Glow-worm – P.8

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Subject: PHO Technical Assistance
August 24th, Y1
After discussion among the moderation team, we have agreed to allow the name change.  As we discussed in the tech help chat, our primary concern in these situations is an abuse of the system or a lack of accountability.  This being said, your account is in good standing and you’ve agreed to a probationary status.

Your in-account email, curated lists, private messages, badges, and accesses will remain intact, as will your forum account’s connection to your wiki contributions.

Let us know if there is anything else we can help you with.
Graham at PHO

Subject: Re: PHO Technical Assistance
August 24th, Y1
Thank you so much!  I am having another problem.  I’ve been getting caught up on my PMs/DMs/Emails and there is a lot of abusive content.  All of the recent messages are very hostile or vulgar.  It seems to have started before I even signed back on.  I don’t know why. I’m so sorry to raise problems when I’m probationary.

Subject: Re: Re: PHO Technical Assistance
August 24th, Y1
Graham here. I looked at the incident log and found one major incident that another site admin handled. An article came out here. Two groups online identified the people in that article and shared out their screen names and other information. We took action when people used PHO resources (direct messages, email) to harass one of the individuals in the article.  We took action and removed them, but they may be returning with the use of new accounts and expanding the number of people targeted.

If you could report any or all of those involved, it would help us a great deal.  For solutions, I can think of three options: you can continue to report so we can continue to take action (as these are not the people we want on PHO) and we can hope this quiets down, you can move to a new account and start fresh, or you can agree to give PHO staff access to your private messages so we can take action.  This would involve us reading anything private in the conversations, and it would mean anyone messaging you was notified that PHO staff can read your things. We would limit this to only recent and new senders, so your friends and pre-existnig conversation partners would stay private. As a bonus the notification could help stem the influx.
-Graham with PHO

Subject: Re: re: re: PHO Technical Assistance
August 24th, Y1
I’m not comfortable giving you access as I might receive sensitive or personal messages (and I would want to).  I’ll report what I can.

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♦  Private message from AnonymousEDT103:

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♦  Topic:  [Article] Weld to Warden
In:  Boards ►
News ► Events ►Gimel.US

Posted on August 23rd Y1:

[Article Text, Editorial]His list of credentials starts off good.  A two year tenure as a member of the Boston Wards with no offenses or misconduct reported to the media.  He was the third monstrous cape to feature as an actor on a television show, the first to make a second appearance on TV, and the first monstrous cape with an onscreen kiss.  He was the subject of a viral online image, released with various humorous captions, and it was a combination of this and arguably his small-network television appearances that gave him his popularity.  He rode this success to a position as the first monstrous cape to be the team leader of the Wards.  Ambitious fellow, isn’t he?

Weld’s popularity and time in the spotlight made him a figure of interest when, following undisclosed events in Brockton Bay, he turned from the established heroes and brought the vast majority of the monstrous capes in the Protectorate and Wards with him.  Speculation flew as to why, and Weld was cagey when asked.  No comment, the teenager said.

Weld’s team was dubbed ‘The Irregulars’ in a play on the term for unconventional military squadrons and on the team being wholly made up of monstrous capes.  At this stage, it was still possible to praise Weld for his efforts.  He reached out to monstrous parahumans both American and international, and he kept his team together while carrying out deeds for the camera.  Maintaining a group of such size isn’t an easy task when its numbers are swelling like his group’s did.  He wasn’t too open about his methods or his team’s motivations.

Things take an ugly turn from here.  When Chevalier announced that the PRT was mending its ways and that the person at the heart of the organization’s corruption had been defeated, Weld’s irregular team of monstrous capes kept away and kept silent.  Heroes called for unity, the Suits answered that call, sending many members to America to serve, following a schism of their own.

Even the defeat of Behemoth or the appearance of the new Endbringers didn’t serve to bring Weld back into the fold.  If anything, Weld seemed to note that his team’s numbers were dropping.  He and the monstrous capes serving under him stopped making as many public appearances.  We don’t know what he started doing at this time, but his team was still recruiting.  No comment, Weld said.

It’s telling, too, that Weld’s appearance changed.  He decorated himself with horns and scales.  To those with an eye for the symbolic, Weld was a monstrous cape who was embracing the monster and turning his back on the cape side of things.

More time passed, and more silence followed.  No comment, he said, on the rare occasions when he appeared in front of the cameras.  No comment.

On that Thursday, June 20th, 2013, Scion took our world from us.  He took almost everything from us.  Based on our limited accounts of what happened, Weld was there for the initial foray, an organized series of attacks mounted from an oil rig.  He was not there after, leading a substantial portion of his team to other venues.  There’s no indication of what he was doing, but we do know he wasn’t there for the skirmishes on other worlds, against other major organized groups of parahumans.  We do know he wasn’t there for the follow-up confrontation on the beachhead.

Many will argue it was a chaotic time.  No reports are wholly accurate, the world was ending, and the number of parahumans fighting was no doubt mind-boggling.  Why make a point of this in particular?

To start with, today was the day Weld returned to Gimel after some time elsewhere.  We’ve been told he was doing a combination of work in Earth Bet and spending some time touring other worlds in the company of the mass-murderer codenamed ‘Garotte’ and a pair of unnamed capes the two were friendly with.  He was extended an offer to join the Wardens as a leader of one of the group’s cells, and he accepted.

People are applauding, it seems.  Weld led a rather formidable team of monstrous capes away from the field of battle, at that critical point in our recent history.  He came back practically alone, his team gone.  He’s tight-lipped as to why.

His Wards team didn’t do very well either, for the record. We haven’t heard the full story from him there either.  He claimed that he didn’t want to disparage his former employer, and that they were still on positive terms.

Does he deserve the position?
Is he trustworthy?
Is he even that good of a cape or a leader?

I’ll remind you of two of his favorite words, while you mull over those questions.

“No comment.”

