Glow-worm – P.4

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♦  Topic: [JRPNA] Use of Cluster Powers, Serial Powers, Matched Powers, and Nth-generation Powers to identify ‘Hinge Points’ in Power Expression – 1998
In:  Boards ► Parahuman Science
(PRT Science)
Posted on : June 4th, 2002

[Article] Studies into Parahuman abilities presently catalogue studied powers into three major databases: the PRT database in the US, the Cambridge Parahuman Studies facility, and the EUJP International Listing.  The lists are formed by way of interview and laboratory studies with each institution using universally standardized forms in addition to supplementary material.  Each of these three institutions have stated an express or strongly-implied desire to understand and predict expressions of power and tie these expressions to the inciting incidents.  However, a longstanding problem in this process is that powers expressed, inciting incidents, and contextual factors can be dramatically different across individual cases. While some common themes can be drawn out, derived results are traditionally very big-picture.  It is only recently that databases have begun to include sufficient numbers of special-case triggers that allow more focused study of how powers are expressed.  We identified cluster powers, serial powers, matched powers, and Nth-generation powers as the special cases to focus on in more focused examination of how power instances can be mapped and we posit a ‘Hinge Point’ illustration of power expression and theory.

[Definitions] • Cluster powers are defined as powers wherein multiple inciting incidents occur either simultaneously or within a minute of one another.  Such parahumans will have a collection of smaller powers related to the others.   •  Serial powers are defined as cases where an individual or multiple individuals in longstanding proximity to a parahuman will develop powers…

[Click to read full article]

(5 of 280 replies match search criteria)

Replied on August 20th, Y1:
Link is broken.

WMD377 (PRT Science Admin)
Replied on August 20th, Y1:
Yes.  Tagged.  It’s good to keep track and note this.  This article was pretty important to the time.  It would be worth finding someone with it in print and transcribing.  Keep letting us know.  It helps us track which articles are most important & desired.  What’s your field?

Replied on August 20th, Y1:
I have this one.  I can transcribe over the weekend.  Want me to DM you the transcription, of5?

Replied on August 20th, Y1:
That would be helpful.  Thank you.  No field – I am furthest thing from scholar.  Lot of this is going over my head.  Personal interest only.

WMD377 (PRT Science Admin)
Replied on August 20th, Y1:
Keep in mind that serial and Nth-Generation (2nd gen, 3rd gen) powers are now the same thing.


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♦  Topic: Multi-Trigger Case Studies – Parahumans 303 Class Notes (Spinky) – September 15th 2009
In:  Boards ► Parahuman Science ►Non-Articles

Posted on : September 17th, 2009

From Wednesdays with Prof Spinky.  Posted with permission.  Cleaned up where I could

Overview: What are clusters?
Other names are mosaic p. expression, grabbag, multi
Effect on resulting power
Why important & Importance to study.
Case studies
Greater effects, things to keep in mind

Pt. 1: What are clusters?
2-6 people trigger at same time or very close together.  Each gets a suite of powers.  Person A gets Person A primary power and fragment of B, C, D, E, F.
Person B gets Person B primary power and fragment A, C, D, etc.

Pt 2: Effect on resulting power
Term secondary expressions.  Weaker or subtle power.  Can be conditional.
Primary powers may be weaker than if they had triggered alone?
Powers inspired by others but not identical.  Relation may be tertiary.
Example given firebreath -> fire something or something breath
Prof stresses this is very basic example
Term for staying element is hinge (old) or dominant (current).  Relates to 1998 article.

Pt 3: Why important & importance to study
Suggests powers aren’t 100% predetermined.  Certain elements are highlighted or made dominant.
We can extrapolate from studies like this & serial triggers to work out key elements of existing triggers.  What changes & why = what factors are important in standalone non-special trigger?

Case Studies: two cases & how we look at them
Two case studies.  Interview, self-reporting, examination

Case Study #1: Sunder Bros
Take note for future week: matched powers.  We come back to this.
Brother #1 – Destruction caused to objects ripples out indefinitely, stopping at clear demarcations (images included in lecture notes).  Weapon extension without limit (except convenience)
Brother #2 –  Weapon sweep extension – some range extension – wider arcs, shockwaves left/right of swing.  Stomp to destroy ground in immediate area.

Class pauses, prof asks & responds to input re: dominant factors in each power.

Cute girl in red top finally comes up with answer that satisfies Spinky.  Destruction & weapon attack augmentation dominant/staying/hinge factors.  Question of range vs. breadth between brothers.  Not very lopsided in power difference b/w primary & secondary power.  Spinky’s stress on not.

We get some slides of brother’s recreation of trigger circumstance.  Distance from threat.  Prof Spinky highlights personality traits brothers used on forms they filled out.  All as reasoning for different power expressions.

Case Study #2: Fowl & Fair (foreign capes, names that follow are badly translated)
Oxfair – Physical augmentation; size, strength, speed, agility (<- primary), deafening roar, transfer harm from falls/some impacts to nearby others, pain resistance/faster healing
Ramfair – Emotion affecting chant, size increase, some ability to heal very recent damage of others listening to chant/that touching, gather strength/concentrate -> giant leaps
Foulcock (yes, the class laughed) – Flight with build-up of speed over time, speed is transferred to touched others, interrupting flight to deliver high-impact blows.  Increased agility, deafening shriek, fast recovery of smaller wounds (scratches yes, no recovery of larger wounds).
Foulpig – Personal biokinesis, swell into flesh bubble with fast recovery/personal mutations if not ‘popped’ in time.  Some strength & size increase, but slower while grown.  Ability to ‘roll’ with incoming impacts (mover expression?  Turns into boulder).  Guttural noise (flatulence?  Burps?) to interrupt thought processes – turn off others’ brains momentarily.

Discussion of dynamic.  Fair & foul on opposite sides post-trigger.  Only fair provided answers & allowed power testing, rest has to be inferred.  Handouts.

Some discussion of trigger event (see slides for images), some discussion of resulting ‘package’.  Powers for each individual distinct but play off each other in semi-complementary way.  Reflective of personality?  Or ‘guiding hand’ principle?

