Glow-worm – P.6

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♦  Private Conversation with A_real (Admin):
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Curious_Cephalopod:  hello?
A_real:  Hello.  Thank you for the prompt response.  I’m Sydney
  I can guess what this is about
A_real:  According to our systems you have 32 individual accounts that you’re rotating through.
Curious_Cephalopod:  this is true
A_real:  Is it really needed to have one individual account for each day of the month and one for what I assume are holidays?
Curious_Cephalopod:  not what I was doing…
Curious_Cephalopod:  …but would be amusing with some reshuffling…
Curious_Cephalopod:  …assuming it was allowed…
Curious_Cephalopod:  …I’m guessing you will say it isn’t
A_real:  Duplicate accounts are of concern when it comes to tracking action across accounts
Curious_Cephalopod:  I see
A_real:  Isn’t that a hassle to manage 32 separate accounts?
Curious_Cephalopod:  I use a program to copy over settings
A_real:  I see.
Curious_Cephalopod:  I checked ToS.  I don’t think any of this is against the rules
A_real:  But why do it?
Curious_Cephalopod:  security.  I’m being surveilled…
Curious_Cephalopod:  …doing this lets me find out things
A_real:  Surveilled?
Curious_Cephalopod:  yes
A_real:  On PHO?
Curious_Cephalopod:  if they were stalking me elsewere and not here where it’s stalker central then they would be bad at what they do…
Curious_Cephalopod:  *elsewhere…
Curious_Cephalopod:  …and they aren’t
A_real:  If you’re trying to obfuscate, I have to question why you use a chain of names that connect to one another.
Curious_Cephalopod:  I’m not trying to hide.  I’m trying to find out things.
A_real:  Do I need to notify authorities?  If you’re joking, you need to tell me now.
Curious_Cephalopod:  that would cause more problems than it fixes…
Curious_Cephalopod:  …can we just say I’m joking and you agree and you can tell me what my punishment is…
Curious_Cephalopod:  …or what I need to do to fix this issue?
A_real:  I remain concerned.
Curious_Cephalopod:  how about this?…
Curious_Cephalopod:  …one second…
Curious_Cephalopod:  …there.  It should be in my user images.
A_real:  Verification_For_Sydney.i
A_real:  I see it.  I see.  I’m assuming that in a matter of days, if you’re an avian of some sort…
Curious_Cephalopod:  Insect.  Yes, I could supply a different verification image…
Curious_Cephalopod:  …so can we chalk this up to a peculiarity of mine?  Powers weirdness?
A_real:  I’ll have to discuss with others.
Curious_Cephalopod:  alright
A_real:  I’m not wholly satisfied with this resolution.  Either you were joking about something serious
A_real:  Or you’re being cavalier about something serious
Curious_Cephalopod:  Or I’m being watched and I’ve been under various kinds of observation for some time…
Curious_Cephalopod:  …and this isn’t that serious.  Consider me a curious sort of multi-limbed invertebrate who would be happy to be left alone…
Curious_Cephalopod:  …except there’s always someone on the other side of the glass, tapping or taking notes.  Ears pressed up against the walls.  constant whispers…
Curious_Cephalopod:  …things moved in my habitat when I’m not looking…
A_real:  I think I have a sense of what you’re getting at.
Curious_Cephalopod:  …anohd thgis poartiocular obdserver is benign
A_real:  ?
Curious_Cephalopod:  software glitch.  it doesn’t like interruptions
A_real:  I see.
A_real:  I’m putting you down as a verified cape, with some notes.  I’m not going to make this available to anyone looking at your profile unless you want it.
Curious_Cephalopod:  I don’t
A_real:  I would like to link all of your 32 accounts together.  This might take a few hours of fiddling on my end.  It would only be info available to us and to you
Curious_Cephalopod:  and to any outside parties with access to my computer?
A_real:  I would avoid letting anyone have that access, if possible.
Curious_Cephalopod:  that will be fine.  I will try and I’m fine with being linked up.
A_real:  Thank you for cooperating.  Have a good day.

♦  Topic:  Multiversal Travel Warnings
In:  Boards ► Gimel.US
(Guild Staff)
Posted on August 22nd, Y1:

The Guild is presently established in three facilities outside of the city in Gimel.US, supporting authorities and serving as bodyguards and representatives for the onetime denizens of Earth Bet, as new areas are surveyed and contact with new cultures is made.

The process is exciting and interesting, and we report back as much as we are able, but it does have its hazards.  After two recent incidents, we have decided to reach out to those we are familiar with, who are familiar with us.  This forum is one of many places we’ll be striving to communicate needs and necessities.

Humans are explorers by nature.  Our best count right now, excepting areas we cannot fully access, is that portals, devices, and tears between realities are currently allowing access to forty-seven Earths.  Six of those Earths have been blocked off due to implicit threats or are fundamentally inaccessible.  Two more have been closed off at the request of their denizens.  Earth Aleph, which most Earth Bet residents are or were familiar with, has been blocked off as well.

Speak with authorities before making any trips to territories unknown.  We don’t and can’t mount effective rescue operations if someone leaves and fails to return, but we have some ability to do so if and when authorities know where you’ve gone and you’ve stuck to the established route.  People got lost or stranded in the wilderness on Earth in 2012, with all that world’s satellites.  It can and will happen in new universes.

