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

I suspect that core of Simmy is doing things when Taylor isn't paying attention.
Chapter 24

"Okay, so, I know I've said this before," Clockblocker- or, since he was unmasked at the moment, Dennis- said, his hands held up in surrender as everyone else at the table groaned. "But does anyone else-"

"-find it completely horrifying that we have an S+ class threat living five miles away from us," Missy finished, groaning loudly as she stuffed an entire slice of pizza into her mouth, chewing noisily and burping in the most uncouth manner possible. "Yes, for the love of god Dennis, we know. We're aware of the Toa shaped elephant in the room. We get it. Why are you bringing it up now?"

"Because she's coming here for power testing, duh." Dennis answered, burying his face in his hands and sighing, shuddering a little bit at the thought of being anywhere near the six and a half foot tall so-called Endslayer.

"Wait. What."

"You didn't know?" Dean spoke up from the other side of the dining table, looking up from his phone with a slightly pained look on his face- apparently, he and Glory Girl were going through yet another out period. Wonderful. "She uh… Miss Militia told us that she was coming here like… three days ago."

"... When you say here do you mean here here or do you mean PRT HQ here? Because… uh..." Missy asked, slowly turning her head to stare at the large black stain that was growing from the wall in the single most disturbing manner she'd seen since the last time she stayed up late to watch horror movies when her parents were asleep.

If she suddenly felt like curling into a ball and hiding under her bed covers from the residual trauma, well that was her own damn business and nobody else's.

Fortunately for the shiver of fear crawling up her spine, the tension was immediately broken by two hundred pounds of disheveled biomechanical teenager tumbling through the shadowy hole in the wall, screeching like a pterodactyl and tripping over her own wings even as she struggled to pull on an oversized t-shirt and pull up her sweat pants. Over her armor. Which covered everything already.

"Ahh! I'm late I'm late I'm late I'm late!" Taylor cried out, flailing and tumbling as she sprung to her feet, hair flying every which way as she shifted from her human-ish form into her Toa form, her second pair of arms ripping through the sides of her shirt even as her armor fully manifested and her wings flared out and finished ripping said shirt to shreds… along with her ratty sweatpants.

"... I'm… uh…." Taylor blinked and stared at the Wards, who stared back silently with their mouths hanging open. She gulped and slowly turned to look at the clock on the wall.

".... I'm…. early."

She groaned and sunk to the floor, burying her face in all four of her hands at the revelation that not only was she early, she was also in the wrong place, two hours before the scheduled time, and also she'd shredded not only her hastily grabbed clothes without remembering that she could just shapeshift, but also the Wards' couch, the left armrest torn to tatters of faux leather and stuffing probably in the midst of her wild tumble out of her own shadows.

She sighed and flopped back onto the floor, going the extra mile and cocooning herself into a ball of self pity with her wings.

"Someone please kill me."

"... I don't think that's physically possible," Missy muttered to herself, then blinked when Dennis snickered and she realized that yes, she did in fact say that out loud. Fortunately for her slowly dwindling sense of personal dignity, Taylor just kept groaning on the floor, still covering her face with her hands though she'd shifted back to her humanoid form- which, thankfully, was actually wearing clothes, shapeshifted on though they may have been.

"... Uh… right," Carlos started as Chris lightly poked him in the side, making him jump suddenly and look away from where he'd just been staring blankly at Taylor, who at this point had gone from being curled up in a ball to just staring blankly at the ceiling. "Well uh… you might have gotten into the wrong place but it's uh… nice to meet you Miss Hebert. Welcome to the Wards HQ."

"I'd say it's nice to meet you but I think I'm just gonna pretend that I didn't just fall through the wall like a total dork," Taylor responded, though she did shake Dennis' hand when he offered it and-

"... What the fuck?" Dennis sprang back, staring at his hand as if it had betrayed him, while the Wards all gasped as one, some of them glaring at Dennis.

"Dennis what the hell!? Did you seriously try to use your power on her!?" Missy almost shouted, springing out of her chair and glaring at Dennis, who gulped and winced guiltily.

"W-well… it didn't work anyway, so…?" Dennis shrugged at Taylor, who just looked at her hand in confusion and shook it out a bit, wondering what the big deal was.

"... What um… What was supposed to happen?" Taylor asked slowly, deciding that, whatever Dennis had just tried to do, it couldn't be that bad if nothing happened, right?

"He tried to freeze you in time as a prank," Missy answered, scoffing quietly and lightly thumping Dennis' arm. "Which obviously didn't work, but still."

"Right. Dennis, I know I've been lenient with you so far since you've only done it once before, but I am going to have to report this to the Director," Carlos sighed, rubbing his forehead and wishing that he didn't have to have this discussion. "In the meantime, Miss Hebert-"

"Actually, if it's not too much trouble, could you just call me Taylor? We're about the same age after all… it just feels kinda weird for you to call me 'miss'." Taylor interjected, one hand held up almost as if she were asking a question in class.

"... Right. Sorry. Taylor, I'll call someone to escort you to a waiting area. It's Friday so it'll either be Assault or Battery depending on if they've switched off again or not," Carlos walked over to the console area, tapping something on the keyboard and sending off a message while Dennis just sat down and groaned, accepting his fate with all the gravity of a man headed to the gallows.

Which, considering everything, might actually be accurate. Or at least, that was the impression she got from doing surface scans of the area, and the general feeling she got from who she presumed was the Director- that seething mass of bitterness and impotent rage a few stories up inside of an office labeled "Director Piggot".

"... Well… okay then. Sorry about bursting in like that- I um… had a burst of inspiration and I spent the last few days… um. Yeah," Taylor coughed awkwardly and shrugged, with only Chris nodding along in solidarity. "Actually um… do you guys have a shower here? I should probably clean myself off a little before uh-"

"Looks like it's Battery today."

"-Battery gets here."

"I'll take you there!" Missy raised her hand and immediately motioned for Taylor to follow her. "The girl's locker room isn't too far from here- I'll lead the way. Do you need any spare clothes? A mask maybe?"

"No I think I'm good…" Taylor almost mumbled as she followed along, not really used to being around other people and already feeling slightly overwhelmed just from having been part of an actually friendly conversation between peers for the first time in what must have been weeks. "I uh… I can shapeshift and there's really no point in hiding when I'm already publicly outed anyway…"

"Oh uh… alright."

Taylor shrugged and followed Missy silently, the two of them continuing on in awkward silence for a short while as Missy led Taylor around the corner, through a hall, and into a small locker room with several shower stalls and lockers.

"Here we are. If you do need anything, though, don't hesitate to ask," Missy smiled a bit awkwardly and left to go stand outside the door, leaving Taylor behind in the locker room.

