1. For prospective new members, a word of warning: don't use common names like Dennis, Simon, or Kenny if you decide to create an account. Spammers have used them all before you and gotten those names flagged in the anti-spam databases. Your account registration will be rejected because of it.
    Dismiss Notice
  2. Since it has happened MULTIPLE times now, I want to be very clear about this. You do not get to abandon an account and create a new one. You do not get to pass an account to someone else and create a new one. If you do so anyway, you will be banned for creating sockpuppets.
    Dismiss Notice
  3. If you wish to change your username, please ask via conversation to tehelgee instead of asking via my profile. I'd like to not clutter it up with such requests.
    Dismiss Notice
  4. Due to the actions of particularly persistent spammers and trolls, we will be banning disposable email addresses from today onward.
    Dismiss Notice

Collateral Damage [Worm AU]

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

Loading...
  1. Threadmarks: Interlude One: Taylor
    Ack

    Ack (Verified Ratbag) (Unverified Great Old One)

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2014
    Messages:
    6,612
    Likes Received:
    46,884
    Collateral Damage

    Interlude One: Taylor

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


    On a world known to its inhabitants as Earth Bet, another year has just dawned.

    In a medium-small city on the northeast corner of one particular nation on one particular continent (yeah, this is Brockton Bay) children have returned to school. There has been laughter, fun, frivolity.

    There was also screaming.

    Three girls, dominant in their year, chose to lock a fourth away in a steel box, along with items that did not belong in the immediate vicinity of a teenage girl.

    They, and their hangers-on, were the ones doing the laughing. She was the one doing the screaming.

    This was all a very bad mistake.

    They will come to regret it, some quite briefly.

    <><>​

    Behold, a moment frozen in time.

    The mechanics of a Trigger Event are a classic black-box incidence. It’s possible to see what goes in (a traumatised human) and what comes out (a human with powers) but nobody has ever managed to truly observe what goes on during. No, not even Bonesaw.

    In order to get all the data from this situation, it will be necessary to frame it in metaphorical terms.

    Welcome to the Shard Bar.

    <><>​

    Across the front doors is strung a banner: ‘Closed, Due to Trigger Event’. There are only two shards inside, as well as the bartender, who has a peculiarly golden tan. One of the shards is rather pretentious; her mode of dress involves diaphanous swirls of cloth that seem almost to pass through one another. On a leash, she has a vicious attack dog. The dog is currently licking its own butt.

    The second shard is looking critically at a large beetle—at least a foot long—which is lying on its back on the bar, legs twitching feebly. At the same time, she’s playing Tetris on one phone and texting on another, while talking to the bartender. The one in diaphanous swirls is doing her best to ignore her.

    “Okay, I get it,” says the multitasking shard. “Bug control. It’s pretty classic, and if she’s at all on the ball—”

    “She is,” interjects the bartender. “I checked.”

    “Okay, fine.” It’s clear the multitasking shard dislikes being interrupted. “But you do realise she’s going to be useless for the longest time, yeah? It’s going to take her forever to start interacting with reality again, and even longer before she starts using me in any significant fashion. Because that one over there—” She gestures at the other shard.

    “Hey, don’t look at me,” says the one with the attack dog, holding her hands up defensively. “I just made a few suggestions. Not my fault that my host took them and ran with them.”

    “Conflict is the name of the game,” observes the bartender. He begins to polish a metaphorical glass.

    “Well, we’re not going to get any out of this one for the foreseeable future,” says the multitasking shard. She prods the beetle, eliciting a sound not unlike urk. “I mean, look at her. You’ve hamstrung her. I like a challenge, but this is ridiculous. Either detect or control bugs? She’s currently stuck on ‘detect’ with no way to know that she can flip to ‘control’. And just detecting them is overloading her.”

    “All right, I get it, I get it.” The bartender huffs and pours a drink. “You want a second trigger. Here you go. Happy now?”

    The shard somehow manages to empty the glass without dropping either phone. When she puts the glass down, she looks brighter and more cheerful. The beetle has managed to roll itself over and is now wandering around on top of the counter.

    “It’s a start,” she says. “But check this out.”

    “Oh, for the love of— what now?” demands the shard with the attack dog. “How long is this gonna take? I’ve got places to be. My host has a conflict requirement too, you know. Heads need to be kicked.” Leaning down, she scratches the attack dog’s ears. “Who’s a good little psychopath? You are, that’s who.”

    “I just did a projection,” says the multitasking shard. “Even with full access to her powers, she’s been so traumatised—” She shoots an evil glare at the shard with the dog, who loftily ignores her. “—that it’s going to take her more than three months to get around to doing anything significant. How do I kick-start this? I want conflict straight out of the gate.”

    “Hey, don’t look at me,” says the shard with the attack dog. “I offered you a ping and you wouldn’t take it. No backsies.”

    “Or from me,” the bartender says. “You only get one second trigger. It’s all up to you now.”

    “I don’t want extra power,” says the shard with the beetle. “I just want something to make her more active than reactive.”

    “Oh, that’s easy.” The diaphanous-clad shard smiles widely. “Ramp up her aggression. It’s what I did with mine. She was a pushover before, and now she can’t stand to lose.”

    “Well, you do get a lot of conflict.” The multitasking shard frowns a moment. “Okay, so how did you pull that off?”

    “I adjusted the hormone levels in the brain, like so.” The shard with the dog takes out a phone and fiddles with it, to show a series of slider bars. She hands it over to the shard with the beetle. “Just shove them across a little way, and you’ll have all the conflict you want.”

