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Fourth [Worm Altpower!Taylor]

Discussion in 'Creative Writing' started by TCGM, Feb 3, 2018.

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  1. Jorin

    Jorin Mostly A Lurker

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    I LOVE THIS STORY!!!!^_^
     
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  2. TCGM

    TCGM (Unverified God/Space Snek)

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    Creative interpretation seems to be underselling it :p

    I have a new one for my to-read list.

    The slight grammar error was intended. Even in her head, when Sophia is flat out admitting she's lost, she can't truly believe herself to have done so. Thus the odd phrasing.

    There's one or two Sensor!Emma fics out there. They tend to be... interesting.

    It wasn't one of mine, no. Sorry.

    Or did I? :D

    That part is from Armsmaster's perspective. This is a character flaw for him, even from canon, that he cannot take anyone else teenagers seriously.

    Hah, like Alexandria would apologize twice in view of extra-existential observers!

    Not a typo. I'm from California.

    Troll Bird is best bird!

    Probably the bit where she thinks bullying her sister is the path to making her sister better.

    Oh, that part wasn't cray cray. It occurred. Whether the vision was Annette? ;)

    If she is, indeed, Annette.

    Ah yes, that's one of them. Thanks for reminding me of Queen Dragon!

    Thank you! Welcome to the crackship. I try to write in something I internally call Pseudo-Crack. This has aspects of Crack and Complete Bullshit, but in a logical world that still makes sense.

    Taylor deserves to be this OP in a canon way, you know? When she's this broken in other fics it is usually due to a crossover of some kind.

    Annette's, Eden's, and <REDACTED>'s backstories and stories are the best parts from my perspective. I get to release bits and pieces, watch you readers discuss and theorize, and it feeds me.

    I hope to be able to continue entertaining you with what comes next!

    AND I LOVE YOU, RANDOM READER!
     
  3. Gindjurra

    Gindjurra Not too sore, are you?

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    Well, I suppose it could have been Ziz in a clever Annette disguise, arranging for herself to be freed from Eidolon's control far in advance.
     
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  4. Akuma-Heika

    Akuma-Heika The Devil Exists Within

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    Thanks for the reply. Still annoyed that I cannot remember it, but the one I was referring to I believe was a Kerrigan Taylor one. Its part 1 ended, no clue if/when part 2 comes out. Now that I am thinking about it, I am becoming more convinced that it is right. The exact name still escapes me though -_-
     
  5. Slider Zero

    Slider Zero Getting some practice in, huh?

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    Umm...yeah. watched HARD.

    Seriously though, this shit is downright hillarious. Loved seeing the reactions of everyone as they realized just how fucked they were :p
     
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  6. Threadmarks: Chapter 7 - The Only Things We Have To Fear
    TCGM

    TCGM (Unverified God/Space Snek)

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    Fourth
    Chapter 7
    The Only Things We Have To Fear

    They never show the superhero battle cleanup on TV.

    I used to wonder why. Given some of the damage I've seen done, you'd think that the powers needed to fix it would be a good show all on their own.

    Now I know better.

    I have something like a hundred separate sources of powers available to me, to say nothing of how many possible powers I can theoretically wring out of them, and it's boring as shit.

    Due to the resolution needed to accurately return everything to the way it was before Contessa's little stunt with the Ash Beast, I had to reconstruct each building.

    One at a time.

    As fascinating as watching reality boil and matter bubble into existence is… it gets mind numbing after more than a hundred instances of doing the same thing over and over.

    I didn't even know the Boardwalk had this many buildings!

    And Armsmaster really wasn't making this any easier. He walked along, or should I say clunked along, besides me while I bent the fabric of space and time over my knee. His ‘help’ came in the form of double checking my work to make sure it was up to code. In his opinion that helped me, because otherwise the PRT would make me do it again correctly.

    Armsmaster is one dense Tinker.

    So is his Shard, by the way. Much like Sarah and Inference Engine, Colin Wallis and Efficiency are two peas in a pod.

    As evidence to this statement, I present the fact they both believed that the PRT could make me do anything, ever, at all.

    I rolled my eyes at another meaningless building code in the endless stream he was bombarding me with. It was like he thought that not only was I irresponsible, but by pure point of fact of him being far too responsible in my presence that it would rub off on me. Or something.

    ...That made way too much sense to just be an idle notion.

    I poked Path to Victory.

    Yep. Unapologetic grin again.

    You know it’s getting bad when the pieces of you can think for themselves. Especially when those pieces are capable of manipulating reality around you-

    Oh.

