Interlude 19 (Bonus #2)

Last Chapter                                                                                               Next Chapter

Welcome to the Parahumans Online message boards.
You are currently logged in, XxVoid CowboyxX
You are viewing:
•  Threads you have replied to
•  AND Threads that have new replies
•  OR private message conversations with new replies
•  Thread OP is displayed.
•  Ten posts per page
•  Last ten messages in private message history.
•  Threads and private messages are ordered chronologically.
You have six infractions and two warnings.  You were last banned on September 03, 2010.  Your probationary status expires in 63 days, on September 07, 2011.

♦  Topic:  What the Fuck Happened?
In:  Boards ►
News ► Events ►America
(Original Poster) (Veteran Member) (The Guy in the Know)
Posted on June 22nd, 2011:

I admit it.  I’m a cape geek.  You know it.  I know it.  I’m the cape geek the OTHER cape geeks go to for the crusty, juicy details on what’s happening and where.  Look at my badges^.  I’m the guy in the know, and everyone on the News boards knows me.

Except I’m not in the know.  I’ve been calling in every contact I know, some CAPES, even.  I’ve been watching four different news channels and scouring the internet, and I’m CLUELESS.

Someone clue me in?  I’m desperate.  What the hell happened in Brockton Bay?

EDIT:  Board rules say I’m supposed to contribute something if I’m starting a thread, so here’s what I do know.  Someone help fill in the blanks:

•  June 18th:  Mayor Christner of Brockton Bay flies to Washington.  Makes argument against evacuation.  Surprises more than a few people.  At the same time, multiple Dragon suits are reported in the city.

•  June 19th:  Explosion at Brockton Bay town hall, after supervillain Coil attempts coup and tinker equipment misfires in the ensuing skirmish.  Christner and Director Emily Piggot hospitalized and sent to ICU.  Thirty or more people reported dead, including Coil and subordinates Über, Leet and Circus, and a number of field reporters.

•  June 20th:  Massive deployment to Brockton Bay.  Unspecified class A threat.  Cape wives on the boards confirm: something’s up.
Two hours later:  Threat level upgraded to class S.  All Protectorate capes who subscribed to the emergency response measure and accompanying pay increase now forced to get over to Brockton Bay and help.  Legend and Alexandria are among them.
We have a report (see link) from White Fairy, one of three more notable board members on the ground in Brockton Bay, who says they started establishing quarantine procedures around the site of the battle.

Cape wives on the boards report calls from their husbands and wives saying they’re ok by about noon.  A few casualties, Myrddin among them.  No report on what happened and who the cape was on the opposing side.

•  June 21st:  Almost a day later, capes start filtering home.  Still no reports.
Brocktonite03 (second of the three excellent people on the ground that are giving us reports) travels all the way out of town to get his hands on a working computer.  Reports Shatterbird attack and apparent quarantine procedures in the middle of an empty lot downtown.  White tent and beginning construction around it.

And then nothing.  Help me out!

(Showing page 242 of 243)

►  Ekul (Brockton Bay Refugee)
Replied on July 6th, 2011:
The theory makes sense.  Huge clean up involving a hundred plus bodies, portal to another world, it would be something that they’d want to keep from the public, and you could even call it Class S if that world had capes of its own.  Which they’d have to, if they wanted to kill Myrddin.  Were we at war with another Earth on June 20th?

AverageAlexandros (Cape husband)
Replied on July 6th, 2011:
Does that fit the Class S scenario?  If nobody can answer I can ask my wife if she’ll let me look through her regulations handbook.

Replied on July 6th, 2011:
Class S includs situations where threat can produce more threats which can produce more etc.  In scenario with a whole alt world of capes on par with our own they could have powers like that.  Sitch got upgraded to S after the first showed up?
(Posted from phone, sry)

► XxVoid_CowboyxX (At Ground Zero: Brockton Bay)
Replied on July 6th, 2011:
Scary [censored].  Imagine if they had their own Endbriners or Alexandria.

Replied on July 6th, 2011:
Two things:
1)  You don’t need to censor yourself.
2)  Doesn’t fit with what we know of alternate Earths. Breakdown of Haywire’s research says we can’t get to alt. Earths that are too close to our own.  Closest Earth to our own is Aleph, and deviation from that world started 30 years ago, the moment Scion arrived.  Anyone over 30 was born in both worlds, anyone under 30 wasn’t, or the odds are almost impossible (same sperm, same egg, same time of conception required to have the same kid, and that’s ignoring all the environmental influences during the pregnancy, and everything post-pregnancy that shapes the personality.)

► TheGnat
Replied on July 6th, 2011:
But Alexandria is over 30, isn’t she?  It’s not impossible they’d have a version of her.

Replied on July 6th, 2011:
With powers?  Improbable.
I doubt this alternate world we’re talking about is exactly as far away as Earth Aleph, anyways.  I’d assume the point of deviation occurred more than thirty years ago, which lowers the chances even more.
In brief:  I doubt we have to worry about Endbringers and an evil Triumvirate.  This isn’t the movies, and evil alternates are so overdone.

► XxVoid_CowboyxX (At Ground Zero: Brockton Bay)
Replied on July 6th, 2011:
I censored myself because I don’t want an infraction and a ban for swearing.

Replied on July 6th, 2011:
@ Void Cowboy: they don’t give out infractions for swearing.
@ Everyone else:  I get that it makes sense on a lot of levels, but nothing’s confirmed.  Any other theories?

Replied on July 6th, 2011:
I’m going to get called a tinfoil hat, but what about that thing where the guy was talking about posts with the word C*auldron getting screened if they weren’t censored?

End of Page.   1, 2, 3, 4, 5241, 242, 243

♦  Private message from GstringGirl:

GstringGirl:  i started to play it. i’m not good with the controls.
XxVoid_CowboyxX: Takes practice.  You gotta at least play through the individual template packages.  that lets you unlock the skills and takes the skill cap off for the individual traits.  Then you can build your own class and play in the Hero League with me.  I can show you the ropes and help you figure it out.
GstringGirl:  i have it figured out.  i read the forums and watch videos.  i understand all that stuff. its the controls i struggle with.
XxVoid_CowboyxX:  Practice, practice practice!
GstringGirl:  i have a 33 percent win rate.  makes it so slow to unlock everything.  i liked that other game more.
XxVoid_CowboyxX:  Don’t even mention that game to me.  I’m still mad about it.
GstringGirl: sry. and i have to go now.  my parents want me off the computer. sister wants a turn.
XxVoid_CowboyxX:   Sorry I didn’t reply.  Was in game.  Guess you already went to bed.  Listen, I’ll be traveling this summer with my family.  Could swing your way, if you wanted to meet up.  Grab coffee?
GstringGirl *New Message*:  Oh.  Wow.  My parents are really strict, so I don’t think I’ll be able to.
GstringGirl *New Message*:  You haven’t replied, so I sent you a text.  I can’t receive texts back, so PM me, plz.

♦  Topic:  The Ground Zero Badge
In:  Boards ►
Places ► America ►Brockton Bay ►Ground Zero (Private Board)
White Fairy
(Veteran Member) (At Ground Zero: Brockton Bay)
Posted on June 31st, 2011:

I’m getting kind of fed up with this.  I talked about it with Alathea and Judge (the two original Brockton Bay board moderators) and Bagrat (major guy in the news section).  We got special dispensation to issue Brockton Bay Refugee and Ground Zero badges.  The goals were:
•  It automatically give more weight to those of us who know more about what’s going on in Brockton Bay, either because of our familiarity with the local capes or because we’re there.
•  It’s a way to get aid to people in trouble.  This was essential early on.  Someone’s low on food or needs medical attention, the fact that they have a badge and that the badge is (presumably) validated means we can take a cry for help as something serious rather than a hoax.  (And for the record, I don’t think a temporary ban is enough for the scumbags who faked cries for help – in the early days, traveling across the city to deliver supplies was life threatening)
•  It furthers the interests of Parahumans Online, to disseminate information and allow network among people in the right positions.  The badges let people know who can be contacted for more information or people we can coordinate with for certain tasks.  Case in point: Bagrat contacts Brocktonite03 about the incident a week and a half ago, Brocktonite03 goes and finds the quarantine tent and construction.  I can then contact Brocktonite03 and we organize a way to take turns visiting the construction site and then report progress to the boards, with picture progress so you guys can speculate or offer your own expertise.
•  Filters access for getting onto the private board, so people in the prior two situations can manage

But there’s certain individuals who aren’t using the system as it’s meant to be used.  People got the badges with the loose verification system that existed in the early stages (and the mess of new moderators that came on board to manage the board), and they’re using them for status or to put incorrect information or outright lies out there.  Alathea and Judge said they’re willing to do a ban from this sub-board (and all related boards) if details can’t be confirmed with further validation.  I’m talking to moderators of the main boards about maybe banning them from the site altogether.

So we’re proposing further validation…
•  A photo of yourself at any construction in progress or recent piece of paperwork (flier, shelter pamphlet, whatever), with the date and your username prominently displayed.  Doesn’t have to show your face, a photo of a hand with the details written on it, with the quarantine building in the background is perfect.
•  I will meet you.  Time and place of your choosing, though I’d prefer to meet you halfway if you’re a ways away from the Towers, and I won’t go into any of the danger zones.  If you need supplies, I have access to batteries, supply kits, gas and a car, and I will deliver it to you when we meet.  I might have luxury goods, but you’ll have to pay for those.

There’s a limited time window here, because the city’s slowly coming together, and people are moving back in.
Edit:  Now that people are moving back in, we’ll start banning people who weren’t able to verify.  If you contact us and can explain why you weren’t able to verify, that’s ok (stay in hospital, no connection/power where you were at).  We’d like to meet you in person or see where you were staying for verification that you were in the city during the time of crisis.

We’re going down the list.  The unconfirmed will be banned when verification stops being possible.

•  Chilldrizzle – Met in person.  Delivered some fresh water and dog food.
•  Morgan Sinister – Met in person.  Brought chocolate, chocolate was paid for.
•  Lo A Quest – Met in person.  Talked for a few minutes, parted ways.
•  Char – Met in person.  Had the best meal I’ve had in weeks on the Boardwalk.
•  bothad – Photo verification
•  Laser Augment – Photo verification

•  Aku-42 – Attempted to photoshop verification using an image Brocktonite03 already uploaded.
•  Whackograve – Admitted lie.

I know this sounds ridiculous, but we use systems like this for a reason.  It can mean life or death, even.

(Showing page 4 of 4)

►  White Fairy (Original Poster) (Veteran Member) (At Ground Zero: Brockton Bay)
Replied on July 6th, 2011:
@Void_Cowboy: you’re exactly the type I was talking about.  Where do I even begin?
Your posting hours on the site suggest you’ve got something occupying your time from early in the day to evening.  Like maybe school?  Except there’s no school in Brockton Bay yet (soon).  You state your location as the north end of Brockton Bay, profess to have a generator and satellite internet.  Ok, not unheard of.  Except you’ve apparently got enoguh gas stockpiled to keep the generator going 24/7 and, oh yeah, you’re in Bitch’s territory!  Bitch would maim or kill you for being in her territory, let alone making the kind of racket a generator does.

XxVoid_CowboyxX (At Ground Zero: Brockton Bay)
Replied on July 6th, 2011:
I have a quality generator that doesn’t make much noise.

Laser Augment (At Ground Zero: Brockton Bay)
Replied on July 6th, 2011:
But no phone or camera to take a picture of yourself in the city?

XxVoid_CowboyxX (At Ground Zero: Brockton Bay)
Replied on July 6th, 2011:
I have a camera, but I don’t feel comfortable leaving the house.  That’s the sort of thing that gets me killed by mutant dogs.

Laser Augment (At Ground Zero: Brockton Bay)
Replied on July 6th, 2011:
You do know that Bitch left the north end a while ago?  How would you even miss the fact that you haven’t heard howling in the last while?  If you’re not leaving the house, why don’t you take a picture of yourself by this high end generator of yours?  Because it doesn’t exist.
You fuckers make me sick, like you can pretend to be all cool by being one of the survivors, who stuck it out through the Endbringer attack, the Nine and the gang wars.  But you left.  Your mommy and daddy took you out of town, and you’re pretending you stuck it out, that you’re here when you’re not, all for a stupid internet badge and a peek at the private board.

End of Page.   1, 2, 3, 4

♦  Topic:  Legend Leaves the Protectorate
In:  Boards ►
Teams ► Protectorate
Brilliger (Original Poster) (Moderator: Protectorate Main)
Posted on June 26th:

Word’s out, and we’re waiting for the Protectorate to give a statement before we get further details.  Legend is stepping down, citing family reasons.  He’s already on record saying that he intends to offer his aid in crisis events, but will no longer be leading the Protectorate.  His successor has not yet been named.

(Showing page 1173 of 1180)

► XxVoid_CowboyxX (At Ground Zero: Brockton Bay)
Replied on July 6th:
@ Lainerb
It should totally be Eidolon.

Valkyr (Wiki Warrior)
Replied on July 6th, 2011:
@ Lainerb
They haven’t picked a successor yet because it’s a little more complicated than picking the strongest hero.  They need someone who works on a number of levels, as a leader (both in terms of day to day paperwork and management and in the field), an ambassador (there’s no less than 30 teams around the world that work with the Protectorate to some degree), a powerhouse (can’t be weak or you won’t be respected) and from a marketing standpoint.

Replied on July 6th, 2011:
@ Cowboy
Can’t be Eidolon.  He’s strong, but he’s not a leader.  There’s a ton of references to people meeting him at conventions or cape wives meeting him at functions.  I won’t say he’s an asshole, though some have said he rubbed them the wrong way, but people definitely don’t walk away from meeting him with that universal “Oh my god he’s so nice!” reaction that they have with Legend.

Mock Moniker
Replied on July 6th, 2011:
Not to mention that there’s rumors Alexandria or Eidolon might step down.  There’s a lot of animosity being directed at them from certain groups.  Look at this link and this one.  The monsters in the Protectorate have almost all left.  Only one who stayed, I think, are Hunch and Polish.  I’ve been thinking it’s another Bastion incident.  Someone higher-up says something racist or offensive, the Protectorate pulls strings to try and cover it up, but offended people are still offended.  Run off to make their own team.

Replied on July 6th, 2011:
I don’t know whether to be sad about it or not.  Weld’s awesome, and it’s great he gets to run his own team, but I was hoping he’d become a big figure in the Protectorate.  Why be a big fish in a small pond when you could be a big fish in a big pond?

Replied on July 6th, 2011:
We don’t know how big the Irregulars are going to get.

►  Chrome
Replied on July 6th, 2011:
But they’re never going to be the Protectorate big.

Weld (Verified Cape) (Irregulars)
Replied on July 6th, 2011:
I dunno, I’m optimistic. 😉
For the record, I harbor no animosity toward the Protectorate.  We’re still attached, and we’re receiving equipment, funding and contacts through them.  They were very respectful as a whole, but we got a chance to interact a few weeks ago, and we collectively agreed that while the Protectorate’s plan to build a rapport between us Case-53s (as the Protectorate terms us) and the public was sound (making me leader of the Brockton Bay Wards, for example), it was too slow, and we could do more as a group.

Answer Key
Replied on July 6th, 2011:
@ Weld:
I have questions:
1 – How much did they pay you guys to keep quiet and play nice?
2 – I notice you said you don’t have issues with the protectorate ‘as a whole’.  You’re not denying there’s issues with one or two prominent members?
3 – What the hell happened on the 20th?
4 – How is making you leader of the wards in Brockton Bay a good thing?
@ everyone else:
Question – just wondering.  Who’s been leading the Protectorate since Legend left?

►  Whitecollar (Cape Wife)
Replied on July 6th, 2011:
@ Answer Key – Tinfoil hats ahoy.  I can answer that last question, though.  Or my hubby can.  He says the Protectorate is currently being run by a joint team atm.  Chevalier, Alexandria and Prism are each handling different tasks.

End of Page.   1, 2, 3, 4, 5 … 1172, 1173, 1174 … 1180

♦  Topic:  The Endbringers, Thread XXXIV
In:  Boards ►
World News ► Main
(Original Poster)
Posted on June 28th, 2011:

Starting a new topic because the last one hit post limit.
The Simurgh attacked Canberra, Australia on February 24th, 2011.  Thread here.
The Leviathan attacked Brockton Bay, America on May 15th, 2011.  Thread here.
Estimated time for next attack is August 30th, 2011.  This time is not exact, and is likely to deviate by as much as 15 days.
Official speculation points to Eastern Europe as the next likely target.

(Showing page 23 of 25)

►  Miss Mercury (Protectorate Employee)
Replied on July 5th, 2011:
Speaking for someone in the thick of it all, I don’t think that there’s any expectation or assumption that recent events (losing Legend, losing Myrddin, several members leaving) will change the outcome of the next attack.  The Protectorate and immediately related teams only make up 25-50% of the defending side when outside of North America, and North America isn’t a likely target.  There’s been no policy changes or anything of the sort in the Protectorate that point to that degree of pessmism

►  Space Zombie
Replied on July 5th, 2011:
I’m more inclined to think the PRT is making a mistake than to think they’re on the ball.

My money’s on a big-ass clusterfuck.  This is the first time since Behemoth first showed that we haven’t had all our ducks in a row.  May’s Leviathan attack had the lowest casualty rate we’ve ever had, but I think the next one’s going to hurt us bad.

►  Chaosfaith 
Replied on July 6th, 2011:
My cousins are traveling through Europe this year.  All the analysts say the odds are worse there.  Should I try convincing them to delay the trip to Greece?

I think I’m even spooked about there being an attack where I’m at (London, UK).  If I wanted to visit somewhere during the crisis point, would anyone have any recommendations?

►  XxVoid_CowboyxX (At Ground Zero: Brockton Bay)
Replied on July 6th, 2011:
O_o  Definitely tell them to skip Greece.  I’ve seen an attack for myself and its worse than you think it would be.

I don’t know where you could run to be safe, though.  Alaska?

►  SenorEel
Replied on July 6th, 2011:
Can’t let the Endbringers dictate your life.  Live it as you can, know where the nearest shelter is, and keep a well stocked supply closet.