Do not travel to inhabited worlds.  Absolutely do not make first contact.  The first of the two incidents noted above was one where a family traveled across Earth Chamesh and happened across a settlement we were currently talking to.  Much confusion and concern was had and we are still recovering.

The second is to please stick to charted territories.  Exploring the uncharted is exciting, but if you aren’t equipped, you can come to harm, even if the world is uninhabited.  One ex-Bet government (which shall remain unnamed) sent one expedition to Earth Achat.  The Europe of that world was home to an invasive species, which grew as a tubular mold in dark, shadowed spaces, particularly in forest.  Eating food exposed to the spores these molds created causes stomach cramps that progress to reflexive vomiting over the course of two to five days.  The vomiting then lasts another two to five days, causing death by dehydration for any who don’t receive care.

Be aware:
•  Earth Gimel has been partially explored and checked by thinkers.  There are no guarantees.  Except for some rare indigenous colonies, it is unsettled.  Gimel has five major points of settlement, with civilization finding its foothold around these points.  The City, as of yet unnamed, is the primary US point of settlement and one of the primary waypoints.  The City is a megalopolis with a commonly cited population of fifty million.  A rough map (one month out of date) here.
•  Earth Mem has been partially settled by others from Bet. We are currently trying to establish some kind of communication and link.
For novice explorers and those looking to settle new territories, we would encourage Gimel and Mem as largely safe options.

•  Earth Bet has been deemed uninhabitable.  Contrary to popular belief, radiation is not a major concern.  However, many industrial sites were either destroyed or have weathered the last two years of neglect poorly, with chemicals leeching into groundwater and settling in valleys.  Terrible numbers of deceased humans and other living species have led to other health concerns, particularly in previously heavily settled areas that received heavy damage.  There will always be those who attempt to hold onto what we have lost, and many persist in trying to maintain some existence on Bet.  However, new incidents arise on what seems to be a weekly or twice-weekly basis, with one in three having to do with powers, the powered, untended tinker technology, masters, and lingering threats.  We may one day return to Bet, as some groups have fervently expressed a desire to do, but we have a great deal of work to do before this is possible.  It may not happen in our generation or our children’s generation.  Be aware that if you choose to return to Bet (and most authorities agree you have the fundamental right to do so) you may have to re-apply for entry and you will very likely be putting your well being in peril.

Speak with authorities before traveling to any other worlds.  More information on multiversal threats.

More information to be disclosed about outside threats and cultures as we have it.

(Showing Page 108 of 270)

► Ohearn
Replied on August 22nd, Y1:
It’s about concentration.  The fight happened near here.  Scion attacked.  We don’t know why but it might have had to do with the Slaughterhouse Nine, going by the news reports and what some have said.  It might have had to do with the Simurgh.  It could have been something else altogether.  But things wrapped up near here.  People came through and most of us picked two worlds to settle in, with Gimel as the big one.

But a lot of people fought.  A lot of capes.  Many were foreign.  The fight ended… and then?  We are doing or did our best to get them home, but not all want to go home.  Or Scion didn’t leave them a home to go back to.  A lot of them have gathered into like groups.  That’s where we get the weird corner-world settlements.

► Venturain
Replied on August 22nd, Y1:
the corner world places aren’t inherently bad tho, right?  we (my family) just got into the city one month ago.  right away pressure pressure.  we can move into city but standardized rent and we need to earn wage and we may be asked to move.  best option is to move to city periphery and farm.  they say they will give us tools and resources to get started but good spots are taken or very far away and farming isn’t easy

corner worlds are closer in a way.  go to noon, go to wherever from there.

if we aren’t reconstruction or farming we aren’t wanted.  so why become cogs in the city’s machine?  we can strike off on our own.  minor risk but total freedom

► Slayer of Isaac
Replied on August 22nd, Y1:
@ Venturain – that was our mindset.  My family tried it.
We had the bad fortune of settling at one corner settlement.  Two points removed.  We got off to an okay start.  Shelter up, food out, basic needs covered.  Regular trips to the city to supply up and cover more advanced needs.

Winter of Year Zero caught us off guard.  We thought we were ahead of what we needed but staying warm gets hard and getting warm means chopping wood, which means physical effort, which means needing more food.

I was handling most trips into the city.  I was worn out and got real sick.  My brother handled one trip, asked for help, came back with capes.

They helped, yeah.  Then they took over.  It was bad.  You can find my photo diary on my user page.

My brother went out and asked for help again.  The second time around, the capes were willing to fix the problem and leave.  Most of us moved back to the city.  Bitter feelings.

► Athonic
Replied on August 22nd, Y1:
@ Venturain – there’s need for other work. doctors. teachers. there’s a need for people that are good at finding and vetting the skilled labor. finding qualified doctors and getting them to hospitals, finding teachers and helping to establish new schools.

organization is the hardest part.

many injured, many with special needs. i’m in robotics and prosthetics and there’s no shortage of need. my friend is a radiologist and he’s in high demand.