    Heh.

    I was still going about this as a human would.

    And while I did need and require of myself that I would remain human in morality and thinking, that didn’t mean I couldn’t use my already vast array of superpowers to my advantage.

    And so I poked Path to Victory again. Dad said that it was the Shard that helped him learn to be an Entity. That it was an I Win button, essentially.

    So… [Path to Victory: How do I repair the Boardwalk quickly and correctly?]

    [DATA]

    …..

    That is such bullshit.

    Path to Victory had just handed me the detailed specs for every single building, hell, every single biological organism inside the buildings from the very millisecond before Ash Beast arrived.

    It was entirely amused at my surprise, too. As if this wasn't remotely close to the maximum of its capabilities.

    A pleased grin alongside a piece of information hit me.

    [DATA!]

    …..I internally increased my estimation of the bullshit levels Path to Victory was capable of.

    Sixteen steps to rule the world? Was it serious?

    [DATA]

    Steps to finding out if it was serious: one, say Yes.

    Right.

    Well.

    I Win Shard indeed.

    Fucking hell. No wonder it helped my dad get a handle on his new existence.

    And Contessa had a barely limited version of this? How didn't Cauldron already rule the world?!

    [DATA]

    …..They did, in fact. Shadow rule. Oh great. Fantastic.

    Well at least I didn't need to worry about them, as the number of steps to get rid of said shadow rule and replace it with my own wasn't even in the double digits.

    As for actually doing it? Well, I didn't know what a snake and a fox had to do with it, but I wasn't really interested in glassing things from orbit anyways.

    ...Maybe later, if Cauldron doesn't shape up?

    Anyways, if my Matter Manipulator and Shaper Shards worked together, and I fed the data Path to Victory gave me into them, they could return the Boardwalk to its undestroyed glory with a mere snap of my fingers. People (with their memories!), animals, and even bacteria included.

    If I chose to make any motion accompany the action at all.

    Holy. Fucking. Shit.

    I mean, intellectually I knew just how powerful I’d become. My new biological species was ludicrous. We were capable of reaching within a percentage of the speed of light for crying out loud, and that was without any form of FTL. Or reaching across realities as easily as normal humans snapped their fingers, and manipulating the structure of subatomic particles while doing so. Given enough time it was likely we could actually build stars.

    Nevermind that the examples of my new race never had done any of these things, they were still possible.

    It might seem unreal for me to continue being shocked by my new existence, but it was just starting to sink in. It’d only been, what, less than a day since I’d woken up.

    I was allowed some mental leeway.

    “-ire Code SAF-6015.2 requires that you replace the automatic fire warning devices in any multi-unit dwellings, including, but not limited to, nursing homes, rooming houses, dormitories, residential board and care facilities, hotels, motels, apartment buildings, buildings containing condominium units or rental units. You also have to ensure that the devices are powered by the building's electrical serv-”

    Oh my gods. Armsmaster was still droning on and on. I couldn't take it anymore!

    “ENOUGH!” I yelled, stomping my foot.

    I will forever deny how much enjoyment I got out of the at least full foot Armsmaster managed to jump.

    “Armsmaster, if I put the entire Boardwalk back together correctly, will you please shut up?” I asked, planting my hands on my hips.

    He stopped walking, turned around, and came to a stop right in front of me.

    Shit, he's tall.

    I was a tall girl, but I wasn't as tall as Armsmaster, much less in power armor.

    And I totally didn't subconsciously hover into the air a little to make up for the height difference.

    Nope.

    But the non action I didn't do brought me nose to visor with him.

    We stared at each other for an entire, long minute. My hands were starting to get fidgety when he finally spoke.

    “Five minutes, sixteen point seven seconds,” he informed me.

    ...What?

    “What?” I asked out loud, cocking my head to the side.

    What was visible of his face morphed into a wry smirk. “That is how long you managed to go while listening to me recite the New Hampshire Fire Building Codes. Congratulations. You beat Miss Militia by about a minute.”

    I stared at him more. Did he just…

    My shocked expression didn't seem to faze him. “You can consider this payback for the underwear comment if you prefer.”

    He fucking did.

    Armsmaster wasn't supposed to know what a sense of humor was, much less possess one.

    Yet, then and there on the still mostly destroyed Boardwalk, he broke my expectations and revealed his.

    Very well. If he wanted to play, I'd happily oblige him.