Well alright then.
Chapter 25

"This is a fucking disaster waiting to happen," Piggot groaned, dropping her face into her hands and sighing as she tried very hard to not pop a blood vessel and/or require parahuman healing any more than she probably did. She pointedly did not look at the goddamn report sitting in front of her- a mere three page physical printout detailing, in single spaced, ten point, Times New Roman font, the seeming extent and breadth of powers that one Hebert, Taylor A. Alias: Toa, possessed.

Just shy of supersonic flight, telekinesis with a range limit of well over city sized and a weight capacity measured in skyscrapers, laser eyes, heat vision- which, apparently, were two separate things- the ability to flash freeze or flash boil water just by touching it, to say nothing of what she could do to living tissue, acid powers strong enough to eat through Teflon, shadow powers capable of both mass transport and complete battlefield control- the list went on and on. She glared down at the unofficial report, mentally tallying up the scores represented and thinking to herself that she was honestly better off putting a bullet in her head rather than living on a planet where there was someone who could read her mind from across the continent.

At least the girl seemed to prefer human standards of propriety and legality still, since other than that little blip where she'd irreparably traumatized a notorious supervillain (fuck you Calvert, you smarmy bastard) and also killed well over a hundred fifty of said villain's mercenaries (She'd have felt bad but half of them were apparently pedophiles anyway so fuck 'em), she'd pretty much kept to herself and didn't so much as jaywalk. Despite the fact that she could fly. And teleport. And god knew what else- She had enough fucking threat ratings that she even made Eidolon look pathetic, and wasn't that just fucking amazing?

A Stranger perfectly capable of becoming completely invisible to the point that not even their most sensitive equipment could sense her until she started moving, and capable of becoming so utterly silent that even the sound of a feather hitting the ground made more noise.

A Mover capable of crossing the planet in mere seconds, shadow teleporting from the PRT HQ all the way to the APR HQ and back, the only significant time delay being how long it took her to snap a picture of the sign in front of the APR building.

A Shaker capable of ripping apart the city with telekinesis, collapsing buildings with gravity warping powers, vibrating them apart through sonic manipulation, controlling the weather to a degree that she nearly created a tropical storm over Brockton Bay within minutes, and about six other completely ridiculous things all at once.

A Blaster capable of shooting high powered chain lightning, setting things ablaze with a glance, carving through solid steel plate with laser eyes, disintegrating through just about anything with blasts of plasma and acid, even shouting things apart just by screaming.

A Striker capable of disintegrating things on a molecular level, a Master capable of controlling just about every plant and animal within a city sized radius, a Breaker who could go completely intangible to literally just about everything they could throw at her without killing her and turn into a cyclone, a Thinker that could read minds from at least across the city if not further, a Brute so invulnerable that the tester they used broke before it made her flinch, a Changer capable of shapeshifting into just about anyone or any thing within a particular mass range, a Trump capable of no-selling Clockblocker's touch- just about the only thing she wasn't was a Tinker, and even that was debatable considering she'd mentioned setting up a workshop in the time between when she'd taken over Coil's lair and her power testing. And of course, the apparent ability to just straight up eat Endbringers.

Emily groaned again and debated pulling out the whiskey she kept hidden in her drawer, wondering not for the first time if it was actually worth getting Panacea to heal her if only so she could properly drink.

No. Calm thoughts, Emily. Calm, collected, quiet.

Emily breathed deeply as she all but chugged her cup of coffee and prepared for dialysis, groaning as she heaved herself from her chair and flung the paper report into her trashcan/shredder combination for proper disposal before grabbing her coat and heading down to the medical bay.

Idly, in the back of her mind, she wondered what Toa was even doing at the moment anyway, since she hadn't been seen outside of her lair since Saturday night… which had been nearly a week ago.

On second thought…

Emily shook her head. No, even in idle speculation, she didn't want to know.

That way laid madness and probably a heart attack.


Taylor groaned as she wiped her brow and sat back, tossing yet another failed Kanohi to the side with a clang of protodermis against concrete. The half broken mask slid across the floor, propelled by a telekinetic push, until it fell into the pool of protodermis from whence it came, dissolving away quickly thanks to… some process that Taylor wasn't aware of and wasn't sure she wanted to be aware of.

The pool room had undergone some modification in the past few days, now housing a large workshop setup around the edges of the room, while pool in the center had become deeper and shrunk a bit- the energized protodermis now forming twin crescent shaped pools with a path through the middle, with three smaller pools of liquid protodermis in the center- two of them barely three feet across with the center-most pool about six feet across. Something about the symbol that the pools formed seemed important to Taylor, but it took a back seat to the niggling, wiggling feeling in the back of her skull, a promise of futures to come, driven on by her experimentation into both the creation of Kanoka disks- which, surprisingly, Gorast knew how to make ("It was a long four centuries and I took an apprenticeship under a Kanoka maker for a good seventy five years or so in between shifts at the Moto Hub.")- and Kanohi Masks, which… Taylor didn't know anything about making, nor did Gorast, but apparently letting Destiny guide her hands was a pretty good start… though if she'd had better disks and more practice, maybe she'd actually make a functioning mask instead of the dull, scarred, pitted hunks of scrap that she had to keep recycling.

Oh well. At least Kanoka were sort of easy. Choose one of eight preset molds, pump in some protodermis, carve away the excess and pump in a little power, bingo bango, brand new shiny Kanoka of the 500 series. Taylor wasn't really sure why, despite the fact that she was nowhere near Le-Metru, all her disks were stamped with the Le-Metru symbol and the appropriate code, but it wasn't that important anyway. What was important was trying to consistently get her carvings correct to produce the most high quality Kanoka she could with the highest power, so she could make a surplus of them for when she inevitably fucked up her mask making and had to start combining disks again.

That aside, though…

Taylor yawned quietly as she put her tools aside and stood up, cracking her joints as she walked over to her workbench proper and her tools floated into their proper position. The Visorak horde whispered quietly in her ears, the dull chatter of thousands of blades gnashing together as the colorful Rahi patrolled through the halls of the lair filling her mind with a soothing background noise as she listened to their reports.

A clogged toilet fixed by a Suukorak, some Vohtarak shoring up the load bearing pillars with steel-hard webbing. A team of smaller-than-usual Keelerak viciously hunted down every last rodent that called the store rooms home. A Boggarak playing fetch with her staff.

She was glad for the spiders, honestly. Frightening though they may have looked at first, they acted as a bridge between her and the people staffing the base, and honestly having them around lightened things up immensely.