(Showing Page 13 of 13)

Replied on August 23rd, Y1:
Nobody is saying why things happened like they did.  Some are hinting @ it tho.
A lot are hinting at it. Conspiracy of silence.
Weld seems to know things and like the article says he’s keeping his mouth shut.
It is his right to keep quiet.  It is our right to say he’s an asshole for doing it.

Capricorn (Hero)
Replied on August 23rd
Guys guys guys. this is a hit piece and it’s a bad one at that.

Full disclosure: I know Weld some.  he was and is one of my favorite people

But come the fuck on.  Everyone has a motivation driving them. skimming through the comments on this article makes that v. clear.  YES absolutely wonder at weld’s motivations.  wonder about everyone’s.  wonder about the people who are pushing hard for moving forward and about the people who want to go back to the way things were. wonder about the person who wrote this article and why he has the focus he does.

but don’t make the mistake of focusing so much on the question marks that you forget about the other punctuation marks & if someone shows you who they are then believe them.  Weld’s teammates in Boston and Brockton Bay only had nice things to say about him.  Period.  Weld did charity work with kids he definitely didn’t have to do. Period.  Weld served as team leader for a city in need and he kept his wards alive thru the Slaughterhouse Nine and God knows what else- exclamation mark.

Weld has never shown himself to be anything but decent.  if you’re filling in the blanks or raising questions then take your cue from that first & foremost.

Replied on August 23rd
Silence isn’t an option.  Things are heating up, people are scared and we’re scared for a justifiable reason.  Powers came out, and we started seeing broken powers.  People with mutations, people with no off switch.  Monsters who needed to be quarantined.  Endbringers.

Now we’ve got a different kind of broken power.

It keeps getting worse.  It gets worse in a linear and steady way.  These things follow from one another.  There is a visible pattern and there is a sense to be made of things.  The new broken powers follow from the people made monstrous by their powers.  If Weld knows something we have to ask.

We have no authorities.  We have no system of government.  We have no national cape team or licensed heroes.  We can’t even agree on a name for Gimel’s megalopolis!

We can discuss all day but at some point we need to make decisions.  We need to say we deserve to know and if you won’t tell us then no you can’t represent us and no we won’t trust you to have our back.

Replied on August 23rd
@ Capricorn – I think you have some bias you’re not admitting to here.  You disappeared too, didn’t you?  You left Reach and disappeared.  A couple of your old teammates are saying they’re thinking about joining the Attendant and you’re not included in that.  Why?  Are we supposed to use your metrics to evaluate you?  Go by the face you presented to the public?

I think I’d rather read between the lines.  Your old team doesn’t want you for a reason

Replied on August 23rd
1000000000s of human beings died or have yet to make their way to us.


1000000000s of humans with families. mothers and fathers. good days and bad days.

i say 1000000000s instead of billions because billions barely sounds different from millions and i think the zeroes drive it home

the city is as big as it is because we were lucky. we only lost about half of those close to us in N.E. US.

refugees of Earth Shin say a parahuman took over their Earth a decade ago. one woman.  she went back home to continue ruling them.

there is a world not far from us which is at constant war. there are tears in reality they can use to reach us and they have a lot of incentive to do so. they have parahumans too.

there is a theocratic state which is more distant but they have some parahumans too.

there is a world of monsters like Weld and his irregulars.

there are others, smaller.  there are probably others who we haven’t been told about.

every week we get a handful of reports of people triggering with broken powers.  They burn bright and burn fast and they do a lot of damage.

on the smallest level we are quiet and still because we are afraid to disturb the peace.  but on the big level our new neighbors aren’t focused 100% on us.  we’re important.  we’re a powerful few even though we lost 1000000000s. the tyrant queen is looking at us but also watching over her shoulder for the war world and the monsters and the broken triggers.  the war world is wanting to venture out but maybe an expedition is hard to field and they get broken triggers too.  they’re getting more regular triggers.

the truce will break, both on the small level and the big

we are hurting from the loss of 1,000,000,000s and we are only just now reaching the point where we need to make decisions. what do we call ourselves? what direction do we go? Do we move forward or backward?

Like i said we are smaller in number than we should be. we’re hurting. we’re distracted and scattered.

but i think we have the most powers at our disposal.  that’s important.

and i think we’re best equipped to have the answers when others come asking.  i think that’s the most important thing by far.  they are going to ask and we are going to want to have answers to offer them

i think we need people to start telling instead of hinting.  information is the most valuable resource at all.

Replied on August 23rd
Information is also more volatile than oil, nitro, or nuclear material.  Look at the secret identity leaks going on in this thread.  Targeted harassment of Weld & others.  If hundreds or thousands agree to keep quiet about things then maybe there’s a reason.

Let’s not turn into a rabid mob

Replied on August 23rd
Humanity has seen its worst test yet and it came out the other side.

I’d like to draw a comparison.  I’ve read some of these pages and I see an effort to make us out to be the enemy.  the monstrous capes are this mysterious thing and some of us are made out to know things that we aren’t saying

I can tell you who we are.  just like you we’re scarred.  we were hurt very badly and altered very dramatically and we didn’t get to know why.  we desperately wanted answers because our histories friends and families were taken from us.  we were forced out of our homes and thrust into a strange place and many of us were left desperate or dangerous.  Just like some of you.

We learned some partial truths and that made things worse.  Then after a very long time and a lot of pain we learned most of the rest of the truth.

I won’t pretend its easy.  I struggled every day and then I struggled more after the end of the world.

But we fought a hard fight whether it was to save the world or to get to safety or to climb out of dark angry depths.  We came out the other side.  Every day we survive is a day we can say “I was THAT strong so I can definitely survive this.”  Replace I with WE because we are all together in this.

I don’t know if that will work for you but it helped me

End of Page.  1, 2, 3, 4, 511, 12, 13

♦  Topic:  help
In:  Boards ► Groups
► C53

Posted on August 23rd Y1:

I would like to thank you all for reading this. I was invited to post here by Quasi after I posted in some other places.  Quasi has been talking to me and resurring me.