Pt. 4: Greater effects & things to keep in mind – things touched on in homework reading:
Kill / Kiss – more on this in parahuman psychology class in a few weeks
Personality Bleed – personality traits bleed over from 1 individual to other?  Messy
Higher incidences of paranoia, confrontation, aggression, PTSD.  Less bounce back?
Higher rate of death post-trigger.  Kill / kiss again.  Graph
Prof Spinky stresses emotional states may play into the above.  Triggers that are sufficient to draw in multiple individuals are worse than average.  Can’t jump 2 conclusions.  Correlation =/= causation.

(2 of 1140 replies match search criteria)

Replied on August 20th, Y1:
Lecture slides & graph missing.

Replied on August 20th, Y1:
ty again of5.  nothing we can do about that one

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♦  Joined Group Conversation: Questionable_Mammal, Heart_Shaped_Pupil, Cap

Heart_Shaped_Pupil: R!
of5: Hi K.  Missed you earlier.  Am at library with friend.  Researching.
Heart_Shaped_Pupil: this is friend you’ve talked about 😉 ?
of5: She is the friend.  She is helping with technical side, searches.
Heart_Shaped_Pupil: Hi friend!  Thank you for being good to our R!
of5: She at another computer now.  I got her bored. I wouldn’t join this chat if she was watching.
Heart_Shaped_Pupil: aw
of5: We stumped atm.  Everythink links to outside articles.  Dead ends.  Most stuff I already know.
of5: and I know v. little
of5: a isn’t here?
Questionable_Mammal: I scared her off…
Questionable_Mammal: …she will be back I think.  We still waiting on S.  Technical issues.  She’s @ workshop later this week…
Questionable_Mammal: …you need A?
of5: No. j/w.
of5: Wanted k actually.
Heart_Shaped_Pupil: yuss!  \♥/
of5: you know this site.  I want search terms to find some people.  Articles, anything else.  Would need to cover a lot of bases.  Normal site search limits # of terms.
Heart_Shaped_Pupil: uh.  that hard.  you want packaged search string
Heart_Shaped_Pupil: i can try
Questionable_Mammal: you’re looking for others in your set?
of5: yes
Questionable_Mammal: I can make attempt.  gimme time.  you might want to fine tune after.
Heart_Shaped_Pupil: aw!
of5: Thanks.  I owe you one.
Questionable_Mammal: I got games btw.  Will give on next meet.
of5: I owe you two
Questionable_Mammal: no. not big deal…
Questionable_Mammal: …go keep researching
Heart_Shaped_Pupil: entertain lady friend!
Questionable_Mammal: …and that
of5: getting off chat.  friend blames slow connection through node.
of5: ty again
Questionable_Mammal: I DM you when I have something…
Questionable_Mammal: …keep eye out

♦  Topic: [EUJPR]  Relationship Entanglement in Cluster-Triggers – 2005
In:  Boards ► Parahuman Science

Posted on : February 18th, 2005

[Translation] Colloquially known as the kill/kiss dynamic, in cluster-triggers, there is a very high tendency toward passionate relationships, either hostility or partnership.  Clusters have a 40% chance of one member murdering another, rising to a 50% chance when including attempted murder, 25% chance of a partnership forming, and a 10% incidence of partnership and murder coinciding.  The term partnership is used for romantic pairings in instances where sexuality and gender allow, and close friendship or formed teams with members in other cases.  In some (10% of) cases of close partnerships forming, the romantic pairing occurred despite one’s typical sexuality.  The relationship entanglement study looks at existing cases and clusters to investigate why.

The most dramatic case in recent memory is the Stáj, also known as the Stable, or the Foul and the Fair.  The Good Ox was turned into a grisly display […]

[Click to read full article]

(3 of 79 replies match search criteria)

Replied on August 20th, Y1:
No article on click.

Dana & Evan (Student)
Replied on August 20th, Y1:
It wasn’t a terribly good one.  Doesn’t read as a solid study so much as a commentary.  I’d give it a pass.  The same details are covered in more depth elsewhere.  I’ll see what I can dig up.

Replied on August 20th, Y1:

End of Page 1.  Click to view full list of pages.

♦  Private message from 17593Q183H17953R9713E714693

17593Q183H17953R9713E714693:  974641T17953A8209746413R173901761R796520
of5: ?

♦  Joined Group Conversation: Questionable_Mammal, Heart_Shaped_Pupil

of5: Got a strange message.  Friend says it might be a bot.  String of numbers & letters?
Questionable_Mammal: could be.
of5: Could be s?
Questionable_Mammal: S isn’t that bad with computers…
Questionable_Mammal: …Block & move on….
Questionable_Mammal: …btw, here is search result for you.

♦  Private message from 17593Q183H17953R9713E714693

17593Q183H17953R9713E714693:  Had to check.
of5: ??
17593Q183H17953R9713E714693:  If you were one of mine.
of5: I’m going to do what my friends said and block you if you don’t explain.
17593Q183H17953R9713E714693:  You’re clearly looking for info on multis.
of5: Yes
of5: I am.
17593Q183H17953R9713E714693:  I can provide.
17593Q183H17953R9713E714693:  We can collaborate.
17593Q183H17953R9713E714693:  Is important to have others to watch your back
of5: I’ve found some people.
17593Q183H17953R9713E714693:  Unless you are a member of a very new cluster, limited # of people you can be.
17593Q183H17953R9713E714693:  I found most of the group at I-275.  Rest of them wouldn’t be searching online like you are.
17593Q183H17953R9713E714693:  I found two members of the shipwreck group.  They might be doing what you’re doing with the searching but they know the code.  They’re friends of mine.  Third member of that group is dead.
17593Q183H17953R9713E714693:  The lecture hall: if you were one of them, you wouldn’t be so naive.
17593Q183H17953R9713E714693:  That leaves three options.  The Kansas Cornfield massacre: 3 dead, 1 alive with no reason to care about multis.  He ate the rest of his cluster.
of5: Ate?
17593Q183H17953R9713E714693:  The book fair.  Only ones still alive there are within spitting distance of me.
17593Q183H17953R9713E714693:  Ate.  I know why, too.  I can share, but not for free.
17593Q183H17953R9713E714693:  Leaves two good options.  I can skip one because it’s mine.
17593Q183H17953R9713E714693:  You’re part of the new cluster from the mall.
of5: No comment.
17593Q183H17953R9713E714693:  I found one of you already.  I reached out to him first. He said no.  Bad for him.  Lucky for you.
of5:  Lucky?
17593Q183H17953R9713E714693:  The one I talked to said there’s a woman, two boys, and him.  I’m going to assume you’re the one I’ve termed the runt.  The smallest, easiest target.
17593Q183H17953R9713E714693:  The woman is gathering funds to hire mercenaries and come after you.  The one I talked to hired an information broker to find you.  Her name is Tattletale.  She’s good.  She has resources. including the mercenaries I just mentioned.  She’s also preoccupied for now.
17593Q183H17953R9713E714693:  A favor from me to you.
17593Q183H17953R9713E714693:  That leaves you & the last one.  It sounds like all 3 are coordinating vs. you.
17593Q183H17953R9713E714693:  I can just about guarantee the people they’re gathering together are better than the ones you got.
17593Q183H17953R9713E714693:  You need help.  You’ve got a case of Kiss/Kill like I never saw and I don’t think they’re reaching for the chapstick.
of5:  You’re wrong
17593Q183H17953R9713E714693:  About the need for help?
of5:  It isn’t Kiss/Kill.
of5:  I’ll take any help I can get.
of5:  Provided I can get some clue you’re legit.
17593Q183H17953R9713E714693:  Glad to hear.
of5:  and some idea of what you’re really after
17593Q183H17953R9713E714693:  You.  And a chance to deal with some mutual enemies.
17593Q183H17953R9713E714693:  I’ll be in touch.

