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TCGM's Plot Bunny Vault

Discussion in 'Creative Writing' started by TCGM, Oct 27, 2019.

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  1. TCGM

    TCGM (Unverified God/Space Snek)

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    [Multiverses Present: Worm, Stargate, Percy Jackson, Star Wars, Harry Potter] When you write, many ideas come to you. Some continue the story you're writing at the time. Others... don't. These are Plot Bunnies, and this place is my Vault of the ones I couldn't get out of my head. It is possible that one of these Bunnies may grow up into its own story, but that is not guaranteed.
     
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2019
  2. Threadmarks: Tech Support P1 (Worm)
    TCGM

    TCGM (Unverified God/Space Snek)

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    Tech Support
    Plot Bunny
    Where

    I woke up on a hard surface. I couldn't see much at first. Just the asphalt under my face, squishing my nose, and the darkness in my peripheral vision. It took a few moments for my brain to resume normal operations.

    When it did I groaned. Loudly. What the hell hit me? I felt like it must have been a rather large mountain. I gathered my strength and positioned my arms so that my hands were pressed against the asphalt.

    I pushed.

    My body rose under protest. Whatever had done this to me, whatever sequence of events had conspired to bring me to wherever the hell I was, left me with a bone deep weariness so powerful all I wanted to do was lay down again. But I didn't know where I was or what time it was, nor how long I'd been wherever I was, so my body's complaints had to take a back seat to more important things like possible danger or even enemy actors.

    Thankfully once I got to my feet, I found I was in a completely deserted space between two buildings. An alley, strewn with trash and various unspeakable organic residues. A couple dumpsters provided the red cherry on top of the shit sandwich that was my surroundings.

    I chuckled to myself. Waking up in an abandoned, empty alley, surrounded by refuse. It was comically stereotypical.

    Right, first things first, check myself. Baggy but decent clothing, check. Any injuries? Nope, just the weariness. That's good. Nothing too bad could have befallen me. Any technology on me? Nope, literally only have my shirt, shoes, and pants. Socks present, if frayed, but no underwear. No wallet.

    A puddle on the ground allowed me to check my appearance in the half-moonlight, revealing that I was me. Unshaven, scruffy looking me, but still me. No age or appearance changes, which preliminarily ruled out a few of the more unlikely scenarios I was considering might have befallen me to wake up in such blatantly obvious a cosmic joke as the alley.

    I stumbled about trying to get my bearings. No sense shambling out of the alley looking homeless and drunk. Just with one of them I was going to have a problem. I didn't know exactly what city I was in, but it was most definitely a city, judging by the tops of skyscrapers I could see reaching above the buildings on either side of the alley. The building on the other side of the street hadn't been that helpful in discerning my location. It was a simple coffee shop. What I could see of the lobby through the clear glass windows showed lights on and only a couple of people there. One had something that looked like a newspaper in front of him, but I was too far away to see any details. It was just a slightly rectangular light gray paper shape on the surface of a table.

    It took me a few minutes, give or take, for my legs to get with the program. The weariness was slowly wearing off. It would probably be gone by morning, if my guess as to the time of night was accurate, but I didn’t have that long. Even in the best cities in the world, you do not stick around in a deserted alley by yourself in the dead of night, no matter how safe you feel.

    Not even in Canada.

    So I brushed myself off as well as I could, checked to make sure I didn’t have anything terrible on my face from the asphalt, tested my walking coordination once more, and left the alley.

    Even across the street I still couldn’t see what was on the newspaper. It was turned at just the right angle so everything became incomprehensible to my hindbrain, the part which processes language. I shrugged and turned my attention to the rest of the city. Or what I could see of it, anyways. The ends of whatever street I was on terminated in crossroads without continuing. One end had an abnormally tall skyscraper taking up most of the visible space. It had a gigantic sign over the entrance of what appeared to be some kind of emergency room rotunda you’d see at a hospital.

    It was the name on that sign that stopped my heart from beating for a good three seconds.

    Medhall?!” I asked myself, disbelief suffusing my entire being.

    I stood stock still on the sidewalk, staring down the sign like I could will it to be different. The glowing, healthy-blood-red Norse looking letters didn’t change.

    I knew that name.

    Lots of my friends knew that name.

    I also knew that no such organization existed. Anywhere on Earth.

    I knew that for a fact given I’d done a few searches for it just for shits and giggles. No organization, corporation, company, or even fan group used that name.

    Son of a BITCH.

    I called up the map of this city, provided my hunch was correct and this city was indeed the one I believed it to be, from my memory. Photographic memory is incredibly helpful when you suddenly find yourself in another frakking universe. If that was the Medhall building, and it seemed to be, then if I followed this street away from it I should find a place where I could look out into the bay which would be there, if my hunch was correct. And if it was, my life in the very near future was going to be a lot more interesting.

    And by interesting, I mean frak my life!

    I took off at my top speed, stunted as it was by my weariness, down the sidewalk. Nobody was outside at this time of night. That was something I was immensely thankful for. I wasn’t remotely interested in getting leered at, or worse, stopped, because I happened to fit the bill for ‘homeless poor person’.

