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I, Panacea (Worm SI Fanfic)

Discussion in 'Creative Writing' started by Ack, Jan 7, 2015.

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  1. Threadmarks: Index
    Ack

    Ack (Verified Ratbag) (Unverified Great Old One)

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    When Amy Dallon is hit on the head during the Brockton Bay bank robbery, she wakes up with a passenger in her head ...

    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, then I will make stuff up. If canon then refutes me, then 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.



    Index
    Chapter One: Oh No, Not Again (below)
    Chapter Two: Getting Along
    Chapter Three: Taking the Bull by the Horns
    Chapter Four: Villainous Interactions
    Chapter Five: Arguing the Point
    Chapter Six: Arguments and Agreements
    Chapter Seven: Questions and Answers
    Chapter Eight: Facing the Music
    Chapter Nine: Discoveries and Revelations
    Chapter Ten: Anger Management
    Chapter Eleven: Stations of Canon
    Chapter Twelve: Escalation
    Chapter Thirteen: Out of the Frying Pan
    Chapter Fourteen: Moving Right Along
    Chapter Fifteen: Arrival
    Chapter Sixteen: Panacea at Winslow, Part the First
    Chapter Seventeen: Panacea at Winslow, Part the Second
    Chapter Eighteen: Whatever Happened to Alexandria?
    Chapter Nineteen: Panacea at Winslow, Part the Third
    Chapter Twenty: Panacea at Winslow, Part the Fourth
    Chapter Twenty-One: Just in Time
    Chapter Twenty-Two: Negotiations
    Chapter Twenty-Three: Playing Hardball
    Chapter Twenty-Four: Adjustments
     
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2020
  2. Threadmarks: Part One: Oh No, Not Again
    Ack

    Ack (Verified Ratbag) (Unverified Great Old One)

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    I, Panacea

    A Worm SI Story


    Part 1: Oh No, Not Again


    14 April 2011

    Brockton Bay Central Bank

    Just after midday


    “Eight seconds.”

    Amy wasn't really sure if Tattletale was bluffing, or if she really had damaging information about Amy's real father. She did seem very sure of herself. On the other hand, Amy really didn't want these two supervillains – they weren't any older than her! - to get away with robbing the bank in broad daylight.

    Gambling that the bug girl was just bluffing, that she wouldn't really cut her throat, Amy lunged free of her grip. She met Vicky's eyes as she got free; Vicky nodded slightly and went for Tattletale. The girl in the skin-tight outfit tried to get behind a desk, but Vicky simply went over it, shoving her backward with all the power of which she was capable.

    For a moment, Amy thought that Glory Girl might simply fly into the wall, crushing the girl to a bloody pulp, but she stopped just short of it. Giving Tattletale a hard shove that slammed her into the wall, she put her hand over the girl's mouth. Amy approved; Tattletale's voice seemed to be the most dangerous thing about her.

    Now to deal with the bug girl.

    Amy began to turn back toward the second supervillain. She'd already shown herself unwilling to use the knife on Amy, so all Amy had to do -

    Too late, she heard the metallic click-click-click-click.

    That's not a gun.


    The extendible baton caught her just above the ear. She staggered a couple of feet, then tumbled to the ground.

    =///=​

    “-an you hear me, miss? Hello? Can you hear me?”

    There was a bright light shining in her eye. She tried to blink; the reflex happened, but it was late. A second or so after she applied the effort. The light shifted to her other eye; again, the blink was late. Really, really late.

    “Can you hear me?” asked the voice again.

    She tried to frame an answer, but her lips and tongue were unresponsive.

    And then she answered, anyway. “Yes. I can hear you.”

    That wasn't what I was going to say!

    What?


    The voice in the back of her head startled her. It was distinct from her own thoughts, audible over the buzz of sound around her.

    “Where … where am I?” she heard herself ask, to her utter consternation. She knew where she was.

    Okay, where am I?

    What? Who are you? Where are you?

    Right here. Who are you? What are you doing in my head? And where am I?


    The man asking questions, the paramedic, asked, “Do you remember your name?”

    “I, uh -” her lips faltered.

    What's my name? Where am I?

    I don't know what your name is, but my name's Amy Dallon. Now get out of my head!

    I thought this was
    my head. Fuck.

    “- uh, Amy Dallon -”

    Whatever was controlling her lips, her speech, seemed to freeze up at that moment.

    Oh, you have to be fucking kidding me.

    What would I be kidding you about?

    A silent groan. I'm in fucking Brockton Bay again, aren't I?

    Mentally, she frowned. I'm in Brockton Bay, yes. Why?

    What date is it?

    What does that matter to you?

    A lot.

    At that moment, the paramedic asked, “Miss Dallon, do you know what date it is?”

    A sigh. Did you just get hit in the head by a girl who could control bugs, right after you clocked her with a fire extinguisher?

    You forgot about the bit where she held a knife to my throat.

    She wasn't going to use it. She just didn't want to get pummelled to a pulp by your foster sister.


    Out loud, her lips said, “April fourteenth, two thousand and eleven.”

    How did you know that now, when you didn't know it before?

    The voice was grim. Trust me, Amy, I know this shit. Can you control your body at all? I'm letting go.

    She felt a subtle relaxation, all over her body. Exerting herself, she strained to blink her eyes, move a finger, do anything.

    Nothing happened.

    Oh god, what's happened to me?

    I have an idea. Not the how, but the what.

    What? Tell me. Please.

    When you got hit, you got … jarred. Jolted loose from your body. And stupid fucking me dropped into the command seat before you got back.

    What? How is that even possible?

    Oh, trust me.
    The grim tone was back. I have a habit of doing this shit.

    “Amy.” The voice was Vicky's. “Can you move? Can you get up?”

    She felt the stranger in her mind reassert control, and she got up, moving awkwardly. Vicky helped her, supporting her, until her footing was steady.

    “Thanks,” her voice sounded strange in her ears. “Are you all right, Vicky?”

    Glory Girl's face was blotched with insect bites, and her eyes were reddened. “I'll be fine. I'll be a lot better once I catch up with the Undersiders.”

    “Here, let me help you with that.” Amy felt her hand rest on her sister's bare skin. There was a pause.

    Okay, how do I turn it on?

    Turn what on?

    Your biokinesis. You want to heal your sister's bug bites, right?

    How did you even know I had biokinesis?


    A sigh. Oh, for fuck's sake. Are we going to trust each other, or not?

    How can I trust you? You haven't even told me your name.


    A pause. I haven't? I thought I had.

    No. You hadn't.

    Ah. Sorry. My name's Michael Allen.

    That doesn't tell me much. Are you a Thinker?

    No. I'm a security guard.

    You have to be joking.

    I only wish I was. Now, can I have the keys to the car, or not?


    I don't think so. Not for the moment.

    A sigh. Great.

