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Collateral Damage [Worm AU]

Discussion in 'Creative Writing' started by Ack, May 30, 2019.

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  1. Threadmarks: Index
    Ack

    Ack (Verified Ratbag) (Unverified Great Old One)

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    With Are You Afraid of the Dark, I created a fairly badass Danny. People seemed to like it (though I'm guessing the John Wick connection had a lot to do with that).

    In what is almost certainly a step toward the abyss of irredeemable crack, I've pushed the concept to its logical extreme.

    This is a Danny that nobody wants to push.

    Disclaimers:
    1) This story is set in the Wormverse, which is owned by Wildbow. Thanks for letting me use it.

    2) I will follow canon as closely as I can. If I find something that canon does not cover, I will make stuff up. If canon then refutes me, I will revise. Do not bother me with fanon; corrections require citations.

    3) I welcome criticism of my works, but if you tell me that something is wrong, I also expect an explanation of what is wrong, and a suggestion of how to fix it. Note that I do not promise to follow any given suggestion.
     
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2019
  2. Threadmarks: Part One: Blowback
    Ack

    Ack (Verified Ratbag) (Unverified Great Old One)

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    Collateral Damage


    Part One: Blowback


    [A/N: AU elements are introduced in the text. You won’t even have to look hard.]

    [A/N 2: This chapter has not been beta-read, because I just wrote it to get it out of my head. Further chapters will probably be beta’ed. If I write them.]


    The city stretched out in all directions. At one time, it had been thriving. It might even have been beautiful. Now, it was anything but thriving, and any definition of ‘beautiful’ it might meet would be suspect in the extreme. Enormous swathes of it had been extirpated down to the bedrock and beyond. Smoke and dust hung overhead in great palls, the former fed by fires which had broken out here and there.

    The man standing on the rooftop, at the centre of the destruction, might have called it beautiful had there been anyone to ask him. He was tall, over six feet. Heavy black leather armour covered him from neck to toe, though it did less to protect him than the angular metal harness that rested on his shoulders. The harness, made of flexible metal straps and heavy plates, supported a transparent sphere containing a deep indigo vortex in the middle of his chest. Covering his head and most of his face was a grey-black helmet that showed his eyes behind a translucent visor, yet concealed the majority of his features. Over each shoulder, on top of the harness, was a pair of bandoleers, each with loops for a dozen cylinders. Each cylinder was six inches long and two thick. Half a dozen cylinders lay scattered behind him and to his right, smoking and discoloured. These matched the seven empty loops in the bandoleers, with one to spare.

    In his arms rested a weapon that could be likened to a rifle or shotgun, save that it was almost as tall as its owner, and bore odd mechanisms up and down its length. He braced it with his right arm and pushed down on the barrel with his left; with a deep k-chak, the weapon broke open. Pushed by some internal force, the seventh cylinder popped out of the breech of the long-arm and arced neatly over his shoulder to join the other six. As part of the same move, he withdrew another cylinder from the bandoleer and slotted it into the weapon. Pushing it home with his thumb, he straightened the gun with another k-chak. A high rising hum emanated from the weapon.

    “Ragnarok. Stand down.”

    The words were in English, which was why he did not turn and fire on the instant. Slowly, keeping the weapon at the ready, he inclined his head to look behind him. Three figures of modern-day myth and legend hung there in the air, hovering over the street far below. The Triumvirate. Some would say, the most powerful heroes in the world. He agreed with this, as he was no hero.

    “Why?” All the pain in the world crackled in his reply.

    Legend drifted half a pace forward. Wisely, he showed no sign of any intent to attack. “You’ve destroyed three-quarters of the city. Killed half the population. They’ll be decades in the rebuilding.”

    He might have said more, but the leather-armoured man wasn’t listening. Half a dozen brightly-costumed figures were arrowing in from over the horizon, moving at well over the speed of sound. They flew close together, in tight formation. This was their undoing.

