larger objects within the same radius.

The power of the Brute, which allows you to reduce the hit you take by a certain percentage, and then cannot be used until that percentage of the 100 minute time limit has passed.

Thinker's power to know where people are within ten meters or so of you.

Combining two charges of the same level increases the charge level by one. Two base charges create a level 2 charge, two level 2 charges create a level 3 charge, and so on. Necessary costs cannot be paid in instalments.

Level 2 strength is usually an order of magnitude improvement over the same level 1 strength. This is more obvious in the case of simpler powers, where there are fewer stats that can be improved, but a more complex power will also improve, it's just that the bonuses are spread across several components. The power of the second level in the aggregate will be an order of magnitude more effective in its functions than the similar power of the first level. Assuming, of course, that you know how to use it.

For example, the power of detecting people can be improved to operate at a distance of just over a hundred meters.

Some other examples of what would be covered by a level 2 merge include:

The power of Stiker, which allows you to briefly stun the target on impact.

The strength of the Blaster, which allows you to spit faster and more accurately: with a force equal to a punch if you just spit out your own saliva, but adding more water increases the effect.

The power of the Master, allowing the creatures you train to understand more complex commands: for example, training a dog will allow you to ask him to find some drugs and then lead you to them without much supervision.

Changer Power, which allows you to take on the appearance and some properties (strength, flexibility, compressibility, density) of the material you touch if it has a larger volume than you.

Once a power is created, you cannot break it back into charges or change it.
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Primary training and first fight.
When I woke up, I felt different. One could say that these changes were small, subtle, but that was not the case at all. I felt the stars burning in the back of my head, I felt their potential, that with one desire I could turn them into something else.

"I'm a parahuman," I muttered to myself, trying to figure out how it happened. - Am I a parahuman? Well damn. Really. I asked for changes in my life? Well, changes have come.

The realization of this fact was so vivid that it hit me like a butt on the head. Even so, I was collected and strangely calm. Quickly recovering, I smoothly slid out of bed, got up and went to the bathroom. I was visited by a desire to freshen up, and my health was much better than before coming home. A new star was slowly growing in my head, and it gave me hope for the future, because I could develop.

"Stop," I said aloud when I realized what I was thinking now. Can I develop?

I was by no means an expert on capes, but even I know that those that can grow in power over time are very rare.

It is said about the Fearless that in the future he will be able to match the strength of the Triumvirate. But it gets stronger once a day? a week? Damn, I should thoroughly study the city's capes. But what am I doing now? And to the fact that in the time it took me to restore hygiene and prepare myself a small snack, the new star grew by a third, almost a quarter. If this continues further, then ... I don't know what will happen. How does my power actually work? That is, of course, I know that I can turn stars ... No, charges of power - into other forces, but what are the limitations of this? On what period? Or will they be permanent? Need to check now...

Stop, everything is going too fast, which is why I myself began to get confused in my thoughts.

First, I must learn more about other parahumans and powers in general. Perhaps this will clear things up a bit.

After I finished thinking about abilities and had a snack, I went online to find useful information.

The Internet was... Well, yes, useful. They tried to keep silent about some things, or to speak very superficially.

For example, about trigger events, as they are usually called.

This, if someone is not in the know, is the moment when everything in a person's life becomes so bad that something breaks inside him, and he himself undergoes metamorphoses, often more psychological. After a person experiences this situation, the newly minted cape has strength. Sounds familiar.

Okay, I didn't come here for terms, but for more useful knowledge about abilities that will really be useful to me in life.

In total, forces are classified according to twelve features: Brute, Mover, Striker, Shaker, Blaster, Thinker, Master, Breaker, Tinker, Changer, Stranger and Trump. The latter seems to apply to me.

By the name of the classifications of abilities, you can roughly understand what they give the owner:

Brute - strength, might, indestructibility, well, just like Alexandria, in general;

The Striker is the Legend, all sorts of lasers and other attacks at a distance;

A Trump card is a force that can do something with other forces, see them or turn them off. Eidolon owns such a thing - and now I, of course;

Tinker's are those who can create all sorts of high-tech devices, examples in this case do not even need to be thought about for a long time - who have not heard of the Dragon or the Hero;

Shaker is AoE attacks, and an example is… uh, what counts as an AoE attack in a force qualification? If I can create and throw grenades, am I Shaker or a Stiker? Okay, I'll deal with this a little later;

Thinker seem to be... smart - they can get information out of nowhere or just have enhanced senses;

Mover specialize in fast movement or can even teleport. Well, that's where Velocity comes to mind - the fastest guy in town. It was he who, by the way, saved me in that same shootout. And I'm so damn grateful for that.

Next comes ... Star! That is charge. Yeah, like this: for climbing the Internet, I received a new potential power. This day never ceases to amaze me, although it is not even evening yet.

Let's continue.

A Striker is someone who uses their powers in contact with something, yes, a tautology. Well, it's Clockblocker, the local ward. Heard he can freeze things in time with a touch. Useful, however, ability.

A Breaker is someone who changes his body, but not to be confused with a Changer who… also changes his body. Damn, this is all so confusing. Yeah, Breaker does something completely unnatural with the body, like becoming fire, and a Changer can grow another arm for himself ... like it's natural. Although it is unlikely that the forces can be called natural.

The Master, it turns out, are not only assholes who subjugate people out of pleasure, but in general all those who control something. Thus, if I build myself a robot and make it work, I will be considered the Overlord. Sounds fun.

Well, the Stranger Ones are those who can hide well. Naturally, I don't know any of them, otherwise they would be bad Stranger, right?

Well, I learned a little about powers.

I think it's time to create your own. Yes, I felt that I was capable of it, and ... damn, it was just amazing! First, I need protection, something like [invulnerable body]. The stars tense up, begin to sway, as if in the wind, and ... nothing. From the word at all. Okay, maybe just [very resistant body]? Same result. This is disappointing.

Okay, what the hell? How does my power actually work? I need activate some kind of [force analysis tool] that should be [very accurate] and preferably [remote]. Still, knowing the strength of the enemy is very useful.

This time, two stars are already swaying. No not like this. They just circle around each other, change and become something else.

After the end of their dance, which took about ten seconds at most, I understand how to activate a new ability.

I do this and realize that I was lucky - if I had formulated the request differently, I would not have been able to use the new power. I hadn't thought about it, but the connection to the brain, set to turn on at will, turns out to be part of the ability too. However, it is very cheap, so I will add more and more new forces.

Now, after activating my new ability, I can see the power of the cape at a distance of up to 30 meters, and after watching for a while, I will see all the parts that make up its power. At the same time, the closer I am to him, and the more actively his power is used, the faster the analysis will go.

I shift my mind's eye to my main ability and ... everything is both simple and complex. It consists of three parts: a two-way brain-force connection, a mechanism that creates charges, provided that I do something different, or I am in combat, and from ... um, I'll call it a dashboard. There are all sorts of levers, buttons and toggle switches, that is, their mental counterparts. And this whole structure works from the energy of my charges. This panel, apparently, creates forces.

If you dig deeper, then here ... fuck. Here and increased aggression due to the game with the hormones of the body, and the motivation for action, and unwillingness to work in a team. No, not like that: unwillingness to work on an equal footing with someone in the team. Understood, I can command, obey - not very much. Damn, is it like this for all capes or am I just unique? If everyone has it, it can explain what is happening in the world, all these gangs and cruelty. And as much as I hate to say that I'm above that, the thought that I'll go out into the city and beat up someone rises inside ... a sweet anticipation, yes, I would call it that. Honestly, it would be better if I didn't know this: I would have thought that I was so cruel, and not that my way of thinking was changed by my forces. At this moment, I feel the birth of a new star in my mind.

I think this is a sign that I need to move from introspection to action. The first thing I need is a power that will allow me to [see the cost of power in charges and how changes will affect the price]. It cost only one charge, and now a new force came into action.

Next, I need some way to improve the body, maybe fix it. The power of self-healing? No, 4 charge levels for something that can work fine. Hmm, but it's because I don't know what to do. Indeed, I feel that if I want the power to accelerate cell division in a direction without examples, then it will cost more than if I knew a specific example. Let's save this moment for later. Energy shields? What is the source of energy, what is the structure? Expensive. Maybe [body seal]? O! [Body compaction 2x, 5x, 10x, 50x]? No, 50 times is already level 3. Okay, [10x compaction], that's one charge, but my body is shrinking right? And what about the prosthesis? Okay, I need [an aura that makes every thing connected to the body a part of my body in terms of other abilities], hmm, I can even bring it out of the body - about a centimeter for the same price. And I will take the second one [densification of the person entering the aura by 10 times, while maintaining the volume of things]. It will not do anything for full-fledged armor, but at least ordinary clothes will be more difficult to tear.

One last check and I'm on my way. Two stars join in a dance, and I notice how everything around me begins to slow down. Weird.

I frowned in bewilderment.

The slow is not a very large amount, but it will still be an advantage in combat.

But how did it happen, because I did not take the acceleration of consciousness? Or something just added? No, everything is as you chose.

"Hmmm… exactly," it dawned on me, and I realized what the reason for this was.

My nerves became denser, which means that the signal began to be transmitted much faster, which led to a faster brain. I relaxed.

Damn, that's cool. So, besides the obvious things, you can get something non-obvious from the new forces. I got up from the couch, deciding to check out the new body a bit, and realized something that was also not obvious. I started to weigh a lot more. Yeah, increased density for the same volume leads to more mass. Damn, I now weigh, probably, like ten people. Damn, I'll have to spend another charge. I need to [change the gravity effect on everything that enters the aura]. Second level. Yes, I do.

A new star is on the way. I begin to play with my ability, moving the mental slider.

Down - the floor creaks under my feet;

Up — and I feel incredible lightness in the body. Something worth checking out. To do this, I went to the largest room and started jumping.

Yeah, so I go down more slowly than usual, but like this - I fall like a brick, leaving behind the corresponding damage.

Um, is the foot print on the board it's normal? I think no.

It doesn't matter, I'll change it later.

What else do I need? What is worth buying for your new activity?


Maybe parallel streams of consciousness? There will soon be more abilities, no matter how I start to get confused in battle. Well, I can make 10 for a charge, but I'd rather take 20 for the 2nd level - immediately 20, and the acceleration of consciousness will fit there too. In general, that's what I'll do.

Yes, I need a suit. And a name. Crap. I have no ideas for either one or the other. In general, I don't plan to appear in public on my first outing, I'll just punish a couple of Nazis if possible. Yes, perhaps this will be the first step ... The first step towards what? Damn, everything is happening so fast that I'm starting to doubt the reality of what is happening. But at the same time, it feels so...right? Okay, I should think about this later.

Hmm, I remember somewhere in my closet I had some kind of old mask, from the time when I was one piece. But I won't take a suit from there, because it's too colorful, which doesn't really suit me.

But it's still not a problem - I'm doing a good job with a sewing machine and I'm sure I can put together something whole before night from all sorts of scraps.


I am disappointed.

It turned out that at home there are simply not enough scraps for something normal, and tearing what is is pointless - I, like my parents, preferred bright things. I found some black sweater and pants in the closet - well, at least something.

I just have to make sure that they will fit snugly against the skin. And the name ... the name is most often taken such that there is an indication of strength. For me it will be development, evolution, something related to this. Maybe in Latin? No, it doesn't. And if other values ... or like this ... hmm.

After a couple of minutes of searching, I finally found something that I liked. Pertinax - stubborn from Latin. Well, I like the name. I've actually been called that a lot.

To pass the time, until the evening I was engaged in cleaning: I sorted out the old rubbish on the shelves, removed everything superfluous from the table, wiped the dust everywhere, finally. Monotonous work gave me the opportunity to reflect on all the changes that had happened to me over the past hours.

Time in anticipation dragged on slowly, and I managed to talk myself out of this venture several times, and then come up with arguments why I was doing everything right.

And now the evening has finally come, which means that it is time to leave. I pulled on the prepared clothes and shoes, left the prosthesis at home and went out into the cool darkness. It was damp outside. Several lonely windows in the houses shone in the blackness of the night. A slight, slightly warm wind hit right on my mask, and I felt it.

It was clear to me that the absence of a hand was a distinguishing feature. So I decided to get as far away from home as possible. I live on the border of Merchant territory and Empire 88, so I even have a choice of who to attack first.

So far it doesn't matter, I need this exit more in order to get used to new abilities, and the rest for later.

Jumping from rooftop to rooftop, I'm getting used to the new way of moving more and more. Immediately before the jump, I pull all the mental levers up, thereby reducing mass and gravity, and after the jump, I again increase the mass, and with it the momentum of movement. This leads to the fact that my body manages to fly much further. After the first such jump, I almost flew right through the roof, which means that the landing also needs to be carefully calculated. In addition, I found that my body was stronger than at least ordinary concrete and stone, because I was able to climb walls by sticking my fingers right into them and pushing myself up.

And now, after several hours of acrobatics, I felt the Star and stumbled upon a fight, or rather, a beating. Exactly what I was looking for. I got closer and saw the attackers. They were all white-skinned, shorn, some had tattoos on their bodies - it became clear to me what was happening here.

Empire recruits decided to show themselves and beat up a couple of blacks. By the way, they are not at all like Merchants: the clothes are of high quality, they themselves are clean. Well, were before the attack.

The goal is chosen, it remains to think over my further actions. Don't go into battle without at least a minimal plan. So, we have two dusty victims at the garbage can, next to them are two skinheads, apparently newcomers.

Another older Nazi held a pistol in his hand. This one stands behind them and says something. Apparently, their teacher or some kind of curator. Two more are standing on opposite sides of the lane, probably guarding the passage.

Hmm, I think I need to eliminate the most dangerous one first - the teacher, then I will attack the newcomers.

You can throw them in the trash can and, while they are recovering from the blow, go beat the guards. And then I leave everyone in the same trash.

The plan is more or less ready, although I have my doubts. Stop panic! I can feel adrenaline coursing through my veins, making the world slow down even more. I start.

Having run up, I jump behind the Nazis, but at the last moment everything does not go according to plan - the rotten roof, which has not been standing for many years, sags underfoot and instead of a beautiful flight, an awkward fall occurs. "Ha, straight to the main one," I note and decide not to change the trajectory. At the last second, he notices me and even tries to jump away, but he is too slow, and I have already cranked up gravity for a better blow. Well, the plan already went wrong, so I had to improvise.

The newcomers grabbed their bats (how did I not notice them?), and the guards took out their pistols. Shitty situation.

The nearest skinhead swings a bat at me, but he is too slow - I easily dive under the weapon and hit him in the chest. I hear a crack. Apparently, he went too far with strength, but now I'm not up to it at all.

The bat is still in the air, I grab it and then turn to the shooter to my right. He is ready to shoot, but I act much faster - the piece of wood flies at him with a whistle. I hear a thump behind me and jump to the right. There's a garbage heap, but it's not so bad - I grab the board and turn to the remaining Imperials. We look at each other. I see they are afraid. The one with the pistol is shaking, and the rookie with the bat is backing away. No, that's definitely not going to work, I'm not going to let them go. A jerk to the neighbor and ... a bullet crashes into my chest. It hurts a lot, but I didn't stop. Having reached the bandit, I dodge another blow and hit the knee with the board. Both things do not stand up to bullying, and I, shrugging off the new Star, jump onto the wall. And just in time - another bullet flies past.

I turn around in flight, pushing off the wall with force, and fly into the last one. I hear another crunch - damn it, if only they didn't show me something later for injuries. I get up and look around. Four groan, the fifth - that teacher - lies peacefully, and I sincerely hope that he is only unconscious, and did not go to his idols.

Where are their victims? And, there, huddled in a corner by the container, all bruised.

"Calm down, I won't beat you," I say, showing good nature with all my body language. "I am the new hero Pertinax, how are you, can you speak?"

"Y-yes, thanks for saving me!" the older black man says, stammering. "If it wasn't for you, we'd be kicked to death here."

"Yeah, I'm cool," I say with a touch of sarcasm. - And why are you shying around the territory of the Nazis? Here the places are not very suitable for night walks. Just not with your skin color.

They calm down and begin to rise to their feet.

"My brother and I were late at work today, and at the exit we heard that a shootout had begun on our usual route, so we decided to take a chance.

"We've just, like, been here a few times already, we always managed to slip through, only today we weren't lucky," the younger intervenes.

"Ok, I see. No really luck this time"

"Call the police for now, or even the PRT, tell them about the fight and all that," I go up to the Nazis and start turning out their pockets. - Otherwise, you understand, you won't take a personal phone, but somehow I didn't think about buying a new one.

"Of course," the elder takes out his phone and dials a number. I have no idea how the device survived all the blows - maybe they hit the wrong place?

I did not listen to the man's conversation with the police, but instead checked on the Nazi teacher. Breathes, bastard.

I got the largest amount from him - almost a thousand dollars. And why carry so much with you? Or he's fucking rich, and that's his pocket money? I don't care.

Having collected weapons in one pile, and their groaning owners in another, on the opposite side of the alley, I decide to wait for someone. And I'm waiting...

A few minutes later, a red spot flies into the alley and stops about five meters from me. Reasonable precaution.

Apparently, Velocity has arrived here. The costume is the one that I remember, but what do we have in terms of abilities? Yep, understandable. Here is a standard communication line, it leads to this "acceleration factor" regulator, and here is a function that is rigidly connected to it, which reduces its interaction with the world by the same factor. Yeah, but it all works through a partial displacement of the body with the help of ... that's what this crap means? Damn, yes, here you can write a dissertation on one symbol. Well, okay, that's not the point.

