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Nugar's bits and pieces

Discussion in 'Creative Writing' started by Nugar, Feb 10, 2019.

  1. Threadmarks: Christmas Tree Worm p1

    Nugar Know what you're doing yet?

    Aug 20, 2015
    Likes Received:
    Finally decided to start a thread for the various story pieces I've accumulated over the years. Stuff I started but decided not to continue, small one offs, things like that.

    This was going to be a christmas fic set in the worm universe. There's a modest chance I'll get around to actually continuing this at some point.

    I'm not currently actively writing anything, though my main project is still No Promises, I haven't put more than about two thousand words into it since the last time I posted a chapter. Trying to get my personal shit back together, I'm just cleaning up and posting these bits.

    The terrible working title for this was Christmas Tree Worm.

    December 22nd, 2013
    Two years after Golden Day.
    Somewhere in New England along Hwy 101

    Weld suddenly felt his legs bind together mid step, and was unable to catch himself as he tripped, falling face first into the weeds poking defiantly through the broken asphalt and concrete. Fortunately, the metal man was durable enough to come through unharmed, though there were a few specks of metal, left behind by the cars that used to travel the road, which had fused to his face. The rest of him wore heavy clothing to stop such problems.

    Sveta managed to pull her head back so she didn’t smack her own face into the ground, but the sudden movement startled her, making her lose even more of her hard earned but still tenuous control over her many black, hairlike tendrils. Their immense strength wrapped around Weld’s metal body to the point it groaned and deformed where her unbreakable flesh pressed in.

    “Sorry, Weld!” she apologized, her inhumanly pale face blushing just slightly with embarrassment. It’d been days since she’d accidentally tripped her partner.

    “It’s okay,” he replied, patiently waiting for her to unclench her tendrils.

    After a few moments where Sveta went through a mental exercise to regain control, her grip loosened and he was able to stand back up.

    “You were right that we shouldn’t bring the bike this close,” Sveta offered. “I had no idea that roads could get this bad in just a few years. They’re still fine near New York.”

    They’d come north, avoiding the Boston crater, up interstate 95, which was far enough inland to mostly survive the big waves and storms that Golden Day had caused, then had to make a half circle angling east the whole time, eventually coming back around to hit Brockton Bay from the north along the old 101. Weld had given up and parked the bike inside of an abandoned store in Seabrook.

    There wasn’t any worry about it being stolen. There was nobody left to steal. According to tinkertech scanners on overflights, outside of the few remaining salvage operators in New York, there were no humans left on the entire north American continent, and damned few in the rest of the world.

    “Everyone was still maintaining the main roads there until earlier this year, remember. But Brockton Bay hasn’t seen visitors since 2012.” He adjusted the straps of his heavy, dense backpack and Sveta perched her head on his right shoulder. “Even back before Golden Day, when they were still dropping off relief supplies, they brought it in by flying drone.”

    Further to the north, even before Golden Day, most of the cities were abandoned except by squatters and transients. When Nilbog made his march to Brockton Bay, his army had eaten everyone they caught along the way. Mass evacuation had cleared out as much as possible in front of him, and even after, panic from the Goblin War had cleared out much of northern New England.

    The roads were terrible, broken, littered with fallen trees, storm debris, and even craters from impacts, bombs, or powers. Even the slow pace they’d made on I95 was better than this, and they’d spent almost a full day trying to walk fifteen miles. In the wake of Golden Morning, the world felt so much bigger than it used to be. The one saving grace was the lack of snow and ice. Instead of cooling the planet, or, at least, not cooling the planet yet, the heavy cloud cover, dust, and smoke from the volcanic eruptions the tortured earth had suffered actually insulated the planet, keeping it unseasonably warm, though still chilly.

    Most depressing, however, was the lack of life. No birds chirped, no squirrels chittered. Winter was supposed to be bleak, with leafless trees waiting the spring, but even the conifers had died. Pine needles turned brown, many largely stripped from the dead trees by the rain and wind. Dead grass, dead shrubs, dead world.

    “I wonder what they thought of that?” Sveta mused as Weld resumed his tireless walk. “Once a week supplies, then once a month, then Golden Day and nothing after.”

    “I don’t know, but the surviving monitor posts say no one has left yet. That’s what I don’t get.”

    “They did promise,” she reminded.