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One result.

♦  Topic: Public Incident Report [Aug 16]
In:  Boards ► Teams ► Gunslingers
Lucky Luke
Posted on : August 16th, Y1

[] We were ultimately unable to stop them, as they had two capes we had no information or records on.  The first of the capes may have been a thinker, likely the same that shot down our flier.  We were unable to glean much more from them, other than the fact they wore fur in the midst of a heatwave.

The second individual seems to be a grab-bag cape.  She was a woman with a fanged mask covering her lower face, and a form-fitting dress with a slit up the side of one leg.  She displayed a mover power [fourth term] with the ability to run on walls.  She produced an emotion-affecting [third term] roar, which broke the ranks of one of the cooperating teams, and had metal claws [second term] which looked to be of tinker make.  These claws may have been what enabled her to tear [First term not met, but within allowance] down doors and other barricades with the ease she did.  We have the beginnings of a work-up going online shortly.

The attack on the store opening was a failure on our side.  We were late to the scene due to geography and we lacked full knowledge of our adversaries.  It is our belief that with PHO in working order and more collaborative tools and measure being put in place every day, that we will succeed next time where we failed this once.  We are working with authorities to keep an eye out for the stolen merchandise.[…]

♦  Joined Group Conversation: Questionable_Mammal, Heart_Shaped_Pupil, Cap

of5: Thank you, c.
Questionable_Mammal: I thought that one result looked good
Heart_Shaped_Pupil: pretty nasty customer
of5: It is.  She is.
Heart_Shaped_Pupil: are you looking after your friend?
of5: not nearly enough
Questionable_Mammal: did you get the bot thing handled?
of5: Bot thing handled.  blocked & moved on.
of5: This woman… concerns me.  I’ll figure out a plan of action later.
Heart_Shaped_Pupil: we’ll figure out a plan of action later  >:)
of5: Thanks.  And thanks again, c.
of5: You’re good kids.
Heart_Shaped_Pupil:  😀
Cap has joined the chat.
Questionable_Mammal: no personal details online, ya?
Cap: ?
of5: Right.  Sorry.
Questionable_Mammal: nothing big, Cap
Heart_Shaped_Pupil:  Go get ur friend a thank you treat.  Giant heart-shaped cookie!
Cap: subtle
of5: I don’t know about cookies.  There’s a place to get ice cream.
Heart_Shaped_Pupil:  Go, shoo!
You have left the conversation.

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176 thoughts on “Glow-worm – P.4

    • I think it says somewhere that for every cape there are 1-4 potential triggers who just haven’t been exposed to enough stress to trigger.
      Golden Morning was a highly stressful event for everyone, so lots of new capes. Maybe a higher than normal number of Trumps, considering the nature of the event.

  1. For those who’re ‘in the know’ with Worm ‘Word of God’ (stuff I’ve said off-site), there may be some retreading of old ground here, but hopefully enough tidbits that it’s not too dreary for ’em.

    • Nah, think it was a lot more worldbuildy than the wogs. Though just as visceral/orrible as you tend to be in them. Highlight of the day has to be “You’ve got a case of Kiss/Kill like I never saw and I don’t think they’re reaching for the chapstick.”

    • If it has to happen it has to happen.
      I’m just wondering how much follow through there is on triggers killing triggerers before heading onto other people… It looks like not much, or it being uncommon.

      • I’d think they’d just be happy to have powers, and more interested in using them to achieve bigger goals such as Taylor’s becoming a hero or Theo’s surviving the PRT and S9.

        • Ah, my bad.
          At the end of Worm, there’s a scene where someone triggers, and their power immidiately kills them. Then, someone nearby immidiately triggers with a very similar power. I think this repeats twice before the power gets it right and someone has the power without dying. (Think it was the village one with Miss Militia.)

          I was wondering if that was going to continue or not.

          • Not quite, the first trigger is clearly painful to the host, but they are put down by Miss Militia and Co., with assistance from Bitch and Sons of Bitch. Then there is a second trigger nearly identical to the first, except the power kills them before they can do any real damage. No third trigger (that was witnessed or mentioned).

            Also yeah, I expect/hope we’ll be seeing more of that. Fascinating stuff.

    • It really highlights what you mentioned about mass triggers before. I’m starting to see fully how mass triggers are the process in which you build baby entities. Specifically pushing a bunch of shards together.

      The kiss/kill phenomenon then does a grudge match between the cluster shards born from those groups repeatedly until one is the victor and takes the loser’s shards for itself but in a subordinate fashion. Repeat this with the remaining capes producing the next generation of cluster triggers with a wider net until you have sufficiently large cluster reaching critical mass to produce a single baby entity capable of truly thinking for itself.

      The whole sexual relationship that sometimes happens between friendly portions of the kiss triggers seems to be the means to best produce a specific vector for a next gen trigger. They have to stay close to the parents, and they are highlikely to trigger early and as the cycle progresses they’ll get caught up in another mass trigger event with a bunch of others who are budded from a cluster of shards.