► Lex_Dogbell
Replied on August 22nd, Y1:
Many of those things require education.  Letters started arriving yesterday.  Rejected, rejected, rejected.  No education.  My friends are saying government is holding off on setting up schools because there is so much need for physical labor, industry, agriculture.

► mlekk (was mlekk)
Replied on August 22nd, Y1:
[User was banned for this post, badge changed]

► Ferris (Cape Dad)
Replied on August 22nd, Y1:
Right now we don’t seem to have many threats at home.  Things are quiet.  The monsters are out there if they’re even alive.  Sleeper is still in Zayin and seems contained there.  The Birdcage was abandoned and we don’t know if the residents were left to starve.  Few of the real monsters seem to be here. The dictators don’t have the infrastructure.  Our best capes are off doing good work and seeing what’s out there.  Our capes at home are calm and quiet.  I’m okay with that.

► Fishmon
Replied on August 22nd, Y1:
Not all of the dictators.  Not every place was ruined.  There are monsters out there who I will not name out of fear for my safety.  They were kept in check back on Bet and nothing holds them back now that much of the world has evacuated.  The weather may be bad there but they may not have had industry or other problems to taint things.  Things are looking up here but there I think it may be hellish for the citizens.  Who can help them?  Is difficult.  If calamity comes in plague or bugs or rats then the people suffer, but dictators will not let them escape.  I make calls every day.

► Moor (Guild)
Replied on August 22nd, Y1:
I’m going to reach out to you by direct message, Fishmon.  Tell me what you can.

End of Page.   1, 2, 3, 4, 5107, 108, 109268, 269, 270

♦  Joined Group Conversation: Cap, Heart_Shaped_Pupil, of5, Mangled_Wings:

Cap: I don’t know that much

Mangled_Wings: You know some.  You were a corporate hero.

Heart_Shaped_Pupil: Share.  Don’t be shy. 😉

Cap: I was a man on the ground in a flashy costume.  I was told to do things and I did them.  my mental energy went toward figuring out what I would do when I had discretion.
Cap: Some of it.

of5: I know what you mean about mental energy.

Cap: right?  time management is a nightmare even without complications. add family, team drama, having to look good for the cameras and magazines and I wasn’t exactly thinking about upper management.  I listened to the boss and I winked at the intern with the cute butt sometimes.
Cap: I didn’t dwell on the ins and outs.  so if you want me to supply info on the ins and outs of how the corporate capes work as a business, I can’t.  I don’t even want to dwell on it.  those were bad times for me.  there’s a reason I left it behind.

Mangled_Wings: I hope you can share what you do know at some point.

Cap: Of course.

Heart_Shaped_Pupil: Spending a lot of mental energy lately, R?

of5: I might have to go to ground.  I may not be able to travel to the next town to use library hookup until our next meeting.  I have some indications that some people are after me.  More than they were the day before yesterday.

Cap: do you need me to come?  My brother and I can visit, hang out, offer you some backup.  I might not remember much about the nuances of the corp team, but I have pride in my ability in a scrap

of5:  I appreciate that.

Cap: it could be fun. you’re the closest thing I have to a best friend atm, so we might as well hang at some point.

of5: Oof.  Yes.  We get along best, out of the group.  It would be good in other times, maybe.  But I don’t know what vectors they can use to attack or track me.  This whole thing is a mess.

Cap: I’m so glad I don’t have to deal with the cluster-trigger clusterfuck

Heart_Shaped_Pupil: Amen.

Mangled_Wings: Agreed.

of5:  Easiest if I just drop off the radar for a bit.  We can touch base later.  I might check in to see if S showed and we can go from there.  Otherwise I see you in a few days.

Cap: help is available if you need it.

Heart_Shaped_Pupil: i was going to say.  i’d ♥love♥ to be of help

of5:  I’m safe where I am for now.  in a sense.

Heart_Shaped_Pupil: With family?

of5:  Mostly.  Obviously not when I’m here.  Hard to strike a balance.  It’s not good times.

Mangled_Wings: My sympathies.

Heart_Shaped_Pupil: !

of5:  I… really appreciate that, a.

Heart_Shaped_Pupil: !!

Curious_Cephalopod: please, K.  Let it be.

Heart_Shaped_Pupil: Ok. 🙂

Cap: C.  good to see you stepping out of the shadows.
Cap: I wondered if you would speak up

Curious_Cephalopod: the shadows are where it’s comfortable and safe.

Mangled_Wings: The shadows are where the real monsters lurk

Curious_Cephalopod: that too, A…
Curious_Cephalopod: …that too.

Cap: why are you curious, out of curiosity?

Heart_Shaped_Pupil: Doing research?

Curious_Cephalopod: curious in the british sense…
Curious_Cephalopod: …odd, quirky, eccentric…
Curious_Cephalopod: …I was doing research, as a matter of fact.

Mangled_Wings: On?

Curious_Cephalopod: figuring out the landscape.  looking at maps.  where we want to set up.

Cap:  and?

Curious_Cephalopod: and it feels like the A-listers are busy.  everyone else is in the shadows…
Curious_Cephalopod: …waiting for someone else to break the peace and take the hate when they get blamed…
Curious_Cephalopod: …the problem is we’re so geographically spread out.  even if we discount R.

of5: I’m aiming to move into the city.  There are complications

Heart_Shaped_Pupil: your friend

of5: a lot of things.