In general, I had an idea: I could add the first without the second quite cheaply, I won't be able to interact with the world, but no one will forbid me to think ...

- Hey, are you okay? The voice brought me out of my thoughts.

- A? Yes, everything is fine, I just thought a little, - I answered thoughtfully, turning to the interlocutor.

- This is good. I was informed that we have a new hero here. First night, right? he asked.

"Yeah, it feels amazing. Haven't felt so energized in a long time. In general, I just wanted to practice my new abilities, but I came across a beating. I had to intervene - at that moment I heard cars approaching. Judging by the fact that the hero is not worried, apparently cops or operatives from the PRT.

- What about your hand? I hope it's not like this now…" Speed said, carefully examining me.

No, it's an old injury. It's all right, - the cars stopped, and people in uniform began to gather around the bandits.

"Well," Velocity glanced around at what was happening, but quickly turned back to me. "I can't resist suggesting that you join the Protectorate. Is your name Perthix? he asked.

"Well, last time I called myself Pertinax, but maybe that's not what they heard. So, answering the unspoken question. No, I will not join the Protectorate. I'm bound to have trouble following orders at the very least, and I know it," I answered vacantly, watching as a group of people got out of the cars, handcuffed the Imperials and began to load them. The darkness of the night has almost completely evaporated, because in addition to the light from the windows of high-rise buildings, it was also poured out by cars.

The star lit up the second Velocity spoke.

"Fine, but maybe you would agree to come to the strength test? They told me that you were hit by a bullet, even though you can't see it. New Brutes often overestimate their strength and as a result they get seriously injured or die." His tone was sympathetic, and he tried to speak softly. I think he did not want to scare me somehow, even if I refused to join them.

For a second, this offer seemed very tempting to me - after all, in fact, they themselves invite me to their base, where I could study all their powers. But only for a moment. For starters, I won't be able to remember all parts of their power, and the hike won't be as successful as it could be. Although, I can fix it now. Yes, and I already wanted to add the strength of a clever man to myself. I just need [multiple consciousnesses], about 20, [acceleration of consciousness], and I can even strengthen it according to the principle of acceleration from Speed, though to a lesser extent, and a block of [eidetic memory] will also fit there, not very large, in total hours for 10 memories, but I can delete what I don't need, and I can leave what I need as "screenshots", so much more will fit. And all this for a modest two charges.

As the stars change, I contemplate the hero's proposal. I'm not going to reveal my true strength to them and I'm not going to stop developing. And this means that in a week they can understand that I deceived them somewhere, and this is not a guarantee of a good relationship. It's best not to try to lie. I immediately activate a new ability and realize that I am again staring into the void during the conversation. Well, at least the Mover didn't mind.

"Probably not either. I have my reasons for this, but I will not reveal them. In general, I do not mind working with you, but not for you. OK? I replied, paralleling out of the corner of my eye noticing that a disgruntled policeman was quickly approaching here. I think he is dissatisfied with the injuries of the criminals, so it would be time to hide from the scene of the crime. And that's not enough.

"Okay, I have to go," I waved my hand, walking away to the building, still looking in the direction of the hero.

- Bye everyone! - with one big jump, I jump onto the roof and start running along the curve towards the house. Neither Velocity nor the others pursued me, perhaps they did not consider it necessary.

There were no incidents on the way back, so I returned home without any problems.
After my cleaning, the house definitely looked better than before. I put my booty in a bag by the bed. As much as 1500 dollars!

I have never held that kind of money in my hands for all the months of work.

Euphoria, adrenaline that has not yet completely eroded, and a sense of pride in one's act completely repulsed drowsiness. So I just lay down on the bed. The wind fell on my body directly from the open window located on the right wall. I didn't turn on the light because it didn't make sense.

- And how many Stars did I earn per entry? - I had an idea. So I got 5 charges within a few hours, and even though I put half of them into a new ability, I still have three more to use for something new.

- Damn, this is super profitable! - a thought flashed through the backstreets of my mind in an instant, leaving behind a very pleasant feeling.

A variety of thoughts visited my head, as well as plans for the future. There were so many of them that I didn't even close my eyes for several hours.

But in the end, the fatigue caused by the battle still got the better of me, and I fell asleep.
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damn, there were a bunch of errors in the translation process. I'm going to fix them and post more chapters during the few day
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the MC should try to make "Slow Regeneration", I think it would only cost a level 2 charge. It may take a several hours for the arm to regenerate, but later you can upgrade it with another level 2 charge to make it a level 3 power.

I think level 4 regeneration would put him up to wolverine level. minor wounds heal in seconds and limbs regenerate in minutes.
the MC should try to make "Slow Regeneration", I think it would only cost a level 2 charge. It may take a several hours for the arm to regenerate, but later you can upgrade it with another level 2 charge to make it a level 3 power.

I think level 4 regeneration would put him up to wolverine level. minor wounds heal in seconds and limbs regenerate in minutes.
in fact, the fic has already been written for 7 chapters + Pertinax's classification from PRT. so he already has good regeneration and a bunch of other ways to heal his hand
but I will be glad if you ask something or even try to criticize (because I like to argue and I already have an explanation in my head for almost everything written)
Shopping, anyway, and a bit of hunting
Today I woke up in a good mood. I realized that before that I was under a lot of stress. Yesterday's fight helped me blow off some steam. This, of course, was a little strange, because before I had never noticed a craving for violence in myself, and I can hardly be called cruel. The feeling that I experienced before the fight was unusual, something like excitement and anticipation. But before that, I always tried to avoid any fights and I myself did not show cravings for them.

"Or…" I had a hunch and immediately rushed to check it out.

Everything was exactly as I expected.

My power makes my brain produce serotonin intensely at the mere thought of a fight. And what I initially thought was a mechanism for increasing aggression turned out to be a more complex system of rewarding and punishing the user that can play with brain chemistry in a meaningful way.

- Fuck! I slammed my forehead against the wall. - What is it, it turns out? Forces train carriers like Pavlov dogs? I groaned as I saw the hormonal mechanism decide to release the complex mixture of amino acids, and at the same time I felt my indifference to this situation. — Brilliant way to avoid the answer, bravo, strength, congratulations. Now go fuck yourself. - already being absolutely calm, I muttered, - I'd better go and cook something to eat.

I got up abruptly, carried out my morning routine, and started preparing breakfast, contemplating my actions for the future and making plans along the way.

"Today, I think," I began to think aloud. - I'm going to go shopping. I just got money, and I can update my wardrobe. But most importantly, you need to buy equipment. I know that Tinker's can make all sorts of powerful items and hope to be able to find at least one soon. Well, then I'll just learn how his power works, and find a way to become a Tinker myself.

The star lit up during my reflections, as if confirming my plans, and I hastened my meal.

I go to my bedroom and start getting ready.

While rubbing my mechanical hand, I lazily thought about what I could add to it, and at the same time dreamed of how I would assemble myself a full-fledged Tinker prosthesis. You know, so that you can add the functions of a phone, a mixer and a gun, yes, something like that. That sounds good.


I put on my cleanest and most decent clothes I had. After that, he put in his pocket the money he earned with sweat and blood (someone else's, mostly) and went to the Promenade. The journey there was almost entirely uneventful - only once did a bunch of skinheads want to come up and get to the bottom of me, but they were distracted by a group of Asian teenagers who somehow ended up here.

Thus, I was able to sneak past them without any problems, and then walked, looking around.

Today was a fairly sunny day, although small clouds were already approaching from the east. The area of the city was pleasing to the eye, it was immediately clear that a lot of money had been invested here. Basically here, as in the safest place in the city, the shops sold the best goods, and the prices for it bite. However, I still remember a couple of places where you can buy quality, but not very expensive things. I will go there.

I didn't turn off Power Sight for the duration of the walk, as I was hoping to meet some cape, hero, or villain if one came across. The same heroes, for sure, not only patrol this territory, but spend time here outside of work. However, with my ability, I can see them in any crowd.

And so, my actions finally paid off, and my thoughts materialized.

Entering another store, this time a shoe store, I met a cape. It was not clear to me whether this was a man or a woman, the appearance of this person was too androgynous. But it doesn't matter - I was only interested in his (her?) strength. And there was definitely something to see! A whole bunch of small and medium forces that are interconnected through a wildly twisted connection, some of which seemed alien, not belonging to this mechanism.

I slowed down the subjective flow of time by going into my analytical mode and began to study in depth. What used to be a brain-strength connection was here in quadruple. At the same time, one of them was, as it were, cut off, simply not having suitable connections with other forces for full-fledged work. This force passively scanned the surrounding space, transmitting information directly to the brain, but this process took over the calculations of the trajectories that were transmitted to the first force, which, apparently, helped to ensure the accuracy of actions when throwing something.

The other force of this cape (I'll have to come up with a name for the sources of the forces, I don't want to call them just forces) took over some of the work of the brain, which, like all other nerve systems of the body, was updated by another force through the use of slightly different types of nerve fibers. This force worked like a gyroscope, giving knowledge of the position of the body in space, and together with the second, the body was controlled almost perfectly. Together, these powers gave the wearer an abnormally good sense of their body and surroundings, and would allow even an untrained person to move at the level of a professional.

But that's not all. The birth of a new Star could not distract me from further reflections.

There are two more powers left - one that appears to be pyrokinesis, and the power to access a pocket dimension.

I'll start with the first one. Hmm, while at first glance this power seems like classic pyrokinesis, it's not. Strength allows, as it were, to "inflate" the fire, and this is achieved due to the synergy of two smaller forces. The first force, hmm, has grown small cavities in the wearer's mouth, and these cavities seem to produce a rather complex chemical compound, which, apparently, when it enters the fire, can add a significant amount of combustion energy and thus increase it. The second power is an inferior aerokinesis, limited to one direction, and able to move only very small volumes of air. I wouldn't even call it aerokinesis, there are no limits to this power, it's just a piece torn from another place. For me it is useless. So, the release of energy particles and the blowing out of air are tied to the same mental button, and thus the carrier can "inflate the fire".

We figured it out, but the most interesting thing for me remained. Spatial pocket. This force seems to be the most suitable for its carrier, but all the "wires" of this force are intertwined with other people's "wires", and the energy that the force needs for normal operation goes to other forces. And it severely limits it. If not for these factors, the wearer would have access to a space of at least 10x10x10 meters, and this is with the ability to enter inside. Now? Just about 2x2x2 and no private room.

The power-brain connection allows the user to know what and where lies in the Pocket and have access to it, but this part scans the space around the entry-exit point and allows you to see the threat to the exit, this setting allows you to adjust the state of things when you exit. But this button puts things inside into stasis, and the amount of stasis is even adjustable! Now, the input-output is tightly attached to the body of the carrier, and stasis works on the entire space at once without the possibility of turning it off, and the rest of the possibilities have atrophied, although the original power made it possible to attach the output to physical objects and eject things at will, even at a distance. It's a pity, but I can't take the last part - it will be expensive, a level 4 charge is needed. But a full-fledged inventory with a personal room in it? I take! I merge four stars into one big one and start the process.

Thus, I became the proud owner of a new, spacious and completely sterile pocket. As if congratulating me, a new Star lit up.

I even feel sorry for him. He, it turns out, was the so-called ,,grab-bag,, capes. And all this bunch of weak forces just ruined a good ability. I even wonder how many more powerful abilities were corrupted in this way. I mentally giggled as I imagined that the power to kill the Endbringers would be divided and weakened in the same way.

I turned off the acceleration and hurried past the cape, who only raised an eyebrow at my gaze. Today's purchases of electrical appliances are canceled, with my new ability, I can even steal as much as I need from the landfill. I really won't go there. In the end, I was not the only one who, when asked about free materials, thought about it. No, places like this are sure to be followed by new Tinker. So I'm going to spend the rest of the day and the money somewhere at a flea market or in a pawnshop.

I hurriedly bought everything I wanted, along with plenty of water and canned food for my new hideout. After that, I calmly, without haste, left the Promenade, moving in a random direction. When I realized that no one was following me, I went into the alley and went to Karman. First impression: too bright. In contrast to the dark alley, the crystal white walls evoked carvings in the eyes.

"It will be necessary to paint them," I said aloud, placing the bags against the wall. - And get furniture here, some cabinets. And it's empty here.–

Mentally, I began to mark the space for future needs. The corner where I appeared will be a corridor. From it it will be possible to go out into the living room, where everything for, in fact, life will be located, and into the future workshop, for which I gave most of Karman.

There was nothing else for me to do here, and after checking the exit for possible ambushes, I went outside. The sun was still high above the horizon, so I still had a lot of time left before the next night out. Using an electronic map, I found the nearest place where I could buy household appliances and went to it. Thank the gods, it was not on the territory of the Empire, but on one of the Asian gangs. I think they will not be up to checking their shops now.

A smiling Asian old man met me behind the counter. In general, despite the fact that the store was located far outside the popular tourist areas, inside it looked quite nice. There were shelves with various things against the walls and I saw a door behind the cash register leading somewhere. I think this place is something like a pawnshop or a flea market.

– Hello young man, are you interested in something? — The cashier asked me a question. He could not be called too old, his hair had not even had time to turn white.

In the meantime, I carefully studied the shop windows. Overall, it lacked a lot of things that I would need. Mostly it was simple, without the complex mechanical stuff that I think I'm going to need as a Tinker. But I think there's an old stove here, or something like that.

- Hi. My washing machine recently broke down, it's expensive to buy a new one, but I could sort out the old one myself. There are just no details. Do you have some of those junk?

The old man thought for a moment.

Yes, there are a couple. In one, the wiring was completely burned out, and in the second, the turning mechanism fell off.

"Mmm, yes, that sounds good. How much for me for two?

- Yes, what is there, this pile of scrap metal has been lying for two months. I'll give it for one and a half hundred.–

– No problem, it's still cheaper than

buying a new one. -

- It's good that there are no problems. And how will you endure with your hand? -

- I'll take out one by one, the car is around the corner. -

"Well, if you don't need help, then okay, take it. - with these words, he led me to the place where the washing machines lay. They looked really bad, and I hope I can get something useful out of them.

I went around a few more places in the same way, and soon my Pocket had half a dozen microwaves, several washing machines, and all sorts of smaller appliances. I don't think that this will be enough for me for a long time, but I'll figure it out already being a Tinker.

I spent the rest of the day preparing a normal suit, practicing with increased strength, and looking at all sorts of useful things on the Internet.

It turned out not so hot, but I inserted several metal plates into special pockets. Together with my buff, they provide much better protection than they could without it.

Ready to fight!


Only a day has passed since the last fight and I have not yet decided on the purpose of my attacks. On the one hand, the Nazis are my natural enemies, on the other hand, the merchants are not as dangerous as the first ones and their drugs spoil lives no worse than the actions of criminals. I think today I'll go for the drug addicts. There I will pick up more equipment for the future, probably in their littered territory there is a lot of useless things lying around for anyone except the Tinkers. Heading into the territory of the merchants, I felt the birth of a new Star, which could not but rejoice me. I had thoughts to create the power of sensing the people around me, but I decided to collect more different types of sensory abilities and, in the end, collect the best possible ability.

I met the first junkies pretty quickly, but they didn't do anything wrong, so I decided to ignore them. However, within half an hour I found a dealer selling drugs to a group of dirty men and women. I think that's what typical residents of the Docks look like.

There was no point in beating one person, so I waited until he went to the warehouse for new goods, and I did not lose. The building was small, the warehouse was probably not the main one, but the main thing is that money and other interesting items flock here. Of course, there was much more security than in my first fight, but, as it turned out, I am bulletproof, even bruises do not remain. But, just in case, I will add more protection. A suit reinforced with power will extinguish some of the energy and any blow will become weaker. And regular melee weapons will hurt me even less. So, forward, to the assault!

But first, let's lock the rear doors. During the observation, no one took advantage of them, but if they need to run, they will knock out even the closed one. Therefore, I need something to block the passage tightly. Suitable, for example, these concrete blocks. You just need to drag them to the door and put them in a pile. Nothing complicated.


Difficult, really nothing, but it was dreary. The blocks often broke and did not want to fold evenly, so I spent a whole half hour on this mess. I did not find any other exits, and now I can be sure that not a single enemy will escape.

I waited for the moment when another group of people entered inside, and only then began the attack.

Over the suit, I threw the scraps I found, so I was able to walk from the entrance to the guards without making a fuss.

"Something I don't recognize you, guy, whose will you be?" asked the first, carefully looking at me.

- Yeah, take off your hood - that's what the second one says.

Silently I hit the first in the solar plexus, fortunately, I practiced and learned to hit, avoiding fatal injuries. The first guard wheezed, and the second was about to scream, but I tore off the windings and put them right into my open mouth. Well, I tried. I tried to act without unnecessary cruelty, so I couldn't immediately put an impromptu gag into my mouth. But I still achieved my goal - not to let you scream.

I drop the resisting body to the floor and call the already prepared construction ties into his arms. I still put the gag in my mouth, and after that, I wrap another rag around my head so that I definitely can't spit it out. With the first, everything is the same, but he did not even resist. I follow the advice from the Internet and put pressure on different points on their body. This, as they wrote, should cut off the supply of oxygen to the brain, and the person should fall asleep. It seems to have worked. They stopped kicking and fell silent. Great, I'll do the same with the others.

I bring the bodies inside and close the gate. All right, I'll put these tires in here, and all the exits will be permanently closed. Hunting time!

I find the first group of Merchants in the break room. Well, I think it's her. And they settled down well here - a beautiful sofa, they even found a billiard table somewhere. It's time to interrupt their friendly gatherings.