    He nodded. “That’s why we have to do this. We have to go and see, and talk to them. I think, if no one told them, they’d stay in there forever.”

    Sveta nodded. “You’re a hero for doing this. The last Hero on Earth.”

    “This earth, maybe,” he mused. “Outside those walls. But never forget, it was the Heroes who stayed inside to fight Nilbog that is why there’s not a giant crater there. Why there’s still people inside and not just a bunch of monsters.”

    Sveta nodded sadly. “It’s too bad not enough people still see them as people, just what they look like. That’s why you’re my hero, for seeing what’s inside that matters.” She kissed the side of his cheek.

    He caressed the side of her face in return, still focused on his footsteps.

    He had walked all night, his partner dozing on top of the backpack, lighting his way with a flashlight. It was even slower going than during the day, but he didn’t really sleep so he figured he might as well. It was late afternoon before they emerged from the final trees and entered the exclusion zone, scorched bare years ago by flamethrowers and bulldozers. There, on the edge of the ocean, loomed the tall walls and monowire fences of the City Who Fought.

    Robotic guard towers and tinkertech mine fields guarded the exclusion zone, but the big warning signs that once declared lethal danger had all flipped to giant green ‘SAFE’ signs mostly aimed at the city. Less than a year after Golden Day, Dragon had turned off the equipment.

    And yet still, no one emerged. No one, and nothing.

    The tinkertech walls of the city were tough, and still stood without cracks despite the waves and storms. That was especially good, given how ocean levels had risen. No doubt much of the city would have flooded if not for those walls.

    “It’s not fair,” Sveta whispered.


    “It’s not fair. I mean, they won. They killed Nilbog and all his monsters. Even if they ended up looking kinda scary, they shouldn’t have been treated any worse than us Case 53s. Most of them still looked more human than I do!”

    “Biotinkers were almost always the scariest thing people could imagine,” Weld replied. “Even if she was a Hero, once she started making creatures to fight Nilbog, and especially once she started changing people… It didn’t matter that she was a hero. She was an ‘other’. An enemy. It took Dragon to stop them from just dropping nukes on the place, people were so scared.”

    “They were humans,” she whispered.

    “They still are. Let’s go meet them.”

    Getting into the city was a problem. Weld was tough, and Sveta was tougher, so even tinkertech monowire wasn’t enough to stop them. Sveta’s tentacles not only ripped the wire loose from its moorings, she even broke sections out, clearing a path for Weld. But the walls were tall, built by automated machines that pulled supplies from the earth around the city, digging deep and replacing the ground with a lower density but extremely tough matrix. When they had finally stopped, the walls were thirty meters tall and four meters thick, with nearly frictionless surfaces.

    Fortunately, they had planned for that. Weld had brought coils of very tough rope, and a segmented, twenty foot pole. Using his own immense strength, he used the pole as a lever, an extension of his arms that allowed him to fling Sveta and trailing rope to the top of the wall.

    Her tentacles draped over both sides of the wall, holding on partially on the monowire and one of its stanchions. Monowire was ripped out and tossed away so it wouldn’t cut the rope, and her tentacles dug into the wall to enhance her grip.

    It was up there that she got her first look at what had become of Brockton Bay.

    The snapped off, jagged stubs of the tallest buildings in the city. Piles of rubble here and there, burnt out or collapsed houses, entire blocks that were simply razed to the ground. It was as bad as any of the abandoned cities they had passed. For a moment, she feared that the reason none of the remaining inhabitants had emerged was because there weren’t any- but then her eyes started picking out signs of effort. Many of the rubble piles were neater than they should be, indicating cleanup efforts. And some of the buildings were patchworked with repairs, materials sourced from debris and unsalvageable buildings. There weren’t any fires or signs of power, but the hard, angular edges of inky black solar panels topped several buildings, drinking in the weak light that filtered through the clouds.

    However… there wasn’t any movement that she could see. No one in the streets, no one on the roofs.

    Shaking her head, Sveta anchored herself as best she could, then waved a tendril at her partner. Her limb control, or lack thereof, made pulling him up difficult, but she could hold the rope secure. And Weld, strong as he was, had no problem climbing the rope to join her at the top.

    Together, with Sveta balancing them, they took in the view. Sveta quietly pointed out the signs of habitation she’d noticed. Weld pointed at a few more.