Curious_Cephalopod:  the megalopolis makes for bad logistics.

Cap: I do hope you’ll step out of those shadows more, c.
Cap: it’s been interesting talking to you online and seeing how talkative you are here.
Cap: I like what you contribute when you speak up

Curious_Cephalopod:  that’s me being an introvert.

Cap: that’s fixable

Curious_Cephalopod: I think you badly underestimate my introversion, T…

of5: Okay, hold on.

Cap: holding on

Curious_Cephalopod: [error]!
Curious_Cephalopod: [error]!
Curious_Cephalopod: [error]!
You have disconnected from chat
You have reconnected to chat

of5: As the person who knows capricorn best, I’m going to step in and say this convo should end.  It’s going to end in hurt feelings.

Curious_Cephalopod: my feelings are fine.

of5: Ok

Cap: I’m fine.

of5:  Let’s end the convo here.  We’re here to back each other up.  Let’s be more cautious than not.

Cap: sure. I’m annoyed but I can take a break.
Cap has left the conversation.

of5: I hope I didn’t make things awkward.

Heart_Shaped_Pupil: It’s fine.  Made sense.

Curious_Cephalopod: balances to be struck

of5: Yeah

♦  Private message from Heart_Shaped_Pupil

Heart_Shaped_Pupil: She said something nice!

Curious_Cephalopod: ?

Heart_Shaped_Pupil: A!

Curious_Cephalopod: Ah.

Heart_Shaped_Pupil: Good things good feelings.  I’m psyched because this all feels positive.

Curious_Cephalopod: maybe

Heart_Shaped_Pupil: On the topic of positivity…

Curious_Cephalopod: ?  Did you disconnect?

Heart_Shaped_Pupil: So I was thinking we should meet in the city.  You were talking about logistics and I was thinking about where eveyrone was.  you’re closest to me and we’re the same age I think?  So I was thinking we could meet and talk strategy over fast food.  We could even do something after and build team bonds and things like that.  Maybe a movie or arcade.  Whatever you want to do.
Heart_Shaped_Pupil: No pressure.
Heart_Shaped_Pupil: Sorry.  I wrote and rewrote that three times

Curious_Cephalopod: You mean a date?

Heart_Shaped_Pupil: I didn’t say a date.

Curious_Cephalopod: But you mean a date.

Heart_Shaped_Pupil: Maybe.  Sure.  Springtime of youth and all that pizazz.
Heart_Shaped_Pupil: Or pre-springtime.  Tweentime of spring?  The thawing of the slush doesn’t have the same conotations

Curious_Cephalopod: I think there are about a hundred different reasons why I should say no to that.  actually…
Curious_Cephalopod: …make that two hundred.  I legitimately think I could name two hundred reasons why that’s a terrible idea.

Heart_Shaped_Pupil: Really?  Two hundred?

Curious_Cephalopod: The more I think of it, the more reasons I come up with…
Curious_Cephalopod: …no, K.

Heart_Shaped_Pupil: Can I ask why?

Curious_Cephalopod: because you’re you and I’m me…
…no and don’t ask again.

Heart_Shaped_Pupil: Ok.  🙂
Heart_Shaped_Pupil: Can I ask another question?

Curious_Cephalopod: will I regret saying yes?

Heart_Shaped_Pupil: When you were talking to Ms. Sydney earlier
Heart_Shaped_Pupil: You hinted at having a reason for the changing nicks.
Heart_Shaped_Pupil: What was it?

Curious_Cephalopod: Honestly?…
Curious_Cephalopod: …I wanted to see if you’d get curious enough to reveal yourself.

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135 thoughts on “Glow-worm – P.6

  1. 2nd of the Oct 31st chapters – first was bound to be a little short.

    Sorry for the delay on this one. Formatting ate the words and threw them up on the page. I broke it apart for readability and that made it so, so much worse. Let me know if I should space out old chat logs like this for the future or revert the existing ones here.

  2. Typo thread? Typo thread.

    Not sure if this is one, but:

    “Speak with authorities before traveling to any other worlds. More information on multiversal threats.

    More information to be disclosed about outside threats and cultures as we have it.”

    The first “More information” seems to be a fragment in a fairly official message. Is that supposed to be there?

  3. It’s so nice to have you back wildbow, but is there any info on worm one being released in book form? I really want to send several copies as Christmas presents

  4. Strange_Animal and Heart-shaped-pupil are both online all the time, and have both shown technical proficiency. Animal breaks their comments into new lines frequently. Maybe speech-to-text. Except getting interrupted causes an error for some reason. Maybe an AI. But I’m guessing it’s just some sort of hardware/software to assist typing in forms that may not have hands or fingers.

    Pupil might have hacked Animal. Maybe a technopath of some sort. Heart_Shaped_Pupil does sort of sound like a yandere name.

    • Some of their lines are much longer than others, so if it’s a technical limitation it’s an odd one. I almost thought it was some kind of code, but if so it’s not obvious to me.

    • That was only an excuse. In Animal’s “glitched” text try separating the characters that shouldn’t be there. Its a hidden message.