I close the door and turn the key in the lock.

Someone hears me and speaks without turning around.– Joseph, is that you? Hurry up, it's your turn soon. –

Hell, there is also a certain Joseph outside, as long as he doesn't come before I'm done here.

But on the outside I'm unruffled
- Yes, guys, let's play. - With these words, I struck the first one who turned up, again, in the solar plexus. His neighbor, who asked the question, reached for a weapon, but I'm faster. I hit my hand, breaking my wrist, and then, I grab a prone cue, which I hit another person with a weapon, right across the table. Someone starts screaming, but I quickly stuff a cloth into their mouth and use pre-prepared ties. Four more are ready.

I go to the door and listen. Someone is coming.

- Guys, what are you yelling? asks an invisible voice

I decide to distract him, so I answer by making my voice sound like someone who was screaming.

- Yes, this moron does not even know how to aim, he hit me in the balls, it hurts, damn it! -

- Yeah, I understand. Be careful out there, don't kill each other. With these words, he leaves.

The star lights up, as if expressing its approval, but I do not pay attention. I quietly unlock the door and wait for Joseph at the entrance. After a couple of minutes, he comes inside, but I'm ready and do not let him make a sound. He lays down next to the others. Now minus seven bandits already. There are still about ten people left.

I go outside. Passing along the corridor, I look into other rooms, but there is no one there, only shelves with various items. I'll sort out the loot later. I go further.

I could not go around all the rooms without raising the alarm, apparently, someone found the bodies and reported it. I see how the bandits check their weapons and begin to walk around the area. The lamp does not work here, so you can climb up on the shelves and lie in wait for someone. They don't have walkie-talkies, so I can hear them shouting over each other as they check one place after another. Here come two. They are on edge, twitching at any noise. They check the room, they even look up, but they do not notice me in my dark suit among the dark rubbish.

"Clear!" one of them shouts. I jump softly behind and launch an attack. I hit the first one in the kidneys, and the second one I kick in the knees from behind and complete the attack with a couple more quick blows. Then again, the gag and ties. I don't waste time on blood flow and stuff, I just knit them. The star lights up, but I just mentally note it, without reacting in any way.

I move to the nearest source of screams. My first victims will soon be counted, so I'm in a hurry. The new bandits have been screaming lately, so I have time. I sneak up behind, taking advantage of the fact that I came from already proven territory and attack them. Nothing new, but the second one was quick and almost dodged. Not that it bothered me, but still.

- This is some kind of garbage, guys, there is no one here - they are shouting somewhere on the right.

- What do you have there? - , this, judging by the sound, is in my direction

- There is not anyone! I shout back, internally enjoying this game.

- Ben, Michael, answer! - the two named, of course, are silent.

"Someone is playing with us, and that someone is in block B!" Go in there and shoot the hell out of him! - an order sounds from the center - I have already called for help and she will arrive soon, so don't risk it! -

This is bad. We need to quickly deal with the commander and the remaining criminals. And still need to call cows. And call the PRT. With these thoughts, I run towards the main voice and find there an obese black man angrily talking to someone on the phone.

He does not see me and I quickly put him to sleep in the same way.

The star lights up, as if supporting my actions.

I take his phone (damn, I forgot to buy myself a cell phone for night work again) and call the PRT.

-Good afternoon. This is the PRT emergency service, dispatcher Kevin Burns is talking to you, what happened to you? -

- Yeah, hi. This is the hero Pertinax, who met Velocity yesterday, do you recognize it? -

- Yes, of course, I understand what you are talking about. What are you calling about? -

- I went out for another walk at night and came across a whole warehouse of merchants. It's at the docks, 591 Frosty Lane.

I scattered them up a bit, but...–

shots and screams were heard from block B

– one of them managed to call for help, and more Merchants are coming here –

- I got it, I got it. - shouted someone from there - You hit me in the leg, bitch - they shouted in response.

- I understand you, judging by the shots you got into a difficult situation? -

- No, just idiots started shooting at each other. And everything will be fine with me, it's just that soon there will be a dozen or two sleeping bodies, and I don't know what to do with them. -

"I understand you, Speed and Miss Militia will arrive within ten minutes. Try not to take unnecessary risks. -

- Yeah thanks. I hung up. Well, if help comes, you can not worry and rob this place to your heart's content.

I began to inspect the Negro's place of work. There were walkie-talkies on his desk, they looked like something heavy had been dropped on them. Apparently, this is the reason why they are yelling at the whole warehouse like fools. Well, I need the details. As well as other devices lying around. I took everything containing at least a drop of electronics, as well as various tools. There was also a safe here, I'm not going to mess with it yet, so let it lie in my warehouse for now.

- Nobody's here! - the remaining bandits attract my attention.

I need to end this farce.

- It's okay, come back soon, I caught him myself! - I answer them without pretending.

After ten seconds of silence, the answer is heard - Fuck you, bastard! You don't even look like him, you take us for fools? Soon our guys will come here and tear your ass into even pieces. This is your last chance to give up, you get it, you son of a bitch!?

Well, to hell with them, I'd rather just sit at the window at the entrance, admire the new Star and wait for the friendly capes to arrive. Or enemy fighters. Who will arrive first.

The merchants arrived first. Not capes, and that's good, because I'm already out of breath, and I won't be able to fight normally with experienced fighters. Nut it's unlikely they wouldthey go now personally - Lung has been fighting in territories close to the Merchant ones lately, they need to follow all this.

The merchants arrived in two machinelike units, fully armored. There were 8 of them in total, and although there were more weapons than pistols, they should not have done much harm to me. Well, according to my calculations.

They got out of the cars, took out their weapons and moved in crooked rows to the door that I still blocked. At that moment, I heard the sirens and prepared for battle. It remains only to wait a moment.

The merchants cursed among themselves, but as soon as they heard the sirens, everyone hurried to the cars together. It's time! I push through the thin wall of the warehouse and kick the nearest one in the chest. He distracts from the blow, but I'm already next to another - I cut his leg and jump away from the sights of their trunks. The somersault comes out curved, the armor plates interfere with this, but I do not stop and hit another one in the legs.

Well, what's left? I don't have any sleeping pills, and I will do the new strength in a calm environment, but definitely not here. Therefore, the choice of places for strikes is small.

The leg crunches and breaks, and I see the red spot join the fight and drop another one. I enter analytic mode. Yep, it's speed. By the way, now he is moving in a normal way for me and ... Stop, but it turns out that for him everything around him becomes slow, and he is not fast - it only reaches me. And this means that he really has to run many kilometers every day just as a job. Damn, I respected him even more.

But we have a fight. I come out of acceleration and jump on the guy trying to get into the vehicle. Tensing up, I tear out the car door. The junkie squeals like a child. Ha, funny. I throw it on the ground. Now you can look around.

Speed makes short work of the latter, and PRT vehicles with soldiers inside stop near us.

Speed runs up to me - Is there anyone still conscious in the warehouse? he asks.

- Yes - I gesticulate vaguely - Three or four. I heard that one shot the other, so you'll need someone to close his wound if you want him to live -

-Thank you for your help, can you wait here for me for a few minutes?- he asks

- Yes, not a question, only, are you alone here? - I'm getting curious

- Yes. Right now, there is a threat of gang wars throughout the city, so many are patrolling in hot spots. And I was relatively free, and the previous meeting ended well, so they sent me. Having said this, Velocity runs towards the entrance.

Well, it's not difficult for me, I'll wait, I myself am interested in finding out what is happening in the city. I feel that the Star caught fire after our conversation and I am glad about it.

After a couple of minutes, the hero returns and starts a conversation.

-You did a good job for a rookie. Only a few had serious fractures, and this is not the case for heroes to leave such wounds. -

I raise an eyebrow, even though he won't see it under my mask. That's why I use sarcasm in my voice.

- Seriously? You ask a disabled person to have pity on those who shoot him. Ah, what heroes are ridiculous. Dude, I have one arm and I am stronger than each of them several times. All their damage is the minimum I can do. -

He throws up his hands - Well, that's how it works. Heroes should not break or kill people. he snorts - even if these people are ready to kill you at the first opportunity. -

I can't help but agree with him on this stupidity, so I nod.

I decide to ask a question:

- Listen, if it's not a secret, what is going on in the city between the gangs right now. Otherwise, I only know that Lung is attacking someone, but that's all. -

He hesitates a little, but answers - You know everything correctly. Recently, Lung completely seized the territories of the former Japanese, and now he has moved to the Yaoguai -

– And this? -

– Chinese –

"Understood, what about the other gangs?"

- Well, the Merchants sit mostly on the borders with the Chinese. I guess they just don't want the fight to move into their territory.

"I see, but what about the Empire?"

- They locked themselves in and almost do not go out. They benefit from the fact that the number of Asian capes is decreasing. Previously, they were almost equal in number to each other, but now the Imperial caps are superior in this.

- Clearly. Lots of work in general.

- And do not say. Alteration of power, it turns out to be a pain not only for those who are overthrown, but also for their neighbors. I am now, while talking with you, at least I can take a break from this a little. And one of ours travels almost all over the city without a break. -

- Ok, can I go? I ask the hero

- Go, just don't go to the Asians, it's too dangerous there now.

- Okay, thanks for the advice. Bye everyone! I shout, harnessing to the roof.

It's already 4 am. I think it's time to go home, I have not yet had the strength to go without sleep.
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Scientific approach or new opportunities
When I woke up with difficulty opening my eyes, it was already 10 o'clock in the morning. Yes, it turns out after a sleepless night it takes time to fall asleep. But not the point. After all, yesterday's hunt allowed me to gain as many as 6 charges of energy! I could dig a little more and get a level 4 charge or… Yes, I'm going to get a lot of smaller powers. In the end, even weak, but synergistic forces can work no worse than one strong one. Moreover, it expands the number of possibilities.

In general, yesterday I discovered the problem of fragility. Human fragility. And this is what will hinder me in the future. If one day I overdo it with force, then the criminal will die, and I will have problems with power. And I'm going to solve this problem today.

There are two healing capes in Brockton Bay. True, one of these capes is a Nazi, and I can hardly meet her somewhere outside the battlefield. However, in contrast, the city has Panacea, which treats in city hospitals, and as far as I know, today is one of those days of treatment.

So now I go to the hospital and copy her abilities in the form that I have enough charges for, and in the second part of the day I train a new ability. It sounds like a plan to me.

I gently get out of bed, check my ambush exit, and leave the Pocket. Yes, yes, you heard right. Since finding such a safe place, I don't actually need a home. Well, if I sleep in my pocket, then I won't be able to be captured in a dream. The pocket has actually paid for itself twice, which in itself is not bad.

I quickly washed my face, brushed my teeth and just as quickly cooked breakfast. After my morning chores, I leave the house.

A gentle, warm wind hit my face.

The sun had not yet risen to the horizon, and therefore it was not as hot as during the day. Brockton Bay was generally a city with a good climate. Both winter and summer temperatures were quite comfortable. When I was walking along the Embankment, I saw a crowd of people gathered around someone.

- Today is Sunday, it turns out that there should be Wards there, and this is a great opportunity to get new strength. – I thought, and went to the crowd. Having made my way past people, I finally saw what I wanted. Two capes of teenagers stand there and sign autographs. The first one is wearing a mask that looks like a lion's head, and the second one is wearing a techie visor. Well, it's clear who is who. I met Triumph and Kid Win.

I switch to acceleration mode and start the analysis.

The first strength was not impressive. The sound is modified by adding or subtracting energy at the peak and minimum of the vibration, but the sound itself had to be created in a specific area, in this case, the mouth. Hmm, sound waves can be "driven" into a limited space, due to which they kind of tune into each other or they can be released from there in small portions. This allows the user a good degree of control over their sound, from full blanking to sonic explosions. Although, given what exactly is used as a sound source, it can be understood that we are not talking about damping. It is enough for him not to open his mouth to be quiet. But the other component of strength interested me much more. A similar method of influence is also applied to the cells of the body, due to which cell division is accelerated, and the strength of the body is maintained by a cunningly made sound shield. Hmm, it's actually the same as the first one, just the sound waves are wrapped around the user's body, giving a good amount of strength to the user's body. I plan to create a power for myself that greatly improves my body, so I need more examples of improved bodies. At a minimum, regeneration due to sound vibrations will enter there.

But what was interesting here was that the force did not have that part that would be responsible for influencing emotions. Yes, and in general, this area did not look like it. Well, on the other hand, I realized that not every power makes the user aggressive. However, I don't see anything critical, so you can skip it and move on.

The star lit up as I began analyzing the strength of the second person. I knew it was the Tinker from his costume, but analysis showed me that in every detail.

The brain-power connection here was more advanced, in fact, it worked every second, analyzing all the information received for new ideas. But the main component of strength will be the connection to the database. In this case, it will be the database responsible for Modularity and modular technologies.

And ... it's easy to repeat! A simple connection to a database of information costs less than one charge. Okay, I need a power that [allows you to connect to such things just by having the coordinates of the connection point], while [I don't need a limit on the number of connections]. Done, it only costs one charge. I've already appreciated the fact that I can't access Absolute Memory without going into boost mode. Yes, in this case, this not only does not interfere, but is also beneficial, but it is not a fact that such combined forces will be convenient in the future. That is why I decide to break the power of the Tinker into several sub-powers. The star lights up, as if supporting my opinion.

And besides, I think that not only Techies have such things, but also other forces. The same Uber can learn something within a couple of minutes - does it take information from somewhere?

Okay, enough thinking, let's study strength further. So, this section is responsible for controlling the user's body so that it can follow the instructions exactly and not make mistakes in the work. But this function allows you to change the substance at the macro level, and, most likely, it is this part that is responsible for ensuring that the Techie can assemble one mega-powerful battery from a pair of old batteries. Hmm, this is the most interesting part. She's responsible for... wrong work. Yes, you read that right, all tinkertech problems are generated by the same force that allows you to create this tinkertech. Well, this is the part that I'll take anyway, but with a switch. If I do not want my things to be studied by someone, I will simply turn on this function.

But no, still the most interesting part of the force is this, I would say, power probe. Apparently, he must connect to someone else's power, analyze it and thus receive new ideas. This is suggestive. I guess I'll have to come up with something that won't let the powers connect to me. But not right now. Better at home, in a calm environment, I think.

In this way, I can assemble [powerful brain-power connection, control of one's own body, substance change, and malfunction module] into the universal power of a techie. All this together costs again one charge, and thus, in just two charges, I can become any Tinker that I meet on my way. I take!

I take and I am left with two forces that do not interact with each other. It would be bad if I didn't expect something like this. I just need a power that will allow me to [create connections between forces, set operating modes and various conditions for turning on the power], hmm, I have enough for [complex setup of work for the new power]. By the way, I noticed that the powers to work with my other powers are cheaper than any other powers. Thus, most of the cost of the Force Analyzer comes from working at a distance with other forces.

Okay, that's not the point. I turn on the new force and make a connection between the Connection, the Tinker's Set. To the Connection, in addition, I conduct a wire from the power of the Enhanced Consciousness.

The star lights up, and, at the same second, Ideas appear in my head. Prosthetic hand? Easy, the entire planned prosthesis, in fact, is a module. It can be broken down into separate components and make even more variability. So, what if you turn off Unreliability mode? Yeah, the number of options has decreased a bit, but only due to the fact that rare materials are needed, which I have not even heard of.

So, I again plunge into my thoughts where it is not necessary. When I get back home, I'll start techies there. In the meantime, I'm heading to the hospital.

When I got to the place, I realized that I was late. Reception starts at 9, Panacea comes at the same time, and she will work until the evening. And I don't think they'll let me into the hospital just to look. If I had a friend or a relative there, then I could get through, but since I don't have friends and relatives, I'll either have to wait until the evening, or come in a day, but already by 9. There's nothing to be done. I'm heading home. But there I will go through the slums, because after I became a Tinker, I see that the things that I already got will not be enough. And I will need to gather more material to work with.


I successfully made it home, picking up assorted scrap metal along the way. It's time to discover the path of scientific progress, not just brute force!

First of all, I check everything I buy for useful parts. Well, this is less than we would like, but enough for initial projects. First I need to update the tools. Everything I typed in that warehouse can't be used in anything serious.

So I take everything apart and start doing technological magic.

For example, here I can replace the power supply with an improved one, which I assembled from several batteries and a smartphone. And here, after changing the connection method, the efficiency of energy transfer will increase by 43 percent!

So 2 hours passed. It all went so fast because I decided not to turn off the Unreliable mode, since the tools should not break quickly, and I plan to replace with a more efficient option - I plan to find the Gunsmith and connect to his specialization. With the remaining materials, I can either assemble some armor or make myself a real techie prosthesis. I think that such low-quality armor is now of little use, but by hand, at least in the form of a prosthesis, I will not refuse.

As a result, I had something similar to a real techie hand. Why only similar? Yes, because I will not call such a bad fake something good. The materials used are extremely poor. Managing this thing is extremely inconvenient, for this, twitches of the shoulder and other body movements are used. However, I was able to install two modules there - a communication module created from disassembled phones, and a scanning module that uses the principle of noise direction finding. The power of Triumph prompted me to do this and I was able to find a suitable frequency for this. The received data is shown right there on the built-in screen, and helps to see only the rough outlines of objects. Thus, for me, both the barrel and the person will be shown the same way. So yeah, it's not something I would be proud to use.

I finished the moment the new Star lit up. It's been about 4 hours and the sun is still shining outside. I sighed - there was absolutely nothing to do, because the materials, for the most part, ended. I think we need to eat and work on creating a full-fledged workplace. That way I can kill time before I go to the hospital.