    “Should we yell?” she asked. “See if anyone hears us and comes to investigate?”

    Weld was silent for a bit, considering the question.

    “I mean, the heroes won, right? They shouldn’t attack us,” she pressed.

    Slowly, Weld shook his head. “No, I don’t think that’s a good idea. It’s been three years since the wall went up. We don’t know what’s happened since. And I don’t like how there’s nobody visible. No, let’s just get down. We’ll see if we can find someone to talk to.”

    “Won’t that scare them?”

    Weld just shrugged.

    Weld pulled the rope up from the outside, then let it down on the inside. Again, Sveta held the rope while he slid down. She followed through the simple expedient of dropping into his arms.

    Although there was a brief delay where her tendrils, acting on instinct, wrapped him in a cocoon as she tried to break her fall, it didn’t take long for her to regain control.

    Together, they began slowly exploring the north edge of Brockton Bay.

    Old railways formed a network in the north, centralized around several shipping centers, a train yard, and dotted with numerous old, rusted shipping containers. From the wall, it showed the least amount of indicators of life. Many of the rails had been torn up, and some of the containers had been cut up into sections, but for the most part, it was empty save for hundreds of thousands of tons of rusting scrap metal.

    Weld was especially cautious as he picked his way through the place. One incautious movement could have his face stuck to the side of an abandoned railcar, and that would be inconvenient and embarrassing.

    By silent, mutual understanding, they kept quiet as they traveled. The ruins were oppressive and intimidating in their silence. Blocked by the walls, not even the wind blew hard enough to whistle through the gaps in windows and between immobile boxcars. No weeds grew here, either, nor, unlike the outside, were there any wilted signs they had been.

    Several times, both of them thought about calling out, feeling a near desperate urge to find someone, anyone, so that they didn’t feel so alone. It had been depressing while they traveled, but they had a goal at the end of it. Now, at their destination, they were finally losing hope.

    It was therefore, a massive relief when they finally rounded a corner and came face to face with a denizen of Brockton Bay.

    It didn’t stop them from screaming in terror, though.

    Nor did it stop the thing from screaming in terror right back, turning, and bolting away in a panicked form of locomotion that might well be unique in the world.

    Screaming, Weld tried to stumble backwards, only for Sveta, equally panicked, to lose control over her many tendrils and, once again, send him crashing to the ground, tied up and immobile. This made him scream harder. It also made Sveta scream louder.

    For some reason, this made the unfortunate, surprised Brocktonite to also scream louder and harder, dopplering away to the east.

    First, they screamed. Then, it tapered off into an awkward, embarrassed silence. Suddenly, spontaneous laughter erupted from them both.

    They laughed helplessly far longer than they had screamed, days of travel and tension draining from them in a rush.

    The person had been weird looking, true. Even scary, if you saw them as a monster. A wide nosed but still humanoid head on a barrel-chested body not unlike a gorilla, short black hair and all. One of its arms, and it had more than two, though the exact number was hard to tell in their brief encounter, ended in an oversized claw, not unlike that of a fiddler crab, which partially hid the being from view. Down below, instead of legs, it had two tails like that of a lobster, segmented and spiny, but capable of flinging it forward in great leaps.

    Inhuman in appearance, perhaps. But the scream of terror had been as natural as could be. Weld looked human, at least until you noticed he was made of metal, but Sveta was a conglomerate of tendrils and blobs. The poor brocktonian wasn’t even the most deformed person present.

    Notes: Meant as a modest one shot, self contained fic, there's some ideas in this I like. In this, at about the time Taylor was getting used to being an Undersider, something stirred up Nilbog, who wandered around with his army, eating towns, and ended up in Brockton Bay. The weakest bit is, of course, why he would go to Brockton Bay. The more interesting bit is Brockton Bay going full Cronenberg to fight back. The most interesting bit is Emily Piggot and Thomas Calvert freaking the fuck out.
    Ack, doomlord9, Darchias and 7 others like this.
  2. Threadmarks: IAaDaIaNA

    Nugar Know what you're doing yet?

    Aug 20, 2015
    Likes Received:
    Another idea I had, also worm. This one was less an actual fic idea and more an idle thought that amused me that I banged out. Not nearly as much effort put in as Christmas Tree Worm has. Kinda SIish, in the same vein as A Prison of Glass, where the SI isn't the viewpoint. The only reason I actually went ahead and wrote this out is for a couple of jokes I thought of and so I could lay claim to the title.