      When they ping off eachother, the buds form links and become closer to Entity critical mass.

      Wonder how close I am.

        • New Wave isn’t a cluster trigger.
          Flechette’s nemesis March was part of the same trigger group, though, so that’s an example. I think Mouse Protector and Ravager might have been triggermate, too.

          • New Wave is partially a cluster trigger. The first generation triggered within minutes of each other. They have forcefield and energy projection powers in a pattern matching the given description of a cluster trigger.

      • >Wonder how close I am

        1) Entities existed before they used other creatures to evolve their shards.
        2) They use other creatures to find new ways to use their shards and for inspiration on creating new shards, not for creating new entities
        3) Why would entities want to give up their shards to create new, separate entities????
        4) This theory is just plain ridiculous

    • Always interesting stuff. It looks like shard wars have begun. Guess it would be too much to expect people not trying to take more powers for themselves even if it means destroying others.

      For those of you confused I’ll simplify. Powers are born of shards given to people. Some shards are closely related and fragment themselves into multiple people. These fragments can be subsumed by others with the same shard.

      This is my understanding of it. It’s kind of similar to Practical Guide of Evil’s form of claiming a Name with multiple people that want the Name.

      • There’s nothing saying cluster trigger capes get more powerful by killing each other. They kill each other because the combat drive from having a shard gets shoved into overdrive when multiple shards are all connected to the same people.

  2. Fascinating.

    Tattletale drop, and… it’s looking like all of the people in the group (save Capricorn, presumably) are recent triggers, from a grab-bag/cluster trigger. The mystery person DMing “of5” seems to think they’re enemies (?), but there’s no evidence of that unless there are more people from the cluster still out there. No hints yet as to Capricorn and Moonsong’s deal, or Point_me and Glitz.

    And now, to sleep.

  3. Anyone have any idea what the code is? (that is, assuming Wildbow didn’t just pull a string of numbers out of his ass) Also, “one of mine” sounds pretty ominous. I guess that of5 is part of a group trigger and our anonymous bot is part of a separate one.

    • There was no not, it’s only one person. They’re probably gathering capes from clusters, trying to either save them or convince the strongest in those clusters to be on their side by gathering their kiss/kill targets for them.

    • Oh, and as for the numbers: I’m pretty sure they’re something people of his cluster would immediately recognize as part of their trigger.

    • Someone on Reddit worked it out. It’s “MARCH: FRIEND?” You can work it out by ignoring the letters and 0s, and then imagining the numbers as being on a computer keypad and drawing the shapes of the letters.

    • Definitely Teacher. ‘One of mine’ has to be referring to his ‘students’, with the first string of numbers likely being some code that only someone with a (Teacher-derived) thinker power could decipher. Note that the spam started shortly after contact with someone with a badge labelled ‘Student’.

      P.s. The fact that new PHO has official badges for Teacher’s students and no-one seems to be batting an eyelid is genuinely terrifying.

      • That’s reaching too deep.

        I’m wondering if some of these “cluster triggers” are just covers for Cauldron events.

        I was thinking that the scene at the mall in the original Worm where Skidmark gave people powers via Cauldron would look like this.

        • I think cluster triggers were mentioned in the original Worm. Wasn’t it during the Wards Interlude, when they were viewing the university lecture and it was mentioned that people who trigger at the same time are more likely to get a platter of powers than one single power? They asked Flechette about it because she had the Sting as her main power but also enhanced spacial awareness as a secondary power.
          Kiss/kill wasn’t mentioned, but Flechette mentioned that she particularly remembered a villain who’d emerged onto the scene at the same time, and I would hardly be surprised if Wildbow had the idea in mind back then.

          I’m still convinced that the ‘Student’ label means Dana & Evan is one of Teacher’s. PHO doesn’t just give out badges for random things: being a literal student at a university or something would be far too insignificant to merit its own badge. We know that PHO does give out badges to mark confirmed members of major organisations (Like PRT officials) and they seem to have decided that being part of Teacher’s organisation is worthy of that.

          • We know of a few grab-bags who will have been in a multi-trigger: Foil and Circus are the first to come to mind. We also know from WOG that Foil’s counterpart was a villain named March. If you take the code and use the number strings without 0s or letters, you form MARCH: FRIEND from typing out the numbers on a numpad and seeing what you draw with the motions.

            Evidently this is March speaking, and he seems to be up to something, as befitting his pre-GM villainy. Somehow I suspect that the thinker described as being a gunslinger thinker and shooting people down is him as well, which just thickens the plot.

            March’s power is most likely mainly thinker – something to do with greatly increased timing, accuracy, coordination, that kind of thing. There’ll be a secondary to it, some kind of Sting-lite. Maybe his bullets do extra piercing damage, fly extremely straight, or have no friction. Maybe a mix of all three. Either way, that fits way too well with the gunslinger described.

            • Can I get a citation on that WOG of Fletchette’s villain’s name? Not doubting, just not something I’ve heard before (or completely forgotten about).

            • I remember seeing it mentioned somewhere that Foil/Flechette’s villain counterpart might have the defensive aspect of sting (The Immovable object to Flechette’s Unstoppable Force). But that may have just been fanon since I do read a lot of Fanfiction.

              • Pretty sure that’s fanon. Scion’s interlude indicates Sting is an attack power shard; defenses would be other shards. And there’s definitely not a true counterpart; Scion had to engage Path To Victory and evade whenever attacked with it.

            • No, only Carol and her sister did. The other New Wave elders had some interesting similarities to them, but Brandish and Lady Photon are the only ones we know triggered at the same time.

  4. So Tattletale has been taking jobs since Gold Morning? I wonder what else has been going on with her, because she has to be up to something.

  5. /megasolipsist oozes in
    /megasolipsist thinks that Tattletale may be an antagonist for at least some portion of Worm 2
    /excited to see how the Undersiders appear from the perspective of their enemies
    /wondering just how much of Skitter’s legacy still remains attached to them
    /megasolipsist oozes out

    • I’d imagine that the Undersiders would appear terrifying. Tattletale will know everything about you by the time you get within spiting distance of *seeing* her, Bitch can make a completely unnecessary number of Brutes if she needs to, and Imp is a strong enough Stranger that you can’t play around her without serious Thinker or Shaker backup.