►  ArchmageEin
Replied on July 6th, 2011:
If you wanted to go anywhere, and I agree with SeniorEel that you shouldn’t go just because you’re scared, apparently Brockton Bay is putting itself back together.  The Endbringers never attack the same place twice in a row, so it’s oddly the safest place to be, and it might help you to see the city for yourself.  The stories are/were bad, and scary stuff happened, but they made it.  They’re still there.  You might find that reassuring?

►  Tumbles
Replied on July 6th, 2011:
That’s if you don’t mind being in a city where supervillains run the scene.

Xyloloup (Brockton Bay Refugee)
Replied on July 6th, 2011:
Copy pasting from one of my posts in another thread.  Current state of the villains in Brockton Bay:
•  Skitter – Boardwalk/North end.  Five stars, almost no crime, free food, work if you want it.  Water and power both.  Heard from a friend that stayed there for a while that he ran into some trouble, his place got raided, stuff taken.  Mentioned it to someone in passing, and the next day it’s all returned, with some cash (two hundred dollars) and a note apologizing for the trouble, assuring him the matter was dealt with.  He left after that, which I don’t get (free money).  Said he was creeped out.
•  Parian – Not a villain, but apparently struck a deal for a slice of territory at the very upper end of the city.  Not great, not bad.  Good spot to stay if you want a clear conscience and don’t mind that the water and power aren’t always on (80% of the time?) and shelters are a bit crowded.  Four and a half stars.
•  Grue – Western end of the city, from the docks to the lake downtown.  Almost a nonentity, but he’s apparently dealt with some people who tried to set up shop.  Pick where you stay carefully, cuz there’s areas with power and water, areas without, and it doesn’t change much day to day.  Three stars.
•  Imp – Southernmost end of the city.  Shopping district, some of downtown.  There’s a few dregs trying to set up shop with the no-name villain calling it her territory, and a few fights as a result (doesn’t help that the big guns like Skitter are further away.)  I’d stay away from here because of that alone.
•  Regent – Eastern end of downtown.  Kind of a shantytown, area got hit hardest by the waves, shelter water and power nearly nonexistent, but the places that you can get are nice and very expensive.  Some violence bleeding over from Imp’s territory.  Nothing here unless you’re rich and want to live like a king among serfs.

Procto the Unfortunate Tinker (Not a tinker)
Replied on July 6th, 2011:
And Tattletale?  Bitch?

Replied on July 6th, 2011:
Sorry to continue derailing thread, but Bitch apparently has a slice of the more remote areas, where you don’t find many people living.  Captain’s hill, the woods/hills, the beaches at the south that haven’t been cleaned up yet.  Her gang’s growing though, or so I hear.  Tattletale’s not a fighter so it makes sense that she’s more a behind the scenes person than one of the local warlords.  I think what Xylopop was saying was that the town’s not so dangerous.  Probably more peaceful than it was at the start of the year, if you stay out of the very southernmost areas (and maybe the north – I heard there’s a few upstarts from New York and Boston trying to get a foothold there in Parian’s area) and turn around if you hear a lot of barking.

End of Page.   1, 2, 3, 4, 523, 24, 25

♦  Topic:  Hypothetically, if I wanted to become a henchman…
In:  Boards ► Places ► America ►Brockton Bay ► Teams ► Undersiders
(Original Poster) (Brockton Bay Refugee)
Posted on July 1st, 2011:

Been a fan of Bitch/Hellhound/Rachel Lindt since the start.  Always loved dogs.  Always loved badasses.

She’s both, and now she’s one of the villains running the city?  So coooool!  If I wanted to become a henchman/henchwoman/henchperson (hypothetically) how would I do it?
(Showing page 1 of 1)

►  Char (At Ground Zero: Brockton Bay)
Replied on July 1st, 2011:
Sent you a private message.

►  Good Ship Morpheus
Replied on July 2nd, 2011:
Yeah, I might be too late to say anything, but I wanted to warn you to be careful.  Really, the reality could be different from the ideal you’ve built up in your head.

►  WagTheDog (Original Poster)
Replied on July 3rd, 2011:
It’s all good.
Harder than I thought but all good.

Replied on July 6th, 2011:
I came through a link on the main board.  Is this real life?  Can’t you get arrested or banned doing something like this?

Laotsunn (Kyushu Survivor)
Replied on July 7th, 2011:
Better arrested or banned than dead.  I’d say death is the thing to worry about here.

WagTheDog (Original Poster)
Replied on July 7th, 2011:
All good, my man.  All good.

End of Page.  1

♦  Private Messages from GstringGirl:

(Two new messages not included, click here to see)
GstringGirl *New Message*:
  my phone broke so i’m messaging you here. you have to understand its not what you think.
GstringGirl *New Message*:  i just wanted to hang out and play space opera. you were the one who approached me so don’t jump straight to the conclusion that I’m a “middle aged pervert trying to get into your pants”.
GstringGirl *New Message*:  theres a reason i cant send a photo but i don’t want to have to explain,.,  cant we just go back to the way things were?
GstringGirl *New Message*: 😦

♦  Topic:  Who’d you lose?
In:  Boards ►
Places ► America ►Brockton Bay Discussion (Public Board)
(Original Poster) (Veteran Member) (At Ground Zero: Brockton Bay)
Posted on May 29th, 2011:

See topic.  Friends?  Family?
On topic posts only, please.  No commentary.  Nc= no condolences via. private message.

(Showing page 17 of 17)

Mac’s Dual Rocket Propelled Grenades (Brockton Bay Refugee)
Replied on July 6th:
Nobody close to me died, but I still did lose quite a few people.  My best friend moved away.  My other friend joined the Merchants because an artificial high was better than being lucid and uncertain.  Come to think of it, he might have died in that massacre at the Towers.  My parents were separated, but they still lived in the same city before.  My mom wants to move back, but my dad’s gone to Florida and I don’t know how much I’ll see him.

►  Reave (Verified PRT Agent) (Brockton Bay Refugee)
Replied on July 6th:
My coworker and squad captain.  Went to school together, dropped out together, joined the PRT as grunt forces.  S9 got him, and as glad as I am he died fast, given what might have happened, doesn’t change the fact that he’s gone.  Loved him more than I love my wife, in a way.

►  XxVoid_CowboyxX (At Ground Zero: Brockton Bay)
Replied on July 6th:
My aunt and uncle.  They were attacked by Chosen, dragged out of their homes and beaten.  My uncle fought back and smashed this one guy in the nose, and wrestled a gun from his hand, but got punched in the throat and dropped the gun.  He fought back some more, but eventually got knocked to the ground and shot.  I wasn’t there, but I heard he went down like a hero.

►  White Fairy (Veteran Member) (At Ground Zero: Brockton bay)
Replied on July 6th:
My boyfriend.  He was in a shelter Leviathan attacked.  Only about half of us made it.  One of the heroes bailed us out.  Distracted the Endbringer and led him away.  Nc.
@Void_Cowboy: How do you know the story if you weren’t there?

XxVoid_CowboyxX (At Ground Zero: Brockton Bay)
Replied on July 6th:
Leave me alone!
User received an infraction for this post: all posts must be related to the topic question.

Vista (Verified Cape) (Wards ENE)
Replied on July 7th:
Gallant.  Aegis.  Battery.  Armsmaster.  Dauntless.  Velocity.  Glory Girl.  Browbeat.  One family member. I can’t say who for obv. reasons.
Nc plz.

End of Page.   1, 2, 3, 4, 516, 17

♦  Topic:  Skitter
In:  Boards ► Places ► America ►Brockton Bay Discussion (Public Board)
Miraclemic (Original Poster) (Brockton Bay Refugee)
Posted on June 11th, 2011:

The reason arachnophobes don’t want to live in Brockton Bay.  Her discussion thread.

(Showing page 30 of 30)

  Mr. Fabuu (Brockton Bay Refugee)
Replied on July 7th, 2011:
I’m not saying she’s right…  I’m saying she saved my life.  I get woken up by bugs.  Writing on the wall.  I go climb in the tub and *BAM*.  Glassplosion.

►  WhedonRipperFan
Replied on July 7th, 2011:
This conversation’s going nowhere.  She’s bad.  But she fought an Endbringer!  But that doesn’t change the fact that she’s bad.  But she saved lives!  But that doesn’t change the fact that she’s bad.  But she keeps the peace!
Aside:  Anyone else find it really funny that we’re talking about Skitter being powerful like we used to talk about Kaiser and Lung?  If you’d told me the gawky bug girl was going to be one of the scariest motherfuckers in town, I wouldn’t have believed you.

Replied on July 7th, 2011:
I wouldn’t have either.

Bruce Lao (Brockton Bay Refugee)
Replied on July 7th, 2011:
Easy to be one of the scariest people around if you’re one of the only people around.  It’s a question of surviving, and the Undersiders are the types who can get away from trouble, so they outlast the opposition.  How many capes are even left, now?

► Nondeceptive (At Ground Zero: Brockton Bay)
Replied on July 7th, 2011:
Makes you wonder what she’s like in real life.  Who’s the woman behind the mask (assuming woman from height)?  What’s her day job?

Replied on July 7th, 2011:
She lives in the North end (apparently, first sighting, current location), slightly-above average height woman.  Slender.  Personality?  No idea.  What do we even know of her personality?

Greg stopped scrolling down the page.  The computer screen glowed in his dimly lit bedroom.

“A woman of above average height… or a tall teenager,” he mumbled to himself.  “North end, lives in the area.  Personality… vicious, smart, tough, a little unhinged?”

The image clicked.  A girl he’d had classes with, what felt like ages ago.  Taylor Hebert.

He’d thought maybe he had a shot with her, once.  Only she’d brushed him off.  It had bugged him more than it should have.  Why couldn’t it be like it was in the movies and on TV?  Why couldn’t the geeks band together?

He thought briefly of GstringGirl, felt a pang of disappointment and a momentary digust.  She’d refused the offer to meet up, then had turned down his request for a picture, or a webcam chat.  The conclusion had been obvious.  A creep.  A liar.

The name should have been a giveaway, but he’d held on to a shred of hope that there really was a girl out there more into gaming, coding and finding cool stuff on the web than on being ‘cool’ and going out on Friday nights.

Was Taylor a creep of an entirely different sort?  A degenerate villain?  An upstanding villain?  He could visualize her, sitting in class, tense with anger and frustration, the lines of her face hard as she bottled up a million little indignities and more than a few big ones.  It wasn’t that hard to imagine.  Was Taylor Skitter?

If he’d figured it out, others would too.  Or they would soon enough.  Her parents – did they know?  They had to.  How could they not?  Others.  Who else might have paid enough attention to Taylor to guess?  The girls who had been bullying her?  Maybe, maybe not.  Now that he’d thought about it, it was impossible to shake the idea.  But the bullies maybe didn’t know the real her, didn’t see the person.

There was no way people wouldn’t start connecting the dots.  Not with the eyes of the whole city, the whole country on her.  Leader of a villain organization that had claimed a town and driven out all comers.  Ruthless, standing up against Endbringers and the Slaughterhouse Nine.

He wheeled his computer chair away from the desk.  His eyes fixed on the bulletin board to his left.  A poster for Ransack took up half of it, and other scraps of paper took up more space.  A checklist of unlocks to get for the game, the ad for the computer class he was taking, and in a space all on its own, an information sheet.  The remaining summer months would feature special arrangements for classes, to make up for the weeks of classes students had missed in the wake of the Endbringer attack.

The eighth of July.  Tomorrow.

Did she plan to go?  Was she aware of how much attention people were paying to her?

He could imagine himself in her shoes and could almost guess.  To actually have some confidence, after having none for so long?  To have a second chance?

In her shoes, he’d do it in a heartbeat.

Last Chapter                                                                                               Next Chapter

537 thoughts on “Interlude 19 (Bonus #2)

  1. Did you guess who was who before reading the tags?

    Any similarities in names between the denizens of the parahumans message board and any other people are purely coincidental. Yeah. Totally.

    No offense intended to those who weren’t (or were) included. Really truly. I might have gone the extra mile to include donators, but I don’t have a list of their comment-section-names to match up with their real names. As it was, I only wanted a way to make the usernames in the story different enough from one another (yet still somehow consistent), so I drew on the closest source available for inspiration, and then when I’d started doing that, I went wholesale. A cookie to whoever can place the most! Not all are from Worm’s comment section, FYI.

    This was probably the most-requested interlude I’ve had yet – a slice of the common people’s perspective. I tried to write this in early December, but it didn’t take. Part of that was a real life distraction of a bad sort, part was because this sort of thing is really, really hard to do. Formatting it, getting the little details right (I’m sure I got lots wrong), getting the big details right, and lots of little things that take up a lot of time individually (coming up with usernames, assessing the flow of a given conversation, etc).

    I hope it’s readable, and I have no idea if it’s enjoyable (I’m crossing my fingers: this is one of the chapters were I’m completely in the dark about what kind of response I might get). Writing this, I aimed for there to be something of a challenge in trying to figure out if any of the people posting were familiar, there should be a few juicy tidbits in there, and hopefully the usernames planted throughout can be seen as something of a bonus. Either none of those things will hit the intended mark, some of them will or all of them will.

    For the record, yes, this is a donation bonus – Tuesday will be the regular interlude, following the conclusion of Arc 19, and Thursday will have the first chapter of Arc 20. I just wanted to write three interludes (and it’s a shame last Thursday’s didn’t work out, but that’s on me). We’ll be back to a normal schedule on Saturday.

    Thanks for reading, guys. Really truly, matters a lot that you’ve stuck this out with me. Votes on Topwebfiction are appreciated, as are ratings/reviews on Webfictionguide (I know these are a pain, requiring logging in, but they’re appreciated).

    • I actually guessed wrong about GstringGirl – stupid of me, given that Glory Girl was apparently unable to move properly under her own power. Char, Weld, and Vista were obvious, of course. Greg I didn’t see coming at all.

      Great chapter – so good, in fact, that I’m going back to read it again rather than go edit TV Tropes (right away). 😀

      • Wow. You guessed exactly like I did. I thought of Charlotte the moment I hear about eating on the Boardwalk. You?

        • I did too but I’m a bit biased because I’ve been referring to her as Char pretty much from the beginning. I like to shorten names and it fit well. Doesn’t help that I’ve recently watched Infinite Stratos and one of the main characters is Charlotte who goes by Char. The lunch on the boardwalk cinched it for me pretty quickly that she was who I thought she was.

        • Odd, because once I saw the tags I thought GstringGirl was Sveta (aka Garotte).

          Given that “wrapped around a pole” is basically the equivalent of a chair for her and that her “body” is more-or-less made up of fleshy wires, her username is sort of a joke about her condition.

          And it also explains why she’s not wiling to send any photographs.

        • Sorry for the confusion – I meant that *I guessed she was Glory Girl*, which from what we saw of Glory Girl’s condition in the interlude wasn’t really possible.

          Poor, poor Sveta.

          • Garrotte is the most tragic character in this series. My heart bleeds for her. Glory Girl and Amy are also sad, but compared to Sveta they at least had a shoot a normal life.

            I wonder if she is a 53 or not….

            • She has a tattoo on her forehead or her cheek, IIRC. I’d have to reread her segment to recall (first thing in the morning, haven’t had my tea).

    • I can’t believe it took me this long to get a literary ref: Wildbow > Wilbur, Charlotte recruiting online > Charlotte’s Web.

    • Man. This must have taken forever to typeset.

      It was also–if you will forgive the blunt honesty–vastly annoying to read en masse like this. (IMO, of course.)

      I think this sort of thing is generally better used in smaller chunks, spread out through various chapters, or as chapter headings.

      • *laughing*

        I’m re-reading Worm (again, I think this is probably pass #5?), got to this comment, thought to myself that I should reply, agreeing with it… and then noticed the author.


        Always interesting to see what parts of me change, and which stay the same, over the years…

    • Also I had to go back to look up who Greg was. I had forgotten about him(Also he seems like psudo-Thinker…..Could he have had a Trigger Event?).

      • This isn’t Thinker-level deduction we’re talking about — remember, Greg was *smart*, just really scattered, and he probably knew Taylor better than almost anyone else in the school (particularly if he had a crush on her). Plus, being both a student at the school and a capes geek, he was in a position to notice that her absenteeism began around the same time that Skitter turned up on the scene.

      • Well he might have just been the foremost expert on Taylor Herbert if he had a crush on her. So he knew enough about her to connect the dots because he is a massive geek on both the Undersiders and her. I could see a trigger event in the future though. People around capes have a greater chance of triggering right? Shadowstalker inadvertently created Skitter. Maybe Skitter will accidentally create a hero.

          • Sierra is also much less comfortable with her situation than Charlotte. I have a much easier time seeing Charlotte stepping up for things like keeping track of message boards and referring people to gang recruitment because she doesn’t feel as bad about it. Sierra seems much more focused on community organizing and isn’t as willing to go all in.

        • If that were true, Emma would trigger, too, which is a scary but interesting thought.

          What about other students like that Sparky guy?

          • Guessing that you need the one-two punch of “encounter parahumans” + “have the worst day of your life”. Unless Emma was pinned under the rubble of one of those buildings Echidna knocked over, I’m not seeing it happen.

            Of course, if she was, I could totally imagine her getting some mind-mojo powers and using them to call to the first responders for help. She could call herself Network. 🙂

          • I can’t remember when the spoilers in the following reply come up, so I’m ROT-13’ing it to be safe.

            Rzzn jnf pybfre gb cbfg-gevttre Funqbj Fgnyxre guna cbfg-gevttre Fxvggre, fb ure gevttre jbhyq zber yvxryl erfrzoyr F.F.’f cbjre. Gubhtu vg zvtug “obhapr” bss bs ure funeq, yvxr gur Arj Jnir xvqf’ cbjref pnzr sebz bar naq obhaprq bss bguref. Gurer’f n zber grpuavpny grez sbe jung V’z gnyxvat nobhg, ohg urpx vs V pna erzrzore vg…

        • Interesting that for an expert on her he doesn’t seem to know much more than superficial details-she was bullied, etc. He doesn’t know that her mother is dead, for example, even though it was one of the principle topics used by the bullies.