    She realised that Vicky was looking at her expectantly. “Amy?”

    Her arm lifted and her hand pressed to her forehead. “Sorry, Vicky. Head's a bit sore. I'm finding it a little hard to concentrate. Maybe later?”

    That's weak.

    Spur of the moment, okay?

    You realise, Vicky's known me all my life. She'll realise it's not me running the show sooner or later.

    It's not like I planned this, okay?

    You could tell them what's happened.

    Oh, for fuck's sake. I don't even
    know what happened. Just that it did. And how's it going to sound? “Hey, listen. I'm not really Amy, I'm just driving her body while she gives me advice from the back seat.” Master/Stranger protocols much?

    oh.

    Yeah. Oh. Now listen, there's things we need to discuss.


    Amy was vaguely aware that her sister had replied to her, and was waiting for her to answer.

    Aren't you going to talk to her?

    What? What did she say?

    I thought you were listening.

    No. No, I was not.


    “Uh, sorry,” she heard herself say. “I was kind of distracted.”

    “I'll say you are, Ames,” Vicky told her. “I was thinking we call in sick from school and go straight home. You look like you need about a week of bed rest.”

    Amy felt herself nodding. “Yeah, that's a really good idea. I'm not feeling the greatest.”

    Vicky frowned. “Maybe you should go to the hospital?”

    “Uh, no,” she replied. “Just a lie down should do me the world of good.”

    Glory Girl nodded. “Yeah, me too. And once you feel better, maybe you can do something about these insect bites. They sting like crazy.”

    Mentally, Amy bit her lip. Oh, Vicky …

    She 'heard' Michael Allen – whoever that was – sigh. I offered to heal her.

    She felt Vicky gather her up, and they lifted into the air, the wind whistling through her hair.

    And if I showed you how to turn on my powers, you'd have access to them then.

    You can trust me. Seriously. I'm not going to misuse your powers.

    Sorry, I need more assurance than that.


    Her body rolled its eyes. And how exactly am I supposed to give you proof?

    That's not my problem.


    You're right. It's our problem. And it will continue being our problem until you learn to cooperate with me. Oh, and one other thing.

    What?

    I know about you being in love with Vicky. That ends now.

    A frozen lump encased her heart. What?

    You heard me. In any case, it's not you. It's her. She used that damn aura of hers once too often on you, when she first got her powers.

    I – that can't be -


    Abruptly, her body went limp, every muscle relaxing. Instinctively, she tried to assert control again.

    Nothing.

    Allen took over again, turning her head toward Vicky, who was looking at her with concern.

    “Amy?” asked her sister. “What was that? You scared me.”

    She felt herself nodding. “I just … felt weak for a bit. If you can get me home, I'll try to rest.”

    The wind-rush increased. “Okay, Ames. Just hang on. I'll get you there.”

    Dammit, thought that might work.

    What might work?

    Giving you a shock, then letting go. See if you could regain control.

    Well, it didn't work.
    She paused. Was that a lie, then? To shock me?

    Nope. Truth, as far as I know.

    It … it can't be.

    Sure it can. Also, your stepmother is wrong.


    about?

    You. You're not about to turn into a supervillain, just because your father is one.

    What?

    What what?

    My father's a supervillain?

    Well, duh. Why do you think Brandish has been down on you all your life? She thinks 'like father like daughter'. Which is utter bullshit.

    Uh … is it?

    Sure. My dad raises cattle. I'm a security guard. You know O'Hare Airport in Chicago?


    Bewildered by the change of subject, she responded anyway. Uh, yes?

    The guy it was named after, a flying ace in World War 2, his dad was the accountant for Al Capone. We do not grow up to be our parents.

    I … I guess?

    I don't guess. I know. Ah, we're coming in for a landing. This where you live?

    What, something you don't know?

    Oh, har har. Listen, once you have a bit of a camp -

    A what?

    A sleep,
    he replied patiently. Hopefully you'll be back in control. But I still need to talk to you about stuff.

    What sort of stuff?

    Saving the world.


    Amy had no answer to that.

    =///=​

    Vicky landed more or less on the front doorstep, and set Amy on her feet. She felt the stranger behind her eyes take control of her body; when Vicky opened the door, she watched herself step through and into the house.

    She hadn't gone three paces when Carol was there, staring at the two of them.

    “And what happened to you two?”

    “There was a bank robbery, Mom,” Vicky began. “Amy got hurt -”

    “Not too badly, I see,” Carol broke in. “I don't see any blood.” She nodded to Vicky. “But what happened to you, Victoria?”

    “Bug bites,” mumbled Vicky. “Look, Amy's not feeling too good, so I was thinking she could have a shower and go to bed.”

    “And Amy hasn't healed you yet?” demanded Carol. “Why not?”

    Because someone won't show me how.

    Because I know what my powers could do if I wasn't careful with them. And I don't trust you to be careful.

    Gee, thanks a lot.

    Would you trust a total stranger with your powers?


    “She's not feeling good, Mom,” Vicky repeated. “She got hit in the head. They think she might have a mild concussion.”

    Carol stared at them for a long moment, then nodded curtly. “Go ahead. But I want to hear more about it, once you're both feeling better.”

    Vicky nodded, and put an arm around Amy's shoulders. “Come on, Ames, let's get you upstairs.”

    Her body paused as they reached the upstairs corridor.

    Uh, which one's your room?

    Why don't you figure it out for yourself?


    A sigh. Amy, I'm on your side. Work with me, here.

    She relented a little. Okay, second on the right.

    Thanks.

    His control over her body's movements wasn't perfect yet; either that, or the body itself was still a bit woozy from the hit to the head. In any case, she stumbled over the threshold of her room, where the carpet stuck up a bit. Immediately, Vicky was at her side, supporting her.

    “Hey, are you all right?”

    “Yeah,” Amy heard herself say. “I'm fine. Just gonna lie down for a bit.”

    Oh god, please do not offer to help me get undressed.

    What are you worried about? It's my body.

    Oh god. You had to remind me. Okay, not getting undressed.

    What, not ever?

    Amy. You're a sixteen year old girl. I'm a forty-four year old man. I am not going to go there.

    I have to shower sometime. And girls have hygiene needs too.

    Fuck, I hope you have control back by the time we need to do that.


    He honestly sounded worried; she took pity on him. So do I, Michael. So do I.


    End of Part One

    Part Two
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2017
  3. doomlord9

    doomlord9 Experienced.

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    Oh this is gonna be fun.
     
    Slayer Anderson likes this.
  4. Navrin

    Navrin Experienced.

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    Nice to read that Security!-verse Michael Allen doesn't cease to exist at the end of the story. :)

    Anyway, thanks for the I, Panacea update. Looking forward to where it goes.


    To be clear, this IS being added to the voting list, right?
     