I remember hearing about the monster heroes and I never payed much attention to them.  Now I think I am one.

My name is Casey Forks and I would be starting high school this fall if things hadn’t gone bad.  My mom hasn’t been well for a long time and my brother has the same condition so we decided to stick it out and whether things.  we had a shelter and we had some food.  my dad and I went to stores and raided them for more foods that would last and we stocked up.

The shelter didn’t work out.  we all got headaches and dad said the air filters weren’t sufficent.  we went upstairs into the house and sealed all the gaps and dad tried to fix up the filters.  long story short that didn’t work out either.  I should have tried to get somewhere safe but I stayed.  I shouldn’t have stayed.

I didn’t think enough about monster capes or about those with powers but now I am both.  Maybe I am not Casey anymore.  I am frozen like the dead people who have lying on the ground for the years since the world ended, like a mummy without bandages.  Mold grows on me and grows around me and it covers everything I can see and think about.  I am a god of death and decay and I am an open fridge door with mold growing inside it and spilling out.  with every passing day and hour and minute I am less like casesy and more a god of gross fridge stuff.  my world of mold gets bigger every moment

I grew mold on my dads body and I could make him move.  I grew mold on his brain and I got him to think and with his thinking I finally got the generator and the router and the phones working.  It helped that I grew mold on the pieces and parts.

Now I am making my sister type because I cannot move any part of me a milimeter and I am asking heroes for help. I’m internet famous and there are articles written about my situation so that gives me some hope

But more importantly I am trying not to lose my mind.  Quasi is helping me with that and he said you would all help by sharing your stories.

I am so scared that the heroes won’t save me but I am just as scared they’ll save me but they won’t be able to fix me.  I am scared that I won’t be able to move.  I am scared I won’t be able to hug a pretty girl or lie next to her in bed.  I never cared about the rude stuff that much I thought that the cuddling would be the nicest part.  I want to see the world through eyes that aren’t moldy and to take a deep breath and scream or even laugh.  I want to play soccer again with all my friends there and I want my parents to be there and be proud.

Tell me I’ll be ok.

(Showing Page 3 of 3)

Replied on August 23rd, Y1
Thank you thank you for your words.  they give me hope.

Replied on August 23rd, Y1
Be strong brother.  With powers all things are possible.  Through trauma and struggle we find ourselves so much stronger.  It takes time to adjust and it takes time and effort to find the right keys to the right locks.  With help (and you have so much help!) Clocks can be turned back and flesh can be reshaped.  We killed a god and the worst is behind us.  Slowly but surely we will put the pieces back together.  If I did not believe this 100% then I would not be here to write this message to you.  Be strong.

Replied on August 23rd, Y1
I am trying.

Replied on August 23rd, Y1
thank you all so much

Replied on August 23rd, Y1
I read some of your old posts Casey.  when you fractured your ankle playing soccer you were worried you would never play again but you got there.  When powers are involved the lows are so much lower but the highs are high enough to make it all so very worth it.  You are funny, smart and cool and people wouldn’t be rooting for you if you weren’t.  Your fears echo mine when I realized what had happened to me.  I worried I would never have control or have a boy next to me or anything else.  I can tell you it is possible.

Fishie (Board Admin)
Replied on August 23rd, Y1
Thread locked.  Article with details/wrap-up here.

Casey has been added to the names thread here.  We won’t tolerate objections on the matter.  He was close enough to being one of us.

End of Page.  1, 2, 3

♦  Private message from Whippersnap:

Whippersnap: I saw you in the casey thread. you had your name changed but you did a bad job of covering up the change.

Space_Squid: I didn’t cover it up.  The old name was a lark at a time I needed to laugh but I’m done with it.  Its embarrassing now

Whippersnap: some of us were talking in the chat and we agree you weren’t an ally in the end.

Space_Squid: I see

Whippersnap: Egg was only one to come back from there. he said you and Weld stopped us from getting justice

Space_Squid: the messages I got.  They weren’t from angry civilians.  They were from you?

Whippersnap: from us.

Space_Squid: okay.  no need to worry then.  I won’t come back.  I wish you all the best.

Whippersnap: fuck you

Space_Squid: You should know I killed her.  The one who did this.

Whippersnap: you stopped us from getting our justice and took it for yourself.

Space_Squid: I guess so

You have left the conversation.

Subject: PHO Technical Assistance
August 24th, Y1
Hi Graham,
Space Squid here.
I hate to be a pain.  I’d like to ask if it’s okay if I just deleted my account and started fresh.

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

Cap: pisses me off

of5: Its the way it goes.  He’s a tough guy.  He can roll with it.

Heart_Shaped_Pupil:  S!

Mangled_Wings: Hi S.

Kraken_in_a_Jar: hi

Heart_Shaped_Pupil:  ! ! ! ! ! ! Yes !

Kraken_in_a_Jar: *hugs Kenzie to get her to stop wiggling*

Heart_Shaped_Pupil: *dies*

Weird_Insect: geez K, that’s not funny…
Weird_Insect: …we’re using short-form names btw, S.

Kraken_in_a_Jar: Oh I see.  I don’t really see the point but ok

Heart_Shaped_Pupil: sorry

Kraken_in_a_Jar: its ok
It put a smile on my face K.

of5: here we are.  it’s really good to see you, S.  Keyboard got?

Kraken_in_a_Jar: I got my fancy keyboard.  Everything fine tuned.  Saw the worlds.  Spent time with my favorite person.

Cap: speaking of

Kraken_in_a_Jar: it’s ok.  he’s tough.
Kraken_in_a_Jar: thank you for rooting for him.
Kraken_in_a_Jar: it meant a lot to see your name there.
Kraken_in_a_Jar: I see the anger and the agitation and I think really people are not complaining about what they are complainng about.

Cap: How is Weld doing?

