Glow-worm – P.2

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♦  Topic:  Info & Update
In:  Boards ► Teams ► Reach (Private)

Posted on August 18th, Y1:

PHO is back on and they are letting the chats run.  That’s where we usually meet, but I’ve been warned it’s choppy and slow.  I’ll be there.

This took me three hours to just get started with.  It’s hard.

It is with the heaviest of hearts that I inform you that Coiffure did pass.  When Gold Morning arrived, we suspected something might have happened, given the reports.  She was killed in one of the initial strikes on the East coast.  She was a friend, a teammate, and she was a true hero.  She elevated others around her to be better people by the standards she lived by.

Coiffure is survived by only her father.  Her mother was one of my favorite adults.  She was kind, she was cool, and she was a genuinely good mom to Coiffure.  When we went back to school in the fall, she gave us really cool back to school supplies.  It remains in my memory as one of the most randomly nice things a relative stranger has done for me.

You’ll also remember her siblings Arthur and Cal, though you might not remember their names.  When the family came by, Arthur would be the one curled up in the big chair near the front desk, with one of his game things.  Cal would be watching over his big brother’s shoulder.  I always thought it was hilarious how uninterested they were in capes.

We can expect they all died instantaneously.  I’ve talked to Coiffure’s father.  I would suggest that if you happen to run into him, leave him be.  He doesn’t want reminders.

Furcate decided to fight on that monumental day and that says so much when not everyone was brave enough to do that.  Furcate was wild and tortured and beautiful.  They were a handful and yet they rewarded us with ten positive things for every negative we had to overcome.  I’d like to think they got something out of putting up with us in much the same way.

I want what I say here to be honest.  I did not get along with Furcate the vast majority of the time.  Furcate did not get along with me.  I still respected them immensely.  They said one word for every thousand the rest of us said and yet they could convey so much in their actions.  I keep saying those things, using math like ‘ten times over’, but it’s so very Furcate.  They overflowed, they swelled.  The cup runneth over.  I look back and I’m dazed by how much of a place they found in my heart and my thoughts.

It might be crass to say, but I don’t know if anyone’s going to have words for them.  Scritch and Scratch were the closest thing we had to a nemesis.  They had their scummy moments.  They also kept to the rules.  They were killed during one of the lulls in the fighting, by a group I won’t name.

The fates of Tribute, Boundless, Capricorn and Steamwheel are yet unknown.  I hope you guys are okay.

I’m alive, obviously.  Figurehead is alive but you all should know his issues with being controlled.  The events really shook him.  He’s retired in large part, he’ll be doing something capey, but he’s said he isn’t coming on PHO.  He asked me to wish you all the best.