    Adyen likes this.
  5. Ack

    Ack (Verified Ratbag) (Unverified Great Old One)

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    For who, exactly? :p
     
  6. Ack

    Ack (Verified Ratbag) (Unverified Great Old One)

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    I'll explain more when I get to the voting thread.
     
  7. doomlord9

    doomlord9 Experienced.

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    Us of coarse and depending on if Mike jumped back into our level for even a few minutes, or even if he didn't, he's gonna know that we're all watching and amused at his misfortune.
     
  8. Ack

    Ack (Verified Ratbag) (Unverified Great Old One)

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    Now I'm strongly considering having him break the fourth wall.


    If anyone on Spacebattles is reading this, you all suck.

    Amy was puzzled. What?

    Nothing.
     
  9. Guile

    Guile Clothes That Kill Virgins

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    Anyone who's not Michael Allen and Amy Dallon.
     
  10. Navrin

    Navrin Experienced.

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    Prediction: Mike Allen will never gain the ability to use Amy's biokinesis and Amy will need to be the one to actually use it. Either because Amy's got the link to the shard and she's not letting go, ever, or because Mike Allen is missing out on required secondary powers for it to work properly.

    Also, Amy wasn't refusing to tell him due to a lack of trust (though she almost certainly doesn't trust him very far), but because she has absolutely NO IDEA how to "teach" somebody to use her power. It's instinctive for her, after all.
     
  11. Ack

    Ack (Verified Ratbag) (Unverified Great Old One)

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    Possibly.

    Actually, both. She made the decision not to, and she has no idea how.
     
  12. Navrin

    Navrin Experienced.

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    Haha! My (poorly worded) guess was confirmed to be partially accurate! Awesome. (Though I wouldn't be surprised if it was something a lot of other readers, perhaps even a majority, figured out themselves with high-certainty) Note: Happy, not gloating.

    Anyway, here's hoping they actually befriend each other and develop good teamwork skills. They've gotten off to a rather rocky start, with Mike making a notably worse impression than Amy.
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2015
  13. doomlord9

    doomlord9 Experienced.

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    Had a thought on how to explain to Amy what the aura is doing to her without setting her off.

    It's not because she's trying to force Amy to love her, it's because Victoria really does love her more than anyone else and her aura makes everyone around her feel like that too unless she actively clamps down on it, which she doesn't want to do around Amy because that's uncomfortable and makes spending time with her beloved sister that much less enjoyable.

    It's basic conditioning and brainwashing, the same way it has been done since people figured out the good cop/bad cop routine somewhere around the start of recorded history. Victoria just does it unconsciously and far more effectively than anyone else.
     
  14. LordOfPie

    LordOfPie (Verified Great Old One)

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    Interesting... I'll be watching this. I'm glad Mikey-boy didn't disappear after security.
     
  15. Threadmarks: Part Two: Getting Along
    Ack

    Ack (Verified Ratbag) (Unverified Great Old One)

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    I, Panacea

    Part Two: Getting Along

    [Author's Note: the character Michael Allen is the same character who features in Security! This story is a sequel of sorts to that one; the action of Security! is resolved before I, Panacea starts.

    Yes, he's getting sick and tired of this.]



    Amy blinked her way awake. There was a thumping on her door.

    “Ames!” she heard Vicky calling. “Phone call!”

    She pushed herself to a sitting position and swung her legs over the side of the bed. “Coming,” she replied.

    She was on her feet before she realised what was going on. I'm in control again! Oh, thank god! She paused. Was that just a hallucination or something? Did I imagine it?

    Nope. Afraid not.


    She stumbled in mid-step, would have fallen if her arm hadn't shot out and grabbed the door frame.

    Careful there, kiddo.

    As quickly as she had lost control of her limb, she regained it; she could almost literally feel the outside force retreating, leaving her in command of her body once more.

    Oh god, it wasn't a dream. It was real. She started to hyperventilate.

    Yeah, look, sorry. I think we got off on the wrong foot earlier. Please calm down. Freaking out isn't going to do anyone any good.

    Her fear, her apprehension came to the fore. Calm down? CALM DOWN? Are you the one with the strange voice stuck in your head?Are you the one who keeps having their body taken over by an outside force?

    No,
    ” he told her flatly, I'm the one stuck in a strange body with no way to go home. So yeah, I'm freaking just a bit too. There was a pause; she imagined him taking a deep breath. So can we both please take a step back and think about what we're going to say next?

    He was so obviously trying to be reasonable that she did calm down, just a bit. So why are you here? In my head?

    I can't be sure, but I have the distinct idea that I'm supposed to save the world.

    You said that before. Save the world? From what?

    I … can we go into that later, when we have more time? Your sister said something about a phone call.

    Oh. Right.

    It'll be the Wards.

    How do you know that?

    Because they got fairly beaten about, fighting the Undersiders. Especially Aegis. And because you went to see them the last time.

    The last time what?

    The last time you did this.
    He paused. Well, not the last time last time. That time, no-one got hurt. Let's say the 'first' time. Another pause. Look, can you just answer the phone? Please?

    Why don't you answer it? You didn't have any problem with acting for me before.

    Because now we have a choice, and I'd rather not. I want you in control of your body.


    She blinked. What?

    Amy, we're going to need to be partners here. Work together. And for that to work, we're going to need to agree to boundaries. I think “no taking over your partner's body without her express permission” is a good start, don't you?


    Somewhat taken aback, she nodded. I … I guess.

    “Ames?” came Vicky's voice from outside the door. “Are you all right?”

    “Yeah,” she called back. “Just … thinking about something.” She took hold of the door handle, opened the door. Her body worked smoothly, with easy coordination. There was no outside control going on.

    Vicky was standing there, holding the cordless phone, her face still swollen and welted. She handed it over to Amy. “It's the PRT, calling about the Wards.”

    You were right.

    A mental impression of a shrug. Educated guess.

    Numbly, Amy took the phone. “Hello?”

    It was Deputy Director Renick on the other end; Amy had spoken with him before. As the voice in her head had predicted, he was asking for her to come in and heal the Wards of their most grievous wounds.

    Which reminded her; Vicky still bore the marks of the bugs that had apparently swarmed her after Amy had been knocked out.

    You might want to heal her at some point too.

    I'm not sure if I can trust you with my powers.
    In her head was a mental image of herself, under the compulsion of the voice within her head, using her powers willy-nilly. Hurting people. Killing people.

    To be honest, I don't think I can use your powers. They're hooked into you, not me.

    Really?

    Yeah, really.

    So why were you so anxious to know how to use them, earlier?


    His voice was patient. Because I wasn't sure if you were ever going to regain control of your body.

    Oh.


    In her ear, Renick seemed to be waiting for a response.

    She made a snap decision. “Uh, yeah. I'll be there.” Hanging up the call, she handed the phone back to her sister. Touching Vicky's hand, she felt her power kicking in, reading her sister's body, telling Amy exactly what was wrong with it.