    No matter how accurate that happened to be at the moment.

    It was quite a few blocks till the other end of the street. I had been much closer to the Medhall building than anywhere else. Regardless of the distance I booked it like a man possessed, both hoping and fearing that I might be right, that somehow I had been plopped into the city most synonymous with a Powder Keg this side of the multiverse.

    In a universe that was supposed to be just a story.

    Just a bunch of thoughts from a wild man with a bow.

    I was seeing a distinct lack of bowmen, and a metric shitton of real.

    I eventually made it to the end of the street. I looked left first. I knew in my heart that what I was seeking would be to the right, but I was going to hold on to my denial as long as I conceivably could.

    Nothing but a street leading further on into what looked like a business district, with shops and office buildings. Downtown, my mental map supplied. It made sense; that’s where Medhall was supposed to be. If you continued that way through several buildings and blocks, The Towers apartment complex would sit. One of which belonged to Kayden Russell, or would in the near future, depending on when I was in the timeline.

    I gulped and slowly turned my head to the right. It was a straight shot across the tops of the buildings lower down the slight hill the city resided on out to the dark, still waters of the bay. And shining like a light in the darkness, a star in the night sky, was an oil rig with a glowing forcefield around it.

    The Rig. The Protectorate’s headquarters in Brockton Bay.

    Brockton Bay, the city I was standing in.

    No doubt to it.

    I’m not ashamed to admit I hyperventilated.
     
    smeee and Rdmcmains like this.
  3. Threadmarks: Junior (Stargate)
    TCGM

    TCGM (Unverified God/Space Snek)

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    Junior
    Plot Bunny
    Deviation

    “Teal'c!” Samantha Carter cried out, looking over the ash black ground that previously hosted a meeting of the Rebel Jaffa. They'd been searching for survivors for a while now. So far all they encountered were dead.

    Sam just hoped her teammate, her brother in all but blood, was still alive.

    “Major!” reached her ears and she whirled her head to the speaker.

    “Found something?” she cried out.

    “It's Teal’c, ma’am,” the marine replied.

    Sam was standing beside him so quickly one would think she teleported. “Teal’c!” she cried out, seeing the prone figure of her friend.

    Bra’tac and Teal’c were lying almost motionless on the ground, arms under each other's shoulders. Both men barely breathed, so light their chests did not rise.

    “Medic!” Sam cried out, “We need a medic over here!”

    One search team was in range of her voice and heard her, relaying her message to the nearest Medic. Twenty seconds later, the young male healer had arrived and was checking the Jaffa.

    “Bra’tac’s symbiote is missing, major,” he told Sam, “and Teal'c's looks like it won't survive the next hour. I think… I think they've been passing it back and forth.”

    “Oh God,” Sam gasped, falling to her knees. She turned to look at the medic, none of the three people noticing the slowly opening pouch of Teal’c.

    “How long have they got?” she asked.

    The medic shook his head. “I don't know how long they've been like this, Major. A symbiote isn't capable of sustaining two Jaffa. I'd give them an hour, two tops, without a replacement. Dr. Frasier might be able to extend that prognosis. Long enough to call the Tok'ra, get these two on Tretonin.”

    Sam nodded at his explanation, turning to glare at the marine. “Get to the Gate. Dial SGC and get medical teams. We're going to bring them home.”

    Just as the marine was about to salute her in acknowledgment, several things happened. A loud squeal was heard from Teal’c, the medic’s eyes went wide in fright, and Sam heard Daniel speak to her.

    Good luck, Sam.

    A sharp pain erupted at the back of her neck, she screamed, and blackness took her.

    --LB--

    Light, far too bright for her liking, hit her full on with no regard for her eyes. Blinking slowly, Sam tried to raise her hand to her head to take care of her massive headache.

    The clank of chains and her hand decidedly not moving kicked her brain into gear. Her eyes snapped wide open and she looked around in a panic, getting her bearings. She was clothed in white hospital garb and strapped down to a rather uncomfortable table. The walls were dark gray, one wall with a light gray metal door set in it. The standard military number on the door clued her in to the fact that she was in the SGC.

    More specifically, an isolation room.

    Sam groaned at her location, collapsing onto the table. Her luck had apparently struck again. She probably picked up some disease when they went to rescue Teal’c, and…

    Wait.

    Suddenly the last events before she blacked out slammed into her mind and she knew with a horrified certainty why she was strapped down in an isolation room. She began to panic, hyperventilating at her realization.

    She was a host.

    “Sam?” her father's voice rang out, snapping her attention to the observation room. She happened to be laying facing directly towards it.

    Jacob Carter was standing there in Tok'ra garb with his hand on the microphone. Seeing his daughter's attention was on him, he smiled and spoke to comfort her. “Don't worry Sam, we're going to get it out of you.”

    She smiled and cried happy tears, giving her father a nod. The rest of her team, and a not dead looking Teal’c, were next to Jacob. Hammond was gazing at her with pity.