    I narrowed my eyes at him and moved close enough that my breath started misting on his visor. “You know,” I solemnly intoned, automatically reaching up to adjust my glass-

    Oh, right. I didn't have glasses anymore. Didn't need them.

    Regardless, I continued with the gesture as if I didn't care. Had to get started on displaying my knowledge of the absolute hippest memes, after all. “-this means war.”

    Armsmaster tensed up, rapidly stepping back to get a bit of space between us.

    What the hell? Why did he react like that?

    I cocked my head to the other side, raised my eyebrows, and went over what it might look like from his perspective.

    Ah. Right. Woooops.

    New controller of the Endbringers threatens you with war. No matter how much of a meme reference it was… yeah, whoops.

    “A prank war,” I clarified, chuckling a little.

    At that the tension seemed to bleed away from him. “Ah,” he said, almost sounding like he wasn't relieved and coming down from a fight or flight response. It was a good attempt, but bite me Armsy, I'm an Entity. “That is much better than I believed.”

    Well. Can't have him getting too comfy.

    I grinned at him and snapped my fingers. “We'll see,” I sing songed, making sure to hit exactly the right frequencies that would make him twitch.

    The Boardwalk was a destroyed wreck with a few buildings repaired one second… and then the rest of the buildings began flowing into existence, their materials coming out of nowhere like thousands of streams of water.

    I was dissolving a tiny asteroid to pull this off, but what the hell, it's not like I had a shortage of those in my Shards’ reality. Something like several hundred billion of that size or larger in the Asteroid Belt alone.

    And as I had just declared a Prank War upon the now twitching Armsmaster, I added a building. It was far down the Boardwalk and one of the first I built in this massive wave, but unlike the other buildings it didn't house something that was here originally.

    No, that was Protectorate's Secret. I'd made the most heavily suggestive lingerie store on the Eastern Seaboard, created several lines of sexy underwear (or notwear!) for each Brockton Bay Protectorate member, and threw them all into a tiny mockup of the Rig.

    With Armsmaster's ‘Mark II - Lady Function Killer’ panties front and center.

    I didn't stop grinning as Armsmaster looked around in shock. He probably didn't see the Secret store, as I hid it down an alley, but he'd find it eventually.

    “Your move, Armsy.”







    “Soooo…,” Assault said, sidling up to the winged teenager. “Ziz, right?”

    Ziz nodded and turned her visual attention from watching Taylor and Armsmaster bicker to the host approaching her. “Ethan,” she greeted him. Not coldly, but not warmly either.

    The revealed parahuman chuckled and rubbed the back of his head. “Yeah, I guess it'd make sense that you know who I am,” he lamented sheepishly.

    “If you believe us, and don't assume Legend has been compromised,” Ziz replied easily.

    Ethan opened his mouth to refute her statement, thought better of it, and went silent.

    “Yeah. I know,” she continued nonchalantly. “I know you're on the fence. I know your wife isn't, and I also know why.” Ziz nodded her head backwards in the direction of Battery.

    Ethan tried to look surprised, he really did, but something about her just told him to expect stuff like this. Knowing things.

    It might be that she was adamant that she was the Winged Endbringer, but he wasn't sure.

    “Ask her sometime about that favor she owed Legend. Don't be surprised when what you learn shocks you. Because it will,” she assured him. “You are very good at taking and rolling with punches, but the truth of what's really going on? That might be enough to put a cap on the madness you can handle.”

    She said all this in a perfectly sweet and innocent tone of voice, an annoyingly perfect and innocent smile on her face to match it.

    Ethan narrowed his eyes at her and pursed his lips. His suspicious expression was clearly intended to be mocking. “Well played," he eventually accepted, nodding. "Don't think I've heard that one before.”

    If it was possible, which it apparently was, Ziz looked even more innocent for a few moments. “I pride myself on being original," she deadpanned back, words at odds with her still innocent tone.

    The two of them held their tones and expressions for a good ten seconds… then broke down laughing.

    Ziz's laugh sounded like the tinkling of bells crossed with a young teen's voice, if that voice was the voice of an angelic starlet. It had echoes of the Scream she used to use, but only a few good parts. Said parts Ethan had just discovered the existence of in his memories, and only by comparison, true, but they did exist.

    His laugh was pretty standard. Or as his wife called it, demented cackling.

    Ethan was barely aware of several of his teammates around them observing the winged Endbringer in girl form and him cracking up with the usual exasperation they reserved for him.

    Damn, she was good. Get him and her laughing at the same time, demonstrate humanity. The fact she winked at him in the middle of her laughter when he figured it out just solidified his opinion of how crafty she could still be.