          • That gives more evidence that there is something weird about him. He doesn’t know such important details but he knows for a fact that she is Skitter?

            • But that is exactly the sort of thing that would make it around school like wildfire. Even assuming a large graduating class size of about 400-500 most of the grade would probably have known about her mother’s death by the end of the first week. Talk would probably die down about it after a month or two though so but he really should’ve known.

              • I think you’re underestimating how out-of-the-loop really geeky types can be. If it was one of my classmates, I probably never would have known the specifics unless one of my close friends told me. I would have figured out she was miserable, but wouldn’t have known why. And Greg seems to have very few friends to ask for confirmation/clarification, if any.

        • I dunno if he’s the foremost expert, since he seems to think her mom is around, but he’s close to e.g. Emma’s expertise and specializes in what Taylor was doing recently.

  2. -giggles at the names-

    Haven’t been around long enough to know about the requesting or what people expected, but for what it’s worth I really liked this chapter. Getting perspective on the world is always really nice, especially given all the angles you showed here.

    Idle question about something from earlier in the story…During Migration, Jess says that Behemoth “turns people to cinders if they’re within 200 feet”. Blasto later mentions that Behemoth can ignore the Manton effect at 32 feet. Is there a distinction between the turning-to-cinders and Behemoth’s point-and-click death ray?

      • “/breathes massive sigh of relief that scares my dog.”

        No pressure man- have an internet hug. If you write a chapter we don’t like it’s not like people are going to start hating you or anything. Hell, I bet everyone of us has some parts of the story we don’t like- doesn’t change the fact that we love it as a whole.

      • You worry too much about what we think! I mean, yeah, as an entertainer its your job to entertain, but just because a single chapter doesn’t hit everyones fancy, is not a reason to worry!

        That said, I liked it. I’ve tried doing a story as web forum before (actually did one as a weblog, back before blog was the name, but it didn’t do so hot). But this was well done. Although, All i kept thinking was, I wish forums would do that! Have a main page showing most recently replies to me or to thing’s I’ve commented on , all down the page!

  3. Dayum. This was pretty cool to read, and I love seeing how Skitter’s finally getting the recognition she deserves. Makes me wish I could read the other twenty nine pages of her discussion thread.

      • Ah ok. I’m having a hard time finding it. Probably sleep deprivation. I stay up to get these as soon as possible.

      • Well, glad I got to read it before it was scrapped then. Was there a particular reason for it getting scrapped though?

        • It’s detailed in the comment section, in a few places.

          In brief: I was tired and distracted and let a frothing mess of issues slide, where sometimes I will be tired and distracted but I’ll only let one or two minor issues slide.

          There were bad calls made in the villain’s conception (unnecessary) and origin (how the clone came to be wasn’t clearly laid out- too many offscreen things coinciding), there were bad cals in the chapter’s body (Vista being more of a prop than a character) and the conclusion just didn’t work (A lack of suspicion from the villains). Rounding it out… it was poor in tone, injecting a note of heavy negativity at a juncture where tone was critical.

          Above all, my readers weren’t happy with it and neither was I.

          • Ah, I read that one early, before all the comments came. I just re-read some of them to get a quick look. I do have to ask though, if it is no longer canon, does that mean Shatterbird is still alive? Because I really liked that the last attack from her turned out to be her death shriek.

            Also, I thought the story really did give us some insight into Tattletale, if from a twisted standpoint.

  4. Loved it- and this is the perfect time for it to appear in the story IMO.

    Had no memory of who Greg was until I clicked his name at the bottom- he showed up only once and so loooong ago.

    Noticed one mistake: “Cape wives on the boards report calls from their husbands and wives saying they’re ok by about noon.”

    “Cape wives” should probably be “cape spouses”.

    • Nope. A cape husband alone is a cape husband. A cape wife is a cape wife. A cape husband and a cape wife in a group are ‘cape wives’.

      That’s the lingo.

      • That’s actually kinda brilliant, thinking on it. I bet there’s a stack of threads in some “Perpetual Flamewars” subforum of people trying to convince the board to change it, and failing. 🙂

        • It’s probably kind of like how that show “Army Wives” has that name despite some of the titular spouses of military personnel being dudes.

  5. I do hope that this doesnt leave people assuming that my name is greg or gregory. Its the sort of name that doesnt work with my last name.
    While this didnt advance the story much, it was still a fun read that felt like it was ripped straight off a forum, though with less swearing.

  6. Great chapter, a few times i caught myself trying to click one of the links. kind of worried what Greg might try to do with these thoughts of his.

    • Ooh, blackmail time!, just replace batman with skitter.

      (from The Dark Knight, 2008)
      “[Wayne Enterprises accountant Coleman Reese believes that he’s discovered Batman’s secret identity]
      Lucius Fox: Let me get this straight. You think that your client, one of the wealthiest, most powerful men in the world, is secretly a vigilante who spends his nights beating criminals to a pulp with his bare hands; and your plan, is to *blackmail* this person?
      [pause, Reese looks nervous]
      Lucius Fox: Good luck. “

      • Except Reese didn’t have a crush on Bruce Wayne. He is intelligent enough to figure out who she is, yet stupid enough to fall for Gstring Girl. I think he will confront her at some point. If he was completely fearless/stupid, he would ask her out just to see how she would react.

        • And to complete the train of thought probably revealing who she is to someone who /really/ will take advantage of that.

          • Even the dumbest of high school students wouldn’t be stupid enough to try and take advantage of someone who made Lung her bitch, stood up the 9, and sent Dragon retreating. If Emma ever found out, she would probably fear for her life.

          • You overestimate people’s intelligence but that was not the point. I was just refering to the fact that in most stories when someone not bad discovers the protagonist’s secret identity it almost always leads to one of the bad guys getting the information and screwing things up.

          • I see your point. But they pretty much rule the city right now except for the few people attacking Parian’s territory. That implies that they don’t want to mess with the Undersiders at the moment. Cauldron is probably looking for any information on them though. Now that I think about it, it does fit. They can guess Skitter’s age, and stake out the high schools. See if they get lucky.

            • I’d be surprised if—*double-checks chapter number*—Coil didn’t know the Undersiders’ identities, and even more surprised if Cauldron didn’t know most things Coil knew. Their relationship wasn’t that close, but Cauldron has ways…and probably a spy keeping an eye on Coil.

          • …*can* they guess Skitter’s age? The people on the forums seem to think she’s an adult. They can guess she’s not so old as to be graying, but that seems like about it.

          • Well I assume Alexandria/Eidolon were close enough to be able to tell. If they are still in contact with the rest of Cauldron. They are probably being watched like hawks right now. Depends on what Armsmaster told them I guess.

          • Yeah, except I think Skitter is being watched by Eidolon/Alexandria for a different reason: she ‘gets it’. She stood up for those two when practically the entire army of heroes was out for their blood (not to mention her almost-sacrifice for Eidolon when baiting Noelle).

            If they know who she is (and they probably do), I’m thinking a carrot/stick offer is about to come from Cauldron.

          • I think Cauldron probably knows more than enough about the Undersiders. Coil had the Numbers Man make their bank accounts, after all, and I don’t recall anyone saying anything about changing that.

  7. I love how white fairy assumes a hero distracted the endbringer in the bunker, not only does it show that skitter made the right choice, but also that her actions can be perceived as very good, were it not for the pesky villain label.
    Also: I just noticed the blog theme is twenty eleven, seems remarkably apt.

  8. Nice, it is certainly interesting to see comments from other people about the events, how the average person dealt with all the problems Brockton Bay had in succession and what they thought of it. Certainly found it funny seeing one of the people Taylor saved when running to her father.

    That said in some ways I felt like you spread things a little too thin though. Probably just me wanting to know too much but for almost all topics I was like ‘damn what was next’ when I got to the end. I figure that was part of the idea of the interlude so well done I suppose.

    • I do feel like I would’ve liked to do more.

      That said, this was… I have to say surprisingly work-intensive to put together. I decided for more of a snapshot of a set of perspectives more than anything in-depth.

      • I understand, midway through it I was wondering how how much work it took for you to create posts that sound so much like forum posts by yourself. I am just the kind of person who when linked to a thread page 240 decides to read from the beginning.

        And as I said, you certainly suceeded in giving an overall perspective. Though when reading it came to me and I forgot, when the person mentioned the part where Taylor drew Leviathan away from the Shelter it left me wondering if it was just the person or it wasn’t common knowledge. Shame for Taylor that, she tries so hard.

        • I am actually not sure how she would react. She always brushes it off when people complement her. Tattletale was surprised she didn’t think so highly of herself when they went back to the shelter fighting the 9, and look at how she reacted with Dinah’s parents.

          • Hum… If you refer to the shame part then that is my point. She tries so hard to do so much that it is a shame people don’t even know she was the one who did those things. Even if they think of her as villain at least knowing what she did would be the sweet part of the bittersweet thing.

  9. That was fun!!

    Neat to read the new format, and very cool to get a glimpse of what the rest of the world was thinking.

    I loved the speculation at the beginning too (“Did we go to war with another world”). So perfectly mirrors how off-track our theories on what’s going to happen next can get.

    Now I feel compelled to go back and take a stab at deciphering who all of the posters are though. Meh, who needs sleep anyways!

  10. I loved it. It expanded the world so much too. So the Protectorate is important to the world, and the next attack is expected to hit Europe. Skitter is officially a BIG name now. People from Newyork and Boston are moving in to Parian’s territory. Sounds like Accord realized how much money there is to be made in Brockton Bay. Bitch’s gang is growing? Who the heck would want to work under her? The big reveal though is someone figured out who Taylor is, and school is going to restart. She can’t realistically not go back without telling her dad why, though I guess she could always take an equivalency exam. If she did go back, she would be bullied again, though this time she would almost certainly attack back. It wouldn’t even have to be covertly. She could probably easily kick their ass without the bugs. Any guesses on whether she will go back to school? I’m going to guess that she’ll go back for one day, and then decide to never use her Taylor persona again.

      • Very possible, though I can see it easily being justifiable for him being alive. He seemed smart enough to predict how the 9 would attack and set up Blasto to take the heat for him.

    • Bitch had multiple fansites before she ever arrived in Brockton Bay. This is literally the first time that she’s settled anywhere long enough for her admirers to have a chance to ask.

    • Wow, I should stop replying before I finish reading the full comment.

      Regarding Taylor getting bullied: I’m not sure it will happen, for two reasons.

      First, Sophia is gone, and who knows if the Barnes actually moved back into town for real. I’m pretty sure that Sophia was the original driver of the campaign against Taylor, even if Emma was the mastermind.

      Second, reread Brian’s description of Taylor walking up the street in Interlude 15 (Donation Bonus #2) — — and tell me that anyone is going to mess with her for more than seven seconds. She could probably shut down Madison with a glance.

      • Thats my point though. She will be bullied, then she will STOP the bullying. She isn’t the same person anymore, and I think she will decide to stop going to school.

        • I don’t think she’ll go to school at all if she doesn’t plan to keep going.

          …in retrospect, her best shot is probably to bone up on the GED in her spare time and test out. She probably wouldn’t want to be away from her territory on a regular basis.

          • Taylor going back to school after all this? Seems quite out of place. I suppose it’s more likely she’ll give it a shot. Either she’ll be timid again in her civilian guise, or she’ll be assertive. Either way, I think someone might try the bullying again and she’ll go off on them, causing her to leave once more.

          • I can imagine her trying to go back to school.

            And then finding out it doesn’t work. She’s changed too much and cannot fit into the role any more. She casually bugs the would be bullies and ambushes them while they’re alone. She treats the teachers as dim witted annoyances.

    • I doubt that she will change her behaviour. She didn’t fight back even when she had her powers back at the start. What will happen is she unconsciously reacts differently, and more than likely consequences will result. In some way or another.

  11. GString Girl? Seriously? About as subtle as a freight train. And Greg fell for it?

    I’m gonna go over this chapter again, see if any of these guys might be villains on the other side of the wire, Answer Key is Tattle, bet you anything, and Garrotte’s in the tags. I’m guessing a villain openly posting would get banned quick.

    Yeah, stay the fuck away from Greece, all those faultlines make a juicy target for Behemoth.

    • Looking at the dates, Behemoth probably will hit Greece the same day the Greek government-debt crisis worsened on our world.

    • “GString Girl? Seriously? About as subtle as a freight train. And Greg fell for it?”

      Huh? What do you think was going on there exactly?

      My bet is that Gstring is Garrote- and she’s not a villain really, just an unfortunate victim of Cauldron.

      She probably really did just want to play space opera with someone.

      • That is unbelievably sad if true. Even moreso for her to pick such a name with her body basically being a mess of tentacles.

      • One of those problems with sexism in games. A lot of the times women are treated as either a potential date or an ugly manhater.

        I saw it’s time for retribution! Everyone, we must hound the men on X-box 360 for dates and pictures of their dicks!

        Come on, what’s the worst that could happen.

        *Later, behind bars*

        Come on, how was I supposed to know the guy calling me a dickmuncher was only 12? That’s flirting where I come from!

        • No worries. Women’s retribution comes in the form of:
          * Men account for 1/3 of all college graduates,
          * have a higher unemployment rate,
          * make less money in the U.S. on average if single (google the phrase “147 out of 150 cities” – there are counterarguments, it’s nuanced)
          * Rarely get equivalent child custody
          * Account for 75% of all suicides
          * Account for 3 out of 5 victims of violent crime (that includes rape, which is a predominantly female-victim crime, meaning that men get stabbed and killed far FAR more often than women)
          * Account for 9 out of 10 criminal sentences involving jail time (where the rape statistics are… shall we say, poorly documented)
          * Are not doing too gosh-darned well in the modern world, it seems.

          So… yeah.

          • It seems Gish gallops on. Not everyone can be as well-adjusted as me, it seems.

            When it comes to suicides, George Carlin was actually dead-on. Interesting turn of phrase that I didn’t intend at first. Yes, men commit suicide a lot more than women do. Four men’s suicides for every woman. But the women attempt it three times for every time a man does. So for every men’s suicide attempt, a higher number than their successes, a woman attempted suicide three times. How does Carlin factor in to this? “Women try it more, but men are better at it.”

            Oh, and there are an estimated 8 to 25 attempts to every completion. Wish they could narrow down the variation, but reporting is going to be sketchy on that.

            As for pay, well it’s still legal to pay a woman less than a man in the same position. If a woman has the same position as you do, she’s making less. Even if she isn’t, check out the genders of all those nice comfy top executive positions for companies. CEOs, CFOs, COOs, Presidents, VPs. Lots of sweaty ball sacks under those suit pants.

            Using some stats from 2009, you appear to be underestimating the gap. Most likely a lot of that is result of the U.S. incarceration rate being so much higher than other countries, even those with higher population. (We’re #1! We’re #1! We’re #1!, suck it China!)

            The equivalent child custody thing needs to be fixed. Interesting swing they have. Used to be the men had all the rights to it, then they fixated on the women. Hopefully gay marriages and adoptions will help work out something equitable on this point. Feminists have also disputed this way of doing things as they dislike the view that their responsibility should be the home and family.

            You’re mistaken about the rape part. Men are both more likely to commit violent crimes and more likely to be the victims, but the exception to their victimhood tends to be rape. Prison stats are iffy as you say, but remember that every rape in a male prison is committed by another man. Plus, to enter an especially uncomfortable area, take a look at your public/mass/school shootings. Young white guys do it with a bang.

            Still, I made a very obvious and noncontroversial point about how women who play games are treated, and you responded with a list that would seem to show men as being poor disadvantaged creatures. Those poor unfortunate souls. So sad. Even just looking up information to respond to you, it was obvious that other factors contribute too. Highest suicide rate is men…over 85. Strongest risk factor is depression.. dun dun dun! Incarceration? Theres a war on drugs going on, not a war on prostitution.

            There are problems out there, but there’s no reason to jump around proclaiming persecution of men just because someone points out one of the ways women have it worse in this country that men take for granted. Nobody in games automatically sexualizes me or calls me an ugly lesbian, and that’s because I’m equipped with a +1 Penis of Shattermantle.

            Our norm is to not even notice the problem precisely because it doesn’t happen to us.

            Now no matter your response, it’s probably best if I leave off on this line of discussion lest this get nasty.

          • Except I will just add as a PS here that if you didn’t mean it in such a “Behold the poor oppressed man” kinda way, then my apologies for jumping to conclusions.

          • >>>> there’s no reason to jump around proclaiming persecution of men

            Persecution? No. I don’t think this is the result of an intentional campaign against men.

            Cultural blind spot? Yes. We tend to assume that, all other things being equal (race, socioeconomic status, etc.), men have it better than women. We as a society assume that women have it harder in the workplace, that they have more issues socially, more forces conspire against their success. This is demonstrably not true, and the opposite is demonstrably true. Though it pisses a lot of people off when you say it.

            In this context, it shouldn’t. My point isn’t obscured, it’s exactly what I’m saying on the tin: Women who deal with frat-boy chat rooms can rest assured that they probably have a better life than the douchebag yelling at them.

            If you know that you’re in a better place than the person yelling at you, it’s easier to put up with them more often. That’s it. That’s my point.

            >>Yes, men commit suicide a lot more than women do. Four men’s suicides for every woman. But the women attempt it three times for every time a man does

            This depends on where the data’s coming from – as do all of these statistics (not counting mine out, either). The most recent CDC research on youth suggests the number is closer to 5 women (19.3% overall) for every 3 men (12.3% overall), which is still primarily distaff – but men are catching up in the ‘tried but failed’ department. While still holding steady with ‘tried and succeeded.’

            Meaning that men are successfully becoming bigger failures in all departments, I guess.

            >> there’s no reason to jump around proclaiming persecution of men just because someone points out one of the ways women have it worse in this country that men take for granted

            Honestly, I don’t think anybody takes the sexism in game chats for granted, even the participants. They are intentionally trying to insult and demean, to be offensive; that’s the opposite of taking things for granted. The problem is that insults related to masculinity, such as “too cocky”, “testosterone-driven meathead”, etc., tend to fail in the context of a game; they become compliments. Masculinity is associated with risk-taking behavior in order to achieve dominance; it can be turned into an insult just as easily as feminine sexism, but in contests and games the context doesn’t lend to that. Which ends up with a sexist bias, because the intent of these nuts is to offend you. They are trying to piss you off, and if comparing you to a woman will do that, that’s what they’ll say. If comparing you to a man would piss you off, then they’d say that instead.