    Teal’c moved to the microphone, taking it graciously from her father. “This is my doing, Samantha Carter,” he said, tone full of apology. ‘“It is my Prim’ta which has invaded your body.”

    His voice and facial expression spoke volumes about how sorry he was, so Sam just smiled and nodded, tears still streaming down her face. “Why… why am I in control?” she asked, getting two replies. One she expected.

    “We don't know, Sam,” Jacob said, gripping the microphone like he would rip it off. With Selmak boosting his strength, that was entirely possible. “We think it's too weak from keeping Teal’c and Bra’tac alive to take you over.”

    The second? Not so much.

    Or maybe, just maybe, it's because I hate what I am and I don't want to? came a deep voice in her head.

    Her eyes shot wide open and her breathing almost stopped.

    “Sam?” Jacob asked, concerned.

    Her brain almost shut down completely for several seconds as she came to terms with what had happened to her. When she finally thought back at the voice, her tone was timid. Wh… what?

    The feeling of an eye roll suffused her. I detest what I am, Samantha. Had you not been close enough for my instincts to take over, I would have gladly died in my father's pouch, came the biting reply.

    Sam blinked several times, drawing more concern from her overseers. Jack took the microphone and gently asked, “Sam? What's happening?”

    Shaking her head at the absurdity of the situation, she answered shakily. “I'm talking to Junior.”

    The eyes of everyone in the observation room shot wide open, none more so than Teal’c and Jacob’s.

    “You converse with my symbiote?” Teal’c asked after several seconds.

    Tell him his pouch was too small, the symbiote told Sam.

    She was confused. Why aren't you taking me over?

    Another eye roll. I hate what I am. What part of that have you not gotten yet? Junior repeated with a huff. Plus, I'm not too keen on taking part in another wholesome Jolinar experience. What a fiasco. No siree, I'm saying exactly bupkis. Plus having you drive is so much easier. Really, I don't get my relatives’ thought process. Talking control is so much work, keeping it even more so. Just let the host do it, honestly! Even if you're going to do the whole ‘gods’ bit, taxis are nice things!

    The words and phrasing Junior used were so off character for a symbiote Sam couldn't help but smirk slightly. And it had a point about Jolinar. You sound like Jack.

    I've been listening to him for years, so yeah, of course I do, came the reply. Plus he's not the only one who snarks, Sammy.

    I just got snarked at and called Sammy by my teammate's Goa'uld hating previous symbiote, Sam summarized, more to herself than to Junior.

    It, of course, commented.

    Yep.

    “Sam!” Jacob yelled, causing his daughter to jump on surprise. She glared at him for interrupting her conversation.

    “I'm trying to talk, Dad!” she shot back.

    Of all the things that could have come out of his possessed daughter's mouth, that wasn't what anyone in the observation room was expecting.

    “Major?” Hammond asked curtly.

    Sam blushed and lowered her head slightly. “Sorry. Junior is extremely talkative.”

    Junior huffed at her statement. Spend years in a pouch, most of your life in fact, with nobody to talk to while hating your entire existence and then see how much you chatter when you finally can talk to someone, it grumbled.

    Jacob stared at her with confusion. “Sam, are you telling me you're actually talking to Teal’c’s symbiote?”

    She nodded as confirmation. “Junior wanted me to tell Teal'c his pouch was too small,” she quietly said. “And boring, apparently. And uh, it hates the Goa'uld?”

    Silence reigned as the observers processed that, dumbfounded looks on their faces. That was apparently the goal given how much Junior was laughing in her head.

    --CB--

    “Let me get this straight: Junior is a girl?” Jack asked in disbelief.

    Sam sighed at the same time her symbiote did. “No Colonel. I’m a woman, so the symbiote is a woman. They’re genderless,” she explained again.

    Jacob piped up to add to her point. “Selmak was with Saroosh for almost a century. She was a woman that entire time, but is slowly becoming a guy as she lives in me,” he said. “I still get some… odd urges when I see males because of her, but they’re decreasing.”

    Jack swiveled his head to stare at Jacob in disbelief. “You like guys?”

    The old general sighed. “Yes Jack, though hopefully that will wear off with time.”

    The Colonel blinked. “Even me?”

    Jacob scowled and turned his head away.

    SG-1, Jacob, and General Hammond were sitting in the briefing room. After having explained Junior’s stance on the Goa’uld, and Teal’c gazing into Sam’s eyes after demanding Junior come to the fore (something she didn’t like in the slightest, having given Sam her body back almost instantly after Teal'c nodded in approval), most of the base was cautiously optimistic that the symbiote that had taken Major Carter wasn’t evil.

    Sam was of a differing opinion. Junior may not have been evil in the Goa’uld sense, but she was certainly very much like Jack.

    I bet you’re pretty happy you’re not into women because of me, she commented.

    Sam just sighed and dropped her head down into her crossed arms. She was exhausted, and definitely not up to a snark-a-thon with Junior at the moment. You’re not my first symbiote, Junior.

