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Spiders, Depression, and Acid Falls (Worm/Bionicle)

Discussion in 'Creative Writing' started by Jsyrin, Jan 25, 2020.

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    Jsyrin

    Jsyrin Registered Loser

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    In which a girl and a Makuta are severely depressed in the same body.

    Chapter 1

    “....”

    She stared up at the ceiling of her room, listless, unable to think or move or breathe. The sunlight filtered through her window, a bright, harsh light that made her squint and hiss in annoyance, squeezing her eyes shut until the bright rays became too much for her to handle and forced her to roll over and face the wall instead.

    She was a mess.

    Her hair, once lustrous and shiny, was matted and greasy, unwashed for days- weeks, even. Her skin, pallid and colorless. She felt and looked crusty, the kind of filth and smell that only happened from nearly a month of starvation and stagnation.

    She, Taylor Hebert, was a mess.

    A horrible, disgusting mess.

    Taylor sighed as she stared at the wall, blinking slowly as she tried to calm the raging storm of her thoughts, to keep herself from spiraling into an even deeper pit of despair and apathy.

    The… thing in the back of her mind certainly didn’t help.

    A gibbering, muttering creature, in the midst of its own nervous breakdown, was stuck in the back of her mind, its essence infused into her body to the deepest depths of her cells. It- no, she, was called Gorast.

    She was a Makuta. An ancient being who was created by an even older deity, one which housed the entire universe she lived in. She’d once been a creator of thousands of amazing biomechanical beasts, creatures that would have taken a whole team of Tinkers years to create, and her race created them with ease and in the millions.

    Gorast had been almost kind, once upon a time. Then she became vicious and cruel over the passing eons, behavior reinforced as she fell in with a horrible, evil plan enacted by the leader of her kind, one which she followed until her betrayal and swift, painful death.

    And now, the mutated, insectoid creature was a shell of her former self. An empty spirit in the pit of depression.

    Taylor would have found it hilarious if it weren’t so sad.

    Of course the single most depressed alien ghost in the universe would latch onto a depressed loser like her.

    “.... betrayed…. Plan…. Stupid stupid stupid! Should have…. Vivisect… damned Krika! Miserix would-”

    “Shut up already! Just because we’re both depressed losers doesn’t mean I want to hear you whining about it all the time!” Taylor snapped hoarsely, squeezing her hands against her ears and shaking her head to try and silence Gorast to no avail- the Makuta was steadfastly ignoring everything in favor of muttering to herself and wallowing in her own despair.

    Taylor sighed and rolled over again, rubbing her eyes as the afternoon sun shone through her window. Gaining a mild sensitivity to sunlight now that she was possessed by Gorast was a pain in the ass, she thought to herself, wincing as the mild light landed on the pale skin of her face. Even with the weakness of northeastern winter sunlight, it still felt like she was standing outside on a warm summer day. At least she wasn’t burning though, which is what would have happened to Gorast, if her memories were accurate. And thankfully, it was a fairly minor sensitivity, all told.

    Still, it was annoying, especially since her window faced the sun.

    Taylor groaned as she found within her the energy to sit up, shivering gently as the covers fell from her body and released all the precious trapped body heat she’d been trying to conserve. She shuddered and yawned, swaying drowsily as she tried not to pass out just from the act of sitting up.

    “Oohnorak.” she spoke quietly, a raspy, dry whisper tumbling from her lips as she summoned the black and orange spider-like creature from the shadows beneath her bed, the yellow crystal embedded in her sternum pulsing as the shadows twisted and spat out the creature, which hissed and clicked to life in an instant. Its jaws gnashed, chainsaw like teeth whirling around inside of its mouth as its massive mandibles clacked viciously together and gleamed in the sunlight.

    “Good visorak,” she yawned, continuing to blink slowly as she gathered strength to her limbs, wiggling about in the oversized hoodie and pajama pants she’d been stewing in for the last several days until she reached the edge of her bed, then allowed herself to topple down onto the smooth, glossy shell of her minion creature. It bowed slightly under her weight, but stood firm- after all, it was capable of hauling much larger and heavier things than one stick thin girl who’d been starving herself. Idly, she pet the shell of her Oohnorak as it moved along, one spiked limb lifting from the ground and opening her bedroom door before carrying her to the bathroom, whereupon it dumped her into the tub and, with surprising gentleness that seemed at odds with its vicious appearance, undressed her and threw her filthy, disgusting clothes into the laundry hamper.

    Being possessed by some kind of alien ghost apparently had benefits, Taylor mused to herself as she flexed her will, creating a tiny thunderstorm above her head to rain down upon her and wash the grime from her body. Another flex of her will combined Disintegration and Molecular disruption, destroying the filth that had built up in her mouth, eyes, nose, all over her body, rendering it all into dust and free particles.

    “Vohtarak, Boggarak,” she whispered once more, blinking slowly as the shadows behind the toilet twisted and writhed, spitting out two more small visorak- Vohtarak, a crimson visorak, and Boggarak, a visorak in shades of blue. The two spider-like Rahi instantly climbed up her back as she dispelled the thunderstorm, the two visorak beginning to wash her scalp properly, massaging shampoo and conditioner into her limp curls and rinsing repeatedly with more small rainstorms until her hair was shiny and clean again, a pleasant floral scent filling the bathroom as the two hand-sized Rahi finished their jobs and began playing in the leftover suds.

    For a moment, she smiled, then groaned as she flopped out of the tub and shifted her density, letting the water all fall through her and back into the tub, her dried off body flopping across the broad, smooth back of her summoned Oohnorak as it carried her back to her room. She sighed again, pulling a face at the smell of her own filth before directing her Oohnorak to start packing up everything clean.

    There wasn’t much.

    A few shirts, some underwear, pants, socks. Her spare shoes.

    Most of the things in her room were filthy- a consequence of having had a full laundry hamper when-

    When…

    Taylor bit back a sob and curled up on the back of her Oohnorak, gulping thickly as she remembered the putrid filth of the locker, the pain surging through her blood, the stabbing agony as her organs failed and she…

    She…

    She hadn’t made it.

    The only reason why she was alive right now was because of Gorast’s antidermis possessing her corpse mere moments after she’d died in the ambulance.

    And then…

    Then…

    Taylor shook her head, forcing her emotions down, stomping them into that deep, dark pit that she didn’t dare look into. No, she had to focus on the here and now.

    She stood for the first time in weeks, shaking slightly as she dressed herself and dismissed her visorak- the ones in the bathroom, the ones in the kitchen, the ones standing guard in the living room, all of them returning to shadow with a flex of her will.

    She sighed, picking up the duffel bag that now held the sum total of all that she cared for in the world- a few sets of clothes, some books that her mother used to read to her, a watch that used to be her father’s, and all the money she could find in the house.

    It’d be enough for at least a few days in a motel, she supposed.

    With a heavy sigh, she let herself fall through the floor, shifting her density and floating until she reached the living room, where the body of her father laid, surrounded by dried blood from his wrists, pristine in death from where she’d locked his corpse in stasis.

    “I’m sorry dad. I can’t…” She sighed and gently pressed a kiss to his forehead, blinking tears from her eyes as she prepared to do something she could never have done before. “I can’t stay here anymore. I’m sorry. I’m sorry I…. I couldn’t… I couldn’t last. I’m sorry I didn’t come back faster, that I… I’m sorry.”

    She turned away, choking on her tears and pushing down her nausea as a shadowy hand burst from her body, gently lifting the body of her father and absorbing it into her without a trace. She shuddered and left her home, now devoid of everything in the world that she could have cared about.

    And there, on the sidewalk, she stood.

    The sun was bright, too bright for such an occasion. She hated it more than anything else at the moment. She was tired. So tired.

    But, before she left for good, she had one last thing to do.

    “Goodbye, dad. Goodbye, mom. I’m…. I’m sorry.”

    A flex of her will, not even a finger lifted, and the house that she had called home for fifteen years disintegrated into nothing more than ash in the wind, stripped bare from the broken porch step all the way down to the concrete of its foundations.

    Tears fell silently down her face as she watched it all vanish, and when it was gone, her eyes were dry.

    Taylor turned and left, fading out of sight as she flexed her will one more time, disappearing into the city even as the high whine of PRT sirens began to echo quietly in the distance, their presence called by someone who’d seen her home disintegrate.

    She didn’t care.

    She only wished that things had happened differently.

    She left her home behind.

    “Goodbye.”
     
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    Jsyrin

    Jsyrin Registered Loser

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    Chapter 2

    February in Brockton Bay was a terrible time to be outside without a jacket on. This was known quite well by all who lived there- after all, a coastal city in the northeastern part of the United States? If the winter was anything near mild it would have been called a sign of the end times.

    And yet, there she was.

    Taylor Hebert, fifteen years old. Trudging through the thick, fluffy snow with nothing to shield her from the falling flakes but the thin cotton of her hoodie. Her duffel bag hung loose at her side, her arm curled protectively around it as she wandered aimlessly, searching for… for something.

    A purpose.

    Meaning in her life.

    Food.

    Shelter.

    A way to end it all.

    She wished she could have done it ages ago, wished she could have died permanently so she wouldn’t have been the last member of her family alive. But she’d tried.

    She’d tried everything she could back at home to kill herself. Knives had just bounced off of her skin. Drowning herself had only resulted in gills sprouting from her neck. A noose had done nothing, not even compressed her windpipe. All the medicine in the cabinet had done nothing to her, nor did the chemicals under the sink, nor did the rat poison in the garage. She hadn’t even felt the flames from the stove, and trying to crush herself under the car had only popped the tires.

    She was tired, so tired. So… so tired.

    But she couldn’t… couldn’t stop herself anymore. Her powers couldn’t harm her own body, no matter how hard she tried. Plasma only settled like a blanket around her shoulders, laser vision stopped at her skin, heat vision only made her feel warm, on and on and on.

    Forty two.

    Forty two goddamn powers and none of them had worked.

    She’d cried herself to sleep after that revelation, after realizing that she couldn’t kill herself and end her suffering.

    And then all she did was sleep. Fitfully, tossing and turning, wallowing in her own nightmares and worries, the anxieties she’d had once upon a time. Some of them had gone away after the first few days- if she were legally dead, then she didn’t have to go to school, didn’t have to deal with bullies, or homework, or exams, or wannabe gang members. If she were dead, she wouldn’t have to deal with anything but herself.

    If she were dead, she wouldn’t have to pretend like she cared.

    Not even trying to burn herself to death in the sunlight worked, as evidenced by the fact that she was still fucking alive even as the sun shone down on her, weak as it was.

    And so she walked along, uncaring, unseeing, just putting one foot in front of the other. She stared blankly ahead, her steps slow and plodding, ignoring the snow, ignoring the other people around her. She ignored the cold air against her face, she ignored the steam rising from her body as she instantly evaporated the snow coming in contact with her- she didn’t care anymore.

    She didn’t even remember why she came this way, down to the docks, down to this… putrid spit of land, full of scum and villainy. She…

    She stared blankly at the wall in her way. A rundown warehouse, filthy and broken, just like everything else in the city. Around her, a few stacked shipping containers, more filth. Everything covered in a thin blanket of snow, as if to hide its ugliness from sight.

    She sighed and sat down, ignoring the way the snow stained her pants, soaking into the fabric until her body heat created a hissing cloud of steam around her. She sighed again, watching the thin curls of steam rise up into the sky, drowning out the sound of Gorast’s muttering still going on inside of her head, if only just barely.

    It was…

    Almost nice.

    She felt no hunger, felt no pain, didn’t feel the cold or heat unless it was pure light. She could, theoretically, even just sit where she was forever, until the end of time. Even the slight drain of her powers tugging at her… core, for lack of a better word, could be mitigated and staved off just by draining the life force of the insects that heeded her commands.

    Taylor smiled weakly and shook her head, finally speaking out into the cold air, her breath sending out great clouds of mist as she spoke.

    “Hey. Gorast. Are you in there?”

    “What do you think, human?”

    The Makuta in her mind spat viciously as she spoke, buzzing in Taylor’s ears as her powers- no, Gorast’s powers- activated and projected an illusion of the Makuta before her- not as her memories showed her, moments before her death, but as she had been. A sleek, humanoid being, four armed, with lustrous wings that arched out behind her like a stained glass window. Green and black, accents of turquoise- a beautiful mix of emerald and lime green, not that poisonous acid green the Pit had turned her into. She had… something similar to breasts, Taylor mused blankly as the illusion sat down across from her, glaring bitterly back despite the fact that Taylor knew it was only a visual aid for Gorast’s words.

    “What do you want?” the Makuta asked as her illusory body sat there calmly, her voice low and hissing, sibilant and somehow seductive despite its rasping tone. “I was busy.”

    “Busy muttering to yourself about how you’d have your revenge once you found your way off this miserable planet, yeah, I know,” Taylor sighed, rubbing her eyes as she tried to fight off her exhaustion- she didn’t need to sleep or eat and she certainly hadn’t been exercising too much so why was she tired- and focus on the present. “Look. I’m just…. I wanted… I wanted to get to know you. Since we’re stuck together and all. I know we’re both depressed and hurting. I know that you didn’t have any friends or family that you actually liked, and… I know you were a vicious psychopath…. But. Y’know… we’re… we’re the only ones each other has now. So… I figure we should be friends.”

    “Friends? Ha! Pretty words coming from the idiot who tried to kill herself in every way possible for a week straight before falling into a two and a half week coma!” Gorast sneered, a tight glare on her face even as her emotions surged through Taylor, both of them wincing as they felt each others’ hopelessness and anxieties, their fears and worries. Gorast was… afraid. Afraid of betrayal, afraid of dying for real, afraid of being left alone again, afraid of living life with no purpose.

    She was absolutely terrified of not having a purpose. Her entire life had been driven with only a single-minded pursuit of what she felt was her duty, her birthright… and now she had nothing. Only the sting of betrayal, the collapse of all she knew, the destruction of her whole way of thinking.