    Smoothly, he raised the weapon to his shoulder. There was no need to lead the shot, as they were closing directly on his position. Less than half a second after he registered their existence, he pulled the trigger.

    The weapon didn’t make any noise, at least in the conventional sense. A coruscating violet beam imprinted itself on the world—and on the retinas of the Triumvirate—for a good three seconds. When it vanished, the six figures no longer existed. Nor did any clouds in that direction, and a cookie-bite had been taken out of a mountain on the horizon. The k-k-k-k-KRACKKK-BOOOOMMMMMMMMmmmm that followed was the result of air rushing into the vacuum that had been created within the passage of the beam.

    Again, he broke the weapon open, allowing the expended power cartridge to eject itself, then reloaded once more. Notably, none of the Triumvirate attempted to stop him doing this. It appeared that they could learn.

    “They started it,” he said flatly. “I’m finishing it.”

    “‘They’? What ‘they’?” demanded Eidolon. He gestured, showing reasonable manual dexterity with the arm that had been blown off, once upon a time. That had been a warning shot; a rare concession. It was why Eidolon was exercising the restraint that he was. The next shot, everyone knew, would not be a warning.

    “The CUI,” retorted Ragnarok. He raised the weapon to his shoulder and began to sight in on his next target.

    “Wait, you can’t just decide to declare war on an entire country,” Legend protested.

    “Why not? They declared war on me. Fair’s fair.”

    “But … most of them didn’t even know what was going on.”

    The steel helmet turned to face him. “They should have. Their leaders should’ve known not to mess with me. They tried it. Now I’m hitting back.” Every word radiated absolute certainty.

    “For God’s sake, haven’t you killed enough of them already?” Legend sounded near tears.

    “Is she alive again? Has my wife been brought back from the dead?”

    Eidolon grimaced. He’d tried hard enough, to no avail. “No.”

    “Then, no. I haven’t killed enough of them. When their leadership finally realises that the only way to stop me is use their capes to bring her back, then I’ll stop killing them.”

    Alexandria drifted in front of Legend. “Listen. You destroyed their entire command and control three shots ago. Even if they had a cape with that ability, you killed them two shots ago. Right now, all you’re doing is kicking a corpse. Once we leave, every neighbouring nation is going to descend on this city, on this country, and tear it to shreds. You’ve won.

    “They’re not a crater yet.” Pain was still evident in his voice. “Then I’ll be done.”

    “What, like Houston?” Eidolon clenched his fists. “It’s still a radioactive crater.”

    “I killed Behemoth.” The statement was matter-of-fact. I stepped on a cockroach.

    “Along with eight million people! Not to mention three-quarters of the capes who showed up that day!” Eidolon was shouting. “You killed more than he’d done in his previous three attacks!”

    Legend put a hand on Eidolon’s chest and pressed him backward. “We appreciate the fact that you destroyed an Endbringer, but the fact of the matter is, your tech is far too destructive to everything around you, not just the target. This is why we asked you to retire, the last time.”

    “And I would’ve stayed retired,” retorted the man called Ragnarok. “But you had to keep tabs on me, didn’t you? And someone talked. And someone else listened. And the CUI had to try the stupid ploy of kidnapping my wife to get leverage over me.”

    They’d fucked it up, of course. In what was perhaps the most idiotic move ever performed by any human organisation anywhere, they’d accidentally killed their prospective kidnappee. Worse, he’d found out about it. The PRT had promptly told him who was responsible (more as a matter of self-preservation than anything else) and he’d gone on the warpath. Both figuratively and literally.

    A streak of energy arced over the horizon, traced around, and homed in on Ragnarok. “Oh, shit! Cover!” shouted Alexandria. Eidolon disappeared inside a green bubble, Legend vanished into the distance in a streak of light, and the flying brick braced herself with her arms crossed over her eyes.

    The explosion was impressive, destroying a chunk of the surrounding area, but somehow touching neither the man in the steel helmet or the building he was standing on. As Alexandria brought her arms away from her eyes, she saw energy building in a globe around Ragnarok. It intensified, brighter and brighter, before streaking away in a reverse path to the way the attack had come in by. A moment later, from over the horizon, there was a distant concussion, followed by a mushroom cloud rising into the air.