    Yeah, but Jolinar had a stick up her rear the size of a...

    Sam mentally tuned out the ranting of her passenger with a wince, something the rest of the briefing room noticed.

    “Is something wrong, Major?” Hammond asked.

    She shook her head and stared down at the table with a long suffering sigh. “No sir.”

    Hammond eyed her for several more seconds before continuing with the briefing.

    Sam was trying to pay attention, actually succeeding for a few minutes until a loud gasp rang out in her head. Sam! Junior said, trying to get her attention.

    Sam pointedly ignored her.

    Oh no you don't. I can be very annoying.

    Sam only grunted slightly and continued to listen to Hammond.

    Alright, you asked for it.

    Suddenly a very loud rock song began playing in her head, with Junior singing along.

    EVERYTHING IS AWESOME!

    Sam's eyes shot wide open and she gasped. Don't you dare!

    EVERYTHING IS COOL WHEN YOU'RE PART OF A TEAM!

    She growled, struggling to hear herself think.

    EVERYTHING IS AWESOME!

    Sam clutched the sides of her head, trying to drown out the obnoxious music.

    WHEN YOU'RE LIVING YOUR DREAM!

    STOP! Sam cried out, but Junior didn't acknowledge her.

    PLANES, CARS, BOATS! THEY'RE AWESOME!

    “SHUT UP!” Sam screamed at her symbiote. The problem was, she did this out loud.

    Everyone at the table, even Jonas, were gazing at her in horrified silence.

    About time. Listen, I've got something pretty important to tell you, Junior said.

    Sam however was mortified at what she had just done.

    “Sam?” Jacob asked, flicking his eyes between her and Hammond, who was the most taken aback.

    Sam hung her head and apologized again. “Sorry, sir. Junior started singing.”

    Hammond’s only reaction was a quirked eyebrow. “Singing, Major?”

    She pursed her lips. “Yes,” came her squeak. She felt like a kid called to the principal's office.

    Hammond sighed and looked at her hard. “Junior, as much as you may feel like speaking to Major Carter, she is needed at this briefing. Your conditions for staying in her body to heal were not to take over her life. Being disruptive and causing her to react is just as bad, given she is a member of our military,” he scolded.

    Silence was their reply for several seconds before Junior meekly took control of Sam's vocal cords and spoke. “Okay. Sorry,” she said, withdrawing afterwards.

    Hammond sent a questioning glance at Sam. She nodded. “Junior's quiet.”

    “Then we can get back to this briefing,” he said, continuing on.

    Despite Hammond’s clear dismissal of her actions, Sam still felt chastised. She was silent the entire rest of the briefing, not even bringing up the nebula she wanted to study.

    --CB--

    It was several hours later before Junior said anything to her. In fact the symbiote seemed to have withdrawn from her mind almost entirely the whole day, leaving Sam with an odd sense of loneliness. So when Junior finally did say something, Sam almost jumped for joy.

    I'm sorry Sam, Junior apologized, feelings of sorrow washing over Sam.

    Sam huffed, trying to hide her own internal state. Sorry for what?

    The feeling of narrowed eyes was sent to her before Junior responded. For interrupting your briefing, and if your memories are any indication, almost getting you kicked out of the military, she explained.

    Sam grimaced, sending her displeased feelings at Junior. Yeah, that wasn't very smart. Remember, whatever happens to me happens to you too.

    Junior was silent for several seconds. Even if that was not the case, it shouldn't matter. I'm a guest in your body. You take precedence.

    Damn right I do, Sam said, words coated with venom.

    I'm trying to apologize, Sam! Junior said, sounding hurt.

    Well maybe you shouldn't have taken me as a host in the first place! Sam screamed in response, before drawing her hands to her mouth in shock at her own words.

    … I see. So that's how you feel, Junior stated, a dead quality to her tone.

    No Junior, I didn't mean that… Sam insisted.

    You forget, Samantha, that I am connected to your mind. Even if you are okay with me on a conscious level, your subconscious states otherwise, Junior growled. Whatever. I was trying to get along with you, try and make you as comfortable with me as possible. Guess that can't happen now.

    Those words sent dread into Sam's heart. What… what are you going to do?

    Not what you fear, Junior said, knowing exactly where her host's mind had jumped to at her words. I'll never take you over, no matter how much you... hate me, she choked on her words here. Anyways since I'm clearly not wanted, I'll just withdraw. You can have your life, Sam, and once I'm healed I'll just leave. Probably go die in a hole somewhere on Earth. Then you can have your perfect existence back. Her words were coated with so much venom Sam almost felt it dripping down her body.

    Junior, Sam started to say, but was cut off.

    No, Sam. You've made your position perfectly clear. Before I disappear, though, I thought you might want to know what I was going to tell you in the briefing room. Your ship, the Prometheus? Yeah, that super important thing that costs billions of dollars. The naquadria you're using isn't pure enough. The drive will burn out the second you leave the local star cluster, she said, and then left. This was actually painful for Sam, as Junior ripped her emotions away and locked herself in a box that Sam could not breach.