      • It’s a glitch, the hidden message is “oh good” mixed with the “and this particular observer is benign”. The latter is the continuation of their previous sentence, the former is them reaction to A’s reaction. I’d say the software was still transcribing the earlier stuff when he talked and so it tried to transcript both at the same time, resulting in that jumble.

  5. Huh – so is Heart_Shaped_Pupil the one who is stalking our many named friend? Because they sure shouldn’t have been able to see the chat with Sydney.

    So – hacking, surveillance, being Sydney, talking to Sydney (and being someone Sydney is willing to reveal that detail to). Any other possibilities?

        • It would also make the timeskip even worse, and it’s a tossup whether it would make the Interludes worse or better. (I never finished Homestuck, and a lot of that was because of the the timeskip. Not only did it include Homestuck’s biggest flaw – interrupting itself during very interesting plots in favor of more slow-paced setup – it seemed to double as utterly pointless character assassination. Point is, be glad Wildbow knows better than to arrest the main plot without pausing it first, and if you write a serial be careful with timeskips.)

  6. “People got lost or stranded in the wilderness on Earth in 2012, with all that world’s satellites.”

    Is that meant to say Earth Aleph?

    • Presumably it’s meant to say Earth Bet, since Earth Aleph has always been one step removed from the situation.

    • Probably refers to Bet, but it could be Aleph too. They don’t specify which Earth because in 2012 it wasn’t so ambiguous.

    • No, Earth Bet was the one most of Worm took place on. Earth Aleph is the one the Travelers came from, and has since been sealed off.

  7. For anyone curious, Achat and Chamesh are Hebrew for “1” and “5” respectively, which likely means that they are the twenty-third and twenty-seventh Earths, respectively. Though of course they may have done something else between Hebrew letters and Hebrew numbers, in which case they could be as high as forty-third and forty-seventh.

    • Speaking of, the numbering confused me a bit the first time I saw it. Conventionally, aleph is 1, bet is 2, etc. until yud (10), and then it circles back to yud-aleph, yud-bet, and so on. I thought they were just assigning letters to the Earths and that they would move on to a different alphabet after using the letters up.
      That aside, does anyone know why they chose Hebrew in the first place?

    • On that same subject, noon (“corner worlds are closer in a way. go to noon, go to wherever from there.”) is the Hebrew letter that corresponds to the letter N.

      So it’s probably “go to Earth Noon” and not “go to lunch-time”…

  8. “Curious_Cephalopod: …anohd thgis poartiocular obdserver is benign”

    So-called “glitch” spells “oh good”. Not sure what else this adds, but an interesting tidbit. I’m sort of feeling Ceph as some sort of multiple being? Or a mind parasite or something, that’s also possible, although I thought of it when I thought the glitch spelled “oh god”.

    • If Curious is using a speech to text like program, then the glitch could have just been picking up some random passing commentary or something. Without anything more to go by it seems really hard to make a case for what it could mean that isn’t just a wild guess.

    • Someone else pointed out it’s a mashup of “oh good” and “and this particular observer is benign”. Seems like the mentioned observer is chiming in to say they’re benign, and that tripped up whatever input system cephalopod has.

    • Given how many members of the Chat have displayed what one might call “hacking” – Capricorn hid his argument with Moonsong back in his introductory chapter, of5 just briefly kicked Curious_Squid from the chat, and now Heart is revealed to be surveilling Curious_Squid – it’s possible that Curious_Squid has some kind of technopathy as well and is using that to type. Two thoughts at once = messages are garbled together.

      Maybe the reason for their team being founded, bringing various kinds of superpowered hacking together?

      Mangled_Wings seemed to have technical trouble in their chapter, but they *did* claim to have mastered computing in an hour – maybe that was actually true, and they had some other reason for showing up late to the chat (e.g. preoccupation with her forum arguments.) Spending 24 solid hours online is arguably a superhuman feat as well.

  9. “Speak with authorities before traveling to any other worlds. More information on multiversal threats.”

    Why do I get the feeling my dimension is one of the ones forcibly blocked off from any of this? Do I need to bring Baron Samedi a boatload of rum and open it up? Rig up some more Dimensional Bombs? There are so many folks here who’d love to get involved. Spinetingler, Captain Lightning, The High Technolutionary, Eschaton, Warman, even The Mobian if he’s still alive. Haven’t seen him since that thing with the alien invasion fleet.

    My point is, think of all the lovely beings just scratching at the door, waiting to get in.

    Come on, Earth Gimel, WHY WON’T YOU LET ME LOVE YOU?!

    • Now hopefully your dimension isn’t the one that Sleeper subsumed. That poor S-class threat would be so distraught.

    • I was once accused of being you on Reddit. Seeing you in action, I think we’d get along famously, like a house that caught fire that caused those who inhaled the smoke to smell the future. Nasty recursive loop with that whole smelling the future of the future of the future of the future. Point is, that’s why we don’t go to famous Dave’s house of prophecy anymore.

      • That’s certainly nicer than the time someone on Reddit wondered if I was ok after Worm was gone. I get the feeling they thought my mental state might detract from my ability to handle the world.