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[Old Message: A16 22:53] Moonsong has changed the chat topic: Welcome to Team Reach Private Chat.  List of Alive & Dead.
[Old Message: A16 23:20] Moonsong: Post made in the forum.  I only mentioned the team members.  See topic links for the staff members and others I know about.
[Old Message: A17 1:03] Moonsong:  I’ve edited the post to add Scritch and Scratch.
[Old Message: A17 4:15] Moonsong has left the chat.
[Old Message: A17 10:15] Moonsong has joined the chat.
[Old Message: A18 2:01] Moonsong has left the chat.
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[A18 11:04:20] Cap has joined the chat.
[A18 11:04:25] Cap: hey
[A18 11:06:43] Moonsong: Hi Tristan
[A18 11:06:55] Cap: haha. every time.
[A18 11:07:07] Cap: The universe has a dark sense of humor, it seems.
[A18 11:07:09] Moonsong: I’m glad you’re alive, Tristan
[A18 11:07:12] Moonsong: I suppose it does.
[A18 11:07:30] Cap: i’m glad you’re alive too
[A18 11:07:34] Cap: believe it or not
[A18 11:08:11] Moonsong: Were you there?
[A18 11:08:44] Cap: was dragged into it.  glad I was though.
[A18 11:09:01] Moonsong: *nods*
[A18 11:09:01] Moonsong: How is your brother?
[A18 11:09:16] Cap: doing well as can be expected
[A18 11:11:47] Moonsong: And your family? Your parents? I liked them when I saw them.
[A18 11:12:00] Cap: alive. we’re in the city. they’re trying to come to terms with things
[A18 11:12:35] Cap: things are really coming together like crazy. new skyscrapers every day, new stores. good and almost like a city in Earth Bet but it isn’t really home
[A18 11:15:08] Moonsong: It isn’t. We’re in the city too.
[A18 11:16:17] Cap: You and your folks?  they’reokay?
[A18 11:17:40] Moonsong: They’re good.  Dad is taking a shot at mayor or councilman.  We’ll see what happens.
[A18 11:17:59] Cap: good for him.  thriving?
[A18 11:22:55] Moonsong: nobody is thriving these days. but he’s in his element
[A18 11:23:24] Cap: some are thriving. we’re all playing nice. truce in full effect.  masterminds and chessmasters are having a ball out there. guarantee it
[A18 11:25:31] Moonsong: I suppose we’ll see.
[A18 11:28:40] Cap: I read your post, btw
[A18 11:28:42] Cap: good words
[A18 11:28:45] Cap: kudos
[A18 11:28:50] Moonsong: Thank you.
[A18 11:29:27] Cap: I’m surprised you’re here though
[A18 11:29:35] Cap: is Reach still a thing?
[A18 11:29:56] Moonsong: I consider the others friends and teammates.
[A18 11:30:11] Moonsong: I consider myself a member of Reach
[A18 11:30:33] Cap: I get that
[A18 11:30:35] Cap: doesn’t answer my question
[A18 11:30:40] Cap: will it carry on?  what happens?
[A18 11:43:50] Moonsong: It won’t. I don’t think so anyway. There’s a lot of hero teams out there and its hard for a sponsored team to get traction even without people feeling betrayed.
[A18 11:44:02] Cap: yeah
[A18 11:46:14] Moonsong: A lot of teams are gathering under the Wardens. PRT-like.  They’re walking a fine line between emulating PRT and being PRT. Lots of teams under the umbrella.  I’m not sure it’s working. I don’t know if I want to get on board with that.  I don’t know if the others would.
[A18 11:46:23] Cap: that’s fair
[A18 11:47:50] Moonsong: I will always be a member of Reach. Even if the team has dissolved.
[A18 11:48:42] Cap: I like that
[A18 11:48:53] Cap: since when were you so good with words?
[A18 11:50:37] Moonsong: Since when did you pay attention to anyone but yourself?
[A18 11:50:43] Cap:
[A18 11:51:12] Moonsong: ?
[A18 11:52:36] Cap: 45 minutes of something approaching civility has to be a record for us
[A18 11:52:57] Moonsong: I see.  Yes.  It could be.
[A18 11:53:06] Cap: I would have liked to keep that streak going
[A18 11:53:20] Cap: oh well
[A18 11:54:31] Moonsong: Are you well, Tristan?
[A18 11:55:21] Cap: I see we’re going straight to the barbs
[A18 11:56:32] Moonsong: No barbs.  I genuinely want to know.
[A18 11:57:14] Cap: how uncharacteristicaly nice of you
[A18 11:58:23] Moonsong: Do I need to worry about you?
[A18 11:58:45] Cap: no
[A18 11:58:56] Cap: you “helped” more than enough
[A18 12:00:19] Moonsong: I don’t know.
[A18 12:01:08] Cap: don’t you?
[A18 12:02:07] Moonsong: I’ve spent a lot of time hoping you died.
[A18 12:03:34] Cap: WOW
[A18 12:03:58] Cap: geez
[A18 12:04:06] Moonsong: *shrug*
[A18 12:05:27] Cap: geez. there is no humanity in there at all is there?
[A18 12:05:51] Cap: just takes the world to end beforeI get a glimpse of the real you
[A18 12:06:45] Moonsong:  Lets not pretend, Tristan.
[A18 12:07:01] Cap: pretend what?
[A18 12:07:42] Cap: you decided you hated me before you ever got to know me
[A18 12:08:37] Cap: you’re really your fathers daughter.  two-faced.  anyone reading between the lines can see what you really thought about furcate
[A18 12:10:39] Moonsong:  I meant what I wrote.
[A18 12:11:47] Cap: a thinly veiled outline of furcates many problems
[A18 12:11:56] Cap: you couldn’t resist saying you didn’t like them
[A18 12:11:23] Moonsong: Are you done?
[A18 12:12:13] Cap: you made furcate more miserable than anyone
[A18 12:12:26] Moonsong: Apparently not
[A18 12:12:29] Cap: you never once tried to understand them just like you never once tried to understand me
[A18 12:13:12] Cap: you had your notions of how everyone was supposed to behave
[A18 12:13:36] Cap: how everyone was supposed to be
[A18 12:13:45] Cap: you know what they call people who come to judgment about people before they have the facts?
[A18 12:14:19] Cap: the label applies, moonsong
[A18 12:14:29] Cap: you wedged yourself into a situation you didn’t understand and you made it so much worse
[A18 12:14:48] Cap: what guts me is you think you were right to do it.
[A18 12:16:39] Moonsong: I didn’t like furcate.  I did love and respect him as a teammate.
[A18 12:16:51] Moonsong: I damn well held him at the end.  For a long time.  I talked to him the entire time.
[A18 12:18:23] Moonsong: Motherfucker.
[A18 12:18:41] Moonsong: I’m crying now.
[A18 12:19:04] Moonsong: And no.  I don’t know if I was right, Tristan.
[A18 12:20:08] Cap: moonsong admitting she might be wrong?  Did the world end or something?
[A18 12:21:12] Moonsong: Go fuck yourself, Tristan.  That wound is too fresh.
[A18 12:22:13] Cap:
[A18 12:22:24] Cap: yeah
[A18 12:22:29] Cap: I’ll own up to that
[A18 12:23:43] Moonsong: You’re admitting you’re wrong?  What happened to you in these past few years?
[A18 12:23:50] Cap: not enough. not nearly enough.
[A18 12:24:48] Moonsong: Guess not. What a shame.
[A18 12:25:23] Cap: that wound is fresh in its own way
[A18 12:25:56] Cap: just so you know
[A18 12:26:54] Moonsong: Alright.
[A18 12:27:45] Cap: fuck
[A18 12:28:20] Cap: this is a mess.  we should keep our distance
[A18 12:29:17] Moonsong: Do I need to come after you?
[A18 12:30:38] Cap: no
[A18 12:30:57] Cap: fuck you. no
[A18 12:31:40] Cap: what the fuck was that about not thinking you were right?
[A18 12:31:48] Cap: don’t answer that.  do me a favor and shut up for a second.
[A18 12:32:00] Cap: ====——====——====——====——====
[A18 12:32:24] Cap: members of reach – don’t scroll up past this line
[A18 12:32:37] Cap: its just moonsong and i being shitty at each other
[A18 12:33:23] Cap: if you joined the team after I left you probably won’t get it
[A18 12:34:44] Cap: Furcate –azúcar- you were one of my favorite
[A18 12:35:17] Cap: those days were some of my best and some of my worst
[A18 12:36:11] Cap: you were some of the best parts of the best days
[A18 12:38:21] Cap: Coif– after everything that happened I thought I might not want to be a hero anymore
[A18 12:39:50] Cap: your example is the only reason I still want to
[A18 12:39:55] Cap: you were one of the good few
[A18 12:40:44] Cap: to the rest who aren’t here— be well
[A18 12:41:09] Cap:
[A18 12:41:41] Cap: I’m better at saying stuff in person.
[A18 12:42:12] Moonsong: I’ll let the others know you said it.
[A18 12:42:18] Cap: Thanks
[A18 12:45:06] Moonsong: Tristan.
[A18 12:46:48] Cap: yeah?
[A18 12:48:41] Moonsong: When I said I was wrong in how I handled things?
[A18 12:49:19] Moonsong: I wonder every day if I should have gone further and killed you.
[A18 12:51:40] Cap: lovely
[A18 12:51:48] Cap: you had to spoil it.
[A18 12:52:06] Cap has disconnected.