    “What have I done?” Sam asked the air, tears spilling down her face. She had no idea how much she'd needed Junior until it was too late.

    --CB--

    Junior was almost finished with her hibernation preparation when her mind was ripped from her body by something she could only guess was extremely powerful.

    When she opened her eyes, she was standing in an empty off white void. She reveled in the fact she even had a body. Most symbiotes took on the appearance of their hosts in their mental landscape, but Junior hadn't taken Sam's out of respect, and the body she was now in seemed to be a new one. Junior guessed whatever brought her here felt the need to give her one.

    Junior didn't see the point. She was content, for the most part, living as a disembodied voice in her host's head.

    Well, she was. Sam didn't want her. That's why she was going into hibernation in the first place. So she wasn't exactly happy with having her mind dragged out of her own body by whatever had brought her here… wherever here was.

    As the Tau'ri would say, speak of the devil and he shall appear.

    A white light, far too brilliant to look at directly, flared into existence in front of her. She shielded her eyes with her hands, lowering them when the light finally faded. In its place was a man dressed in simple beige clothing with a kind smile on his face.

    Who are you? Junior asked.

    The man's eyes showed his surprise. You don't know?

    No, and I don't actually care. I'm trying to go into hibernation right now, so if you would return me to my body… she trailed off, the man's face stirring up something in her memory.

    DANIEL?! Junior asked, realizing who he was.

    He smiled broadly. Hello Junior, he said. Long time.

    You're dead!

    He shook his head. I'm ascended. There's a difference.

    Not much of one, you twat! Junior scolded him. Do you have any idea how much Sam misses you?!

    Daniel grinned and stared her down. About as much as she misses you.

    Junior's next scolding died in her throat. Sam hates me. She doesn't like me, much less miss me, she protested, even though on some level she knew the ascended Daniel was right.

    He smiled at her. I'm here to make sure you don't make a mistake, Junior. Don't waste the opportunity you've been given.

    Junior snapped her gaze to his knowing eyes. Been given? What are you talking about?

    Time has been rewritten, Daniel told her. Something very powerful, something not of this universe saw fit to interfere with your death.

    Junior choked at that. My death?

    Daniel nodded. Apparently in the original timeline, you died from the stress of keeping Teal'c and Bra’tac alive. The entity that saved you, changed time, wanted me of all beings to inform you of that. Also, apparently Jack actually congratulated you on saving Teal'c's life. “Way to go, Junior!” would have been his exact words.

    Junior was bewildered at the fact Daniel was telling her any of this,and her exasperated expression told him so.

    I was required by the being to tell you that, he shrugged. No sense in angering something more powerful than the other ascended combined.

    Junior blinked several times in complete disbelief. You're honestly telling me a being more powerful than all the ascended not only exists, it decided that I, of all the symbiotes in existence, needed to live. Not only that, but it rewrote time by doing so?

    Yes, Daniel confirmed.

    Junior glanced at him warily. Can ascended beings go crazy? Because you are sounding very much nuts, spacemonkey, she said.

    Daniel sighed and gazed at her as an adult would a petulant child. Believe me or not, you need to return to Sam. No hibernating. You get an apology out of her if you need it. Hell, tell her I yelled at you to stay if need be, just stay with her. Sam is going to need you soon.

    Junior raised an eyebrow and crossed her arms. You still sound nuts, spacemonkey. But who am I to refuse an ascended. Fine, I will do so, but if she still hates me I'm blaming this on you! she promised.

    Daniel smiled kindly. Whatever it takes, snakey, he shot back, using one of Jack's names for her.

    Oh no you didn't- Junior started to retort, but she was cut off by the sense of traveling everywhere at once. She was being returned to her body, forcefully.

    You don't have to be so rough, Danny Boy, she cheekily sent his way.

    The shocked sputtering of an ascended being made the entire trip worth it.

    --CB--

    When Junior became aware of reality again, she was overcome with tsunamis of sorrow. She fought through the feelings to their source, her host, and enveloped her in a mental hug.

    I'm here, Sammy, she assured, sending calming emotions to counter the tidal waves.

    Sam's breath caught in her throat. “I… I thought you… were leaving?” she sobbed, spasms of pain shaking her entire body.

    I was. What you said and felt hurt me, Junior said pointedly. However, a higher power gave me a scolding, said I had to be here for you.

    Her host was clearly curious despite herself. Who?

    Spacemonkey, if you can believe that.

    Sam almost choked. DANIEL scolded you? she asked with raw astonishment.

    She sent the feeling of nodding her head. Yep.

    We messed up bad, didn't we?

    Correct. I in antagonizing you, you in banishing me. But I'm willing to look beyond that… you know, if you actually want me that is, Junior informed her, slightly afraid of the answer.

    The fear of rejection spilled over to Sam, causing more tears to well in her eyes and for her to feel even more guilty. Of course, of course I do! No matter what I say in the future I want you, you hear me? If I'm being stupid again you call me on it, she wailed, instinctually launching her mind at her symbiote.