      • Yeah. You’ll notice that Tattletale’s name isn’t in the tags. Also, that’s a rather odd series of questions for Tattletale to be asking, even if her aim is just to screw with Weld.

    • I doubt Tattletale could get banned even if she decided to post openly. She probably can give herself root access to the site with the right passwords. I could totally see her making an unremovable announcement from “Tattletale (Admin) (At Ground Zero: Brockton Bay) (Self-Verified Cape) (Benevolent Psychic Mastermind)” if it served her purposes.

      That said, sowing doubt with a pseudonym doesn’t seem out of character, but what purpose would it serve to ask Weld what happened on the 20th? Unless it’s to throw off suspicions.

  12. Excellent chapter as always, really neat to finally see this written.

    I was kind of guessing Void was Emma since he/she was accused of leaving Brockton Bay with their parents when things got bad and Emma might have an interest in that stuff what with her best friend being Shadow Stalker.

    Weld’s post was brilliant, he’s even a good guy on forums. Poor Vista too, losing a family member on top of everything else. I kind of assume Answer Key was Tattletale who felt like trolling on the forums?

    The reveal at the end was a surprise. Didn’t think we’d ever see Greg again, barely remember the guy.

    It feels weird knowing we’re going to get to see the return of high school scenes, it’s been so long it’s felt like lifetimes for me too. Hopefully Taylor puts her new found confidence to use especially if Emma returns home.

    • I’m hoping that a return of Greg also suggests we’ll be seeing Sparky again at some point. That kid had his life together; I’d love to see how he’s been doing.

  13. I don’t really see any reason Taylor would go back to school at this point. She has a career, a circle of friends, employees, and her father if she ever gets off her ass to go talk to him. Going back to school is pretty much unnecessary. She has moved beyond it, in much the same way that I hope she has moved beyond any need to get revenge on Emma. She has bigger concerns that actually matter to her at this point.

    I am very curious about how much of an impact her secret identity getting out would actually make at this point. She doesn’t really do anything as Taylor anymore. More importantly who is around to stop her if she walks out on the street in her civies. If you see her walking through the market who is there to fight her? The heroes probably won’t swoop down to take her in, they don’t seem to have the resources for it and containing her with the rest of the Undersiders free is just asking for trouble. There isn’t that much of a villain presence around quite yet, and so long as she wears a bit of her armor beneath her clothes mundanes just aren’t a huge threat.

    Also, this interlude was delightful and I wish I was a little more ambitious, just enough to try to tie all the non-character names to posters.

    • There is her dad but yeah aside from him there is no reason at all for her to do it but plenty for her not to. Especially since in a series of disasters like this it will be very long before someone unrelated can actually track down everyone who is missing school.

      She really needs to get around telling her dad though, way too much problem potential otherwise.

    • She’s not likely to realize this for herself until she tries going back to school for a day, though.

      And she knows that Sophia isn’t around anymore, so the Bitches Three kind of had the heart of their coven ripped out. Life at school is likely to be more survivable now. Or so she’ll think, anyway.

      Besides, in a weird way school might seem relaxing for her now. Compared to running a sizable chunk of a modern American city while driving off criminals and supervillains trying to prey on her people, the sort of mundane bullshit you face in high school would be refreshingly simple to deal with.

      • The thing is she DOES run a sizeable chunk of a modern American city now. She takes that responsibility seriously, and leaving it alone each day to go to school just doesn’t seem in character for Taylor. Maybe she would go once or twice, but she takes her territory seriously and I would be baffled if she would spend so much time away from it for school.

        • Depending on what her range is like now and whether she’s gotten better at using the senses of her bugs, she could probably use bug clones to keep an eye on things while she was at school.

          Having said that, however, you’re right that it just can’t work for more than a day or two tops. But I don’t think Taylor will realize that, or perhaps more accurately will be willing to admit it to herself, until she’s had at least one day of first-hand experience as to why it’s a bad idea.

          As long as we’re discussing the school thing, I wonder if she’s trying to set up any sort of schooling in her territory for the kids there. She’d certainly have some opinions on how things should and shouldn’t be run, that’s for sure.

          • Thats my guess. She goes for a day or two, Emma starts something, Taylor finishes it. Either with a broken nose, lice/crabs, or a cockroach crawling up her nose. Then she decides she isn’t going to school anymore. The school thing in her territory would probably freak people out. The guy in the interlude was creeped out by the fact that she is pretty much aware of EVERYTHING that happens in her territory. I could see authorities picturing it as a cult like group brainwashing little kids to dislike the government.

          • I would hate it if she dealt with Emma with physical violence or giving her crabs or anything. It would be such a huge step back for her. She doesn’t need to indulge in petty things like that anymore, and I am quite sure she would realize it before she actually did something like that.

            I get that people want Taylor to get revenge on Emma, but at this point why would she bother? It would be like Legend shooting a guy in the leg with a laser for mouthing off to him. She is considerably more mature than that, and it would be dissapointing if that was her response to bullying at this point.

          • I would say the answer is not so much to the bullying but to the threat involved. When you spent so long fighting for your life you tend to react to things very quicky and decisively. Especially someone like Taylor that was always the underdog in direct conflicts.

          • I don’t think it is a matter of being mature. How to put it? She is a true villain now. She deals with/reacts to violence with violence. She put Barker down, she mentions that she is using more violent metaphors than she used to somewhere in the story, and she executed Coil to stop him. Emma is arguably the one person she hated the most in old identity. She got so angry she punched her in front of everyone. So I think it will be instinctual. Emma says something to her, she says something back. Someone spills something on her, she immediately goes to the office and demands something be done. The bullies will either stop, not likely, or escalate things. I think it would fit for them to maybe push her, and then she reacts with violence to her shock. She was surprised way back when she punched Emma. So I think she will realize that she shouldn’t act this way and hate that she used violence. Then she decides to simply leave school behind.

        • If Taylor’s concerned about her disconnect from the unpowered, getting back into normal society is really the only way to fix that. It’s expensive in time, sure, but nothing less than actual socialization will do. Even if she realizes that she’s really not one of them anymore, participation in normal society gives her connections to and insight into them. And for Taylor, normal society is high school.

          Taylor values education (her mother did), and I don’t think she’ll suffer herself to have less than a B.A. High school is the normal stepping stone to college, and not completing it limits her options. Though a GED and a continuing education at various online universities would likely suit her lifestyle better.. and might be an unfortunate necessity at some point.

          With all her pull, you’d think Skitter could get herself into Arcadia, though. And
          Alathea strikes me as a woman of uncommonly good taste and judgement 🙂

    • Given the time skip since the Echidna fight, I can see Taylor going just to do recon (are people returning to the bay, and who?) but even that’s a pretty weak reason.

    • I can think of three reasons she’d go back.

      First, her dad.

      Second, her self-image. It’s been a few months – a few incredibly intense months – since she put on the costume. Similar to Basic Training/OSUT, which was something I experienced; and the first thing I did when getting home was show off; the second thing was to go back to school. During and after training I thought of myself as a college student, even though I was technically a professional soldier. Throughout BASIC I thought of myself as a student first, and suffering a horrible tragedy of life choices second. And it was pretty horrible: broken hip, threw my back out, demoted twice, 2 article 15’s (For the non-military, that means I was a very bad boy) and only passed my final PT test by downing an entire bottle of prescription-grade ibuprofen at once. At about 15 pills each with 800mg active ingredients, in hindsight it should have done more than just make the pain go away and make me feel like I was walking on pillows. Frankly I am still shocked I’m alive, but I survived it. Anyway. Seems to me there might be a few parallels with Skitter. In her shoes, speaking as a teenaged pariah with insecurity issues and a life-altering experience at 17, I would have gone back to school. For the desperate need to reconnect with the person I had been and no longer was, even if I didn’t like that person very much.

      Third, Skitter needs an escape route, just in case the whole supervillain thing goes to shit (more than it already has). Her real identity might not be much protection, but it’s better than nothing, and it’s worth maintaining on those grounds.

      Fourth, she probably wants a glimpse of the civilian’s view at this point. Though she can probably get that by reading the forums ^_^

      Fifth, these comment forms need scrollbars. Can’t scroll up and change ‘three reasons’ to ‘four reasons’. Probably a Firefox thing. Grr…

      • If Taylor hadn’t had so many moments where she worried about the people under her rule I might be willing to agree with you. She HAS had a whole bunch of those moments though. She takes her job seriously and isn’t going to run off to school for huge portions of her day when she has responsibilities back home that she is sincerely dedicated to. She runs her turf, and is very active in the construction effort and monitoring whenever she has the opportunity to be there. Every time she leaves her territory one of her top instincts is always to get back and make sure it is ok. I just think it would be very odd if she dropped that for six or eight hours a day.

      • Thing is, I can’t think of one time wildbow has done what we expected. About the only predictable thing about this story is the schedule for updating and that Taylor’s not dying anytime soon. It’s more a matter of at what insanely high costs she will survive-not even win. Therefore, I’m pretty shaky on wildbow doing exactly what we expect wildbow to do. However, if wildbow does do it, I would like to say that predictable things are great as long as they’re freaking awesome, and this would definitely qualify. I don’t know about anyone else, but I have this fantasy that will never, ever happen of Taylor covering her bullies in bugs, then socking Emma. Sweet, sweet revenge…

  14. Let’s see if I can do this:

    Bagrat – Packbat
    TheGnat – TheAnt
    SpaceZombie – Undead-Spaceman (I smiled when I saw that, I really did)
    Sothoth – Yog
    Mock Moniker – Fake Name

    Eh, that’s all I got so far, I should hangout here more often. I’m assuming GstringGirl is Garrote and that’s why she doesn’t want to send pictures?

  15. Typo senses… TINGLING! This must have been a lot of fun. (And the Endbriners are gonna pickle the planet!)

    Greg, with the lack of mouth brakes and… Well, let’s say he has a strong urge to prove himself as being in the know. Boy’s gonna get bees in his bonnet soon enough.

  16. I have to say this was one of those chapters that had such a brilliant twist that I couldnt help but reread it to catch all of the nuances. But my favorite, which I caught the first read-through, was this:
    “This isn’t the movies, and evil alternates are so overdone.”

    Wildbow, you are a literary genius. Thank you for this long-awaited post of awesomeness.

  17. “The Simurgh attacked Canberra, Australia on February 24th, 2011. Thread here.”

    Ooooh. Quick question: What happened in Canberra? Be interesting to know what happened to my hometown.

      • It is so weird to ever see a mention of Canberra. I am genuinely curious as to whether it is still standing after the Simurgh attack and how it affected Australia.

        • Is Canberra a big and important city there? I guess the standard protocol is to quarantine those that came in contact with her and build a big wall.

          • Canberra isn’t big but it is very important. It is a lot like Washington DC. A city created to be a seat of power for government. The majority of our power structure (military and political) is situated in Canberra.

            I assume the local heros (and whoever was teleported in) must have done pretty well against the S since Canberra (and Australia) wasn’t added to the earlier list of Japan and Switzerland as places which have been heavily affected by the Endbringers.

        • From what I understand, after a Simurgh attack it’s probably still standing – but buttoned up… a la “Escape From New York.”

          Of course, considering it’s Australia we’re talking about… I’m thinking less ‘Snake Plisskin’ and more ‘Mad Max’. With drop bears under every rock (how do they drop, then? Wouldn’t you like to know) and a less mysterious end for Prime Minister Holt.

        • I know what you mean (I am in Australia, although not Canberra).

          Wasn’t Sydney hit by Leviathan at some point too?

    • Edit-by-double-post: Sorry to hear he bought it, if so. He seemed like a decent guy, even if he had his head up his ass about the whole bullying thing.

      • I don’t even really think he did have his head up his ass- When he says at the meeting later that he assumed Taylor didn’t want him to get involved, I thought that was pretty reasonable. If I were him, and I had just had that conversation with Taylor (about how she didn’t want to involve the authority figures), I might come to the same conclusion.

        I was surprised that Taylor was as resentful at him for not putting a stop to it as she was, considering that conversation.

        • Odd, for me that was Taylor saying that she couldn’t start it out unless she was given assurance it would be dealt with, which he refused to do. In that case it would have taken nothing for him to intervene since they were doing right in front of him without any attempt to hide, if actually was willing to put any effort towards solving the problem it was a given he would interfere.

          Personally I would say that scene right there confirms Taylor’s decision to not try to go to official means to solve the bullying problem. Other scenes later on(mainly the meeting) just put it beyond doubt.

        • We only really have Taylor’s viewpoint to go on, but her initial assessment – that he was too fond of being friends/popular with the kids – fits what we saw. He told Taylor that she could come to him with her problems and got butthurt when she was reluctant to do so and took it personally.

  18. Why don’t the links in these forum posts work? I keep clicking them and nothing happens!

    Joking aside, it’ll be interesting to see Brockton Bay being rebuilt and the possibility of a return to the school drama of earlier in the serial, with a much-changed Taylor (and much-changed everyone else, I suspect). A potential schoolyard reunion with Emma is intriguing, especially considering Sophia’s last message to her.

    Some comments on the interlude, from a writing perspective:
    -It took me a while to understand the concept of the Ground Zero Badge section. The mention of access to a private board and hoaxers trolling actual disaster survivors put it in its proper context, but it was hard to parse that from the wealth of information present at first pass. This may not be something you want to change, as it does fit the tone of a post on a forum where everyone else already knows the stuff that I don’t.
    -The fact that the header for each post flowed directly into the post itself made it hard to distinguish the header from the OP in places, particularly in the “Who’d You Lose?” section. A line break between Date Posted and the first line of the OP might be helpful.

    Some comments on the interlude, from a storytelling perspective:
    -VoidCowboy has the Ground Zero badge despite not being listed as confirmed in the Ground Zero Badge post, and has obviously not been banned from the private forum–how is he still on there?
    -Weld is, as usual, the best.
    -Greg is, as usual, kind of creepy.
    -This is as good a way to represent a time-skip and cover important world events as any I’ve ever seen. If it would be possible for you to do more excerpts from the PO forums in the future, now that you’ve gotten the format nailed down, I’d love to see them.
    -It took me a while–maybe half the chapter–to really realize the extent of the influence this forum has. I assumed that it was just a fan board, and seeing actual capes on there was something of a surprise. This isn’t really a problem with the world as such, but an explanation of why Parahumans Online is important enough for Weld and Vista to hang out on would be nice (is it sponsored by the PRT? Are these their official forums? Or do they just go on big fan forums like this and talk with their fans? I imagine it’d be kind of like seeing your favorite band suddenly show up on your fan site for them).

    Overall, great chapter. Things are looking up for Brockton Bay, though how long that will last is anyone’s guess.

    • @ Voidcowboy having badge – the post only includes people verified & people banned, but not people who’ve yet to verify (like Void_Cowboy).

      @ Doing more – Maybe. Maybe. This is really, really hard to do. But I can appreciate it for what it is. Maybe something more like (as has been recommended) the news or something else.

      @ Influence of the board – It’s mentioned early on and alluded to later, but it’s sort of the primary source for cape info, news and social media.

      • It probably was a real pain to do, but I wouldn’t mind seeing another such interlude much later down the line. It was that good.

      • >@ Influence of the board – It’s mentioned early on and alluded to later, but it’s sort of the primary source for cape info, news and social media.

        I vaguely remember it in the early chapters. When you re-write this to publish it, consider mentioning it a few more times throughout the story.

        • And by “this” I mean Worm as a whole.

          Assuming you do plan on putting it into a series of books one day.

      • All right. I was just confused by the fact that the Ground Zero post mentioned that they were banning/removing everyone who hadn’t been verified at this point. I guess they haven’t gotten around to him yet–though now that I think about it, that may be why he’s on probation right now.

        Must have missed the reference to PO earlier (now that you mention it, that was when Taylor was in comp sci class, right? Or the library? Or something?).

        Anyway, yeah, a selection from the news would be just as good, and serve the same purpose. Formatting this particular one must have been hell.

        • Worse than you’re thinking, because for some reason hitting page down was skipping whole sections, and each updated entry/saved draft (same thing) made some sections pop out of alignment or reformat themselvse.

          • I know what you mean with the saving thing changing formatting–it’s the main thing I dislike about WordPress’ post editor. You could always write it all without saving, but that is pretty much the worst idea I have ever suggested, so…maybe not.

            Maybe importing it from Word would do the trick? Does the formatting carry over?

      • (boggles)Are you writing IN wordpress? (/boggles)

        MS Word might not format all that well copy/pasting in, but you could maybe try WordPad. It seems remarkably compatible; I use it for some programming tasks even Notepad can’t get right.

        • Though with that established, there’s a lot to be said for atmosphere. Which WordPad completely lacks. So maybe just use it when formatting is an issue, or some other alternative.

          But I’d be having a heart attack about 1k words into a post if I were doing it all in WordPress…

          ::presses save button::
          “Oops! Looks like the connection dropped and you can’t load the page. Would you like to resend?”
          ::hits resend::
          “Oh gosh, that didn’t work.”
          ::hits back button::
          “Start writing a new entry on this shiny blank page!”

          • I’ve done that.

            Boy, have I done that.

            Um. But yeah. I tried Openoffice, but it didn’t translate 100% in the copy-paste. Issues with double spaces, paragraphs… yeah. Tried Google docs, but there were really minor and hard to spot issues (Paragraphs blocks without straight edges on the left side) that were really irritating a handful of readers and taking an inordinate amount of time to fix.

            In the end, I’ve written on WordPress itself for a long while now. 213 updates, in the end. I’ve figured out a way around the worst issues (like the blank slate you mention) and gotten pretty familiar with it.

      • I don’t think you need to replicate the formatting again, unless it’s to make a specific point. It was cool seeing it, but it’s the content of the posts that’s really interesting. I think there are ways to convey that information (such as the perspective of characters talking or thinking about what has been posted, or what they plan to post) that would flow more easily and require less formatting and fiddling.