Connecting to “4’&{N8\<v%369ZAM”
Resolving Host Name
Using identity3A::u@T_Enki”
No Topic Set
X29V5n: you’re the latino kid?
3A::u@T_Enki: yeah.  how does this work?
X29V5n: You into memorabilia then?
3A::u@T_Enki: sure. memorabilia. I miss my old collection
X29V5n: The person who referred you should have explained most of it
3A::u@T_Enki: some
X29V5n: Let’s say you’re into commemorative plates.  Plate with a hero or a villian’s face on it.  You care a lot about the plate and its delivery
3A::u@T_Enki: sure
X29V5n: We ensure you get the result you want.
X29V5n: Insurance
3A::u@T_Enki: sounds like just what I need
X29V5n: We offer tiers.  Different tiers for various degrees of thoroughness.
3A::u@T_Enki: can you give me a quick rundown?
X29V5n: Most basic tier, you throw a few hundred our way, depending on who is involved, who we put forward and who you expect is going to need to hear it, words.  We talk, we let them know we’re serious about wanting X, Y & Z.  No hassle.  We throw our weight around a bit.  Yeah?
3A::u@T_Enki: yeah
X29V5n: Maybe you want to ensure that plate ends up in the most ideal condition.  A thousand or a few thousand covers a bit of roughing up.  Scratch on the face, scuffing, the sort of thing that can be fixed up.
3A::u@T_Enki: can we maybe not talk about commemorative plates? maybe action figures? plates make me think of my abuela
X29V5n: If you want more coverage for your action figures, depending if we’re talking b-lister or a-lister or something bigger, we might be talking upwards of five, ten thou for more severe damage.  Ruined leg, arm, the sort of damage to the face that would take an expert to restore.
3A::u@T_Enki: getting pretty steep
X29V5n: We’re talking cape shit.  It’s in high demand, limited supply.  Prices climb.
3A::u@T_Enki: just observing.  is there a higher tier?  what’s the highest tier?
X29V5n: Highest tier covers complete and total destruction.  Pulling out all the stops.  Starts at twenty thou, but I gotta warn you, the sky is the limit.
3A::u@T_Enki: that sounds good
X29V5n: Good.
3A::u@T_Enki: would you be willing to let me pay half upfront?  we’d keep you guys in reserve?  particulars get complicated
X29V5n: We work with complicated.  Yes.  That could be workable.
X29V5n: We will need to negotiate pricing.  Did they tell you how to send the image of the product?
3A::u@T_Enki: u5zxN8wEXAKpbBeqzvzy.i
X29V5n: Perfect.
X29V5n: No wait.
X29V5n: You got the instructions very wrong, kid.
3A::u@T_Enki: it’s fine
X29V5n: You’re sure?  There’s something deeply wrong with this.
3A::u@T_Enki: why don’t we meet for the rest?  I’ll send you the first half now
3A::u@T_Enki: there
X29V5n: Alright.  Let’s talk meeting places.

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[A18 22:08:16] Cap has joined the chat.
[A18 22:08:31] Cap: hey
[A18 22:09:43] Tribute: Fuck me
[A18 22:10:51] Moonsong: It’s fine. Don’t stress.
[A18 22:11:22] Cap: hi moo – wish I knew how you did that
[A18 22:12:45] Moonsong: Hi boo.  How are you doing?
[A18 22:13:18] Cap: doing okay.  just had a very surreal experience talking to a certain kind of professional.
[A18 22:14:20] Moonsong: That’s good to hear, I think.
[A18 22:14:33] Tribute: ?
[A18 22:15:21] Moonsong: Best not to talk about it, though.
[A18 22:16:30] Cap: yeah
[A18 22:17:55] Moonsong: I’ve missed you terribly, boo.  We should catch up.
[A18 22:18:18] Cap: I want to
[A18 22:18:30] Cap: I don’t know if we should
[A18 22:19:34] Moonsong: *nods*
[A18 22:19:51] Cap: I just wanted to say hi
[A18 22:20:00] Cap: maybe bye
[A18 22:20:09] Cap: ask you not to come after me or anything
[A18 22:21:58] Moonsong: *nods*
[A18 22:23:10] Moonsong: So long as the professional you hired has it covered.
[A18 22:23:50] Cap: yeah.  covered

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184 thoughts on “Glow-worm – P.2

    • We learned that Capricorn hired an assassin to take out Moonsong because the two of them have bad blood, possibly for revenge or to cover up past wrongdoings. Also, given that the post is still in Y1, we’re probably looking at a timescale on the matter of a couple years than a couple decades, although that’s still up in the air. There’s also an explanation in here about why things are up and running so soon – resettling is apparently taking place somewhere notable enough that they just call it “the city” throughout the chapter, which is probably why there’s internet at all at this stage. They don’t have to wire up a whole country, just the locale that everyone seems to be in.

      Was Reach a hero or villain team? They weren’t in Worm, as far as I know, so we only have this to go on. Even then, this chapter is hardly “nothing”.

        • Not really, Moonsong seems to be aware of the professionals in a way that makes it unlikely that they would make it seem odd to me that they would be okay if it were assassins sent after them.

          • Personally, I am thinking Capricorn is split personality – or even split person, somehow (like, body&personality swap with alternate self being tied to powers). Guessing the professional was hired to take out the personality that doesn’t mesh with Moon and the remainder of Reach.

            • If these professionals even slightly experienced bounty hunters, they would have done some pretty messed up stuff in the past. To actually question the target, think that it was a mistake, it would probably be a child, himself, someone he is known to have associated with positively, someone important, etc. but it wouldn’t be easy. I think those types of people I just listed would still be the types they are used to doing hits on.

              Cap implies that he doesn’t want the target killed though, although that could be deliberate ambiguity. Still, as you say Moonsong implies familiarity with the professionals, and she implies that at least in the capacity that she expects the professionals make it so she doesn’t have to go after him. Either it is as you say, and there is a split personality, or what I think is more likely, it is a hit in the case that Moonsong kills him. Maybe vice versa as well.

              Capricorn says “we’d keep you guys in reserve? particulars get complicated” Suggesting that is is probably a conditional hit. They aren’t going to be his bodyguard, or maybe he wants to use them as a deadman’s switch. Something like that.

              It might be a suicide thing.

              • Yeah, the “You got the instructions wrong” bit makes me think it’s suicide.