But, honestly… it wasn't really what she was looking for. Not as a long term goal. She pursed her lips as she flicked through the news reports for Brockton Bay, sighing over the fact that, due to her basically setting shop right in the middle of the downtown area, the entire E88 had mobilized, more or less, and now there were gang fights popping up all over the north side of town as the Nazis clashed with the ABB and the Merchants, and she'd even heard of news of Nazis in the south getting shot up by scout groups from the Teeth and ABB in the north getting accosted by Accord's Ambassadors.

All in all, a thoroughly untenable situation that had to be stopped.

But her mask making… something told her that it took precedence. Maybe it was the sparks of future vision she got after that girl- Dinah Alcott, the mayor's niece- came up to her and freely offered her power up in exchange for taking away the pain it caused her. Maybe it was the sparks of Destiny that rippled through her body in response to the pools of Energized Protodermis undulating behind her.

Maybe it was that strange, insistent presence in the back of her head- half formed and already wanting to be let out.

So she compromised.

Instead of her, it would be her Visorak. Instead of her, it would be her army. Her horde. Her shadows.

Her daughters.

Taylor turned back to the pools of Energized Protodermis, taking a deep breath as she threw in a few objects- Chunks of refined protodermis, each one as big as a basketball and heavy as an engine block. A store bought plastic mannequin, just as a form pattern. A few drops of her own antidermis, just to speed along their development.

And finally, one last ingredient.


Taylor grit her teeth and stared down into the depths of the pool, bracing herself for the pain.

Her claws unsheathed as she drove her fist into her chest, screaming as she cracked through the protosteel of her armor and into the shadows of her purest essence, forming a new being from her antidermis and bringing it squealing, squirming, shrieking to life as she pulled it from the gaping wound in her chest.

Once. Twice. Thrice.

An uncountable amount of times. More protodermis, scrapped Kanoka, half formed masks, all joined the slug-like Kraata as they fell into the pool one by one by one.

Forty two daughters for forty two powers.

Taylor fell to her knees, delirious from the pain of gouging out what might as well have been her own heart.

She smiled, though, guiding her kraata through their development and feeling them take shape, feeling them mutate and grow and turn into her shadows, her daughters.

They burst from the pool, multicolored, sinewy creatures of inorganic muscle and bone. They held staffs with which to channel their powers, their serpentine heads daring around as they took in their surroundings.

Her daughters. Her Rahkshi.

Taylor grinned and sat back, her mind slowly shutting down into a deep sleep as her Rahkshi filed out to fulfill her commands.

Take the Horde.

Patrol the streets.

Protect the people of Brockton Bay.

Destroy the villains.
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A rather... ominous first command to give to a fresh killsquad of slug-piloted mechsuits, but I'm sure the city will be understanding once Taylor explains why there's so many new corpses around. :)
I wonder if they might end up on Bara Magna, or have Mata Nui meet her after he dealt with Teradax...
Chapter 26

Skittering and writhing, the shadows of the Makuta. Clicking and screeching, the stealers of life. They spilled out into the streets, those forty two Rahkshi and uncountable Visorak, enforcing her will, protecting the citizens, destroying the villains that plagued the streets of Brockton Bay.

Or at least, they would have, if Gorast had not taken control in a blind panic and stopped them from leaving the lair, all forty two Rahkshi and those hundreds of Visorak stopped with only the mildest telekinetic grip, a gentle hand from their mother to tell them to wait for but a moment while their creator figured some things out.

"Are you a FUCKING IDIOT!?" Gorast shrieked inside of Taylor's mind, lambasting the other girl's mental avatar while their body slept and recovered from the strain of creating so many Rahkshi at once. "Don't answer that, akilini-head! Your stupid slow-think brain just made forty two Rahkshi and sent them out all at once! Do you know how fucking stupid Rahkshi are when they're freshly made!? Do you!? Kraata are like stupid, violent babies! Sure they may develop rapid-quick but even now, even with extra essence poured in for extra intelligence, they are stupid and not wise to the ways of the world! They are violence! They are death! They're not exactly the brightest masks in the storehouse if you get what I mean!"

"... But-" Taylor tried to protest, only to flinch back as Gorast projected her own memories at Taylor, filling the mental space between them with images of death and destruction, countless dead Matoran, corpses stacked high in macabre mountains. Rahkshi, shrieking and cruel, tearing apart the world around them with single minded obsession and no sense of subtlety at all.

Collateral damage ranging from collapsed buildings all the way to razed villages, shattered landscapes, desecrated jungles.

To say nothing of what the Visorak hordes had done that would make even the scores of Rahkshi Gorast had made look pale and pathetic in comparison.

Taylor gulped and shuddered, suddenly aware of the fact that not only had she made creatures that were, to a tee, excessively violent even when acting without orders, but had almost given them command of an army of spiders capable of razing entire cities to the ground.

"Now you understand," Gorast sighed and rolled her eyes, crossing her arms and hissing under her breath. "Now you understand what you almost unleashed upon the city. I'll say this- you had good intentions about it, at least, and that would have tempered their rage… but not enough. They are Kraata. They are Rahkshi. They are the essence of Makuta, and they are every bit as sociopathic and murderous as I would have been in life, even with your mind being the one to create them."

"... I didn't know," Taylor murmured quietly, then pursed her lips and sat down, shuddering as she imagined the damage that would have been done to the city if Gorast hadn't stopped the Rahkshi. "But… I can't just get rid of them now. What are we going to do? Is there any way we can… I don't know… train them out of their instincts?"

"You would sooner train the Visorak to become household pets." Gorast deadpanned, then paused and furrowed her brow with a thoughtful frown. ".... Bad example. They already are household pets when they're well fed. You know what I mean."

"... Well there has to be some way," Taylor sighed, then blinked as the half formed presence in her mind made itself known- an invisible push against her mental body, one that begged for attention and offered up a solution.

Data packets.

Uploading data packets to the minds of the Kraata, giving them an artificial development and letting them learn morality according to how Taylor viewed the world. Accelerating their development using Taylor's own memories as a base and letting their own naturally enhanced intelligence go from there.

It was a good plan, in all honesty. Taylor nodded slowly as she mulled it over, already picking and choosing the memories she'd had, the feelings attached to them, the emotions she'd tried to repress and never really quite managed to.

A loving embrace from her mother, kind words from her father.

Abhorrence of the criminals who only sought to harm others because they could. Pity for those who had no other choice.

The desire to protect more than harm, the desire to destroy those that would cause so much unnecessary suffering to others.

The names of villains in the city, the names of people worth protecting.

Memories of good people and bad, memories of good days and bad. A full range of emotions felt, from the greatest heights of joy to the lowest pits of despair.