    A few moments later their laughter started to taper off, into chuckles for him and giggles for Ziz. Perfectly matched tapering, he noticed. She wasn't going to stop before him.

    So he let it naturally decay, an easy silence falling over both of them.

    “I hate to ruin this thing," he started to say, gesturing between them, “that we've got going on, but I gotta ask; why?"

    Ziz's happiness fled like a boat before a storm. “You mean why did we attack?" she asked, sadly.

    Ethan was taken aback. However, he'd picked the topic, brought it up, and now he needed to know. “Uh, yeah," he offered, lamely.

    Ziz closed her eyes and sighed. “Well, you deserve to know," she declared. When she opened her eyes again and locked them on Ethan, her irises were glowing an ethereal white.

    He gulped.

    “We were Mastered," Ziz began. “Totally, entirely. Well, not technically entirely for me. I had a bit of breathing room due to my precognition, but that didn't matter, because I was Mastered. I couldn't do anything I would want to now. More to the point, I didn't want to then.”

    Ethan raised his eyebrows. "Mastered… how?" he asked, frowning. “I don't think I've ever heard of something that would change your actual wants. Heartbreaker is the worst in the world, and even he just affects emotions.”

    Ziz cracked a sad grin. “Heartbreaker," she said, scoffing. “Vasil wishes he had the power to affect anyone like we were.”

    Ethan settled back on his heels, gesturing with his hand for her to continue her obviously incoming explanation.

    Ziz nodded, then smiled at him, presumably to show she wasn't mad at him. “Think of the worst Master effect you can... then multiply it by a hundred, a thousand times,” she began.

    Ethan blinked. “That sounds… bad.”

    Ziz chuckled darkly and shook her head. “Ethan, it's not just an ability to command us. Taylor literally defines major aspects of our very beings. As did our old Master. We were destroyers, engines of death and pain, because that is the shape we were forced into by them." She nodded at Taylor, and grinned happily. “Just as I'm now almost human. Think like one, feel like one. Even the urge to be a hero comes from her.”

    “Huh.” Ethan looked like he was actually thinking it through. “That's… I'm sorry?”

    Ziz's happy grin cracked slightly, the corner of her lips threatening to start trembling. “Thanks. I'm not really sad about it, though. In many ways the only things I share with my past self are the powers, the memories, and a couple of personality traits not deemed unsuitable for my new role.”

    “...So, you're… a different person?” Ethan summarized questioningly. "Not that I'm complaining, I like non hostile Endbringers, but doesn't that bother you?”

    Ziz's full grin returned, aimed at him. “Engine of Destruction telling you that I'm a different person over here, and you actually care about my feelings,” she lamented, chuckling. “Only you, Ethan, only you."

    The costumed kinetic manipulator smiled and shrugged. “What can I say? I've been told I'm a good guy like that,” he faux humbly stated. "Just don't tell my wife."

    Ziz chuckled. “Indeed,” she agreed, rolling her eyes. “To answer your question: my past self would find my current state distasteful, much less my new directive. I, however, am happy with both, and not only because the guilt I harbor from my past self's actions is beyond human capability to understand.”

    Ethan blinked. “Huh. I… guess I get it. But, uh, why are you telling me all this?”

    Ziz smiled at him, and he felt as if he was a child once more. “I'm heroic now, Ethan, not dumb. I know your superiors are going to want psych profiles on us. I figured I'd head them off at the pass,” she explained succinctly. “The fact that their faces when they learn that you are the one they have to get those profiles from will be amazing is just a bonus.”

    Ethan hesitated for a few moments as he processed that, then he cracked a grin too. “Yeah, I'd think so.” Then his eyes widened slightly and he took a small step back from her. “Ummm… that sounds a little… Plan-y, Ziz.”

    Ziz snorted and rolled her eyes, slightly shaking her feathers for effect. “I am partially The Simurgh, Ethan. Planning is kinda my thing. Long, convoluted, and hidden plans are one of my core personality traits and were not detrimental to being heroic, so they weren't discarded” she explained. “I just use it for heroic things and saving people now.”

    Ethan took another moment to process that, then smirked. “And trolling,” he added.

    Ziz abruptly looked away and… winked, at Miss Militia. When she turned back to him, she acted as if she hadn’t done anything, even over his suspicious glare. Instead, she grinned conspiratorially. “Well, of course!” she agreed. “I've been doing that since day one!”

    Ethan raised his eyebrows. “Really?” he asked. “I mean, what exactly could you do? Weren't you always either fighting us, or in orbit?”