              • I thought it was obvious that Moonsong assumed the professionals Capricorn meant were mental health professionals.

        • Wasn’t there a post in the Glow Worm P.1 that mentioned it’s been 2 years and two months since Golden Morning? That post was also made August 17th Y1. That would make these chapters take place in August of 2015.

          The only meaning for Y1 that comes to mind is that it’s the first year since PHO has re-opened.

              • But nobody actually uses 0 as a date. What’s the 0th day of the week, month, or year? 0th second, minute, hour?

                Some science types might begin a series with 0, but no typical population will. Day one, week one, year one. One is the number you start with for counting things that most people want to organize.

      • Moon talks about Scritch and Scratch as their nemeses, and it’s implied they were villainous. Plus, it’s said that some of its members are gathering under the Wardens, I doubt more than one member of a criminal group would do that.

      • “The city” is probably the New Yorks. All the portals make it a convenient hub for anyone in most of the major worlds hit by Golden Morning.

      • Pretty sure Tristan is the civilian name of Triumph, the hero Skitter almost killed back in Brockton Bay. Skitter and Trickster was having a meetup with the BB mayor, who turned out to be Triumph’s father, and we see Cap here saying his dad is preparing to run for mayor or councilman in the new city. Also, Triumph had this girlfriend Prism or somewho, who I suppose is Moonsong.

  1. They had a falling out in the past, and failed to reconcilie in the now so now Capricorn orders a hit on Moonsong? Oy vey.

    (Also, until the words “corporate team” showed up I was half convinced this was some sort of deferred metaphor on the Undersiders)

    • The reason my instincts say it’s not a hit on Moon is that Cap goes back into the chat and says (he?) was talking to a “certain kind” of professional. Doesn’t seem like you’d risk tipping your hand like that.

      • Speculations intensify!

        Mebbe Moonsong thought it was a therapist? Also the odd way they go to pet names on A18… Hmmm.

          • Yeah, I agree. Seems like they’ve created a fictional falling out and created a record folk can find or they can leak where they don’t like each other and given a bunch of info on the location of people, hired some cape hitmen (hitcapes?) to take someone out, but then they’re back making with the pet names …

            And they are just “using the identity of” those folk … nothing to say Cap or Moony are actually who they say they are.

            Hmmm, a puzzle …

            • I feel like this hypothesis is the most interesting and the most likely. I feel like a lot of people are ignoring the last chat group between Cap and Moonsong and I doubt Wildbow would just through that in for no reason at all

              • My god, I’d forgotten what an intellectual work-out reading Wildbow can be. I’ve missed this so much. 🙂

    • >deferred metaphor on the Undersiders

      I saw the name Moonsong and immediately thought “is this some sort of metaphor for the Endbringers?”


      (also that obviously explains why the darkweb hitman was so distressed … )

      • Me too. The darkweb hitman did agree to a meeting in person, though, which I think he wouldn’t have done if it had been a hit on (or from) The Simurgh. No matter how well she pays. You can’t spend the money if you’ve been driven to madness and cursed to destroy everything.

  2. Wow…so much and so little at the same time. Is the “memorabilia” some kind of euphemism? Mercenaries, maybe? It definitely felt like we were missing a big chunk of what they were discussing.

    • I believe that that was just to get them both on the same page on what euphemism they’d be using for the chat. Plausible deniability and whatnot. The hero/villain plate/action figure discussed is the target of the hit. Talking about buying a hero action figure is a lot less illegal than talking about murdering the hero.

    • The memorabilia is just a euphemism and metaphor. The more you pay them, the better results, just like the more you pay for cape memorabilia insurance, the more likely you’ll be covered if really high-end action figures of an A-lister gets broken. If you reread, it talks about the lowest tier being basic roughing-up. Next up is wounding, with something permanent unless the cape has enough money. After that is killing.

  3. Something really bad went down between those two, and apparently Capricorn is now putting a hit out on themselves? That conversation had to be some kind of veiled transaction for a hit.

    • Both on a hero team. Cap’s family or something got screwed over by Moonsong’s. From the sound of it, it is a situation like Triumph with Moonsong’s Father getting into a political position, probably making hell for Cap (indirectly or directly, policy making maybe). Saying that he quit the team first probably means there was a scandal maybe going back to capes being outed (either he was a cauldron cape or didn’t like cauldron capes). Could also possibly mean that he betrayed the team, hence Moon wants him dead. I really doubt he put a hit on himself.

      Honestly it sounds a lot more like he’s sending trouble for someone else. Maybe someone that wished him dead. He’s got money to spare and I’d guess he has a Tinker/Thinker power based on his name (or he’s a goat-boy).

      Also @Wildbow the story contradicts itself. I’m not sure if it was just Moonsong changing her mind but it goes from
      [A18 11:07:09] Moonsong: I’m glad you’re alive, Tristan
      [A18 12:02:07] Moonsong: I’ve spent a lot of time hoping you died.
      [A18 12:49:19] Moonsong: I wonder every day if I should have gone further and killed you.

      It seems like she’s supposed to be a hero but she’s giving a ShadowStalker vibe.

      • I don’t think that is necessarily contradictory. In the end she is glad that he is alive, while she admits that in the past she had wanted him dead. There’s also a reason for her to think that it might be better if he was dead. She might also just be unsure of how to feel about him. Hating him a lot but still valuing life in general, and weighing those things against each other.

  4. Another Awesome chapter! Moonsong and Cap hate each other, but are working together on something Tribute cannot know about? Something that is shocking to even Darknet Mercenaries? Can’t wait to see what it is!

  5. Intriguing! Can’t wait to learn the background behind these characters, seems like a lot of unspoken beef between cap and moon. Also, fur is refered to as “they” but implied to be a singular entity, maybe some kind of hive mind or collection of consciousnesses a la butcher?

  6. Yikes … some really scary stuff going down in this chat! Having a hard time coming up with theories that fit everything; though I’m guessing from the characters’ tones that death or something of a similar severity was involved even before Golden Morning. The hate of Capricorn combined with other hints .. might Capricorn be a master, who’s the reason Figurehead is traumatized about being controlled?

    There’s already a post-GM Dark Web …. well, what do you expect with capes reconstructing the internet, I guess.