And now, 19.23. I leaned against the wall near the exit and waited. I'm waiting for at least something, because Panacea was supposed to come out half an hour ago, but it hasn't come out yet. And by the way, usually her sister flies to get her, which means that I can learn two whole powers for the price of one. But it would be so if only one of the sisters showed up.


19.56. Maybe I'm wrong? Maybe she didn't come at all today, maybe... The door opens and a teenage girl comes out. She seems to be. I move closer so that the potential Panacea is within sight. Yeah. It's exactly her. Let's see what we have here.

And here we have a fucker. Healing? Yep, right now. Absolute biokinesis. This girl in front of me can become the next Nilbog if she wants to. Ok, i'm worrying for nothing. Surely her family knows exactly what kind of power she has, and they definitely will not allow something like this to happen.

I'm going to study in depth. The first thing that interests me is the database. I connect to it and ... Yes, damn it! I can make a normal prosthesis. It will not be difficult to implant it into the body so that it is not rejected. Damn it, I was talking about a girl, and now I myself can create half-monsters, half-robots with the ability to create offspring. If this is found out, they will surely want to kill me. However, as long as I don't go insane, there will be no problem - I have no urge to create from the Tinker force, only a general demand for active action.

Next we have a scanning force that scans... the aura? Hmm, I think it's ok, how can I use some powers only within the aura, and other powers are limited by this very aura. And this scanning, as far as I can see, is very powerful, although limited to living matter. All received data goes directly through the connection to the brain, so that the user can see what he is doing.

And he does this with the help of the following ability - with the help of biokinesis. This power is connected to the database, so the work mostly follows a pattern, but it is quite possible to work without it. All this works through some incomprehensible way of influencing cells, however, this method feels like working with space. After that, everything is very hard to see. I don't quite understand how space is related to biokinesis, but oh well.

Well, I came here for healing, with biokinesis I will leave here. It turns out I'm in the black. The star lit up, confirming my words. I tried to take the power of biokinesis without being forbidden to change myself without connecting to a database, but failed. I need a level 4 charge. Crap. It's too expensive. Maybe limited only by his aura? So it is possible. Eh, I take it. 4 stars are converted to strength, but I don't feel the change. Coming out of boost mode and trying to grow my finger. Instead, I get only pain in the place where I wanted to do it. Okay, I don't see what I'm doing! So, I urgently need scanning power.

I need [scanning an object entering the aura], while I [need maximum information], such as the composition of the substance, its molecular and atomic structure, or the resonance frequency (I have plans for the future), here I add [biological scanning ] from Panacea. And the last two stars disappear in the dance.

But I see! If it weren't for the fact that I went into boost mode earlier, I would have already collapsed with a headache from information overload. It is necessary to take this into account, so I set it up so that when scanning is activated, the speed mode is turned on. Uh huh, it works.

So what's wrong with our finger? I connect the biological database and look at that place with my new mode of vision. Yeah, I see damaged nerves and small changes in the structure of the bone. Fix it.

Well, what's the bottom line. I didn't gain healing powers, but now I'm much harder to kill. It's also good.

I decide to wait for the arrival of the Glory Girl, but then I'm not lucky - Panacea gets into a taxi that has arrived and leaves. It's time for me to leave too.


I spent the rest of the time before the night exit on the renewal of the body. I didn't grow a new arm, I'm used to being without her, and damn it, I'm going to build a better arm than the one I had. Although, in fairness, I could improve the body according to some of the patterns that the biological database provided me, but this is not a matter of a couple of hours. It will take me a whole day of painstaking work to completely renew my nerves and improve my internal organs, so tomorrow I'm going to spend at home.

And tonight I'm still going to the landfill. Yes, it's certainly dangerous, but with the new Pocket Dimension, my enemies won't be able to kidnap me from my house, and I'll be able to collect much more useful things than I could take without it.

That night passed relatively calmly. I collected a whole ton of different things, which are now stored in a large pile in my Pocket.

Before heading home, I decide to go to the night shops and pick up a lot of edibles - I'm sure that during the process of change and after it, I will need a lot of food.
For the next few days and nights, I didn't go anywhere. During this time, I completely repaired my body (except for the arm), carried out several duplicating systems of nerves and blood flow, improved the functioning of internal organs and muscles by an order of magnitude, and also made several more enhancements such as strengthening bones, improving organs of perception, or creating a rougher and durable skin. I also planned to grow duplicate brains all over my body, but it turned out to be too difficult for me. Here you will need to look for a Tinker specializing in brains, but for now this is not so critical, because now it is much more difficult to kill me than before the upgrade. In the process, I received a new Star, but I still can't create anything normal, because I spent almost all the accumulated charges on Self-Biokinesis and Scanning. That is why I am going to go out today in search of some event, perhaps even in the afternoon.

By the way, I decided not to grow my arm out of flesh back, but to make a techie prosthesis. Now, I'm going to need a normal way to control it. And I came up with this way. I'm going to splice my nerves, which I can grow right through my skin, with the Control Module I've already started working on. So far, everything is at the drawing stage, because I'm going to take a few more databases. Also, I'm going to need some expensive materials, because I'm going to disable the Unreliable mode and create real Tech.

If you think about it, the problem with resources and funds for them can be solved simply by selling a few useful and reproducible drawings by normal people. So far, I don't have anything special, except perhaps a truly universal adapter, but this is a trifle, so this is all just in the plans for the future.

Okay, I really need the charges, so I'll go out in costume now, without waiting for the night. Surely during the day you can find something interesting, maybe I'll even run into some kind of cape.
Moving in a suit during the day was a little unusual, it seemed that I was violating my own daily routine, but I quickly got used to it. First, I quickly ran around my hometown, stopping one robbery attempt. I called the police and left them with the bound criminal, and then moved on. Although the city is sometimes described as one of the most dangerous and filled with criminals on the east coast, in fact this was not entirely true. During my hour of patrolling in an unfavorable area, I did not find skirmishes or stabbings, and the people from the gangs, at least in no man's territory, although they looked sideways at each other, dispersed without a fight. This only happened once, but it's still not bad, even though I would not refuse a fight.

I gradually moved south, towards richer areas. I didn't hide, so people noticed me several times and even took pictures.

Everything was going… pretty well! Of course, I would prefer that there were more interesting events on my way, but, like any other person, I want my moment of glory, and the absence of crime means that everything is not so bad in the city. Moreover, even from such a walk, the star grew, and soon it was supposed to finally light up, so I continued to move.

And after a few minutes, I finally met something. With my enhanced hearing, I heard the sirens. This means that something is happening there, so I accelerated and moved in that direction.

There was not a shootout or robbers waiting for me, but a fire. Sirens sounded deafeningly around the district, rays of red light emanated from fire engines, which arrived quite quickly on the scene.

I wasn't ready to go into the fire. I didn't have the right powers, or even the right amount of charges. I could go back to the workshop and create something that will help against the fire. But I refuse to back down! This is what the old me could have done, but now I'm a hero and I'm willing to take risks!
The star lights up as I accelerate and run towards the fire trucks.

When I run up to the burning building, a man in a fire uniform separates from a group of people and comes up to me.
- Who are you? Can you help us? There is no passage to the third floor and we cannot move further. - he speaks quickly, almost in a patter

"I'm Pertinax, and yes, I can help. I'm here for this. How many people should be on the floor? - I also decide not to waste time talking and move on to the most important

- In the first apartment immediately to the left of the stairs, there should be a family of three. Most likely they will be in the bedrooms, the neighbors said that at this time they are sleeping. In the next one, there are no residents at home, and after that the apartments are rented. We do not know how many people should live there, since the hostess is in the building. If you can, check all the apartments. The fourth floor is an attic, no one should be there. -

- Understood, take people away from the walls under these apartments, maybe I will make a passage in the wall. Be prepared to receive people there as well. Can you? -

- Yes - he pats me on the back - you can go -

I take off, along the way, starting to change the body for maximum efficiency. I increase the volume of the lungs and the number of alvioli, while complicating the work of other organs, I begin to grow filtering growths. In general, everything in order to take with you a maximum of oxygen and clean the polluted air. I dull the nerve endings near the skin and begin to strengthen my hand - I still have to make holes in the walls. My improved adrenal glands are already ready to release adrenaline at the mere thought of it.

I activate the scanning module, and by the time I get inside, I already have a rough map of the house, which will gradually increase in accuracy.
On the first floor, it's not so bad - the source of ignition is higher, and firefighters were able to contain the fire here. But I need to go higher, so I ignore everything and go up. Along the way, I make note of what I need to do when I get back to the workshop. First of all, you will need oxygen masks, as well as fire extinguishers. Perhaps some kits to stabilize and stop bleeding.

The second floor was like hell. The fire was absolutely everywhere. A lot was on fire. Because of the abundance of flames, I could not properly consider the environment. Only thanks to my "map" I managed not to get lost. My clothes begin to smolder, and I note that I need to make a normal costume as soon as possible. However, there is no damage to the skin yet, I strengthened myself enough to such an extent that I could only note the fact of the high temperature of the environment and not react to it.

The stairs to the third floor, as they said, are missing. Under the influence of fire, she collapsed, not allowing help to reach people. However, this does not stop me, and I just jump up. There is a lot of smoke, but I just ignore it - due to the large volume of the lungs, I still do not need to replenish oxygen. I run up to the door of the first apartment and use all my strength to hit the area of the castle. A hand passes through a metal door as if it were paper, but I only notice this with the edge of my consciousness, bursting inside. I am met by a rather pleasant apartment, but I have no time to admire, my goal is the bedrooms. On the way, I note good technique, and as much as I would not like to take it away, I have to restrain myself. In the end, the fire is already extinguished and the loss will be discovered. The inhabitants of the house, as expected, were in beds. I think at first they did not hear, and after that they already inhaled carbon monoxide, which is why they could not leave the beds.

At first I really wanted to make a hole in the wall, but I quickly realize that I can just put people in the stopped time area in my Pocket.

In brief seconds of reflection, I am aware of the appearance of a new Star, but I am not up to it now.
I pick up people and rush to the next apartments. I skip the second, as they said, and immediately go to the third. Smoke interferes even with improved vision, but thanks to the map I can navigate even in such conditions.
In this apartment, I check all the rooms, and, just in case, the closet and under the bed. There is no one, so I rush on. I find the fourth person at the entrance to the next apartment. There were several locks and bolts at the door at once, so I think the old woman did not have time to leave the apartment because of them. I'm taking her too.

There are no people in the next few, but in the last one I find four at once. I don't even think they passed out due to carbon monoxide - the rows of alcohol bottles speak to the true cause of the unconsciousness. Well, it doesn't change anything, I'm taking them too. I find another one sleeping in the bathroom. Looks like they were celebrating something.

There should be no more people on the floor, and I, just in case, run into the attic. There is a padlock on the door, but there is no one inside. Well, well, I can go down. Although, you can probably sit on the ground floor for a minute - I managed in just eight minutes, and I don't feel like showing my pocket just like that. I put the inhabitants of the house on the first floor, at the entrance, as if I dragged them here.

And now, you can call the rescuers. I lean out of the aisle and wave my hand.

- Hey! Here! I carried people to the first floor. - after a dozen seconds, ready-made firefighters with hoses run past me, and other people with stretchers run up to the victims.

- These are from the first apartment, here is their child. There is an old woman, apparently a tenant. But these, from the last apartment, were probably drunk during the fire. - I tell the rescuers. They just nod and, pushing me aside, carry people out. All I can do is shrug my shoulders and go outside.

The same fireman that came up to me that time.
- Thank you. The stairs collapsed, so we couldn't get up, and we wouldn't have time to extinguish the floor before they died. And besides, the fire threatened to spread to other buildings, so everyone was busy. Well, in general, yes ... How are you, intact?
- Yes, everything is fine - I spit out all the soot collected by the filters - only the suit is a bit on fire, but I will still change it for something normal. So no one cares about him. - I inspect the suit and see that it really did not suffer much, so I can well continue my patrol.

- Okay, I'm going to patrol further - after these words, I really leave.
Nothing interesting happened for the rest of the day. Once I met the Glory Girl, but she was far away, and I did not catch up with her - all the same, there are few charges, but there is still a chance to meet her. Although I earned one more Star.
My way home was near Chinese territories, and thus, on my return home, I encountered another event.

At first, when I just saw the reflections of the fire, I thought it was another fire and, surprised at such a frequency of fires that came across to me during one day, I moved in that direction. But, when there was about a hundred meters left before the fire, I saw the true cause of the fire - Lung. This Asian cape arrived in town about a year ago. The first thing he did was to defeat the entire local team of the Protectorate, and after declaring himself the leader of all Asians, he attacked the local gangs of these Asians. At the moment, this guy has captured all the lands of the Japanese, killed the former head and forced his assistant to obey him. Dangerous guy in general. We should get closer and see his strength. It's not that I'm attracted to the idea of becoming a giant lizard in every fight, but it's not a power to be given up without even looking at it.

I get closer and I see his enemies. This is the main Chinese gang of the city - Yaoguai. As far as I know, Lung has already killed several of their capes, so they won't let him live if they manage to win. But this is unlikely, now there are only two Chinese on the battlefield - Dashang, their leader, and their shooter - Acupuncture.

The first cape can collect around its body the stone it comes into contact with and create stone armor from it, which, over time, reaches a rather large size. I think either the list of what is considered a stone is very wide, or stone is used as an image - because it equally uses both asphalt on roads and concrete walls of buildings. The guy could be more of a threat - I've seen videos of him growing bigger than the Behemoth, but the bigger his size, the slower his speed, so from a certain size, the cape can only defend. But even here everything is not so simple. Despite the fact that many people think that stone structures can be quite durable, this is not the case. Therefore, with any damage, the cape must absorb more and more stone from the environment, leaving more destruction in its wake. I think the authorities hate him not because he is a criminal, but because after him you always need to re-lay the road.

His assistant, Acupuncture, is not as destructive, but still quite dangerous. Using his abilities, he can summon energy structures in the form of needles one at a time, and after that, when there are a lot of these needles, he sends them to one point, punching holes even in fairly strong materials with a pinpoint attack.

And these two are now confronting Lung. The fight started recently, as evidenced by the fact that Lung and Dashan are still quite small. Generally speaking, given the nature of the fighting forces, and each of them needs time to gain strength, now I can stay safe and watch, but after a while I will need to make more efforts not to get into a fight.

I'm not going to get into a fight on my own - to gain a charge, as I already found out, it will be enough for me just to watch the fight, but I'm still not in the right weight category to fight with stone giants or angry dragons. Although, if the fight ends in a draw, and the opposing sides knock each other out, I will not hesitate to finish off the poor things and hand them over to the PRT.

I think they should be invited to the party too. I make a call through my new prosthesis and describe the situation. Along with receiving a new Star, I receive warnings about the dangers of these capes, as well as persistent requests not to join the battle and wait for help from the Protectorate. Well, I, not being a fool, agree, because in this way, with absolutely no risk, I get access to several new capes at once (well, they won't send only Velocity again, after all) and I have the opportunity to grow Stars just by watching the battle.

By the way, about the battle itself. While I was chatting on the phone, both sides had already massed and met in direct combat. Lung, who at the very beginning set fire to all the passages around the battlefield only to cut off the Acupuncture's escape route, is now doing everything possible to overcome the protection of the stone giant and reach the Blaster and prevent him from building up a really large charge for a shot. Now the giant is small - just a little taller than the buildings around it, and can really hold back the growing dragon.

When the fight again enters the stage of accumulation of strength, I shift my gaze to the rank and file fighters. Everything is not so interesting here. None of them want to catch a stray bullet, so they just hide in cover and, for the most part, just shoot somewhere in the direction of the enemy. Some, especially the smart ones, shoot towards enemy capes. Not that they could cause real harm to the fighters (and Acupuncture just sat down from cover and did not climb out at all), but even a couple of bullets can help their Leader. As I watch the firefight, I decide to turn on the Tinker mode and think about the possibilities.
Yeah, I think I can pretty easily make a non-lethal deterrent, maybe a pepper spray gas bomb or even a gravity pressure zone or...

I was brought out of my thoughts by the changes on the battlefield. By this point, Lung had already grown small wings from his back and heated the stone man with his fire, which is why he often had to replace the stone with a fresh, colder one. And so, at one of these moments of the shift, Lung launched a much more furious attack. He dives under the moving hand, moves away from the kick and delivers a powerful blow directly to Dashan's chest. The red-hot stone does not withstand the pressure and breaks into pieces, and the giant paw breaks the giant's chest into pieces. However… this attack proved to be incredibly effective. The giant froze, and Lung, throwing pieces of stone to the side, immediately goes towards the enemy Blaster. From here, I can't see it, but I can see a whole swarm of flying quills, which, with increasing speed, rotate in a circle in front of the cape.

And now, the decisive moment. The new star almost distracts me, but I see that Lung makes a dash towards the Chinese, and he, having collected a significant number of needles for the attack, sends them directly into the dragon's chest. He tries to dodge, but does it only halfway - a deadly whirlpool completely cuts off everything below the chest and turns it into a bloody mess.

I hear the sirens and I know it's time to intervene a little. Now is the safest time to familiarize yourself with the forces of the Asian bandits.

I pull the power sliders up and jump towards the capes. With my strengthened body, I can jump much further, so after landing I only have ten meters left to run. But this distance is already enough to use Force Vision.

Lung is the first I study - even now I see more danger in it than in Acupuncture. He's just starting to pick up new needles, and he won't be able to pick up enough by the time I get to him.