Kraken_in_a_Jar: Hes good.  Hard to tell sometimes because he is so strong.  Emotionally.  He busy but good.  New position means a lot even if I can’t go with him.

Heart_Shaped_Pupil: You’re with us

Kraken_in_a_Jar: Absolutely

Cap: things are stirring.  world is about to shift.  we ride the wave.

Weird_Insect: we have work to do first.  organization to do.  things to figure out.

Cap: (he’s so different online)

of5: don’t start cap.

Kraken_in_a_Jar: did I miss much?

of5: someone put a hit out on me.  that’s fun

Kraken_in_a_Jar: !?

of5: It’s no big deal.  Nothing is happening just yet.  You’ve been gone 5 days?

Kraken_in_a_Jar: 5 days.  Weld left to go talk to people and brought me with.  we had to wait for keyboard order so we got a boat and permission and went looking.  Tried to find my place of birth.  no luck but was some of the best days of my life

Cap: I’ll take that as a challenge.  see if we can’t top your boat trip.

Kraken_in_a_Jar: you didn’t make any major decisions?

Weird_Insect: No.  we wanted to wait for everyone.  Cap saw you online and figured it was you.  he got ahold of R and I made sure the others stuck around.

Heart_Shaped_Pupil: I wouldn’t have let them either for the record.  you’re one of my favorite people

Kraken_in_a_Jar: Thank you, C.  *hugs K*

Heart_Shaped_Pupil: *dies*

Kraken_in_a_Jar: it means a lot to me.

Mangled_Wings: Strength in numbers

Kraken_in_a_Jar: Not in numbers.
Kraken_in_a_Jar: I don’t think so.
Kraken_in_a_Jar: I think its strength in difference.  We all stand at different angles and places.  See things differently.  we can support one another and hold each other up because of that.  but we have commonalities.  A and me.  K and me.  K and C.  R and B.

Weird_Insect: T&A.

of5: Haha

Heart_Shaped_Pupil: !!!!

Cap: oh my god, C.  you can’t go being funny like that.  you’re not allowed.

Heart_Shaped_Pupil: I’ll PM you to explain, A.

Mangled_Wings: No need.  I didn’t think it’s funny.

Weird_Insect: thank you, A…
Weird_Insect: …it was a lame lame joke…
Weird_Insect: …rest of you don’t laugh too much or I am going to quit

Kraken_in_a_Jar: we’re doing this because we work together.

of5: It’s been weird not having you around, s.  I think the balance is defintely something we need to keep an eye on

Kraken_in_a_Jar: Balance 100%.
Kraken_in_a_Jar: we represent the lead we want others to follow
Kraken_in_a_Jar: stability

Cap: yeah

Kraken_in_a_Jar: strength

Mangled_Wings: Absolutely.

Kraken_in_a_Jar: cooperation

of5: Yep

Kraken_in_a_Jar: and honesty and good health and kindness and moving forward and all of that junk.  I feel really awkward now because people keep saying yes and now there are expectations and I feel like there’s an order to it.

Weird_Insect: all that junk, yes.

Heart_Shaped_Pupil: Don’t feel awkward!  no expectations.  Well, some.  but is good.  we should have you be leader for this project and do the speeches.

Kraken_in_a_Jar: I am not a leader.  Let me think on the speeches
and I’m really tired of pulling on these knobs especially after all the travel.  I think I’m going to get myself free and find another.

Weird_Insect: nobody say it

Heart_Shaped_Pupil: another knob?  ! ! !

Weird_Insect: damn it, K

Kraken_in_a_Jar: He’s definitely not a knob
I’ll probably see you all online at some point.  if I don’t I’ll see you at the next meeting.  Soon.

Mangled_Wings: Soon

Last Chapter                                                                                               Next Chapter

181 thoughts on “Glow-worm – P.8

  1. Oh, I guess the chat group is surviving Irregulars from the Caldron battle.

    Also, yes, someone who knows really should go tell everyone about the story behind the malfunctioning powers; that’s a group that should at the least include every parahuman in the field when Teacher’s minion counteracted the memory-wiping effect on a trigger vision.

  2. Well I suppose Sveta makes a lot of sense. Also Weld and his crew we like Faultline in that they we main characters of their own story that we didn’t really get to watch.

  3. So we’re seeing Sveta? And we also see that this project has been in the works for a long time. And that it’s a project, something meant to send a message. Not just a team. Curious.

    I was actually wondering whether adjective animal was Sveta, a few chapters back. I suppose I was wrong, but she still made an appearance.

  4. “A world filled entirely with monsters like the Irregulars.”

    Filled entirely. We know of only one world that’s been overrun by broken powers/case-53 equivalents, at least from Worm canon. Starting from somewhere corresponding to Italy, contamination spreading through the water and the food, shadows spreading through the air to merge with their victims and make them into monsters.

    Is this what remains of Contessa’s homeworld?

    (And, for that matter, where is Contessa? I’d like to think that she took a little bit of a family vacation, to track down the remnants of her family/village and pay them a visit … )

  5. Aw, I’m glad Sveta is doing so much better. Weld, too. Those poor kids deserved a happy ending or as close to one as you can get in the Wormverse.

    Surprised Sveta decided to join some new cape group/project instead of joining to the Wardens with Weld.

    • It sounded to me like they wouldn’t/couldn’t take her. I could be misinterpreting this section of the chatroom though.

      “Cap: How is Weld doing?

      Kraken_in_a_Jar: Hes good. Hard to tell sometimes because he is so strong. Emotionally. He busy but good. New position means a lot even if I can’t go with him.”

      • I think you interpreted it right. I thought she had learned much better control of her limbs given that she can type now but maybe she’s still too dangerous to be around and the Wardens won’t accept her because of it.

          • Hey you have superstrong razorwire limbs you can’t control that try to crush anything that stresses you, you see how long it takes before the manslaughter charges pile up. My body count would only be in the triple digits because I live in the country and don’t get out much.