      As for Skitter’s legacy on them… Only time will tell, but I think the bigger story is looking at the challenges they’ve overcome on their own. TT beat Coil in a Thinker-off, and is now gorging on info with a crack team of mercs to serve her.
      Bitch was isolated by her power, and now uses it to maintain a relatively healthy colony of people. Which probably lets her take care of more dogs. Which makes her an even more ridiculous power multiplier. Plus, y’know, Bastard should have a lot of kids. So more wolves.
      Imp has managed to cover her weakness to Brutes by using the Heartbroken to completely circumnavigate that issue, as well as find a few new uses for her power in a very Skitter-esk manner. Add in the relative unknown factor (Imp’s not exactly screaming her name to the heavens) and you have one of the scarier Strangers that’s still walking around.

      Mind, this is the last time we saw them. They could be more or less broken than imagined here.

      /T0PH4T is taken away by the haberdasher

      • But the thing is… the Undersiders are a third tier villain for anyone who is looking in from the outside.

        Their role in Brockton Bay… taking over territories… that will be well known. But only that. People will see them as less dangerous and consequential than something like Empire 88, as in “dangerous… but not super remarkable.”

        Only the people who were either PRT/Protectorate capes in the area and maybe some of the Brockton Bay villains will know how much of the higher order stuff they were involved in.

        • The reason they’re A-list wasn’t taking over a city. It was taking and holding a city in an established western country with stable government and large cape population.

          Taking on Dragon and killing Alexandria and being the original team of weaver should also help.

          Also, from the previous chapter it’s commonly known that they’re working with the local prt.

      • Maybe, but maybe not. Cricket’s powers are related enough that I could believe that they’re all just different manifestations of one power (sound manipulation/sensing).

        • I’m pretty certain she’s a grab-bag. The sonar pulse and the sensing being a single thing I can buy, but not the enhanced coordination she has. Way too disparate to be anything but a two-person multitrigger.

            • I can see that, like how Skitter appeared to have super-fast reflexes because her power gave her perfect knowledge of how people were moving as long as she had bugs on their joints. Cricket could do basically the same thing, knowing whenever and however a person’s joints were moving through sonar.

          • Maybe she and Stormtiger are a cluster? They were both in the fighting rings, so it makes sense they’d trigger with each other. Sound manipulation and aerokinesis are pretty closely related. They’re both durable as well.

  6. Awww, never been more disappointed about the links not being real than in this chapter. I want to read an academic cape paper!

    Even if I probably know more than the authors did.


    I do hope this is contextualized/explained later on. Although I’ve been enjoying reading the speculation in comments – I never would have figured out the ‘insurance = hit’ bit with the mercenaries if it weren’t for other readers. Assuming that’s a correct guess, anyhow.

    The ‘one of mine’ bit makes me wonder if it’s related to Capricorn. I have the feeling they’re a duplicator.

    In any case, I’m still thoroughly enjoying the details this introduces into the world of Worm. A fresh injection of worldbuilding; fascinating stuff. Love the details on Kiss/Kill. Hilarious, and makes perfect sense in context.

  8. It doesn’t sound like Foil/March are from any of the listed events. Maybe the book fair. Which makes it likely, IMO, that coded-name is from the same multi-trigger as Foil/March. And they say they have the ability to distract Tattletale.

    Emotional manipulation sounds like it could be related to “heart shaped pupil.” Claws sounds like it could be related to “Questionable Mammal,” but Mammal refers to it as “your set.” Not “our set.” of5 seems pretty kissy with Heart. But “of5” is a strange name if coded-name was right about it being a set of 4. of5 also complains about not having enough search terms – they’re limited to 4 terms per search, and uses each term for a power, but they want more terms. They also limit the search to the past month, suggesting it’s a new multi-trigger event.

    There was a question on reddit about four months ago asking how second triggers work for grab-bag capes. Wereboar answered “good question.” (I won’t link because I don’t know if that will get me flagged as spam).

      • I interpreted it as “these are all the multis on file.” Partly because there was mention of specific states, and these guys should be on a previously uninhabited Earth. Mostly because logically, there wouldn’t be a “limited # of people” of5 could be unless the list was exhaustive.

    • There’s some discussion on the subreddit – someone decoded the name, and it seems to *be* March.

      (and I’m pretty sure she says there were four of them *besides* of5?)

    • On 4 vs 5: I’m thinking the fifth was Furcate (RIP).

      Alternatively: previously we were speculating that Capricorn has some kind of 2-people-one-body situation going on, which our friend 17593… may not be aware of.

  9. So what I gathered is that a bunch of people have triggered in groups, probably due to GM. The Reach might have been a multi-trigger team, explaining why there was so much drama. The group chat Cap is in might be ones for various grab-bag capes from different groups teaming up so they don’t get murdered by other people in their trigger groups.

    Going to guess Glizglam and Point@ are the rare friendly multi-trigger and that’s how they relate to everyone else.

  10. Y’know, there’s two points I want to go over:
    1. What’s it Strange Mammal, not Questionable Mammal?
    2. Scion and Eden were the ones giving shards for triggers, right? But they’re both pretty dead now. So, does this mean that trigger events will run out in the near future, or are they good for however long the Entities’ plans would go on for in Eden’s vision? I think I remember 30,000 years being dropped somewhere, but I doubt that a lot.

    • I think it likely that a ton of shards are wandering around from their corpses, especially given the deadly contagious trigger event in the epilogue.

        • Contessa got an Eden shard by luck – the entity crash-landed on her planet and the Path to Victory shard latched onto her by luck. Eden tried to limit the shard as Contessa was killing her, but was only able to set a few blind spots in place – endbringers and Scion being the biggest ones.

          • I had the theory (which I might spit out here) that Abaddon (the third entity) manipulated or sabotaged Eden into crashing/Contessa getting the shard, for unknown reasons.

            It would be interesting if they returned.

          • Eden set the Endbringer blind spot? I thought that was willful ignorance on Contessa’s part. Weren’t they made by Eidolon?