    • >It took me a while to understand the concept of the Ground Zero Badge section.

      I got it right away. Seemed fine to me.

      • This may tie back into my not remembering Parahumans Online from earlier, and thinking it was just some fan forum. Rereading it with the knowledge that yes, this is actually something that should be taken seriously and not just someone bitching about their forum badges being misappropriated, it makes a lot more sense.

        • There’s that, and yeah, it was a few hundred thousand words ago that it really came up.

          Mental note made, seeding the story with more mentions of the site & its role.

          • I’d keep like a notepad file with stuff like that (or maybe an actual notebook) if I were you. It’s the sort of thing you could easily forget.

          • Only thing is, that’s hard to do when Shatterbird destroyed most of the computers when the Nine showed up, and even before that things were sketchy thanks to Leviathan. You could seed it into the start of the story, but the recent arcs have been very “survive, if you can” with little chance for sitting down at a computer.

            Unless Tattletale mentions it because she always has access to tech.

  19. Interesting to note: apparently Imp and Grue don’t share territory any more. She’s set up on her own. I wonder why?

    • I believe it comes down to territory control. They just can’t afford to double people up anymore until they pull in a few more recruits. They lost alot of teammates when the Traveler alliance went to hell. I don’t think anyone really wants to leave a huge slice of territory just sitting around, and splitting them up lets them cover quite a bit more ground. On that note Tattletale is probably thanking her lucky stars for Parian.

      • They definitely have to start recruiting. I wonder if Scrub, Circus, Leet, Uber, and that mobility tinker are still around. I’m still hoping that a hero is so disgusted with the PRT that they leave and ask to join them.

        • Chariot is probably chilling in an interrogation cell considering he was captured during Coil’s ‘death’.

          • Except that then Coil let him out to be muscle for him. He was one of the guys that Coil teleported in for his final showdown with the Undersiders, and I think he ended up surrendering with the rest when Tattletale’s mercs pointed a lot of guns at him.

    • Reasons aside, her power itself makes it impossible for people to remember that the area they’re in is her territory when they set up shop, so newcomers always end up starting there, her minions forget whom they are supposed to be working for & shit snowballs from there.

      • I’m pretty sure there’s a range limitation on her power. People only forget direct interactions with her, not hearing about her.

  20. I am a bit disappointed with what we learned. Apparently Skitter has not become some sort of memetic badass that everyone is in awe of and the Protectorate have decided that “no cover story” would be a good cover story.

    Did Charlotte just do some recruiting for the Undersiders?

    On a positive note Weld gets to form his own team rather than joining Faultline’s crew and apparently was in a position to wangle all sorts of concessions out of the PRT/protectorate for their silence and Vista is well enough to post on online forums.

    • Char is a good little minion. I really like the idea of an all Case 53 team, and Weld definitely deserves to lead it. She might not be a memetic badass in the country but she almost definitely is one in her city. The citizens are right to figure her as the biggest, baddest, thing there.

        • But that makes me question what happened to Sierra. She did go above and beyond for Skitter and her brother is still working for Tattletale.

      • Completely agreed, Char is definitely a good little minion and Weld is probably the poster boy of awesome for the Case 53s. Regarding Taylor’s badassness in Brockton Bay at least I simply loved reading the post that described her as “one of the scariest motherfuckers in town.”

    • She hasn’t? One of the paragraphs that jumped out at me was:

      “Aside: Anyone else find it really funny that we’re talking about Skitter being powerful like we used to talk about Kaiser and Lung? If you’d told me the gawky bug girl was going to be one of the scariest motherfuckers in town, I wouldn’t have believed you.”

      Also, Charlotte totally just did some recruiting for the Undersiders. Love the callback to Rachel’s fansites implicit in it.

      • I was hoping for something along the lines of “she went toe to toe with an Endbringer in front of that shelter” or “she took on the slaughterhouse nine”

        Or maybe some rumors about her powers and abilities, like her bluff that she can turn into an insect swarm or her as of yet untested claim that her bugs can gnaw a human down to the bone in relatively short time.

        Maybe people extrapolating from having seen her riding Atlas and thinking she has an army of giant insects or even thinking that she cloud fly herself.

        Maybe some people getting the wrong idea on her powers and personality based on what little is known. Like making her out to be some sort of dread hive queen.

        Based on the limited amount of actual publicly known facts there is such potential for people to get things hilariously wrong. It feels like a missed opportunity.

    • Still no word on Shatterbird though (unless I missed it). My working theory is she was one of the capes incinerated with Echidna.

      • She wasn’t with Echidna, she was back in the rubble of Coil’s lair. I think wildbow said in the comments to the non-canon interlude that she’s dead.

  21. That was awesome. ^_^

    (And I’m another person who kept trying to reflexively click on the links. ^_^)

  22. I’m a little surprised that if Greg actually is in the town, why hasn’t he provided some type of proof? Seems like it should be easy enough to prove something…

    • “I don’t feel comfortable leaving the house. That’s the sort of thing that gets me killed by mutant dogs.”

      That, or he might not actually be there (there wasn’t anything super concrete to suggest it).

      • That’s why I said “something”. Like take a picture out the window, or anything that can provide some truth. No need to go outside. It may not be as much verification as they want, but it’d be something.

      • I think he’s in town now, even if he was gone for part of the chapter — otherwise he wouldn’t be looking at the schedule for the resumption of classes and wondering if Taylor would show up.

        (Incidentally, *I’m* wondering if he won’t bring a bug in a box to school with him, and move it around subtle-like during class to try to get Skitter’s attention…)

    • Crap. I was struggling with the ending and found it got better the more I took out, and I removed an essential detail.

      Oh well. Something I can attend to later, perhaps.

      • Just wanted to take a minute to add my voice to the chorus of approval and praise. I love seeing writers play with form/structure/medium, but am frequently disappointed because it often dissolves into gimickry. No trace of that here.

        Also, I am now exceedingly curious as to what this missing detail is. I have guesses, based on the question that prompted you to remember it, but I’m not in the mood to speculate just now.

        Anyway, I am and have been loving the story, so thanks once again.

        • I’ve been wondering if you were still reading, Catastronaut. I really liked some of your insights earlier on in the story. I can remember introducing Coil, and your relatively close (damn close, given how hard it would be to actually guess his power) guess as to what he actually did. Was wondering if I’d lost you somewhere along the way.

          Glad you’re still with us.

          • Glad to be here. I stopped posting so much because my changes to my work schedule and the faster pace of the story conspired to keep me from having things to contribute to a lot of the discussions.

    • If he’s not bullshitting about living near Bitches territory he’s probably scared shitless of going out to get proof. And there’s probably not many construction sites nearby.

      • But the posters have a point in that Bitch’s territory was moved. Not to mention that Taylor, as her friend and alpha, would probably have taken steps to keep her from attacking civilians. A lack of howling for several weeks is pretty noticeable.

  23. A great piece.
    I dislike Greg already, though not for giving poor Sveta the cold shoulder. While unfortunate, that was a reasonable reaction, considering how the internets are.
    No, I dislike Greg because all his posts are pointless drivel and attention-grabbing claims with no verification. Also the lack of insight and lack of social grace leads me to think his reputation for above average smarts was earned by obsessive knowledgeability on points of interest rather than good judgement or deductive ability. Basically he comes off as an asperger case, not that the same doesn’t go for half the internet.

    Oh yeah and I also dislike him more for having the audacity to have an interest in the main character despite being a character I don’t like. There’s no room for a Greg/Taylor ‘ship in these waters.

    • I wouldn’t judge his deductive abilities too harshly. He did figure out Skitter was Taylor, after all, which is not exactly a simple leap to make.

      I definitely agree, however, that his posts are atrocious.

      • It does feel like he came to that conclusion a little too easily. Sure, Taylor’s circumstances are conducive to creating the time of personality a supervillain would have, and the time-table fits. It’s still quite a leap, especially considering how large Brockton Bay is.

        • I don’t find it that impressive, since it makes sense that pretty much anyone living in the area would be thinking if maybe some cape or other might be someone they know, and we don’t see all the false positives people find.

          So to me it seems that Greg didn’t get it right because he’s smart, he got it right because he had been paying attention to Taylor more than most. There’s probably armies of kids just like him thinking that maybe this or that cape could be that one girl they kind of had a crush on, who all basically could be right but most aren’t.

          It of course seems more ingenious since without knowing how much guessing he does that doesn’t hit the mark, he gets 100% success rate on-screen.

          • I agree with that but they probably will interact at some point. They are both the same age and she goes to arcadia. Brian will want the best education for Aisha and it is probable that he will send her to the same school as Vista. It would be a hoot if they became friends or enemies in school.

          • …whoa, I never put the numbers together, but they aren’t more than a year apart in age, are they? I think Aisha’s older, but they could well end up interacting.

              • I see Imp as more of the watcher sort. She’d probably get a kick out of sitting on the side of the rectangle. Though that does pretty much make it into a pentagon…though a pentagon with an invisible fifth side I guess?

              • Technically there would be two invisible sides (the two leading to the point that represents Imp).

                More if it’s not literally a pentagon (which would imply no relationship between each person and the two opposite) but rather a pentagram in a pentagon (a relationship between each and every party). If you consider those ‘sides’.

                I may possibly be overthinking this. xD

          • Well, note that it’s Brutus/Regent, not Regent/Brutus. It’s a strictly one-sided relationship (and technically, can be referred to as ‘Brutus/Regent’s Leg).

            Now on the other hand, Greg/Leviathan is fully mutual. Very romantic.

      • A shipping war? Considering what the other pairings are like this is like sending a rowboat against idk the Bismarck or maybe the Enterprise.
        I ll admit i m with Mazzon there i don t like Greg mostly for the posts.

    • Of course there’s room for that ship.

      On the ocean floor, after being torpedoed and raked with the deck guns.

      • Then we send in 10 aquanauts with sonic weapons and a Submersible Weapons System to mop up anything left.

        As always, taking prisoners follows the Overlord Doctrine, “And try to take them alive if it is reasonably practical.”

  24. “how could they not?”

    This was a breath of fresh air, and trying to play who’s who with the names of the posters was amusing… Poor Garrote, though. I thought that was Glory Girl, at fist. All in all, you can put this down as a resounding success.

  25. Highly entertaining, though this capes board is incredibly well moderated, no threads going completely off topic at all!

    • Considering XxVoid_CowboyxX got smacked down for a perfectly reasonable protestation, because it was off-topic, I’d say the moderators brook no excuses.

    • Totally. You’d almost think it was the side project of an A.I. with prenatural processing power and the ability to emulate a handful of moderators.

      • This made me grin like an idiot.

        It also makes me wonder if Dragon suspects that XxVoid_CowboyxX (good grief, such an awful screenname!) is for real, and that’s part of the reason why he hasn’t been banned yet.

        • I have yet to find a screen name addition that makes me hate people so much as the meaningless x’s. It immediately makes me think of someone who either has no personal identity or is below the age of 12.

      • You know, I’m curious. Is Dragon now “in” the suit going around hunting the Nine? I know that there seems to be a body inside of it- but I’m wondering what happens if that suit dies? Does Dragon’s backup get loaded (like it did when she sacrificed a suit to save Taylor?) and start running again from wherever her main servers are?

      • Maybe she is like AIs that constantly require new data to grow. The internet would definitely fulfill that need.

  26. Dragon is going to be looking at the students that do go to see if Taylor will be showing up to school. I keep thinking Dragons going undercover as a teacher or a student.

    • Ya know…

      Dragon has a new body. She’s got the motivation AND the ability to do exactly this thing you say. Even if it doesn’t end up in the story… Brilliant!

      • Anyone else note Vista mentioning Armsmaster/Dauntless? Poor Dragon. I dare say events might prove interesting there now.

          • Pretty sure she genuinely meant Dauntless. He was her team member and he died fighting Leviathan.

            I can’t remember if she was even at the briefing where Defiant ‘debuted’ so it’s possible she’s genuinely out of the loop on that one, but even if she wasn’t, I doubt she’d mention anything to the contrary on a public forum.

            Interesting. Seems like the PRT might have reported Armsmaster as dead. At the hands of Mannequin maybe?

      • on a side note, it’s sad that greg knows so much about taylor, but apparently doesn’t know that her mother is dead (he talks about her parents knowing, not her dad)
        did she keep it that secret/simply didn’t talk about it? or is he just ignorant?

    • Eh, Dragon is explicitly described as being very deep in the uncanny valley, and not suitable for an undercover operation. Plus, while it’d be good from a dramatic standpoint, she has other responsibilities, like maintaining the Birdcage and chasing the Nine.

      • >Dragon is explicitly described as being very deep in the uncanny valley

        Really? I don’t quite agree- she fooled everyone into thinking she was human- both before showing up “in person” and afterwards.

  27. An excellent chapter. It has the feel that the last one lacked.
    I also feel it fits in with the ‘stuff be cooling down’ deal.
    And yeah, I was reflexively clicking links and making sad faces when they didn’t work.
    So, anyone think Greg is going to try to make a move?
    Not that I ship that, of course.
    Additionally, I find myself wondering where the story is going to go from here. After Echidna has been slain.

  28. It would certainly be interesting to see Taylor go back to school with her classmates if only for the contrast to the beginning of the story.

    It would certainly be a very different environment and not just a different protagonist in many respects. Sophia is gone to juvie and Emma might not return from where her family fled. Mr. G might be dead and the pressure Piggot put on the school to cover for Sophia is gone too. And she has at least one alley in her loyal minion.

    With her new confidence and better control over her powers Taylor certainly would not be the same victim she used to be. It is hard to surprise someone if they got a hundreds of compound eyes everywhere including the back of her head. Skitter also has learned to not trust any authority and won’t expect any teachers to help. She would probably casually shrug of any bullying attempts and secretly get back at people in a way that doesn’t implicate her powers.

    Tactically going back to school might be a good move since thanks to her powers Skitter can be two places at once to a degree. So this might help keep her secret identity secret.

    On the other hand she will probably be far too busy to waste time in school just to please her father.

    It would be a twist if due to the destruction and everything Taylor now had classes together with the students that went to arcadia high where all the wards went.

    Overall this whole secret identity thing would probably get boring very fast and a step back in many ways for the character. So hopefully if she tried it she would give up on it before to long.

    At the very least before the next Endbringer attack, that I hope she joins up for. If the local heroes deploy there she might just come along to help, and this when the leader of the capes asks for anyone with previous experience with Endbringers she can raise her hand as one of the veterans. (of course if she skips that battle, the next one might have her be among those who addresses the gathered capes from a podium)

    • I think she is the type to volunteer for an Endbringer attack, but Grue/Tattletale would probably try to talk her out of it. I assume that they still have the ability to predict where they will attack, but does the truce allow her to basically show up in costume at an airport? Any long distance teleporting is probably limited to the big guns and Taylor would be much help against Behemoth since he is slow and everyone knows where he is. Unless he is swarming with worms and parasites she might not be able to do much except coordinate and control capes in case Dragon’s armbands get fried. The Smurf might prove interesting. Skitter might be one of the type of thinkers who can’t be predicted by her. Plus, she technically does have telepathy as well. I am curious as to how the Smurf’s scream would affect her.

      • Armsmaster was working on ways to predict Endbringers and would hope that they have found a replacement for the Strider character that teleported in groups of heroes from all over the place for leviathan. But you are probably right that Skitter will sit that battle out.

  29. I loved this chapter so much! Really interesting to see the way the people not in the loop are figuring things out for themselves, working with what they have…plus bitching at each other and getting freaked out by anonymity. Of course.

  30. Possible typo: WagTheDog’s thread claims to be on Page 23 of 25 at the top and Page 1 (presumably of 1) at the bottom. Guessing the latter is correct based on the timestamps.

    • That would be awkward as hell for Char. How do act around you scary boss at school? Do you ignore her, or act like her friend?

          • I think the definition of alpha bitch will have changed for all the students that stayed in town. Remember that Charlotte’s first response on seeing Taylor was basically “oh shit that girl is a merchant now!”. So if you see people gathering around someone that wouldn’t normally be running a group it could easily be attributed to them having offered protection while the entire city was falling apart.

  31. Great chapter. A resounding success to formatting. too. Must have taken you ages, especially since it seems you did this straight into WordPress (wow!).

    Storywise, it handles the feel of an arc epilogue perfectly. Life has moved on as time passes. We get to see what info actually got out and how certain capes handled things (It made me admire Weld even more, too.) The post dates were perfect for showing a short timeskip occurring.

    With school starting, I’ll throw my opinion out there and say Taylor will at least try returning, just because of her father. All other reasons pale in comparison for her, I think. She might not last, but she’ll try. How people react to her and her reactions to them would be a good read.

    Anyways, finally seeing the Parahumans Online forum was fun. It seems like any other talk forum, including the Worm comments section, especially in Wild Mass Guessing. The thing about nobody having evil counterparts was funny, especially since we know about Echidna’s evil clones AND about Echidna having an actual dimensional counterpart. It makes me think someone, maybe Cauldron or Dragon, is influencing posts on the site.

    It was fun to try figuring out which commenters on Worm got a shout-out. In summation, so far we have:

    TheGnat – TheAnt
    Answer Key – Anzer’ke
    BagRat – Packbat (perfect considering the info both provide to the community/TvTropes)
    SenorEel – MrMoray
    Reave – Reveen
    Space Zombie – Undead-Spaceman
    Mac’s Dual Rocket Propelled Grenades – mc2rpg

    Any matches I’m missing? Since Psycho Gecko is conspicuously absent, I can only assume he’ll break through the dimensional door someday to cause untold chaos, perhaps as the villain who ends the world.

    • Coyote-C is most likely Loki-L. Trickster-type being (not to be confused with Trickster the cape) with first letter after a hyphen, check.

      I thinnnnnk Nondeceptive might be me, but I may be being presumptive.

        • Can’t recall 100%, but I think I might have gone with ‘Judge’.

          There wasn’t much rhyme or reason in it. If I needed a name, I went to the nearest forum (where Worm was bein discussed) or nearest comment section of Worm to grab the first name that came up.