            • Hahahah. Ohh, you guys crack me up.
              On a serious note, wouldn’t Panacea have been willing and able to rewire Sveta’s nervous system to give her proper control? Maybe her manslaughter history is the only thing keeping the Wardens from accepting her with open arms. As it were. (Hehehe.)

              • I’m not sure she can? I can’t help but think that if Panacea could fix Case 53s that would have come up in Worm with them coming to Brockton to be healed in droves.

              • Pancea- “Yes after all the last time I altered a cape’s brain to affect their interactions with their passenger worked so great.”

              • That’s true, since it’s not just that their body has changed, it’s that their passenger actively changed their body. Their body *is* their power; changing the body would require modifications in the same vein (heh) as creating Khepri.

              • Huh. I was sure I had replied to Arcanist before. Oh well, at least it was still Copied:
                “Firstly, Panacea ostensibly didn’t take requests.
                Second, Case 53s that she could cure were probably in low supply; Weld is metallic, most of the Case 53’s we saw were villains or at least legally sketchy (Trainwreck, Labyrinth, Gregor, Shamrock, Matryoshka, and Nyx, as I recall, as opposed to Weld and possibly Hunch).
                And thirdly, Sveta’s problem was clearly related to her brain. Amy may (or may not) be willing to mess with those now, but she certainly wasn’t back when Sveta was in custody. So it’s at least theoretically possible.”

                As to Amy not wanting to mess with power-brain relationships again? Maybe. Curing Sveta might be roughly the opposite of what she did to Taylor, giving the passenger less influence instead of more, and she might do it as atonement and/or practice for if she sees Taylor again. Or she might want to never mess with brains again. We just don’t know.

        • She could type before too.
          It was heavily implied in the tags that she was GStringGirl from Gregs interlude.
          Also I get the impressions from the way she talks about pulling knobs at the end, that she might be using a custom keyboard?

  6. So Sveta being here makes me think this is either a part of the old irregulars (more likely because of the mention of Weld), or a group from the hospital Sveta used to be in (less likely, but not impossible; and I really like the possibilities here — like, what happen to Victoria? Are we going to see more of her?).

    I am starting to be convinced that the members of the group chat present in all chapter are going to be the main characters, either from the get go or after the protagonist joins them or something. The mention of Weld in the forum creates an interesting contrast between his PR before and now and I’m excited to see how he has changed.

    Casey’s story was very provocative and while I don’t feel like it is going to become important later on I think it adds a lot to the understanding of the situation and I would like to see some more of it.

    I’m really enjoying the snippets so far Wildbow, keep up the good work.

    • I hadn’t even considered that the group might be made up of former residents of the hospital. It makes sense that all the character’s have been messed up by their powers/circumstance and united via mutual understanding.

      Mangled: Seems to have had her mind altered by their powers or trauma and has some kind of antisocial disorder.

      Cap: Seems to have some weird duality stuff going on, possibly as a result of their powers.

      Squid: Seriously dicked over by her powers.

      Heart: Socially isolated by her powers in some way? some other factor?

      Insect: …my first guess is they’re a tinker experiment but their is something weird going on with them.

      Of5: Was dicked over by their powers in the sense of having a posse of people who want them dead.

    • “Casey’s story was very provocative and while I don’t feel like it is going to become important later on I think it adds a lot to the understanding of the situation and I would like to see some more of it.”

      I find it particularly interesting because it was hinted at in chapter 6:
      “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.”

      • Probably not the same incident; firstly Casey was apparently on Earth Bet; known by PHO members from an injury sustained pre-GM and didn’t evacuate. Secondly, Casey is apparently rather decisively off the internet, not hanging out being a continent-wide exclusion zone (though a mild one). Could be an alternate universe triggering with the same/a related shard, though.

  7. Maybe they’re planning to break the silence. If they’re supposed to be a diverse group representing different things, then maybe Animal isn’t a Case 53. Maybe he’s a broken trigger or something. Would make sense with him being under observation and young.
    Animal: broken trigger?
    Mangled: clone of a villain
    Kraken: Case 53
    of5: multi-trigger
    Capricorn: corporate hero. Possibly ‘weird’ in some mundane sense (gay or something) (seems there were two pre-worm works with a protag named “Caprice,” but it doesn’t look like they’ve been posted anywhere)
    Pupil: former Ward. Likely Thinker or Tinker.

  8. More hints that Adjective_Animal is another case 53! Cap says “he’s so different online”, suggesting that Sveta used to know him in person …

  9. > Her old nick was “GStringGirl”, for the record.

    You have got to love the sense of humor in Worm. 🙂

    Also, HYPE! And thanks, Wildbow.

  10. Casey gives me the goddamn shivers. That’s basically a patient-zero-cape. Potential zombie apocalypse with a planning mind behind it. And if this mold behaves like normal mold and spreads whereever its host-objects go, then Casey is (was?) an instant class S threat. A potential self-spreading epidemic of mind-jacking fungus. I’d take Khepri over this any day of the week.
    What’s even worse: Are the people that got taken over dead? Are they still concious in there like the people that Regent body-snatched? Both have PRETTY ugly implications.

    On the plus side: SVETA! ^___^
    I’d be happy to see her playing a big(gish) role this time around. 😀
    Can’t wait for the first arc of Worm 2 to start.^^

        • I suppose that could have happened, but I’m pretty sure he did the job himself. Not sure if I can explain it, but the tone of his last comments suggests that to me.

          On the plus side, at least he had someone there to let everyone know. I’ve pondered that before, about if someone dies and just seemingly drops off the face of the Earth. A web serial might just stop updating. People just go “Huh, guess it’s a dead one,” and move on, never knowing what really happened.

          And now for something amusing. Ahem… “It’s much easier to become a good necrophiliac than a bad motherfucker.”

          • I don’t know, Casey sounded kinda hopeful and thankful for support. The heroes definitely came in and “helped”, with likely negative PR fallout (but honestly, it was either that or another exclusion zone they don’t have the resources to maintain right now).
            Can’t rebuild civilisation without cremating some moulds, as they say.

