"Strategies of Multitude": Roxie Hodder and Nelson Jent have been travelling the world in search of information about so-called Cults of the Dial - ordinary people who worship H-Dial lore. Every other day, they take turns using the
- "Dire Bonjour"? We practiced this, Roxie. The angel of the Dial's a super-woodlouse who talks like a 3-year-old.
- -- Nelson Jent
Appearing in "Strategies of Multitude"
- Tree Knight
- Daffodil Host
- The Planktonian
- The Centipede
- The Exchange
- Wow Magazine
Synopsis for "Strategies of Multitude"
Roxie Hodder and Nelson Jent have been travelling the world in search of information about so-called Cults of the Dial - ordinary people who worship H-Dial lore. Every other day, they take turns using their own dial to become heroes and help people wherever they happen to be, and Nelson is growing to be look forward to the days he gets to use the dial more and more.
All of the cults they've been infiltrating have spoken of another dial, somewhere, but despite all their great travels, Roxie and Nelson have been unable to find it. Still, the mecca for these cults is in Paris, and Roxie expects that the leader - though he may never have even seen a dial - may know something.
In France, Roxie approaches the man in his church and claims to be an angel of the dial. When he doubts her she transforms into a giant super-woodlouse, and manipulates the devout man into divulging the secrets he knows, while Nelson helps her with her broken french over a comm-link.
In Littleville, a man arrives in the warehouse district and crosses the police line into the former hideout of Ex Nihilo. Inside, he finds evidence that intrigues him. Later, he visits an accountant named Mr. Roche, and reveals that he knows Mr. Roche is not who he says he is: he is Vernon Boyne, trying to make a new life for himself since his boss was killed. The stranger demands to know about the dial and about Manteau, or he will kill Boyne.
The leader of the cult claimed that the dial was discovered in Atlantis, and so, Nelson and Roxie are in a boat in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, dialing over and over in the hopes of getting a hero who can breathe underwater. After several misfires, Roxie manages to dial up the Planktonian, a being made up of a multitude of small sea creatures. The Planktonian does not think of itself in terms of one being, and as such, it spreads Roxie's mind between its population. In order to keep her psyche intact, Nelson hangs her Manteau mask on them.
Diving down, Manteau discovers an ancient underwater ruin, as expected, adorned with runes indicating the dial. However, the dial has apparently been taken - but whoever tried to take it was interrupted, and the dial was stolen from them by someone else. A whale suddenly crashes through the wall seeking to eat her, and so Manteau swims hurriedly up to the surface. Still, there is little chance of escaping her natural predator. She forms her multitude into the shape of a giant man, and punches the whale into unconsciousness before leaping out of the water, and back onto the boat.
Despite the dial's absence, Roxie did manage to steal a clue from the ocean floor: a military patch, ripped from a jacket. Strangely, the motto is written in both French and English. Looking back through the cultists' pamphlets, they realize that they saw a "new meta" from Canada in it, and that the bilingualism on the badge must mean that he took the dial.
The man who calls himself Colton takes a walk into an alleyway where he finds himself under attack by Vernon Boyne and his men, angry that he threatened his second chance. To their horror, the man divides himself into hundreds of copies, and he kills every one of Vernon's men. While he and his numerous copies beat Vernon senseless, he introduces himself formally as The Centipede.
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