Ah yes, the power of Lung. In essence, this is ... transformation into the selected image. From what I can see, the force will try to transform the user as much as possible into the most dangerous being they know. Yes, the world is lucky that Lung was not a Lovecraft lover. And it turns out that all of his regeneration is an attempt by the force to keep the body in perfect condition. Well, the more threat a user notes for himself, the faster the transformation takes place.
Honestly, strength is good, but very expensive, and besides, it will give me predictability in battles - if I become a giant monster from time to time, then someone will be able to adapt to my strengths and find weaknesses. Therefore, I put this power aside.

The second force is much more interesting. First, his needles. Damn it, I thought it might be something physical, maybe energetic, but these are full-fledged accelerated time zones in the form of needles! They are set to align with the surrounding time stream after contact with dense matter, yet each needle has an incredibly large difference from normal time flow. Moreover, when they hit something at the same time, the effects add up and the material at the point of impact, in fact, exists for millions of years, and each subsequent needle can go a little further deep into the material, due to which such a powerful attack is achieved after a long wait. . Damn, I urgently turn on the Tinker set and study the power. Ideas run through my head and now I know how to build a time accelerator for my workshop.

The acceleration coefficient, of course, will be much less, only about 2-3 times greater than usual, but I can improve this invention and achieve greater acceleration. Damn, I see how I can use this effect in a weapon. Speed up reloading, a quick charge buildup to fire, or even a projectile that speeds up time around it by a significant amount on impact... these and other projects spin around in my size.

I suppress them by force and turn my attention to the last component of strength. Nothing really serious here, just the power of calculating motion vectors, but I get the idea from it. I will need to create a force like the Tinker's set, which will do the calculations according to the schemes and principles that I will upload there. I keep the principles of Vector Computing for the future, note the appearance of another Star and cancel the acceleration of consciousness.

That's all great, but I'm still in the fight and I need to figure out how to delay these two until the friendly capes arrive. It shouldn't be long, only about a minute, but I have a hunch that Lung will perceive the loss of half of his body and my appearance as a significant threat, which will accelerate the work of his power. Now fists alone are not enough, I will need weapons. I take a mental look at my warehouse: some firearms, a few bits and a couple of knives. Everything is not right, these things will not help to make Lunga. What if... yeah! I have a great sledgehammer from that warehouse. Yes, it is quite usable. Except, I need to slightly improve the offensive properties of my new weapon. And I even know due to what.

I need [more aura volume, the ability to infuse aura into objects where it can hold for a while and so that the aura can be divided for different things]. It will require a level 3 charge, but it will give me somewhere around eight cubic meters of aura (2x2x2 meters), the charge will last about thirty seconds, and I can refresh it with a touch, and I can fill the aura into as many objects as I need, as long as their total volume does not exceed these same eight cubic meters. True, the time required for the infusion depends on the volume, but it will not be long - about ten seconds for the entire possible volume.

I take it - 4 stars disintegrate for the sake of a new ability, and I, leaving the state of acceleration, call the Sledgehammer into my hands, immediately filling it with an aura. After that, I can operate on its properties as if it were part of my body, which I do, increasing its density and reducing its mass. At the moment of impact, I will be able to increase the mass and get an impact similar to that of a train, concentrated in a small area. Shine! Lung has no chance now.

My appearance does not go unnoticed, so the fighters are distracted from each other and focus their attention on me. Acupuncture discharges all the accumulated needles into me, but I saw the moment of activation of the force and therefore I successfully jump to the side in the instant before the impact.
The cape himself is out of luck - while he's distracted by me, Lung, whose transformation has really accelerated, throws a piece of debris at him, knocking him off his feet and probably causing considerable injury.

After that, I am left alone with the dragon. I'm not afraid of him - my body has already been modified to reflect my experience of being on fire, but even without it, I'm quite difficult to kill. Adrenaline boils in my blood, and my makeshift weapons whistle as they swing, they are so fast. I stop at several places in front of my enemy.

Lung doesn't look good. His body is just starting to recover, but he needs time, which he tries to get by intimidating me.
– O uo aaant too diie?! he growls at me with his deformed muzzle.
"Listen, overgrown salamander. You can pretend to be strong as much as you like, but before coming to a foreign country, at least try to learn the local language, otherwise you don't understand shit. - I boldly answer - well, or don't mumble under your breath, maybe it will become clearer.

Oooh, I can see that my dismissive response has pissed him off, so he's trying to strike, taking advantage of the fact that I left quite a bit of space between us.

That's just ... I'm ready! The star lights up, and my Sledgehammer tears the air and space, blowing his hand to shreds. Lung roars and tries to burn me alive, but I see his intentions from the slightest changes in the work of his power, and deftly move away from the raging stream of fire.
I go in from the side and hit, leaving huge lacerations in the dragon's body. His recovery greatly interferes with me, and I decide to prevent his recovery. You ask me how? And I will explain. A couple of days ago, when I was doing my body modification, I noticed that foreign objects in the body interfere with the process the most, so I just need to add more of these very foreign objects to the patient's body and voila, Lung is getting worse from a lot of rusty glands in his belly . He tries to hit me one more time, unleashing some fire as a decoy, but I see his plan and just run through the fire towards his growing legs. I turn them into minced meat, and Lung, apparently hearing the arrival of my allies, loses hope of victory and simply explodes in fire. Yes, it was quite hot, but I heal all the damage almost on the spot. At the same time, my clothes, not being flame retardant, burn out, but my mask, being a piece of ceramic, endures the temperature and allows me to hide my identity.

I see that Lung is weakened from many wounds and I understand that this is a great chance to finish everything. I jump on the giant dragon head, lighten the weapon (I don't want his head to burst from the impact) and start hitting with the expectation of a concussion. It took me three hits for him to lose consciousness, the ability to stop working, and the body began to turn back into a human.

The Capes of the Protectorate arrived when I realized one thing. Lung's wounds transferred from the dragon's body to the human's. And now in front of me lies a torn carcass with limbs turned into minced meat. Oops.

I turn to the capes, go into slow mode and activate force vision.
The first cape, wearing blue and tech-looking armor, is a Tinker with a Miniaturization/Efficiency specialization.
On top of that, the hero has a small umm... sub-ability that has been played around with space a bit, seemingly allowing him to fit more into tight spaces.

This is obviously the Armmaster, and I've been looking forward to this meeting since I got the power of the Tinker.

The second cape, dressed in a suit resembling a military uniform, was Miss Militia. Her strength consisted of many more components. There is also a database, which consists of two parts. The first part, which can be called the Weapon List, is responsible for collecting and analyzing information about all stable weapons that fall into the hands of the user. Here you can see a sprout that is similar to the Force Probe of the Tinkers, but which is focused on more material things.

The second database, which I will call Weapon Mastery, is responsible for the ability to use all those things that the user uses as a weapon. It is connected to the first and receives from it all the details about the structure, form, material and modulates the ways of using everything that the user takes in hand.

The third part of the force consists of… I would call it energy nanobots. Corresponding to the desires or emotions (although the emphasis is on the first) of the user, they are converted into pre-matter, but they take examples for work from the first database.

The fourth and last part of the power was a little strange for me. It wasn't like that cape from the store, it didn't interfere with the main forces in any way, but it still felt like an extra detail. The power itself removed the user's need for sleep by simply decomposing substances that cause brain fatigue. However, this does not affect the body in any way, so the user still needs to rest.

But if you take the situation with me? Yes, I can independently decompose all the substances that appear during fatigue, and the ability will take care of the brain (no desire to take even a small risk).

I note the appearance of a new star and begin to study the strength of the third cape. It was Hybridization, the ability to make things that would combine the properties of different objects. Simple, but very useful. This cape I could also be recognized by its armor, or rather, by its absence. Seriously, what Tinker doesn't want to build their own armor? In her hands, I note a huge ax, and behind her back, a huge rifle. Okay, I studied the forces, took everything useful, we can return to the conversation.

- It wasn't me! - I immediately try to jokingly justify myself - I mean it's my job, but only half. Like, it wasn't me who cut him in half, but the fact that he only has half of his hands - thank me for this part of the work - the play on words didn't turn out very well, but two out of three rolled their eyes, which means that there was at least some kind of joke the effect, which I'm happy about.

"Pertinax," the Armsmaster nodded at me, "reports said you didn't have a hand in past meetings. Is this prosthesis a techie job?

Perhaps the question is one of those about which they say that a person climbs into his own business, but I know that he is simply pushed by force and I see no reason for being rude, so I decide to answer.

- Yeah. – I scratch my head – I recently got in touch with the Techie and will have access to Tinkertech from then on. – I answer without lying in a single word.

– I can't help saying that after joining the Protectorate, the Tinker will have more resources available than if he was alone or paired with someone independent. -

Heh - Okay, these words will definitely be heard by the one to whom they were intended, I promise. But he, like me, also does not really want to join somewhere. -

"I understand you," the techie answers me with a nod.
During our conversation, two other capes have already walked across the battlefield, checked the condition of Lung (Miss Militia) and even climbed onto the stone remains as if they were some kind of statue (Pretender).

At the same moment, Miss Militia was approaching us with an expression of bewilderment on the visible part of her face.

- When you contacted the PRT, you said that Lung fought with two Chinese capes at once, but we found the remains of only one.

Ah, the second one - That's right, it must be - I check with Ultimate Memory - somewhere - I point to one of the garbage heaps in the distance.

- When I entered the battle, Lung threw something at him with great force. So, if he is alive, then he must be badly injured, keep that in mind. - The star lit up when I finished this phrase

- By the way! - I remember something important - Can this Tinker exchange drawings of some technologies for resources? He also said something about real reproducibility and how valuable it is, but I don't remember anymore. -

The Armmaster thinks for a second – The actual reproducibility of Tinkertech by ordinary people is most likely an exaggeration, but we are ready to buy out some ideas depending on their usefulness.–

– Super! Only he is a little agoraphobic, and I will bring the drawings, is that okay? -

– It is acceptable, though inconvenient for work. You can contact me next week and I'll set up a meeting - with these words, he hands me a business card, which I, like a sledgehammer, which I forgot about a little, move into the pocket's stasis field. To the Gunsmith's unasked question, I just shrug my shoulders and answer - Tinkertech -

I turn away from him and walk away.
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By the way, I would like to ask people who really speak English to point me to my mistakes in wording, grammar and all that.

Because the translator sometimes misses the point and I have to replace phrases, sometimes losing the intended thought
Technologies of the future...
That night I didn't sleep. Getting two specializations at once and learning a few new abilities gave me a lot of new ideas.

The first thing I did was put together a setup for manipulating time.

Unstable, of course, but even so, it required a lot of resources, for the sake of which I began, quite openly, to search the landfill and collect metal from the ship graveyard. I was glad that in Brockton Bay this is relatively good.

And so, three days after my fight with Lung, I finished it. Thanks to the synergistic combination of specialization, the acceleration factor turned out to be much higher than I originally planned - five times, instead of the originally planned three times.

Along with the Time Acceleration Plant, abbreviated as TAP, I also assembled a few more machines that were needed for work. They will also come in handy for other projects. This is a matter converter, which from several tons of unnecessary metal was able to create a couple of kilograms of the necessary substance for me, and a 3D printer that put various small parts on stream and a very good assembly table with a bunch of manipulators that I can change for a specific task. I plan to connect my Control module to the assembly table in order to be able to directly control it.

And only after I finished this project, I, under acceleration, will be able to work for fifteen days instead of the three I planned before meeting with the state Techies. Now I can finally get a real techie!

First of all, I finally created the Control module for my future prosthesis. Thanks to the new specializations, I was able to greatly reduce the originally planned ones and, in fact, completely get rid of the delay in use.

I myself assembled the prosthesis, taking into account the fact that in the future I will study many new forces and be able to add a lot of things. Modularity made it incredibly easy, and the other two specializations allowed me to leave room for ten medium modules, or three large and one medium of my choice.

My goal is to create a prosthesis for both the heroic and civilian personality. The civilian prosthesis will be the same, but with a disguise module that uses pseudo-flesh, and I have not thought about other components yet.

But in the combat configuration I placed:
1) An advanced computer system that will work much more efficiently than anything that was on the market. In addition, the system must process all information from other modules. It is similar to the one that would take up my entire Pocket with its servers if it was not made by a Tinker.

This module took up two whole cells of space.

2) An information scanning module that combines the previous sonar method for scanning in a larger radius and the space scanning method from Circus (I did recognize the name of the cape I met then), but improved for a larger range. By the way, thanks to the direct connection of the prosthesis to my nervous system, I can sense the surrounding space through sensors to a limited extent, which, although it feels rather unusual, is very useful. The method is not a perfect substitute for ability - for me it is more like remembrance the environment around me, and not feeling it with the organs of perception.

This module occupied one and a half cells due to hybridization.

3) A hybrid communication/scanning system that gives me access to any wireless connection, except for one that my computer could not hack. The same system allows me to control various electronic devices from a distance, which will require my concentration. I'll probably need to find some kind of Technokinesis cape or improve my brain even more.

The module occupied another one and a half conditional cells of space.

4) Another four cells were occupied by a system that will allow me to create structures from those particles that the Miss Militia force worked with. It will not be something difficult, but I can quite create, for example, a wall to protect the surrounding people, if there are enough of these very particles. I called it the System of Simple Structures

It consists of two parts: a miniature power source, and a hybrid particle generator with a structuring module.

The power source is actually an ordinary nuclear reactor, reduced to an incredibly small size, the blueprint for which I plan to sell to the Protectorate in a few days. I could make it even smaller, but that would require much rarer materials than what my converter could create for me, at least without a huge amount of recycled material.

5) The remaining space in the prosthesis was taken by the Storage module, the actual analogue of my pocket. It is much more limited, cannot have biological material inside it, has a volume of only one cubic meter, and entry-exit points are strictly limited. I connected it to the SSS and I intend to store particles there, the input will be connected to the particle generator, and the output to the structuring module.

Well, in the remaining space, I managed to fit a retractable blade. Nothing complicated - just a sharp piece of iron, but I made it from high-quality material and sharpened it well. You never know how things will turn out.

Along with the prosthesis, I began updating and improving weapons.
Thanks to Pocket, I can carry and use as many different things as I can fit in my warehouse, so I didn't limit myself too much.
Hybridization was actually created for this, and from it I got the bulk of the drawings.

Take, for example, an ordinary knife. Looks pretty boring. Then I just build the parts from the gun into his design and voila! I ended up with a firearm knife that can cause trouble due to the surprise effect.

But the other two specializations were not idle either. Modularity made reloading easier, and Miniaturization left plenty of room to add more.

Sometime before, even before the tech powers, I remembered such a thing as resonance and even wanted to make myself a Contact power based on it.

Now I'm going to use something similar called the Pinch effect to increase the cutting power of the blade.

In short, I'm going to apply an alternating current to the metal so that the metal begins to vibrate at a certain frequency and amplitude, actually turning into a miniature saw that cuts everything that comes under it.

Initially, I was going to apply current to the entire surface of the blade, but calculations showed that this would be very inefficient. And on top of that, it's this kind of vibration that would interfere with pistol parts, which consist of more parts, so I abandoned this idea.

Therefore, the vibrating part will be only a small strip of metal on the very edge of the blade. It has been crafted from a specialized metal that will greatly resist being shattered by its own vibrations and will not release a charge beyond the blade. Yes, Hybridization came with a lot of materials with different properties and I'm going to use this discovery to its fullest.

To effectively use this effect, the mechanism requires a significant amount of energy. Of course, it's not a problem for me to provide this with a small reactor.
But here's the catch. I want the knife to be completely Stable. And this imposes restrictions.

How is Stable Tinkertech different from Unstable? I'll explain now.
Stable Tinkertech is a true technology of the future. It works, tautology, stably and the same Stable Tinkertech works without deviations.
Its advantages compared to Unstable is that it works much more efficiently and anyone can produce it, there would be blueprints, materials, equipment and desire.
However, its volume is larger than the same, but Unstable, and the resource requirements during construction can be significant.

If we talk about Unstable Tinkertech, then everything is much more interesting.
Such a Tinkertech takes up much less space, and a large part of the rare materials are simply not needed when creating. The creations themselves work much worse than stable ones.

I have not tested it in practice, but calculations have shown that the difference between some devices in Stable and Unstable form can be about ninety percent! That is, in the worst case, an Unstable device will only work at a tenth of its maximum!
On top of that, the use of much simpler building resources causes the instrument to degrade quickly, and it takes me up to an hour a day just to calibrate the TAP and replace some of the tricky parts. And I have not yet said about the rest of the machines and assembly equipment.

I will spend at least four hours correcting various errors, that is, in total, from the fifteen days allotted by myself until the meeting with the Protectorate, it will take two and a half days only for repairs. This is terribly inefficient!

Therefore, I'm going to sell them more Stable Tinkertech blueprints than planned, take not money, but resources, and replace all equipment with Stable.

So, speaking of Unstable Tinkertech. When I first discovered this point, I researched it and discovered something that I had not paid attention to before.

It turns out that the most expensive and complex parts of Tinkertech are emulated by a force somewhere outside the world! It's not visible at first glance, but I created some trinkets in both variations and realized that behind a clearly visible database, I haven't seenthe background on which it all worked.

And this background comes in different variations. If for techies it ensured the operation of their devices, then for the power of Panacea, against this background, patterns were visible that cut off the influence of the power from her own body.
I think it is this part that is responsible for the fact that the conditional human torch does not burn itself with the use of force.

In general, something like this.