Taylor sighed as she compiled the data packets together, pursing her lips as Gorast conversed silently with the half-formed presence. It was… an odd existence, Taylor thought. It wasn't truly alive in the sense that she or Gorast were, even as it was continuing to grow and develop. It was… to the memories that Gorast had provided her, the presence felt like a Ce-Matoran, although she got more of a sense of it being pale white like a Ko-Matoran rather than blue and gold like an actual Ce-Matoran.

… then again, it's not like souls really had a color beyond actual color preference.

Taylor shook her metaphorical head- she was getting off track. With a quiet mental sigh, she returned to the complex task of processing data packets to send off as informational streams and quietly thought to herself that Gorast would have been much better suited to the task, what with her actually being used to this kind of work. But no, Gorast was helping the half-mind reformat its sapience files or something. Taylor wasn't really sure what was going on, but she assumed that it had something to do with essentially reformatting old files into a new data type and replacing an OS with a completely different, new one that would work way better than the old, botched together type..

Or something.

Taylor was definitely sure her programming terminology was way off there, but whatever. Programming terminology couldn't capture all the nuances of trying to shift a mind from a semi-organic base to a Makuta's antidermis existence anyway.

As she finished assembling the necessary data packets and finished packaging them off for delivery, she slipped out of the mental space within her antidermis and metaphorically rose back to the surface, reactivating her previously comatose physical shell and healing over what little physical damage remained from her having ripped forty two Kraata from her chest just barely five minutes prior.

"... Huh. All of that only took five minutes?" Taylor muttered quietly to herself, brushing off the confused queries from the Rahkshi waiting by the exits of the base and instead returning with the data packets she'd spent the last while creating, wincing as she felt the Rahkshi all collapse as one, slumping to the ground as the Kraata controlling them went dormant to process the sheer amount of new information.

"... Whoops. Guess I should have given some warning first," Taylor murmured, then shook her head and picked herself off of the ground and turned back to her workbench. The Kraata would take some time to assimilate the information anyway, and the Visorak would wait for their commanders until they woke up, so she figured she had some time to get back to the subtle, frustrating art of trying to make Kanohi out of what may or may not have been jury rigged together Kanoka of substandard quality.

"Okay… first thing's first…" Taylor sighed to herself and began moving her equipment around, heat vision flashing and plasma bursting to existence as she began to work once more, blobs of protodermis rising from the pool and becoming molten as she guided them through the effects of her powers. "Start with the Protodermis, guide it through the purification process and prepare the disk molds…"
oh thank the great spirit Gorast stopped that inbound disaster of literally incalculable scale
Finally got around to drawing some art of Taylor in her Toa form.


Chapter 27

"I'm gonna keep it level with you: I think I just about pissed myself," Assault spoke up from the end of the table, his voice heard clearly throughout the otherwise silent room as the assembled heroes and PRT commanders watched the live feed from hundreds of cameras. Spiders, hundreds of them, pouring from the shadows between alleyways, from under cars, from rooftops, from the sewers. Giant, mechanical beasts with glowing eyes, massive mandibles that looked capable of shredding through steel, four wicked legs ending in spear-like points, and saddle shaped indents in their backs that seemed to hold propeller-like objects, the purposes of which were entirely unknown.

In any other city, it would have been the cause for a city-wide evacuation. Thousands of mechanical beasts swarming the streets as though the Machine Army had evolved into new form and broken free of its quarantine zone? The implication was terrifying.

But the new beasts held all the same aesthetics as Toa, the End Slayer. Sleek, biomechanical forms that seemed to replicate musculature and organic shape, compound curves that gave everything a futuristic, aerodynamic design. A sense of gentleness despite the clear, vicious intent of their spines and spikes and claws.

Gentleness. A completely incongruous concept when paired with the rest of the spiders' traits, but considering that the hordes of spiders seemed to be doing not much else other than climbing buildings and stopping people from running into traffic as they ran away from said spiders, well. They certainly acted gentle, what with how they, instead of yanking people around or otherwise being violent with them, instead made web barriers around the sidewalks and made themselves physical barriers blocking off crosswalks.

And then they came.

Assault gulped as the things crawled from the shadows not long after the spiders- tall, sinuous things with bodies that could only be described as a perfect robotic fusion between sex and death. Or in other words, they looked like Xenomorphs made real. They were tall, almost capping out at nearly eight feet tall, not counting the spines on their long, tail-like heads. Even hunched over, they towered over the crowds, their staffs crackling with strange energies as they seemed to guide the robotic spiders around. They were fewer in number- about forty in total, as the camera feeds showed, and each of them seemed as though they only appeared every few miles.

A clear indicator of territory, especially with how each of them immediately began directing the spiders in their section around, hovering high into the air and landing on top of tall buildings, waving their staffs around as they began speaking in a strange, clicking, whirring, mechanical language that sounded more like R2-D2 than anyone probably would have expected. The hissing and shrieking were expected, though. Assault shuddered at the sound coming through monitors, swallowing thickly and feeling goosebumps race down his spine.

He could tell that just about everyone was about as horrified as him considering that not a single person had reprimanded him for his outburst- instead, he actually saw some of them nodding along to his statement, their own faces ashen pale as the forty robotic monstrosities began using their powers, aided by the spiders- almost a hundred of them per territory.

Which didn't sound like a whole lot in theory considering that Brockton Bay was a pretty big city with just over two hundred and fifty thousand inhabitants, but the spiders were at least about the size of a person and were apparently tough enough to handle getting hit by cars with no injuries and strong enough to actually stop cars in their tracks.

So. Yeah.

"Well. Now you know what's going on," Director Piggot finally spoke up as she shut off the live feed that Dragon had been displaying, returning the screen to showing said Tinker's avatar as she rejoined the conference. "I'm going to go on record and say this: I don't like this. Not one bit. Within the span of five minutes, someone- who we can only assume is Taylor Hebert, alias Toa, has laid claim to the entire city. And as shown, seems to have enough in the way of ground forces to actually enforce said claim."

She steepled her fingers in front of her face as she gave every person in the room a harsh, stern glare. "Unfortunately, as much as I'd like to say that this is what we're up against, I'm going to ask all of you to stay out of the way of these… creatures. We all know what Toa can do when sufficiently motivated, and if these beings actually are hers, then there's a high chance that they either have access to some of her powers, or are sufficiently connected to her that she can tell if they've been harmed. So in short: If they cooperate with us, do your best to make sure that none of them have reason to take action against us. If not, then stay out of their way until we know what they are capable of. If they decide to start committing crimes, then I'm allowing combat, but until we have enough reinforcements to justify a literal war against an army superpowered mechanical spiders and their xenomorph ripoff commanders, I suggest the cautious approach. Understood?"