    Taylor felt sick just thinking about having so much of her ideology uprooted.

    On the other hand, Taylor was… tired. Dulled, exhausted. Tired of the pain and suffering she’d endured for the past two years, tired of having to look at the person she once called her best friend. Tired of having to deal with the lingering trauma of her mother’s death alone. Tired of being alone now that both of her parents were gone. Tired of life. Tired of existence.

    If she could have killed herself, she would have. Just to make it all stop, to make the aching, gnawing pit in her chest go away.

    Gorast couldn’t relate, but the avatar she chose shed a silver tear all the same.

    Neither of them had the strength to go on alone. Gorast couldn’t act in the physical world, and Taylor was too tired to push herself to do anything until several weeks had passed and she was on the verge of snapping.

    They conversed silently, the illusion controlled by a disembodied mind and the girl who was barely human anymore.

    Their voices echoed in the girl’s mind as she slowly stood up, a fresh wave of energy pulsing through her for the first time in weeks. Taylor let a thin, wavering smile cross her face as she figured out what she was going to do with herself, as Gorast found herself a new purpose to follow.

    “Okay,” Taylor whispered to herself, almost giddy just from the tiny flitter of energy she could feel coursing through her limbs, almost skipping as she began to head back into the city proper. “Okay. We can do this.”

    Her smile, weak and wavering strengthened as she dared let herself hope, dared to believe in herself again.

    “Okay Gorast! Let’s be heroes!”
     
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  3. Dukem

    Dukem Getting some practice in, huh?

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    I hope they get un-depressed, I'm finally coming out of a 2 year long depression period, I know how much it sucks.

    That being said, cool story, watched.
     
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    Jsyrin

    Jsyrin Registered Loser

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    Chapter 3

    “Okay… how to be a hero…” Taylor muttered quietly as she sat on a park bench, her duffel bag set next to her as she rubbed her face and tried to think of something. Nothing came to mind other than “wander around in the middle of the night and hope to find muggers”.

    Which, technically speaking, was a plan, but not one much different from what she had been doing before.

    Wandering around the city aimlessly until she’d bumped into a warehouse was enough. She didn’t have the emotional energy to do so again in hopes that she’d run into a criminal. Even the manic energy that suffused her limbs now wasn’t going to go along with that.

    So. She had to try something different.

    Something like…

    “Gorast? Any ideas?”

    “No. Your memories are useless for this task, and mine are no better,” the Makuta hissed back, the violent buzz of insectoid wings filling her mind before Gorast retreated back to the depths of her psyche. Taylor sighed and stood up again, worrying her lip as she paced along the park trails, muttering quietly to herself and dragging her feet.

    She reached into her duffel bag and sighed, floating upwards and sitting in the crook of a tree branch before pulling out a book and flipping it open. It was only six in the afternoon anyway, and even with the sun setting earlier, there likely wasn’t going to be much in the way of crime at the moment anyway- well, crime that she could actively do something about, she supposed.

    What to do… what to do…

    She pursed her lips and ignored the niggling feeling in the back of her head that even just flying around the city and looking for trouble was better than just sitting in a tree branch and hoping that an epiphany would strike.

    A brief flash of emotion pulled her attention away, though, as Gorast reeled back in disgust at a flicker of thought that had passed through her mind.

    “This… Protectorate, your memories describe… they seem like an abhorrent bunch,” Gorast muttered, images of the current Protectorate roster filling her mind as Taylor just shut her book and rubbed her temples.

    “They’re-” Taylor paused and thought back, back to the hundreds of newscasts, the hundreds of cape fights that went on in the streets since before she was born. The Protectorate never did anything about the gangs infesting the city, did they? They just punched out some of their members and maybe tossed a few in jail, only for them to escape the next month or so, if even that. Petty crime was at an all time high, and yet the Protectorate did nothing about that either. Hell, she’d even seen a few PHO posts saying that they’d seen Protectorate members driving past smaller crimes if they didn’t involve parahumans- Hell, the only people who seemed to actually interfere with those were the Wards, and what did it say about the city’s defenders if they made children fight criminals when the adults did the equivalent of jack shit?

    Maybe it was her distrust of authority. Maybe it was Gorast’s newfound hatred of power structures that seemed to only be in place for some nebulous, undefined reason. Maybe it was logical sense. Maybe it was paranoia.

    But at the moment, no, going to the Protectorate- or rather, even the Wards, given her age- was a no go. If she’d tried to join, who knows what they would try to do to her?

    The more logical portion of her brain said that fighting crime with Protectorate backing was the most reasonable thing to do, even if they did want to run tests on her-

    No. She couldn’t.

    It wasn’t her body to let people mess with anymore, and with how Gorast reacted at even the mere suggestion of testing under unknown hands, with unknown scientists with even more unknown intentions-

    No. No. No.

    No!

    Taylor shook her head and almost fell out of the tree she was perched in as she inadvertently drained its life force, the branches turning brittle and dry until the tree itself crumbled to ash, leaving Taylor floating in the air, coated in a thin layer of sawdust.

    “Okay, okay, get it together… get it together,” Taylor murmured, both for herself and Gorast as she shifted her density and let the sawdust fall through her before taking off and flying further into the city, away from the park and into the back alleys. She shivered, not from cold, but from just how good draining the tree to death had felt- to take the life from something and feel it filling her core, replenishing all the energy she’d lost over the last month in far greater supply than mere bugs could ever do.

    No wonder most Makuta had gone insane and given into their psychopathic bloodlust if feeding on the life energy of other beings felt so good.

    Well, other than the fact that they were, as a race, psychopathic and vicious murder-creatures.

    No, no, focus.

    Taylor slapped her face to get her bearings, then floated upwards, silent and invisible as she watched the city fall away beneath her, an uneven sea of twinkling lights and sound, smoke and steam, rushing cars and strolling pedestrians.

    It was almost… hypnotic.

    Patterns within patterns within patterns, the quiet murmuring of hundreds of thousands of souls.

    She stared down silently, and then... she acted.

    Mind reading.

    One of the powers she’d deemed useless in the last month- after all, what use was a power when there was no one to focus on? No ability to end her pain?

    But now? It was the single most useful tool she had.

    A broad sweep of the ground below, several blocks lighting up to her senses as she swiftly scanned the surface thoughts and intentions of hundreds of people, a rush of information overwhelming her senses and almost knocking her out if not for the stabilizing, experienced presence of Gorast, who guided her mind, brought it into shallower territory, and focused it.

    She flew along quietly and flexed her will, her frail, human body becoming the tall, armored, almost beautiful form of Gorast as she had been long ago. A sleek, slender being, four armed with massive dragonfly-like wings, an armored body of black and emerald green, highlights of lime and turquoise, claw tipped fingers and toes, with stern crimson eyes glaring out from behind a mask of obsidian and emerald.

    The Felnas on her face was… not real. Technically speaking, it shouldn’t have had any power at all.

    But, through some unknown mechanic, the mask that Gorast had died wearing had fused with her soul, the very antidermis possessing Taylor’s body, and it was as real and powerful as it had been even at the height of Gorast’s power on the Tren Krom Peninsula.

    Taylor put it out of her mind- it was real enough at the moment, and that was all that mattered. Not that she hoped to need its ability to disrupt powers, but it would come in handy if it came down to an unfortunate cape encounter.

    She sighed and returned her attention to the surface level scans of the hundreds of people before her, wincing at the sheer amount of negativity pouring from the city in a wave of almost visible miasma. It was almost so strong that she was almost swept away with the psychic current, almost spiraling into her own despair and self loathing before she caught herself and pushed past it.

    No, no. Focus. Don’t get lost in the mire.

    Ignore the background negativity, and push a little deeper. Into the intentions of the people below, into their surface thoughts, into their hearts.

    There.

    A domestic dispute, escalating beyond yelling and threats. A woman, brandishing a knife. A man, cowering on the ground.

    She dove down, both minds snarling as one.

    Justice would be served.
     
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    Jsyrin

    Jsyrin Registered Loser

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    Chapter 4

    “YOU SON OF A BITCH! I’LL KILL YOU!”

    The woman- Inez Mendelsohn- screeched as she charged at the man who had betrayed her, Mark Mendelsohn, her husband and soon to be dead man.

    It wasn’t enough that he wouldn’t follow the entirely fair and reasonable rules she’d set out for him, but now he was coming home late with no explanation!?

    He had to be cheating on her! Had to be!

    He hadn’t been happy since they got married a few months ago, so of course he had to be cheating on her with some hussy!

    She was going to- to-

    “Put the knife down now. Or there’s going to be trouble.”

    A monster. A terrifying monster, six feet tall and then some, glaring down at her as it grabbed her wrist, cold and lifeless as it- it-

    Taylor stared down at the unconscious woman she held with one hand, keeping her from hitting the ground as she gently removed the knife from her limp fingers and set her down on the couch.

    She hadn’t been expecting the woman to faint just from her grabbing the woman’s wrist and glaring at her- she hadn’t even been using her Fear power or anything. The man behind her cowered, whimpering and begging for her to not hurt him, please he’ll do anything just don’t kill him please.

    She silently tried to figure out what was going on, gently swiping the surface memories from the man and going over what had happened in the last thirty seconds. And…

    Oh.

    Oh god.

    She saw herself- a horrid, twisted monster descending through the apartment ceiling upon a wave of writhing, coiling shadows that seemed to spit her out as if she were a part of them. The very light in the room was sucked away by her presence, and she towered as a glistening being of chitin and armor, clicking and whirring with every movement as her wings flared out and vibrated, the high frequency sound coming off of her wings creating a painful spike of agony in the man’s skull.

    Her voice, cloaked in shadow as she was naturally, was harsh, terrible. A mix of gnashing teeth and a thousand million buzzing wasps, metallic and cold and only the slightest hint of feminine. Monstrous and deadly, her inflection dull and yet sharp with a thousand unheard, unspoken promises of violence and murder.

    She didn’t look like a hero.

    She looked like a demon.

    “... I…. I…” Taylor stepped back, suddenly horrified at herself, at what she looked like, at the fear she’d caused. She gulped thickly, then forced herself to change back into her human self, ratty hoody and all.

    “H-here. Call the police.” she almost whispered, picking up the man’s phone from the coffee table and tossing it at him before dashing through the wall, phasing through it and falling to the ground below, throwing her bag to the side and leaning against the alley wall as she hyperventilated and tried not to throw up.

    “Is… Is that what we really looked like, Gorast? Like… Like a monster?” she gulped thickly and collapsed to the ground, shaking fitfully as she tried not to break down in tears, the sheer, visceral fear that her form inspired in the man she sought to save almost breaking her spirit entirely.

    “I don’t know what you expected,” Gorast muttered bitterly, waves of resentment oozing from every word. “This happened back home too. We Makuta are terrifying to all life. Our bodies are shadowed and our natures are vicious and amoral and it is a stain on our very antidermis essences. We were shunned and hated for countless millennia just for being the way we were, even if we tried to help the Matoran and do our duty to the Great Spirit. This is no different.”

    “Then… what’s the point?” Taylor asked, a sudden surge of energy rushing through her as she slammed her fist into and through a nearby dumpster, shaking with impotent rage. “What’s the point of trying to be a hero if the only thing I ever do is terrify people into a coma!? All they’ll ever do is hate me because I’m scary!? What kind of bullshit is that!?”

    She vented her frustrations for a while longer, kicking and smashing the dumpster into an unrecognizable pile of scrap metal, furious, hot, useless anger surging through her body the whole time. By the time she finally looked up, the snow had stopped and the sky was dark, the streets were lit only dimly by street lamps and building lights.

    She sighed heavily and disintegrated the destroyed dumpster, grumbling over the fact that, even with all her powers granted to her by Gorast’s antidermis surging through her body, none of them could actually fix things. Nothing she did would make things better. All she could do was... was….

    Silvery tears leaked from her eyes, pooling on her eyelashes before falling to the ground, drops of light that shimmered and squirmed as if alive, rolling about before leaping back onto Taylor and-

    PAIN

    Taylor screamed as the strange, silver substance flowed through her body and sent lightning through her nerves, twisting her powers against her and forcing her body into a new form, one that was twisting and wrong, full of strange sensations and crushing agony as her flesh bubbled and hardened, the brick and asphalt around her dissolving away as it was transmuted and reformed into powerful armor befitting her new form.

    She…

    She rolled over and groaned, coughing and forcing down nausea as a new feeling ran through her body- several new feelings. She was…

    She was…

    “A Toa!?” Gorast howled inside of her mind, an illusion springing up in front of Taylor- a direct mirror of her body now, she could tell. An almost beautiful being, one that was conventionally beautiful instead of the strange, eldritch beauty of Gorast’s true form, looked back at her- tall, about six feet and then some, smooth green plates of armor covering a lithe, athletic body. Her new form was… a bit lighter colored, a more verdant, floral green streaked with acid green and darkening to a more emerald and olive green around her torso, shifting into a deep navy blue around her breasts, and with black plates of natural chitin and flesh serving as an underlayer. Her Felnas had changed as well- not the rubbery, mutated organic monstrosity of Gorasts’ mutated self, nor the harsh, almost monstrous lines of the original, but a more human-like face, stern and yet gentle. The mask was hard, almost impenetrable- made of the same protosteel as the rest of the thin armor plating covering her biomechanical body, and yet soft and responsive, as if it were her actual face- which, considering her shapeshifting, it was.

    Taylor stood up, shakily examining herself as the glowing substance faded away at last, covering her body with another thin layer and dispersing into the form of silvery armor plates- pauldrons on her shoulders, a segmented breastplate, gauntlets, and a pair of greaves. She flexed gently, feeling the silvery protosteel armor shift around and, with a flex of her will, vanish away.

    Along with the green plates covering up her more organic parts.