          • Coooool. I wondered a little about that one, but it’s different enough that I couldn’t justify the assumption. Then I made the wrong assumption elsewhere. Oops.

            I’m actually tearing apart sites I don’t normally frequent, like the Potter forum and Spacebattles, looking for names that might have seen a conversion treatment. It’s just…. fun.

    • Spotted a Lasersmile! Razorsmile being the person who thought to post about Worm to, I was really looking hard for that one.

    • Is there anyone else who would be Procto the Unfortunate Tinker (who is not a tinker, or a thinker, or a gecko)?

      Butt did I assume something unfortunate, Wildbow?

      • Well, for what it’s worth, Psycho Gecko, I thought the name applied to me as well. I’m not a real Muse…

        There’s no tag for it, but the name would fit well with that Tinker who got set up by Accord. Forgot his name, and he probably wouldn’t frequent Cape boards, but the name would be ironic.

  32. For the entire time, I was waiting for something like:

    ♦ Topic: Is Skitter a teenage lesbian?
    In: Boards ► Places ► America ►Brockton Bay ► Teams ► Undersiders
    Screwy Skink (Original Poster) (Interdimensional)

    [Thread closed by Moderator]

  33. D’awwwwwww! Nondeceptive. 😀

    Actually, I have used Void as my handle in the past, so seeing that “I” was logged in as Void_something on first speed-read was extremely discombobulating.

    As far as guessing identities of the posters before seeing the tags, no, I failed really badly at that. I went through the whole “Is GStringGirl Glory Girl? No, that doesn’t make any sense, Victoria can barely blink” thing. I didn’t even pick up on Char, and am now feeling properly foolish that I didn’t. My only defense is that I was distracted and overtired by the time I got to read.

    Seeing that it was Garrote…. owwww, heartbreaking. No wonder she has such trouble with the controls. Apparently Greg is suffering a little bit of Mass Effect 3 Ending Syndrome or something with regards to the game she prefers.

    • My guess? That “Space Opera” game was the local equivalent of EVE Online, and Greg here got scammed out of all his ISK, kicked from his own corp, blown up until he had no more ships left, then podded once his revival insurance ran out.

  34. Ooh, another fix needed: the text jumps back and forth between having Greg’s username as “XxVoid CowboyxX” and “XxVoid_CowboyxX”. From the existence of “Mac’s Dual Rocket Propelled Grenades” we can safely deduce that spaces are allowed in user names, but Greg is enough of a hopeless dork that I could believe him using the underscore instead.

  35. Simply a guess, and it’s truly bad form to point it out this late in the game, but ‘White Collar’ appears to be a take on ‘sarariman’ (sp) which is Japanese for…

    Wage Slave

    That all being said, if that is the case, I wonder who my ‘husband’ is =)

    If that is incorrect speculation, please pardon the arrogance, oh Mighty Wildbow, please don’t turn me into an expendable NPC that gets smote in the next arc in meaningless violence!

  36. Figured I’d post here for visibility:

    >Crap. I was struggling with the ending and found it got better the more I took out, and I removed an essential detail.

    What was this? Something that definitively proved Greg is still in Brockton Bay?

    Also, I’m curious. Is Dragon now “in” the suit going around hunting the Nine? I know that there seems to be a body inside of it (but that was true of other suits as well)- but I’m wondering what happens if that suit dies? Does Dragon’s backup get loaded (like it did when she sacrificed a suit to save Taylor?) and start running again from wherever her main servers are?

    Also- I’m not quite understanding where all the Greg hate is coming from- he doesn’t seem that bad to me (though I think he overreacted to Gstring not being willing to meet or give him pictures).

    • In reply to your statement about Greg: He’s just annoying. Almost every one of his posts seems as though it was written by a twelve-year-old desperate for attention.

      There also seems to be some hate for him because he expressed an interest in Taylor, which I personally find kind of weird, but I think the main thrust of the hate is that he’s the one guy in the middle of all these actual capes and insightful posters who never contributes anything worthwhile and who actively seems to be degrading the quality of the threads he’s in.

      • He is annoying but that could actually make it pretty sad. He might not have been bullied, but he was socially isolated during school. He might have an unidentified problem that makes it hard to connect with people and he doesn’t realize he is being annoying. My theory for the reason he was so angry at Gstring Girl is he probably felt a connection with her that he frankly has never had with anyone else. Without school, he was probably on the net constantly and talked with her for months. So keeping that in mind makes his comments understandable, but he is still annoying and seems to crave attention. IF he does have some kind of psychological problem it would be interesting to see how it would interact with a possible trigger event. While it has been said that he probably knew Taylor better than anyone else, it still seems like a leap for him to be absolutely certain that she is Skitter. I said this in past chapters, but the number of Trigger events after an Endbringer attack seems pretty small. I would not be surprised if there were more people who had trigger events and simply kept it to themselves like Taylor originally did. Kid Win mentions in his interlude how his mental state and his tinker abilities interact. So I am genuinely curious about Greg right now. It is possible to have a trigger event and not even realize it?

        • From post above Greg appears to have a light case of Aspergers syndrome. In the chapter that he was introduced, it was mentioned that it takes him twice as long to answer a question because he cant stop talking. After having classes with someone who sufered from Aspergers (the man loved the maths and sciences but couldnt interpret art and literature to save his life. It didn’t stop him from trying and causing everyone else to hide their smirks, eye rolls, and derisive snorts), I have to admit that Greg here is a dead ringer for my classmate.
          Tattletale herself mentions that she didn’t recognize her trigger event until much later. However, I find it highly unlikely that Greg here has had a trigger event. He doesn’t make connections of any kind on a superhuman level and he clearly posesses no powers of his own or he would be using them to acquire the spotlight.

          • Aspergers does seem to fit actually, so good call there. I’m afraid that my knowledge of it is limited to what has been portrayed on TV and movies. For the trigger event It is not so much the connections, people further up touch on that he probably knew her best, it is the complete certainty that he has that she is Skitter. It seems unlikely that he would be so sure unless he had clear proof and getting such proof seems almost impossible at the moment. You do make a point that he seems to like attention and he would use them to acquire the spotlight, but he DOES live in a city with the scary Undersiders in it. Bitch would probably see him as a threat and a challenge and he has no real training/experience, and Bitch is intimidating to people. In truth I don’t know enough to say one way or another, and Wildbow mentioned he cut out some stuff about him. For now I will be at least open to the idea.

            • A few years late here, but I think that stubbornly focusing on one idea is an Aspergers trait, hence Greg’s certainty that Skitter is Taylor. He definitely reads as higher on the autistic spectrum than most.

      • And he left poor Garrote all alone. 😦 Bastard. I just wanna huggle Garrote(wit that protective suit naturally). Even poor tentacle girls need love.

        • I think its kind of messed up to judge him for leaving Garrote. Combining the name and the behavior patterns anyone would come up with creep. There are too many internet horror stories to hope that this one person is the exception.

          • True….but the poor girl just needs a friend on the outside. It’s even worse in worm if the person you’re talking to is a Thinker of some kind, or even a Tinker. I can’t imagine the mental trauma she has due to her tentacles wanting to kill any living thing.

            That’s something else I want to ask about. Do her tentacles have a mind of their own, like with Echinda and No’, or do they run off of some kind of primal thing that was forced on her, like with Bitch?

    • I would guess that she has a kind of immortality in that she has a backup that comes online if she is destroyed. The physical body is simply more important to her for because she can enjoy physical sensations she never had before, and be with her cyborg boyfriend. She probably uploads her memory periodically to the backup.

  37. Oh man! I am really looking forwards to hearing from that teacher who gives the “democracy in a cape world” discussion’s opinion of the current state of the bay. Especially since it was one of the last classes he held before the city fell apart.

    • That makes me question whether the Mayor is in Tattletale’s pocket like she was with Coil. There probably are alot of Parahuman warlords in parts of Africa at the moment so his lecture probably hits more than few points. I would love to see a version of their world map just to see how different it is from ours.

  38. Wildbow, sorry to bother you with an existential question but I would like to avoid any kind of clash, no matter how minor, on Worm’s trope page.

    I kinda need WorldOfGod about the comments themselves. My understanding of web serials in general is that comment following any of your posts, while obviously not part of the story *ARE* part of Worm as a whole. (because of art and vacuums, quantum mechanics and so on)

    Yeah, I get the issue looks too subtle to bother with, but there’s stuff that can go one way or another by thinnest margins. And the meta-whatever tropes are a … well, a teen supervillain with mutant dogs I guess 🙂

    So, any definite view on the matter? *makes hopeful puppy eyes*
    (since said eyes are tiny, glowing red ad full of hatred versus pretty much aything that moves I don’t think it’s gonna help a lot but hey, you never know 🙂

    And now that’s done with: my compliments for an extremely awesome chapter, and the hellish work you’ve probably put into formatting.

    Also Vista is alive in canon, yay 🙂

    And cheers to the tropers who got a cameo of course, even if the only one I was able to guess was PsychoGecko (out of a grand total of two regular posters, and I’m not really sure if Hg trolls Tvtropes anyway).

      • Curses, I’m not even Procto, master of the asspull.

        With all the criticisms of him, I really feel like Greg at times. Mindless drivel and all that.

        The chapter was obviously one we all wanted, almost to connect to our own analoges in a way, as we the commentators wanted and insight into the minds of people following all this online as well. It was an inspired choice to make analgogues of the fans themselves as it also obviously was a cool shout out.

        We also get a small sense of where Weld and Vista are at in the story, though I hoped Vista would give us some insight into which four died with Noelle. No such luck, so maybe they were from out of town. It seems the regular joes out there are about as divided as we are in regards to the city’s prospects, though they are less inclined to see Skitter as a hero. Bitch has her fans though. Sweet dreams being made of the years, some people want to be abused. Who am I to disagree.

        Most importantly, it’s time to school Emma.

        • Yeah. Aside from the sheer difficulty of trying to replicate the uniqueness of PG’s style, there’s the problem that his stuff tends to be a separate story unto itself. It’s probably outright impossible to accurately emulate PG’s style in a way that also moves the Worm narrative along.

          It’s awesome, just not COMPATIBLE awesome…

    • As for the rest of the comment:
      I can’t think of another medium where the audience would be considered part of the work UNLESS it was an interactive work.

      Worm isn’t strictly one of the serials that you’ll see out there where the audience really decides things, so I wouldn’t consider the comments part of the work in and of itself.

      I do take feedback into consideration, but not to the point where I’d consider the comments a defining aspect of the serial. People can (and do) still get the story without reading the comments.

      And by saying that, I don’t mean to diminish in the slightest how much I appreciate the audience, but only to clarify what I think the nature of the story is.

      • I think he might have been asking about comments YOU post, not the comments WE post.

        Like you confirming in here that Gstring is Garrote, or explaining about why Tinker inventions aren’t mass produced.

        • nope, any comment, but thanks for the post… care to maybe make an account over at tvtropes? It’s highly unlikely* that TvTropesWillRuinYourLife

          we got author’s comment covered by a slew of stuff, it’s AllThereInTheManual after all 😉

          * for an undetermined amount of highness and likness not necessarily approaching zero, reality or a cat

      • Thank you very much. That really helps.
        I’m not sure how much you troll tvtropes at all, but there’s some stuff that has a totally different trope if it happens in-medium or out-of-medium. Since some mediums (like a web serial) really blurs the line, the only hope I’ve got of getting it straight is to actually ask for a WordOf God.

        And I think I get what you’re saying. The Story is Worm, and the comments are metadata. (It could easily be any kind of screwy combination after all, so not an automatic assumption)
        And I think everyone here knows you appreciate the comments, even the more… colorful ones 😛

        For PG… well, I do really suck at the name game (Got Hg only because you included his signature too), but I thought Wackograve was PG.

        BTW, did he get banned for scamming the ground zero tag?

        • Unless Hg is supposed to be Miss Mercury, I missed him.

          I doubt I’ll show up as even an interdimensional threat to the story, however. It’s just not easy to do me. Trust me, your mom has tried. Wanted me to lie still and look like I’m not breathing with strawberry jelly on a few areas. Something to do with an affair she tried to have with a funeral director. She missed.

          But the secret to my success is: don’t be afraid to go too far. Cross the line. In fact, don’t even bother trying to see where the line is. Jump in the general area past the line while blindfolded. *readies the alligator pool* And try to make it either funny or delicious.

          • Well I -did- think it was obvious, but as I’ve said, I suck at the name game

            Yeah, (s)he’s named miss mercury instead of just mercury, and (s)he has the alchemical symbol instead of the chemical one as signature.

            Then again, since I was 100% sure that whackograve guy was your clone that I offed him on the spot maybe I’m wrong with Hg too.

      • A lot of Slender Man mythos stuff has involved other people influencing the story. The big convoluted blog mess is how this can go wrong. EverymanHYBRID’s Sevem Trials of Habit didn’t have much of a conclusion, so on those levela it didn’t work. The entire mythos being the collaboration of people online, on the other hand, worked out extremely well in general.

  39. Hey- since you write and post directly into WordPress, does that mean that you don’t have any backups for the story if something happens to this website? No chapters saved on your hard drive?

    Cause I was going to ask if I could get the files so that I could try and make an epub to read on my nook. I don’t know anything about making epubs though.

    • And I can always just get the chapters from the site itself- so it’s not a problem if you don’t have them.

    • If you do not mind the ebook being a little messy, a quick and dirty way is to copy and paste everything in libreoffice, save the whole thing, and feed it to some place like online-convert dot com (not sure if I can post links with an anonymous account, but there are plenty of websites which allows you to do that)

      IIRC there are even some OOo extensions that allows you to do it, but I never actually tried them.

      • Thanks to one very helpful reader, I got my hands on a properly formatted collection of the chapters all the way from arc 1 to 17 (or something like that). It made a huge difference, especially over Christmas, being able to read the story on my kobo.

        I also regularly back up the data to google docs, with all the comments and chapters collected in a single file I could then upload at a later date.

        And in the worst case scenario, if everything got fried, I could likely appeal to readers to get their copies of the chapters that went out by email.

        • >Thanks to one very helpful reader, I got my hands on a properly formatted collection of the chapters all the way from arc 1 to 17 (or something like that). It made a huge difference, especially over Christmas, being able to read the story on my kobo.

          Mind passing that to me somehow?

          >And in the worst case scenario, if everything got fried, I could likely appeal to readers to get their copies of the chapters that went out by email.

          I know at least two people on the darklordpotter forums made backups of your entire story.

          • I’m not majorly comfortable with circulating an ebook version of the work, considering that I eventually hope to sell it, with a selling point being that it’s polished and it’s in an accessible format.

            I know it’s online, and that it’s a relatively small leap from reading it in a browser to reading it on a phone to reading it on an ebook reader, and I’m conscious that there will be readers who convert it into another format or even share it with people close to them. I’d just rather not be the main distribution channel for such, especially when the other mediums are liable to have their messy bits and mine doesn’t. There’s other minor concerns (legality, author’s rights, etc) that sort of exist on the periphery of my attention, but overall, I’m just going to say ‘I don’t think I can. Sorry.’

  40. And as of 10 seconds ago, this was Worm’s most viewed chapter at 5,848 views.

    I’m kind of blown away. I remember around ten months ago (~May), I was watching the view count rise over the course of the day, occasionally typing in the # of views into a spreadsheet to gauge how many views per hour I’d need to meet my average of ~1k views on an update day. 1200 was considered a good day.

    Now I hit ~1200 around 3am, and a day with less than 3,750 views is cause for me to wonder if something went wrong with the site.

    Thanks, guys.

    • I wonder if me hitting F5 to see updated comments contributes to a new view?

      Cause I refreshed the page a bunch last night.

    • Well I was introduced to this a week ago from forum mechanics of in flight and posted after I read it both there and DLP so that is a few dozen more just there. In general until you get to the point where there is enough people to convince others growth is rather slow.

    • Does WordPress count views by IP or something? I guess not because 5000 readers? Holy shit.

      Is there any way to get actual data on that. It’d be pretty interesting to see how big the fanbase actually is.

  41. S class monsters and villains have been replaced with the likes of Greg, a socially awkward, compulsive lair. I still can’t decide which is more terrifying.

    • Huh. I have this weird mental image of Greg strolling along, suddenly pausing and looking around, then transforming into a heavily-fortified bunker.

      …I like this mental image.

  42. He’s not pointed out in the tags, but I bet Danny frequents these forums considering his involvement with the community. He might be doing alot of online liaison stuff. Then again, Tattletale might be Answer Key and she’s not tagged either.

    The only ground zero who stands out to me is Laser Augment, taking Danny’s temper into consideration.

    • I don’t think Danny is likely to have a personal computer at this point – he’s not exactly prosperous (cf. his trading away family heirlooms for food supplements). The Dockworkers Association may, but I doubt he would be browsing Parahumans Online at work.

  43. >I’m not majorly comfortable with circulating an ebook version of the work, considering that I eventually hope to sell it, with a selling point being that it’s polished and it’s in an accessible format.

    I understand, though I don’t really think having an ebook version of this circulating would harm your future sales in any way- on the contrary I think it would only help.

    You’re planning on polishing this all up and splitting it into books before publishing it, right? I assume that even if I’ve read the web serial your final version will be different (and improved) enough that it will still be worth buying to me (and I’d be buying the ebook, of course).

    I know that first you’ve got to finish the story before worrying about going back through everything- but do you have any changes planned out in your head yet?

    • Didn’t seem to hurt Cory Doctorow at all.

      That said, his new novel (“Homeland”) doesn’t seem to have received the same treatment. So it could be that there are indeed some reasons to not publish online (aside from publisher preference and IP issues). I am curious about this; less facts than ideology currently available.

    • I know the author of The Salvation War had some problems that caused him to not want to write a third book and not try to get any of them published that had to do with a pirated copy of his works.

      It might devalue the work enough to make the whole thing problematic for publishers, so I’d rather wait for Wildbow to pwn some publishers. Granted, could be tough. They’re not exactly the smartest bunch to be involved with books.

      • His problem was a certain Belgian of massive idiocy.