A chorus of assent rolled around the room- even those that hadn't directly seen what Toa had done in Canberra had heard the news and seen the footage, watched in disbelief at the sight of a city covering dome of darkness and stared slack jawed at the death of an Endbringer. None of them wanted to be on the receiving end of that kind of firepower, even in part.

"Good. Meeting adjourned. I'd say have a good day but there are spiders in the streets and some of them are the size of cars."

Slowly, the assembled heroes and commanders filed out, most of them ashen-faced, the rest bearing grim expressions as they started planning on how best to deal with the army now occupying their city.

Armsmaster, though, simply wondered- if Toa had sent out an army to (hopefully) act as a crime deterrent in her stead… what exactly was she doing that required her undivided attention?


"God DAMMIT!" Taylor groaned loudly as she spiked yet another failed Kanohi into the center pool in the room, throwing her tools aside and groaning as she floated over another set of Kanoka disks, fusing them together as they approached and beginning the process yet again. "I'm only doing the same fucking combinations that are in your memories! How hard could it fucking be to carve a goddamn mask!? Even a faulty one!? But no! All I'm getting is junked up, stupid fucking garbage! Why won't any of these WORK!?"

"Patience is a virtue, Taylor. Your mask carving skills are getting better by the day. Don't give up just because you can't carve a mask first try. Let Destiny guide your hand and tools. Don't try to force the shape into existence, let it happen in as much, or as little time as you need." Gorast answered sagely, her voice slightly distant due to the fact that she was still helping shape the half presence in her mind into a fully fledged existence.

"... Fine. God, your memories of mask making did not prepare me enough for this," Taylor sighed, leaning against her workbench and rubbing her forehead as she checked over the Kanoka for flaws. She managed a smile when the Kanoka itself seemed to be flawless, almost no impurities at all other than the ones necessary for both structure and function. Both the 548 Remove Poison and the 557 Enlarge disks were nearly perfect, and the resulting fusion was even moreso. Good. Very good.

With a dramatic sigh and a roll of her eyes, Taylor began her work anew. Sparks flew, metal clanged, and a quiet tune echoed through the room as Taylor began working on carving out the mask she envisioned in her head, slowly but surely, cutting and shaping, letting it take form bit by bit by bit. Destiny guided her hand, steady and true and-


Her hand slipped.

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-


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 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…


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.


Finished reading the first chapter. These words shacked my inner part by part. It was like a dark recap of my life which i left behind many years ago but the feeling of this recap was so real. I destroyed a part of my life watching people being happy and craving for the happy feeling like a person who feel after quieting smoke. I will be more than happy help someone who is dealing with the same thing. It is a great write up. Thank You.
Chapter 28

They prowled the streets as one, slithering and slinking, three Rahkshi hissing and clicking, whistling to each other as they spoke in the Matoran language, chattering nonstop even as their horde followed along behind them, the Visorak all screeching and crying out in their own, harsh language.

It was a loud, noisy racket. A warning heard for several blocks.

It was not enough to save their targets.

Krahrahk, the Rahkshi of Shadows. Sulehrahk, the Rahkshi of Mind Reading. Faahrahk, the Rahkshi of Magnetism. The three of them moved together through the shadows, pulses of psychic energy emanating from the pink Rahkshi's armor and reverberating through the area, hunting through the surface thoughts of the people around them and revealing their true intentions as her sisters split up to encircle the area, their swarms baying for blood as they followed their masters.

A man who sorely regretted the swastika hidden on his right shoulder, who begged forgiveness from God for the crimes he committed for the sake of keeping his family fed and with a roof over their heads.

A woman who was recruited at a rally, who didn't agree with the ideology but felt it safer than not paying for protection money.

A couple who turned the other way when the thugs came about for protection money, not daring to cover the tag that stained the wall of their tiny grocery store.

All thoughts were laid bare to Sulehrahk, master of the mind. It- she saw all the pain in the hearts of the people victimized by the Empire, all the pain of the ones forced to kneel, who felt powerless to resist and so could only watch in regret as the villains had their way.

No longer.

Sulehrahk hissed viciously, spines rattling upon her back as she shared the information with her sisters, the long tail that housed her Kraata lashing viciously with rage as she took in their despair and transmitted it to the others.

Krahrahk raged, barely held back as her claws flexed and her staff began to bubble with darkness. But she restrained herself, her face plates shifting and flexing as she stalked through the alleyways towards their true prey.

They were not here to hurt. They were here to mete out justice. To perform as the mother intended. To fix this broken city one broken body at a time.

Their first target revealed itself to Sulehrahk. An open book of a mind, containing barely more than violence for the sake of violence, a pitiable existence that lived only for the next fight, who had no sense of ideology or right or wrong and only cared about life so long as he got paid and was allowed to fight and fuck as he pleased.

Brad Meadows.


Sulehrahk cackled viciously as his mind became known to her, hissing and spitting and laughing with pure schadenfreude at the thought of what came next.

Faahrahk shook her spines as she stomped forward, the three Rahkshi reconvening together into one group, all surrounding one building.

Faahrahk screamed, and the Visorak screamed with her, a loud, vicious, deathly sound that screamed of imminent violence and bloodshed. It wasn't even a fight.

As soon as Faahrahk blasted down the door, the other two broke down the walls they faced and charged into the warehouse turned dog fighting ring, throwing hapless civilians aside with nothing but utmost efficiency- those that could be redeemed were merely rendered unconscious, paralyzed as the Visorak used their Rhotuka to capture and cage them with the electric netting of Suukorak, dragging them away from the building and webbing them up for retrieval. For those that were guilty of other crimes, of being vicious and cruel, utter wastes of human life, there was no quarter. They were thrown into the horde, kicking and screaming, begging for mercy until they were webbed up and paralyzed, thrown aside like so much refuse and battered around by the Visorak in the rear.

There were twenty people in the warehouse, and of them all, three were caged, the rest webbed up and used as toys for the horde- human soccer balls more or less.

The Rahkshi dearly wished they could have imparted more violence upon those wretched beings, but they could not. Not with the mother's orders ringing in their minds.

But with those called villains rather than mere criminals?

Faahrahk screeched joyfully as she threw the one known as Hookwolf around, slamming him into walls and bashing him against the floor. His metallic form was nothing but a toy to the black and yellow Rahkshi, who controlled the mass of spikes and hooks as if it were child's play. She was vicious and cruel about his punishment, even as she played around and battered him. Hooks tore themselves from his flesh, then stabbed back into his core. Blood splattered against the walls and the ground, blades gouged rents into his body when he tried to retract into his human form.