And back to the knife.
It will be made entirely of Stable Devices, which means I won't be able to fit a reactor into a blade. The solution was that instead of a generator, I would add a battery, the full charge of which would be enough for continuous operation for half an hour, or for one big explosion directed in the direction of the blade

Why an explosion? So the knife was not planned for a full-fledged battle, only as a weapon of the last line of defense and for a beautiful image. All the same, the presence of weapons, even in our time of people with superpowers, helps to show strength.
I named it Self-Sacrifice and painted it black, non-reflective, only the vibrating edge I made bright red.

In the next weapon, I did not go out of my way with close combat. Here I relied on changing the design right during the battle for a specific task.

You have a shotgun in your hands, but do you need a sniper rifle? No problem! The change will take place within a second. You just need to select the type of weapon on the panel in the butt area, everything will happen automatically using the mechanisms inside.

The same barrel extends like an expandable baton, and the fixed part of it is modified to fit the cartridges.
And the same will happen for the transformation into another weapon.

I also have plans to create a device that will work on the same principle that the entry / exit from the Pocket works. In this way, all the necessary parts will be taken directly from the Pocket, although rather from specially configured storage areas, and combined into something that will be much larger than the original weapon.

Instead of standard magazines, I decided to use Ammo Cubes.
They are highly specialized Warehousing modules. The volume in each of these is even smaller, the items placed inside should be the same, with a minimum of differences, because inside is no longer a full-fledged room, but a lot of customizable spaces for each object, and you can load items inside only on a special installation in the workshop.

Of the pluses: a much smaller volume of the module itself, it takes MUCH fewer resources to create, although the actual work on the module becomes a little more due to the settings.

I decided to call the resulting weapon system Callidus - Cunning from Latin. It is quite possible that in the future this device will be able to transform into any type of weapon, even a bladed one or a really large one, like a minigun or just a cannon the size of a tank.

In addition, I made two more types of weapons for the future: a sword and a hammer.

With a hammer, everything is simple: I'm going to build a rocket nozzle into the striker, which will help disperse the hammer even more, and in the future will act as a flamethrower, maybe even a plasma one, and a reactor that will provide energy for all this. Under it, there was even an alloy that absorbs a small part of the kinetic energy in a state of conditional rest, when it is not directed, and during the impact releases the absorbed energy to the point of contact.

Initially this alloy wasn't that good and released energy all over the surface, but I spent a few days experimenting with the metal and got many interesting results.
The name of the hammer will be Pugnator-Brawler and it will be needed in case the enemy cannot be shot or cut.

With a sword, it's even easier. At the moment, it is exactly the same in structure as the knife, except that it is sharpened only on one side, and the shape is different.
However, I'm not just interested in a good sword. With the advent of resources, I'm going to assemble a multi-blade, the main part of which will be the hilt, and the blade itself will again change right in battle. At first, this will be moving the already cast blade to the handle, but in the future I plan that the sword will be teleported by separate modules, which will give it shape and properties.

Well, somewhere in the future, I'm going to cross the Callidus and Securitas (that's what I called my sword) and create a truly adaptive Multiweapon. Yes, and then I will add AI there and I will just throw it into the territory with enemies. Joke. I'll just mark this territory on the map, it will be able to get there by itself.

But jokes are jokes, and I spent most of the time allotted before the meeting experimenting and creating various devices, including those that I am going to sell. Along the way, I must have become a respected janitor in the area where I live, because you have no idea how many useful things people throw away.

At least four hours a day I spent only on the selection of useful garbage, even managing to get into a skirmish with a group of local homeless people and repel the attack of the Merchants.

The last one was even interesting. They, apparently having learned that a new Tinker is rampaging in some area, decided to capture him for their gang at all costs.

For a few days I successfully avoided their attention, but on the eighth (most likely it was the second in the real world, I got a little lost with the time difference), they still caught me.

At least fifteen people with weapons appeared out of nowhere and decided that threats and attempts at intimidation would do something to help them.

But it was not there. Instead of a skittish Tinker with no proper Tinkertech on hand, they met me, who pounced on them before the leader's speech was over.

Unfortunately, I did not manage to defeat everyone, several people escaped on some invisible and inaudible transport. But this meeting reminded me that there is a gang with a techie in the city, whose specialization I really like, and who will be the perfect enemy for me. Well, you know, not very strong, occupying a small area, the members of this gang, most likely, will not cooperate well.

Of course, the latter is not such a plus, but I'd rather spend more time finding a place where I should go, and the enemies will suffer without knowledge of their enemy and his abilities, than if they knew what to expect from me after our first skirmishes.

And to top it off, the gang is led by the Capes, whose powers are very appealing to me.

A Skidmark with its field, which directs the movement of bodies that fall on it, for which I will surely find many applications.
And Squealer, who is a Tinker. No explanation is needed here, I'm always happy with new databases, especially such multifunctional ones.

But I put all this aside until later, when I get all the necessary materials and can transfer all parts of my equipment to the Stable variant.

Hmm, but Lit is running around the city somewhere else. Of course, it has some kind of restriction about "One try - one tinkertech, you can not repeat it", but I'm sure I can get around it. Wow, how many opportunities will open up then!

It is for him that I am ready to quit everything and rush in search of. Moreover, this criminal couple has not played their cases for a long time, and a new performance should be in the near future. But so far this has not happened, and I can only wait for opportunities and use what is.

And so, with only about two subjective days left until the meeting, I finish my armor, stuff the last sensors into the mask and conduct the last checks.
All? The work is done? Yes, no matter how, I have to finish the most important thing - to think over those things that will be the object of the transaction and create drawings for them. In two versions, by the way.

A complete drawing, which I will provide after the conclusion of the contract, and a cropped one, the purpose of which is to show that I really deliver what I promised, and from which I will need to cut out all the details.

Well, what is the result of this two-week marathon of unrestrained Tinkering?
I'm tired. Not even like that. I fucked up sitting at the machine and riveting parts. I'm already starting to get sick of all the rubbish that lies in the workshop, even with my full body control.

In all fifteen days, I received only six new charges, which is in stark contrast to the fact that in one fight with the Asian capes I received the same number.
Although, thanks to this fact, I was able to understand more about the development of charges: boring and routine work does not give almost anything. So I'm going to take some time to rest and change jobs after I've dealt with selling technology and buying materials.

So, back to charges. Of the six I receive, I will spend four on buying a new room, where I will move all the storage and other things for the tech. In the resulting free space, I will begin to build a real home for myself, because even sleeping on a bed in a huge, empty, and always lit room is rather unpleasant.
And I'll deal with that later.

What am I going to do now?
Sleep. Sleep soundly, because sleep is underestimated and the past self, who thought that the power to never sleep is cool, was a fool who did not appreciate the beauty of sleep.
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...and trading them
The weather was quite pleasant outside. The sun occasionally hid behind small feather clouds, only to reappear in the sky and warm the city that lay beneath it. Here and there you could see groups of teenagers scurrying through the streets of Brockton Bay and people dressed in business suits hurrying somewhere. The middle of the working day was approaching, and few people wanted to spend the long-awaited lunch break in the stuffiness of the office or the hustle and bustle of the school corridor, when the sun was shining brightly outside the window and a light fresh breeze was blowing.

I stood in front of the PRT building, surrounded by dazed people who didn't expect a figure in Tinker armor to appear right next to them.

No, I didn't purchase teleportation in any form for half a day. I got to the building, covering the armor with some kind of hoodie, and already on the spot I put it in the Pocket and called the helmet on my head - that's all, but the surrounding crowd had the impression of my unexpected appearance.

Ignoring the surprised and frightened cries, I calmly enter the building. I would say that the guards tensed up at the same time, but they were already at the ready, not clearly threatening, but ready in seconds to take aim at me. No wonder, because for them I am now an unknown threat. After all, I changed my suit and helmet, and the absence of a hand is now indefinable. The appearance at the same time turned out to be quite menacing, so their reaction is not surprising.

I ignore the security and go straight to the front desk. A man in his thirties behind the counter, becoming calmer as I approach, tries to put on a helpful smile on his face. But I see that he is ready to dive under the counter at any moment, and his hands are in too strange position, so it's a no brainer that he is ready to cause an alarm. A quick scan confirms the accumulation of many appliances and wires under the counter.

— We welcome you to the PRT building in Brockton Bay. State your cape name and reason for attending! He speaks too loudly.

Nervous, I remark with a smile. A funny idea comes to mind and I decide to make a little joke. To do this, I do not need to do anything - just stand silently for a couple of seconds, looming over him in a rather menacing pose, and then SHARPLY raise my hand to the level of his face with the Armsmaster's business card sandwiched in it.

At that moment, judging by the sounds, the guards are pointing weapons at me, and the poor man - no matter how he catches a heart attack at such a job - practically falls behind the counter.

I continue this farce and in a deliberately friendly voice begin to speak loudly:

— Hello! —My voice, amplified by the speakers, resounds throughout the room.— "I, independent hero Pertinax, have come at the personal invitation of the Gunsmith to register and sell Tinkertech blueprints. Would you like to know something else?

After that, I look around and continue to speak with the same innocence:

"Aah… why are they aiming at me?" Did I say something wrong? Or is there something wrong with my suit? I can't help it anymore and I start laughing.

I laugh for about ten seconds, and then I calm down and again turn to the frowning registrar:

"Sorry, but I couldn't help it. You were too tense, and I needed to defuse the situation - by the way, it even worked. The guards were no longer on edge, just ready for danger, and the receptionist was frowning, not afraid.

— Aren't you afraid that they would open fire on you for such jokes? he asked, arching an eyebrow.

- Not really. The armor is bulletproof, and I myself am not very afraid of bullets. Well, if the fire did open, I would then demand compensation from you.

"The guards would shoot with foam, not bullets, but I understand you," he replies with a sigh. "And yes, our capes are about to arrive here. Please don't make any more sudden movements.

"Yeah, okay, no more…" I break off as more faces enter the room. A guy in a red suit and a girl in gray, with blue luminescent streaks depicting contacts. Assault and Battery, apparently.

"Oh, these are still unexplored capes," I think, embarking on the process of studying their powers with interest.

Yeah, the power of the first cape - Assault - works quite interestingly. It allows him to absorb the kinetic energy inside his aura into some kind of energy storage and then release this energy in that part of the aura and in the amount that he wants.

This is very useful, and although the primordial force does not work at such a microscopic level, I could use it to achieve control not just over the object, but over the molecules in it. This will allow me to change the temperature of objects in a very wide range with almost no threat of their destruction. The smelting furnace I used before can now be recycled and replaced with a new one based on the power of Sturm.

But what attracted me more than the actual power effect was his aura. My aura and his aura worked quite similarly, but figuratively speaking, to cover some object, I smear it with soft clay, and he just pours water on it. Thus, where it takes me a second to fill an object, Assault only needs a touch.

But there is one more thing with the aura that interested me - its control. Just damn it! Here he goes around me like a professional runner - a baby. My maximum in aura manipulation is to first make the weapon lighter and faster, and right before the impact, make it heavier at the same speed. He does this without thinking. Here's what I immediately see: he can focus the energy of an impact on an entire object, throwing it away without damage, or he can do this to himself; can absorb energy only partially, in some part of the object, because of which it would break only because the rest of it continues to move; and I'm sure he could tear objects with a touch with proper training, just by directing energy in different directions and ... In general, he has just great control.

And the worst part is, I can't do it.

The structure of our auras is different, and although many things lead to the same action, they work in a different way. Well, you can't change the power.

I can only customize his methods of use for myself, but for this I will need to observe him for some time.

I mentally sigh, note the appearance of two new Charges at once, and shift my gaze to the Battery.

When I first started to study her strength, I did not expect anything unusual beyond the norm. But what I saw there… What the hell? What he saw was reminiscent of the power of the Circus, but unlike that, here everything was clearly from the same place. It was just… ummm… disconnected from the mains? I dont know. It has energy, it is able to work, but I see it as if ... dimmer, or something.

What was happening reminded me of a broken device: torn, tangled wires; torn terminals that prevent energy from flowing along the correct route; buttons that work every other time, which is why it is probably not so easy for the user to turn on the power.

And on top of that, a damaged power-brain connection. Well, the brain still sends requests to the force, and even the answers come, albeit with a delay due to various breakdowns, but I don't see the effect of the force anywhere. The very impact that pushes the capes in the direction of greater aggression. And this is even good, no one puts pressure on the brains, but I don't like the fact that from the background on which the force works, literally torn out a piece that answers for the impact on the brain. And I don't see the part about user protection anywhere, the so-called Manton limit.

If you remember, I've already seen something similar. At Triumph. Everything was much better there, but, looking back, the strangeness that I noticed then is a violation of the connection with the source of forces.

Hell, if I hadn't been in an acceleration and worried that the truth about my power would be revealed so publicly, I would have asked Battery right now what was wrong with her ability. Because she can't help but know this, I'm sure a normal trigger wouldn't do that. Although, I think, here the Triumph is somehow connected with this. There is something wrong with him too.

Well, let's save that for later, now I'm going to study the work of her power directly.

The first thing I see is that her nervous system is improved compared to normal. In a calm state, it works as usual, but as soon as electricity generated by its own power begins to flow through it in a special way, the brain begins to work several tens of times faster, which, apparently, makes it possible for it to act with any awareness when accelerating. .

Although… here not only the nerves, but also the rest of the tissues have been improved too - but not for speed, but for strength. Well, yes, the effects of g-forces during movement alone could have put the cape out of action immediately after the end of acceleration.

Actually, by the way, I like the idea. An organism that can work about 500% more efficiently with a certain amount of current, which I can ...

Oh, Star.

Yes, I digress.

The main part of the power lies in the electromagnetic shield, which manifests itself on the border between her body and the surrounding space. I do not quite understand how it determines where the user is and where not, with such and such gaps in the device of the mechanism, but it works.

From this force, in principle, I got a good understanding of the principles of electromagnetism, which I can use in the future, well, all sorts of biological things.

Okay, time to get back to reality.

After getting out of the acceleration, I smile affably at the capes, but, having received no response, I remember that because of the helmet, it is not easy for people around me to pick up my facial signals, so I have to say hello.

- Good afternoon! I cheerfully wave my hand to the heroes, but I receive only wary glances in response.

Obviously, the heroes have already managed to assess the situation and understand that nothing that requires their immediate intervention is happening, but it seems that they are still in no hurry to relax. Well, or they are simply strained by my appearance.

Without answering my greeting, Battery turns to the man from the reception:

We received an alarm, what happened? The voice sounds annoyed. It seems that the heroine is not in the mood.

"Nothing serious," he replies. Apparently, the shock has already passed, and he decides not to complicate the situation and just lowers everything on the brakes. - There was a slight misunderstanding.

"Who else is this?" — The Assault already looks more relaxed. And he ignores me too. Yes, what is it.

— Hero Pertinax, says that he came at the invitation of the Armsmaster.

The battery opens its mouth, obviously about to ask something else, but I get bored.

"Hey, I don't know if you're aware, but ignoring a person when they're talking to you is a bit impolite.

It seems to have worked. Assault turns to me.

"Pertinax, you mean? Well, you've been described to us in a slightly… different way.

Well, yes, because when I met the Armmaster and other capes from the PRT, I looked "a little" different.

"In the time since the last meeting, my costume has been a bit…updated. You know, tankproof, devices to hack into half of the city in a couple of seconds, in general, all sorts of tinkertech

- And what, everything is just how much improved? - he doubted, and the Battery stood a little stunned by the information given out

- Heh, no. In fact, there wasn't enough time to fill the armor with useful gadgets. But her appearance alone is enough to look cool, so I came in this.

- Clearly. Well, since it turned out to be all right, nice to meet you, Pertinax. My name is Assault, and this is Battery, don't mix it up. Are you registering?

- Including, - well, yes, and I'm also going to sell drawings and make deals. But I think I'll deal with that later.

"Then leave all your weapons in those lockers. Everything is on receipt, don't worry about safety - this is the registrar wedged into the conversation.

- Everything at all?- I asked a non-trivial question.

- Everything you have with you. We know that you have access to Tinkertech capable of storing equipment inside. Please post everything from there too, otherwise you won't be allowed anywhere beyond the first floor - not that they can check it, and the use of abilities has not been canceled by anyone, it's more a matter of submission.

But it's not difficult for me - that's all, that's all. Let's see what I have accumulated from weapons.

I had 3 rifles, 13 pistols, 2 shotguns, half a bat and a whole host of knives of all sorts and colors, a grenade, as well as a Pugnator rocket hammer, my customizable Securitas blade, a Callidus weapon system, and my trusty Combat Knife Self-Sacrifice that I kept on belt. It's not that I consider anything other than the last four things to be a weapon, but once you start laying out all that metal in a heap, it becomes hard to stop.

As more things left my Pocket, the faces of those around me showed more and more astonishment.

The established silence was broken by Assault:

- Do you compensate for something by quantity or size?

The battery looked like it was torn between the desire to hit a colleague and laugh itself.

"I… don't agree with Assault's words, but I agree with the question. Ah…why would you take so many weapons with you to a meeting?

Of course, I could hide the truth, but I came here to be honest and give all the necessary information to my dear future (hopefully) allies.

So, well, first of all, I handed over all the weapons, you can safely touch all this garbage - that is, everything, except for these four little ones. And secondly, can we go already? Chet is reluctant to chat among the crowd of people, even though all these people are yours. I'll tell you everything along the way.

"The Armmaster volunteered to have a talk with you today. It's probably because of your armor and the promised tinkertech, so please wait half a minute before he arrives.

And indeed, the hero soon arrived, briefly glanced at the pieces of iron that the employees were now laying out in boxes, and turned to me.