    “You need to stand down,” Alexandria said. “These idiots will keep escalating until they kill not just themselves but everyone within a hundred miles of them. And some of them might decide to go to Brockton Bay for revenge. After all, you still have Taylor—”

    She broke off, mainly because she was suddenly looking down the barrel of the gun he was holding.

    “You don’t talk about my little girl,” he whispered. “You don’t even think about going near her.”

    “That wasn’t a threat,” she assured him hastily. “Just … advice. Do you want to bring war back to your home town? Your daughter can’t count on your protection forever. Let it go. Stand down. Please.”

    Behind the helmet, he grimaced. “You know what they did.”

    “And they’ve paid.” She gestured at the devastation. “You’ve done more to them than a thousand enemies over a thousand years.”

    His long slow sigh was a sign of surrender. “Fine. You win. I’ll retire and be a dad again. Do my normal job. And I won’t kill anyone at all.”

    She let out a sigh of her own. “Thank you.”

    “You might want to step back,” he said, and slung the gun over his shoulder. “I’m about to make a crater.”

    She obeyed, pulling hastily back. Actinic light glared from the sphere in the middle of his chest, then with a flash, he was gone. So was the building he’d been standing on. She turned and flew off. There was nothing more to be done here.

    Hopefully, this time, Ragnarok would stay retired.

    <><>​

    Two and a Half Years Later

    “Oh, shit.”

    Alexandria looked up. It was rare indeed that Legend swore, but the look on his face showed that it wasn’t some random impulse. His eyes were wide and he looked as though he were in shock.

    “What?” she asked.

    “Taylor Hebert,” he said hollowly. “Someone locked her in her locker with some pretty nasty stuff. She’s in the hospital now. Psych ward.”

    “Motherfucker!” She stepped forward to scan the report he’d been reading. “Why are we learning about this from a police followup report? Why isn’t Director Piggot burning up the phone lines to my office already? How the fuck did this even happen? I thought we had a Ward in that damn school!”

    “We do!” protested Legend. “I made sure of it myself!”

    “Then why weren’t they keeping a closer eye on her?”

    “Because the Brockton Bay PRT doesn’t know about Ragnarok. We don’t want another damn leak.”

    Alexandria wanted to scream, or break something. Damned if they did, damned if they didn’t. “Okay. Damage control. Contact Danny Hebert post-haste. Make sure he doesn’t do anything stupid before we find the perpetrator and make a very fucking thorough example of them.”

    “On it. Doorway to Brockton Bay.”

    Alexandria watched as Legend disappeared through the portal. They’d once tried using a similar portal to exile Ragnarok on a different Earth, but his weapons had proven capable of blasting their way through the dimensional barrier back to Earth Bet. Attacking him merely invited a thoroughly disproportionate response, and the mere concept of attempting to Birdcage the man brought her out in a cold sweat. Even the Simurgh stayed over the horizon from wherever he was at all times.

    She just had to hope that Legend could make Ragnarok listen to reason.

    The alternative had too many bad endings to be contemplated.


    End of Part One
     
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2019
  3. gaouw

    gaouw Banishumen, Zis Warudo!!!

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    Never knew that I needed this very, very much.

    Danny as an Uber Tinker John Wick.

    Please continue.
     
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  4. a_lone_solipsist

    a_lone_solipsist Reporting in from hell.

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    It's very rare to see a not completely useless Danny and even then I don't think I've ever liked him, so I'm interested in seeing if this story changes that. I'm assuming he is also immune to Tessa, otherwise there would be a 'prevent Ragnarok from intentional-ing a continent/the PRT/etc.' Unless this is what needed to happen.
    You done fucked up! You forgot step 2, aka vet the ward and step 3, make sure she knows what her job is i.e. protecting the daughter of the walking natural disaster. But Gold Star for effort, I guess.
     