He screamed and spat curses, fear flooding his mind as, even in his human form, he was powerless to attack. His mask turned against him, the metal covering his face and suffocating him, enveloping his skull and dragging him around the room, smashing him into crates and furniture, cages coming to life and bashing him with their bars and locks and hinges even as the dogs were released and his battered, broken body was tossed among the angry canines, who began tearing at his flesh and ripping him apart further.

Sulehrahk, Krahrahk, and Faahrahk all watched impassively as the villain screamed, his flesh marred by bite marks, gouges in his flesh and deep, bloody scratches from where the dogs had clawed at his skin and broke through. Silently, they waited until he was sobbing on the ground, unable to move or even use his power from how much pain he was in, blood pouring from his innumerable wounds to the point that he looked less like a human and more like a sack of butchered meat.

There was no more enjoyment to be had.

Krahrahk hissed dispassionately as she stomped on the man one last time and let the shadows drag him away, tumbling him through the unrealm that was the space between spaces until he landed at the feet of Vorahk, the Rahkshi of Hunger with a dull, wet thump.

Vorahk made a face that almost resembled a smile, plates shifting and flexing as the black and silver Rahkshi began to glow a sickly, deathly purple, its staff taking on the same hue as its claw-like prongs stabbed into what remained of Brad Meadows and began draining his power, his life force, his energy.

The man screamed, agony racing through his nerves as his strength and power began to ebb away, his body shutting down as his organs began to fail one by one.

The last thing he saw was the horrible, terrifying sight of Vorahk's faceplates sliding open and exposing the squirming, shrieking, eldritch Kraata within, screeching wildly and drooling over his face as it drained away his life and left him as an empty, desiccated husk.

Meadows, Bradley. Alias: Hookwolf.

Status: Deceased.
Well. Good thing that leash was attached or that could've been much more bloody.
He probably would have deserved it though frickin nazi's.
one: really?

two: I was talking about before she put the leash on them they would've killed EVERYONE that had an empire symbol on them

A man who sorely regretted the swastika hidden on his right shoulder, who begged forgiveness from God for the crimes he committed for the sake of keeping his family fed and with a roof over their heads.

A woman who was recruited at a rally, who didn't agree with the ideology but felt it safer than not paying for protection money.

A couple who turned the other way when the thugs came about for protection money, not daring to cover the tag that stained the wall of their tiny grocery store.

All thoughts were laid bare to Sulehrahk, master of the mind. It- she saw all the pain in the hearts of the people victimized by the Empire, all the pain of the ones forced to kneel, who felt powerless to resist and so could only watch in regret as the villains had their way.
did you skip over this bit here?
Chapter 29

The way that Visorak hunted was nothing like the way Rahkshi hunted.

This was known- they were two completely different kinds of existences despite their shared love of murder, and thus had different methods.

But it was one thing to know it intellectually, and another to see it in action.

Under only the lightest guidance from Sulehrahk, the horde descended upon the streets of Brockton Bay, guided along the buildings and the alleyways like a multicolored tide of death. There was no quarter given for their victims. There was only the gnashing of teeth, the snapping of oversized jaws, the shrill, endless shrieks of their hunting cries.

They were an army, and they behaved like one. The Rahkshi were focused, diligent, an unstoppable force that unerringly sought and destroyed all that stopped them from their path.

The Visorak were no different, but where the Rahkshi were silent, focused killers, the Visorak cried for blood, baying and calling into the night as they smashed through windows, battered down doors, tore down walls and trampled through ceilings.

They were unstoppable and they gave no thought to those that they were commanded after.

Pedophiles. Rapists. Murderers. Abusers. Drug dealers. All that and more- those who caused suffering for the sake of suffering, those who preyed upon their own kind as if they were beasts in the jungles instead of a society.

The Visorak descended upon them all in a swarming tide, webs spewing from their bodies and Rhotuka paralyzing them, venom mutating them, sharpened fangs and claws killing them rending their bodies into nothing more than food for the horde.

Their capes fared little better. Visorak were immune to the whistling that came from Cricket's mouth, unable to be pierced by her kamas, unable to be stopped by her guns. She tried to run.

She tried to hide.

It was futile.

No one could run from the horde. No one could hide from the horde.

The Visorak tore her hiding place asunder brick by brick, left her paralyzed from their Rhotuka spinners, and tore her limb from limb. Her screaming, limbless body had been given to Vorahk to drain, then fed to the horde as just another scrap of food.

Crusader fared the same, his ghosts fading away before the energy draining Rhotuka of Roporak, his body torn apart by the others and his corpse desiccated by Vorahk.

Victor was no challenge, neither were Fenja or Menja, Krieg or Othala. The horde consumed them all one by one, tearing through their ranks, destroying their safehouses and hidey holes, ripping them from their beds where they felt safe and ripping them apart with no mercy, no quarter.

They swarmed and swarmed and swarmed, thousands of multicolored shells glittering in the low light of the streetlamps and passing cars, webs spun between buildings, and walls shattered in their wake. Criminals, tied up for the police to find. Scum, torn to shreds with only a hint of blood left on the ground. Capes, mangled and chewed on, flesh rent from their bones until barely anything left of them remained, their desiccated, mummified faces being the only thing left untouched, covered by the remnants of their torn up masks.

Kaiser proved difficult for the swarm, though. Metallic blades impaling the members that came forth, even knocking the nearly invulnerable Vohtaraks around until they were flipped over and rendered useless. Walls of steel that blocked their spinners and gave the man cover. Domes that kept them from reaching him even as they broke through bit by bit. They screeched and shrieked and howled as the man fought back against the horde, but in the end, even that was futile.

All the horde had to do was wait until Faarahk and Vorahk arrived and shredded the foolish organic being apart with magnetism and drained his husk, then the horde feasted upon his flesh as they had with all others.

And they moved on. Hunting, prowling, skittering, seeking. The horde rolled through the city as one, baying for blood and filling the night with the sound of thousands of shrieking buzzsaws.

They were unstoppable, unmatched. Stealers of life that overwhelmed all with their strength and their numbers. Not even the ABB could stop them.

Even when the black clad Oni-Lee dropped grenades among them, they persevered, their Rhotuka crashing into and destroying his clones before they could kill any more of their number. Even when the mad bomber Bakuda flung strange effects and devices into their horde, they were too numerous to fully stop- only delaying the inevitable as miniature black holes and time stop bubbles and pain grenades rained down.

The swarm was innumerable and endless. Hundreds of thousands strong and even the members solely manifested in the city were enough to eventually overwhelm both Oni Lee and Bakuda with the aid of Faarahk and Kaularahk, the Rahkshi of teleportation.

Lung proved a mite more tricky, in theory.

In practice?