    It took only the slightest exertion of her power to reverse the effects of the bites, to cause Vicky's body to metabolise the toxins, to smooth out the welts, to take away the irritation.

    Wow.

    What?

    That was … awesome. Sheer poetry.

    You were watching?

    Unless I choose not to, I see everything you do.


    Vicky raised her hand to her face. “Thanks, Ames. You're obviously feeling better?” Her voice was low, her eyes dull.

    Amy smiled at her. “I'm feeling much more myself, yeah.”

    “So you're needed at the PRT building then, huh?”

    Amy nodded. “Yeah. We need to help out the Wards. Give me a lift?”

    Vicky shook her head. “Uh … rain check? Whatever Tattletale did to me really knocked the stuffing out of me. I just want to curl up under my quilt and not come out for a week.” She did her best to muster a smile. “Get Dad to drive you?”

    Amy nodded and headed back into her room. Closing the door, she leaned against it, breathing heavily.

    What's up?

    I hate lying to my sister.

    You weren't lying. You just weren't telling her everything.

    Which is still lying.


    His voice was patient. Amy. You do that every day anyway. Remember?

    Don't remind me. Anyway, you're saying that you can experience everything I do?

    Unless I concentrate on something else, yeah.

    That could get really creepy, really fast.

    Uh yeah, I think I already pointed that out. Which is why I want for us to come to some sort of a partnership understanding sooner rather than later.

    Well, it's going to be a one-sided partnership. You seem to have all the leverage.
    Her inner voice was bitter. After all, you can take over my body any time you like.

    Not by choice!
    It was almost a shout. After a moment, she felt him relaxing. Sorry. Not by choice. And anyway, you have access to your powers and I don't.

    She was shocked. You tried to use them?

    Nope. I watched
    you use them. And I still have no idea how that works.

    Oh. Right.


    She opened her closet and pulled out the robes she habitually wore as Panacea, and laid them out on the bed. Then she went to pull her t-shirt off -

    Whoa! Wait! What are you doing?

    I need a shower. So I'm going to take one.

    Oh god, okay. Let me get ready. Right, okay.


    She could hear him humming to himself as she took her clothes off and wrapped herself in the towel.

    “Just going for a shower!” she called to Vicky as she stepped out of her room.

    “Already there!” was the reply, from the bathroom.

    The humming in the back of her head intensified as she entered the bathroom; Vicky was already in the shower, the water running. Deliberately, she kept her eyes away from the shower cubicle.

    “Can you make it quick?” she asked her sister.

    “I was just about done. Wanted to feel clean again after those bug bites.”

    True to her word, Vicky turned the shower off and stepped from the cubicle, reaching for her towel. Involuntarily, Amy found her eyes wandering toward her sister's body -

    LALALALALALALALALALA!

    Startled, Amy jumped, then jerked her eyes away from Vicky.

    Will you stop doing that? That's very distracting!

    It's MEANT to be! Stop looking at her!


    Rather than argue the point, Amy pulled off her towel, trying to ignore the “lalalalalalala” that had emerged in the back of her head once more, and stepped into the shower cubicle. She turned on the shower, but when she went to nudge the lever toward 'hot', her hand moved of its own accord and it went toward 'cold' instead. A freezing spray of water hit her, and she gasped.

    What the hell are you doing?

    His voice was terse. Cold shower. Do you the world of good.

    What – is this because I looked at Vicky?

    Yes. Now get clean. We've got some Wards to go heal.

    At least let me use the hot water.


    A sigh. Fine. Okay. Just get it over and done with.

    Gritting her teeth, Amy nudged the lever back over to 'hot', and felt the water temperature become something more comfortable than 'arctic'. Then she started to wash herself.

    Lalalalalalalala …

    Will you stop doing that?

    When you stop running your hands over yourself. Lalalalala …

    That's very irritating.


    He didn't answer, unless she counted “lalalalalalala ...” as an answer.

    =///=​

    By the time she was dressing, he was reciting poetry in her head. She had to admit, it was an improvement on “lalalalala”, but she was puzzled and intrigued by some of the verses.

    Then fast the horsemen followed, where the gorges deep and black

    Resounded to the thunder of their tread ...


    Okay, I'm dressed.


    He stopped reciting. Oh, good.

    That was an interesting poem.

    Uh, I memorised it once upon a time. It was a way to pass the time.

    I think I like it. I'd like to hear the whole thing sometime.

    Sure thing. When we get a chance. But right now, we need to discuss matters.

    What matters?

    Improving your situation, for one. And saving the world, for two.

    Improving my situation?

    Yeah. Right now, your home life? Toxic as all hell. You have to change things, or it's going to go downhill fast.

    How am I going to do that? And why will it go downhill? And why do you say my home life is toxic?


    “Amy girl?” called Mark Dallon from outside her room. “Are you ready to go?”

    “Nearly,” Amy replied, adjusting her hood. “Okay, ready.”

    She opened the door and joined her foster father. They walked downstairs together.

    Well, are you going to give me a straight answer?

    Sure, but first I need to talk to you about the Undersiders.

    What about the Undersiders?

    About how they're not as bad as you think. In fact, I think you need to reach out to them. They could help you, and you could help them.


    She stopped dead, halfway down the stairs. You have got to be fucking kidding me.

    Mark went a few more steps, then turned to stare at her. “Amy? Something the matter?”

    She mustered a smile. “No, I, uh, just remembered something. Let's go.” She started down the steps again.

    Seriously, you have to be kidding.

    Not a word of it.

    Wait a minute.
    She paused, remembering. The Undersiders have that guy, Regent. He can control minds. You're Regent, aren't you? Fucking with my head?

    And nope again. Regent can't control minds, only bodies. Also, he needs to spend about a day working on someone before he can gain full control of them. And he can't talk to them mentally.

    The shadow guy, Grue, then.

    Creates darkness. Doesn't do control.

    The bug girl.

    She controls bugs, not people. And by the time you get to the PRT HQ, the Wards will have chosen the name 'Skitter' for her.

    What – how do you know that?


    A sigh. Because I've been through this all before. And before you ask, Bitch makes dogs grow, and she understands them really well, and Tattletale is super intuitive. That's it. Oh, and you might want to get in the car.

    She looked around; she was standing by the car, and her father was holding the door open for her. "Ready to go, Amy girl?"

    "Sure." She climbed into the car, and in moments they were on the road. The delay gave her time to think, and she went on the attack.

    How do I know you aren't lying to me?

    You don't. That's what trust is about, I guess.

    I don't have much of a basis to trust you on, you know.

    I know. Which is a real problem. Because there are things happening, bad things, and we only have a narrow window of opportunity to get on top of them, and I'd really rather be on the same page as you before we start.


    His words sent a chill down her spine.

    Bad things?

    Really bad things.

    Like what?