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  5. Ack

    Ack (Verified Ratbag) (Unverified Great Old One)

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    The problem with applying a Path to neutralising Ragnarok is when she can't use social-fu (he ignores her) and can't use force (if he can see her, he can obliterate her and everything behind her). Basically, the same reason she can't Path a way to neutralise Leviathan.
     
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  6. Enigmatic

    Enigmatic Legendary Biker Gang Idol

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    This...is epic. I certainly hope it doesn't stay a one-shot. Props to you Ack, not just for this, but all your amazing stories.
     
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  7. Simonbob

    Simonbob Really? You don't say.

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    This is great comedy.

    I LOL'd all the way through.
     
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  8. Xyshuryn

    Xyshuryn Holder of Hands

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    Ack you are the source of much joy and unfinished masterpieces sorrow. I look forward to your next update, once more.
     
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  9. HearthBorn

    HearthBorn Getting sticky.

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    If Danny can blow holes through reality, I'm surprised he didn't try blasting his way into Heaven (or Hell) to find her.
     
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  10. Ack

    Ack (Verified Ratbag) (Unverified Great Old One)

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    He doesn't know which direction that is, or he would've tried.
     
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  11. edale

    edale Versed in the lewd.

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    A possible future scene:

    ---

    Alexandria shows up and punches Shadow Stalker in the stomach.

    As Shadow Stalkers on the ground puking, "What'd I do?"

    Alexandria: "You fucked up."

    Stalker: "I've been behaving on my patrols!"

    Alexandria: "I'm not talking about your patrols."

    Stalker: "What then? At school? It was just a fucking prank!"

    Alexandria punches Stalker in the stomach again.

    Alexandria: "It's not what you did, it's who you did it to."

    Stalker: "Who? A fucking nobody?"

    Alexandria: "That 'fucking nobody' is Taylor Hebert, daughter of Daniel Hebert. Daniel is a man of focus, commitment, sheer will; something you know very little about. He retired from cape business years ago, it was over a woman of course. When that woman was killed years later, he briefly came out of retirement. The bodies he buried that day numbered in the millions."

    Alexandria: "Then, while he's still grieving the loss of his wife, you shove his daughter into a locker full of toxic waste, and get her sent to the psych ward of the hospital!"

    Sophia: "If he's so dangerous, I'll just kill him."

    Alexandria: "Did you heard a fucking word I said?!"

    Sophia: "I can do this, please!"

    Alexandria: "Danny's cape name.... was Ragnorok."

    Sophia: "Oh."

    Alexandria: "Danny will come for you, and you will do nothing, because you can do nothing. Now get her out of my fucking sight!"

    ---

    I love those "That guy you pissed off is John Wick." "Oh." moments in the movies. Fans of the first movie may recognize most of this scene :D.
     
  12. PrinceJonathan

    PrinceJonathan Not too sore, are you?

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    Problem with this is if Danny was that strong, Cauldron would have thrown him at Scion by now.

    Or maybe the already have, Scions dead, and now they're stuck with Danny.
     
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  13. Ack

    Ack (Verified Ratbag) (Unverified Great Old One)

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    This requires Danny to give enough of a shit that he'd do what they say.
     
  14. PrinceJonathan

    PrinceJonathan Not too sore, are you?

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    What made him so jaded in the first place? Can't be his wife's death since apparently the CUI killed her, and Taylor is fine too. So what was his trigger event?

    Wait...what if Danny is Hero, became disgusted with Cauldron's methods, and dying to the Siberian was all a cover so he could retire?
     
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  15. Ack

    Ack (Verified Ratbag) (Unverified Great Old One)

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    Could be.

    Or could be something else.

    As for what made him so jaded, that's easy. His power said, "I want you to use me. So let's get rid of most of this irritating respect for human life."
     
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  16. Threadmarks: Part Two: Backlash
    Ack

    Ack (Verified Ratbag) (Unverified Great Old One)

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    Collateral Damage

    Part Two: Backlash


    [A/N: This chapter beta-read by Lady Columbine of Mystal.]