    It was getting late in the evening when I retreated to my room under the pretense of doing homework. Really, I was turning on the radio to listen as my spiders, literally hundreds of black widows, continued their task of spinning my costume. I don’t know if Dad still listened, but back before mom died we’d listen together. The language was often… coarse… but it was the best source for cape news in Brockton Bay.

    If I was going to be a hero, I needed to study. I had to know what was going on.

    Brockton radio WCPE 86.3fm, Thursday night, 8PM.

    An inane and mildly offensive jingle finally tapered off, being replaced with boisterous yet smooth tones, only mildly colored by a japanese accent.

    “Welcome to our show, Brocktonians and Brocktonites, and all you listeners tuning in to our podcast on PHO. Lung the Rage Dragon here, bringing you this weeks Capes in the Bay, our report on every cape in Brockton Bay. All the news that’s fit to print, and a lot more I only get away with because I’m an unstoppable rage dragon. Together with my co-host, Valefor of the Fallen!”

    The sound of crickets chirping filled the air, before being replaced by Lung again.

    Dad kind of hated Lung, so I didn’t like him either. Although he’d sent plenty of jobs to the Dockworker’s union, and even helped clean up the ship graveyard enough that the port was reopened, there still wasn’t enough trade coming through to restore the glory days of the Bay. Also, he’d very carefully listened to Dad’s proposal to reopen the ferry, but ultimately declined. Dad could forgive his gang activities, but not his short sightedness. I couldn’t stand how he’d brought hope back, then crushed it again.

    Still. At least he wasn’t a Nazi.

    “First up, the Protectorate. Director Calvert continues to push policies aimed more towards curbing independents than doing something about real villians. Admittedly, it’s a lot easier trying to blackmail Parian into joining the Protectorate than it is to try and keep the Empire from breaking Hookwolf out of prison for the seventh time this year, but he still managed to fuck it up thanks to a small team of plucky teenagers and three giant dog lizards. Turns out the so called ‘murder of a nazi’ the lovely Parian is supposed to have committed was actually an out of context cellphone video of rehearsal for the upcoming stage play based on the Sound of Music, which I’m now allowed to admit exists. Turns out Hookwolf has a surprisingly good baritone, but I digress. Director Calvert is trying desperately to get the egg off his face with that one, and there’s a report- this report, that I’m doing right now- that Governor Andrews and Senator Lewis are demanding an investigation as to why a sitting director unmasked a nonvillainous minority cape to the local nazis. I bet Calvert wishes he had a do-over on that one. “

    Lung hated the Protectorate, at least after they fired the former director. Truth be told, he had a point. At this point, I wasn’t even considering the Wards, especially not after what happened to Vista.

    “Miss Militia is still fighting the good fight with grit and determination, trying to shield her team from the shit raining down from an increasingly unhinged Calvert but only occasionally getting to shoot a nazi with a beanbag round. Come on, guys, you have one job. Nazis are the best generic thugs to beat up in the world. Get out there and mug a hobo in front of Miss Militia, willya? Jaywalk, something.

    “Dauntless, the undaunted. He who has never even seen a daunt. The man in the longest Rocky montage in history.”

    A brief clip of the Rocky theme song Gonna Fly Now played.

    o/~ Won’t be long nooooow…. Gettting strong nooooow…o/~

    “Well, he’s still under orders to prepare his Arc Lance to go all Saint George on my ass. Everybody cheer him on, okay? In fact, if you drop by our webpage you can get a free download of the Rocky theme song to play when you see him in public. Set it as a ring tone. Sing along. Encourage him to run up steps.”

    For a self described unstoppable rage dragon, Lung could be pretty silly when he wanted to be.

    “Next up, Assault and Battery. Where one goes, the other soon follows. The two of them were seen on patrol as recently as yesterday, so it looks like their request to finally use some vacation days was denied. Only two more months and by regulations, it has to be granted. Stay hard, guys! Word is, Assault bought sixty dollars of roses on Tuesday. An apology, or was it an anniversary? Did Calvert really deny an anniversary vacation to two people who are going to have to take it in two months anyway? Man, what a snake.