    Ziz nodded. “Yes, but that by no means denied me the ability to mess with the human race.”

    Ethan looked unimpressed. “Really.

    “Yup. For one, I gave Dragon and all the Thinkers trying to predict my actions daily conniption fits, so that was nice,” Ziz revealed.

    Ethan chuckled despite himself. “And… for two?” he asked, in the tone of one who knows they've come too far but wants to see the end.

    Ziz's smirk was legendary. “Winged_One on PHO.”

    Ethan looked at her oddly. “What?”

    “I post on PHO, and my username is Winged_One,” she elaborated.

    “You what.

    “Yup.”

    Ethan's jaw dropped.







    Dauntless stared up at the towering pillar of muscles standing next to him.

    “So you're Behemoth," the hero eventually managed to ask.

    The man who was… is? An Endbringer solemnly inclined his head. “I was."

    Was.

    Sure.

    Dauntless looked him up and down, noting once more the unholy levels of musculature badly hidden beneath an ill fitting massive T-Shirt.

    Was. Yeah, right. And I'm a Roman centurion displaced in time, Dauntless deadpanned to himself.

    The man watched him, amusement clear on his face due to the slight grin and the crinkling of the skin around his glowing orange eyes.

    Oh no.

    “You do it too," Dauntless almost groaned.

    A solitary eyebrow was raised by the man. “What do I do?" he asked, genuinely.

    Dauntless sighed, then pointed over to where Miss Militia was having her own talk with, if these people, common sense, and Legend were to be believed, Leviathan's human form. “Miss Militia does the eye crinkling thing too," he offered as explanation.

    The man's second eyebrow joined his first, then he glanced over at Dauntless’ teammate momentarily. “Ah," he said, nodding. “I see. The wielder of Weapons Sentinel shares many commonalities with myself. It is not surprising.”

    Weapons Sentinel? What? Dauntless was confused… and surprised. “You do?" he asked, unable to keep his surprise from his voice. “I mean, she does?"

    The man- no, Behemoth, Dauntless was convinced by that weird phrasing if nothing else, turned his burning gaze back on the hero. He held Dauntless’ eyes in his own for a few worrying seconds. Finally, he nodded, and spoke.

    “We were both unwilling child soldiers in a war not our own,” he succinctly informed the hero.

    Dauntless was stunned. “...Oh," he finally managed to squeak.







    Miss Militia was experiencing that feeling known as complete and total disbelieving, dumbfounded amusement.

    This was because she was talking with the now human form of Leviathan, and he sounded and acted more like a member of the Wards she mentored than an island and city destroyer.

    An ice cream addicted, and mourning, teenager.

    "There there," Miss Militia patted him on the t-shirt covered back. "We have ice cream at the PRT HQ. That's where we're going after this, so I can get you some."

    Leviathan's face lit up like a kid at Christmas. "Really?!" he excitedly asked, literally jumping for joy.

    Miss Militia struggled to keep her hand on his back and her smile carefully measured to show kindness, instead of allowing the severe levels of, as Clockblocker would say, 'WTF is going on' she was experiencing to show up.

    “I’ll make you a water gun if you get me ice cream, like you said!” Leviathan cheerily said, closing his eyes and grinning ear to ear. He even held out a closed fist and pointed his thumb up, other hand on his hip.

    Her eyes crinkled at the edges, and Miss Militia found herself no longer having to struggle to smile at all. “Sure, what kind of ice cream do you want?” she asked. “Just so I can radio ahead and make sure they have it.”

    “Mint Chocolate Chip!” the vaguely middle eastern teenager announced proudly.

    Miss Militia nodded, smiling ear to ear as well. His mood was infectious. If he was ever the Kyushu Killer, he certainly wasn't anymore. “Sure, just let me call?” she asked, pointing to her earbud.

    He nodded eagerly, the far too cute action mirrored in the water shadow he still hadn’t turned off.

    At their size it was less terrifying, and more adorable how it copied his actions.

    The woman in fatigues found herself thinking one, traitorous thought. I want one. She then realized her thoughts, not helped by a surreptitious and teasing wink from The Si… from Ziz, as she’d said her name was, over by Assault.

    Miss Militia turned away from Leviathan as she blushed red. “I just need to transmit codes that say we’re okay, alright?” she asked the teenager, trying not to stutter.

    “Yep!”