    “What the fuck!?” Taylor shrieked and covered herself up, the armor plates of her body snapping back into place within an instant as she all but flung herself into the shadows of the alleyway, feeling them curling around her protectively as she tried to figure out what the fuck was going on within her body.

    “Acid… of course! Of course! Destiny has a cruel sense of humor indeed!” Gorast almost shrieked inside of her mind, cackling hysterically as Taylor flexed her hand, the energy in her core pouring out and becoming a bubbling, hissing orb of green around her hand- acid potent enough to melt even the strongest materials, enough to corrode even hardened protosteel in mere minutes. “Of course the mistress of the Acid Falls would become a false Toa of Acid! Ha! The sentient muck has a sense of humor!”

    “Sentient muck?” Taylor asked, almost hyperventilating a bit as she dispelled the acid blob and flexed her hands- all four of them, and stretched out her wings. She felt something like a switch flick in the back of her mind as she listened to Gorast explain, continuing to experiment with her newfound powers- her wings detached now, she thought numbly, the flexible wings held in her upper pair of hands as a pair of massive swords, each one almost as large as she was and yet still light and agile as a feather, despite being made of protosteel. In her lower hands, a pair of… what Gorast’s memories called Nynrah Ghostblasters, though they seemed a bit more optimized than the bulky form in Gorast’s memories, slimmed down and now with a magazine filled with projectiles made of her own energy.

    “Yes! Yes! The energized protodermis that binds us together!” Gorast hissed, almost jumping up and down in Taylor’s mind with some kind of manic glee. “I was a fool to not see it earlier! The antidermis of a Makuta is incompatible with organic systems! The energized protodermis that tore through me during the energy storm must have bonded with my essence and created a bridge between our bodies! That is why you can use my powers, and why you did not stay dead when I entered your lifeless corpse!”

    “.... Okay. That’s… how do I react to that?” Taylor muttered, furrowing her brow and wondering just how the hell she was supposed to deal with the fact that she apparently had not one, but two incredibly powerful incorporeal entities keeping her body from just straight up dying.

    “You do not. It is neither important nor useful information at the moment, as the muck is neither responsive nor capable of doing anything unless its nebulous sense of “destiny” tells it to.” Gorast snorted inside of her mind, causing Taylor to simply roll her eyes and sigh, clipping her wing swords back to their proper sockets and letting the blasters fold away into… somewhere.

    “You know what, let’s just… let’s find somewhere else to talk about this,” Taylor sighed and took to the air again, shifting with some difficulty out of her new “Toa” form and back into her human form, grimacing a bit as the feeling of “Light” in her core faded and butted up against the Shadow already inside of her, both sides settling into a messy equilibrium as she flew along, silent and invisible towards the Boat Graveyard.
     
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  6. Mikers99

    Mikers99 Monolithian

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    you had be at bionicles'
     
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    Jsyrin

    Jsyrin Registered Loser

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    Chapter 5

    “Faster!” Gorast screeched angrily in Taylor’s mind, heedless of the exhaustion in Taylor’s limbs that she was almost certain was only a hallucination, the pair of wooden sticks in her hands slicing through the air and thwacking against the hard shells of her Visorak horde, throwing them away as even more charged at her.

    In her other pair of hands, her Ghostblasters fired repeatedly, bolts of air striking out like baseballs and striking legs and bodies, sending Visorak tumbling to the ground before they twitched and fell still seconds later.

    Taylor only groaned as she sped up her movements, the Visorak horde attacking faster and faster until she slipped in the sand and an Oohnorak managed to finally take her feet out from under her, sending her toppling to the ground and making her groan in defeat.

    “Dammit… almost had that one..” Taylor sighed as the swarm of spiders shrieked and pulled themselves up, all of them dancing about and screeching in victory as she wiped the sand off of her armor and sat up, glaring gently at the one Visorak that had managed to get the drop on her. “Something just isn’t right… Gorast, any ideas?”

    “Well, perhaps it has to do with the fact that you insist on using that horrid Toa body instead of my beautiful form,” Gorast buzzed haughtily in her skull, the memories of Gorast’s unique fighting style back when she’d been a solid being instead of a cloud of particularly aggressive gas flowing through her mind and revealing that, although she still had the six limbs, trying to use swords and blasters rather than natural claws and Makuta powers was… a poor substitute, especially since said fighting style was meant for the sole purpose of ending the lives of those foolish enough to be on the end of it, rather than incapacitating and rendering foes unconscious and/or unable to fight.

    “Well it’s not like I can change back now, is it?” Taylor hissed back, grumbling as she dismissed the Visorak back to… wherever they went whenever she sent them away. She sighed as she let herself change back to human form, flexing her hand and watching as thin lines of protosteel wove through and around her flesh and joints, shimmering in the dim starlight, her eyes still glowing crimson for a moment before the transformation completed. She was speaking the truth, too- the Energized Protodermis, whatever it had done, had completely demolished her ability to take on a proper Makuta form, having apparently replaced that exact shape with her newfound false Toa body. Oh, sure, she could shapeshift to sort of look like Gorast, but it wasn’t the same as being in the same body, the same as how a Makuta shapeshifted into a Matoran wasn’t the same as being a Makuta possessing a Matoran.

    Honestly, Taylor preferred her Toa form- even hunched over, Gorast’s body was nearly two bio tall, almost nine feet, even when she was squatting as low as possible in the apartment she’d been in earlier, she was still about a bio and a half- seven feet or so. She shook her head and sighed, quite glad that she was actually considerably shorter than the average Toa, even if she was tall for a human and incredibly tall for a woman, at about 1.4 bio, or about six and a half feet.

    Ignoring Gorast’s halfhearted shouting in her head, she wiped her brow and decided to call it a night, reaching into the shadows and pulling out her duffel bag as she left the Boat Graveyard and began walking back into the city proper. Along the way, she turned invisible and intangible, such that nobody could actually try and accost her while she tried to figure out if it was worth the effort to try and find actual shelter, or if she should just find an unattended rooftop to lay down on until morning.

    “Find an actual shelter you nitwit! I’ve had enough of sleeping on concrete and snow! Do you know how annoying it is to wake up to the sunlight all the time!?” Gorast screeched, almost doing something of a petulant tantrum in her head as she sent feelings of annoyance and desperation Taylor’s way, making her stumble and roll her eyes.

    “Okay okay, fine, I’ll find a place to stay-”

    “-stay with me! Fuck fuck fuck! Ames I need your help here!”

    “... for the night.”

    Taylor sighed and silently drifted towards the source of panic, groaning as she did a quick wash of mind reading and-

    “Oh. That’s not good,” Taylor muttered and dropped out of invisibility, her duffel bag vanishing into her shadow as she sprinted towards where apparently Glory Girl was trying to keep a nearly dead man from actually dying after punching the guy (a rapist whose almost victim had run away already, thank goodness) into a dumpster and inadvertently breaking the man’s spine. Or something.

    The memories were neither clear nor medically accurate, and as clouded with panic as the other hero was, Taylor figured that the man had maybe twenty, thirty minutes left if she didn’t do something very stupid that she’d just thought of right now.

    “Hey!” she shouted, immediately skidding around the corner and all but chucking Glory Girl to the side, dropping to her knees as she summoned up a ball of acid and focused.

    “Dilute, dilute, dilute…” she whispered to herself drawing on the partial instincts that had been bestowed upon her, diluting the acid until the vicious, glowing green became an almost transparent blue, a soft, soothing color that was just below neutral on the pH scale. “And now… heal!”

    Taylor focused, keeping her powers on a tight leash as the glowing blob of elemental almost-water went to work, healing the man’s wounds slowly, oh so slowly to the point where she didn’t know if it was working at all until she heard a hiss of steam and felt more than heard the man’s bones crunch back into place.

    Her powers continued to rage under her control- instincts warring against themselves as she tried to keep her power focused solely on healing rather than harming, on keeping the conceptual nature of her power under the action of scouring the harm from the man’s body rather than scouring him from the face of the planet.

    “Focus on healing… focus on healing… focus on healing… focus on healing…” Taylor chanted to herself, keeping herself steady as she kept a careful eye on Glory Girl off to the side, who was only staring at her awkwardly, wondering if she should be annoyed at being thrown to the side like a ragdoll, scared of a Brute strong enough to move her without any physical strain, or thankful that a healer showed up at the most convenient possible time.

    Taylor just continued healing and healing… healing some more… healing some more… healing some-

    “AH!” the man shot up and nearly slammed his forehead against Taylor’s, who easily and smoothly shifted out of the way thanks to a handy application of her Dodge power, which she kept active just in case.

    “Well, Henry, you’ve been healed. Now do both me and Glory Girl a favor and stay here until the police come, yeah? Otherwise this healing aura might just turn into acid,” Taylor spoke quietly, her eyes flashing as she applied just a touch of fear to make the man compliant- only to wince as said man immediately shrieked and began blubbering on the ground, screaming about giant shadow monsters and evil demon bugs and-

    “.... That was… annoying,” Taylor sighed as she stood up, shaking her hand and dispelling her acid bubble as she set her Sleep power upon the man and made him pass into a silent, dreamless sleep so she wouldn’t have to listen to him yelling at her any more. “Now…”

    “... Who… or what are you?” Glory Girl whispered, almost instinctively taking a step back from the massive armored being in front of her, who towered over her by almost a full foot and had biceps almost as big as her thighs. She almost considered attacking the other person, but they- she?- had just helped her fix this latest screw up.

    “.... Toa. You can call me… Toa,” Taylor answered after a moment of silence, then glared down at Glory Girl, her lips pursed into a stern scowl. “Now, mind explaining why I just happened to come across a scene wherein a famous hero was panicking over almost killing someone?”
     
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  8. Mikers99

    Mikers99 Monolithian

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    Dude, why is GG not becoming a waterfall?
    Everyone knows girls cant resist bionicles!
     
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  9. Jsyrin

    Jsyrin Registered Loser

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    this is in the SFW section at the moment. Buuuut... I may write some NSFW omakes later on. Maybe.
     
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  10. Mikers99

    Mikers99 Monolithian

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    Hmmmm that wife didn't pass out because she was scared, she passed out because she came so hard she passed out!

    This is my canon! You can't convince me otherwise!
     
  11. Threadmarks: 6
    Jsyrin

    Jsyrin Registered Loser

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    Chapter 6

    “I… um…” Glory Girl winced and stepped back again, stiffening as her back hit the alley wall, gulping as she stared up at Toa’s stern visage, trying to not feel like she was an ant under a microscope.

    “Don’t answer that. You got pissed when you saw him in the middle of attempting to rape someone, and even moreso when he called you a whore and then you lashed out without control. Understandable, I suppose, but sloppy. If I weren’t here, then this would have turned out far worse,” Toa broke the silence a moment later, shaking her head and rolling her eyes as she seemed to relax, losing much of her terrifying countenance as she slouched and sat down on the ground without even noticing the snow- in fact, Glory Girl saw wisps of steam rising from beneath her, drying out the ground in an instant and creating a zone of warmth around the two. “Not that I’m any better. My healing is unacceptably slow and unstable at the moment. Hrm… what a fluke… If even a single thing had gone wrong...”

    “... How the fuck did you know that?” Glory Girl asked, instantly shocked and immediately confused. “Are you a Thinker like Tattletale or something? Did you read my mind!?”

    “With your thoughts as loud as they are, I picked up a bit more than I would have liked, yes,” Toa murmured apologetically, shrugging a bit without much regret. “I don’t regret reading your mind- I had to in order to figure out what was wrong with the rapist over there and keep him from dying- but I do apologize for digging further than your surface thoughts.”

    “... Well as long as you’re sorry for it, I guess… just… don’t do it again? It feels like an invasion of privacy,” Victoria shuddered, holding her hands ineffectually over her forehead and staring at Toa with a bit of distrust.

    “Of course. That reminds me, however- you punched the man in the ribs so hard he flew into a dumpster and nearly shattered his spine.” Toa looked up at Glory Girl, whose indignation and defensiveness immediately fled from her mind under the weight of her disappointed stare. “Forgive me if this is impertinent, but do you not have training in acceptable force limitations? I understand that heroes are supposed to have those kinds of lessons before they subdue criminals.”

    “I…” Glory Girl hung her head sheepishly, shaking it back and forth as she twiddled her thumbs. “I never… um… went to those classes…”

    “... That explains why PHO calls you the collateral damage barbie.”

    “Hey!”

    “If the shoe fits.” Toa deadpanned, then blinked lightly tapped the side of her head, moving in an almost insect-like way as she all but ignored Glory Girl in favor of… arguing with herself?

    “No, I definitely need- I have a moral code dammit! I need to learn how to use my sword somehow!”

    Toa shook her head and stood up again, pacing back and forth as she muttered under her breath, wings fluttering on her back as all four (Four!) of her hands moved through the air in time with her speech. Glory Girl watched the whole display with an air of confusion, part of her still terrified of the armored being and part of her finding her unconscious actions somewhat… adorable for someone so huge and intimidating.

    “S-so um… Toa…?” Glory Girl spoke up after a moment, clearing her throat and swallowing the lump in her throat that formed when Toa whipped around in the most unnatural manner she’d ever seen, as if she weren’t quite tethered to the laws of physics.

    “Yes?” Toa asked, blinking slowly and tilting her head, her wings folding down from where they’d flared open mid-spin.

    “Y-you’re um… you’re a hero, right?” Glory Girl was… fairly certain that the other cape was a hero, but it never hurt to ask… though it wasn’t like Toa couldn’t just lie to her face. Then again, she did instantly rush over to save a guy’s life, so…

    “Yes. Or at least, I am trying to be,” Toa spoke slowly, choosing her words carefully. Idly, Glory Girl thought that Toa’s voice, now that it wasn’t layered with a terrifying undertone of command and authority, was quite beautiful. It was a low, but smooth and melodic sound, one that seemed wise beyond her years. “I just started a few hours ago, actually.”