            • It’s entirely possible Casey was hopeful while thanking people for their kind words. People in that state of mind can be hopeful that whatever they’re going through is about to end, and try to make other people feel better about what’s about to happen.

              • Also don’t think he was physically capable of killing himself. What was he going to do, rot himself to death with mold?

          • People knew about his death the same day. His last comments were “I am trying.” and “thank you all so much”, on August 23rd, and then the thread’s locked by an admin, still on August 23rd. Complete with a link to more information. If he just died, from his own power eating his body or something, you’d think it’d take a while for people to conclude that it’s not just his internet connection having failed. If it was a suicide, you’d think he’d have left a note in the same thread he was posting other stuff in. And if he was executed for reasons or national security, you’d think they’d have covered it up and made it look like a natural death.

            I don’t think it’d make sense for the PRT to do that, anyway. They could have nuked the Goblin King if they wanted to, but chose instead to build a containment zone around him. That guy single-handedly killed everyone in his whole town, turned them into monsters, and declared himself a sovereign kingdom. Mold Man is more cooperative in basically every way.

            • I see two likely possibilities.

              1) He was killed, but not by the PRT. Some other faction got wind of him and either decided he was too much of an existential threat to humanity as a whole or too powerful to let sign on with the PRT and firebombed his house preemptively

              2) The PRT sent some people to help him out, and it turned out there was a disastrous interaction between him and living human tissue, especially of parahumans, (it seems reasonably likely his trigger event was choking to death on contaminated air among the corpses of his family) and the situation rapidly escalated from “slow-moving zombie mold outbreak on a basically dead world” to “Simurgh starts setting up a room for her new stepsibling”

              • Speaking of the Smurf… You know they really could use someone who’s power is to figure out plans to solve problems, and works better the bigger the problem is right now. Too bad Smurf set up Accord’s death.

    • Just realized what might be the most tragic part of that whole situation …

      From the timing of the posts, it’s fairly obvious that the heroes went to help him in response to his forum posts, but ended up killing him once they got there.

      Or did they go out there intending to kill him from the beginning?

      Given the timing, he must have been reading that forum thread, listening to the other case 53s reassure him that he was going to be okay, when it happened. Was he still typing out his reply to Sveta at the moment that he died?

    • Well, he “grew mold on [their brains] and got them to think”, implying that any thought they took was motivated by him. The pathways and subsystems selectively activated by what appear to be distributed-intelligent fungal nanomachines. Whether or not they were conscious may not be a definitively answerable question, but I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t have time to form an emotive response to any situation before a their entire mind jolted to the next task, or simply turned right back off. Would like soon be a moot point in any case, as the workarounds would take on more permanence, and inefficient quirks of the appropriated systems (personality, ego, etc) would be smoothed over and ironed out entirely.

  11. See? Not worth the flesh they’re printed on. A world of monsters. A world of constant war. Psh.

    To quote Jareth the Goblin King, “I wonder what your basis for comparison is.”

    No, seriously. I can’t think of a world without constant warfare. This is someone from the Earth where they were constantly fighting against Endbringers at the very least. I can’t even remember if more conventional wars were mentioned, but of course they fucking happened. There are wars going on just this moment. Ethnic cleansings. Skirmishes. Police actions. Terrorist actions. There is always someone dying in a conflict like that. Losing their mind over a “world of constant war.” If that pansy can’t handle constant warfare, then they better wrap their heads in a nice soft blanket and pretend they live in a nice, gentle world, with packing peanuts and wrapping bubbles all over the place so nothing bruises their fragile view of the world whenever they look around.

    And a world of monsters? Compared to what, pink bugs that emit cyanide? Foot-long spiders? Enormous squid that live so deep in the oceans we first learned about them from their battles with colossal whales? Or maybe it’s the mostly-hairless apes who dropped out of a tree one day and started tearing atoms apart the next.

    Some people need to read their history. I’ve seen shit that’ll turn you white.

    • While it’s true that there’s armed conflict somewhere in the world on a daily basis, most people, at least those living in the developed world enjoy relative peace most of the time. When they say world of constant war, I think a world locked in a global conflict that has lasted generations, a conflict to make the two so-called World Wars of our world look like minor civil wars by comparison(and while WWI and WWII are easily the most massive conflicts in our history, to call them World Wars is to grossly exaggerate their geographic scale).

      As for the world of monsters, I’m assuming they mean monsters in appearance rather than monsters in deed, though I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s some “if it looks like a monster, it must be dangerous” prejudice going on.

  12. Its good to see Sveta is still alive and well. Shame that the other case 53s seem to hold a grudge against her now (seriously, they couldnt all kill Doctor Mother).
    By the way, given that the case 53s had Eden shards, aren’t they pretty much immune to having the broken trigger shards? Or can those still jump to them?

    • Can the broken triggers jump to anyone that already has powers? Would think not, but I’m curious about this …

      • I’ve been assuming that the shards could jump to people that had Zion shards, as we know capes can have multiple shards in specific circumstances (cluster triggers).

    • Maybe they wanted a mock trial / execution thing… but it’s not like that would have satisfied the batshit insane mob they were back then.
      It’s telling they can’t see that even after a couple years to look back on it.

    • Yes well it seems like a lot of Case 53’s decided to be monsters inside as well as outside. Come to think of it what happened to Gully? IIRC she was there at Cauldron HQ and sided with the majority against Weld. Then last I remember seeing of her she was looking queasy when the others were bathing in Slug’s blood.

  13. Tells you all you need to know about people. The equivalent of a god turned on them, destroyed their world, now they’re split across multiple other Earths, lucky to have food and electricity. And when they get the internet back, they start attacking each other, cyber stalk each other, use it to insult people, and send hate mail.