    And unknown to the woman who was like a second mother to the Brockton Bay wards, as she initiated a direct call to the PRT HQ’s kitchens, two proto-sapients in another reality were relayed her thoughtful request from the much smaller form of the Troll Bird.

    Without their greater whole's knowledge.

    No, Miss Militia was far too focused on her sudden realization that Leviathan had offered to make her a water gun.







    Armsmaster managed to regain his composure remarkably quickly.

    “Your display of power is impressive,” he steadily admitted. “But that will not stop the rule of law from at least attempting to corral you.”

    Funny, it almost sounded like he was… warning, instead of outright commanding me.

    I nodded knowingly. “I already guessed that might happen.” I held up a hand and flicked my wrist. Legend’s Shard was fed power from my new Zero Point Reactor Shard, then directed into the space around it.

    A tiny fusion reaction burst into existence, my hand entirely embedded in it.

    Armsy must’ve been getting used to my tricks, because he only barely flinched.

    “They are welcome to try,” I stated flatly. I locked my gaze upon where his eyes were. Past his visor, it being exactly zero help to protect his identity from me. “You are welcome to try.”

    He grimaced and completed my sentence for me. “It would not end well.”

    I nodded and allowed the fusion reaction to dissipate. “To put it mildly,” I informed him, deadpan. “At the very least, I have five non-sandbagging Endbringers… or as I now call them, Friendbringers, under my control.”

    Armsmaster’s eyebrow raised at my name for them. I simply rolled my eyes.

    “And, as logic dictates, it should stand to reason that anything that can make Endbringers is much more powerful than them,” I continued. “The difference isn’t just slight, either. You know how you parahumans get your powers?”

    “The Corona Pollentia and Gemma-” he began to answer, almost automatically.

    “-are output and input nodes, respectively, for symbiotic biocrystal computation platforms lying on or in orbit of other Earths,” I interrupted him. “Shards. Each Shard is usually linked with one human. Severely limited in their scope, they provide their unique ability to the ‘parahuman’ in exchange for usage data.”

    Armsmaster just stared at me, gobsmacked. His Shard, Efficiency, was slightly panicking at me blowing the secret on its true nature, but I merely instructed it that the particular ruleset governing their true nature was now defunct.

    It stopped worrying after that.

    “Those Shards, when linked together, can form a cohesive, usually sapient being,” I continued even more. “I am one of those such beings. My dad is another. Scion is yet one more.”

    His gulp was audible from the Mayor’s Office, I’m sure.

    “We are Entities. We are the source of powers.” I hovered slightly higher into the air and lowered my face until I was almost touching his visor. “Now, do you think your world could fight Scion, much less all three of us?”

    Armsmaster shook his head rapidly.

    I didn’t really know why I was telling him all this. It put my plan in jeopardy; Scion was more likely than not to notice me now. I would’ve been surprised that he hadn’t shown up already, but my senses showed his oblivious avatar perfectly at home saving an entire cattery which was on fire.

    One cat at a time.

    Gods, he couldn't even hero correctly.

    As for why I was spilling the beans? I guess it was because Armsmaster was one of my heroes. And after the sting of Scion's, then Alexandria’s, betrayals of the concept of a Hero… I must’ve been clinging to the first one next on my list.

    I didn’t have his branded panties for no reason, after all.

    I nodded. “Good. Then we won’t have to.” I righted myself and smiled kindly. “For reference, I’m the helpful one. My dad is… well, he married my mom, she died, and he’s been kinda depressed,” I lamented sadly. “Plus he was trying to protect me from the Golden Idiot until I ascended. I’ve now done so, and thus, I am trying to clean up the messes that were made of our world.” I gestured to my Friendbringers, smiling even wider. “They’re just the first.”

    Armsmaster just looked at me, stunned silent. His jaw was visibly dropped.

    “I’m sure there will be a time when I’ll be more willing to answer some of your questions, but I just wanted an ice cream. Until my dad remembers to bring the people of the Boardwalk back, I can’t get it here,” I mused. Only a few more seconds lasted for my decision to finalize itself. Then I stood straight up, grinned a lot like Sarah would’ve, if my data from her Shard was accurate, and said a line I’d always wished I could say.

    “So….. Take me to your leader.”

    Ziz’s abrupt whoop of nerdy joy did nothing to help my composure.







    The ride to the PRT HQ Building was filled with conversation and yet also not.

    Ziz and Assault seemed to have hit it off. My winged Friendbringer was taking the Hearts and Minds idea I was sort of rallying my actions with the Protectorate around and running with it. To me it was obvious that she was trying incredibly hard to look like just another cape, another human. Laughing, giggling, telling jokes and getting Assault to laugh in turn.