    Legend emerged from the portal in midair, and pulled a tight turning spiral to get an idea of where he was over Brockton Bay. The second reason for his quick survey was to make sure there still was a Brockton Bay, which seemed to be the case. At least, there were no obvious craters, no fires, and no mushroom clouds over the city.

    For the moment, anyway. He had zero doubt that this state of affairs could change in a matter of seconds. Every time—every time—Ragnarok cut loose with his weaponry, he rendered the word ‘overkill’ laughably inadequate.

    <><>​

    To Legend’s knowledge, the weapons Tinker had never built anything that didn’t cause mass destruction. The harness Ragnarok wore took incoming attacks—even relatively harmless ones—and sent them back to their starting point, multiplied by tenfold or more. His teleports destroyed the local area on either the starting point or the landing point. And his offensive weaponry simply ignored all defenses and obliterated the target, plus anything near it and everything behind it, out to the horizon. He was constitutionally incapable of building anything that could perform a pinpoint strike.

    <><>​

    Once Legend had orientated himself, he turned and hurtled toward a particular house. Since Behemoth, the PRT had declared Ragnarok a ‘hands-off’ cape. Despite Eidolon’s frothing fury at the destruction of Houston, the Protectorate and Cauldron both had gone along with that assessment. Too hard to kill and impossible to exile or imprison; the only real option was appeasement. Leave him alone and hope that he didn’t decide to go Endbringer on the population. Eidolon had initially ignored this decision and confronted Ragnarok personally. Legend hadn’t been present for the event, but it had culminated with Ragnarok blowing Eidolon’s arm off, the one and only known incidence when the cape had shown even minor restraint. It said something about Ragnarok that the loss of a limb counted as ‘restraint’.

    Of course, even after this, the policy hadn’t been foolproof. As far as Legend knew, two separate attempts had been made to snipe Ragnarok; once after Houston, and the other after he obliterated the CUI. The second attempt had been with a Tinkertech rifle from six miles away, and the shooter had teleported away as soon as the trigger was pulled. Despite Ragnarok being out of his protective harness, on both occasions an energy bolt had travelled back up the path of the shot. The first shooter hadn’t had a chance to get away; the bolt had taken the top floor off the building he was sniping from, and blown the shooter himself into a fine mist. No such explosion had taken place on the second shot, but Legend knew for a fact that an entire city block had detonated for no known reason in downtown Johannesburg at the precise second the retaliatory blast from Ragnarok had fizzled out in Brockton Bay. Legend supposed that the extra damage was Ragnarok’s tech saying in effect, “If I’ve got to come find you, I’ll make it hurt more.”

    <><>​

    Hebert’s car was in the driveway, which was not a good sign. It meant that the man was at home, almost certainly after visiting his daughter. The girl was alive, which was the only ray of hope here; Legend had absolutely no doubt that if she’d died, Brockton Bay would’ve gone the same way as Houston and Beijing. The man held no particular respect for human life, which was perhaps the most terrifying thing about him. Apart from his ability to casually decimate a city in a few minutes, that is.

    <><>​

    He recalled the last moments of Houston. This was no great feat of memory; every detail was seared into his mind. Behemoth raging across the city, destroying buildings like childrens’ toys. The defenders trying to pen him in, throwing up barriers of all types. Ragnarok stepping up, striding toward the oncoming monster as if out for a Sunday stroll. Some had shouted for him to get back, but he’d ignored them.

    He’d taken aim with that goddamned shotgun he carried, but he’d stumbled on a bit of rubble just before he fired. Instead of obliterating the thing in one shot, he’d merely blown off Behemoth’s right arm, searing it to the shoulder. Behind Behemoth, the top half of a skyscraper crashed to the ground. That got the thing’s attention, and it unleashed a burst of lightning that skipped across the ground and impacted Ragnarok full in the chest … or at least, tried to. Ragnarok’s retaliation field took the lightning and threw it back, a raging wall of energy that smashed into Behemoth and drove him backward.