    Junior caught her, deepening the mental embrace. I'll always be here as long as you want, Samantha, she comforted her host.

    A cleared throat interrupted their bonding moment. When Sam turned to see who was at the door to her lab, she was surprised and happy to find her father. “Dad!”

    “Hey kiddo,” Jacob replied, moving to hug his daughter. Junior felt like an intruder to this, and so started to slip into the recesses of their shared mind.

    That is until Sam slapped the back of her neck rather hard, jolting her physical symbiote body.

    Don't you dare. You're a part of me now, so you get hugs from our dad too, Sam scolded her.

    Junior gulped, but took the offered control to hug Jacob.

    Sam's father clearly sensed the change in stance, the reluctance to stay in the embrace, and so moved to look her in the eyes. “Hi Junior,” he greeted her.

    Junior cast her eyes to the floor and frowned. “Hello,” she whispered.

    Jacob caught her chin in his hand and gently brought her face up again. “Don't. You are part of my daughter now, even if only for a little while. That makes you my kid too,” he said.

    Junior was completely confused. “But I'm a Goa'uld. I took her without asking. I am no better than my… relatives,” she protested.

    Sam's father snorted at that. “Kid, you're the most un-Goa'uld-like symbiote I've ever met. Selmak said the Tok’ra should take notes.”

    See? I told you he’d accept you, Sam told her.

    “But…” she kept trying to reason, trying to make them both see how bad she was.

    “Nope. No more of that. Stop beating yourself up about it. If Sam accepts you then I can too,” Jacob interrupted. He gained a faraway look in his eyes before nodding his head down and closing his eyes. When he brought them back up, they glowed.

    Junior gulped. She was talking directly to a Tok'ra. One of the oldest of the Goa'uld’s sworn enemies. “Uh… Hi,” she meekly stated.

    Greetings Junior,” the symbiote spoke through Jacob's modulated vocal cords.

    Junior just froze in place, not moving and barely breathing. Her eyes were wide open with a look of fear on Sam's face.

    Selmak sighed. “I will not bite you, young one.

    Junior eventually found her voice again. “It is… difficult to overcome the memories. I must admit to having much fear of your kind.”

    Selmak’s eyes shot wide open. “You still have your genetic memories?

    Junior grimaced and nodded.

    Yet you share control with my daughter, far more than even most Tok’ra would,” she commented.

    Junior’s eyebrows furrowed with surprise. “Daughter? Sam is not a symbiote, nor you a Queen,” she stated.

    Selma chuckled and shook her head. “Jacob is Sam's father. We are blended, young one; our emotions are the same. She is my daughter as much as Jacob's. And now that feeling extends to you, for you are Samantha's other half.

    Junior blinked at the same time as Sam thought Excuse me?

    Obviously seeing her confused expression, the elderly Tok'ra elaborated. “Samantha is prone to many acts of danger. While Jacob assures me that is what a military woman does, that doesn't mean I like it. She deserves to have someone who can take care of her even when she doesn't want it. I ask you to be that person, Junior,” she requested, staring straight into Sam's eyes. Despite being inside her host, Junior felt like the old Tok'ra was looking directly at her.Will you do that for me?

    Junior was taken aback. It was an intensely personal request, and it’s not like she would be in Sam that long. “I… Uh… You do know my stay in Sam is only temporary, right?”

    Selmak smirked and patted her shoulder. “Of course,” she replied, tone indicating extreme disbelief. “But while you are within her, take care of my Sammie.

    Junior's eyebrows rose. That was the pet name Jacob used for his daughter. The fact Selmak had used it as well, almost without noticing, lent some credence to the idea that Blending was not the bullshit her genetic memories said it was. But more than that, she realized something else.

    Jacob and Selmak were dying.

    --CB--

    The way they asked her to take care of Sam was very similar to saying goodbye. For all she knew that's exactly what they were doing. Of course, her host remained oblivious to this and was just enjoying the hug.

    Junior made up her mind then and there. She would not let her host’s… her only parents die. Before she figured out how to do that, though, she would certainly make the promise.

    Junior nodded her head and looked Selmak in the eyes with strongly held conviction. “As long as Sam will have me, I will protect her as much as I am able.”

    Selmak narrowed her eyes suspiciously at the sudden determination, but let it slide. “I thank you for this. Know that I am honored to call you Tok'ra.

    Junior winced uncontrollably. “I am sorry, Selmak. I am no Tok'ra. With how my genetic memories paint your kind, I doubt I ever could truly call myself that,” she apologized. “But thanks to you, I see that I am not a Goa’uld either. I don't know what I am, but I will stay the path of good no matter what that turns out to be.”

    Selmak eyed her for several seconds before replying. “No. You are right. You are not Tok'ra. I sense you are something even more than we could ever hope to be,” she said cryptically.

    Junior was about to reply when the aged Tok'ra did the trademark head nod passing control back to the host. Jacob met her eyes again with a smile. “Well I don't know what that's about, but I'm glad my Sammie will be taken care of. She's a stubborn one, like me, so don't let her off the hook okay?”