    Excited to learn more!!

      • I agree that makes sense, but I also think it’s possible that the reason Figurehead was traumatized by Khepri is because they were controlled by a Master in the past.

        That said, it was mentioned during Speck that Masters themselves had the hardest time dealing with being controlled by Khepri, so it’s totally possible that Figurehead is the Master.

        The level of animosity on display implies abuse of Master powers to me. Like, I could imagine one of Regent’s victims telling him they want him dead, since after controlling them even once he poses a nightmarish threat to them thereafter.

  7. I’m thinking Capricorn might have ordered a hit on himself? Or on whatever was related to the mistake he made. What we do know is that Point@ won’t be the protagonist of the story, if viewpoint is changing from chapter to chapter over the prelude.

  8. Did Cap just try to put a hit on himself?

    Assuming this is the same team Glizglam and Point Me @ The Sky are/were a part of, then that reunion they were talking about is deeeeeeeeeeefinitely going to be a shit show.

    • It is a little hard to get on the first run through. If you reread the exchange with the professional and ignore the memorabilia stuff, you see the tiers are about beating up a cape, maiming a cape, or killing a cape. The pro also mentions they’re in high demand.

    • Geez, haven’t you ever ordered a hit on someone? Capricorn is hiring a professional cape killer to kill someone. The cape killer is confused about his choice of target, but happy to take his money.

      Then he goes back to Reach team chat to gloat a bit about how the “professional” he just talked to has him “covered”, because he’s a cape himself and can’t resist an opportunity to be dramatic.

  9. [Old Message: A17 20:10] Moonsong has left the chat.
    [Old Message: A17 1:10] Moonsong has left the chat

    Did you miss a “Moonsong has joined the chat.”?

    • This is the first time I have the chance to follow a bow novel in real time, so I’m pretty hyped for it. I suspect the reading experience is going to be completely different.

      Also has Reach been mentioned before in Worm?

  10. Hmm … given the name, I suspect Furcate’s choice of pronouns has nothing to do with gender. Some sort of permanent self-duplication power? Or two people (possibly twins) whose power fused them into one? A case-53, perhaps?

  11. Ruined (digital) infrastructure, inter-cape conflict, nefarious skullduggery, and nothing resembling an answer in sight. Worm’s back, baby.

  12. Interesting, it seems that Moonsong has some sort of Thinker power, given Capricorn’s comments regarding her control issues and her propensity for using people’s real names in private. Textbook Thinker posturing, though possibly with a Master/Stranger component, if the contractor’s reaction to her picture is anything to go by. Capricorn brushes off his qualms, so this was expected on his part. A visual medium triggering a response is strange for someone with an auditory-themed name, but perhaps that’s misdirection. The moon is closely associated with the trickster (not that one) archetype in mythology, which would track with Capricorn’s condemnations regarding her character.

    Reading further between the lines, it seems she’s responsible for him leaving Reach and regrets that she extended even that much mercy, though Capricorn might not be entirely blameless, if Tribute’s reaction to his appearance in chat is anything to go by. Longstanding issues between the two flare up, he hires a hitman, putting them on retainer as insurance in case Moonsong makes good on her threats, then signs back into the Reach chat to let her know the score. Moonsong (seemingly) accepts this, telling Capricorn he’s safe from her as long as the “professional you hired has it covered.” The nice thing about interacting with Thinkers is that you don’t have to be explicit, it’s enough to give a hint and let them infer the rest, though poor Tribute is clueless as to the subtext.

    All in all, I really liked this. It’s a nice bit of self-contained intrigue that can be reopened if the situation isn’t as neatly resolved as it seems at first glance. The conversations feel real and lend a sense of history to all the participants, despite the reader not being privy to any of it. A lot can be inferred from very little, and it’s enjoyable to do so.

    Also, it’s good to be back.

    • I have a different take on it below, though the second exchange is befuddling to me. Capricorn also might be a Thinker. The sign’s associated with knowledge and Wisdom, and with a Sumerian god of intelligence named Enki (also a god of mischief). Both are heavily associated with water as well, which isn’t making it easier to pin them down.

      While we’re on the subject, there are possibly some more astrological things associated with all this. Capricorn is obvious, but Furcate fits for Gemini as well. Not sure how Moonsong would fit with this, aside from the moon being an important modifier in astrology. Coiffure MIGHT be Saturn, which supposedly has a relationship with Capricorn, too. That said, this is astrology we’re talking about. I don’t put much stock in consistency of symbolism there.

      • I like the astrology link, and I’d say it’s more solid because there are seven members that can match with the seven astrological “planets”:
        Figurehead = sun
        Moonsong = moon
        Furcate = Mercury
        Tribute = Mars
        Coiffure = Venus
        Capricorn = Saturn
        Boundless = Jupiter

        I’m kind of convinced that Moonsong’s original message is something of a coded puzzle. Parts of it just seem unusual to me. My guess is it’s either an expression of a master power that compels Capricorn to hire a hit on himself, or it’s a code he’s fully aware of communicating that a hit should be taken on some other cape.

      • This will probably make me look stupid, but what are you guys talking about? I cannot find a working link in there… And if I copy/paste “u5zxn8wexakpbbeqzvzy.i” into google, I get no results but this page and the according banner. That one DOES show a city, might even be Brockton Bay, but… It does not look like that now. Not after Gold Morning. So if he’s trying to hire assassins for a hit on an entire city (which WOULD explain “professional’s” moral qualms), he’s a couple of years too late.
        Am I missing something? I am probably missing something…

  13. I live the PHO chapters. They always leave me confused and scrounging for answers, but boy are they enjoyable

  14. I’m guessing we’re supposed to be a bit confuzzled here, but there is some stuff to pick out.

    For instance, someone killed Scritch and Scratch during a lull in the fighting of the Golden Morning. Some group Moonsong won’t name. It’s not like the Slaughterhouse 9 were there, nor where there many groups motivated to turn on each other when dealing with the man of the hour himself.

    While it seems Capricorn was ordering a hit, I don’t think it was on himself. “3A::u@T_Enki: would you be willing to let me pay half upfront? we’d keep you guys in reserve? particulars get complicated
    X29V5n: We work with complicated. Yes. That could be workable.”