    Behemoth had roared and redoubled his attack; as a final fuck-you, he leaped forward to bring Ragnarok within his kill-field. Energies unsurviveable by all but a select few crashed and battered at the cape’s protective field, and were thrown back in such quantities that everything electronic within ten miles shorted out and fused into an unsalvageable lump. In the meantime Ragnarok ignored the goings-on, ejecting the used-up power cartridge for his shotgun and methodically reloading.

    Silvery flesh literally being shredded away by the backlash of his own powers like a mad giant throwing glitter in the air, Behemoth roared once more and brought his surviving arm around to strike the impudent attacker down. The resultant explosion deprived him of that arm as well. Ragnarok’s gun hummed its rising note, then the cape raised the gun and aimed it at the Endbringer’s centre mass. He pulled the trigger. This time, he didn’t miss.

    Legend had woken up fifty miles away, sprawled on the roof of a truck stop. His costume was half-gone, and his hearing didn’t come back for two days. To the south, he saw a tremendous mushroom cloud climbing over the horizon. It took him two tries to get airborne, and then he flew back toward the scene of destruction.

    It had been a catastrophe. Three-quarters of the defending capes were dead or dying. The only one untouched by it all was Ragnarok himself, who strode out of the centre of the radioactive crater that Houston had become, his shield flaring and spitting as it repelled the rock-melting heat and dangerous gamma rays still emanating from the debris. With his shotgun over his shoulder, he told the surviving capes that Behemoth was dead and he was going home now. The explosion when he triggered his teleporter destroyed one of the few surviving buildings.

    <><>​

    Landing just in front of the doorstep, Legend stepped up and knocked on the door. There was no answer. He knocked again, harder. After what seemed to be an eternity of waiting, the door opened. He stared up at Danny Hebert; the man was unshaven and had a can of beer in his hand.

    “May I come in, please?” asked Legend. Most times he said ‘please’, he was being polite. With Ragnarok, he was trying to avert the end of the world. Or at least, a large chunk of the eastern seaboard.

    Hebert grunted and turned away, but he left the door open. Legend took that as assent and he entered, carefully closing the door behind him. He had no doubt that the PRT covert surveillance teams in the surrounding houses, all working in civilian guise, had noted his arrival. These people were akin to the tornado chasers or hurricane hunters that he’d seen on the weather channel; normal people putting themselves in harm’s way to provide the first line of defence against a natural disaster of unmitigated proportions. If something went wrong, they’d never know until it was far too late.

    These were all volunteers from the Washington office or farther abroad, he knew. Each and every one had been personally vetted and recruited by Alexandria in her Costa-Brown identity. The local office hadn’t even been notified of the op, for reasons of security and deniability. Legend had made that decision himself, after seeing the confidential report on the PRT ENE information security rating. At least two of the gangs in the city had moles inside the building, and that didn’t even include Coil, who was a mole unto himself. Legend’s nightmares about Taylor Hebert being kidnapped by any of the above were only surpassed by the ones where Ragnarok decided to take over the Empire Eighty-Eight and show them where they’d been going wrong.

    “Mr Hebert, we know what happened to your daughter,” he said. “Right now, we’re working very hard to find out who did it and bring them to justice.”

    Danny Hebert glowered at him over his beer. “You were watching me. Still are.” He gestured at the walls of the house. “Think I’m so stupid I don’t notice when my neighbours move out and young, fit, professional couples with no kids move in? People who spend more time mowing the lawn than cooking dinner? If you were watching me, why the goddamn hell weren’t you watching to make sure nothing happened to Taylor?”

    Legend took a deep breath. “Because we knew we were treading a fine line even keeping you under surveillance. If anyone watching Taylor had overstepped the mark by even an inch, and you’d taken offence, it would’ve been on us. As it is, there was a vigilante enrolled in the school from the same day she was. When the vigilante joined the Wards, I made sure she stayed in Winslow, to help keep things more orderly. Safer for Taylor.”