    I got an almost idle affirmative feeling from her over our link at the direction my thoughts had taken. She didn't look at me though, too 'engrossed' in talking with Assault.

    Ben and Levi were doing their best, but neither had the manipulation skills of Ziz. In that aspect I supposed it was better, because any manipulation they tried to do would clearly fail and so they didn't even try. They came across as genuine that way.

    Levi probably looked like just another Ward to the cape who'd taken to him. Miss Militia. I'd say I was jealous, but honestly I was still processing just who I was sitting across from.

    As awesome as Miss Militia was, I was sitting across from Armsmaster.

    As an equal, at the least.

    The fangirling was real even if I was offloading it into a threaded environment so I didn't totally ruin the image I'd worked on this entire time with Ziz.

    Ben didn't exactly have anyone gravitate towards him. He engaged in short conversations and answered questions from anyone who addressed him, but he seemed content to just observe. And be the intimidating tower of muscly goodness that his body had taken the form of, of course.

    Emma had no such issues. She was in full chatterbox mode, just like her original had been when we were kids. Poor Khonsou was dragged straight into her shenanigans as she teased every person in the vehicle and talked about a million miles an hour.

    It was amusing to me that the most powerful person in the van besides myself checked nearly every box on the blonde ditz list… besides the blonde or the lackluster intelligence anyways.

    She was probably smarter than me, just because she was actually willing to use my Shards to their full potential with regularity. Emma seemed remarkably unworried about losing her humanity. I felt the unseen hands of her access across at least thirty of my Shards at all times. That was up from the ten or so she was mainlining when we'd left to get ice cream.

    Then there was Armsmaster… and me. I'd unloaded a lot on him, that much was obvious, because he just sat across from me and watched me like I was a total enigma. The entire first fifteen minutes of travel time he was just silent. Processing, I assumed.

    He finally spoke once we were closer rather than farther from the PRT Headquarters. He felt safer, subconsciously, the closer we got, my copy of Sarah's Inference Engine informed me.

    "Was it true?" he asked.

    I blinked and focused back on reality. "Uh," I stammered, "was what true?"

    He visibly swallowed, his chin betraying what his armor covered throat couldn't. "What you said. About… Parahuman powers. And…" he trailed off, looking pained. "And you."

    Ah. I closed my eyes and nodded to emphasize my conviction. "Yeah. Every word."

    Just like every single thing I'd said to him so far, the lie detector program in his HUD system once again flashed TRUTH at my words.

    Armsmaster let out a pained breath as he seemed to deflate against the surprisingly comfortable wall seat across from mine. "Oh."

    He didn’t say anything for another few minutes, the van drawing ever closer to the PRT HQ.

    “Thank you,” he suddenly said.

    I jumped a little in my seat at the unexpected gratitude. Adjusting my glasses -oh, wait, I don’t wear them anymore, still gonna have to get used to that- I coughed lightly and blinked at him. “What?”

    Armsmaster shuffled around in his seat a bit, clearly uncomfortable. Not that I was any more comfortable with this than he was, I hadn’t been thanked in over two years. “Thank you,” he repeated.

    “What for?” I asked, tilting my head to the side.

    “What for?” he parroted me, tone one of disbelief. He looked over to my Friendbringers, then back to me, and grimaced. “If your story pans out and it turns out you are indeed who… and what, you say you are, and they are who and what they say they are…” he scoffed and shook his head, looking down at the floor. Finally he met my eyes again, his visor the only thing preventing me from seeing those light brown orbs with my normal vision. “I admit the evidence is beginning to stack up. As insane as you sound, the Simurgh is gone from orbit-”

    “Of course I am, how did you think I was sitting in this van with you?” Ziz interjected. More than a few of the other parahumans couldn't keep themselves from snorting at the very least.

    Armsmaster continued on as if he hadn’t even heard her. “-and Dragon can’t find the normal signs of either Leviathan or Behemoth’s presence. So given the likelihood of your… ludicrous story being true is rising, and the potential shitstorm that is about to descend on all of us due to it, I wanted to thank you while I still can,” he finished explaining, squaring his shoulders. “Thank you, Taylor. For doing what your apparent peers failed to.”

    I didn’t have tears in my eyes and anyone who says otherwise is a lying liar winged bird girl. “T-Thanks, Armsmaster,” I sniffed.

    The man in blue armor across from me nodded definitively, then fell silent for the rest of the ride.