    Like a twelve year old girl being kidnapped and forced to use her powers to make a supervillain even more powerful.

    Okay, now that just sounds like the plot to a bad movie. How can he force her to use her powers, without her using them on him?

    She's a precog, a powerful one. Right now, right this very second, he's forcibly addicting her to the drugs which he will use to control her.


    She felt sick at the idea, but continued to argue. So where's this happening?

    Right here in Brockton Bay.

    I don't believe you. If there was a precog that strong, I've never heard of her. And definitely not one that's only twelve.

    She only triggered very recently.

    So how come she didn't see him coming and take steps?

    Because he's a precog too, of a different type. And he made sure she knew that whatever she tried, he would kill people dear to her.


    She paused. Oh. Okay, do these people have names, or is this all just hypothetical?

    Yes. The supervillain is called Coil. And the girl's name is Dinah Alcott. She's the mayor's niece.


    She rolled her eyes. Really. The mayor's niece. Sounds more and more like a bad movie all the time.

    He sounded just like he was gritting his teeth. You have heard of Coil, right?

    Sure. But he's just a bit player. A low tier operator. And you're saying he's a precog?

    He's a lot more powerful than he lets on. He specialises in working from the shadows. The bank robbery? He was behind it. He's got several supervillain gangs on his payroll.

    I'm really not sure that I believe you. Especially since I haven't heard of any such kidnapping.


    He sighed. Why do you think the bank robbery went off in broad daylight? It was intended to draw everyone's attention. Several other big flashy crimes would have happened around the same time. All to act as distractions, so his men could grab Dinah.

    She's that important to him?

    In a nutshell - yes. He would cheerfully shoot any of his men - or his super-powered minions - in the head, to ensure that he keeps hold of her.

    All this could just be a fabrication. You could be lying through your metaphorical teeth.
    But she was starting to wonder.

    It's easy to prove or disprove. Get on to the mayor, ask where his niece Dinah is. If he can locate her, or if he doesn't have a niece, then I'm lying. If she's missing, then ... yeah.

    She paused. He was right. His challenge was simple, direct, and to the point.

    What if he's not lying?

    Still right here, you know.

    Go away. Let me think.

    Love to. Let me know how it goes.


    His presence seemed to dwindle, but not disappear. He seemed to be mumbling to himself, but that could simply have been his background thoughts.

    She looked over at Mark as he hit the indicator to change lanes. “Dad?”

    “Yes?”

    “You know the mayor fairly well, right?”

    He smiled slightly. “Met him a time or two. So you could say that, yeah.”

    “Does he have a niece by the name of Dinah?”

    He blinked. “That's kind of out of the blue. But yes … I think he might, actually. His wife's sister's girl.”

    “Huh,” she replied. “So, how old would she be?”

    He frowned. “Twelve or thirteen, I think. Why?”

    “Oh, no reason,” she deflected. “Someone was talking, and I got curious.”

    “Okay,” he replied, and turned his attention back to the road.

    He has a niece called Dinah. Okay, that still doesn't prove anything.

    There was no response. Hey! You still there?

    Nope. In Puerto Rico for the holidays. Leave a message after the beep. Beep.

    Stop being childish. Okay, so the mayor has a niece of the right age. Still doesn't prove anything.

    Not if you don't want it to, no.

    What's that supposed to mean?


    A sigh. Amy. I'm sorry. I didn't mean to snap at you. I'm just … stressed. Very stressed. And so are you. So right now, our chances of reaching any sort of amicable agreement are minimal.

    I'm not stressed. I feel fine.


    says the girl to the voice in her head.

    His mental tone was so dry, so deadpan, that she giggled mentally. Okay, point taken. I'm feeling a bit stressed myself.

    It's what Tattletale said to you, isn't it?

    How did you know about that?

    He snorted. If I had a dollar for every time … okay, screw it. She was going to tell you exactly who your father was. And it would have messed with you head plenty. But I have the fix.

    What?


    I'll tell you, right here, right now. Vicky doesn't need to know. Mark and Carol know, of course. But once you know, you can start coming to terms with it. And you don't need to be scared of Tattletale telling everyone.

    She felt a surge of apprehension. I – I'm not sure I want to know.

    Remember what I told you earlier? We do not grow up to be our parents?

    Yeah … but Vicky's kinda like Carol.

    And not in the least like Mark. So what if you're like your real mom, and not your dad at all?

    I … maybe?

    I can guarantee you're not like your dad. I know this for an absolute fact. He was a murderer who kept his minions in absolute fear of him. You have respect for life and the well-being of others. He paused. Amy, I like you, and I want to help you through this.

    Like me? You don't even know me!

    She felt him smile. That's where you're wrong. I know more about you than you know about yourself.

    Such as?


    Your real name. The name your mother gave you.

    Not my father?

    No. She was raising you, but she had cancer, so she passed you on to your father before she died.

    I … I didn't know.

    When the Brockton Bay Brigade took on your father, he had them beat, but for the fact that he was hiding you in a closet. They saw the way he was trying to lead the fight away from you, so they went to attack the closet. He took the hit, to save you. He was wounded, couldn't fight any more, so he asked them to take care of you. If you'd gone into the foster system, someone would have found out about who you really were. He had enemies. It would not have gone well for you.

    So Carol and Mark took me in?

    Sarah and Neil would have, but they had Eric and Crystal already, and money troubles on top of that, so Sarah talked Carol into taking you.

    But … why did Carol always dislike me?

    His tone was gentle. She saw your real father in you. She was wrong, of course, but that's how she saw it. When she was only about thirteen, she and Sarah were kidnapped for ransom, but the kidnappers eventually decided to kill them. That's when they triggered. But before that point, Carol had started talking to the kidnappers, started empathising with them. Stockholm Syndrome. After that, after they tried to kill her, she felt that everyone was out to betray her. So she married a man with chronic depression, because he was safe. Let herself get pregnant with Vicky, because a child of her own body was safe.

    And then … I came into her life.
    Amy's tone was wondering.

    Yeah. Child of a supervillain. Not her child, not from a safe parent. She saw you as the epitome of everything that was wrong with the world. But she's mistaken. You're a good person.

    I … I don't think so.


    He snorted. Better than you think.

    No. I'm really not. I … get these feelings, sometimes.


    He spoke soothingly, evenly. I know you do.

    She flared at him. You don't know anything.

    His tone never changed. The kid, with the heart. From Egypt, right? You hated him, because he was going to have a life, and your life was just taken up with healing people, right?

    Amy felt her eyes fill with tears. How can you … how can you know this?

    Same way I know that you're a good kid. That you've got far too much pressure on you, and you're hurting. You aren't a bad person, and you don't want to
    be a bad person. But the way things are going, you'll be forced into doing something bad. Because no-one can live the way you are without snapping, sooner or later.