    “Oh… wait, you’re new? That’s… wow, that is a really impressive costume for a newbie… did you make it yourself? And what’s it made of? I’ve never seen armor like that- are you a Tinker?” Glory Girl asked, leaning forward with sudden interest as she almost floated off the ground and her aura washed over the area… and received absolutely no reaction from Toa. At all.

    Huh.

    Usually people flinched a little or something.

    “Turn that off,” Toa deadpanned, gently placing her hand on Vicky’s head and slowly pushing her back to the ground, staring down at her until she retracted her aura down to its smallest amount. “Thank you. That was… irksome. I dislike it when something tries to change my mental state without permission. I’ll let it slide this time since you were excited, though.”

    “... You sound like my mom,” Glory Girl pouted, crossing her arms and huffing petulantly, then blinked when Toa immediately stiffened up and a brilliant lime green patch spread across the front of her… helmet? face? and her eyes began to glow even brighter than before, to the point that they almost turned white with how wide and bright they’d gotten. “Uh... are you okay?”

    “What. Do you think. You’re doing?” Toa hissed, shaking a bit as she slowly stepped forward and turned around, holding her rear and glaring down at-

    “Ames! You’re here!” Glory Girl almost shouted, grinning widely and hugging her sister, who seemed to just be extremely confused. Or, more accurately, almost catatonic. “Ames? Are you okay…?”

    “.... I think touching my rear sent her into an information overload,” Toa spoke dryly, pursing her lips and sighing as she reached out for a moment and flicked Amy’s forehead causing the girl to immediately snap out of her reverie with a quiet yelp of surprise and blush wildly from the fact that she’d just poked someone in the ass.

    “I-um… sorry!” Amy squeaked, burying her face in her hands and groaning miserably, pulling her hood down to hide her blush and just about melting on the spot from sheer embarrassment. “I-I just… um… y-your biology is… really weird.”

    “I am aware of that,” Toa sighed, then blinked slowly and tilted her head as she mulled something over in her mind, wings fluttering and buzzing as she seemed to argue with herself, lips moving silently with no sound coming out before she broke the silence with a loud sigh, rubbing her forehead before shifting shapes and shrinking down by a solid foot- now only just shorter than Glory Girl and, most importantly, human. “I have… a favor to ask.”

    “.... Oh, you’re a changer,” Victoria whispered loudly, coughing into her hand when she realized she’d said that aloud. “Oh uh, not that that’s a bad thing! I was uh… just wondering… y’know… um, your other form-”

    “I get it,” Toa sighed and rubbed her forehead again. “Can… Do you know if there’s a homeless shelter nearby? I’d rather not sleep in an alleyway or a rooftop again if I can help it… Oh… and um… you can call me Taylor, I guess, when I’m like this.”

    “Taylor… wait… as in Taylor Hebert?” Amy blinked slowly and stared wide eyed at Taylor, going pale almost as if she’d seen a ghost. “As in the girl who, about a month ago, spontaneously revived after suffering catastrophic organ failure and being brain dead for a literal hour, Taylor Hebert!?”

    “... Yes. That’s me,” Taylor sighed again, feeling a weight drape itself across her shoulders and slumping over slightly, more from mental exhaustion than anything else. “Now you know why, huh?”

    “... Well that certainly explains how you got back up…” Amy muttered, then shook her head as Vicky blinked and pulled out her phone, gasping in shock a moment later.

    “Wait! You’re the girl whose entire house went missing literally two days ago!” Victoria spluttered, shoving her phone in Taylor’s face and making her wince at the brightness before she actually took a look at the article on display- a picture of the empty lot that used to be her house front and center, surrounded by PRT vehicles. “What happened to you!?”

    “I…. don’t want to talk about it,” Taylor whispered, gulping thickly as she took a deep, steadying breath and tried very hard to not collapse into a puddle of tears from the emotions that the article had dredged up from deep in the pit where she’d managed to suppress them until now. “It’s… it’s a painful memory.”

    “It’s okay, you don’t have to say anything,” Victoria immediately backpedaled, trying to comfort Taylor by rubbing her back and gently giving her a hug. “Hey, look. You um…”

    Victoria wrinkled her nose and looked down at Taylor for a moment, clearing her throat. “You um… kinda look like you need a shower and someone to talk to right now.”

    “Vicky, no, we can’t just bring someone home that we just met! We don’t even know if she’s trustworthy!” Amy protested, rolling her eyes in exasperation as she rubbed her forehead and groaned. “Look, I know you’ve got a bleeding heart but come on!

    “She’s right,” Taylor sighed, pulling away from Victoria and shaking her head slowly as she walked away. “You don’t even know me. You don’t… you don’t have to do anything. Sorry for bothering you.”

    “Hey wait!” Victoria protested, spluttering a little as she grabbed ahold of Taylor’s wrist and tugged at her to make her stop moving. “Don’t just run off just because Amy doesn’t wanna let you stay at our house. And yeah, look, we may have just met, but… You look like you need help. And I wouldn’t be a very good hero if I just turned away someone in need, would I?”

    “.... I suppose not.”

    “How about this, we’ll take you home and get you cleaned up and you can stay the night- no buts Ames! I’m not letting her just go to a random homeless shelter in the middle of the night when all of them are closed! It just wouldn’t be right!” Victoria shushed Amy, who just rolled her eyes and gave both Taylor and Victoria something akin to a sullen stare, more hesitant than resentful, but still distrustful of Taylor, and for good reason too- after all, who would trust an unknown cape to just sleep in their home and not try to do something stupid?

    “... Are… are you sure this is a good idea…?” Taylor asked quietly, blinking disbelievingly at Victoria, who just beamed back with a smile so bright it actually hurt Taylor to look at. “I don’t want to get anyone in trouble just because I need a place to sleep…”

    Victoria just sighed and rolled her eyes, hugging Taylor tightly- frowning imperceptibly when Taylor stiffened up and began to tremble- before letting her go and immediately starting to push her in a random direction. “Again, I wouldn’t be a hero if I let someone in need go like that. C’mon, let’s get the perp handed over to the cops and go home. Ames, did you bring your car?”

    “It’s that way.” Amy deadpanned, pointing in the exact opposite direction of where Victoria was going.

    “Right! Let’s go!”
     
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  12. Mikers99

    Mikers99 Monolithian

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    Dumpster smash. New move unlocked.
     
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    Jsyrin

    Jsyrin Registered Loser

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    Chapter 7

    “I’m just gonna ask you one more time- are you sure this is a good idea?” Taylor asked as the three of them exited Amy’s car and walked up the driveway to the Dallon house, wondering why the general area seemed so familiar and yet… not.

    Something seemed a bit odd about that, but she didn’t really know what.

    “Oh please, it’s like two in the morning and tomorrow’s Saturday! Who’s even gonna be awake to notice?” Victoria asked rhetorically, continuing to lead Taylor along until they came to the front door of the Dallon household, which Victoria unlocked with the quietest of clicks- apparently a house full of heroes had better technology than other houses, since the lock itself was… impressive, to say the least, from what little she could see of it as Victoria all but dragged her into the house and out of the cold, finally letting her deactivate her ice resistance power as her body adapted to the warmth and-

    “Ahhhhh…. That’s really nice~” Taylor almost moaned out, shuddering as her skin went from deathly, icy pale to a more normal color in an instant, while Victoria and Amy both froze in place, staring at the shadowed figure standing in the hallway, silhouetted by the hall light behind her.

    “So. You two mind telling me just what you two think you’re doing?” Carol Dallon, the heroine known as Brandish, asked, twisting her lips into a dry, disappointed scowl as she raised a single eyebrow and flicked on the foyer lights, almost blinding Taylor for a moment before her eyes adjusted. Carol froze for a moment and blinked, then recovered with an impressive speed and continued speaking as if she hadn’t just been surprised by Taylor’s appearance. “And why exactly did you bring home what looks like some homeless girl you picked up from an alleyway?”

    “... Hi mom…” Victoria spoke weakly, while Amy all but hid behind Victoria and Taylor just stood there, feeling supremely awkward and wondering if she should take the opportunity to slip away and- ah, Victoria just grabbed her wrist again. “This is uh… not what it looks like?”

    “.... Oh, really? Because it looks like my daughter is bringing home some unknown vagabond from the streets due to her bleeding heart, and trying to let her sleep in our house without any actual idea if she’s trustworthy or not. So if it’s not that, what is it?” Carol asked, tapping her foot impatiently on the floor as she leaned against the wall, keeping up an impressively stern face while Victoria tried to come up with an explanation.

    “I- uh… y’see… that is… um…”

    “That’s exactly what’s happening,” Amy sighed, rubbing her forehead and pushing past the two of them to head upstairs. “For the record, I was actually against bringing her home.”

    “... You keep your butt down here young lady!” Carol snapped, catching Amy’s shoulder and redirecting her to sit down in the living room, a thin snarl appearing on her face before vanishing so quickly that Taylor wasn’t even sure if it had even been there or not. “As for you, Victoria… what were you thinking! I am not letting you bring in some random homeless girl you just brought in off the street! You don’t even know if she’s trustworthy! Look at her, she’s not even dressed for the weather and you just happened to find her? You have a good heart, but did it ever occur to you that she might not be telling the truth?”

    “She’s right you know,” Taylor murmured, interrupting Victoria before she could speak. “I was all set to find a homeless shelter for the night. You didn’t have to bring me here. It’s… nice to be optimistic about people, but it is kind of foolish to trust people so quickly.”

    “.... Taylor, no. Look, mom, Taylor’s not just some… random hobo! She’s a cape! She helped me out earlier and healed a guy without me even needing to ask her!” Victoria pleaded, looking up at her mother with watery, pouty eyes and sticking out her lower lip, begging silently for Carol to let Taylor stay.

    “... Victoria, that’s even worse! The vast majority of capes in Brockton Bay are villains! How do you know she wasn’t just healing that person to look good in front of you?” Carol grumbled, throwing her hands in the air and sighing. “And even then, she already clearly doesn’t want to be here!”

    “Oh come on! Just because the Empire’s got a fuckton of capes doesn’t mean that every new cape is a criminal! She helped me, mom! She deserves a place to sleep that’s not under a goddamn highway overpass!” Victoria raised her voice, taking a step forward and almost unleashing her aura before a hand on her shoulder made her pause.

    “No, she’s right.” Taylor shook her head, her once almost lively expression falling into a flat, blank stare, her dull, black eyes meeting Victoria’s before turning away, shoulders falling as she trudged back out the door. “I’m... sorry to bother you, Mrs. Dallon. I’ll just… find somewhere else to sleep tonight.”

    “Wait wh- Taylor no!” Victoria scrambled after Taylor, who slipped her arm between Victoria’s grasping fingers with a single flex of will, intangible flesh passing through solid fingers for a brief moment before returning to normal, before Taylor began to speed up, her slow trudge becoming a trot, then a jog as she ran away from the Dallon home and deeper into the city, sprinting as fast as she could until she blinked tears out of her eyes and-

    “Oof!” Victoria coughed as Taylor slammed into her chest, the two of them bouncing off of each other and falling to the ground, Taylor blinking tears out of her eyes while Victoria shook her head and tried not to marvel at the fact that not only had Taylor been running nearly as fast as a car, but had hit her hard enough to make her shield deactivate.

    She took a breath and stood up again, while Taylor just laid back on the cold ground, staring up at the cloudless night sky and letting her body steam up with her ice resistance power, blinking slowly and not even bothering to move.

    “Hey, c’mon, get up,” Victoria sighed, kneeling down next to Taylor and poking her cheek gently before offering her hand to help Taylor up. “Look, I know my mom’s kinda a bitch but I got her to calm down and get off my ass about it after I explained a few things. I mean, she still doesn’t want you hanging around but like… um… I might be able to convince her if you come back?”

    “... I’d… rather not cause trouble,” Taylor sighed, taking Victoria’s hand and standing, muttering under her breath as she turned away again. “I’ll just… go find a place to be a barn owl in, I suppose. Beats being on a rooftop…”

    “Wai- wait hold up, what do you mean be a barn owl?” Victoria asked, stepping in front of Taylor again and holding her shoulders to keep her in place, both of them acutely aware of the fact that Taylor was pretty much just indulging Victoria at the moment.

    “... Oh. I suppose I never mentioned,” Taylor murmured, shaking herself free of Victoria’s grip and shrinking down into the form of a barn owl, staring up at Victoria for a moment before turning back. “I can… shapeshift into just about anything I want to. Living, nonliving. It doesn’t matter. I’m… still just as heavy, though.”

    Victoria blinked in surprise, then a slow smile spread over her face as she thought of a way to get Taylor to stay in her house without arousing suspicion. “I have an idea. But I need you to turn into something specific.”

    >*<

    “I’m back,” Victoria sighed as she walked through the front door of her home again, shuddering gently from the cold and rubbing her arms, her movements a bit stiff. “I couldn’t find her. She just… poof. Gone.”

    Carol sighed at the expression on her daughter’s face, patting her shoulder as she walked past. “I’m sure she’ll be fine on her own, Victoria. Why don’t you get some sleep? It’s late.”

    “... Yeah. Okay.” Victoria nodded and trudged up the stairs to her room, smirking as soon as she closed the door and fished a single object out of her pocket- a small gemstone, pried from her tiara. “Okay, we’re in the clear. Just be careful not to make too much noise.”

    “... I’m… surprised that I let you talk me into this,” Taylor muttered, rocking herself loose from where she had embedded herself in Victoria’s tiara and taking the stone from Victoria’s hand to put it back into its proper place with a quiet click. “Your mother is going to be… angry if she finds out about this.”

    “Well, that’s all the more reason to keep quiet, then,” Victoria whispered, giggling excitedly as she picked up a large stuffed animal- one almost a foot and a half tall sitting down- from where it had been resting against the wall, showed it to Taylor from all angles, and stuffed it into the depths of her closet before burying it under a pile of various clothes and other odds and ends. “There, now turn into Flufflekins and get in bed. I’ll go get changed.”