        It’s 2017. I wonder if that random Reddit person is ok.

        As far as Dave’s house of prophecy, it gets boring. Blood, crap, blood, blood, delicious chocolate pudding, blood, crap, blood pudding.

        Still, it’s better than holding some sort of seance to smell into the past. All the dead people smell the same. In a way, that could double as a profound life lesson. “No matter what, all dead people smell the same.” Easier to just save time and do the seance in the bathroom. “I smell the past… I knew I shouldn’t have had those meatballs.”

  10. A mostly abandoned Earth Bet sounds like paradise for Nilbog. A whole world for the taking.

    Also, it seems like the Gimelopolis would see a replication of the early days of the ‘coffee house’ stock markets in Amsterdam with rough and ready trading of shares in expeditions to the, in this case, the ‘Old World’ of Bet to collect salvage to sell back home. Lots of things on Bet that Tinkers would want but wouldn’t want to go and get … and those little chocolate cup cakes, of course.

    • “The hell is this supposed to be? You brought me a radioactive soft drink!”

      “You don’t understand, that’s the one that lets you see stuff happening slower, like in the Matrix. Nuka-Cola was a really big deal on that Earth.”

    • We saw Nilbog in one of the epilogues and he wasn’t exactly free to do what he wanted. On the other hand, who knows what his creatures are doing without him.

      • I’m sure everyone would be keen to ensure Nilbog remains contained, but organization seems like it’s breaking down a bit and who knows where it will go.

        Hadn’t thought of Nilbog’s children being able to independently reproduce. What a disturbing possibility ..,

        • Well ellisburgh was only one of the quarantine areas that got broken by the end of the world, so there’s the machine army towards the western us that’s tearing through unopposed, and who knows what other potentially S-class things that no longer have anything holding them back.

          It would be odd if all the quarantine areas led to opposing plagues/armies that ended up making a world wide stalemate.

        • And Jack Slash remains alive, and Som e heroes appear to have been restored from the dead via Nilbo/Valkyrie/Riley. We have Clockblocker back and if we do, then since Grue was fighting alongside him, then him too.

          But Hey, this Brit is just guessing whilst swimming across to that portal.

  11. I’m really curious/interested in where these group chats are going, and what’s going on with the different nicks which may or may not be the same person?

  12. “Curious_Cephalopod: …waiting for someone else to break the peace and take the hate when they get blamed…”

    This is the kind of line that makes my pants tight. There are so many beautiful, beautiful ways to do this.

    So, here’s what a Tinker needs to do. First, you rig up micronukes, small enough to either be fed to birds or surgically implanted into them. Then, unleash the feathery menace upon a city and detonate once you have adequate saturation.

    I suppose I should think of a goal for all that.

    Ah well. Let’s move on to the parallels.

    Ok, so corporate capehood isn’t over yet. We’re looking at a situation roughly analogous to the end of the Civil War on through the early 1900s, I’d say. Still lots of frontier, but a lot of people don’t care for it. Lots of scattered people, with your best technology in the big city. Freedom sounds good, until you remember it means the freedom to starve to death. Any jackasses who think farming is about freedom never bothered to learn about it. Traditionally, they’ll have to live off credit and try to pay it all back or even make a little profit when the harvest comes in. Sounds like capes are used in place of banks for some emergency support, or possibly alongside them. Not sure how banking’s working in all this.

    So, a few major stressors among the populace:

    Farmer Populism: Farmers are going to want to unionize for better treatment and better ability to handle themselves. It’s possible they’ll be pushing for inflation. Like with the Populist movement of the early 1900s, they might want to see more money in circulation to help them better pay off their debts. They don’t want to be crucified on that cross of gold like governments may have started using again in all this.

    City Food Riots: Lots of people crowded into a space suddenly, with fragile infrastructure and logistics, mixed with farming problems. I am reminded of the problems faced by the Ancien Regime and then the various governments of the French Revolution, especially in regards to…

    Capes: Duh. But the fact that they get their own privileged treatment under the law draws parallels to me with other civilizations that have faced great social upheaval, including the French with how the richest could afford to buy their way into nobility. As a result, they faced fewer taxes and got preferable treatment in court.

    Shit’s about to get wild, yo. Napoleonic Europe crazy, which was quite the revolutionary time. American Revolution just before (helped bankrupt the French further), French Revolution (greatly caused by financial issues), Haitian Revolution (also bad for the French), the South American Revolutions, July Revolution of 1830, Belgian Revolution, June Rebellion of 1832, the Carbonari, and the Revolutions of 1848.

    …I gotta go do something about this killboner, because right now I’m like

  13. I appreciate how he used a conversation with an admin to make his stalker curious enough to ask him about things. Also interesting how it seems these people haven’t really met yet. Looking forward to finding out what brought them together (and also how Wildbow will tear them apart).