    His voice was calm, matter of fact. Not discounting her fears, but simply discussing them. Bringing them out into the open.

    But – what can I do?

    She felt his smile. See, that's where I come in.

    =///=​

    She was ushered through into a rear office, where she met with the Deputy Director. “Thank you for coming, Panacea,” he told her, shaking her hand. “Here's your visitor's badge.”

    She hung the badge around her neck. “Want to come down, meet the guys, Dad?”

    Mark shook his head. “No. I think I'll hang about and talk over old times with Phil here.”

    “Suit yourself.” Amy shook hands with the Deputy Director once more, then let herself out. She was met by two of Brockton Bay's best-known capes.

    “Armsmaster,” she greeted them. “Miss Militia.”

    The armoured Tinker had his halberd clamped to his back, of course, and Miss Militia's current weapon of choice appeared to be a heavy machine-gun.

    “Panacea,” Miss Militia replied. “Thank you for coming in.”

    “It's the least I could do,” she responded. “After all, they saved me.”

    They rode down in the lift. The voice in her head was mercifully silent; she needed to think about what he had said to her, after she had finally asked him for advice. Miss Militia's weapon reduced itself to a hunting rifle, slung over her shoulder, for the trip down.

    Two sub-basements down, they exited into a gleaming stainless steel corridor, and walked its length to a heavy steel door. Miss Militia pressed the large button bearing the image of a domino mask; they waited until its light blinked out, then she leaned forward and let the retinal scanner look over her eye. As she did so, her weapon became a large rocket launcher.

    She obviously passed muster, because the heavy interlocks on the metal doors separated, and the doors themselves opened. Armsmaster led the way in, followed by Miss Militia, with Amy bringing up the rear.

    As they entered the large room, Gallant stood up. “Armsmaster,” he greeted the leader of the Protectorate in Brockton Bay. “Good to see you, sir. Miss Militia, always a pleasure.”

    “Ever the gentleman,” responded Miss Militia graciously. Indicating Amy, she went on. “We brought a guest. She was kind enough to volunteer to come here and patch you guys up.”

    Volunteer, hah.

    Shush, these are my friends. I would have volunteered if you hadn't been in my head, confusing me.


    Miss Militia smiled behind her scarf. “Can’t send you home with horrible injuries and hundreds of bug bites, can we? That would give away the show.”

    He sighed. To be fair, I think you're right. But the fact remains that they called on you.

    As Miss Militia's weapon changed shape again, from rocket launcher to machine gun to sniper rifle to harpoon gun, Amy stepped forward.

    “I wanted to thank you guys for coming to my rescue,” she told them. “And for letting Glory Girl come with you.”

    Inside her head, he chuckled. See the look on Gallant's face, right there? Director Piggot ripped him a brand new one for asking her to come along.

    But that's not fair! She would have come along anyway!


    So tell me you're surprised.

    Well, they did bring her along, and I'm glad.

    Why? Because she got hurt, and the Undersiders got away anyway?

    No. Because we tried to do the right thing. She couldn't understand why he could not see that.

    Gallant had a concerned look on his face. “You two are okay?”

    The voice in her head was very dry. Well, apart from hearing voices …

    Amy had to stifle a giggle. Shush!

    She shook her head. “Tattletale found a way around my sister’s invincibility. Glory Girl was bitten pretty badly, which is why I didn’t come sooner. I think it hits you harder, psychologically, when you’re pretty much invincible but you get hurt anyways. But we’re okay now. She’s healed but sulking. I- I’m alright. Bump on my head, but I’m okay.”

    You want to know how Tattletale got her?

    Distracted, she blinked. Uh, how?

    “Good,” Gallant replied, and he sounded like he meant it.

    Her field goes down for a brief moment after she takes a big hit. Tattletale shot her, and while her field was down, the bugs swarmed her. She's too overconfident. This is actually probably a good thing.

    I was bluffing when I told the bug girl that I'd give her cancer or stuff, but now I think I could really do it. She could have killed my sister.

    His voice was firm. Don't go there. Do not go there. You do not know all the details.

    I don't need to know -


    Just like Carol Dallon didn't need to know all the details to know that you're a danger to society?

    His comment cut her off at the knees, quite likely as it was intended to do.

    I, uh -

    Armsmaster's voice got her attention. He was standing by a couple of whiteboards which had, she saw, the names of the Undersiders atop columns. Inside the columns were facts about each of the teen villains.

    “I like this,” the armoured hero commented. “But this one… nearly empty.” Amy saw that he was tapping the column set up for Tattletale.

    Gallant shrugged. “None of us ran into her, and the hostages didn’t have anything to say about her.”

    Miss Militia looked at Amy. “Panacea may be able to help there.”

    She suddenly found herself the centre of attention. Her mouth went dry. “I- A lot happened.”

    “Any detail helps,” Miss Militia encouraged her.

    Right. Okay. Want to stand out now, or fade into the background?

    I … I want to help. But Tattletale …

    Can't hurt you. And, to be honest, she won't hurt you. Especially if you reach out to her and help her.

    I … we're really going to do that?

    Yes. We are. If we're going to get Dinah back, then we need the Undersiders on side. And Tattletale is a natural for that.

    Why?

    Tell you later. But right now, you can look good in front of everyone. If you want.


    Amy took a deep breath. Okay. I can do this. Hit me.

    I can just take over and talk for you, if you want.

    no, just tell me what to say.

    That's my girl. She could feel his approval. It was amazing how good it made her feel.

    Okay, repeat after me …

    “Before we get into this,” she began, “there's something else I was wondering about. Something odd about the bank robbery.”

    Armsmaster, who had turned back to the whiteboards, returned his gaze to her. Even through the opaque visor, she could tell he was staring.

    “What would that be?” asked Miss Militia.

    “The timing,” Amy informed her. “Middle of the day, busy period. Right when all the Wards were able to slip away and attend.” She paused. “Was Shadow Stalker unable to attend, or was she told to stay away?”

    Aegis raised a hand. “I, uh, told her to stay away,” he rasped. There was something wrong with his chest, Amy saw.

    “Do you need healing?” she asked, automatically.

    “I'll be fine for the moment,” he managed. “Heal the others first.”

    She nodded. “Okay. Well, given that you all got there well in time to intercept them, that was either a badly-planned heist – and the Undersiders are not known for that – or it was planned.”

    Nicely done, the voice in her head congratulated her. You've got them on the hook. Three … two … one …

    Armsmaster spoke up, his voice hard. “Planned? For what reason?”

    Amy shrugged. Maybe it was a distraction, designed to draw as many capes away from somewhere else as possible.” She paused. “Mom and Dad were at a dinner at their country club, and I think a few other capes were there as well. So they were out of the way too.”

    Miss Militia's voice was thoughtful. “Do we have information on any other crimes around town, at about that time?”

