The dance partners switch and neither side is willing to give up yet. Please read the chapter before continuing.
As mentioned last week, the fight kept evolving. Both sides made gains, so neither want to give in. For the villains, they have a goal that they can achieve if only they can deal with the pesky heroes in their way. The heroes are doing a decent job at slowing the villains down. No one has dropped yet, though Natasha will feel the effects of the fight in the morning.
Nasty is tenacious. She was like that in Subject 13, and it's something that is core to her character, even moreso than the potty mouth. Nasty also has no problem tackling someone bigger than her. She relies on being the last one standing, no matter what. Her battle with Omega just highlights her stubbornness. Nasty does pay for it, though. Being hurled into van hurts.
Meredith gets caught in a tough choice. Should she make sure the dimensional breech is closed or go help Nasty. The strength enhancers from the beginning return. Sure, it's a Chekhov's Gun*, but the idea with showing what the characters can do at the beginning meant that the action now doesn't need an explanation. The enhancers were planned; I knew Alpha would be fighting an evil version of Keith in a more traditional suit of power armour that would have enhanced strength. Meredith needed to be Omega's equal for the fight. Plus, I got a cool scene at the beginning.
Alpha also gets to talk at Omega. It's a take on how Spider-Man fights; the web-slinger maintains a patter during a battle, generally keeping his opponents off their game because he just won't shut up. The less he banters, the more serious the fight. With Meredith, she knows that Omega has an ego. Attacking him there pushes him into making unforced errors. The result is Omega losing an arm.
Oddly, when I was making an editing pass through Crossover, I noticed a tiny problem. Omega had lost three arms, which is amazing when he only has two. I wound up making a fix, taking out the problem section and re-writing the third arm loss. I was pantsing** during that section, just trying to reach word count, and never went back to verify when he lost arms. I was caught up in the moment, really.
While Meredith had her attention on Omega, Nasty did crawl away. Meredith just didn't notice; she was too busy holding back someone's fist. That said, Nasty's appearance to deal with Tori finally gave me the moment to put Natasha out of the fight. Vicki's power is a fight ender, which is why Tori was immune to it. The fight is nearly over, though, and I did need to stop Natasha. However, the dimensional wall has been breeched. Complications are always fun to add, until it's time to finish up. I did have an idea at this point on what to do.
Astute readers may have noticed the sentence fragments separated by commas. "Drying blood from her nose, bruises forming on her jaw and forehead, a blackened eye." That was done for style. I know better than to use sentence fragments, but the description defied being verbed. Natasha should feel lucky that she's still around.
With one villain down, that still leaves Omega, immune to Vicki's dust thanks to a sealed system, and Tori, immune because she's Tori. The next chapter is the end of the fight. If you've followed this far, stay tuned.
Tomorrow, Crossover Chapter 19.
Also tomorrow, over at Psycho Drive-In, A Charlie Brown Christmas.
Saturday, over at Seventh Sanctum, the year end wrap-up.
Also Saturday, check out Comics Bulletin for comics-related reposts of /Lost in Translation/.
* But not Chekov's phaser.
** With NaNoWriMo, there are two approaches used with writing. One is to properly plan things out, create an outline, and build the world properly well before November. The second is to write by the seat of one's pants and see what happens. Crossover had scenes to be hit already in mind, but nothing pre-planned like By the Numbers. Of course, Crossover had more planning involved than The Elf's Prisoner, my 2015 NaNo project.