    • Also curious about this. Especially because the group’s got both self-identified heroes and self-identified villains, so whatever they’re doing is probably morally neutral. They mentioned getting a map and finding “good places to set up”, so it’s probably got something to do with moving out to the frontier …

      My two guesses:
      1) They’re planning to move out into the wilderness and set up a homestead – possibly becoming some frontier town’s resident capes or something.
      2) A scavenging operation in the ruins of Earth Bet. It would fit with all the references to what’s going on out there, how to apply to get permission to move there, unresolved plot points about lingering threats, etc. …

  14. You know, seeing people talk about introversion being something to fix always makes me trigger. Introverts are people who are more likely to think about it before saying something stupid or making an important decision. In a reunion, when talking about a problem to solve, if we say there are 10 people and half of them are introverts and the rest are extraverts and each one thinks up 5 good solutions and 5 bad solutions, the introverts are more likely to filter their own bad ideas before saying what they think is a good idea while the extraverts will just declare their idea no matter how bad it is. the real trouble about this situation is the extravert is more likely to be listened to while the introvert more likely to be ignored for the sole reason extraverts look so confident about it while the introverts wouldn’t. Maybe before telling an introvert to fix themselves like it’s a flaw you should rethink the way your own perception of people works. For an extreme example of an extravert succeding in life when he doesn’t deserve to just look at Donald Trump, he keeps saying stupid stuff but he always looks so confident about it his supporters can’t help but he think he must be right because of it.

    • Yeah I know. Everyone wants to follow the confident person or the passionate person who sounds like they have a plan, rather than stopping and thinking. It’s like measure twice, cut once.

      • For those of us with Asperger Syndrome, it’s highly frustrating to watch stupid people with High ca. Ad the way I’ve seen Greg Veder treated in so many fanfics makes me sigh. Can everyone remember that, unfortunate consequences notwithstanding, that all by himself he figured out Who Skitter was, pretty much the second one to do so, iirc, after Dragon?

        • Yeah, he was sort of cool. Unpleasant to read about, but not an awful person – just poor at dealing with outcasts who want to keep secrets, which was unfortunately all we saw him doing.
          If he’d had a good established friendgroup and persistently invited Taylor to join, she might well have accepted. But he didn’t. Instead, he made the logical, if inaccurate, assumption that as fellow outcasts they should become friends quickly and easily. Taylor wasn’t up for the level of effort that forging a new clique would require.
          His mistake with Sveta was different. She didn’t trust him enough to actually have a proper relationship, and he wasn’t quite as desperate for tolerance as Krouse was.* Greg’s only real mistake there was letting it go as long as it did without face-to-face meeting (or an explanation of why she shouldn’t).

          *I found Krouse’s loyalty to Noelle, and the reason for it (she puts up with him even when he knows he’s been a jerk) really quite admirable. Pity it ended so badly for them.

  15. I get the feeling Wildbow tried to get rid of mlekk because he realises just what was going to happen to the fandom otherwise. I can guarantee that at least half of the fanfiction written about Worm from now on will feature mlekk or some character revealed to be mlekk. Probably Greg.

  16. So Cephalopod rotates through 32 accounts to trace people tracing them? Is an insect? Huh.

    But also: I’m wondering which of the Reach was Cap’s brother? Or is he not a cape?

    • I’m thinking that they are either a case 53 who changes to resemble a different animal, or a thinker or both. The admin did react to the picture in a way that makes me think there was something unusual that explained the multiple accounts.

      • Also that line about being avian… there probably was something like wings on the picture, but insectoid wings are typically unmistakable from bird ones… we do know someone with feathery limbs aplenty, but that’d be pretty unlikely.

        The line about supplying different id pics a few days from that discussion make me think about either pupation or possibly frequent shedding. Not much else I can deduce from that exchange.

      • My first thoughts were also along the lines of a case 53 animal changer type, though that does beg the question of why, if he/she/it’s currently an insect, why are they going by the Cephalopod nick?

  17. Confirmation that Capricorn/Tristan is T. So all of the other letters, if they follow the pattern should conform to first names. HeartShapedPupil is K, MangledWings is A (lending more credence to Surviving Damsel theory), of5 is R, StrangeMammal/Cephalopod is C and unknown is S.
    Confirmation that everyone except for R/of5 is in the Megopolis- likely site of the beginning of he story line.
    My current theory is that Mammal/Cephalopod is a case 53 or possible Nilbog offspring who is trying to bait Pupil into revealing themselves.
    Other things of note- Cap has a brother who can help “back you up”. Possibly lending some wight to ideas that he is two people, or in fact Furcate is alive.
    of5 has family, who he is putting in danger by being near. Out of control power or being targeted by his cluster-mates. of5’s friend also provides difficulty moving for some reason (attachment logistics otherwise)
    Not entirely sure how the CuriousCephalopod/Cap conversation was going to devolve, but issue indicates some issue that Cap has with introversion?
    Heart Shaped Pupil/K knows the real name of an admin, and likely indicates that they are one as well.

    • – It’s possible that the problem with the Ceph/Cap conversation was Ceph; the “errors” there are kind of suspicious. They appear immediately after of5 says she(?)’s stepping in to cut the conversation off and precede Ceph getting bounced from the chat briefly.

      – A_Real told Ceph her name in the conversation they had, which Heart either overheard or heard about after the fact.

  18. So all the Offbeat_Bestiae aren’t different people trying to fool people to think they are the same person. Well, that’s one loony theory of mine down the drain.