    “Now for some surprising news! Velocity didn’t get the Adidas contract, since apparently theres not enough Russians in New Hamshire for brand awareness, but he got picked up by Reebok instead! Congratulations, Velocity!

    “Lastly, Triumph. He yelled at some people in the streets. He hasn’t yelled at anyone in the PRT. More on this situation as it develops.”

    I shook my head as my spiders carefully climbed over each other in a repeating pattern.

    “And even though he’s since moved on, chasing his own Dragon, Armsmaster was such a fixture here in the Bay, we’re still keeping up with him. Now, it’s been a bit since we had anything to report, ever since he blocked my number and threatened to make a tinkerdrug to make me allergic to msg the last time I called him on air, but thanks to local thinker as smart as she is beautiful, I’ve got his new unlisted number!” Lung’s voice practically danced with glee. “Let’s call him right now!”

    There was a brief pause, then the digital sounds of buttons being pressed. Soon, the phone was ringing.

    “Director Wilkins,” Armsmaster greeted. “I was not expecting a call. How can I help you?”

    “Halbeard!” Lung greeted enthusiastically. “How you been, buddy?”


    I snorted in amusement. Armsmaster and Lung’s friendship/hated rivalry thing was legendary. I can’t quite express the level of emotionally deadened resigned annoyance in Armsmaster’s tone. The only time I think I’ve heard him hate Lung more was the time Lung called him and read bits of sappy capefics shipping the two of them. On air.

    “The one and only. Missed you, pal. Fighting the Protectorate’s just not the same without you. Holding up well? I figure being closer to Dragon means you’re getting fed more often.”

    “I told you to stop calling me.”

    “Pft, if I listened every time someone told me to stop doing something, I’d never get anything done. I am calling to check up on a friend. Come on, give me something here.”

    “How did you… How did you spoof your caller ID on this system?”

    “…I’ll tell you if you tell me if you’ve gotten to second base with Dragon.”

    Lung thought being shipped with Armsmaster was funny. But he actually shipped Armsmaster and Dragon. He shipped them hard.


    “Armsmaster? Is that a yes or a no? Armsmaster?” Lung sighed. “Well, he sounds healthy at least. On with the show!”

    The sounds of papers shuffling filled the air.

    “Ah, yes. The Brockton Bay wards. Still limited to just four members since every outside member of the Wards who gets shipped in keeps quitting. Weld is back in Boston, Flechette disappeared, Stand Out quit, and Flipflop flipped out and threatened to choke Calvert to death with his own severed cock before being shipped back to Austin. Just like the situation with the adult heros, Brockton Bay continues to be denied the manpower and resources to let the Protectorate be anything more than a sham. The exact same situation that led to former Director Emily Piggot being shitcanned and Calvert promoted seems to be continuing with no sign of abateing. One wonders if Brockton Bay is actually some kind of amoral experiment in seeing what happens when the heroes just give up. That or the powers that be just fucking hate this city. Honestly, I’m not sure how to tell the difference.

    “However, the leader of the Wards, Gallant, is stuck here for reasons unknown. Is it blackmail, like what almost happened with Parian? Is it patriotism, desperately fighting the odds to bring law and order to this desolate land? Is it sweet, sweet loving with a local sweetheart? Is it some political deal completely outside his control? Who gives a shit!

    “Browbeat, the young man of many muscles! We didn’t forget you this time, buddy! Sorry about that!”

    Heh. Browbeat being boring and forgettable is a running joke. Even when he mentions him, there’s no actual news.

    “Kid Win! He’s still winning! Ever since he discovered his amazingly useful speciality, and Armsmaster left, he’s the only tinker the ENE Protectorate has left! They can’t tell him shit! He’s literally too valuable to discipline! Word is, Calvert had to be physically restrained from attacking him last weekend when he didn’t show up to five scheduled meetings in a row, and when questioned, answered ‘He didn’t feel like it.’ That’s some big dick energy right there, people. That is a Man who Deserves your Respect. Starting a petition now to convince him to rebrand as Man Awesome. Sign it on our website!”

    I might have to sign that.

    Abruptly, all of the life and energy went out of Lung’s voice.

    “And lastly, Shadowstalker. Still a bitch.”