              • I assumed it was because we saw just how badly it turned out when somebody DID win against the endbringers. Namely, several more far more dangerous ones popped up. If Contessa defined her Path as “permanent defeat of the endbringers” then it couldn’t find much – because that would have needed killing Eidolon, then the endbringers afterwards.
                Anything else either keeps them alive or creates more thanks to his need. Been over a year since I last read through Worm, so I could easily be wrong – but wasn’t there a moment where she admitted she wasn’t sure if they were immune or if there just wasn’t any Path to Victory outside of driving them back?

            • Eden set Contessa’s blind spot. The Endbringers and the Entities weren’t really shielded against Thinker abilities, but every Thinker ability was specifically built with a blind spot. They couldn’t be used against the Entities, which included understanding things about shards and Endbringers. Tattletale needed to stare at a drawn picture of Scion’s true form for several minutes before she even realized the picture existed. Contessa’s power originally lacked the limiters, which was what let her find Eden’s weak spot.

    • From what I remember of that one chapter, they sent Shards through time as well to seed the entire planet right as they came in.

    • The original shards all came from one of the entities, but new shards can still bud off of the existing ones, like Aiden’s shard did from Taylor’s. So those could potentially keep showing up indefinitely. There won’t be many completely novel abilities, though, since the buds grant similar abilities to the parent shard.

  11. Yes! Welcome back Tattletale! Honestly, one of my favourite characters from the original, and I think this one isn’t going to diminish that. Honestly, calling her an ‘information broker’ is a little bit, uh, interesting. This is great, and I can’t wait to see what’s going to happen.

      • Stalin was one of the ones willing to do the boring bureaucratic jobs the revolutionaries didn’t want to mess with until they realized they handed over a lot of power to one ambitious guy.

        In contrast, information broker is generally seen as a pretty important job. Shadow Broker, for instance. Even more important in a world that’s going to have some serious gaps in knowledge. A frontier-friendly recipe for toilet paper was probably worth a crapton of gold early on.

  12. Posted on Reddit, but I’ll repost here for people who aren’t on Reddit.

    > 17593Q183H17953R9713E714693: 974641T17953A8209746413R173901761R796520

    Code decryption complete. The person’s name is MARCH, and they’re asking if the other person is a FRIEND?

    There may be more aspects I’m not aware of.


    The code is numbers, separated by letters and 0’s. I’m not sure what the letters/0’s mean, aside from splitting up the letters.

    17593 – Q – 183 – H – 17953 – R – 9713 – E – 714693
    974641 – T – 17953 – A – 82 – 0 – 9746413 – R – 1739 – 01761 – R – 79652 – 0

    For the letters and 0’s, we get QHRE TA0RR0. Or QHRETA RR? I don’t know what this is getting at. Probably something, this is Wildbow we’re talking about, there are plenty of ways to split up numbers that don’t hint at further meaning.

    The numbers are the easy part; trace them on your computer’s numpad, and interpret the shape as a letter. 1-7-5-9-3 makes an M shape. 1-8-3 makes an A shape. And so forth.

    **MARCH: FRIEND?**

      • Word-of-God, from the Spacebattles forum, says that Foil was a cluster trigger; March was her nemesis, and triggered in the same event. That’s about all we know about her plot-wise.

        So apparently that person is March, and they want to know if of5 is a friend.

        • And so, in a post about the interactions of clustertriggers with each other, we’re introduced to Foil’s clusterfuckbuddy. Wibbles the Wonder Pig is having fun with us again, methinks.

        • Oh, and note that the above, as a Word-of-God comment outside the actual Worm story, isn’t necessarily canon; it might be rewritten or modified. So if the above turns out to be wrong, don’t blame Wildbow for inconsistency.

    • Can rule out the letter being used to alter the key used to decrypt the words before or after. Nonsense from that.

      An easy way to confuse people with the easy substitution cipher is throw in something that changes it up. For instance, if the Q means it’s supposed to be used as the first letter with the alphabet looping back around.

      Hella hard to find words in English featuring a Q but not a U.

      Maybe they need breaking up further?

      Q: HR ETA RR

  13. Calling it right now: of5 is either someone with the codename of Colonel, or an actual (ex-)colonel of some armed force.

        • ‘OF5’? Interesting. Hey wait, I bet Cauldron’s mass-production effort during Gold Morning might be relevant. If of5 is related to a multitrigger, he might be a sort of ‘add-on’ to the main group – he didn’t trigger naturally, he just drunk Blood of Eden near a natural multitrigger.
          (Complete tangent: I hope the rewrite fixes Cauldron. It was easily the most incongruous part of Worm, because their motives almost never seemed to coincide with their choices – at the very least, they should’ve had a copy of Dragon running the power harvest and grunt work, but their unwillingness to actually recruit their kidnappees, their lack of a powerful Dominator to offset that (grab Valefor when he’s going toilet, lobotomize him, make him say what you want him to to every recruit that doesn’t trip certain warning flags – is that so hard for a group with Cauldron’s resources?), and the lack of any mention for saving and press-ganging mortally injured capes is sort of boggling.
          Also, cutting and drinking from the bodypart-trees should have been a visibly viable way to get powers, because it’s very thematically appropriate.)

          • (I say choices, because Dragon has begged Contessa to unshackle her and Contessa apparently hasn’t even made a Cauldron-enslaved duplicate. The rest was because they had to have gone to some lengths to make a prison that stretches across a considerable fraction of a planet, and didn’t bother with suspended animation chambers, mind control, or any of the other things that someone with an uncooperative army of capes and flexible morals should be capable of.

  14. So, Numbers could either be Teacher or Numbers Man, looking for either a pupil or a clone.

    “Guttural noise (flatulence? Burps?) to interrupt thought processes – turn off others’ brains momentarily.”

    The power of brainfart! Plus, the rolling thing looks like it’d work real well with Cock’s flight/velocity transfer power.

  15. I wonder what sort of store that was. Without an incomplete picture of what civilization’s like, it’s harder to figure out if this heist actually meant anything.

    So we have a thinker wearing fur shooting another cape, which seems to be in violation of the old rules. Except the group they’re going up against is named the Gunslingers. There’s a name denoting lethal force if ever there is one. If they live up to it, no wonder the bad guys shot first.

    Then we have a mover with more flair for the dramatic than she has sense because she’s running up walls in a dress. Wear enough dresses and run up enough walls and you learn that gravity has a thing or two to say about just how much people see. Might be more useful if anyone noticed piercings or tattoos down there.