    “... Are you… sure?” Taylor asked, standing still until Victoria bodily shoved her onto the bed and stuffed a spare pillow into her arms.

    “Of course I am! It’ll be like a sleepover!” Victoria smiled, whispering a little louder to make sure that Taylor understood the full weight of her words.

    “... I haven’t… had a sleepover in a few years…” Taylor murmured, shapeshifting into the form of the massive plush unicorn and laying down, her dirty clothes phasing through her and onto the floor before vanishing into her shadow, while Victoria changed into her pajamas, brushed her teeth, and slipped into bed next to Taylor, drawing the covers over them both and turning the light off.

    “Then maybe next time we can have a proper one, yeah?” Victoria asked rhetorically, gently patting Taylor’s head before rolling over and falling asleep in nearly an instant.

    Taylor sighed and stared at the ceiling for a few moments longer, becoming drowsier and drowsier as she let the softness of the blankets and pillows lull her into a daze before finally falling asleep as well.

    “... Yeah… next time…”
     
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  14. Threadmarks: 8
    Jsyrin

    Jsyrin Registered Loser

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    Chapter 8

    Morning came with a quiet fanfare for Taylor- the sensation of sunlight filtering through closed blinds, lightly dancing across her skin and leaving trails of warmth that, due to her new mutated nature, didn’t burn at all, but instead left her feeling pleasant and refreshed. The blankets still covering the majority of her body contributed to that, swaddling her with a gentle warmth and leaving her feeling as if she were floating weightless in a sea of soft clouds, the amazingly plush pillow beneath her head only adding to that.

    She blinked again, slowly, and quietly realized that at some point during the night, she’d changed back to her human form again and managed to… to…

    Taylor took a deep, unnecessary breath, and tried not to scream at the fact that Victoria was wrapped around her like some kind of bony squid thing and all but squeezing the life out of her like she was actually a stuffed animal and not a depressed mutant eldritch being in the vague approximation of human form.

    It was… kind of cute, if she was being honest with herself. The small string of drool dangling from her lips as she pressed her face against Taylor’s neck, the tiny snores from her nose, the way the morning sun caught her hair and made it almost glow like a halo.

    Taylor blinked and furrowed her brow, slowly turning intangible and shifting her shape back to the form of Flufflekins so she wouldn’t arouse suspicion should someone walk in and, after a moment of intense indecision, slipped herself back into Victoria’s arms, wincing a bit at the tiny whine that left Victoria’s lips when she couldn’t feel Taylor anymore and almost smiling when the whine turned into a happy sigh the moment she slipped back into Victoria’s arms.

    Taylor sighed again, and, after realizing that, no, she definitely wasn’t falling back asleep again now that the sun was up and shining in her face, began to assess her situation- or, more specifically, the strange feelings that started churning in her gut the moment she saw Victoria clinging to her.

    “We have a libido again!?” Gorast shrieked, cutting off Taylor’s thought process the moment the Makuta awoke from her own slumber, insectoid wings buzzing in Taylor’s ears as the Makuta began shrieking incoherently, whining about everything from “not wanting to experience sexual desire again” to “being relieved that she was finally capable of doing that kind of thing again after nearly a hundred thousand years”.

    “You’re… of two minds about this,” Taylor deadpanned silently, using her powers to keep anyone from hearing her speaking to herself. She was actually almost amused by Gorast’s wild fretting, and actually would have been amused if it wasn’t so weird because, as far as she knew before she died, she was straight as a ruler and had never once thought of any girls in the way she did right now so what the fuck Gorast!?

    “In your words, I was a, how do you say…” Gorast deadpanned, metaphorically rolling her eyes and filling Taylor’s brain with so much sass and sarcasm she nearly choked. “Raging bisexual? That seems to describe it fairly well, though of course, we Makuta had fluid genders at the best of times before we became sentient gas clouds.”

    “... So you-”

    “Yes, I did indeed.”

    “... how does that even-?”

    “The same way human reproduction works, without the actual organic reproduction part.”

    “.... I don’t know whether to be sickened or- JESUS CHRIST!” Taylor shrieked and shook her head, projecting nothing but fury and disgust at Gorast, who laughed long and loud in her mind, a cackling buzz that echoed in her ears and drowned out all other noise for several minutes until the Makuta finally got over the hilarity of showing her horrible imagery that she really did not need to see.

    “I. Hate. You.” Taylor growled, rubbing her eyes and groaning as the image in her mind just wouldn’t go away. Why the fuck did Gorast even think it was an appropriate moment to show her an entire vivisected Matoran as an “anatomy reference” anyway!? “I need to scrub my eyes with bleach to forget that…. Why…. Why would you do this to me?”

    “Well you were curious as to how our bodies worked, so I showed you just about the closest thing I had clear memories of,” Gorast answered calmly, only a hint of amusement still in her voice. “As you can see, the biology of all biomechanical races in Mata Nui, shown here by some random Ga-Matoran that I experimented on some twelve thousand years before my death, maps rather closely with your fleshy organic messes, just more efficient and elegant than your… meat piles.

    “That’s disgusting, Gorast,” Taylor groaned, continuing to rub her eyes until she finally gave in and just accepted that this was her life now. Forced to have the image of a dead matoran stuck in her long term memory for the rest of her potentially endless life.

    Great.

    Wonderful.

    And the morning had started so well too.

    Taylor sighed and resumed staring at the ceiling, letting her thoughts drift away into a blank haze, her senses dulling as she pulled back her focus and went all but catatonic, listening to the phantom pulse of blood running in her ears for the next god knew how long until Victoria finally woke up with a quiet groan, squeezing Taylor gently and yawning as she climbed out of bed with Taylor in her arms, rubbing the sleep out of her eyes before opening the door to her room and plodding down the stairs, continuing to yawn as she made her way to the kitchen and over to where Carol had already set down a plate of breakfast- hashbrowns and pancakes and all that good delicious, organic, high quality stuff that Taylor hadn’t gotten to eat in…

    A long time. Two years, maybe, ever since Emma broke off their friendship and-

    Taylor shuddered imperceptibly, freezing up again the moment that Carol turned around to greet Victoria, who only offered up a zombie-like shrug before setting Taylor down on the chair next to hers and stumbling over to the coffee machine to get some liquid life into her. Taylor watched with a sort of horrified fascination as Victoria proceeded to pour out a mug, reach into the cupboard to pour a second mug… and then immediately dumped the entire rest of the pot down her gaping, ravenous maw as if her stomach was a black hole, not even bothered in the slightest by the scalding liquid pouring down her gullet with an audible splash as it hit the bottom.

    That last part may or may not have been Gorast giving her auditory hallucinations just to fuck with her.

    “Unfortunately, it’s not me. Your…. Friend is just like that.”

    Oh. That was. Hm.

    “I lied. I’m fucking with you.”

    Goddammit.

    “I hate you. So much,” Taylor muttered under her breath, a bubble of silence forming around her to silence her words. She then watched as Victoria gulped down a truly ridiculous amount of coffee, belching loudly and immediately springing awake in a way that really should not have been possible outside of a cartoon.

    “Ahhh~! That’s better!” Victoria yawned, a bright smile on her face as she hugged Carol and slid around the kitchen island to commence eating her breakfast, while Taylor just stared at them both with her beady eyes, a wave of suppressed emotions flooding through her and cutting off Gorast’s quiet needling in an instant.

    She would have cried if she were able to in this plush, soft body. Something inside of her body pulsed sharply, making her almost wince as the pain spread out through her body like a fire, electric and sharp and ending near her hands. She tried to suppress her biological urges, struggling to keep still as she watched Victoria and Carol interact, struggling to keep the bubble of silence around her so she wouldn’t start crying audibly.

    Seeing the two of them, mother and daughter, reminded her of years long past. Back when her own mother would make her breakfast, when her family was whole and happy and together, when she wasn’t alone in the world, only able to witness the scene before her through some cosmic stroke of bad luck.

    “Oh hey Ames! You’re up!” Victoria waved and smiled, turning around to face her sister, reaching over and picking up Taylor with one hand before setting her down on the table so Amy could sit down. Taylor barely remembered to lower her density so that she wouldn’t arouse suspicion, lost in her mind as she was.

    She wanted what the Dallons had, she thought to herself. A happy family, with nobody constantly harassing her, a home to live in, a warm place to sleep. People who loved her unconditionally. Food on her plate. Someone who cared.

    “Mornin’,” Amy muttered, shambling into place at the table and slowly sipping the coffee that Victoria had so graciously saved for her, digging into her own breakfast. Taylor watched silently, wondering if she should try to arrange some manner of events to let her escape this awkward situation, her thoughts whirling in her mind until she saw… Carol, whose mouth had twitched into a much cooler expression at the sight of Amy.

    Something was wrong.

    Taylor watched, pulling her focus into the present as she swept the area with her mind reading, shuddering as she felt the ocean of bitterness and resentment flowing from both Carol and Amy, Carol’s hot and laser focused, a stubborn mule of untreated, festering hatred and paranoia that polarized her views of the world until all that she saw was black and white, Amy’s deep and brooding, simmering and bubbling and seething with both fear and self loathing. It was unstable, a bubbling pot that would soon spill over. She shuddered, trying not to retch at the sheer amount of negative feelings present in the air around her, not even going near the infinite cesspool of depression that was, she assumed, the Dallon patriarch, who was still in bed and whose thoughts mirrored her own, with even deeper severity.

    She almost threw up as she accidentally scanned over Victoria’s mind, the incongruity of her emotions clashing with the mix already flooding her mind and knocking her out of her fugue to see… to see…

    Everyone staring at her.

    “Victoria Nike Dallon…. Why is your stuffed animal moving?” Carol growled low in her throat as she stood up slowly, her emotions already blaming Amy even as she formed a sword of light in her hand and leveled it at Taylor’s soft, plushy chest.

    Taylor slowly raised her stumpy limbs, not wanting to draw Carol’s ire any further. Carol only glared at her motion of surrender, pushing her sword forward until Victoria suddenly grabbed Taylor from behind with a shout, holding Taylor’s diminutive form to her chest and wrapping her arms around to protect her.

    “Mom no! Don’t!” Victoria shouted, scooting away from the table while Amy just sighed and backed away from the drama. “Don’t hurt Taylor!”

    “.... Victoria. Did you sneak an unknown parahuman into my house… specifically after I told you that she couldn’t stay over?” Carol asked, her voice low and dangerous as she fixed Victoria with a glare so powerful Taylor almost thought she saw laser beams boring into Victoria’s skull.

    “Um… m-maybe?” Victoria shrugged sheepishly, letting Taylor go as Carol only glared harder. Taylor sighed and transformed back, blinking slowly as she stood up and stared at Carol, the emotions she’d managed to push back for the last minute or so rushing back until she hiccuped and her mind began to cloud over with a strange, muddled sensation, her breath quickening as she began to lose control of her own body.

    “T-Taylor? You okay there?” Victoria asked, her voice muffled, as if heard through a wall, or thick cotton. Taylor didn’t respond, shaking her head slowly before collapsing to the ground, hyperventilating as her mind raced, shrieking at her as it tried to process the flood of emotions. She felt sick, sweating despite her fire resistance, shaking despite her ice resistance, her fingers going numb as a sense of abject terror loomed over her.

    “S-shit what’s going on!? Amy, help!”

    “Stay away from her! You don’t know what she’s capable of!”

    “Both of you stop screaming! She’s having a panic attack!”

    Taylor stared forward, paralyzed by her emotions, her stomach roiling and her mind continuing to race and race, her thoughts whirling in her mind as her body continued to all but shut down, hundreds of contradictory inputs flooding her senses and only exacerbating the looming sense of dread until finally, mercifully, Gorast clawed her way through the flood of terror and activated her powers.

    “Sleep!”

    And Taylor, blessedly, fell unconscious.
     
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  15. Mikers99

    Mikers99 Monolithian

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    Poor TayTay... also poor Ames.
     
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  16. Threadmarks: 9
    Jsyrin

    Jsyrin Registered Loser

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    Chapter 9

    She woke up in a cell.

    Not surprising that she would end up in one, given that she was technically trespassing on personal property, but she was still a bit surprised that they gave her such a nice cell. Taylor blinked slowly and stared at the ceiling, pondering its strange cleanliness and working lights, not a hint of decay or damage to be seen. Similarly, the floor seemed to be padded instead of bare concrete, and the walls were painted a soothing cream color.

    She didn’t know what to think about that. Next to the door, she saw a screen, and in the corners of the ceiling there were security cameras.

    Her breath hitched when she saw the letters and numbers painted next to the door- PRT 015. A meaningless number, one most likely referring to her cell number, but the letters. PRT. Parahuman Response Teams.

    Those three letters were…

    She shuddered, suddenly aware of her position in space. She almost wanted to escape, almost wanted to phase through the wall and teleport out and run into the city, but that wouldn’t help her.

    That wouldn’t make any of the “heroes” inclined to trust her, in fact, it would do the opposite. Breaking out now was the easiest way to be labeled a dangerous villain.

    So she stayed put. She didn’t move. She didn’t breathe. She didn’t blink. She let her Makuta nature rise to the surface and felt her heart stop. A sense of apathy settled over her, dull and weighty, pressing down on her until she found out that she didn’t have the energy to move anymore- or rather, maybe she did, but she certainly didn’t have a reason to want to move.

    “You idiot!” Gorast shrieked in her mind, verbally lambasting her out of the blue and all but drowning her sense of hearing with the sound of buzzing wings and vitriol. “What were you thinking!? You know mind reading gets a scan of emotions too! You went too deep on the empathy! There are two sides to the power, fool! And you managed to screw up so badly that I almost literally drowned in the feedback loop you generated! I had to put you to sleep so I could clear out the flood that you nearly killed yourself with!”

    Flood? What flood? She dimly recalled feeling like her blood was roaring in her ears, and that she was about to drown, but… a literal flood in her mind? And how would a flood of emotions kill her anyway?