    In Wards related news, Vista’s sexual harrassment case against Director Calvert is still ongoing. Our hearts go out to the longest serving Ward in Brockton Bay history, and we wish her luck in getting justice against the sick and disrespectful way she was treated during her last months here. Good luck, Vista.”

    Yeah, not joining the Wards. If even half of what was coming out in that case was true, it was a miracle Calvert hadn’t been forced to resign yet. Or been put in jail. He seemed to have the devil’s own luck.

    “Next up, the villians. First and most important- Me and my crew, the Hong Kong Cavaliers. I ate at that new mexican restaurant over on Cedar avenue on Wednesday. Let me just tell you. Wow. Those were some great tacos. I must have eaten two dozen at least. Also, later on tonight, I’m going to go for a relaxing stroll. Hit me up if you want a fight.

    My subordinates are all doing well. Oni Lee is back from assignment and putting some time in teaching knife fighting. Uber and Leet’s streaming has hit one million subs, and they recently assisted the Haunted in forcibly deporting some random stranger snooping around last weekend. More on that later. Recent recruits Bakuda and Tattletale are both still in training, but doing well. They’re the sharpest, smartest girls you’ve ever seen. Together, they let me trick Armsmaster into thinking I was actually calling him on a PRT phone from New York. Now that’s synergy, folks.”

    I bit my lip. Lung’s generosity to new capes was well known. He offered training, protection, information, even gear in some cases, and would happily let you quit if you decided it wasn’t the place for you. He talked quite a bit about the casualty rate of new capes, especially tinkers, so he made himself an attractive alternative to the risks of going solo. He didn’t even care if you joined one of the other groups in the Bay after the training.

    I was tempted. Training and help, with very few strings attached. But… despite how nice he could be, Lung was still just another gang leader. Just a more charismatic one.

    “The Empire 88 has finally agreed to give up the disputed territory of Townsen Hill to Brockton Bay Community Outreach, taking a small hit to their size but almost nothing to their bottom line and gaining a great deal of peace of mind. Thanks to that deal with BBCom, I suppose I’ll have to find somewhere else for my evening walks. The nazis remain the largest single gang in Brockton Bay, of course. Don’t like it? Tell Director Calvert! It’s his job to fix it, and he’s fucking it all up.

    However, now that the news is out, I’m pleased to announce that E88 is going to honor the results of the bet I had with Kaiser last month. Hookwolf, Victor, and Rune are going to be participating in a production of The Sound of Music, put on by Lord’s Hill Theater Group, in cooperation with both Parian and the Haunted crew. Tickets will be a bit pricey, at twenty dollars for a single, thirty five for couples, and ten dollars for children, but its sure to be the event of the season. Look out, you may even see some of Brockton’s upper crust in the crowd. Plays are classy, right? You can preorder tickets on their website.”

    There was a brief advertisement interlude for the theater group. Briefly, I wondered if I should try to go see that. Mom loved plays.

    Soon, though, Lung was back.

    “E88 splinter vigilante group, The Pure, lead by Purity, has just signed on another white, anglo-saxon protestant dominated neighborhood for their neighborhood protection services, bringing their total up to four city blocks and three gated communities. Congratulations, Purity! That woman’s got some business sense, let me tell you. I mean, capes don’t give a shit about white collar crime, and that’s the main kind of crime in those neighborhoods, so all they have to do is keep muggings and break-ins low and they’re holding up their end of the contract. I was telling Kaiser just the other day, he’d do a lot better if they dropped the whole Heil Hitler slash ubermenschen thing, and here The Pure are, proving me right. There’s a lot of demand for ‘pretty racist but not actually nazi’ services in white neighborhoods. Just look at Congress. Yooooooo!”

    A pair of weird tonal taps followed, like someone hitting tupperware.

    “In lighter news, City Hall sponsored hero group Brockton Bay Community Outreach continues its policies of safe, sane, and responsible, remaining the single strangest cape organization in the United States. Together with BBPD’s finest, not only keep the crime rate down, they’ve been branching out into non-violent forms of serving the public. Clockblocker’s time stop powers have proven to be surprisingly well suited for assisting in construction, and newcomer Tagger may prove to be rookie of the year with the Street Department.”