    “That’s her, officer! I’d recognize those labia anywhere. She’s an inny. Oh, and there’s the tattoo saying ‘No Angel’ just like I saw when she ran up my window.”

  16. I know I keep commenting one after the other here, but also got to bring up that we’ve got this warning from Numbers about someone gathering a team to go after someone and kill them. Then Cap briefly shows up at the end of all this. May be related, or may be that a lot of people are getting the same idea all at once.

    More importantly, I think I need to get a team together to get in on this. Gotta show them how funky and strong is my fight; it doesn’t matter who’s wrong or right, just beat it.

    Just beat it.

  17. Tattletale mentioned, which makes me happy she’s mentioned, but mortified that something bad will happen to her in the sequel ~_~

    • Who are you talking about right now? Who is it you think you see? Do you know how much Tattletale was doing before Golden Morning? I mean, even if I told you, you wouldn’t believe it. Do you know what would happen if Tattletale suddenly decided to stop going into work? The entire planet… fuck that, all planets
      would have been destroyed by a transdimensional space whale. Disappeared! They would have ceased to exist without her. No, you clearly don’t know who you’re talking about, so let me clue you in. Tattletale is not in danger, Axle. She is the danger. A character opens her door and gets shot and you think that of her? No. she is the one who knocks.

        • Well, it’s Wildbow. Anything is game. Plus, other well prepared thinkers have been done in by meticulous enemies, brute force or sheer coincidence.
          Coil, for one.

  18. Tattletale has more resources than most every other remaining human, I doubt she does information broker works, and definitely not for cheap. As the one hiring her is a new trigger, and a young boy, he won’t have the capital for that. To me this screams TT personal intrest; either in the case as a whole or in one of the powers (or hiring?).

    Also, “of5” looking for the other triggerees means there were probably 5 people in the cluster. This also means of5 might not be the “runt” and might not be hunted.
    Curiously, of5 himself doesn’t seem to suffer from the kill/kiss. Is that why he thought it isn’t kill/kiss?

    • One more thing, did this cluster trigger really happen during the cape fight?
      The gunslingers post and MARCH seem to imply that put then I would’ve expected every cape present to fall unconscious and there’s no mention of that in the post.
      Trump rating anyone?

  19. One thing people aren’t mentioning is that Tattletale doesn’t have a team, she seems to work completely solo even after all this time. I could be wrong and she could just be hiding it really well, but whatever. This is both unexpected and inevitable, really.

    I think Tattletale doesn’t have what it takes to be a (let alone THE) Big Bad of Worm 2 regardless of what people are saying. I think of5 is getting misled here. Woman with the claws definitely seems like a solid Arc 1 villain to start off things, though.

    Also, it’s not Kiss/Kill? What is it then? Did of5 cause the trigger somehow and the woman wants revenge? Were they already enemies before?

    I think as of now it’s become glaringly obvious (read: probably wrong because I suck at subtext) that this group will be the main characters of Worm 2, but I think the protagonist might not be this “runt” nor Cap. I get the feeling Wildbow will leave the main POV for the actual sequel.

  20. Interesting chapter.

    Have wondered for a while what Sting (light) would look like. So March would have thinker as his primary, Foils enhanced sense of trajectory/timing and the code suggests mathematics based like Numberman maybe.

    Of5 is an interesting name for a 4 person trigger. Only 4 powered search terms and within a month so can’t be golden morning. Wonder what happened to the fifth.

    Tinker cluster will be interesting too, even as a secondary power with its ability to ramp up over time. Guessing Of5 is the tinker primary or emotional manipulator primary due to runt status. Sever sounds murdery.

  21. I wonder if it’s general knowledge how shards work, and where they came from. Several people figured it out over W1, but I don’t think any of them were the type to write scientific papers about it.

    • I think it’s canon that only Cauldron, Tattletale, and some of the people who worked directly with it (Bonesaw, Glastig Usain) figured out about passengers.

      There would probably be a few academic theories that would mimic that research, but not be anything close to settled science. “We propose that parahuman powers are caused by some external agent that induces clusters of powers to protect itself and the triggered human.”

  22. /oozes in (just to keep the joke running)

    I find this chapter particularly insightful. First thind I think about is the possibility that the exchange from last chapter wasn’t hiring an assassin but actually Tattletale for information. I don’t think this likely to be it but I wouldn’t like to dissmiss it with no reason.

    All the talk about cluster triggers does give us some hints: is our main character going to be one of them? Are the antagonists going to be one of those groups?

    The ‘MARCH:FRIEND’ thing makes me wonder if Flechette/Foil is going to be in the game, since WoG said she triggered at the same time as a villain called March. Wildbow said there may be contradictions in Word of God with Parahumans2 but I thing most of it still stands, it just won’t be as reliable of a predictor for things to come. That being said, I thing Flechette had a big enough role in Worm for her backstory be well-stablished in Wildbow’s mind.

    And, unrelated to everything, What about Contessa? I wonder when we’ll see her again. Considering her power is very possible she has her hand on everything. I think we may see some more HAX from her in the future.

    /oozes out

  23. I somehow expected snippets about New Wave here. Think about it, two sisters triggering together, later forming a team/family where all members are heroes without secret identities to protect? Most of them mix-bags, no less? (laser/light, shielding, flight as the common themes)
    If I was a cape scientist working on multi triggers and inherited powers, these people would be the first ones I’d ask for an interview.
    Then again: Maybe there WAS something like this and it’s lost now. End of the world is a bitch like that.

  24. Didnt they hire mercenaries in the first one as a back up? Its all the same people group vhatting with each other right? I think codename is right about which group but not about who the mercenaries were hired to kill or who in the group of5 is (hence of5 saying codename was wrong about it being kiss/kill) as they were ganging up on one of the personalities of the split personality guy.

    Otoh, why did of5 tell the chat he blocked codename instead of telling them new info unless he believed codename that they were ganging up on him with mercs?

  25. Well somebody is going to get brutally murdered. I mean sheesh why do so many Parahumans have to be violent assholes? Oh wait that’s right, alien conflict monsters connected to their brains, and messed up people beforehand. Wildbow never needs to worry about justifying conflict and everyone being an asshole after that. Clever.