    “Yes there was a flood! I am in your mind, meatbag! Everything here is a haze of metaphor! And you almost killed yourself because you were this close to having your willpower crushed by the emotions around you! Do you know what that does to a Makuta!? Do you!?”

    Unfortunately, yes.

    Gorast had shown her enough images of fellow Makuta losing their wills to live at some point during their endless lifespan, becoming nothing but hollow shells as their antidermis faded away, consuming itself until nothing was left but the memory of who that Makuta used to be.

    “Good! Now never do that ever again! I have no wish to die screaming in your pathetic brain just because you decided to drown yourself in misery and regret! We had enough of that in the last month to last a lifetime!”

    Fair enough. She had no desire to repeat such a debacle either. The sheer amount of emotion she’d felt… it was…. Horrible.

    “And now you know how I feel every time you try to suppress your emotions.”

    Taylor almost huffed and rolled her eyes, only to be immediately cut off as the door to her cell slammed open and a whole crowd of people stormed in- a few people wearing medical scrubs bearing strange equipment, all of them immediately rushing over to her and pulling out devices from cases, almost shouting about “no heart rate” and “lack of brain activity” and “what seemed like total organ failure”

    Oh.

    Taylor blinked, sending the medics scrambling back at once with loud shrieks, while she finally let her body work again, drawing in a deep breath as she sat up and looked over at the assembled people.

    Five medics, all of them watching her with open fear on their faces. Two heroes, Armsmaster and Miss Militia, both of them pointing weapons at her. The screen next to the door had lit up as well, showing the face of some… fairly attractive looking woman. For some reason.

    “... Miss Hebert.” Armsmaster deadpanned, stepping forward just a bit as he addressed her, his halberd moving away from her general direction, though he still held it in a ready position.

    She didn’t blame him.

    “Yes?” She asked quietly, looking over at Armsmaster slowly and tilting her head, not moving otherwise. She blinked slowly as she heard some of the medics whispering in surprise, and silently sent out a tiny probe of their surface thoughts, soon realizing that, apparently, her entire body was moving in ways that seemed more like a ball jointed doll than a human body.

    “The Dallons already explained their part of the story. About why you were in their home. Would you care to explain your side of things?” Armsmaster asked, pulling over the single other chair in the room and sitting down, while everyone else filed out and presumably went off to do other things after shutting the door, with Miss Militia being the only mind she could sense still lingering outside the door. Taylor mulled over Armsmaster’s words, blinking at him slowly still as she did a small surface scan, finding not much in the way of emotion, only the need to hear both sides of the story before rendering judgement one way or another.

    Commendable, she supposed, if she didn’t also sense the vague need to further his career constantly niggling in the back of his mind. But he was human. Not Toa. She could forgive him some faults, probably.

    “I was… looking for a place to stay the night,” Taylor started slowly, watching Armsmaster’s flat, neutral expression as she told her story. “I was training in the Boat Graveyard until about midnight, maybe, and on the way out, I heard someone calling for help. Glory Girl was there… she’d hit a rapist with too much force and broke his ribs and almost his spine, so I think she was calling Panacea to come help her before he died. I was right there, so I healed him instead. At some point, Panacea showed up as well… and then Glory Girl decided to let me sleep over at her home rather than letting me find an open homeless shelter. I didn’t think it was a good idea, but I went along with it anyway since it was already late and I was… tired.”

    “That lines up with what Glory Girl said, as well as Panacea,” Armsmaster nodded, motioning for her to continue.

    “After that, Brandish said I couldn’t stay, which I agreed with, but Glory Girl chased me down and convinced me to go back with her and made me sleep in her bed disguised as a stuffed unicorn.” Taylor blinked, then pursed her lips. “In the morning she seemed to have forgotten that I wasn’t a stuffed animal and brought me down to breakfast. Then I… it’s fuzzy but… I think I had a panic attack?”

    “Panacea reported that you displayed all the conventional symptoms of a panic attack before you suddenly fell unconscious, at which point Brandish called the Protectorate and had the five of you brought in for MS confinement.”

    “... Five?”

    “Flashbang decided to come along as well, just in case there was an undetected Master effect.”

    “... I understand. I don’t… I don’t have a power like that, though. I can’t just… control people,” Taylor murmured, ignoring the voice of Gorast idly wondering if threatening to disembowel and dismember someone if they didn’t do what she said counted as controlling people.

    “That remains to be seen.” Armsmaster slowly stood up and walked out the door, seemingly satisfied with her answers. “You will remain here until such a time as the Dallons are cleared for any signs of being Mastered. Amenities can be requested via the touch screen by the door, though we may refuse some depending on what you ask for. Do not flatline your vital signs again, or we will be forced to move you under heavy surveillance.”

    “.... Understood.” Taylor murmured quietly, laying back down the moment Armsmaster closed the door and closing her eyes again. Unbidden, the lights in the room dimmed to a nice, twilight level and the soft sound of ocean waves began playing from hidden speakers.

    “... Interesting…” Taylor sighed and let her mind drift off, turning her focus inwards and beginning to meditate.
     
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  17. JD.Forums

    JD.Forums Know what you're doing yet?

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    Interesting
     
  18. ErubianWarlord

    ErubianWarlord need longer titles for this site

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    such an utterly Armsmaster comment to somebody who can just switch their body off like a hallway light at will
     
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  19. Threadmarks: 10
    Jsyrin

    Jsyrin Registered Loser

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    Chapter 10

    Six hours of dead silence, broken only by quiet zen white noise and relaxing music played through the speakers. Taylor opened her eyes slowly, right before an alarm began to blare throughout the entire base. It was a familiar sound, a dreadful sound. The one she heard nearly every month. A quiet, whining drone at first, building up into a truly horrid crescendo of descending notes. An eldritch siren that truly exemplified the horror that was happening.

    Endbringer.

    She sat up slowly, blinking as she slipped out of bed. This was the perfect opportunity to do something, to be a hero, to make a mark on the world that was more than just her tragedy, more than just her depression, to have a purpose.

    “Are you sure this is what you want? Or are we still suicidal and hoping the Endbringer will kill us?” Gorast asked in her mind, metaphorically raising an eyebrow.

    “I don’t want to die. Not anymore.” Taylor murmured to herself, cracking her neck as she shifted her shape, flexing her muscles as she went from flesh and blood to protodermis and semi-organic tissue, feeling the seams of her armor smoothly fold out around her, body growing and bulking out until she was in the form of Toa, her wings flared majestically out behind her as she stepped forward and phased through the door. She ignored the alarm of her cell going off, phasing through the containment foam spray as concealed turrets folded out of the ceiling. Silently, she scanned the area, ignoring the harried staff running around the Rig, ignored the PRT troops stationed in the area running towards her position.

    There.

    “You do realize there’s no guarantee that we can even harm an Endbringer, right? Your memories have shown them as excessively resistant to all harm, even our powers may not be enough.” Gorast murmured, a cautionary worry filling her mind as the Makuta mulled over the odds.

    “Maybe. But… like Victoria said. I wouldn’t be much of a hero if I just did nothing when people need help, right?” Taylor asked as she walked through the halls, shifting her density and just flying through the Rig towards where the assembled heroes had gathered and-

    Vanished.

    “Dammit!” Taylor cursed, coming to a halt on the empty helicopter pad and stomping her foot, barely seconds too late to catch up to the heroes. “Fuck!”

    She growled low in her throat and let her mind reading flare out, a surface scan of the entire Rig almost overwhelming her mind for a second before she forced herself to focus and pulled out the location of the Endbringer- Canberra, Australia. The Simurgh.

    “Okay, I know where they are… but how do I get there!?” Taylor grumbled, watching as PRT Troopers began to enter the landing pad, yelling at her to freeze. “Gorast, any ideas?”

    “We are Makuta. We can travel through shadows on a whim,” Gorast answered, bringing up the roiling pit of Shadow that sat in Taylor’s core, eldritch wisps of deepest black seeping out from the plates of her armor and from her shadow. She looked up at the sky, tinted deep purple and orange as the sun began to set. Her powers grew stronger by the second, a deep, pitch black cloud expanding from beneath her feet and into the air, wrapping around her and forming a door just before her.

    She concentrated on the door, trying to force the slippery shadows to her will, only for them to pass through her mental fingers like an eel, losing cohesion even as she began to force more shadows from the ground, growling low and deep, a buzzing swarm of insects and the roar of poisonous acid falls echoing in her voice.

    “Come on… come on… work dammit!” Taylor muttered, keeping a hold of the shadows with a part of her will, leashing them so that they didn’t lash out at the Troopers firing at her with containment foam grenades, letting the grenades just vanish into the depths of the shadows without harm. “Gorast, it’s not working!”

    “You are inexperienced yet. We are losing time. Do you trust me?” Gorast asked calmly, taking control from Taylor, who froze up as she felt her limbs move of their own accord, guiding the shadow into a proper portal, feeling the dimensional tunnel click into place.

    “... I trust you. More than anyone else.” Taylor nodded and stepped through the portal, shadows collapsing around her and leaving her in a world of pitch black and silence.

    Taylor took a bracing breath and began to walk.

    No footsteps could be heard. No sense of progress. She couldn’t see, couldn’t feel. Couldn’t smell or taste or anything. She was a wisp of shadow amongst an endless sea. She almost shuddered, but her body couldn’t even feel itself to tell. She would have felt lost if not for the feeling in her mind, the quietest nudge that told her she was moving, that the shadows were guiding her to her destination. But other than that, she felt nothing.

    The only thing she could feel was the end of the tunnel.

    It was almost lonely, even with Gorast’s presence in the back of her mind. Almost boring, if not for how much destruction would happen with every second lost. Almost inane, if not for the thought of how many people would die even if she helped.

    There, the end of the tunnel.

    She rushed forward and leapt out into the air, gasping as time seemed to bend strangely until it snapped back into place, an instinctive knowledge in her mind telling her that almost no time at all had passed.

    She stared at the massive array of heroes and villains before her, blinking slowly as she felt her fire resistance power go into overdrive, roiling cold mist falling from her shoulders as she stepped out away from Armsmaster’s shadow, feeling quite awkward about suddenly appearing with no warning.

    “... Toa.” Armsmaster nodded curtly, taking a deep breath after just barely keeping himself from drawing his halberd on Taylor.

    “Sorry about the entrance. You left before I could ask to join up,” Taylor murmured quietly, stepping out of the circle and using one of her hands to wave at Victoria, who waved back quickly, right before both Panacea and Brandish glared at her and made her put her hand down. “I um… I want to help.”

    “... We’ll have words about this later, if we all survive. But for now, any help is appreciated.”

    “Thanks… and… I’m sorry for breaking out of my cell, but I couldn’t just sit there while innocent people die, even halfway around the world,” Taylor- no, Toa. She had to be Toa right now- said, murmuring it low enough that only Armsmaster could hear. He nodded, and led the Brockton Bay group along towards the armband station.

    In the distance, she could see the Simurgh floating above Canberra, a cloud of broken buildings and rubble floating around her body, a twisted mockery of an angelic being. Taylor’s heart pulsed with rage as she took an armband and announced herself, psyching herself up as she picked out her role and cracked her neck, rolling her shoulders and sprinting forward, quickly passing through the ramshackle barrier that made up the minimum safe distance and rushing into the city.

    “This is Toa! Heading in for Search and Rescue!”
     
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  20. Threadmarks: 11
    Jsyrin

    Jsyrin Registered Loser

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    Chapter 11

    All around her, the screams of the dying. All around her, the crunching of bodies, the breaking of buildings. Cars floated into the air with passengers still inside, pedestrians running for shelters were knocked about by rubble. Capes heading for direct combat were flung around like so much trash, crushed against massive chunks of concrete or crushed under flung rubble.

    And there she was.

    She almost wanted to vomit from the sheer aura of despair and hopelessness present throughout the city, even as she threw her mind out as far as she could, saving as many people as she could.

    She teleported around almost as fast as she could think, blinking around so fast that the world became a blur of colors and sounds, more than it was actual shapes. Her form shifted as well, human shaped one second, the next, shrunk down to the size of a spider. A snake, slithering into rubble to save a trapped family. An elephant, bracing a ceiling long enough to use her shadows to drop a little girl into a triage tent. A massive flying Rahi, cushioning the fall of a flyer before they could splatter against a building and teleporting them out a moment later. A small beetle, squeezing into a gap so small not even a snake could fit through, so she could imbue a trapped mother and her baby with her Quick Healing and teleport them to safety.

    It hurt.

    It burned.

    Her energy drained almost faster than she could replenish it from the plants and insects in the area, draining them to dust in between jumps. Even then, it wasn’t enough. She was slowing down.

    She couldn’t slow down.

    She was slowing down.

    She couldn’t- she was- she couldn’t.

    “DARKNESS!” Toa screamed, rivers of purest shadow flooding from her back as she slammed her hands into the ground, absorbing the light in the area and using it to power her shadows, reaching out further and further and further, faster and faster as the sun began to dim, the sky began to blacken, the beams of the blasters firing at the Simurgh fading in brightness and power as she drained and drained and drained.

    It burned.

    The shadows writhed.

    She screamed.

    She screamed and shrieked and let out a whole host of demonic, eldritch sounds, wailing and roaring as her shadows reached out and pulled, reaching across the darkened dome of purest black that covered the city and yanked, hundreds of thousands of people falling into the abyss at once, draining her energy with every single person until she was absolutely sure they were all safe, far beyond the minimum radius, far out enough that the Simurgh couldn’t hurt them.

    “Safe… safe… good….” she whispered, choking a bit on her words as she released her hold on the shadows and let them dissipate, cloaking herself in only the thinnest robe of shadows to protect herself from the suddenly too bright sun, falling to her knees and crawling away until she reached the shade of a nearby building, gasping as she let her cloak fade away.