A single Kahgarak was enough to send the draconic villain to the realm of shadows along with Krahrahk and Vorahk, and the villain's massive corpse had rolled into the streets mere moments later, desiccated and torn to shreds.

The Merchants fell even faster once the Empire and the ABB had been destroyed- the vast majority of their members tied up and shuffled through the horde, squirming in their webs until Kiirahk, Rahkshi of quick healing, simply touched them and healed them of their ills and addictions and Vairahk, Rahkshi of Sleep, rendered them unconscious. The capes- Skidmark, Squealer, and Mush, were pathetically easy to remove. Squealer passed out and soiled herself just upon seeing the swarm, Skidmark had fallen to a single Visorak pouncing on his back, and Mush fell to a single Rhotuka before the foul man could even gather a trash golem.

The swarm had hunted. The horde had fed.

The streets had been swept clear of the gangs that plagued it so, and the low level criminals had been delivered to the appropriate authorities. All save for one small group, right in the middle of the Docks, which the Queen Mother had instructed to leave alone… for now.

So they complied. The prey would be allowed to live a while longer.

They had hunted. They had fed.

The Visorak swarm was content.

They returned to the shadows, ready to be called on again as their Queen Mother commanded them.
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oh hell um I wow that happened so how long till the protectorate make a containment wall from all the shat bricks after seeing that?

umm excuse me Taylor but can you please not send your hoard of death bugs out without warning next time. We were afraid that you went off the deep end.
Shit, Othela didn't deserve that... the others, sure.
How wasteful... should have captured and nommed them. More powers for the power singularity!

Also, I find it interesting to think that Taylor might accidentally become an entity analog by nomming parahumans.
Chapter 30

"I… can't imagine the PRT is gonna be happy about us harboring two quote unquote 'ex-Nazis' when we're also technically still villains," Brian muttered awkwardly at the sight of Rune and Purity- Cassie Herren and Kayden Anders, respectively, as they stood outside the door to the Undersiders' loft. That one of them was still in costume and looking rather roughed up and the other was mostly fine and wearing nothing more than a hastily thrown on jacket over her pajamas was telling regarding the circumstances in which they'd been in a few hours prior… not that Brian had a leg to stand on when it came to judging people's outfit choices, considering that he was still wearing his leathers and helmet after he'd almost ordered the team to just cut and run and hope for survival a mere few hours earlier.

But no, that option was entirely off the table now- even moreso when Tattletale had pointed out that not only were the spider monsters not attacking any of them despite viciously pouncing on and tearing to shreds the local pedophile (he'd have been sorry for old man Roberts but again, the man was a pedophile) but they were actively avoiding the loft save for when one of the spiders climbed over the fence in order to pat one of Bitch's dogs with its massive, claw tipped leg.

He was surprised the dog had survived that, honestly, but apparently the spiders were…. Friendly-ish.

In the sense that they didn't go out of their way to cause undue suffering to the people who didn't deserve it but still.

Giant spiders the size of small cars, and a couple of them the size of pickup trucks.

And apparently, from what he'd been told, the army had not only killed every single villainous cape in the city (well, from the gangs. All the minor ones had been at worst paralyzed and piled up in compromising positions like Uber and Leet, or utterly traumatized to tears via a giant spider shrieking in their face with its horrible terrible industrial grinder mouth full of teeth and knives and death) but had also rounded up every criminal (most of whom were doing so out of desperation or fear or some other third thing) and murdered a bunch more (the really shitty ones), and also even broken into the houses of several city officials and made a show of webbing up their bedrooms and screaming at them.

All of which, while both absolutely terrifying and also in some cases cathartic and even kinda funny, didn't really explain why, again, there were two ex Nazis knocking on his safehouse door and begging for sanctuary.

".... You wanna explain to me why you're here? Actually- no, first of all, how the hell did you even know our hideout was here in the first place?" Brian asked, trying to rub his face before awkwardly realizing that he was still masked, and thus just made weird squeaking sounds as his fingers slid across the plexiglass of his motorcycle helmet's visor.

".... The spiders told us to come here?" Rune gulped a bit, looking over her shoulder and shivering at every shadow, clutching a surprisingly girly looking backpack to her chest and almost hyperventilating at the thought of the spiders coming back. "T-they…. One of the robot things… they um… they said that you were… acceptable to them… a-and that their boss would want to see us later?"

"... And you didn't try running."

"The robots are still out there" Rune whispered almost frantically, stepping forward with a manic look in her eyes as she tried to see something, anything out of the ordinary. "They know when we're trying to run away!"

".... And what's your take on this?" Grue sighed, looking over at Purity, who held a baby in her arms and also seemed to have a preteen kid behind her for some reason.

"... Well, considering that I've been trying to turn my reputation around, the Rahkshi were actually pretty nice to me and offered me a job instead of threatening to rip my entrails out and scatter them over a city block," Kayden deadpanned, idly rocking her baby as it woke up and burbled. "But yes, I was told to come here instead of staying in my home. I figured it would be safer to come here than disobey orders."

".... Uh… huh…" Grue sighed and shook his head, turning away and motioning for the two women and kids to follow him into the flat. "Well… come on in then. We don't have a whole lot of room but I guess we can find… something…"

As he led the group of what might technically be considered refugees up the stairs, he just found himself thankful that Bitch was still on her walk for now and that Lisa had gone back to her own apartment half a hour ago and wasn't around to-

"So they grabbed you too?" Lisa asked from where she was lounging around on the couch with an icepack pressed over her entire face, Alec next to her and playing some shooter game or another while Bitch just glared at the corner next to the balcony doors from the opposite side of the room, all three of her dogs whimpering quietly around her. Grue just sighed heavily again as he slumped down into one of the armchairs, pulling off his helmet and rubbing his temples at the sight of the pitch black robot staring menacingly at the other teens from the corner, a dog sized spider held in its arms almost like how a Bond villain would hold a cat.

Behind him, Cassie screamed and tripped over her own robes as she tried to run away from the robot, scrabbling away on the floor and creating a cacophony of sound that caused Kayden's baby (Aster, as she'd informed him while they were climbing the stairs) to start wailing, which in turn caused Bitch's dogs to start barking, which caused Alec to start complaining, which caused Lisa to start groaning and kicking Alec in the side-

Brian groaned and dropped his head into his hands, looking pleadingly at the pitch black robot and desperately wishing it had enough mercy to kill him, or at the very least make everyone else shut up.

Unfortunately, the only thing he found was open schadenfreude, twisted metal plates sliding about as the damned thing chittered gleefully at the comedy before it and the spider thing in its arms shrieked like a blender, only adding to the noise level of the over-occupied flat.

".... I hate. Everything. About this." Brian sighed, resigning himself to the fact that, yes, this was in fact his life now.