    The aeroplane and the radio has brought us closer together. The very nature of these inventions cries out for the goodness in men, cries out for universal brotherhood, for the unity of us all. Even now my voice is reaching millions throughout the world, millions of despairing men, women, and little children, victims of a system that makes men torture and imprison innocent people.

    To those who can hear me, I say ‘Do not despair.’ The misery that is now upon us is but the passing of greed, the bitterness of men who fear the way of human progress. The hate of men will pass, and dictators die, and the power they took from the people will return to the people. And so long as men die, liberty will never perish.

    …of course, can’t take credit for those last two paragraphs, but it needs saying, often.

  14. Man, fuck broken triggers. I hope the theory I read that they’ll get better at adapting to humans with enough time is true, because otherwise this will just keep happening forever, won’t it?

    If I’m reading right, Casey was added to a list of Case 53 names even if he wasn’t one, in a honorary fashion. That was a bit moving.

    And Sveta will be our tie to Worm 1? I can accept that, she was cool.

  15. Sveta! Yes!

    And I see most Case 53’s continue going from being victims to assholes. Maybe she should tell them what happened.
    “Well everyone turned out to just be using Weld and decided bathing in the blood of those that wronged us was more important than trying to save all Earth’s. So then Karma caught up with us as we got stuck between the two most dangerous forces the planet’s ever seen, and most of the ones who’d decided to be assholes got killed. And I had a freak out and sliced up Doctor Mother’s head. And took off one of Skitter’s arms which I’m pretty sure makes me automatically badass. Anyways long story short, everyone who went for bloody vengence died and only me and Weld who kinda did want to do the right thing made it out.”

    • “Yeah, right. You and Weld get to act like you have the moral high ground while everyone who contradicts your story is dead.”

    • “[…]took off one of Skitter’s arms which I’m pretty sure makes me automatically badass.”

      Damn right it does.

    • Its suprising how easy it is to go from “victim” to “asshole”

      Abuse and neglect breeds negativity, which in turn breeds evil. Kindness breeds positivity. Some may get mostly negative stuff but grab on to the few positive, while others may fixate on the few negative, but the world is not as simple as to name victims “innocents”

      Most bullies were bullied. Most terrorists grew up in abuse and poverty or social isolation. Same with school shooters. Most corrupt people at powerful positions have to fight insecurity born of a crappy childhood. Many asshole stars had to deal with neglect followed by adoration, with no one sincerely caring about the real them, creating a warped world in their mind. Its not necessarilly an excuse: people often face the same and get out of it stronger.

      But one has to remember that a victimiser is almost always a victim.

  16. Why does everyone keep saying adjective_animal is not Sveta. The while squid motif made that pretty clear.

    Also she’s such a sympathetic character. She loves Weld not just because he’s a completely swell dude but also because she can’t massacre him.

    And damn Casey, you’re that fungus boss from the Last of Us aren’t you.

  17. I’ll have to come back and read the comments on this one – it sounds like it drops enough clues to put a lot of things together.

    …makes a lot of sense how … awful, everything has gotten in PHO. Everyone is traumatized. Everyone has stuff to be angry about, furious about, heartbroken about. Everyone is dealing with heroes turning into villains and villains turning into heroes and evil schemes implied and come to light. And all that is bubbling over into everything.

    • World kinda almost ended. For a lot of worlds it did end. Very few of the known earths weren’t affected somehow. Yeah I’d say that was traumatic.

  18. I can’t be surprised, after over a million and a half words of brilliance, but I’m still so impressed with how these prologues kept getting better and better, one after another.

    These last 3 in particular were just so exciting, fun, and interesting. I fully expect to reread all of these after we get to formally meet and learn about this lovable band of misfits.

    I can already imagine any (or ALL) of them being the protagonist, and I’d be perfectly happy about it.

    • If they all being the protagonists, then we will have a roulette of doom.
      Although given that this is the Worm, it would still be. However, we are more likely to get a POV change in this way.
      And many unreliable narrators. Hmm … It will give a lot of fan!

      • No, no, no this time everyone’s going to survive and their all going to live happily ever after. And we’ll find out that Foil and Parian are still together and happy, and Dragon and Defiant have kids, none of which turned evil, and Weld and Sveta will have a succesful long distance relationship!

        Actually I’m a little surprised in some ways. I was kinda expecting a long enough gap between Worm and the sequel that most everyone would be dead of old age. And that’d be one way to never have to worry about if Taylor was on Earth aelph or dead.

  19. Could C be Cherish/Butcher? ‘Heart Shaped Pupil’ and name starts with C.

    And someone mentioned Butcher on the forums.

    Coincidence? Maybe.

    Hotel? Trivago.

    • Heart_Shaped_Pupil is K, aka Kenzie. C is Adjective_Animal and if Kenzie’s unfinished chatbots are anything to go by, C stands for Chris.

    • The current theory* is that Point_Me_@_The_Sky is Cherish, what with their 1 rational part and precisely 14 irrational parts. Doesn’t that just scream Butcher 15?

      *theory as in I saw a single thread discussing it pages ago, but thought it was cool and remembered it.

      • You know what, that’s it.

        Props to whoever realized that; we all *knew* that it wasn’t an irrelevant detail(I just wasn’t remembering the number 15), it was just hard to put it in perspective.

  20. Well, my estimation of Cap just went up about 5 or 6 notches.
    Also, when I realized Space_Squid was Sveta my heart grew about 3 sizes.

  21. Oh my gosh, our Sveta’s all grown up and leading teams! How many people can say they personally disarmed Khepri? 😛

    Also, I can’t help but feel like the fact Ball-Chan kept saying “monstrous capes” instead of “case 53s” made it clear they were a bigot from the start…

    • While their bigotry is self-evident, the terms aren’t actually synonyms. Case 53s are released Caldron experiments with memories wiped, and a subset of the overall grouping of Caldron customers with bad reactions+people with broken triggers.

      • Additionally, not all Case 53s are monstrous capes. Although apparently far more rare, capes like Shamrock have no obviously monstrous features (beyond green hair) but still got their minds wiped and tattooed with the upside down Omega.