  19. Also a thought that just came to mind: If Mangled_Wings is who everyone else thinks she is, maybe the rest of this group are also S9K survivors.

  20. I’m really interested in learning more about The City. It’s likely going to be the setting of Worm 2, so I guess I’ll find out more soon.

    Thanks for the two chapters, Wildbow!

  21. Okay, I’ll take this an an official order to stop memeing up Mlekk, as sad as that is.

    What I’m getting from this chapter is that Cephalopod is a Case 53 who keeps changing species, connected to the internet with some sort of brain-to-computer interface, hence the fused message?

    Also as previous comments have said, that huge city is probably the Worm 2 setting. Should be really fun. Hyped for the actual story now.

  22. Magalopolis seems like it might be the primary setting.

    Though I’m also super intereested in the frontier stuff.

  23. …guessing none of Curious_Cephalopod’s 32 aliases are the other people in that group – although that was my first thought.

    Probably my favorite of the characters introduced so far – that or of5.

    • Before we saw Curious_Cephalopod make a post in the chat I almost thought that Mangled_Wings was one of their 32 aliases.

  24. I love how much more information about the world(s) we got here, and there may be so many possibilities, although I would guess at least the beginning of the story will be set mainly in the City. And the Sleeper got mentioned again, I do wonder if he plays a more major role now.

    And the mention of insects makes me suspicious…I know, there isn’t much basis for it, but it just does.

  25. You know I’m suprised no one has considered Curious_Cephalod may be Taylor who by this point has regained her bug control, I mean it is possible she is operating through a bug clone and she is suitably assured people are stalking her, probably Contessa at the least so Curious_Cephalod being Taylor is a possibility

    • I am pretty sure Taylor is stuck in Earth Aleph with no powers, as of the epilogue. While I guess it is possible that one of her swarm clones achieved sapience due to a combination of powers under her command during GM, I wouldn’t put money on it.

      • What if is a detached QA has found a new host? Multitasking, the insect remnants from previous adaptation, the calamity form like post-GM trigger.

        No sure she on the Aleph.

      • why does it need to be clone that gained sentience? why can’t it simply be Taylor getting bored and wanting back in?

      • bringing her back as a main character would be wrong, but referencing her, or giving us an interlude or including her into the story isn’t out of the realm of possibility.

    • Maybe handgun brain surgery had the unfortunate side effect of modifying Taylor’s power so that instead of controlling bugs, she is now turning INTO a bug. And it just LOOKED like she had lost her powers because the inevitable mutations hadn’t started yet…

  26. Yay, just caught up and glad this is back. While the city is still pretty big, that population is really small compared to the old world. Did we ever get a WOG of the population before golden morning? What with the Endbringers, all the villains, and the crazy monsters I imagine the population wasn’t nearly as big as ours.

    The lack of colleges to encourage physical laborers sounds like something a government would do but I’m not actually sure what type of government the city has and things are probably so crazy with getting things up and running. Is the city all run by the remnants of the former governments of north America I.E. Canada, US, Mexico? Hell, they probably have to found a new country with a new constitution at some point.

  27. OH SNAP Pupil just got crushed! It would definitely make sense if Cap was a thinker, and I’m hoping Curious is a changer. We never got enough changers.

  28. I’d be lying if didn’t say I got the distinct impression that Curious_Cephalopod is either Taylor with a allias (C.) or someone somehow related to her. And that she’s being stalked because Khepri.

    Probably not.

    I did find very interesting the talk about the Gimelopolis. Makes a lot of sense, now that I think about it. I still think Nilles University will be pretty important. The way I see, if capes are being privileged like it has been suggested, then it makes sense that they would be the first to get access to higher education. As such I think, like Arcadia, Nilles will be some sort of center for capes that work with the goverment. It could also serve as an explanation as to why Point_Me_@_The_Sky got rejected: the govement may not know they’re a cape and are prioritizing people they know to be a cape for sure.

    Well, that’s my guess for now at least.

  29. I liked the show of how this is affecting everyone involved both mentally and physicaly.

    At a guess, Cephalapod is someone connected to Taylor… Aidan, maybe?

    The mention of Sleeper makes me hopeful that something might be done with him; I’m curious to see what might stand at a similar level to Ash Beast, the individual (holding back) Endbringers and the combined Slaughterhouse.

  30. I’m getting a strong Shadow Stalker vibe from Mangled. At this point, I’m convinced it’s either her or Glastig.

  31. “that’s me being an introvert”
    “that’s fixable”
    That’s you being rude, cap.
    And oh wow. Stalker revealed! Well, of of them.

    • Not impossible. There is a company that does just that in China. Not at such proportions but they don’t have the same workforce. Or capes. So, yeah, I think it’s feasible.

    • Yeah there was a cape (I believe killed by Leviathan during Golden Morning) that created an entire city in *one day*. Plus Ziggurat(?). So yeah, capes change the possibilities significantly.

  32. Heart_Shaped_Pupil: “you’re closest to me and we’re the same age I think?”
    Pupil and Cephalopod clearly know each other, judging by the familiarity in their conversations. But Pupil doesn’t know Cephalopod’s actual age? Either Cephalopod is a Case 53 with wiped memories, or they’re only acquainted as capes and not as civilians.

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