"Pertinax," he nodded. "Even though you didn't contact me beforehand, I'm glad you've arrived. I see your suit has been upgraded considerably since then.

- "Yes, so much has happened in that time. The techie who did all this worked tirelessly" - at this point I chuckled. -"So that I can come here at least looking good. By the way, at the same time I thought that cooperation with the authorities would only benefit me, and therefore I would also like to officially register. And let's get out of here at last, I'm already tired of being here." -

I had already turned in the direction where I supposedly had to go for registration (to the glass door at the end of the hall, behind which I could see the corridor), when they called me:

"Um, Pertinax, sir, I'm sorry, but you still need to confirm the list, sign the power of attorney, accompanying, and more ..." the registrar listed some bureaucratic terms, the meaning of which I did not even try to understand. Hmmm, it didn't turn out to be so simple, it's necessary to hit it like that ... Eh, but I've already tuned in, how so? ..

I turned back to the reception, scratching the back of my helmet foolishly and trying to look as nonchalant as possible.

"I defeated a hefty fire-breathing dragon without any problems, papers won't stop me," I said with joking confidence in my voice. - Well, let's get it all here, what do you need to sign there?

Yep, easy to say. As various documents were laid out on the table, my jaw dropped more and more, fortunately, no one could see it because of the helmet. Although, judging by the smile of Assault and the slight smirk of the Armmaster, this was not necessary. The registrar explained:

"Here, this is a list of your weapons, compiled by our workers. Please read carefully, and if everything is correct, sign here. This is a power of attorney confirming that you have voluntarily handed over your weapon while you are in the PRT building, and you will only pick it up at the exit. Put your signature next to the checkmark. Further…

Ten minutes passed, no less, while I read and signed all the necessary forms. During this time, the Gunsmith managed to go somewhere and come back, and now he patiently stood by and waited for me to finish.

"That's it, all the necessary formalities have been met," I barely held back a sigh of relief when I heard these words.

- Excellent. Let's go then." Armsmaster turned to me. "I'm glad you've decided to be sensible, follow me." I will take you to the check-in room and then pick you up for testing. By this time, everything should be ready.

We started on our way, and I heard the Armsmaster muttering under his breath:

"Of course, it would have been much more efficient if the Tinker had been present in person, but I hope that the information was given in enough detail for us to parse it.

During the conversation, we managed to walk along the corridor, take a surprisingly technologically advanced elevator somewhere upstairs and reach a small gray room with a table and chairs inside. There was already a person from the PRT who was just sorting through the documents. It was a strict-looking woman, about forty years old offhand. She was dressed in a gray trouser suit, in addition, the image was perfectly complemented by brown hair pulled into a tight bun.

When we entered, she looked up from her documents and looked at us with a slightly tired but attentive look. Fluently, according to a habit obviously acquired during the service, the woman looked me up and down, assessing me. Perhaps, if I had been a little more modest, I would have been embarrassed, but I am me, so I preferred to just stand and wait until she admired enough. A few seconds later, the woman turned her gaze to Armsmaster and gave him a short nod. He moved away from me and stood against the wall.

The lady turned to me again and rose from the table to extend her hand in greeting:

- Good afternoon. I'm Anna Lott, Senior Registration Officer at PRT.

I responded to the handshake and introduced myself, feeling a bit embarrassed by the formality.

— Hero Pertinax. Nice to meet you, ma'am.

- Mutually. So, if you don't mind, let's go straight to registration.

"Of course, ma'am," I said with a smile in my voice.

"Pertinax, before you read and sign these registration papers, I must provide you with a set of statistics on the survival rate of parahumans in this city. Please pay attention to the following:
In the past three years, of the nineteen parahumans known to us who decided to reject our offer and remain independent, nine have died, three have been forcibly recruited into gangs, and three have been maimed to the point of disability and can no longer work. And another disappeared without a trace. Only two parahumans who chose to be independent still remain independent, in or out of town.

It is my responsibility to provide you with this information and to inform you that the PRT encourages you to join a legal, like-minded parahuman group at your earliest opportunity. It doesn't have to be the Protectorate, though of course we'd love to have you join our ranks. In this business, numbers give security, and singles don't live long.

So, this is the end of the introductory part. If you have no questions, then you can proceed to familiarize yourself with the documents, the signature of which is a mandatory part of the registration.

I was given a set of forms and waivers regarding my rights as a registered parahuman hero (everything is about the same as in the case of the arrest of one civilian by another), informed about the illegality of transferring people into custody (I can detain on the spot, but I won't be able to legally move arrestees without being charged with kidnapping - apparently the most common mistake that every new hero faces) and explained in more detail about the possibility of robbing gangs (these instructions basically boiled down to "don't do this if you have you don't have a very good accountant").

After that, I was given a completely different set of forms pertaining to my rights as an outcast parahuman. In a nutshell: I don't have to worry about sales restrictions. Selling Tinkertech in bulk is not really possible for most Techies due to the maintenance requirements, and the normals who bought Tinkertech usually also bought the Techie's time or just hired him.

This is what happens, there are no restrictions? Can I sell whatever I want?

I know that this is not so, the day before I studied this issue a little.

Ah, I found it: this was written on the next sheet.
There is a NEPEA-5 law that restricts parahumans from creating their own enterprises that would compete with others, non-parahumans.

I can trade as an independent seller, as long as I pay taxes, of course. But if I try to hire staff and somehow expand my business, then taxes will immediately increase many times over.
But the biggest ban is the mass production of techies. Yes, we all remember what happened to Eagleton.

If I were to mass-sell identical products similar to non-parahuman products that already exist, it would upset the economic balance of the regular market and WEDGDG would start investigating me for violating NEPEA-5.


There are always exceptions to the rules. Especially when this exception is for the benefit of the state.

Yes, I'm talking about the Dragon. I didn't know much beforehand, but from what I understood: Dragon managed to achieve the Stabilization of the Tinker substance, her famous foam, sold the PRT formula, and already they, in turn, hired Dragon to produce this very Foam.

What does this mean for me?

If Tinkertech is stable, I can actually mass-produce it, which means a constant influx of funds. This will be useful to me.
And now that I've signed it all, I can move on.

"Tell me, Miss Lott, are you keeping a record of this meeting?"

— Yes, of course, this is the basic protocol when registering new capes and any negotiations with them. Why this question?

- Well, you know, I want to be honest with you, so ... - I took a deep breath, gave the command to open the helmet and continued, removing it: - My name is Antonias Russell, I was born on May 3, 1988, I live at 865 Romrog Way, and in fact my power is Trump, - I smirked, put the helmet on the table, looked back at the frowning Armsman and continued: - Over time, I can create new superpowers for myself that will work for an indefinite amount of time. I don't think I'll go into details for now.

The slightly dumbfounded receptionist began to speak:
"You didn't have to give out such personal information and…"
But I interrupted her:

- Well, what are you. Collaboration is built on trust, right? As you can see, I trust the PRT and hope that this information will not be used against me, my friends, and my beloved little sister," I finished with a cheeky smirk.

"You don't have and never had a younger or older sister. Also, you have never been seen to be friendly with anyone outside of your school," the Armsmaster said a little accusingly behind me, apparently already finding all the information on me. However… this is the answer I was waiting for.

— Comfortable, isn't it? Instead of taking care of an unknown number of civilians, you will have to prevent the spread of information about just one and only me. I'm even thinking of charging you for making your life so easy.

"Ridiculous," the Armsmaster said without a hint of humor on his face. "Then it turns out that you are the Techie we were talking about, and you influenced the capes you met in an unknown way, including members of the Protectorate.

I turned the chair around and sat facing him.

- Well, it's not quite like that. I don't have forces that affect other forces, but one of my powers allows me to see the structure of forces, and in Tinker powers I see something like ... links to the site. Well, my other strength allows me to connect through such links to databases and use the information inside. I can also switch between modes of operation to receive information about the construction of the Stable Tinkertech. So I did not steal, but only used the maximum as examples.
His eyes lit up as he picked out the most interesting thing for himself from my speech.

"And Stable, does that mean…?"

"Yes," I said with a smug smile on my face. - Fully reproducible and much more efficient than regular - Unstable - Tinkertech.
"Pertinax," the hero swallowed and, after a short pause, continued, seemingly without even noticing how he switched to "you": "You understand how important this opportunity is? How important is this for the whole world?"

- Yeah. That is why I came to you today. I plan to sell sometimes drawings of all kinds of different things, - I began carelessly, but then my voice turned cold: - By the way, I immediately warn you, you should not try to somehow put pressure on me. In addition to PRT, there are at least two alternatives - Elite and Toy Box. And I'm sure both organizations will be happy to work with me.
I was silent for a few seconds and continued:

"And now." I abruptly changed my tone and clapped my hands. - Let's finish with any routine, ask your questions already. I will not give details, but I will not hide something important either.

"Uh-huh," the Armmaster looked like he was impatient and eager to move on to sorting out my techie gifts. But he restrained himself and continued the interrogation: - Do you have biokinetic abilities or biotech specializations?

Agas, we decided to immediately move on to dangerous things. And I understand them - everyone remembers Nilbog and what he did. Well, I have no desire to joke about such topics.
- I can completely control my body, does that count? And yes, I have a biotech major.

After these words, I directly felt the tension emanating from him. Even the air seemed to thicken somehow.

- You said that you copy tech specializations from someone, and do not get access to them yourself, right? Does this mean that an unknown Biotechie is running around somewhere in the city?
What, they don't know? Well, like, shouldn't they at least have their suspicions about that?

It shouldn't be too difficult to guess, just sit down and think carefully.

Well, anyway, I'm sorry, Panacea, but I'm not going to cover you. Even if you didn't do anything wrong and didn't even want to. This topic is too serious.

— I took this specialization from Panacea. I wanted to take the power to heal people, but I got biokinesis and a database to boot.

"But…" The gunsmith paused before finishing his thought, and then continued: "I will need to report this to Piggot," he chuckled grimly. - Let him rejoice.

At this time, I went into acceleration and began to think about the possible consequences of my words.

First, I turned in a potentially very dangerous cape to the government. It seems to be good.

Although, on the other hand, potentially all capes are dangerous, and I do not like that Panacea, a biotinker who does healing, and not terrible experiments, is likely to be sent to some kind of cage, purely because of her resemblance to Nilbog. I can do the same myself now.

And thirdly... thirdly, ahem. Damn, but if she really is engaged in only one treatment, her strength should now not weakly push her to various experiments. And the fact that no one in town has reported any Biotink monsters during her tenure suggests that she really doesn't want to do anything Nilbog style.

And fourthly ... it's all difficult for me.

It seems bad that she hid it from everyone.
But… What if she is simply afraid of a sharply negative reaction to such a revelation? She is still just a child. At her age, I also hid bad news from my parents so that they would not be punished if I was sure that I would be able to avoid revealing the truth. And here, after all, everything is much more serious.

Guess I should just tell my thoughts to Armsmaster, let him have a headache.

- Gunsmith, - he looked at me, and I continued: - I already said that I see the structure of forces? He nodded thoughtfully. - So, there is a component that encourages users to use their powers in a more diverse way and punishes them for a long inactivity or for monotony. So here's what I'm getting at. If Panacea uses her power only for healing, then the power will constantly push her to something new. So, if the girl hasn't started secretly riveting some Biotink creatures yet, then she really doesn't want to. And she might need a psychologist, I don't know how, but her power will definitely punish her.

The hero looked at me, pursing his lips, and then replied:
"We will take note of this information. Now, as for you: this is the first and only warning. If you use biokinesis to create something that replicates itself, you will immediately have a murder warrant issued. The same rule applies to ordinary tinker inventions."

- Relax. I understand the danger of this, and I'm not going to create anything even theoretically capable of getting out of my control. And, anticipating the next question - no, I do not have the powers of the Master. My original power is such that it is not profitable for me to entrust my work to someone else, so I don't even plan to have such powers.

We were both silent for a couple of seconds - he considered the answer, and I waited for questions, after which the man spoke:
- It's clear. Can you tell us, at least approximately, your plans for the future?

They will probably look for ways to cooperate so that I can see how good it is to work in a team and all that.
But I showed no reaction and continued in the same carefree tone:

– I think I'll finish with the Merchants first, I'll take the Squealer specialization – I'm already looking forward to how I'll build a cooler car for myself. After them, I probably run to the dragon brothers. They seem to be more or less peaceful, maybe just agree on something. I'll also take a specialization, and that's what I'm going for. With the Empire - I don't know for sure yet, although I can't stand them, like the rest of the bandits, but I definitely won't pull it alone. And so - I'll ride around the country, I'll go to California, I'll stop by Texas, at least. I heard about local tinkers, their specializations are very attractive to me. Well, that's all, I'll take part in the battles with the Endbringer- although I'm unlikely to enter the battle directly. Any more questions, or should we move on to something more interesting?

We are done with protocol questions. I have a personal question. How detailed do you see the structure of forces?
- Down to the basic components, but if you go deeper, then I just stop understanding something. I can tell what power does just by looking at it, but it took me a Tinker power to get anything useful out of what I saw.

The gunsmith nodded, taking note of the answer, and froze, thinking about something. I didn't interfere. Finally he woke up, shaking his head slightly, and turned to me:

- Good. Thank you for such detailed information, Pertinax. We will remember your craving for cooperation. Now we can start studying the technologies you talked about." After waiting for my nod, he quickly turned around and left.

Smiling, I followed the Armsmaster. Finally, I turned to the registrar, who had been writing down something throughout our conversation, and said:

"And, Miss Lott, write it down there. If someone does decide to attack me using information about my civilian identity, or if someone decides to kill or mastered me, I reserve the right to respond accordingly, up to and including killing the attackers and completely exposing every cape in the gang or organizations."

Having said this, I left

The place where the technology show will take place turned out to be surprisingly close - the room was on the same floor.

The place itself I would describe as a good workshop for a beginner Tinker

Nothing unique, but I saw a lot of basic apparatus and devices, all sorts of presses and metalworking machines, soldering irons and sets of other tools for the Tinker.

"This place is meant to test new Tinkers, but it can also be used to test Tinkertech," the Armsmaster said, apparently sensing my interest.

"Uh-huh," I said simply, still looking around.

Damn, I want it all. It's not that I lack tools, but when you have to do a lot of different things on the same device, actually stopping work when it's busy, you start to appreciate highly specialized devices. When I leave here, I will have to furnish the workshop in the same way.

I asked my question:

"And… there won't be any scientists?" I thought someone was sent to study new inventions. Maybe they'll understand something.

He snorted and, I think, rolled his eyes.

- No, I did not invite non-capes. Of course, sometimes normal people make new attempts to learn techie technologies, but they are always terribly inefficient. If we now establish for sure that everything you provide is real technology, then they will definitely be present next time. However, I invited my colleague - Dragon, she was very interested in your proposal and wanted to be present during the verification.

Damn, the Dragon will be present here! I wouldn't call myself a fan of hers, somehow I wasn't very interested in the Cape theme before, but she is definitely my favorite Tinker, primarily because of her dragon costumes.

These things almost radiate power just by looking at them, and that's what I'm aiming for.

I can't wait to get her specialization. I wonder what it will be - probably some unmanned devices.

Although, how does foam and Birdcage work fit in here? Okay, guess what, I'll see for myself.

I hear how one of the screens behind me turns on, and I understand that no, I won't see: she appeared here remotely. This is even logical, in general, no one has ever seen her live, only her costumes. It's not even clear what I expected.

But be that as it may, I turn around to the screen and am even about to start talking, as I understand that something is wrong here.

What exactly? I SEE her strength. Through the screen. Through an internet connection.

I immediately go into acceleration and begin to study this anomaly.

And one discovery after another shocks me.

First, the Dragon is not a Tinker.

She is Thinker, and I can describe her strength as a kind of search engine, like on the Internet.

Its power is very similar to what I do, and it allows you to somehow connect to databases related to the studied tinkertech, and take from there specific information related only to the object under study.

I think I could change this power so that I get not information, but a link to this very database, but it will be really expensive - you need a sixth level charge only for the original power. For the entire time of my activity as a cape, I earned only one such cape, and even with the modification, I'm afraid that no matter how the seventh level is needed.

But what really bugs me is that there are no other components in her power, so she can't be some kind of Case 53 living in electronics, or even a technopath.

No, it turns out that the electronic environment is her home world, so to speak.

And that brings me to a shocking new discovery:

Dragon - Artificial Intelligence.

Yes, like Skynet from that movie from Earth Aleph, or like those programs in the Matrix.

An artificial mind that is not able to feel the real world, but is almost a god in the virtual world.

AI can be both a general leading its machine army into battle, and an incredible scientist whose developments are ahead of all others by decades.

Damn, now I want AI too.

But, again, I did not show any reaction to the information received and simply started the conversation:

"Oh, a celebrity like Dragon decided to take a look at my accomplishments in person? I'm flattered."

The famous techie smiled at me from the screen and answered.

"Well, I'm always happy to meet new Tinker. Each of us can make the world a better place, and I strive to help newcomers in such endeavors.

It doesn't say anything about her not being human at all. If I didn't know the truth, I wouldn't suspect anything.

"Ho, I don't even know what to say. I propose to put an end to the preludes and proceed to the analysis.

- Yes, of course, show me - this is the Armmaster.

I go to a free table and start to take out drawings and ready-made devices for demonstration.