At least he didn't have to deal with Uber and Leet as well.

The doorbell rang.

Taylor, care to explain what game you´re playing here? Just dumbing a bunch of villains into a lair seems... strange.
Chapter 31

Fortunately for Brian's nerves, the people on the other side of the door weren't Uber and Leet, whom Lisa had kindly informed him were still paralyzed in the middle of the Boardwalk and posed in hilarious positions that made it look like they were ballroom dancing.

Unfortunately for Brian's life expectancy, the people on the other side of the door were Protectorate heroes, several PRT Troopers, and also a motherfucking Dragon suit.

".... Please don't tell me we're under arrest," Brian asked almost rhetorically, leaning against the door frame and trying very hard to not slam his face into it. "I've been having a really long night."

"So it seems," Armsmaster deadpanned, almost visibly rolling his eyes behind his visor and leveling a stern, but not aggressive scowl at Brian before continuing. "But no, you are not under arrest. The Rahkshi informed us that Toa would like us all to be here for ease of discussion later tonight."

"..." Brian just stared at the hero, who stared back calmly without so much as a blink- not that Brian could really tell considering the man's visor and helmet. In lieu of keeping up a staring contest with a man whose eyes he couldn't see, he instead looked over the entire entourage of people and vehicles scattered around the area.

Four Protectorate heroes- Armsmaster, Miss Militia, Assault, and Battery. The PRT Director and Deputy Director- Emily Piggot and Alexander Renick. At least fifteen troopers, all with confoam sprayers that they had thankfully kept holstered on their backs. The entire lineup of the Wards- Aegis, Clockblocker, Kid Win, Gallant, and Vista. And not to mention a MOTHERFUCKING DRAGON SUIT.

Brian sighed again and rubbed his forehead, trying to process just what kind of tomfuckery he was in the center of now that apparently Toa had taken out his old boss as well as all the criminals in the entire city save for the Undersiders, the ex-Nazis in his living room, the two losers paralyzed in the middle of the Boardwalk, and a handful of other low level crooks who mostly just used their powers for shits n' giggles and didn't have so much as a news presence outside of a couple threads on PHO and also Lisa's nigh omniscient watchful eye on all things Brockton Bay and Parahuman.

And now New Wave was here.


"Okay, I can accept that you're all gonna be here for the next few hours, but there's no way we can fit everyone in the flat. Hell, there's barely enough room for my team as it is," Brian grumbled, trying to sound authoritative but ultimately failing miserably without his darkness or his helmet helping to make his voice more spooky.

Not for the first time in the last twelve hours or so, he wished he were back at home with Aisha instead of out in the streets and-

"Hey! Let me go dammit!"

"Aisha?" Brian blinked slowly as another Rahkshi walked up with Aisha in its arms, the blue and green mechanical being dumping his little sister at his feet before teleporting away as if had never been there at all. "... Aisha, what are you doing here?"

"I dunno! That fuckin' scary-ass robot just grabbed me and dragged me over here!" Aisha huffed, crossing her arms and skittering behind him with a quiet yelp of surprise as she realized just how many law enforcement agents were scattered around the area. "... Brian, are you getting arrested?"

"... No I am not getting arrested."

"Are ya sure? There's a lot of PRT around here."

".... We're just waiting on Toa to show up. For… whatever reason she might have."

Brian rubbed his forehead again, sighing deeply for the Nth time in the last few minutes and wishing that Toa would get here faster so he wouldn't have to sit here and face the crushing anxiety that came with looking out a window and seeing nearly twenty heroes gathered around the Undersiders' home base.

What the hell was Toa even doing that was taking so long anyway?


"I think… I think I finally did it!" Taylor breathed heavily as she pulled up her welding goggles and set her tools aside, gently blowing on the newly created mask in her hands and helping it cool down. The newly made mask was… nonstandard, by most measures.

It was a Kanohi Rau, the mask of Translation, smooth and sleek and, despite normal Kanohi Rau looking rather squat and rubbery despite their protodermis construction, had a sheen not unlike ultra-fine snake scales across its strangely shaped surface.

From what Taylor could tell, the thing actually looked kinda like it wasn't made for Matoran at all- definitely most of them wouldn't be able to wear it since it was so elongated and its eye holes were in strange locations. But it was functional all the same. A Great Rau, one fit for a Toa- or so she hoped.

There wasn't much she could do to test the mask at the moment since she didn't really have anything worth translating and she was psychic all the same, but, well… it almost audibly thrummed with power, and even though it wasn't quite set to a user yet (given its still highly reflective, near chrome silver sheen) it felt like the kind of mask that could make a good Toa great.

Or maybe she was going crazy from the heat of her newly made Kanohi forge.

Hopefully the former, instead of the latter, especially since she wasn't subject to the same kind of biological quirks that'd induce heat stroke.



Taylor grinned as she admired the construction of the Rau again, rubbing the three bumps over each eyebrow ridge (those had been such a pain to forge), running her finger along the tapered, extended back surface of the mask, checking the protodermis joints that would allow the wearer to actually speak while using the mask and would let said mask flex as if it were their face to ensure that nothing was amiss or out of alignment.

Perfect perfect perfect. Perfect all around.

And of course, that was when Sulehrahk decided to bust open the door to her workshop, screeching something about how the inferior meatbags that looked like tall gooey matoran had all been gathered as the Mother unit wished.

"Gah!" Taylor shrieked as she all but tripped over her own two feet in mid step, flailing about before she managed to level a glare at the pink Rahkshi. "Sulehrahk! Don't just bust in here like that! It's dangerous in here! You could have gotten hurt!"

For her part, Sulehrahk seemed about as contrite as an eight foot tall murder machine could, dipping her head and whirring quietly, murmuring a quick apology in Matoran.

"It's okay- well, I mean, it wouldn't have been okay if you got hurt but it's good that you didn't. Anyway, what do you mean everyone's gathered? I didn't ask for anyone to gather?" Taylor blinked at Sulehrahk in confusion, wondering what her pseudo-daughter was talking about. Something in the back of her mind pulsed in satisfaction, though, which seemed… worrying, considering the presence that had taken up residence there.

And then she realized she'd dropped the mask she had worked so hard on.

Right as it landed in the pool of energized protodermis with an audible splash.

Right as a tendril of the same substance lashed out and forcefully ejected Sulerahk's Kraata from her armor and dragged the armor into the pool.

Right as the pool itself began to glow with blue and gold light and the presence in her mind vanished as another tendril of energized protodermis made contact with the back of her neck.

Taylor blinked as something inside the pool began to move, while Gorast watched through her eyes.

"... Oh no."

"Oh no."

"OH YES~!"
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