    Whatever it is, Capricorn’s working with at least one other person. The cleaners he’s discussing it with seem hesitant to deal with the product in question, which could mean a couple of things. It COULD be someone who is really famous and beloved, like Miss Militia or Chevalier. Alternatively, it could be someone really young. Either way, it’s someone who is enough of a threat that multiple capes may be needed to kill them.

    The really funny thing to me is the cleaner talking about how dealing with capes is in high demand. This group is seeing a lot of offers to attack, maim, or murder capes.

    There’s a lot to unpack as far as the relationship there, too. It seems like Capricorn and Furcate were a thing. Furcate is a verb for forking off. I think Furcate and Cap did some forking. It seems Moonsong disapproved of the man-on-man-on-man action. But apparently they got into it at some point when Moonsong thinks she should have gone further and killed Cap.

    The really weird thing is when Cap comes back into chat and she calls him boo. They are way too friendly like that. She even says she misses him and wishes they could catch up. That two-faced line from earlier comes to mind. There’s just some really weird stuff there that doesn’t mesh, and I wonder if it has anything to do with the chat’s archives not working.

    Also, I feel many people may have missed something significant about the first chat between Moonsong and Capricorn. It lasted from 11:04 AM to 12:52 PM.


    • Given that the cape’s called Moonsong, it’s also worth noting that the second conversation happened at around ten- late at night, when the moon is out.

      Other things worth noting:

      The timestamps in the third chat are much more spread out then the one in the first chat, and about match up with what you would expect from an overloaded zombie server. The ones in the first chat are too close together for a normal server, let alone a slow one.

      Moonsong calls Cap “Tristan” in the first chat, but “boo” in the second chat, suggesting that they’re separate people. Probably a master power at work.

      The “hi boo, hi moo” set of greetings seems designed to help identify who’s really posting, and the exchange where Moonsong indicates she knows who’s posting before the exchange goes down suggests some kind of Thinker power. But “boo” doesn’t know about it, so it can’t be her main power. Tinker tech? Weird power?

      Moonsong’s eulogy of Furcate, when you trim off the nice bits, is actually pretty critical. It says that they were unstable, recalcitrant, and difficult to handle. The “one word for every thousand” bit in particular suggests a power that messes with the brain.

    • “It’s not like the Slaughterhouse 9 were there, nor where there many groups motivated to turn on each other when dealing with the man of the hour himself.”

      Don’t forget, the fight against Scion was a protracted, multi-day thing. In between the big, on-screen fights, we saw cases of in-fighting, as groups like the Yangban or Teacher’s students tried to cut and run. Once the first attempts at coordinated strikes got annihilated, it seems like unity broke down, potentially leading to the deaths of Scritch and Scratch.

  15. Typos! I’ll continue mostly ignoring those that were “made by PHO users”.

    “Welcome to the Parahumans Online message boards.”—not bold; it was in the previous chapter
    “You are currently logged in, Capricorn”—”Capricorn” is bold; the username wasn’t in the previous chapter
    “• Threads in your curated list. Edit that list Here.”—period underlined
    “Using identity “[ID]””—first quotation mark is not bold in all three instances
    “Welcome to Team Reach Private Chat. Forum thread.”—period underlined
    “[A18 11:09:01] Moonsong: *nods* / [A18 11:09:01] Moonsong: How is your brother?”—same timestamp on both messages: a side effect of the poor internet connections?
    “[A18 11:30:33] Cap: I get that / [A18 11:30:35] Cap: doesn’t answer my question”—getting more nitpicky: that’s more than 2 seconds’ worth of typing, connection quality aside
    “[A18 12:11:56] Cap: you couldn’t resist saying you didn’t like them / [A18 12:11:23] Moonsong: Are you done?”—Time travel!
    “[A18 12:34:44] Cap: Furcate –azúcar- you were one of my favorite”—dashes are inconsistent with each other
    “3A::u@T_Enki: yeah. how does this work?”, etc.—none of the colons are bold in this conversation, while Capricorn’s are in the others

    The chat timestamps feel like they’re creating unnecessary clutter, not necessarily just because they’re there, but because they’re the same font and style as the message texts. They might look better if they were a different color or italicized.

    Cheers! =]

  16. He’s the greatest and best superhero in the world…Tribute.

    A long time ago, me and my friend Moai, we were hitchhiking down a long and lonesome road. All of a sudden, there shined a shiny demon in the middle of the road…

    • AND HE SAID: “Beeeee the best cape in the world! Or I’ll eat your soul.” Moai and I looked at each other and we each said “ok”. And we did the first thing that came to our heads… and it just so happened to be the best deed in the world! It was the best deed in world!

      • Look into my eyes, and it’s easy to see
        I was mind-raped by a protectorate bee
        Teleporting me
        Once with a hundred thousand capes or so,
        Scion lost his mind and it came to blows
        And a Dragon rose

  17. Time for some crazy guessing from Gecko. Hey, I was surprisingly accurate last time around. Gotta take a risk, make a falsifiable prediction. Cleave to the sacred obscenities, dance between the raindrops:

    Figurehead: one of Regent’s siblings who was a hero.

    The Hit: a beloved cape like Chevalier or Miss Militia is going to be killed. Bonus points if performed to the song “Think” by Kaleida. Gecko Points can be redeemed at the nearest Riccan embassy.

    The Hitters: Not superhuman. Possibly remnants of Saint’s people, but unlikely.

    Capricorn: Has Thinker powers.

    Scritch and Scratch: Cauldron capes killed by Case 53s is the limb I’m sliding out on, though I have other suspicions as to the group that went Itchy and Scratchy on them. Likely furry-themed capes, hence why uptight Moonsong dislikes them.

    Moonsong: WHAT ARE YOU?! …going to reverse course on something I said earlier. Decided to try some different thinking here. Moonsong: not homophobic. Pagan. Didn’t like that Furcate and Capricorn were both Christian and gay. “Ten times over” possibly a reference to rule of three, but with it being ten instead.

    Tribute: Volunteers a lot in place of other people. Tries to sound a lot like other heroes.

    • Moonsong may have her personality affected by phases of the moon too, a little like Lycanthropy. Her powers may even be tied in to those phases.