    I hadn’t felt that happy in a long, long time.

    Also, a side note for the Internet. Armsmaster not only had a sense of humor, he apparently must have been a damn good speechwriter.
     
  7. Archimand

    Archimand Getting sticky.

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    O shit a Socialmaster, those are my favorite.
     
  8. TCGM

    TCGM (Unverified God/Space Snek)

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    Yeahyeah. Check out the SV thread for a description of who this Armsmaster really is!

    Because nobody really replies to SFW QQ stories in double digit numbers, apparently
     
  9. JammyASDFG

    JammyASDFG Getting some practice in, huh?

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    I am guessing that piggot is going to be 'accidentally' healed at some point during this meeting, then she is just going to have to be annoyed, because trying to set the law on Taylor is going to work about as well as a toddler trying to gound Andre the giant.
     
  10. Flutters Is Shy

    Flutters Is Shy Friend of the Rage

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    We shall make it a reality!!!
     
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  11. TCGM

    TCGM (Unverified God/Space Snek)

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    The entire next chapter and an entire scene are already done so I'm sitting here knowing exactly what happens with Piggot and this amuses me ;)

    That'd be really nice! Likes and whatnot are good indicators of who's read my stuff but if I'm being honest it's talking with you lot that keeps me writing.
     
  12. Flutters Is Shy

    Flutters Is Shy Friend of the Rage

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    I know that feeling wholeheartedly. It's absolutely heart rending to write up a 3k chapter and only have a couple of people even reply. Like, I guess that's the bare number of people who even liked what I wrote? Completely demoralizing.
     
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  13. jo demon

    jo demon Undertale, Yay

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    I had to reread the story because I forgot what it was about.
     
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  14. deathgeonous

    deathgeonous Making the rounds.

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    This is not dead. You do not know how happy typing those semi mean words makes me. I have really missed this crazy crack comedy. I am now awaiting more trolling entities.
     
  15. SlickRCBD

    SlickRCBD Getting out there.

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    Good: The story is not dead.
    Still, I'm kind of disappointed by the minor timeskip. I was looking forward to seeing what happened after Sophia shot Taylor with the crossbow in front of Aegis.
    The fallout sounded fun...For the Heberts.
    Instead we jump to Taylor and Armsmaster cleaning up the damage to the boardwalk with no transition. I feel like I missed a scene or two.
     
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  16. TCGM

    TCGM (Unverified God/Space Snek)

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    hugs

    Sorry for the long wait, I didn't notice that almost a year had gone by until I went to post the chapter on SV.

    \o/

    It technically never was dead, this whole time I've been stuck on a scene which refused to be written. I destroyed that scene and entirely replaced it and lo and behold, my muse had stuff for me. Annndd... I may have only thought it's been 4 months this whole time? Eheh...

    Turns out that accidentally pushing a character OOC gives me total writer's block for the scene!

    Nope, not dead! I'm slow, not someone who abandons stories. Yes, even those two older ones on my FFN profile. Even those have content waiting for the chronological progress in the middle.

    You missed a scene because it hasn't happened yet. The Sophia interlude syncs up at the end of the next chapter.
     
  17. Flutters Is Shy

    Flutters Is Shy Friend of the Rage

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    *Hugs in response*
    well, I'll keep commenting so you have at least one more post to look forward to...
     
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  18. Slider Zero

    Slider Zero Getting some practice in, huh?

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    *Minding my own business*
    Hmm? An alert? What for...

    Wat
    WHAT.

    HOLY FUCK IT LIVES!!!!IT LIVES!!!!!!!!

    seriously though, glad this is back. Seems all the Entity!Taylor stories died and/or went nowhere, so it's nice to see one come surging back to life. Plus, I love me thE SHEER CRACK!
     
  19. Jorin

    Jorin Mostly A Lurker

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    Look forward to more of this in the future.:)
     
  20. SlickRCBD

    SlickRCBD Getting out there.

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    Might I suggest that when you finally get around to posting that in six months to a year, you change the threadmarks to put the Sophia interlude after said chapter to avoid confusion?
     
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  21. TCGM

    TCGM (Unverified God/Space Snek)

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    Yay!

    Indeed! I can't say this enough but I had no idea it'd been as long as it was.

    Crack is best crack. No, that doesn't make sense, welcome to crack.

    \o/

    Heeeeyyyy! It won't be... that long! I swear! :p

    I organized these in this way on purpose. Sophia's interlude gives less info than Taylor's perspective will, thus, Taylor's part needs to come after.
     
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