        Wildbow, to my knowledge, has never had some whacko trying to cause an internation incident. I really do hope for a dead tree version of Worm, or an e-book. Maybe even an audio book at some point! 😀

  44. Hm. Not sure these are international or not, but I figured I’d note that there are sections where XxVoid_CowboyxX is missing the “(At Ground Zero: Brockton Bay)” badge. Specifically under the “Hypothetically, if I wanted to become a henchman…” topic and the “Skitter” topic.

  45. Skitter: Master 6 [Arthropvoyance, Arthropodkinesis] (Subclasses: Thinker 0-4*, Blaster 0-3* (soft targets), Mover 0-2**)
    * depending on quantity and quality of bugs available
    ** depending on availability of flying bug mount (see ‘Atlas’ in notes)

    Is that anywhere close to the mark?

        • Wildbow never gives possible spoilers in the comments but it is still fun to debate. We don’t yet have a clear idea on the classifications, so this is complete speculation. I don’t think she counts as a blaster. She isn’t shooting something at people, she has her bugs simply attack them. But Blasto counted as a blaster so if Atlas ever started spitting acid, then I think it would count.
          I think the thinker classification is off as well but just because I don’t think her thinker abilities are on all of the time. Only in times of extreme stress does she become amazing at working out various tactics/plans very quickly. So she is amazing, but only under certain circumstances. We also don’t yet know the intricacies of her swarm intelligence. But I want to say she is at most a thinker 2.
          I think Wildbow said somewhere that a person who can jump fifteen feet in the air counts as a mover 1, and flying really gives her alot of mobility, so I think she should count a little higher as a mover. The main reason I think he won’t answer, is because of what Tattletale said a few chapter back in that most parahumans never understand the full intricacies of their powers with scrub as an example. He might be saving that for a reveal later on. Taylor’s powers are also still a little unclear in that we haven’t seen her experiment with different animal classifications and one of her clones was controlling rats. She has also yet to replicate the incident when she heard perfectly out of a moth during the bakuda bombings. Overall I think we may be wrong about her power being bug control. It might be something more akin to telepathy, with her using her signal to only connect to bugs.

          • Wait, your last sentence reminded me: she doesn’t merely *detect* bugs, she detects their entire physiological makeups. Look at what she says in 2.6:

            “Yeah,” Lisa raised an eyebrow, “You do know which bugs you had biting him, right? Black Widow, Brown Recluse, Browntail Moth, Mildei, Fire Ants-”

            “Yeah,” I cut her off, “I don’t know the official names, but I know exactly what bit him, what stung him and what the venoms do.”

            Her powers give her complete knowledge of the insects down to the biological level.

          • Yeah, I imagine there’s a lot of stuff that’s meant to stay under wraps, but I’m curious.. doesn’t hurt to ask! Maybe a better question woulda been “is this how the PRT categorizes her?”, I’m almost more interested in the semantics of that sorta thing. What lens PRT forces view a cape through before they’ve met them. What sort of stereotypes are there? Like, is there a thing where everyone knows that Strikers with no Brute rating rarely live to see thirty? Are ‘mastermind’ thinkers never really your friend? Do Changers always get the grossest fan mail?

            Though I’m with you on telepathy (or perhaps broad spectrum life mastery) totally being possibilities. I’d been kinda thinking that if that were the case, it’d have shown up when Skitter was sleep deprived as hell and fighting Echdina. Tired, not paying close enough attention, starts moving the ones that aren’t hers. Oops. Then she gets to see what sort of Xavier Protocols the PRT has established ahead of time.

            It’d sure make her trigger event even worse. I mean, bad enough as it is, but it sure wouldn’t help to have instantly perceived a hundred people thinking variations of “ohmygod the dork is totally freaking out over getting shoved in a locker, what’s wrong with her?” and “dammit, I don’t want to deal with this, too much bullshit, why won’t someone else deal with the caterwauling?”

  46. ♦ Topic: What the Fuck Happened?
    In: Boards ► News ► Events ►America

    ► Psycho Gecko
    Replied July 9th, 2011

    Ok, so here’s what went down. A short time ago in a dimension close, close away, a group of teenagers with attitude were recruited by the Simurgh via Alpha-Earth. They were made up of:

    George Costanza, leader
    Barbara Gordon, brains
    The Lone Saneman, lancer
    Natalie Portman as The Black Swan, the chick
    The Poolboy, sandwich maker and team sextoy
    Jealous Wifebeater, the sixth ranger
    and Anna Rexic, the Megazord

    Since they didn’t want to be stuck in a nuthouse or tattooed to look like crazy people their whole lives, they stole money, stole powers, and broke out of the quarantine zone known as “The Batshit Cave”

    Then they named themselves after a group of nomads who wear too much makeup and began to travel around, feeding dead horses so Anna Rexic would grow big and strong enough to one day become a real boy.

    After having some trouble with AccOCDord where AccOCDord thought a hot ballerina was bringing chaos to his world, the Gypsies fled the land of rainbows and metrosexuals to Brockton Bay, because the moral of this story is that drug addicts and racists create a better work environment than a man with a perfectly shaved chest. But they did give AccOCDord the Wifebeater to keep because that guy was a dick.

    While there, they helped a guy take over the city, risking life and limb for a cure for Anna Rexic and a shitload of what turned out to be Bison Bucks as the general’s plot to rename the city Shadaloo City failed when he was killed by a teen girl who is in the running for having the worst life every. Seriously, African kids are sending her food and Thai kids are giving her tips on how to take the whole cock in and not ruin her hips.

    Meanwhile, she had sex with a guy and has insecurity issues.

    Pissed that she killed their boss who didn’t have a cure for them anyway, the Megazord breaks out and decides to go apeshit on the whole town in order to avenge the cure she wasn’t going to get.

    But she’s not important right now because Skitter’s on-again, off-again girlfriend wants to fuck the universe a new asshole and there’s a big conspiracy among the heroes who all work for the Freemason Illuminati giant lizardmen that want to give powers to people who pay them because, hey, money’s fun. Oh, and they’re taking over society one superhero at a time. They also experimented on people and turned them into monsters, but what’s a little murder and torture in the name of protecting the world from murder and torture, am I right?

    This pisses off the heroes, Skitter’s GFF blasts a hole to another dimension conveniently on top of a blue police box, and then they kill the Megazord because they were up and might as well deal with that too. George Costanza is an asshole and went to jail, Barbara Gordon, Natalie Portman, and the Lone Saneman went back to their home because their lives were all perfectly great before, and nobody knows what happened to the Poolboy.

    That’s the story in a nutshell. I should know, I was there as the nut.

    • ♦ Topic: What the Fuck Happened?
      In: Boards ► News ► Events ►America

      ► Psycho Gecko
      Replied July 9th, 2011


      (hehe, sorry, could not resist)

      • ♦ Topic: What the Fuck Happened?
        In: Boards ► News ► Events ►America

        ► Meta (Verified Cape)
        Replied July 10th, 2011

        We had a party. A big one, with lots of excitement. Originally it was gonna be small and kind of low-key, but it was just so popular that even the people who weren’t interested got nagged into coming. More people kept showing up to the party all the time, even people who were already there. Vista showed up 5 times or so because people kept objecting to her presence there, and she wasn’t the only one in that position.
        Now I’ll admit, the party did get a bit wild. Lots of people ended up unconscious or covered in vomit (or both), a Shaker 12 and a guy with indiscriminate erasing abilities got together and made some startling alterations to the landscape, and then someone decided that a skyscraper’s worth of fire was the best way to remove the mess. Plus there were a lot of hurt feelings when various people started speaking from the heart when they were under the influence, and let me tell you there were some awkward conversations that followed. The theories people have been coming up with about the Case 53’s are at least partly correct: It came out that some of the partygoers were friends with a group of jerks who made a habit of treating the 53’s unkindly, and it was roundly decided that if forced to choose between various groups of friends, it might create a hostile work environment for all involved. Since the definition of ‘Hostile Work Environment’ gets a bit uncomfortable when when there are people with powers involved (especially empaths. Dear goodness, the empaths!), the politically tenable alternative involved a slight organisational reshuffling, so as to avoid such troubles. Alexandria was involved in this dispute, and although she was a bit upset about the loss of personal command privilege this involved, it must be noted that she accepted the change gracefully. Indeed, those who were present for this part of the conversation universally agreed that her presence was so attention-catching at that moment that it was impossible to look away from her.

        Though admittedly, that might have been because during the course of the party, she suffered a slight clothing malfunction. This was quite interesting, as we got a glance at Alexandria without portions of her costume, providing some interesting insights. For example, it turns out that she has a mole on her left cheek. For those who disagree, I should know, I was standing behind her at the time.

        Oh, forgot to mention, the original cause of the party was The Travellers having a going-away party and The Undersiders invited the local Protectorate along, and THEY invited everyone else along. You know how it goes. Still, even if the party was a little bit of a blow-up, it did still clear the air, and improve the diplomatic relations between some of the heroes and villains. Some gossip-mongers who were there even noted some rather friendly-looking interactions between Clockstopper and Skitter. No comments as yet about whether this could be a true relationship, although Scapegoat was noted as having said something about ‘going blind’ being a result of getting too friendly with Skitter. Certain obvious meanings come to mind.

        This has been Meta, giving you your usual superhero report and romantic gossip.

        >> ((I think I’m tempted to write up one of these reports for each major battle in Worm now…))

        • Hmm. Might actually have been better off if I hadn’t explicated that ‘left cheek’ line, and just left it as implied humour for those in the know. Can’t imagine even an insubordinate hero writing dirty implications about a commanding hero.

          On another note, it’s quite fun to come up with these things.
          About the time of Grue’s second trigger event:

          >> Superpowered Plastic Surgeon kidnaps 6 people and gives them extreme makeovers. They are soon rescued by a superpowered fashion designer. We ask the question: “Is the latest episode of America’s Top Models going too far?”

        • >> ((I think I’m tempted to write up one of these reports for each major battle in Worm now…))

          Please do, but only if you do them in chronological order, starting with Lung.

          Just a helpful suggestion of course.

    • ♦ Topic: What the Fuck Happened?
      In: Boards ► News ► Events ►America

      ► Tin Lizard (Site Moderator) (Newfoundland Survivor)
      Replied July 10th, 2011

      Guys, seriously, please stop posting while you’re drunk. We already have enough tinfoilers as it is.

      Remember citizen: the computer is your friend

    • Technically, what Accord has is Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder, which is quite different from ‘traditional’ OCD. The latter is frequently misrepresented.

      • THANK YOU!

        The medical student in me was twitching.

        Also, about Greg being labeled an Aspie… maaaaaaybe, but it’d have to be a lot more definitive than what we’ve seen so far – and, this is important, it must be disabling. Which his behavior in class might qualify for if and only iff he can’t turn it off when he’s aware of the problem and works on it. It’s hugely annoying to see diagnostic descriptions being applied haphazardly. It’s why we can’t have nice things.

          • That was my take on him as well. The whole “talking about subjects that other people don’t care about and aren’t relevant” is what I’ve heard referred to as Geeking Out. I’ve done it myself. On here too, I suspect. As far as confusing OCD with OCPD, I have very little experience with OCD to classify it and it’s Hollywood-style.

            Except maybe if someone bites at the skin on their fingers.

            Anyway, most doctors don’t accept a diagnosis made by me to be…what was that fancy term they used?…oh yeah, “correct”. Crazy medical and psychiatric lingo.

    • ♦ Topic: What the Fuck Happened?
      In: Boards ► News ► Events ►America

      ► WhiteGreatWyrm
      Replied July 10th, 2011

      …What kind of person would go to this length to make a…whatever this is?
      There are a few grains of plausible truth in here. If we assume that the Aleph teenagers are the Travelers, who vanished after whatever happened, there’s that. They also lost a member after going to Boston, where a supervillain called Accord lived (no clue about the OCD), and that conspiracy he mentions sounds a lot like what some of the tinfoils talk about.
      Probably just a coincidence, but coincidences are interesting..

  47. I’m Miss Mercury? I get to be a Protectorate employee? Cool!! Here I was thinking that actual important people in the story (as opposed to random posters) wouldn’t get named after any of us, which left the only other option for me as Chrome. But the Mercury symbol does seem to settle that.

    Thanks, Wildbow.


  48. I suppose I am Sothoth? Finally someone noticed where the name comes from (went through a psychotic break at one point thinking myself be it’s avatar on Earth. Am better now)! And you even got my tendency to overuse underlined, bolded and italic text! How nice!

    On the chapter – liked it very much.

    I wonder – does Taylor have an account? I suppose she could have been a lurker, reading the forum after getting her powers (maybe even before).

    If she is a board member, I wonder, would she go for getting a “confirmed cape” badge? Are there supervillians on the board (I suspect that Leet and Uber would have been at least), or are they banned on sight? If she was careful before all the events, and used school computers and/or proxies (to obscure her I.P.), then this wouldn’t lead to her civilian identity (if she still wants to maintain it). Getting that badge would actually be beneficial to her, as it gives her a place to talk to people, to explain her position, her actions, her motivations. For example, I could easily see her telling people of why she became a super villain (wanted to be a hero, got disillusioned). And her discussions with Weld / Vista would be very entertaining / interesting. Also there would be a chance of her becoming friends with Garotte (in her place, I would have told Greg about being disfigured, without specifics).

    On going back to school – it would indeed be an interesting thing to see, almost schizophrenic in the disconnect of the personas.

    A delicious irony would be if Emma triggered during the crisis (in some very minor and useless way) and used her new powers to improve her social standing in the school (by showing off for example). Or if she tried bullying Taylor using them (in private to avoid being sent to juvy / Birdcage). Only to run into Skitter (because assault with powers would definitely trigger (heh-heh) Taylor to reset to Skitter’s response and behavioral patterns)

  49. One other thing occurs to me. It doesn’t sound as if Grue is coping too well after the Echidna incident, given the lack of progress being reported in his territory. Feel better Grue!

  50. “Greg was just the opposite. He was smarter than average, but he had a way of saying every thought that came into his head – his train of thought didn’t have any brakes. ”

    And he gave the work that Taylor spent a weekend doing to the popular girls that then presented it as if it were theirs.
    And got quiet after they took it. He only had to call the teacher`s attention and, if any of it was manuscript, ask the teacher to compare handwrittings.
    BUt, of course, Greg would also be bullied after this.

    And he wonders why Taylor dislikes him.

    THIS is the guy who just realised who Skitter is.

    How Taylor will deal with this without doing a “Carrie the Weird” on the whole school only Tatletale knows.

    Anyway, excelent chapter.

  51. Anyone else expecting the Wards to show up at the new classes? I bet the different high schools all get grouped together. Maybe Weld recognizes Skitter?

    • I think it’s more likely that Dennis (Clockblocker) will recognize her.

      Which in turn makes me imagine Greg getting all jealous and trying to scare him off. By telling him she’s Skitter.

      • But Clockblocker didn’t get to see her naked like Weld did, right?

        I guess maybe a lot of heroes got a good look at the nude clone, but I kind of assumed it was only Weld.

        • Clockblocker didn’t see the clones, but I think he was paying more attention to her than anyone else. Read Queen 18.3, for example. Weld might recognize her based on her clones, but I think Clockblocker could recognize her from her build, her mannerisms, her voice, and her hair, and I think he would be more motivated to look for her than Weld would be.

          • @soulpelt: She does – but mid-18.3 through mid-18.5, she doesn’t *have* bugs to disguise her voice with, and that includes the entire conversation that CB had with her in the van.

    • Honestly, I’m thinking this is a false flag, and that Skitter is going to subvert Greg’s expectations and not show up to school at all. Being a warlord is time-consuming, you know.

      • I guess, I look at it this way: the only reason she became a warlord was to free Dinah. Now, she’s free to do whatever. I think she’ll try to provide for the people in her territory as best she can (because she wants to help people and do good and all that), but there’s no reason for her to go around “being a villain” and doing villainous things.

        If I were her, I wouldn’t really want to go back to school, but she might do it to keep her father happy.

        • She became a warlord to free Dinah, but she became a cape to escape her mundane life. For better or worse, since taking up her identity has Skitter her life has been… bigger, had meaning to it. She can do more as Skitter, help more people, live more fully than Taylor ever going. She wouldn’t really be doing ‘villainous’ things at this point. The city effectively belongs to her; why would she steal from herself? The stronger it grows, the better it is for her, which is good from both a moral and pragmatic standpoint. I guess I just can’t see any kind of catalyst in recent events that could result in her regressing to her civilian self.

          • >I guess I just can’t see any kind of catalyst in recent events that could result in her regressing to her civilian self.

            Her father! Remember? As soon as she had some free time off, she went to him and tried to reconnect? Then there was the bomb?

            I bet during the time skip (if there is one, as indicated by this chapter) she’ll be visiting him in the hospital and stuff.

            I think she will be going back to school, even though it feels like such a huge step down in importance compared to what she’s been up to lately.

          • Sure, she’ll try to reconnect, but she’s past the stage of her life where school has any relevance. Meh. We’ll see how it plays out; I have faith in Wildbow either way.

    • Does Weld even go to school? I figured there might be special dispensation for him considering that he can’t really go civilian identity and fade into the student population like the rest of the Wards can–my assumption was that he just watched lectures online like the Wards were doing during their arc earlier.

      Also, he’s not in the Wards anymore. So there’s that.

      The rest of the Wards being at her school, though, that I could see. I’m kind of hoping that there’s a conversation between Taylor and Dennis (Clockblocker) in civilian guise, if that’s the case. Especially considering that he was defending Shadow Stalker during Skitter and his earlier conversation, and talking to one of Sophia’s victims might help him see her a little clearer and maybe prove Skitter’s point about the PRT pretending that their psychopaths aren’t.

      • Yes, he went to school. It was required of him, just like it was with all the other Wards. I don’t know if he would continue though (seems likely he wouldn’t bother with it).

  52. something just occurred to me (and sorry if it came up before, hard to search comments)

    did anyone else notice that capes who were caught/absorbed by ehidna experienced the same things The Travelers did during the smurf’s attack? the whole mind-memory screw thing that sent grue catatonic and people theorizing skitter would get a second trigger event but…

    echidna. mind screw
    smurf. mind screw

    is the end of the world going to occur as a result of a bunch of S-rank responders going psycho in their various cities 2 years from now?