    “Shadow Stalker,” Hebert muttered. Well, Legend couldn’t fault the man’s cognitive faculties. “So why the fuck did she fall down on the job? How did this shit happen on her watch?”

    “The decision was made to not inform her of Taylor’s situation,” Legend said carefully. It had been an unavoidable part of the whole ‘don’t tell the locals anything’ plan. “We figured that Shadow Stalker, as someone with crimefighting experience, would make sure that bullying as a general thing would not happen to anyone in her year.”

    “Well, that fuckin’ turned out just fine, didn’t it?” snarled Hebert, stomping over to glare at Legend from close range. “So, is your ‘find out who did it’ going to be any more effective than your ‘stop it before it happens’?”

    “As we speak, the Chief Director is having very strong words with Director Piggot of the local office,” Legend said steadily, trying to ignore his increased heart-rate. “She will no doubt be sending the local Protectorate head to the school to meet with the principal, and with Shadow Stalker if she’s available.”

    “Better off sending the second in command,” Hebert said flatly. “Fire the people in charge because they quite obviously fucked up, and their next in line will try all that harder to avoid going on the chopping block as well.”

    This was a course of action that Legend hadn’t quite considered, though it was brutally effective in its methodology. The philosophy of pour encourager les autres had been around for centuries, after all. Normally he would’ve taken his time to think about it, but given Ragnarok’s quite obvious unhappiness with the situation, he decided that a grand gesture was probably not a bad idea.

    “I can do that,” he said, and pulled out his phone. Alexandria was almost certainly on the phone to Piggot, but she was capable of multitasking, so he sent a text message. Fire Piggot and demote head of ENE Protectorate. Let 2i/C handle matters. Sends a message to everyone else not to fuck up. He hit SEND, then waited.

    A few seconds later, an answer came back. Done.

    “Piggot’s been fired, and the Protectorate head demoted,” he announced, showing Hebert the phone with the messages. “We are going to make sure this gets sorted, and never happens again.”

    Hebert lifted his chin. “I meant everyone in charge. You and the fucking Chief Directer as well. Step down. Let your second in commands take over. You fucked up, just as much as they did, or even more. Wear it.”

    “Wait … I … what?” Legend stumbled over his words. “But … we have to fix this. We can’t just … I mean …” He’d never thought that when Danny Hebert said ‘fire everyone in charge’ he meant ‘everyone’.

    “Fuckin’ thought so.” Hebert turned his back on Legend and headed out of the dining room.

    “Wait!” Legend went after him. “We can talk about this! My deputy isn’t ready to step into my position yet!” Not to mention, it’ll pull Cauldron totally out of the loop.

    “And whose fuckin’ fault is that?” Hebert stopped in the kitchen and prodded Legend in the chest with a hard forefinger. The kinetic backlash sent Legend stumbling backward four or five paces. “If your deputy isn’t ready to take over at a moment’s notice, then you’re doing it wrong.” He opened the door he was standing next to, and went downstairs into what was apparently a basement.

    Legend rubbed the bruise that was even now forming on his chest, and hurried after him again. By the time he got to the top of the stairs, Hebert was at the bottom. The man stumped across the basement to where a bunch of tools were leaning against the wall in a patch of shadow. Reaching into the mess, he pulled out something that initially looked like a short-handled sledgehammer with an oversized head. Then Legend recognised the mechanisms built on to it, and his eyes widened.

    Oh, fuck. He didn’t just build guns and shields.

    Danny Hebert drained the last of the beer and tossed the can aside. “You know why I was drinking when you came in?” With little in the way of obvious effort, he hefted the hammer on to his shoulder.

    “Uh … no?” Halfway down the steps, Legend froze, unsure of his next move.

    “It was Annette,” the most dangerous man in the world replied. “She always told me to drink a beer before I made any decisions I can’t go back on. I’ve had my beer. Now I’ve made my decision.” He lifted the sledgehammer over his head, holding it in both hands.