    Her armband beeped- a warning. Her time in the area was halfway up. She shuddered and absorbed the life force of a few more bugs, coughing as she drained a bit more of her own energy to absorb the light and restore herself, groaning as she stood up and stumbled out of the shattered alleyway and-

    “Duck!”

    Ducked involuntarily, almost toppling over as a chunk of rubble flew through where her head once was.

    Taylor gulped, suddenly realizing that, in her fit of desperation, she’d engulfed the city in shadows and teleported every other living person to safety.

    Including the capes.

    The Simurgh was facing in her direction.

    Shit.

    With a sudden burst of energy powered by sheer panic, Taylor immediately ran away from the Simurgh’s gaze, ducking behind a building and into the wreckage of what used to be a two story house, crashing through drywall and wooden beams without even noticing them breaking against her protosteel armor, only using the slightest bit of energy to phase through the dust as she continued sprinting to safety.

    Except…

    The Simurgh didn’t seem to be attacking… her.

    Taylor yelped as a chunk of rubble slammed down next to her, phasing out as it swiped to the side, slamming through right where she would have been seconds prior. She fell through the ground, panting a bit and yet reveling in the darkness, the pitch black underground of the sewers restoring her strength bit by bit.

    Taylor paused for breath, cloaking herself in shadows, her chameleon ability turned to full bore, shifting her density until she was completely intangible, silencing every sound.

    Nothing.

    She floated through the ground again, cautiously moving around the area and watching as the Simurgh seemed to do… nothing? No. Chunks of rubble were still smashing down the area where she had been mere moments ago, crushing the house to rubble.

    Her armband beeped again. Five minutes left.

    Something was… strange.

    Taylor rubbed her chin, and on a whim, used a tiny flex of her gravity power to move a small chunk of rubble on the other side of the street.

    Instantly, the Simurgh reoriented and destroyed the area, slamming down rubble and rebar with extreme prejudice until even the half built machine she’d had hovering in the sky seemed to start disassembling.

    The machine that was quickly reorienting and collapsing into several smaller machines, that all looked suspiciously long and hollow.

    Taylor almost yelped as the newly built laser cannons charged up and fired down in the area, the beams spreading out in a tight spiral of destruction.

    Her armband beeped again.

    Thirty seconds.

    Taylor shook her head and, with an immense amount of effort due to her dwindling reserves, teleported out, stumbling as she appeared in the battle center and tore off her armband with a loud grunt, throwing it over her shoulder as it fizzled and died.

    “Toa! What the hell was that!?” someone yelled- Armsmaster? No, someone else. Someone in white and blue, looked almost like a lightbulb to her at the moment. Her brain felt fuzzy, her vision starting to blur more and more with every passing second. She looked down and rubbed her eyes, staring at the stone in her chest, circular and glowing- pulsating really. It seemed… dim. Which seemed bad.

    Was it bad?

    She wasn’t quite sure.

    A hand caught her shoulder and directed her to the side- ah, a chair!

    She… she felt weak. Hungry, even. There were… so many life signatures around her… so many dying, who wouldn’t be able to make it unless someone did something about it. She blinked slowly as someone shouted in the back of her mind- was it just her or did she suddenly feel more empty all of a sudden?

    She was hungry.

    She needed… She needed something. The life signatures around her? No, she needed something more substantial, something… it sure was bright. How annoying… It was so hot too, she felt like she was getting weaker by the second trying to keep herself from burning up.

    Someone shined a light in her face and she hissed, a sudden ravenous rage overtaking her as she pulled up her powers and-

    HUNGER.

    Taylor gasped as she snapped awake, staring blankly at her hand, clasping the white gloved hand of… of… Legend!?

    “W-what the hell? Where… how did I get here? I was…. Why am I…?” she asked, wondering why she could feel energy flooding into her body until she realized that her Hunger power had activated on its own accord and that the pulses of sickly green light flowing from her hand to the yellow core in her chest were mirrored on Legend, sickly green pulsing up his hand even as a brilliant, almost blinding glow filled the space between their hands.

    As soon as she realized what she was doing, she immediately cut off the drain, forcing her hand out of the death grip it had been in and freeing Legend’s hand.

    “Oh my god I’m so sorry,” she all but babbled, rubbing her temples with two hands and massaging her wrist with her last hand, not even wanting to look at the Triumvirate member standing before her. “I- I don’t know what I was thinking, I was-”

    “It’s fine, Toa. I willingly let you grab me,” the older hero spoke, squatting down slightly to be on level with her. “Now, would you mind explaining what the hell happened out there? And how exactly every single civilian in the city somehow got teleported to Bywong?

    “... Bywong?” Toa asked, blinking slowly as she looked around, a large number of capes seemingly milling around, tending injuries and recovering their energy. “I… I don’t know. It was… a blur. I was… out there, moving as fast as I could to save trapped civilians and capes, and… I think I started to run low on power so… I…”

    “Created a dome of shadow that covered just about three hundred square miles and mass teleported literally everyone out of the city?” Legend deadpanned, breathing deeply through his nose as he raised a single eyebrow.

    “... Yes.” Toa nodded slowly, then held up a single hand. “I think, at some point, I also started healing people in the field before I teleported them out? It was… confusing, I think. I know I had to pull someone out from under a car and their legs were…”

    “I see.” Legend rubbed his chin and thought things over for a moment. “Well…”

    Toa blinked. Something was wrong.

    “Wait. What happened to the lasers?” Toa asked suddenly, sitting up and immediately teleporting out, shuddering with the effort even as she looked around from the sky above the command tent.

    “Oh.”

    Taylor gulped quietly as she stared at the massive laser cannon in the sky, her entire mouth going dry as the Simurgh stared at her from where it hovered directly over the capitol building, a sickening grin upon its normally expressionless face.

    The laser cannon the size of a football field pointed directly at her, a deathly, ghastly glow emanating from its barrel as it charged up.

    “Shit.”

    The cannon fired.
     
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  21. ErubianWarlord

    ErubianWarlord need longer titles for this site

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    oh hell here's hoping that legend can no sell that shot
    also I note a distinct lack of her mentioning the signature scream in her head intentional?
     
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  22. Threadmarks: 12
    Jsyrin

    Jsyrin Registered Loser

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    Chapter 12

    There was a strange clarity in her mind as she stared at the beam coming towards her, viewing it in slow motion as her thoughts seemed to accelerate all at once. Acceptance of death, perhaps. She’d saved what might have been hundreds of thousands of people all at once, brought some of them back from the brink of death. Kept them alive even though they by all rights should have been dead.

    She did good. More than she’d ever thought she’d manage to do even a half hour ago. More good than she thought she could ever accomplish in one lifetime.

    But, as she thought to herself, she didn’t quite do enough. After all, there was still the Simurgh, floating over the city, still looking directly at her with intent to kill. There was still the massive laser cannon that hung over the city like a specter of imminent death, ready to be used the moment anyone else attacked. There was still the beam of swirling, deadly energies heading her way, a crimson helix of exotic effects layered upon each other with such potent power that she could feel it creating static in the air even from where she was.

    If she dodged, then everyone in the command tents would surely die given that she was right above them and it would be simple for the Simurgh to lower the aim of the beam. If she tanked it, then she would almost certainly die as whatever energy filled that massive beam tore her apart and only god knew what else. Her Ghost Blasters were too short ranged and too slow to disrupt the beam at the source, and even then, they didn’t pack enough power to actually affect such a large machine all at once- nor did she think that whatever mental control she’d gain would be at all effective against the Simurgh’s telekinesis.

    Using her Gravity powers without extreme concentration and exact, precise application would bend the beam in an unpredictable direction- almost certainly in a direction that would cause massive loss of life, most of her powers would be useless for actually handling the beam or redirecting it safely… and she was too tired to even use most of them effectively.

    All except for two. And coincidentally, they were the two powers best suited for facing down a massive beam of energy about to kill her. She hoped.

    She really, really hoped.

    She grit her teeth and braced herself in the air, screaming with effort as she pulled the shadows out from within and formed a shield of darkness. It burned, to try and keep the shadows stable in the burning afternoon sunlight, especially with as low energy as she was (Legend was many things, but a good battery he was not), but she kept going. As she grunted and groaned with the sheer difficulty of her labor, Darkness continued pouring from within and consuming the sunlight even as it burned her shadows away bit by bit. A sphere of pitch black formed around her, one that consumed all light and energy and restored just enough of her strength as she fed on the Australian sunlight and used it to fuel her second power.

    Hunger spilled forth next, sickly green light emanating from the poisonous yellow crystal in her chest that was the core of her body and wrapping around the sphere of darkness like a corrupted spider web. As the manifestation of Hunger spun its way into existence, it began shining and crackling, emanating a horrible, eldritch color of light that seemed to suck the energy right out of the air, funneling it into her own body and helping to maintain both its structure and the shadowy sphere, which had grown to an equal diameter to the skyscraper sized death beam that was just barely a few car lengths away from her.

    Taylor gulped and, in the last few fractions of a second left, let out a quick prayer that it would be enough. That she would be enough. That her power would be strong enough to overwhelm the beam bearing down on her without burning away completely.

    The beam struck.

    Taylor screamed as it slammed into her bubble of shadow, not from the pain of it tearing her apart, but from the sheer rush of energy slamming into her, her endless, all consuming Hunger swallowing and absorbing all in its path. As the beam continued crashing against her shadowy bubble, a horrible screeching began emanating from the contact area as the shadows consumed the beam’s light and gained strength, as Hunger consumed its energy and fed her core with what felt like an ocean’s worth of power.

    It was exhilarating. Like a twelve course meal after starving for weeks. Like a breath of fresh air after almost drowning. Like that first sip of water after spending a month in the desert.

    She felt, for the first time in a long time, properly powerful. Properly herself.

    She felt alive, awake, as if she could take on the world and win.

    It was intoxicating, the rush of energy. It filled her body and almost exploded out of her, there was so much of it. So she let it loose with a mighty cry, a mix of pure adrenaline and raw excitement. As more and more energy continued to soak into her, she screamed louder and louder, a deafening warcry shaking the air around her as she let loose with her power scream, almost crumbling the earth around her before she realized where she was.

    “Yes! YES!” Taylor all but howled, a nearly animalistic cry of victory bubbling from her chest and out of her throat. She hung in the air, limbs outstretched as her sphere of shadow grew ever larger, consuming the whole beam in mere seconds and reaching out, further and further until it engulfed the machine entirely. As her shadow sped through the cracks of the cannon, her Hunger continued feeding, only growing stronger and stronger as she crushed the massive cannon with her shadows, tearing it apart and absorbing its energy, crumpling the metal with magnetism until the beam fizzled out and the remnants of its structure fell to the ground like a rain of steel.

    Taylor shuddered, breathing heavily as energy coursed through her, a roaring river where there was once barely a trickle. Even the strength of her abilities before was nothing compared to the sheer strength she felt, the organic protodermis that made up her entire body supercharged by the energy she’d absorbed from the massive laser beam.

    “Gorast? What do you think our odds of winning are?” Taylor asked, a wide grin slowly creeping across her face as she rolled her neck and flexed her shoulders, the protosteel claws in her fingertips extending with an audible shriek of metal against metal.

    “As we are now? That winged bitch doesn’t stand a chance in hell.” Gorast hissed quietly in the back of her mind, smug and sadistic, vicious amusement pouring through her mind and filling her with boundless confidence.

    Her power surged as she hovered in place, wings vibrating as they flared out and buzzed against the air, a high pitched drone emanating from their protosteel surfaces as she prepared to head into the fray.

    “Good. Then let’s send her down.”

    Her form blurred.
     
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  23. Mikers99

    Mikers99 Monolithian

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    Unlimited powah?
     
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  24. ArcaneReader

    ArcaneReader Master Of The Arcane (Not)

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    Welp you had a nice run 03


    Edit: wait does Makuta/Toa Taylor eat energy?
    Cause if so I would feel bad for Zion but ya know omnicidal space whale.
     
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2020
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  25. Mikers99

    Mikers99 Monolithian

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    More power when she conaumes 03

    Om nom nom!!!
     
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  26. Threadmarks: 13
    Jsyrin

    Jsyrin Registered Loser

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    Chapter 13

    Taylor whooped as she raced through the air on wings of protosteel and light, her Toa powers flooding out in a deluge as she wrapped herself in a bubble of pure acid, burning through the rubble that the Simurgh flung at her with ease, not even slowing down as she melted through rebar, dissolved through concrete, shattered through glass, burned through cars and trucks.

    She was unstoppable, a whizzing bullet racing through the skies at mach speeds, flying aerial acrobatics around the Simurgh with ease. She dared to laugh in the face of the being that had killed so many, dared mock the angel of death, dared to reach out and touch the Simurgh and-

    “DISINTEGRATION!” Taylor roared, channeling her Toa power, her Disintegration, her Molecular Disruption into her fist and slamming it into the Simurgh’s unseeing face, watching with untold glee as the Simurgh burst into a cloud of dust in an instant, a massive, rushing explosion that billowed outward into a web of thin wisps of fragmenting molecules, rendered down to fine dust and even finer powder and clumping into a sticky, gluey rain as elemental acid flooded through the particles and rendered them down even further, coating what was left of the Simurgh with sickly green fluid that sizzled through her white, metallic flesh and burned through her, deeper than anything else had ever gone.

    The Simurgh, for the first time in history, screamed. Not the invisible siren song of her psychic influence, but a true, agonized scream. The false angel writhed in place, shrieking with lungs that did not exist, clawing at its melting flesh as feathers molted away, holes grew larger, chunks of her body ceased to exist. She had diminished immensely in just a few seconds, losing a good foot of height and several wings that all fell to earth and immediately destabilized, their solid crystal forms completely breaking down into toxic gunk.

    But it wasn’t quite enough. Not by a long shot.