      Other ideas speed through my skull like a rapid Hamlet Soliloquy…

      • To quote “Girls, Girls, Girls”, “It’s all to do with reproductive organs
        Which are naturally unstable in a dame
        You see from “lunar”, we have lunacy and lunatic and loony
        And they’re always ovulating by the cycle of the moony”.

        Good song. Funny, though likely to be misinterpreted by people.

        And as others have pointed out, Capricorn’s got a dual thing going on. Part Ram, part fish. Part earth, part water. Then we got Furcate, which is all about forking off into to paths. Then Cap and Moonsong (the two-faced one) are acting different toward each other.

        So what I’m trying to say here is… this is all obviously a plot by the Illuminati to mind control Worm readers.

  18. I’m so horribly confused.

    I hope these transition chapters aren’t at the start of the real story, because I’d expect new readers to be put off by this as a second chapter. That said, if the Parahumans 2 readers are mostly Worm readers then I guess we’re used to opaque mystery.

    And it’s good we have something to theorize about. Cap is going to hire someone to murder him to make someone else look like they did it, maybe? When I saw the name Capricorn I instantly thought Scapegoat, but that doesn’t fit with a completely new hero(?) team. They hate each other

    Pretty odd, I know in the future we’ll look back and be like “ohhhhh this is what that chapter foreshadowed”, but right now I’m very lost.

    • How did that joke go? “Wildbow drinking game: reread through any Wildbow novel, and take a shot every time you see some future twist foreshadowed. Only don’t play this game. Because you would die.”

  19. This was really interesting to read; there was a lot of subtext that I didn’t quite understand the first read through but the comments make it seem pretty interesting.
    I hope we stick with the team members for a while or at least see some flashbacks about them.

  20. I look forward to re-reading this a few months hence and understanding just what exactly is going on, but for now I’m going to ignore the question of who the hit is on, and why moo hated cap so much back when they were teammates, and instead offer up my wild speculation as to why moo wanted to kill cap when he left: Capricorn went Rogue after leaving the Reach, and Moonsong belongs tp the group of people who see Rogues as villains.
    My evidence? First, Moonsong refuses to name the group that killed their nemeses, which would fit with the idea of avoiding vigilante retribution. Second, Moonshine repeatedly references people living up to standards as a good thing, even praising the nemeses for following the rules. Finally, Moonshine’s family has political ties and/or aspirations.

  21. Really enjoyed this, I liked the mixing of chatlogs in with forum threads for a change of pace. I was wondering if the elicit service being talked around was healing with the highest tier being creating facsimiles of people you’d lost (or even some form of resurrection), but now I read the comments I agree that it being basically-the-opposite-of-that makes more sense.

    Worm’s only 20ish votes away from being back at number 1 on – give it a hand 😀

  22. uh, iwas confused about the “memorabilia” thing until i read the comments, damn.
    Scritch and Scratch sound like part of the elite, specifically those that got killed by the undersiders when they started using the endbringers.

  23. Awesome chapter and I can’t wait for more. I like the chat log style posts, though hopefully it takes a more standard style soon.

  24. Puzzling! Some serious emotions being passed around here, but I’ll be persnikered if I can figure out what’s going on, other than “cape memorabilia” is almost certainly a euphemism.

    • Worm finally kicked star child off the top spot on I guess Twig had a much smaller readership base.

  25. Definitely leaning towards Moonsong mastering Capricorn somehow into putting out a hit on himself, or at least starting the process- with the threat of its completion as the reason Capricorn wants no further contact. Moo and Boo could be signal words. Would explain the half upfront thing and keeping people in reserve aspect.
    On the other hand, Tribute’s line does indicate that there is a division in the group (Tribute and Moonsong versus Capricorn and Furcate)- so no cut and dry people we like and people we don’t.

    • So did I. I actually thought they had someone whose power lets them recreate destroyed objects, with effort. Of course, that does seem a bit cheap for a collector’s item, when that sort of power might be useful for rebuilding the internet archives. Eh, not ruling it out – the power may not work on computer files, but would on books, paintings, and action figures.
      If it’s a mercenary thing, though, it might be for bodyguarding duty. Or at least that’s what they’re being hired for, even if they hadn’t intended to.
      …Hey, the mercenaries might be Teacher’s group. Huh.

  26. It just gets more mysterious…

    I know these are most likely all new characters, but I just try anyway to match them to the characters we know.

    Otherwise, very interesting, especially the last part. It feels a bit cheap, as it’s all about sounding ominous without actually giving a lot of information to the reader, but I’m hooked nonethless.

    I doubt that Cap ordered a hit on Moonsong, their last interaction would make little sense then. But I also doubt he ordered a hit on himself, that would make a lot more sense of how the dialogue is worded, but still something feels off to me…

  27. Well that’s ominous. Let’s see if both Capricorn and Moonsong make it into the actual story alive.

    Or this whole thing is going to end up with them fucking, and that’s where our new protag comes from, with built in parental issues.

  28. For some reason the silly double-speak of “delivering commemorative plates” as a euphemism for threatening, roughing up, or killing someone had me laughing like an loon.

    • “What is it?”

      “It’s Hat-Man’s bulletproof cape.”

      “What’s that it’s wrapped around?”

      “A commemorative plate with some dried ketchup on it.”

      “What does it mean?”

      “It means Hat-Man sleeps with the dishes.”

  29. So, this might just be me, but I think this is the Vegas PRT team talking here.

    Capricorn = Satyrical (Ram’s head, Ram mask)
    Moonsong = Nix (Nyx is the goddess of the moon)
    Coiffure = Floret (She had ‘carefully layered bright pink hair with green roots’)
    Furcate = Pretender (He’s literally a man in a woman’s body, them is the appropriate gender term)

    I’m less sure about these ones:

    Steamwheel = Blowout (WW1 era tank, team tank)
    Tribute = Leonid (Roman theme)
    Boundless = Spur (precog ie not bound by time)
    Figurehead = Ravine (?)

    • Interesting theory, but I don’t think it adds up. The personalities don’t match (especially if Cap is Satyr) at all. There’d be no reason to eulogize, given what we know about how they operated. Also, they’re operating in a private venue, why would they continue the charade and talk about parents and all that?