    BBCom was a city sponsored cape team that had largely absorbed the fleeing members of the Protectorate and Wards, and was actually ran by ex-director Piggot. Word was, however, that they were rather strict in their rules, and tied down by a lot of regulations. They didn’t often fight capes and actually worked with the police on regular crimes, but mainly served as a place for nervous parents to put their recently triggered children that didn’t involve the massive shitstorm of the current Wards and Protectorate. I will admit they had a growing reputation for actually getting useful things done, as opposed to the endless stalemate of cape gang violence, which served more to maintain a status quo than any sort of actual progress.

    I still didn’t want to join them, though.

    “The biggest event this week comes courtesy of our fallen angels in the Haunted, which I remind you is still a legally recognized independent hero organization.”

    The Haunted were probably my biggest temptation. Formed from the rebranded survivors of New Wave, plus a number of new recruits, they were the most active force in trying to get Brockton Bay to be more of a city and less of a citywide gladitorial arena. They fought every criminal gang in the city, but they’d had to work with them sometimes against nastier threats. It wasn’t local capes that killed the leadership of New Wave, it was members of the Fallen.

    “Armed with Leet’s patented fuckery detector, Grue, Regent, and guest star Leet of the HKC spent the weekend chasing rumors that there was an out of town stranger in Brockton Bay. Coordinating with Bad Medicine, Phoenix, and Foil, who at the time were involved in their own mission of helping Parian beat Director Calvert’s blackmail, they found a cape going by the name Eventbrite. Now, this guy was a striker/stranger with some pretty clever abilities and had apparently been in the city for at least a month, and has at least five murders attributed to him during that time.

    “His luck finally ran out, however, when he discovered the hard way that his ability to mess with memories doesn’t work on dogs, and that local heroine Bitch does not put up with intruders in her territory. And then: there were giant dog lizards. And Phoenix is gonna Phoenix. Bad Medicine put him back together, buuuuut… it was outside capes with master and stranger powers that killed their parents. Right now he’s regretting being prescribed a little of the old bad medicine. We’ll see if there’s any more on this next week.”

    More papers were shuffled. “That’s basically it, folks. The loose group of druggies formerly known as the Merchants continues to fail to get their shit together since the death of Trainwreck, Faultline’s crew didn’t have a mission this week, and none of the rogues have done anything particularly interesting outside of Parian’s bit of trouble with the still astonishingly corrupt PRT.

    “But! Before I go for a stroll, for the seventy third week in a row, here’s Valefor with the state of Fallen activities in the Bay. Valefor? Lean into the mic- yeah. That’s it. Is there anything you’d like to tell our listeners?”

    “…please. Kill me.”

    “And that’s it for our show this week! Till next time, Lung and Valefor wishing you the best, and reminding all outside capes: Whether you’re a member of a nationally powerful cape gang like the Fallen, or just some fucking schmuck like Eventbrite, if you come here, and you fuck with us…

    “We will fuck you back.”

    As my costume neared completion, I wondered a lot about Lung. There’s not a lot about him before his legendary fight with Leviathan, and there’s a big blank period immediately following that before he came to america, but there’s quite a lot about his arrival in Brockton Bay. He tried to be a hero at first, working with the Protectorate and PRT, showing up at every Endbringer fight. He took over a gang, and tried to clean it up from the inside. He pushed for a reduction in violence, organizing deals with other gangs so that regular people were safer. He worked with both City Hall and the Union to restore Lord’s Port to operating status. He set up options for new parahumans that didn’t involve being forcably recruited into a gang or signing your life away with the Protectorate.

    But then, his new gang started dealing drugs and prostitution. He didn’t deny it, he even admitted he tried to keep it as humane as possible, but he couldn’t stop the dealing. Or the prostitution. And then there were fights with other gangs over turf. Fights with the PRT and Protectorate. He still tried to avoid killing, even hurting people, but the shine was off. Outside gangs came in, and had to be pushed back out. The Fallen, the Teeth, the Saints. Was it just the constant series of setbacks that made him give up on making the city better, and instead just try and keep it from getting worse?

    And if so, what did that say for my own chances?

    Note: You can almost see the point where I lost enthusiasm and just mechanically threw out the rest. Terrible stuff. Had fun with some of the stuff though, especially the Kid Win stuff.

    The title for this is 'I am a Dragon and I am now Asian'. That seemed funnier at like 3am. I will not be continuing or adding onto this in any way.
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