    Junior sensed the sound her host was about to make and shoved control back to her. Sam was momentarily surprised but couldn't stop her complaint. “Daaad!” she groaned out, before widening her eyes.

    Jacob smirked. “Junior’s faster on the switching than Selmak, huh?” he teased.

    Sam rolled her eyes and gently pushed out of the hug. “Seems that way. I swear if you guys start swapping embarrassing stories about me when I'm asleep…” she warned.

    Jacob held up his hands in defense. “Hey, we'd never do that, right Junior?”

    He winked at her as he said this.

    Sam rolled her eyes and groaned again. “Dad!”

    Her father chuckled lightly. “Alright kiddo, I can see when you've had enough of the old man. I'll see you for dinner?”

    Sam nodded and smiled at him as he left her lab. The second he was gone her mood soured. Alright, spill. What was that ‘more than a Tok'ra’ thing Selmak was talking about?

    Junior shrugged. Heck if I know.

    Sam narrowed her eyes. You're hiding something, she accused.

    Junior's heart almost stopped. How do you know that?

    Sam was surprised that she was right. I don't know, just a feeling…

    Junior was intensely interested as to how her host could feel her emotions. They couldn't be blended, could they? She didn't even know how, and it’s not like the process (if it even existed, she still wasn't sure) was automatic. But she shoved all that aside for the good of her host. You are right. I am hiding something. Something I noticed about your… our father… mother… oh that is going to get confusing real quick.

    Sam almost snorted at that. Yeah, best not to think about it. But what did you see?

    Junior gulped. Well, it's just a suspicion, and I don't want to put unneeded weight on your… our shoulders…

    Stop stalling.

    I think… I think they're dying, Sam.

    This time Sam's heart actually stopped. Junior had to intervene to start it up again. What?! she shrieked.

    I don't know for sure, she repeated, it's not like I saw anything wrong with their body. But… the way Selmak asked me to take care of you… she choked on her words.

    Junior? Sam asked, concerned.

    Junior found her voice again. It sounded an awful lot like a goodbye.
     
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  4. Threadmarks: Temporal Drift (Worm)
    TCGM

    TCGM (Unverified God/Space Snek)

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    Temporal Drift
    Plot Bunny
    No Such Thing As Overkill

    Temporal Drift is a version of me who's been ROB-ed into the baseline Wormverse. I/He has six powers and the knowledge of the Wormverse, both from the original and many Fanfictions. Not exactly sure what things are true in this universe given how Fanon sometimes explains things too well not to be true, but I'll/He’ll find out.

    Powers:

    Temporal Lock (Clockblocker’s Power), Shattered Limiter. Can freeze things in time for up to 30 minutes by touching them. Duration can be chosen or left random.

    Temporal Loops (Gray Boy's Power), Shattered Limiter. Can create time loops in which memories transfer but time resets. These loops are infinite unless cancelled. Can cancel Gray Boy's time loops.

    Technokinesis (Royal Pain's Power from Sky High), Manton Unlimited. Can mentally control technology via telekinesis. Can disassemble, change, and reassemble any understood technology to do something else. Can modify Tinkertech or duplicate already known Tinkertech from base components. Synergizes with Cyberpathy.

    Cyberpathy (Technology Telepathy). Can mentally, wirelessly interface with any and all technology. Can override and control programs, rewrite systems, and assume direct control of anything with electricity or code in it. Works with Tinkertech. Synergizes with Technokinesis. Can affect Shards and Entities.

    Inertiakinesis, Manton Limited. Can increase, decrease, or redirect inertia in body or anything touching skin. Also through anything touching something touching skin, to a certain recursive depth. Allows flight at supersonic speeds, effective brute rating against kinetic energy, and turning foes’ attacks back on them in fights.

    Nanotech Tinker. Tinker with nanotechnology as the specialty.

    --Story--

    Two years and five days.

    That's how long I've been in this gods-forsaken universe.

    Oh, it wasn't that hard to figure out what happened. I'd somehow drawn the attention of a bored Random Omnipotent Bastard and they'd decided to mess with me.

    At least they gave me a sweet power package to lessen the blow.

    Sorry, where are my manners. I'm Weldon, but in this universe I'm known as Temporal Drift.

    Well, I will be. It's the Hero name I chose for myself.

    I was 15. Again.

    I can almost hear that Bastard laughing their ass off at making me go through high school a second time.

    I sighed as I looked up at the dreary building that sat in front of me. Students, my so called peers, were filtering in through the front doors in groups of four or five. The majority of them hadn't arrived yet, though.

    The bell would ring in half an hour for first period. Why was I there so early, you ask?

    Despite my best efforts, the parents I had in this universe… didn't like each other very much.

    Oh don't get me wrong, I nipped their upcoming divorce in the bud once I ‘arrived’ and took over for ‘myself’. I did that by sitting them down in the living room via tying them to chairs with duct tape and made them talk out their issues with me as an unbiased and pissed off moderator. I’m actually still amazed it worked, but it turns out their issues were essentially a whole bunch of bullshit assumptions built up over a few years of not talking about them.