      Plus, Satyr said it himself that he’s well liked by just about everyone, he wouldn’t have been able to lead his team to a textbook suicide mission (that became a literal one when they tried to self destruct fighting Taylor and crew) if any of them hated him enough to want him dead.

      Also, he’s got ties to Teacher. He wouldn’t need to contract out a hitman so covertly like that.

    • If we’re looking at the Vegas PRT team, then I’d say Pretender is either Figurehead (if he survived Alexandria’s “death”) or Coiffure. Furcate’s name doesn’t fit; the parallel with Figurehead is pretty straightforward and works on a couple of levels, while “coiffure” means hairstyle.

    • I was thinking along these lines as well.
      But the timelines don’t match regarding Floret… It says that Coiffure died in the initial attack, when Scion shattered Great Britan and the north american east coast in a matter of minutes.
      Floret was definitely alive after that, she was present during the infiltration of cauldron’s base… In fact, I don’t think the Vegas-Capes lost anyone in those initial attacks…

      • You’re right; Nyx was the primordial goddess of the night. Basically, she is the night but she wasn’t really personified much. Selene, Hekate/Hecate, and Artemis can all lay claim to being the moon goddess depending on the era and location. What’s also kind of interesting but probably irrelevant is that Hecate was depicted in triple form as goddess of the crossroads.

        • Greek myths were translated in oral form, so it’s hard to really know who is who. There are a lot of different versions out there, so I guess it doesn’t really matter.

  30. Lots of mystery already set up in the first two chapters … Wow, I am so excited for this. I’ve never been able to follow chapters as they’ve been posted before, much less from the very beginning! Can’t wait to see what comes next, and what we’ll next be speculating on, haha.

  31. Hi Wildbow! Long time fan. Discovered Worm mid 2014, since then I’ve read it four times. It’s been a huge influence on the way I look at storytelling. I started my fourth read of Worm a few months ago and, lucky timing, finished it last night. Just in time to read P.1! I’m absolutely stoked to see more Worm.

    Anyway, I’m really digging these PHO pre-story bits. I thought it was a very interesting way to set a stage more indirectly in Worm, and I felt it was a little underutilized as a storytelling mechanic. I’m digging the chattery style of this chapter, it feels a lot like how an actual IRC session goes.

    Anyway, I refrained from leaving any comments on Worm. It felt weird to do it so late to the party, but I’m psyched to read the sequel live and comment on it! I’m excited to see what happens!

  32. That last section seems really creepy if that was a hitman Cap contacted. Moonsong and Capricorn end their conversation on a bad note and suddenly they’re acting like nothing happened after the deal was made. What is going on?

  33. I can’t believe an online chat between two characters I never knew could feel so emotional. I’m wondering if that conversation between Enki and X29 was about buying biomodifications from bonesaw.

  34. This was really hard to read. Lotta venom between those two – and it sounds like Cap’s on the losing side of the office drama.

    The memorial letter felt really right. Well written.

  35. I’m gonna leave the speculation up to you smart folks, except for one thing- Scritch and Scratch were totally just like Uber and Leet. They were bastards who didn’t do too much wrong, but were just kind of annoying. They were too annoying for someone- maybe the Yang Ban, or maybe Capricorn hired the hitman to kill them. Who knows. I do think that Capricorn is a terrible person though. Look at his internet grammar.

        • WAIT: Guys, I have the best fan theory ever. Accord was a neat freak before he triggered, right? Well, one day he accidentally got really drunk- like, blackout drunk. He woke up next to this woman, and, as he realized the dirtiness of what he just did, he triggered. Running away, he decided to leave his boring office job behind and become… Accord. But what he didn’t realize was that the woman was pregnant. She gave the baby up for adoption, but Accord’s shard had already budded into him. He triggered during a particularly tense internet argument, and realized his birth right. Unfortunately, his power merely extends to instinctively knowing how to fix other people’s grammar. These days, he runs a secretive hacking service that edits other people’s posts to make them have better grammar. Unfortunately, the Simurgh got to him, and when he edits people’s posts, it spreads a memetic image that drives them crazy with prolonged exposure. Also, Grammar Nazi’s not actually racist.

          • You ever read “I Hate Dragons” by Brandon Sanderson? It’s a short story about a boy with two magic talents. The second is that he can hear how people are spelling words while they’re talking, and instinctively knows the correct spelling. Nobody really cares about that one, though, because his first talent is that he smells absolutely, irresistibly delicious to dragons.

            • Yep. The first draft was considerably funnier (and considerably better written) than the second. But both were interesting.

  36. I found Worm soon after it was finished, now I get to suffer the wait between chapters with the rest of you lot. Looking forward to it.

  37. just a minor weird thing:
    “X29V5n: We will need to negotiate pricing.”
    and right after:
    “3A::u@T_Enki: why don’t we meet for the rest? I’ll send you the first half now
    3A::u@T_Enki: there”
    so either wildbow made a very minor mistake or the picture insinuated the service cap asked for has a known price that is obvious for both of them just from that picture.
    can i get an “it is as it should be” from the ‘bow before i go wild-guessing?

    also, i’ve been looking forward to this so much. i didn’t get an email even though i signed up for it, i got here thanks to we’ve got worm.

  38. Now, a lot of people have theorized on what’s up with Moonsong’s two very different reactions to Capricorn.
    [A18 11:06:43] Moonsong: Hi Tristan
    [A18 11:06:55] Cap: haha. every time.

    Here’s my two cents. He laughs like she’s caught him at something, but it should be clear that he’s Capricorn, because that’s his username, and from there she clearly knows his civilian identity. Which leaves two possibilities. 1) He has dissociative identity disorder or something else related to multiple personality disorder. Or 2) *it’s not actually Capricorn*, it’s some other cape, probably a Stranger. Moonsong, a Thinker, recognizes him and calls him out on it. She tips off the real Capricorn, who sets up assassins in case Tristan tries to impersonate him (“It’s complicated”), making him “covered” but confusing the mercenary he’s dealing with, to whom it looks like a suicide.

    Or, as others have speculated, the whole first thread is faked, a sort of ‘paper’ trail to convince the assassins the job is legit in preparation for ambushing them.

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