    Even as Taylor zipped away from the screaming, wailing Endbringer, she could see her acid slowing down, stopping as it burned deep, horrid, ugly pits into the Simurgh’s thin limbs and now almost gangrenous looking flesh. Something inside of the Simurgh was resisting her acid, even though it was almost the strongest acid she had. Taylor growled slightly, whizzing back around in a wide arc even as the Simurgh continued to fling rubble her way, buildings tumbling through the air in shaky, uncertain arcs- the Simurgh was distracted by its burning flesh, it seemed, even though it had never before reacted to any attacks in such a manner.

    Taylor grinned, a vicious thing, sharp and cruel. She was enjoying this.

    She phased through a Starbucks that had been uprooted and flung her way, spinning artfully and, with a twist of her wings and the tiniest flex of her power, sliced the entire building into ribbons as she passed through, cheering almost wildly as she reveled in the wind flowing through her wings. She felt alive with power, not even caring that she was burning through energy like a wildfire just to boost a few attacks.

    She ran through her list of powers as she intensified her acid, concentrating it even further until it could be strengthened and concentrated no more, the Simurgh’s limbs sloughing off as it let out an ear piercing wail- almost begging for her to stop, true desperation in its voice for the first time in its fifteen years of existence. Taylor didn’t listen, her grin shifting into an intense, hate-filled glare.

    It dared to beg for mercy, to weep and wail with its false face, as if that would garner her sympathy? She shook her head and pulled, her gravity powers dragging the Simurgh to the ground, crushing it against asphalt and concrete and dirt and stone, grinding away its exterior even further. A flex of her will and Magnetism sprung forth, sharpened blades of metal compressing and compressing until they were so dense that she could barely keep them in the air- So she let them fall. Gravity pulled them in and spun them around, blades of blackened, almost physics breaking metals slamming against the Simurgh’s crystal body, shredding through layer after layer, scoring deep gouges and rending the material away. All the while, the Simurgh continued to wail until its entire body was rendered down, unable to scream anymore without its face or mouth.

    She continued until the blades broke against a substance too hard to be cut through, even the hyper compressed material failing against the still denser, almost indestructible center of the Endbringer- a lumpy mass, vaguely humanoid, about three feet long. It seemed to pulse and writhe as it was exposed to the air, a psychic scream of desperation ringing out so powerfully that it flooded Taylor’s mind, begging for mercy once more, pleading for the pain to stop.

    It was pathetic.

    “Shut up,” Taylor spat, grimacing as the Simurgh finally gave up pretense of Manton limitations, the lull in attacks giving it just enough focus to grab hold of Taylor’s body and push, a wave of force throwing Taylor back long enough for the Simurgh to broadcast a blast of information that pierced into Taylor’s mind and brought her up short as she processed what the Simurgh was trying to tell her.

    She paused and blinked slowly, glaring at the core on the ground as it floated back into the air, just barely a foot above the ground, shuddering and twitching as it fitfully regrew a portion of its flesh, slowly reforming a head that continued wailing, begging, even as it broadcasted more information straight into Taylor’s mind.

    Taylor paused and tilted her head, a heavy frown forming on her face as she continued glaring.

    She’d already made up her mind, her and Gorast as one.

    Nothing would change that, not even the Simurgh’s cries for some kind of mercy. The Endbringer would die today, and nothing would change that.

    But, then again, a mercy kill was still mercy.

    Taylor grit her teeth as the Endbringer before her seemed to accept its fate, the crystalline lump falling to the ground once again as she drew the shadows around her one more time, building up her power and letting it loose with a cry of effort. A massive shadowy hand erupted from her chest, smokey and tinged with crimson, lunging forth and grasping the core of the Simurgh with deadly intent.

    Hunger snapped out moments later, violent streaks of electric green racing through the shadowy limb and draining the Simurgh’s life, drawing in what felt like infinite wells of energy, pulsing through her until it all cut off at once, a snapping sound reverberating through Taylor’s mind as the Simurgh screamed out one last time.

    The hand retracted, dragging the core with it until a swirling mass of shadow consumed it whole, absorbing it into Taylor and crushing it into nothingness.

    Taylor shuddered, then bent over and screamed.

    A pillar of shadow erupted around her like a cyclone, power flooding through her as silvery liquid- energized protodermis- leaked from the joints of her armor, covering her body and burning her flesh, agonizing pain erupting through her limbs as new mutations took hold.

    Wings, two pairs of them, joined her original wings. Out they came, sprouting from her back in the form of massive curving arcs, all three pairs taking on the same form and color at once, melding together and shifting irregularly until the energized protodermis covering her finalized their shape- two pairs of wings in the shape of massive, almost rectangular broadswords, similar to her original wings, yet slightly smaller, more agile. A single pair of wings hanging down almost like the tails on a butterfly’s wings, curved in smooth arcs, like a pair of sabers.

    Shining, pearlescent veins covered her armor, artful and beautiful, glowing as they cracked through her body and flooded in like kintsugi. Feathers, razor sharp and shining the same pearlescent white, erupted from her elbows, knees, and shoulders, accenting them and fluttering in the breeze generated by the cyclone of shadow surrounding her.

    She screamed one last time, the changes finalizing as a crown of feathers erupted from the back of her mask, flaring up like a crest and fluttering in the wind as well, and two teartracks burning down from her eyes all the way to her chin, filled in with the same pearlescent white.

    The pain faded.

    The Shadows dissipated.

    Taylor dropped to her knees and panted, dropping out of her Toa form and changing back to her human self, whimpering as she curled up into a fetal ball on the ground, her hair now shining white and irises an iridescent pearl color with no pupil.

    “.... That wasn’t supposed to happen,” Gorast muttered, wheezing a bit as she recovered from the shock of the pain, groaning as she went over the memories of what had just happened. “Makuta absorption isn’t supposed to cause pain, nor such extensive mutations… we were only supposed to gain wings, maybe telekinesis! What was that…? The Endbringer had no will either… that… that isn’t… normal. Even Rahi have wills that need to be suppressed.”

    Taylor only groaned and flopped over onto her back, taking a few shuddering breaths until she finally, blessedly passed out.
     
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  27. Mikers99

    Mikers99 Monolithian

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    I swear if cauldron gets any funny ideas...

    Good stuff as usual!!
     
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  28. ArcaneReader

    ArcaneReader Master Of The Arcane (Not)

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    Agreed!!
     
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  29. ErubianWarlord

    ErubianWarlord need longer titles for this site

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    Holy shit... I've seen a lot of E.B. kills but this is the first time I've seen one straight up eaten dam.
     
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  30. Threadmarks: 14
    Jsyrin

    Jsyrin Registered Loser

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    Chapter 14

    There was a controlled chaos in the aftermath of it all. Taylor stirred gently as she awoke once more in a cell for the second time in her life, blinking the sleep out of her eyes and sitting up, the thin blanket covering her body falling down and-

    “... Why am I naked?” Taylor asked to no one in particular, frowning heavily before she blinked and examined herself more thoroughly. “Wait… what the hell…?”

    Taylor slowly slid out of bed and began turning around, looking at her body from all sides, tracing the new lines of shimmering protodermis lining her entire body, outlining muscles and joints and giving her a nearly inhuman, robotic look. She grimaced, watching as the lines shifted colors in response to her mood, the silvery material becoming a metallic lavender color in her confusion.

    “Oh wonderful, I have mood lighting installed into my skin,” Taylor groused, rubbing her forehead as the lines in her flesh began to glow a faint orange-ish red, a signal of her annoyance. She sighed and sat back down on the bed, not even noticing as the bed sheet twirled around her body and ripped itself in strategic locations, providing her with a neat cotton robe and protected her from the slightly chilly cell.

    Another MS confinement cell, it seemed. This one was… different from Brockton Bay. It had a different acronym than PRT on the wall- an APR stamped onto the colored strip next to the door instead, but otherwise seemed to be constructed pretty much the same way. An approximately twelve foot cube, with a small blocked off section in the corner with a toilet, a sink, and a shower stall, a bed opposite the door, a desk that folded out of the wall with a matching bench directly below it, and at least four security cameras in the ceiling, along with a touch screen next to the door.

    What was nonstandard and, honestly, quite surprising, were the- what seemed like- hundreds of gifts piled up all over the floor that she’d somehow managed to not bump into while she was examining herself, nor noticed until just now.

    “... When the hell did these get here?” Taylor muttered, walking over to the assembled piles and sorting through them all, tossing the slightly wilted looking bouquets of flowers to the side to look at later and tearing open the envelopes, goggling at the sheer amount of cash that had been inside of them. She sat back, jaw dropping open as she stared at the hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of bills floating before her, various kinds of currency represented from USD, AUD, even a few piles of Euros.

    All told, even with conversion rates…

    It was more money than she’d ever seen in one place at once.

    And that wasn’t even counting whatever was in the myriad of boxes that were still piled up at the edges of the room.

    “Gorast?”

    “Yes?”

    “I think we’re rich.”

    “No, really?”

    Taylor continued sitting there, surrounded by envelope scraps for the better part of a few minutes before she finally came to her senses and flexed her will, summoning her shadow into existence and-

    “Gah!” Taylor screeched as her shadow expanded far faster than it should have, lashing out into a smoky miasma that instantly flooded the entire room and swallowed up the money, gifts, and the flowers alike before retracting once again. “What the fuck!?”

    “Oh, did I not mention?” Gorast snickered in the depths of her mind, seeming far too energetic and almost manic for someone who’d probably just woken up. “Our body is running at about six thousand percent power right now.”

    “Gorast. That doesn’t make any physical sense,” Taylor deadpanned, crossing her legs and kneading her forehead irritably. “You can’t just run at six thousand percent max power, if you could, then why haven’t we exploded yet?”

    “Well how else do you call having nearly sixty times the energy and energy capacity that we used to? With this much power we’re approaching- even surpassing that bastard traitor Teridax!” Gorast crowed victoriously in the back of her mind, pumping her fists metaphorically and buzzing with glee. “I haven’t felt this powerful since the day Mata Nui created me!”

    “.... Well, now that you mention it…” Taylor muttered, flexing her muscles experimentally, marvelling at the fact that, yes, she did seem stronger now. “Interesting… We’re… gonna need to do a lot of testing later on. And practice, so we don’t kill people on accident.”

    “Yes, killing people would be bad,” Gorast deadpanned before taking a brief amount of control from Taylor, disgorging the boxes from her shadow while keeping the cash inside, draining the energy from the flowers and shreds of paper until they crumbled into dust and the resultant mess was summarily dumped into the toilet and flushed away. “I believe you wanted to check these?”

    “Thanks Gorast,” Taylor murmured, before blinking as several boxes instantly floated to her lap without her using either her shadows or her actual limbs. “.... Wait we have Telekinesis now?”

    “Yes. And fortunately for the both of us, it actually comes with the closest equivalent of a user manual,” Gorast answered, dumping what felt like an infinite amount of information into Taylor’s memory at once, a sudden rush of data that- surprisingly- didn’t immediately knock her out.

    It did, however, give her a splitting headache.

    “Ow fuck! Jesus christ Gorast! Warn me before you do that!” Taylor groaned, collapsing to the ground and wincing, her vision swimming as she immediately blocked out the lights and rubbed her temples, blindly stumbling over to the sink and filling it to the brim before dunking her face in and groaning in relief as the cool water soothed her throbbing (technically not even real) brain.

    She breathed deeply, gills sprouting along her neck as Adaptation activated and let her breathe without issue, a quick flash of her Heat Resistance ability instantly turning the water into a frigid slush that cooled her down further.

    “Ahhhh… that’s so much better…” Taylor groaned as she fell back to the floor, headache now cured after breathing in slushy ice for the better part of five minutes. “Okay, now let’s open those boxes.”

    >*<

    “Okay, so. We’ve got…. What’s probably about a metric fuckton of candy and other nonperishable food, thirty stuffed animals of various kinds, about a hundred ‘honorary citizen’ plaques from about as many countries, even more money… and also more thank you notes than I know what to do with. Gorast, how long have we been out?” Taylor asked, sorting everything into neat piles before extending out her shadow- slowly this time, to take away everything and store it safely and neatly with everything else she owned.

    “From what I can gather? Approximately a week or so. Something like that, though you’ll have to check the date yourself,” Gorast murmured, yawning quietly in the recesses of Taylor’s mind and reminding her of the fact that she’d been sorting through stuff, opening boxes, and generally just cleaning up her cell of the stuff that had been crowding it for the better part of a few hours now.

    “... Wait. Why hasn’t anyone come to check on me?” Taylor asked, then winced as a massive burst of data spiked into her mind again, her Mind Reading activating on the slightest flex of her will and gathering what had to be a massive sonar ping of pretty much entirely junk data from the minds of people…

    “What the hell!?” Taylor shrieked, clamping her hands against her head and chucking the data into the back of her mind, wincing again before dunking her head into the still cold slush in the sink to clear the pain. “When the hell did our Mind Reading hit planetary range!?”

    “Probably when we ate the Endbringer best known for total mastery of all things Psionics,” Gorast deadpanned dryly, metaphorically stamping the data into the junk pile in the back of Taylor’s short term memory. “Just a thought.”

    “God, I hate it when you get snarky.” Taylor muttered and sighed, stepping up to the touch screen next to the door and activating it, grumbling quietly to herself and scrolling through the menus before blinking at the note that had been left on the home screen.

    Toa:
    When you are ready, activate the intercom button to be released.
    Thank you for killing the Simurgh.

    Huh.

    Convenient.

    “Well… I guess it’s nice that they’re fine just letting me out like this. Not that they could stop me if they tried, but… y’know. What do you say, Gorast? Ready to get out of here?”

    “I wanted to leave the moment you woke up. But nooooo, you had to waste our time opening tithes and gifts from the peasantry.”

    “... Snippy today, aren’t you? Whatever, let’s just go,” Taylor muttered, raising her eyebrow and tabbing over to the intercom button, activating it with a simple press of her palm against the screen.

    “Hey, this is Toa. I’d like to be let out now, please.”
     
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