          • That’s what I thought, but I assumed I’d been misremembering. Wish we’d seen more of her, she seemed cool. (So did Matryoshka, actually.)

    • To be fair, I’ve been re-reading worm (as preparation for the sequel and because I needed my fix…) and “monstrous cape” seems to be the catch-all term used by regular folks. Even Tattletale initially uses that term. “Case 53” is apparently the code name the PRT coined for them, so it would be kind of an “official term”, not necessarily known by everyone – while “monstrous cape” would be more… everyday language. (Cauldron called them “deviations” btw.) I wouldn’t call someone a bigot just on account of using a somewhat common, albeit insensitive term. (Plus, he quoted an article, he didn’t write that thing himself. Although him quoting this in full length might say enough in itself… The label “bigot” MIGHT apply here after all…)

      • Case 53 comes from the case number used for the investigation into a mind-wiped Caldron test subject that was first identified as part of a pattern; it does not refer to other capes who experienced mutations, though prior to Golden Morning most major mutations were also Case 53’s, and I think all Irregulars were.

  22. >> We took action when people used PHO resources (direct messages, email) to harass one of the individuals in the article.
    The bad memories from another character, what I thought at first…

    >> With help (and you have so much help!) Clocks can be turned back and flesh can be reshaped.
    We still can have a hope about him?..
    >> Engel
    And you speak like angel… Oh, shit!! Nevermind. That totaly not a someone plot.

    >> R and B.
    Who is B?

  23. I just found out Worm has returned and wanted to offer a little prayer. Wildbow, our lord and author, hallowed be thy screenname. Thy fandom come, thy updates done. Infinite thy vast domain name. Taylor hath died for our sins, yet 3 years later thy story riseth to bestow unto us your blessings. …For very high values of 3.

    Okay, I think I got it out of my system.

  24. Is….no one else going to bring up the fact that Casey probably killed his own family? I mean, he grew mold on their *brains.* Brains are delicate organs and don’t take well to foreign bodies, like mold. His dad and sister are either dead or severely brain-damaged now. And we’re supposed to *sympathize* with this kid?

    Why is this not being addressed?

      • That’s not as clear as it should be. “It didn’t work out” isn’t the same as “They were poisoned.”

        Also, how are their brains still functional enough to be controlled? The brain degrades very quickly after death. Shouldn’t Casey only be able to perform basic motor functions through his puppets?

        • I assume he triggered right after (probably within minutes, if not less) they died – if the air already killed them, he couldn’t have stayed alive much longer than that. A couple minutes isn’t long enough for it to start decaying, especially when superpowers are involved.

          • (Somewhat tangentially, a mold-related power seems quite fitting given that the trigger came from contaminated air … left alone as his family died around him, so his power gave them back but only as puppets, while permanently cutting him off from real human companionship … )

    • >And we’re supposed to *sympathize* with this kid?

      Well, assuming his parents were not dead beforehand, yes, I can damn well sympathise with a person who has a power that will kill and brainwash anyone who comes close and who first got it around his loved ones.

      I mean, being a living death zone though no fault of your own is awful for everyone involved, including the living death zone.

      • You’ve been remarkably on the ball today, Storryeater. Seconded on all counts. (Meaning all comments you’ve just made on this chapter, not “you have multiple points in this post”.)

  25. I am so, so happy to see Svetta returning. She and Weld were two of my favorite characters from Worm.

    Also, I am finally caught up with Wildbow. Joyous day. Let the agonizing waits begin.

    And finally, on a completely unrelated note: I’m sure everyone is familiar with Wildbow works keeping us up at night and distracting us from things we should be doing (worth it!). Tonight, almost the opposite happened to me. It is only because I was reading Glow Worm that I stayed awake long enough to remember I have physics homework due tomorrow (electricity & magnetism). So thank you, Glow Worm, and thank you Wildbow for producing these beautiful works and sharing them with us.

    • *Pff* *restrains giggling* I always found the latter phrase a little suspicious, really. Also, Mangle Buddies seem more like a Slaughterhouse Nine thing than anything else, really, so I’m not quite sure what you’re referring to.

      • Oh. Didn’t realize anyone replied to this.

        I read up on the Reddit and found out who it was. Fifth Defiance is/was another serial where a parahuman-like lady basically took over the entire planet by herself, by virtue of her powers just being more broken than anyone else’s.

    • It’s The Woman In Blue. Khepri snagged her and her minions with some difficulty. She may have been present on Bet as well; one of the Simurgh attacks had Target/Consequence: see file United Capes, see file Woman In Blue.

  26. Is there a review, especially of the state of play at the end? I finished Worm quite a while ago and am not sure what I’m supposed to be getting from this.

  27. “Be strong brother. With powers all things are possible. **Through trauma and struggle we find ourselves so much stronger**. It takes time to adjust and it takes time and effort to find the right keys to the right locks. With help (and you have so much help!) Clocks can be turned back and flesh can be reshaped. We killed a god and the worst is behind us. Slowly but surely we will put the pieces back together. If I did not believe this 100% then I would not be here to write this message to you. Be strong.”

  28. Argh, argh, arghhghgh this gave me a headache to read

    In a previous chapter, you established that someone was messing around with a bunch of different names, all of which followed an [Adjective]_[Animal] pattern.

    This chapter begins with a person doing more username-related shenanigans.

    Then, in the next chat I see, they go by Space_Squid, in accordance with the established [Adjective]_[Animal] format of that character.

    Then they change their name again and have another chat, when suddenly [Adjective_Animal] joins in as a separate character and I’m left wondering who the person I’ve been following the whole chapter was supposed to be.

    Couldn’t you have at least named her “spaceSquid” or something else visually distinct so Sveta’s username didn’t perfectly match C’s naming structure as the reader understands it at this point? I’m super happy to see more of her but this was a really needlessly confusing introduction.

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