    “Oh, okay. Cool.” Using sleight of hand only possible in a metaphorical scenario, the shard with the beetle takes the phone and nudges the sliders across a little. The bars begin to change hue from deep green to a more yellowish shade.

    With a tremendous smash, an imposing figure erupts through the side-wall of the bar. Taller and broader (in a metaphorical sense) than the other shards, it is composed of metal, with actinic violet light glaring through the joints. Snatching the phone from the bug shard, it swipes its hand across the screen, slamming all the sliders into violent, flashing red. Then it crushes the phone into powder.

    DESTROY!” it booms, then lunges toward the closed doors. Normally impervious to all forces metaphorical and otherwise (just as the wall was supposed to have been), the doors burst outward. Seconds later, the intruder is gone.

    The shard with the dog stares at the one with the bug. “What the hell …?” she begins, but then breaks off to stare at the beetle. As they watch, it starts to glow and vibrate slightly. Then its wing cases fall away, to be replaced by something a lot sleeker, metallic and more dangerous. Piece by piece, it transforms from a happy, fat bumbling insect into a form akin to a stealth fighter. Its eyes are a deep red, and it’s hovering a few inches over the bar, without using its wings.

    “Who the hell was that?” demands the shard with the dog.

    “My host’s progenitor’s shard,” says the multitasking shard. “I wonder what ….”

    As if in response to the statement, the ex-beetle ignites rocket thrusters and accelerates around the room, out through the wreckage of the open doors, then vanishes into the middle distance. While the bartender and the shard with the dog stare in shocked surprise, the multitasking shard runs after the representation of her host. “Wait for me!” she calls. “Wait for me!”

    There’s a distant crash, and the attack dog starts barking and straining on the leash. The bartender blinks. “Well, on the upside, we’re definitely going to get conflict now.”

    In a moment of inattention, the leash slips through the diaphanously-clad shard’s hand. The dog runs out the door, barking ferociously. The shard runs after it. There’s another crash.

    With a sigh, the bartender takes a toolbox out from under the counter and starts repairing the hole in the wall. These ridiculously overpowered shards, he decides, are making a mockery of the whole thing.


    End of Interlude
     
  2. Darkarma

    Darkarma Loli Tentacle Slime

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2016
    Messages:
    355
    Likes Received:
    1,699
    Oh this is beautiful. Two shards walk into an interlude bar.
     
  3. Xyshuryn

    Xyshuryn Holder of Hands

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2018
    Messages:
    309
    Likes Received:
    2,309
    I'm reminded of Emiril Legasse thanks to this. "Let's kick it up a notch! BAM!"

    With a hint of Kool-Aid man of course.

    And a dash of Plus ULTRA!

    This... This can only be a good thing. Unless your name is Sophia Hess, Emma Barns, or Lolita McJailbait Madison Clements. Then it might suck a little.
     
    Ack likes this.
  4. Slayer Anderson

    Slayer Anderson Orthodox Heretic

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2014
    Messages:
    7,185
    Likes Received:
    87,929
    Sophia: "Hah! My horrible untimely demise won't escape me that easily! I've worked hard for the destruction of everything I know and love, it's not getting away now!"
     
  5. edale

    edale Versed in the lewd.

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2015
    Messages:
    1,735
    Likes Received:
    3,896
    Despite the fact that they came from close proximity to teenage girls...

    And now I've made myself nauseous...
     
    Ack likes this.
  6. Ack

    Ack (Verified Ratbag) (Unverified Great Old One)

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2014
    Messages:
    6,612
    Likes Received:
    46,884
    At that state in their decay, they don't belong in close proximity to human beings ... full stop.

    (I would have said 'period', but that would be on the nose.)

    (Just like the contents of the Locker.)

    (I'll stop now.)
     
    Lokhaxz, doomlord9, Pyro Hawk and 4 others like this.
  7. Kitty S. Lillian

    Kitty S. Lillian Transhuman

    Joined:
    May 20, 2018
    Messages:
    159
    Likes Received:
    211
    I think you want "Trigger Events are classic black-box phenomena", as "incident" is too concrete and "incidence" seems like not what you meant to say.
     
  8. Ack

    Ack (Verified Ratbag) (Unverified Great Old One)

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2014
    Messages:
    6,612
    Likes Received:
    46,884
    I dunno. "The act of something happening;" is pretty well what I was after. Trigger Events happen. It's just that nobody can observe exactly what happens.
     
    Kitty S. Lillian likes this.
  9. Kitty S. Lillian

    Kitty S. Lillian Transhuman

    Joined:
    May 20, 2018
    Messages:
    159
    Likes Received:
    211
    That is on there. I normally only see it used under "frequency" or "impact" meanings.

    The sentence "Trigger Events are a black-box incidence" still feels clunky because of the plural-are-singular issue, which is what led me to think "wait, did he mean incidents? No, that doesn't sound good to me, either (due to the article)".
     
  10. Ack

    Ack (Verified Ratbag) (Unverified Great Old One)

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2014
    Messages:
    6,612
    Likes Received:
    46,884
    The sentence reads "The mechanics of a Trigger Event are a black-box incidence."

    It's an event that takes place (Trigger Event) during which one or more things happen (the mechanics thereof). These cannot be directly observed; only the aftermath can. Thus, the entire result is viewed as a single thing; the outcome of an incidence.

    Kind of like an event (college graduation) during which several things take place (lining up, reception of diplomas, applause) but after it's all over, you've graduated. It was a thing that happened. People say "How was your graduation ceremony?" rather than "Hey, the way people clapped, that was pretty cool, right?"
     
    Kitty S. Lillian likes this.
Loading...