    Kid Win was already sitting down at the computer console. “We have a jewellery store robbery. A pileup on the interstate, that apparently was caused by a cape battle. And … a missing kid.”

    Amy's head came around. “A missing child? Details?”

    The teenage Tinker frowned under his visor. “Um … let's see … wandered away from school. Reported seen talking to some strange men. It wouldn't even show up, except that apparently she's related to the mayor.”

    “Rich parents?” asked Gallant.

    Kid Win shook his head. “Uh, nope. Upper middle, is all.”

    “What's her name?” asked Amy tensely.

    “No first name, just an initial. Alcott. D. Alcott.”

    D. Alcott. Dinah Alcott. The mayor's niece. She's been kidnapped.

    “Does that seem significant to you, Panacea?” asked Armsmaster.

    Amy opened her mouth to reply, then found herself briefly unable to speak.

    He has a lie detector in his helmet. Choose your words carefully.

    Able to speak again, she hesitated. “I, uh, think there might be something important about the girl,” she hedged. “Something we're not seeing.”

    “I'll go back over the details,” Armsmaster noted. “Good catch there, Panacea.”

    She nodded, aware of cold sweat trickling down her back. “Thanks. Now, about Tattletale.”

    What can you tell me about her?

    Well, I won't be telling you her secret identity, of course. That's for her to tell you. But for now, this shouldn't set off too many butterflies.


    Picking up the marker pen, Amy began writing in a firm hand.

    =///=​

    “Feeling better?” Amy asked, as Clockblocker felt his face.

    “Oh god yes,” he muttered. “I am going to have nightmares about spiders. Lots and lots of spiders.”

    “The bug girl, uh, Skitter?” asked Amy sympathetically.

    He nodded. “She put bugs in behind my eyeballs. Do you have any idea what that feels like?”

    She shook her head. “I can't imagine.”

    “The idea Aegis and I had, to swap costumes? Never again. Never, ever again. I intend to be bug-proof for the rest of my natural life.”

    She chuckled and slapped him on the shoulder. “Take care.”

    Well, that should be it.

    Nope, here comes Gallant. I think he wants a word.

    What about?

    Us, I imagine.

    Oh, shit -

    Relax. I got this. Can I take over? I think I know the steps to this dance.


    She took a deep breath. O … okay.

    Cool nanas. She felt his influence spread through her body. Her heart rate slowed down.

    “Panacea,” the teenage cape greeted her.

    “Gallant,” she heard herself say. “How are your ribs? You seem to be holding yourself a little stiffly.”

    Gallant seemed to be slightly taken aback. “Uh, yeah. One of Hellhound's dogs rammed me, and I think I might have bruised or broken ribs. Can you check for me?”

    Amy's head nodded. “Sure. Want to use your room for privacy?”

    “Yeah,” Gallant told her. “Sure.” He led her toward his alcove.

    “That's right,” Clockblocker called out. “Give your sister's boyfriend special treatment. He get a lollipop for being a brave patient afterward too?”

    Amy rolled her eyes, even as Gallant chuckled. “Don't mind him,” he advised her.

    “I don't,” she heard herself say. “He's harmless.”

    They entered the alcove, and Gallant turned to face her. “Okay,” he began. “What's going on with you?”

    Amy wanted to panic, but her heart rate never shifted.

    “I'm sorry,” her voice sounded calm in her ears, “but you're going to be have to be more specific.”

    “I see emotions,” Gallant told her. “All the time. All around everyone. And ever since you got here, your emotions have been all over the place. Jumping back and forth like a lightning storm. Calm one moment, jittery the next. And just now, just as I came up to you, you went from on edge to … calm. Unworried. Why is that?”

    Amy felt herself reach out and put a hand on his shoulder. “Gallant,” her voice sounded softly. “Dean. I'm under a lot of stress at the moment, as you can imagine. I'm actually considering taking a break, stepping away from healing, just to recharge my batteries. But you can imagine the hell that I'll catch from all sides if and when I make that announcement, so I'm holding off. Trying to figure out when to say it. Add to that the bank robbery, me getting a hit on the head, and Vicky getting hurt trying to protect me. My thoughts are going a million miles a minute, so if my emotions follow them, I wouldn't be surprised if I look like one of those electric plasma ball globes right now.”

    Gallant's eyes opened wide. No wider than Amy's would have, if she had been able to do so.

    Taking a break from healing? I can't!

    It's killing you, kiddo. Killing you inside. And anyway, I didn't say you were
    doing it, just that you were considering it. Which you should.

    “Wow,” he muttered. “Damn. I … look, I'm sorry.”

    Amy felt herself frown. “Why?”

    He grimaced. “I know you've got some pretty strong feelings about me. I'm sorry for getting you in here. Maybe this was a mistake."

    Oh god oh god oh god.

    Relax. He's gotten the targets mixed up. He thinks the jealousy is aimed at Vicky, and the attraction at him.


    I don't think so. He's pretty good at what he does.

    Okay, one second.

    You're not going to ask -

    Too late; she heard herself speak in a curious tone. "Uh ... strong feelings?"

    He ducked his head. "I'm not an idiot, Amy. I know that you think I'm not right for Vicky. That you resent me for coming between you two. If you ever want to talk about it ..."

    Well, fuck.

    Oh god … you thought he thought I was attracted to him?

    I suspect it's not an uncommon phenomenon.


    Amy heard herself speak softly. “It's okay. Maybe sometime I might feel like talking it out, but not right now, okay?”

    He smiled. “Any time. My door is always open. When I get a door, that is.”

    She shrugged lightly. “Just make Vicky happy, okay?”

    “Goes without saying.” He opened the door and they rejoined the main group.

    =///=​

    In the car, on the way back to the house, Amy fumed silently in her seat.

    You seem a little upset.

    You had no right.

    I have every right to take steps to improve your health. I'm in this body too. And I know about your problems.

    You should have at least consulted me!

    Like everyone else who's made life decisions for you has consulted you. At least I've got your best interests at heart.

    You're just like everyone else, making decisions over my head.


    He was silent for a moment. When he spoke again, his voice was quieter, less carefree.

    You're right. You're absolutely right. I'm sorry.

    She was taken aback. I am? You are?

    Yes. Just because I'm doing the right thing doesn't mean I can't talk to you about it first. I apologise, Amy. I won't do that again.

    I … I'm sorry, too. For snapping at you.

    He chuckled. That's okay. Snap away.

    And I'm ready.


    Ready?

    For you to tell me who my real father is. What my real name is.

    She felt him smile. Well, your real name is Amelia Claire Lavere. And your father is the supervillain known as Marquis.

    Marquis.


    Yup.

    She considered that. A day ago, she would have been horrified. If it had come out in the bank, she would have been devastated. But now, with the information she had been given, with time to think about it, it merely came as a mild surprise.

    And my name is Amelia Claire Lavere.

    That's your name.

    Thank you.