    It struck Legend that the floor of the basement was composed of smooth concrete. Very new looking concrete. Which Hebert was about to attack with the hammer. “Wait—”

    “I’m done waiting.” Hebert’s muscles bunched and he swung the hammer down. Legend had barely enough presence of mind to go into his energy form just before the weapon struck its target.

    The explosion was … considerable.

    Tumbling through the air, his ears ringing with the concussion, Legend finally managed to bring his ballistic arc under control. When he turned around, it wasn’t hard to tell where the Hebert residence was; or rather, where it had once been. An honest to goodness mushroom cloud was roiling into being above the crater, and all the houses surrounding it were either collapsed or on the way there. Legend flew back down toward the epicentre of the destruction.

    As he arrived, Ragnarok finished fitting the helmet on to his head. The harness had already been strapped on, and the indigo vortex glowed brightly, as if eager to commence the task of destruction. Attaching the hammer to his belt somehow, Ragnarok picked up the shotgun that he’d used to destroy Behemoth and Beijing. Taking a power cartridge from his bandoleer, he fed it into the breech of the gun. The k-chak as he closed the weapon sounded louder than a thunderclap.

    “Now we do things my way.”


    End of Part Two
     
  17. Hitmen101

    Hitmen101 Getting out there.

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    Damn... Shits just got real. :D
     
    Ack likes this.
  18. WIP

    WIP Getting out there.

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    what would Taylor's power be in this universe then after it buds from Danny's. Behemoth light, Forces Tinker, Energy manipulation on the sub atomic level, One punch man punches?
    EXPLOSIONS!!! ?
     
  19. Gindjurra

    Gindjurra Not too sore, are you?

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    The Queen of Escalation was bad enough, now we have the Emperor of Escalation. Being Taylor Hebert may be suffering, but Danny will make sure it’s spread evenly, far and wide!
     
  20. Audhumbla

    Audhumbla Your first time is always over so quickly, isn't it?

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    So he just destroyed her bedroom, all memorabilia of her mother, and the only home they've known.

    Hope she actually has a falling out or some sort of consequence for that, or what's the point?
     
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  21. Ack

    Ack (Verified Ratbag) (Unverified Great Old One)

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    She's just triggered. They have bigger things to deal with.
     
  22. Simonbob

    Simonbob Really? You don't say.

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    So.....

    Decendant of the 'OVERKILL' Shard? Or, QA?

    Inquring minds, etc.
     
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  23. Ack

    Ack (Verified Ratbag) (Unverified Great Old One)

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    "Yes".

    This is basically a crack fic, where Danny's got a horrifically overpowered shard that lets him threaten Endbringers, but doesn't allow him anything resembling subtlety or restraint.

    Beyond that ... feel free to speculate. I don't promise to confirm anything.
     
  24. Simonbob

    Simonbob Really? You don't say.

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    I was thinking about Taylor's.
     
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  25. Darkarma

    Darkarma Not too sore, are you?

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    I think I need more of this. Thankfully it doesn't come off feeling like crack.
     
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  26. Caelleh

    Caelleh Kofi-mania :D

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    "John Wick except every thing he hits explodes harder than One Punch Man" is not a crack premise, it's art.

    Well, it could be crack, but you're taking it on face value and writing it out seriously.

    Wait, do crack authors take their work seriously? I dont even know how to define crack anymore.

    Anyway, this is great, thanks for the new story Ack!
     
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  27. Bagrat

    Bagrat (Veteran Member) (The Guy in the Know)

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    Just keep it out of Earth Gimel. Anyway, I have to go notify the Wardens about this potential Scion-Class threat. I didn't think Ragnarok was still around.
     
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  28. bryanfran36

    bryanfran36 Versed in the lewd.

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    Please continue this. It's not fucking crack.

    It's serious art.

    Also Ack did you post this on SB?
     
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  29. Ack

    Ack (Verified Ratbag) (Unverified Great Old One)

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    Yup. It's up on SB, SV and FF as well as here.
     
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