    • I believe that the mind screw was done to create the clones. They were created “cloning” the bad feelings of some part of the other`s life.

      • That doesn’t make sense,she can crreate clones by touch,eating them whole was a strategic move to have infinite use blueprints.

  53. I just want to say that there’s way too much certainty here on Greg’s part.


    yes, it’s one thing to get all the clues. But when you get all the clues, you don’t go — “It’s her!”
    You go, “Holy shit, how fucking awesome would that be? And it all fits!” … and you don’t really believe it until you see Taylor again.

    • … and these are the sorts of comments a copyeditor reads.

      By the way, fabulous job with Skitter’s response to Denis. I could totally hear myself reacting that way — and I’m a person who has been teased way too much.

  54. I’m guessing White Fairy was Mr. Glady’s girl.

    Also, Ransack exists in both worlds? If the travelers were playing it in their world, and greg is in skitter’s world, then it seems a bit odd?

    • It’s been canonically established that Earth Aleph and Earth Bet exchange information, including Earth Aleph’s versions of the first two Star Wars prequel movies. Not much of a stretch to imagine that Wormverse’s equivalent of League of Legends might get an export version.

  55. I love this interlude; it’s an awesome idea. I love things like this and the ‘know where you are’ pamphlets, stuff that show what the average person thinks of Skitter.

    Funny, after the first paragraph I was thinking ‘Huh, multiple infractions and bans? Sounds like this guy is a real pain in the neck’. And then it turned out to be Greg. Wasn’t expecting that.

  56. I don’t get why the monsters left the Protectorate. What’s the point? Aren’t they going to be less helpful and useful without the coordination?

    Greg’s jumping to conclusions was somewhat unconvincing. How did he know old Taylor was vicious?

    I note that the villains are still being allowed to run the down. Guess this plot hole is going to be left as is.

    • Really need to learn to gather all my thoughts before I reply.
      Wanted to note just how vulnerable the Undersiders are, a single MIT professor (Steve Man) with a gun could take out Imp and Grue combined.

  57. I feel like in 2011 some people would have been taking photos of the fight, long range paparazzi with helicopters, etc. Even with glass being destroyed if you can ship in new hardware fast enough you’ll catch something, not to mention it won’t effect what you’ve already recorded and it took ages for Shatterbird to do anything.

    You’d think someone with so many infractions would know the rules of the board. Considering how many capes are on the board is this an official forum is it really wise for capes to be posting on the board, wouldn’t that encourage stalkers and stuff? Why wouldn’t the guy who wanted to be Bitch’s henchman post under Bitch’s subforum instead of the Undersiders? I’m surprised the board includes the date but not the time and I’m surprised people can reply sequentially to each other meaning there isn’t enough traffic to fill the thread (go look at a league of legends forum and go in a game chat and you’ll see posts add up fast).

    Someone said the Proct makes up 25%-50% of Endbringer forces in foreign lands, WTF! 4% of the world providing 50% of the capes why? That’s some BS.

    Feel like that was a real stretch for some idiot (what kind of geek has Xx in their name?) to connect the dots to Taylor and be so confident in it. Especially when he hasn’t seen her for fucking months, why would she pop into his mind?

    Also I really don’t get why the monsters are bothered, they have powers and they don’t remember what they lost, what’s the big deal? Are they upset because they’re “monsters”? Pretty damn shallow of them, would it have been okay if they weren’t bad looking? Nothing has changed for their situation, they are still monsters, I also don’t understand why the PRT would have been deliberately shafting monsters in a racist way. Who do people like the most out of the Fantastic Four? Fire guy then the Thing and I bet the Thing sells way more merc.

    • 1) You really think people are going to fly helicopters around superhero fights? Superhero fights that may involve powers that drop said helicopter out of the sky?

      I’d think, I’d hope, 30 years after the advent of superheros, they’d have connected the dots. There are several cases in the story already where reporters have been in the line of fire – see the Buzz arc (Purity/Night/Fog and the cameraman) and Coil’s attack on the town hall (staged or not, there were some stated casualties) for cases.

      Ordinary wars are predictable, cape fights far, far less so.

      So no. I disagree wholeheartedly. I do not think helicopters would be flying over the fight. Even if there was someone brave enough to bring a camera around, they evacuated when the class S threat was declared.

      2) You must not spend much time online. There’s always That Guy. Greg is that guy. I have moderated forums, and I have been on forums where people just don’t get it. I see no issue with the believability of the character.

      Re: Rachel’s subforum, very possible it was locked and/or reorganized due to controversy/a high amount of focus (as other boards are stated to be) or Wag decided this was a quieter area of the forums at the present time.

      3) Think about it.

      4) Yes, just like disabled individuals the world over are all ok with their circumstances because they were born with their disabilities and they never knew any different.

      Being a monster is a disability in a social sense. It’s something that affects you every hour of every day. You find happiness, friendships, relationships, work and everything else despite it.

      Yes, powers are (sometimes) a blessing (though you can look to Garotte for a case of someone who didn’t find it to be such), so are babies (allegedly).

      But, to draw an analogy, an unasked for power is like an unasked for baby. It is, in large part, a responsibility you have to deal with the rest of your life. To have that thrust on you isn’t all win, shits, giggles and rainbows. Like babies, sometimes they come out wrong, and you have more responsibilities piled on top of an already heavy burden.

      ‘Oh, I didn’t want it so I’ll abandon it’ is an attitude that can weigh on your conscience, and that’s even if such abandonment is even a possibility.

      I hope that makes sense.

      • “1) You really think people are going to fly helicopters around superhero fights? Superhero fights that may involve powers that drop said helicopter out of the sky?”

        Yup, there’s no reason to get close.

        IR optimized optics for 24/7 long range surveillance up to 60,000Ft (20KM) by day and
        24,0000Ft (8KM) in 0lux (complete darkness) while maintaining excellent clarity.

        Especially surprised they weren’t there for Leviathan who can’t fly,

        But sure, I’ll give you that maybe there would be no helicopters because no one wants to risk it, but kids and paparazzi can take photos from so far away, even someone with a telescope sticking their smartphone to record what’s being shown.

        “So no. I disagree wholeheartedly. I do not think helicopters would be flying over the fight. Even if there was someone brave enough to bring a camera around, they evacuated when the class S threat was declared.”

        Maybe but the evacuation seems entirely voluntary and not enforced, people moving along drill lines etc, is it really really so far fetched that you’d have people on par with storm hunters but with something so much more exciting and interesting than storms? People who recklessly throw themselves just to get a shot, hell what about Leet and Uber’s flying cam, anyone can stick a GoPro on an RC helicopter.

        You just know that people are going to be raving about capes, it’s the kind of thing that fanboyism and fantastism will go crazy for.

        Brockton Bay was described as being surrounded by mountains anyway, so even a darn hill looking in on the city would see those explosions, no one had binoculars or a telescope in one of the big rich houses on the hills?

        “2) You must not spend much time online. There’s always That Guy. Greg is that guy. I have moderated forums, and I have been on forums where people just don’t get it. I see no issue with the believability of the character.

        I will concede that I think he’s a believable character, I meant it to be a knock on his character, but I definitely don’t think he’d have xX in his name and then be capable of connecting the dots. People like that don’t go hand in hand with intelligent information gathering. I can also totally see someone being upset that they got infracted and being delibrately stupid about the rules to be annoying.

        “Re: Rachel’s subforum, very possible it was locked and/or reorganized due to controversy/a high amount of focus (as other boards are stated to be) or Wag decided this was a quieter area of the forums at the present time.”

        Well I guess, just seems unusual that her subforum would be but not the Undersiders, Rachel herself isn’t particularly controversial, she does the same thing quite consistently.

        “3) Think about it.”

        I would say maybe Cauldron but I don’t think that Cauldron would ignore 96% of the world’s population and I’m not sure how many heroes she makes that she outproduces the trigger events of 96% of the world.

        “But, to draw an analogy, an unasked for power is like an unasked for baby. It is, in large part, a responsibility you have to deal with the rest of your life. To have that thrust on you isn’t all win, shits, giggles and rainbows.”

        Sure but I think a better analogy would be being born, these people don’t exist in any real sense without Cauldron doing anything. Since they’ve lost all of their memories of the past life what’s basically happened is that someone on the other side of the world (or in this case in another universe) was killed and you were born. The only big deal is that for you to be born they had to die, kind of like if mothers always died during child birth. The only reason Weld, and everything he knows and loves, even if he’s “disabled” (with your description ugliness would be a disability, or not being funny, or really anything that’s not perfection) it’s better than not existing right? Their life doesn’t suck so much that they’d rather be dead, and in forming new groups they leave behind all the friends they’ve made. I feel like this is one of those things where the monsters focus on the issues of being a monster more than the other people do, beyond ugliness I don’t see why people would care and Weld doesn’t sound ugly, in fact I think being made of metal would be an attraction for a lot of people. I wouldn’t be surprised if he has way more followers and fans than any random normal superhero.

        And they’re not quitting being heroes even though the powers were gifted by Cauldron via the destruction of their pasts selves.

        • Rachel may have a separate section because she was an active cape before joining the Undersiders. At the start of the story the undersiders were relatively unknown so people probably haven’t moved her to the undersiders forum yet.

        • “Sure but I think a better analogy would be being born, these people don’t exist in any real sense without Cauldron doing anything. Since they’ve lost all of their memories of the past life what’s basically happened is that someone on the other side of the world (or in this case in another universe) was killed and you were born. The only big deal is that for you to be born they had to die, kind of like if mothers always died during child birth.”
          First off, if someone arranged for hundreds of peoples’ mothers to die in childbirth, that would be horrible. Second off, just because they can’t remember their old lives doesn’t mean they didn’t happen or don’t matter. If no one knew about the Trail of Tears, would it be acceptable?

          “(with your description ugliness would be a disability, or not being funny, or really anything that’s not perfection)”
          Hah! There’s a difference between “below average in one respect” and “clearly nonhuman”. Weld is made of metal (causing all sorts of issues), and if he shakes your hand you’ll lose your wedding ring. Newter is an orange-skinned salamander-man, and if he shakes your hand you go on a trip. Garrotte is a tangle of razor-sharp tentacles with a face and some organs, and if she shakes your hand it’s the last thing said hand will ever do.
          Ugly people, or unfunny people, or imperfect people don’t stand out in a crowd. They’re not different enough that some aspects of everyday life are difficult if not completely closed off, and they aren’t monstrous enough that people are going to think of them as such no matter their intentions. Comparing being a 53 to being slightly ugly is like comparing a city being nuked to a kid tossing a rock at a window: Not only completely different in magnitude, but dealing with a different (if vaguely related) issue. A closer example would be comparing being a minority to being a Case 53, but that’s just nuke vs. hand grenade.

          “Their life doesn’t suck so much that they’d rather be dead…”
          It could be worse. That doesn’t make it good.

          “And they’re not quitting being heroes even though the powers were gifted by Cauldron via the destruction of their pasts selves.”
          Just because you make lemonade doesn’t make the lemons oranges.

        • Almost forgot.

          And as for the first-world capes making up about half the not-first-world Endbringer fights: There might be a couple dozen third-world capes for every first-worlder, but how many of those do you think have access to transportation that can get them to Endbringer fights that aren’t hitting their hometown?

        • “Leviathan who can’t fly,” I’ve never seen a better example of someone using the element water to move.

      • ” Yes, just like disabled individuals the world over are all ok with their circumstances because they were born with their disabilities and they never knew any different. ”
        Yeah but not all disabled people aren’t okay with their circumstances. We never see one single person who reacts like, say:

  58. We see that Weld is a “Confirmed Cape”. What’s the chance that non-heroic capes get themselves Parahumans Online confirmed?

    Well, aside from Leet and Uber. They’re outliers.

    • All you’d need is to do or say something publicly in costume to confirm that that username is you and you’re set. I’m more curious how many of the usernames we see above are Tattletale spreading disinformation. . .

  59. Wildbow, one of the reasons i enjoy your writing style is because you sometimes mix things up by adopting new perspectives and types of expression of the story, such as this chapter or the earlier one from Brutus’ perspective. This chapter was really enjoyable.

    Also, one thing that I’ve been wondering about for a while was the mention of a high number of capes in third world countries. With new powers, it would be expected that many impoverished people in developing nations would use these powers to help them migrate to wealthier nations (likely with many henchmen from home), and a lot of the villains that groups like the Undersiders would come up against would be migrants from South America, The Caribbean, SE Asia (more people like Lung) and even Africa. Additionally, it would also be possible that these people were quite hostile and aggressive, as they didn’t share the same culture or mentality of restraint like Western capes who are largely ‘playing’ at hero or villain and have a secret identity to fall back upon.

  60. Great chapter, Wildbow. The interludes always help mix things up by providing a different perspective, and this one does it very well. I don’t think Worm would necessarily benefit from having any more like this one, just because the uniqueness would be lessened, but I think this is a case where a good idea was executed well and landed in the right spot. This is a great moment in the story to get some outside, non-cape perspective. Seeing how little info common people have to go on sometimes in the Wormverse is funny (and a bit frightening), seeing the conclusions they reach and the reasoning they employ is fun, and seeing Greg come back was a significant surprise.

    It’s cool to see how we have cape geeks, cape spouses, capes, regular forum-goers, and more all interacting, and the glimpses of the different threads were a very fun way to check in with the way things look to the rest of the world.

    The bits involving Garotte and Vista were heartbreaking, in different ways. It’s insane to think how distorted Vista’s experience has been and how young she is. Between her experience and her powers, I imagine she’s probably far more prepared to cope with extreme situations and problems than some Protectorate members; the surviving Brockton Bay heroes have certainly had a trial by fire.

    I might take issue with Greg connecting Skitter to Taylor, but I definitely buy him fixating on the idea once it occurs to him. He seems like the sort of person who might convince himself it’s true, even if the evidence he had wasn’t that great.


  61. Just wanted to let you know how much I am loving Worm, and this chapter in particular; thank you Wildbow! I originally started reading a few months ago but had to stop around arc 15 because Worm was interfering with my studies. I literally couldn’t force myself to stop reading in order to do my college work, and was in serious danger of failing some exams. Finished all my exams and coursework just before Christmas and jumped back in, and it’s as good as I remembered if not better. Thank you again for writing such an awesome piece of work and sharing it with us for free; as soon as I can afford it a donation will be heading your way. Not as much as I think your writing is worth, because that would bankrupt me, but something. Now I really should get to bed as I have work in the morning… but I’ve just spotted the title of the next interlude, so that’s not going to happen ^_^

  62. I love this chapter. It was awesome getting to see the world from the non-involved perspective. I also really liked getting to see what some people think of our various heroes and villains in universe. It was sweet seeing Skitter’s rated as five stars and “the big guns”! Poor Grue is getting shafted after his breakdown. I would’ve thought Imp would be doing a bit better but I guess her shtick really doesn’t lend itself well to quick and dirty unless you count murder which probably wouldn’t go over too well now that things are somewhat calmed down.

    I liked the speculation about how it definitely wasn’t evil counterparts. Very funny that the one thing they pretty much agree on is closest to being correct.

    Also it was funny as hell reading “If you’d told me the gawky bug girl was going to be one of the scariest motherfuckers in town, I wouldn’t have believed you.” I can only imagine the reactions people keep having to this fact. Like constant double takes about the fact that the minor powered bug girl is not only constantly on scene for major events but keeps. On. Winning.

    I find it interesting that Legend was the first to step down. The poor guy really did get hit with a massive breakdown huh.

    It’s FANTASTIC to see that Weld, Charlotte and Vista post! I loved Weld’s comment. It’s sweet that Char set up WagTheDog with Rachel! Good for both of them. Rachel can have another friend besides Taylor! And Vista lives! Yes! Good for Weld that he has his own group now! Hopefully it’s as badass awesome as he is!

    I totally missed that Garotte was GstringGirl though and until reading the tags I had the half-baked idea that Miss Mercury was Miss Militia. God poor Garotte really needs a hug…though I guess she’d probably end up accidentally killing the hugger…air hug?

    Oh sweet, Skitter saved White Fairy! Awesome! Too bad she wasn’t identified though…

    Greg? Wow it’s been a while since we’ve seen him. It’s interesting to note how stupid Greg comes off while being smart. Smart enough to figure out Taylor/Skitter but stupid enough to not only not realize that Bitch left his area a while ago but also have no clue that the girl he likes lost her mother. In Taylor’s shoes? I’d probably skip finishing school and do what Grue did with taking the rest of the courses online or something.

    • Whats sad,that is exactly how he is described in hiis first appearance….past the fluff:selectively smart about things that interest him,mostly dumb.

  63. Oh my god, the Undersiders have gone from “know where you are [and what danger you’re in]” to having star ratings. Like they’re hotels. That is the biggest fucking win.

  64. This was beautiful. I frequent some forums and this is spot on. I haven’t been commenting a lot as a read through this, but I really enjoyed this chapter, as well as the entire story.

  65. Loved the format of this chapter! Must be awesome hay capes join in on these forums. There should be an interdimentional internet for Aleph and B universes.

    Also, I don’t even remember who Greg is…

  66. Man, it’s been so long since the first chapter that I had to look up who Greg was in the Cast page.

  67. Skitter is a 5 star villain! I’m amazed there aren’t more triumphant exclamations in the comments.

    Skitter: a full five stars; would be conquered again.

  68. I realise I’m a little late but really, who Greg describes doesn’t sound like Taylor at all to me. At least, the personality side of it. When has he seen her since she became Skitter? Maybe it’s just the way she brushed him off left him feeling hurt, idk. Not following your reasoning.

  69. Are there any illustrations or something like that for the entire story? Or are they just not displaying in my web browser?

  70. How did he make the connection between Taylor and Skitter? Does not fit together at all.
    And White Fairy? I guess her dead boyfriend is the teacher of Taylor?

  71. If i think about it Glorygirl and Greg playing together but Greg thinks she is a middel-aged pervert ist Funny Jet Sad for Gred it would be a Dream to meet Glory Girl in Person, well if her Physical Condition were better ^^”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s