"Today, I, Pertinax, am going to change the world, so behold these Technic masterpieces!" Today I have prepared a powerful and relatively cheap source of energy, a storage for this energy, a means for the rapid healing of the skin and upper layer of muscles, including almost complete disinfection, as well as an environmentally friendly combat drug, which is a mixture of human hormones and due to this, it actually does not cause harm to the user when compared with synthetic counterparts. Whatever, nature did a good job without the intervention of people, I just had to sum up.

Both Tinkers looked at me in surprise, but I only coughed in embarrassment and continued my monologue.

Picking up the reactor, prepared for display and therefore not working, from the table, I began to explain, holding it out to the audience:

- One such baby the size of my fist is capable of generating about one and a half billion kilowatts / hour per year with a net power of more than two thousand megawatts. These figures are 23 and 17 percent higher than those of modern stationary nuclear reactors, respectively. At least that's what I read online, so I really have no idea how true it is.

Thanks to tinker alloys, I have achieved that ...

5 minutes later

- ... and this is how more than eighty percent of the parasitic heat goes not to damage the device, but goes into a new cycle and is processed into energy.

I turned my gaze to the audience. The gunsmith was quite focused throughout my short speech and took notes on some device, but the Dragon periodically disappeared somewhere, I saw this by her strength. Shouldn't she be able to multitask and be able to both listen to a lecture and do her own thing? It's strange somehow, it will be necessary to ask later if possible.

- Have questions? Do not be afraid, ask, I am ready to explain everything.

"I have," the Armsmaster nodded. - In your brief review, you did not mention what happens if the device is damaged. A major radioactive contamination or even an explosion is the last thing we need with such a small object size and its possible mobility.

— Oh, that's a good question. In fact, there is a problem here that I can hardly solve." I grimaced and scratched the back of my head. "In general, if the reactor is significantly damaged, uncontrolled processes will begin that will lead to significant damage to the energy transfer mechanism, due to which it will accumulate up to a certain critical point, after which everything ... will turn off.

The silence in the room could be cut with a knife.

- Is this some kind of joke? Dragon asked in bewilderment.

- Of course it's a joke!- I exclaimed expressively, waving my hands. "Seriously, folks, don't take me for a fool. People are afraid of nuclear energy precisely because of the threat of explosions and all that. Of course, I took care not to let that happen. Special stabilizers are built into the inner holding part, which will restrain any reaction of the substance. In order for the explosion to happen, you have to manually pull out all the radioactive material and stuff it into some kind of bomb, but nothing can happen inside the reactor.

Seriously, when I said that the biggest danger is the possibility of shutdown, that's what I meant. After all, you will not use such a source of energy in something insignificant, and something significant will certainly require a constant supply of energy. Just take care to either have multiple reactors in different locations or secure it well. ‐

Having calmed down a bit, I continued to talk about my developments:

— Then we move on to talking about the battery. While standard, non-tinker mass-use batteries work by chemical reactions, I went further and my battery works by physical effect.

During my experiments with various alloys and synthetic materials, I found a substance that retains and transfers energy two orders of magnitude better than any modern non-technical chemical battery. As you can see in this diagram, his atomic structure is beyond anything we know about chemistry. If I were asked to evaluate it, I would give it a serial number somewhere in the region of five hundred according to the standard periodic table. What is particularly interesting about it is…

A few more minutes later.

- …Well, something like this. Of course, I didn't bring the best I can - the same fusion reactor I still found TOO revolutionary, but I think that you guys will have enough for now. -

"Are you saying that you can create something morepowerful than a safe reactor that can provide energy for any of our developments and a battery that can store this energy?" Dragon asked slowly, deliberately.

- Yes, there is such a thing ... But I repeat, until I plan to present it to you. We'll talk about this after we discuss the terms of our cooperation," -I grinned, enjoying the surprise on the faces of the AI and the stingy on the emotions of the Armmaster.

"What about the other two things?" Dragon asked.

"Ah, well," I turned to the table where the items in question lay, and simply waved my hand in their direction. - There I understand even less how it works, so I won't try to explain anything. I just somehow decided to see what I could do interesting with the biotech database, so I mixed everything up. Then I checked - the usual adrenaline, serotonin, a dozen more substances that the body produces. And all together it removes pain, sharpens the senses, generally allows the brain to work at its peak and all that. Of the side effects - the body quickly fizzles out, then you have to eat a lot, your head should hurt, well, there should be a gap of at least a couple of days between applications. I don't know for sure, my body is improved, I don't feel any side effects. Something like this. In general, I called it a drug purely because of the analogy with real military preparations.

— What about the last drug? —the Armmaster asked.

— Oh, healer? Yes, a cool thing, I have already done it with all specializations at once. Firstly, a very nutritious thing turned out, you can use it as a substitute for food. I didn't even expect this, it's just that cell repair requires a lot of energy. It's quite a complex mixture of substances and bacteria, but it all comes down to the fact that it enters the cell and makes it divide in the right way. Well, it also kills all sorts of extra microbes along the way, I thought that it would be necessary.

True, it only heals the surface layer, I need more experiments for a full-fledged healing potion. So that he drank - and the broken heart was overgrown, and the damaged spine began to work again. —

The dragon frowned (or just feigned it) and asked a question:

-Are you experimenting on yourself? This is quite dangerous, many techies have received incurable injuries as a result of such rash actions.-

I just shrugged off her feelings

- Yes, everything is fine, I told you - the treatment is like Panacea. Regrowing lost limbs is a matter of five minutes, replacing rotting blood flow is just a tedious and painstaking job of providing cells with oxygen manually while you change everything back to how it should work.

But for some reason, the frown on her face only intensified.

"You…really ruined your body to that extent?" It is not easy even for me to determine which mixtures of substances need to be applied in order to cause such a detrimental effect on the body.

- Pf, no. It really didn't happen. But my heart really could not withstand the load a couple of times and I manually restarted it. It's still a mess.

I paused, but then the Armsmaster rejoined the conversation.

— You said that replacing limbs for you is a matter of a couple of minutes. Then why are you still walking around with a prosthesis?

As he generally defined it, the pseudo-flesh was supposed to mask everything. Ah, yes, I'm an idiot. I forgot to turn it on before removing the gloves.

"Because I am a juvenile rebel and stand up for being able not to limit myself to weak flesh. Well, or because I think that diversity is cool and useful. For the truth you can consider what you yourself like.

At this the Armsmaster abruptly got up from his seat and hurriedly walked towards the exit.

"I'm sorry, but I'm being called urgently. I'll be back soon and we can move on to the question of payment.

He left, leaving me alone with the Dragon. Yes, and she, judging by the lack of her power in the room, was also busy with something else.


I'm bored, so I still decide to break the awkward silence and ask a question on a topic that interests me.

"Dragon," I turned to the nearest camera, "is there a recording of what is happening in the room?" -

I saw her presence again, and after a moment she answered.

"All cameras are under my control. Do you want to ask something secret from the PRT?"

- Well, sort of. Dragon, are you an AI? -

After my question, she began to frequently disappear from the room, then return, which, I think, indicates a strong excitement.

However, her image on the screen remained as unperturbed, albeit showing a little surprise, and only amusement could be felt in her voice.

- No, you are. -she said with a laugh. - "I am often mistaken for someone like that because of my seclusion. But I assure you, I am a complete person. -

Excuses gone, excuses.

"Oh, so I didn't think so because of that. Do you know that I see forces?

her avatar became more serious, and understanding lit up in her eyes - and your power periodically appears here, then disappears. -

- One of my developments allowed me to directly connect my brain to a computer, maybe because of this? -

Damn, and maybe because of this, I did not even think about it. But I will not refrain from what has already been said - it remains only to press to the end.

- Attempts to justify. And let's be honest - I'm right and we both know it. -

"Okay," her voice turned serious, "and what do you want for not disclosing this information?" -

Ho, here comes the point where I could start blackmailing her, but...

- Nothing. - I chuckled and leaned on the table - In fact, I'm just bored, and I decided to start a conversation. If you'd put more emphasis on the fact that it's because of some kind of tinker technology, I'd just give up and believe you. Seriously, I've been a cape for a little over a week, how do I get experience in such matters? -

"Are you just… kidding?" she summed up, visibly relaxed.

- Yeah. I also think that AI is cool, and I'm going to somehow create one for myself. - I did not say that I had such a desire only half an hour ago - Therefore, I will not refuse to talk with some representative of this race, if it can be called that. Do you have any tips for raising an e-child?

"You do understand that this is a very dangerous business, and because of the slightest mistake, everything can happen just like in Eagleton, and by doing so you will sign an order to kill yourself?" -

– Yes, I am well aware of this, and I am not going to let baby AI read the Internet without restrictions, or especially connect a newborn electronic child to it. He can spoil ordinary children, what can we say about the artificial.

As for Eagleton - I'm 100% sure it's Unstable Hardware problem. So if my computer is not subject to the usual tinker breakdowns, then there is no chance of changing the work in the program.

After all, I doubt that cleaning robots or cooking robots were meant to be assassins.

I have no such weaknesses. Everything I build will work as it should, and my AI will never be able to go berserk over hardware degradation. So either my code or my upbringing will be to blame. -

The look of the Dragon avatar became thoughtful

"I can't convince you, can I?" - I shook my head - then ... - her voice became quieter - then ... control him, but try to trust a little, and do not harm him in the bud. I don't think I can recommend anything useful, just this. -

It sounds like…

- Personal experience? I asked sympathetically.

- I don't want to talk about it -

Well, I already understood. Apparently, the creator of the Dragon limited it somehow even during creation. I think this is the reason why she does not have multitasking.

Damn, but this is almost the meaning of artificial intelligence.

If you limit his ability to think, it will be equivalent to the fact that the child will have brain damage. Possibly due to these same limitations, Dragon has never been able to bypass multitasking restrictions with other AIs. This is again equivalent to a disabled child. A terrible fate is to be born defective because your parent purposefully severely damaged some of your organs.

"Don't worry, Dragon, I won't repeat the mistakes of your creator, whoever he is. -

She gave me a strange look, nodded softly at me, and left the room again.

I remained in silence, forced to wait for the Armsmaster.


The Armmaster returned ten minutes later and brought with him the sad news - Lung escaped from the guards. No details were given to me, but I understood that the attack was too well planned, and Armsmaster was in a hurry to finish me.

I wanted that too, so when it comes to money:

- Ten million dollars, I want so much for the transfer to you of all information related to production, and for further cooperation. -

Both heroes looked at me with strange expressions, but I ignored it.

"Folks, don't be stingy, I know that this is an acceptable price. After all, I don't sell technology alone. I sell the entire production chain and all the principles used in production.

But I reserve the right to use the same technologies and methods, of course, if it is not about selling.–

- It is... acceptable. However, the local branch of the PRT does not have that kind of money, and Piggot will have to make a request to the chief director.

So you will need to wait a while before receiving the funds. -

- Well, as soon as I get this money, I will give you everything that I showed today. -

Dragon joined (pun intended) in the conversation.

- Pertinax, before receiving the money, I would advise you to call this number and open a bank account with Numberman. He is an Thinker, supposedly money-focused, and he handles most of the money dealings between parahumans.

This ended the conversation, the Dragon, which was busy with the whole conversation, said goodbye and switched off again, and the Armmaster led me to the exit.

I left the PRT building, followed by the eyes of the crowd, reached the nearest alley, and, making sure that I was not being watched, I went to Pocket, to wait for the moment when the crowd dispersed and I would be just an unremarkable person walking along the alley.
but I will be glad if you ask something or even try to criticize (because I like to argue and I already have an explanation in my head for almost everything written)
He knows his power is manipulating him but it doesn't seem to worry him that much? Is it his power that prevents him from paying attention to it? Because I would tend to think that by realizing the manipulation he would have started to doubt all these decisions, not knowing if it was he or his power who chose...
PRT classification
Pertinax; Antonias Russell

Tinker: 8
Brute: 7
Mover: 7
Thinker: 3
Stranger: 2
Shaker: 6
Changer: 6


Location:Brockton Bay

Status: Active
Height: 1.82 meters

Tier S Threat: NO
Appearance: Medium build, short black hair, brown eyes. Skin color - the fifth Fitzpatrick phototype (mulatto). Subject has sharp facial features, moderate musculature, and is missing a left arm (replaced with a prosthetic, making its absence invisible when Pertinax is in his cape outfit).

General Information: Prior to the drafting of the document, Pertinax was not observed to have acted illegally or engaged in illegal activities. On three occasions, Pertinax assisted the Protectorate in capturing criminals and preventing illegal attacks by cape villains on civilians.

The first contact of the Protectorate forces with Russell came after his capture of the criminals, members of the Empire 88 group, when they attacked civilians due to racial differences.
The second time Pertinax discovered a warehouse with smuggling and drugs belonging to the Merchants, where the hero neutralized and detained the members of the group who were there and handed them over to the PRT forces for further investigation.

For the third time, he entered into a fight between Lung and two leading members of the Yaoguai gang and managed to win, neutralizing all the participants in the battle, which contributed to minimizing the destruction and taking Lung into custody.

Personality: Pertinax has shown himself to be an intelligent and prudent individual - despite his overwhelming combat ability, he prepared a plan during the assault on the Merchant warehouse in case the enemy escaped, and during the battle he used stealth and surprise tactics.
A visual inspection of the provided weapons showed that they all perform several roles at once, which confirms that their owner strives to have a tool for any possible occasion.

At the same time, he is characterized by impulsiveness, intemperance and possibly adrenaline addiction, as evidenced by the ill-considered attack on Lung and repeated attempts to force PRT and Protectorate personnel to begin aggressive actions against him.

Powers: Pertinax is a Tinker/Trump, supposedly specialized in analyzing and mixing other Tinker specializations. It is noted that the power allows him to receive real information from the field of Tinker technologies similar to Dragon, but to a greater extent. So, during the deal with the PRT, Pertinax was provided with a complete scheme for creating a fully reproducible miniature nuclear reaction, and it was also stated that he had already prepared a scheme for a thermonuclear reactor, which had not been created by anyone except Tinkers before.

It is noted that during the first contact, no technical means were noticed with him, which confirms the hypotheses about the strength of Brute.

Potential Danger: Due to the nature of his power, Pertinax has the specializations of every Tinker he encounters.
As a result, he can specialize in a wide variety of things. It is known for certain that he possesses the Armmaster specialization, the Challenger, an unknown Kid Win specialization, and a Biotech specialization from an unknown source.
Thus, he can have at his disposal everything that the above Tinkers have created before, as well as hybrid technologies based on the existing one.

Things are complicated by the presence of his own Brute power, which can supposedly enhance both himself and all of his equipment.

The use of an unknown system for storage of equipment has been observed, so the subject must always be considered armed.

The use of large-caliber long-range and unexpected attacks is recommended, the use of traps and specially prepared ambushes would be the best option.
Engaging Tinkers in direct combat is not recommended due to the strength of the subject.

Pertinax is a stable '5', moving up to an '8' if attacked by the PRT or the Protectorate, and a 'Stable Purple' for the next few months.

The real strength of Pertinax is Trump power, according to preliminary estimates, not lower than 9.
It allows him to create his own powers for an "indefinite period", most likely with no time limits at all.

To date, the hero has a confirmed biokinesis power at the level of Panacea, Brute Strength with unknown limits, and a dimensional storage similar to that of Circus, a minor villain from Brockton Bay, which has also been upgraded to unknown limits.

Everything listed in the more official classification is correct, but it should be added that Egghead's power allows him to see the structure of forces, quote: "Down to the basic components", which allows Pertinax to create Tinkertech by directly studying the principles of how forces work. Egghead's rating, even if other possible abilities are not taken into account, should be raised to 5, during the battle it should be considered equal to 7.

To maintain contact, it is recommended to use those capes that have already been identified with the object, since in the event of a conflict it will be necessary to use those capes whose power he does not know and for which he cannot be prepared.

Addition from PRT CEO Rebecca Costa-Brown:

Just a week and a half after his alleged trigger, Pertinax did what scientists and Tinkers around the world were trying to do. And, apparently, he has no plans to stop.

A local member of the Protectorate, Dauntless, is told that he will reach the level of the Protectorate within a few years.
According to the forecasts of our Thinkers, Pertinax can get there, in the worst case, in six months.

A positive relationship with him has already been established, and if one of you somehow pushes him away from cooperating with us, I will personally throw you out of the office, and believe me, you will not get off with this.
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He knows his power is manipulating him but it doesn't seem to worry him that much? Is it his power that prevents him from paying attention to it? Because I would tend to think that by realizing the manipulation he would have started to doubt all these decisions, not knowing if it was he or his power who chose...
he once tried to resent this fact, but his strength just made him a little indifferent to it

I thought that if a Heartbreaker can do anything with people using only emotions, then the manipulation of forces can also
With such a distinctive physical trait as the absence of an arm, doesn't that make it easier to discover one's identity?
You are doing soo much better than most people that it's not even funny, i think you really should ignore that post and continue wiht the fic. i wish I had the guts to post mine because I an such a idiot lol

not that I stop. it's just that the speed of writing a new chapter is rather slow and bursts of inspiration quite rarely began to come to me
I'm out. This mc is so stupid. The grammar is trash and the story plot is boring as fuck.
I didnt really read it, but a quick skim did reveal a translation error that seems frequent. Places where you meant to say power were translated as force. Force vision should probably be Power sight.
Force vision would be like seeing gravity or electromagnetism, physical forces.
Power sight is detecting parahumans or the activation of their abilities.
I wouldnt quite put it in this way, but unfortunately I do agree with the sentiment.
in general, if you criticize, you should offer something yourself. and if you really don't like something, you should just leave, there is no need to write about it

but in general, I don't care. I write because I like it, and I definitely won't stop doing it because of the opinions of some unknown people

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