  26. 19Q17593Z712X9746413C7494341V7494341017931B17931N7913M9746413L974631082K1739

    • Except Scrub had no trigger group. He was the only one who triggered in that specific event. Doesn’t mean some dipshit didn’t try to copy the process after Gold Morning, though.
      But I think we’d need more info, kind of fishing in the dark here.

  27. Pretty epic chapter this. I’ve not spent much time in the parahumans subreddit so this was all new to me.

    On a side note
    > lists are formed by way of interview and laboratory studies with each institution using universally standardized forms in addition to supplementary material.

    This is the most unrealistic thing that wildbow has written yet 😋

  28. Tattletale was mentioned! Well, that’s a big thing for this chapter.

    A question to Wildbow: Will this prologue/teaser be required for the comprehension of Worm 2? Or is it just some extra information?

  29. Quite a thin limb, but they mentioned 4 fair/foul capes so maybe of5 is a fifth in that trigger. Depends how recent the foul/fair set is.

  30. To an even greater extent than the other recent PHO chapters, it’ll be near impossible to form a narrative from there alone. I’m pretty sure they’re helping to form the threads he’ll actually use to weave Parahumans 2.

    So many ways this information could be helpful in the future, it just seems overly complex now.

  31. Oh. Clusters come together and look for members against each other. Nasty.

    The power of the Foil is Sting (absolute attack, even against Entities) + thinker power (incredible aiming).
    What should March have if Foil got a “weak” version of his thinker power?
    Hypothetically, it should be some “absolute” aiming + nerf-Sting (a violation of physics, ignoring the defense and / or damage to everything). What can be the absolute aiming? Most likely something like power of Shamrock on speeds – the attack style of Golberg, vision of shatter points or subtle cheating with the breaking of physics (something the reverse of power of the Siberian on target?).

    >Cap has joined the chat.
    Questionable_Mammal: no personal details online, ya?
    Cap: ?
    of5: Right. Sorry.
    Questionable_Mammal: nothing big, Cap
    Heart_Shaped_Pupil: Go get ur friend a thank you treat. Giant heart-shaped cookie!
    Cap: subtle

    It is a subtle advice about clearing cookie files in the library session? Like if they do not trust Cap somehow.

    • I think the core attribute of Sting isn’t precisely the physics violation, but rather the ability to hurt targets regardless of their defensive powers; it’s a dedicated Entity-killer and could probably manifest as any form of attack. A nerf version might actually manifest as a Trump power, where it doesn’t enhance damage to physical targets but makes forcefields, regeneration, and the like fail.

      • Considering that the main power is Thinker, it must be something very very smart cookie attack. Some kind of needle-thin sabotage, which brings down everything with a minimalistic sneaky effect. Change the air permeability for arrows, make shoes slip, change the wear resistance and friction of equipment, create new little stupid physical laws locally, make the impact of forces… inhomogeneous in the using area (for example, push out regeneration / invulnerability only to half the body, make holes in force fields).

      • Also worth noting: Taylor points out in the final battle that the true utility of Flechette’s Sting is that it pins down the target absolutely, allowing them to hold Zion in place (possibly dimensionally as well) so they can use the tinker weapon on him. So perhaps instead of looking for armor piercing attacks as a lesser form of Sting, perhaps we should be thinking of immobilizing attacks.

    • #1 is def about jack, right? who’s the mystery bro?

      Brother #1 – Destruction caused to objects ripples out indefinitely, stopping at clear demarcations (images included in lecture notes). Weapon extension without limit (except convenience)
      Brother #2 – Weapon sweep extension – some range extension – wider arcs, shockwaves left/right of swing. Stomp to destroy ground in immediate area.

      • Was not Jack and Slaughterhouse known after 1987/1988? Earlier than the article?
        And the WoG say that he lived in a shelter and triggered upon exiting that. Does not sound like he had a brother…
        …I hope so badly.
        And I try not to think about the buds. His shard was mature.

      • I don’t think that one’s about Jack. The only similar part is the weapon extension – I never noticed any destruction ripples from him. Besides, WOG was his trigger event was due to sheer isolation and the discovery that his family had lied about the reasons for his isolation.

  32. I find these developments rather fascinating. I look forward to the next iteration, and curious what surprises there will be.

  33. I am from Czech Republic. As far as I know the only language where “Stable” is “Stáj” (as in place where you house Horses, sometimes other animals) is czech language. So, just let me tell you… it is a terrible name…:D
    I am pretty sure no team would name themselves “Stáj”. It is too mundane a word.

    • To add to this:
      The members would then be something like (literal (re)translation):
      Hodnej Vůl (Good Ox) – fyi NOBODY would name themselves Vůl… as it is used as an insult here.
      Hodnej Beran (Good Ram)
      Zlej Kohout (Bad Rooster/Cock)
      Zlý Prase (Bad Pig)

        • A bit like a**hole, mother****, or among the group the slur describes, n*****, then? Normally a curse or an insult, but friends may use it as an ironic greeting? Or is it something else?

          • Yeah, basicaly that. If I use Ox as an translation it could be used in sentences like:
            “You are an Ox.” as an insult or to highligh of someone’s appearent stupid action.
            “Hey, Ox, wanna go for a beer.” as an ironic greeting.
            Never noticed it, but it is really similar in use to N-word. Just with comparison to castrated animal.

            • So closer to “dumba**” then, at least from an etymological standpoint. (But since “dumba**” and it’s synonyms are usually pretty mild insults in English, it usually isn’t ironic when used affectionately. I assume the exception would be among actually-mentally-handicapped people, just like “n*****” is for dark-skinned people.)
              Dissecting slang like this is fun. (Actually, it’s probably more like vivisecting the slang, but “dissecting” in this context is also slang. This amuses me.)

      • Well, the story DOES have a person who would name themselves “Bitch”, capes are messed up, “somebody” COULD have picked it despite, or because of, the connotations.

  34. A few people have pointed out that the code given to of5 to see if he/she was one of ‘theirs’ translates to MARCH: FRIEND. Thought I’d point out that the mystery benefactor’s name (17593Q183H17953R9713E714693) translates to MARCH, which is pretty close to confirming the theory that it’s Flechette’s foe March.

    • One of these days, I swear I’m going to learn to read all the way through the relevant comments before posting my own.

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