    You're welcome.


    She leaned back in the car seat, letting her eyes slide almost closed. Mark Dallon glanced across at her.

    “You're looking happy, Amy girl.”

    She smiled at him. “I suppose I am, Dad. I suppose I am.”

    I still have troubles. But at least I know what they are.


    End of Part Two



    Part Three
     
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2015
    trxs300, Norbii, Dacraun and 49 others like this.
  16. Navrin

    Navrin Experienced.

    Joined:
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    I really hate the connotations of birth parents being "real parents" and adoptive parents "fake parents". There are three separate parts of "parent" that I can think of: those responsible for their genesis (arguably includes doctors/midwives in at least a few situations), those that raised them and taught them, and those that are their legal guardians. You can decide that "parent" requires that biological link, sure, but that doesn't in any way devalue those that fill the other roles and using terms like "real parent" minimizes that.

    And if you just meant that Marquis did a better job, that still doesn't make the others "fake" parents. Inferior parents? Maybe, but they're still real. Plus, I don't think Amy knows enough about how she was raised by her biological mother and father to really form an opinion about them and using such loaded words like "real parents" to manipulate her seems really twisted.

    Anyway, cooperation +1 acquired. And it seems you're working on the interpretation of Gallant being fairly quick to jump to conclusions and bad at observational capabilities. That, or he's pretending to be in order to see how Amy reacts. That would be interesting, and it could mean that Gallant is going to be warning that something is SERIOUSLY wrong with her.

    It seems likely that Coil will be crushed really, REALLY hard fairly soon. Even better, it's before he's had time to make use of Dinah's precog abilities significantly and he doesn't have a lot of his baseline forces so his personal force multiplication is rather less valuable. Hopefully in a way that leaves his power still useful; it is extremely potent against Zion, at least in the Security!-verse, and Zion is probably the most important defensive battle Earth will have for a VERY long time.

    Thanks for the chapter, Ack, quite enjoyed reading it. And I'm looking forward to more of it. :)

    Heh, wonder how likely smut chapters/interludes/etc are going to be for this story. :p *Looks at the ratio of Ack stories with smut to those without* I'd say pretty good, though it being a SI-type story might alter that dramatically.
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2015
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  17. Ack

    Ack (Verified Ratbag) (Unverified Great Old One)

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    Regarding Gallant's observational capabilities:

    As for 'real' parent, Mike is using that in the strict sense, that is, biological.

    And the fact remains that Marquis was literally willing to die to protect Amy.
     
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  18. Navrin

    Navrin Experienced.

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    Note that that sequence makes just as much sense if you assume that he actually DOES know how she feels about the two instead of reversed. "Strong feelings" can refer to jealously and bitterness just as readily as they can refer to a deep and rather obsessive love. And him wanting to address her intense negative emotions towards him arguably makes more sense than him wanting to address her supposed intense positive emotions towards him.

    And since he has been present with just her before, him not actually knowing how she feels about him in general would be extremely weird. How could he not catch on that she only feels attraction and lust when Victoria is there as well?


    Regarding parentage: Going by that strict definition, she only has one set of parents period. As such, the modifier "real" is just as useless as unless somebody is pretending that they're biologically related there is no "fake" parent to set them apart from.
     
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  19. Ack

    Ack (Verified Ratbag) (Unverified Great Old One)

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    She doesn't hate Gallant. She's jealous of him when he's with Vicky, but not when he's not with her.

    Note that he did not mention the feelings she has toward Vicky. That is something that should be addressed, and he would have said something. He can see emotions, but not who they are directed against.

    I'm going with "thinks she has a crush on him".
     
  20. Navrin

    Navrin Experienced.

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    A crush that only manifests when Victoria is present? Weird emotions she must be having, then. :p

    And why would he consider addressing her crush on her sister to be important/his place to address? Or, heck, he might think that the love is entirely familial and she's just angry and resentful that he's been taking Victoria away from her.

    Anyway, it's your right to write this as you desire, of course, but I do think that that interpretation was not what Wildbow intended to be truth. Just what he wanted people reading it for the first time to assume until they had more information.


    Also, Mike Allen having completely misplayed that could lead to some very interesting results.
     
  21. Selias

    Selias Experienced.

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    I doubt that they spend much time together without Victoria. The only time that they probably spend together without her is when she's healing the Wards and/or Protectorate, and he could just assume that she's really focused on her work.
     
  22. Ack

    Ack (Verified Ratbag) (Unverified Great Old One)

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    Gallant's phrasing is important IMO: "rather strong feelings toward me".

    That, to me, seems to indicate positive feelings rather than negative feelings.
     
  23. Navrin

    Navrin Experienced.

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    ... how would it be phrased differently if he was addressing negative emotions, then? That seems like a very neutral phrasing. Maybe even slightly negative phrasing, as "for me" would seem more likely to address a crush.

    I do think how you're doing it is a canonically valid interpretation, just one I think is a lower probability of being true.
     
  24. Ack

    Ack (Verified Ratbag) (Unverified Great Old One)

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    "About me". "Regarding me". Or even "hostile feelings about me."
     
  25. Navrin

    Navrin Experienced.

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    "About me" implies a lot of distance instead of the relationship between Gallant and Amy. I don't think any such feelings would be ones he would consider particularly pressing to bring up. (Envy over his wealth, appreciation for the Wards/Protectorate/PRT, and other things associated with him but not about the two of them) Maybe it's a dialect difference, but I REALLY don't think those phrases you brought up would actually be used to address a relationship between two people.

    And the last one is clearly not an option because that wouldn't let Wildbow make the revelation later on in addition to what I said earlier.



    Also, hard mode: Replace/take control of Taylor Hebert later on in the story.

    Really hard mode: Replace one of GU's ghosts.
     
  26. Slayer Anderson

    Slayer Anderson Orthodox Heretic

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    Huh. I learned something new today.

    Apparently, there is an actual name for what Panacea is suffering from.

    The medical condition known as Compassion Fatigue.

    The internet is an interesting place sometimes...at least, an interesting place that sometimes not filled with porn and dick jokes.
     
  27. Selias

    Selias Experienced.

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    Heh.
     
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  28. Navrin

    Navrin Experienced.

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    Prediction: Amy will at some point decide that Mike in her head and aware while she's having a shower, or whatever, is FAR less discomforting than his distraction techniques and demand that he stop doing that already.

    Partially because Mike is obviously so much more embarrassed about it than she is.
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2015
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  29. Prince Charon

    Prince Charon Just zis guy, you know?

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    I can see why you're not posting this to SB.com or SV.com (the fact that the SI is very uncomfortable with the situation would not affect the mod's decision).

    Well written, though.
     
  30. Slayer Anderson

    Slayer Anderson Orthodox Heretic

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    Uhh...I, Panacea

    Ack likes to live dangerously, what can he say?
     
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