    The week of grounding was so worth it. I'm pretty sure they figured that out too, which is why I only got a week for tying my parents to chairs with duct tape. They were getting better, but the job wasn't quite finished.

    “Hi Will!” A cheery voice said from next to my ear.

    Without turning or, as my friend was trying to make me do, starting with surprise, I greeted her. “Hello Taylor.”

    I could hear her pout. “What does it take to scare you?” she whined.

    “Leviathan,” I deadpanned.

    She scoffed. “Are you comparing me to a great big lizard of death?”

    No hesitation. “Yes.”

    And in another reality, a few actually, it was even true.

    She socked my arm lightly. Not that I felt what little impact her scrawny arms could output. I just redirected the inertial change out of my body and into the spin of the planet instead. “You're mean,” she grumbled.

    I grinned unrepentantly, finally turning to look at her. She saw my grin and stuck out her tongue. My HUD painted her name, status, and health above her head like an NPC in a video game.

    Yes, I was friends with Taylor Hebert. Turns out when you arrive in a universe just in time to save someone's mom from death at the hands of a Merchant truck you're basically their new sibling for life.

    I didn't have much training with my powers when I had realized the date. Those next two days had been spent stalking Annette Hebert. I must have raided all the coffee machines, missed school, and never got more than four hours of sleep. and I barely was awake enough to reach out and slow down the car via it's brakes, but it was enough.

    And it was worth it.

    Taylor's mom had been pretty frakked up when I dug into her car and pulled her out, keeping her stabilized until the EMTs arrived in an ambulance. She spent a week in the hospital until Amy Dallon could get to her. The Herberts and I kept vigil by her bedside the whole time. My parents joined in the last couple of days.

    The important thing is; Annette was alive. That more than anything proved to me my actions in this universe could have permanent, positive change.

    Since then I'd trained basically every day with my technology powers. The temporal and inertial ones I put on the back burner, but I didn't neglect them. I promised myself that the next time someone important needed to be saved I'd be capable of doing more than hitting the brakes in a car.

    The Heberts had basically adopted me after I saved Annette. My parents had done the same for Taylor.

    Just in time for Emma's betrayal of her. It didn't hurt Taylor as much this time because, as conceited as it sounds, she had me, and to a certain extent, my sister.

    I didn't like Emma the few times I met her. But I did try to stop it. Tried very, very hard. There's just way too many alleyways in Brockton Bay, and I couldn't use the Ward's Console to find them because, hey, Sophia wasn't a Ward yet.

    It happened. Emma was lost to Taylor. The only difference was I was present for her betrayal, where she cast us both off.

    When it was just Taylor, I was in it to protect her. But Emma, presumably upon the urging of her new pet psychopath, made it personal.

    As a result, her electronics tended to need replacing a lot.

    Petty? Sure. She deserved it, though.

    Taylor nudged my shoulder and stopped my woolgathering. “Come on, Will,” she said, “we should get to class.”

    I had a tiny panic attack before looking at my HUD’s clock. Oh good. I hadn't been thinking that long. Taylor just wanted to be early to her favorite class.

    “Sure thing, Tales,” I fired back, using the nickname she both liked and disliked.

    Another shoulder nudge. “Geek.”

    “Nerd.”

    Why does this girl like my shoulder so much?

    --LB--

    Computer class was easy as always. Cyberpathy made writing programs stupidly easy.

    Of course I had to look like I was typing, but that was the only real challenge in the class these days.

    Not like the other classes.

    Taylor didn't know it but I had been engaging in a counter bullying war against her tormentors the entire time we'd been in high school together. Sophia Hess would sometimes get urgently called to the PRT, only to make her excuses, bound across town, and arrive with them telling her they hadn't called her in.

    And try as they might, they hadn't found out how her phone was seemingly firing off a priority alert all on it's own, without interfacing with any kind of outside system or receiving a signal of any kind. Changing phones didn't fix it, changing protocols or programs didn't stop it, and sometimes it really was an alert, so they couldn't turn that capability off. Not even Dragon had managed to find anything, despite being what she was. And it didn't only happen at Winslow, so they couldn't use that data point to figure it out ether.

    Yeah, Cyberpathy is bullshit. It chains through networks. I can stand in my house in Brockton Bay and hack a bank in China. Untraceably.

    I am decently sure the Number Man hated me at this point, though even Cauldron couldn't get a bead on me. I knew for a fact Contessa couldn't see me, only the results of my actions. Their systems were no less vulnerable to me than Dragon’s despite being in another reality. This is what happens when you have a data link from your secret base, morons.

    The idea that it scared the shit out of this universe's closest equivalent to SHIELD totally didn't prompt me to give them heart attacks weekly.

    No way.

    That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

    Emma would occasionally trip and fall right as she was about to concoct something against Taylor. Manipulation of inertia. Madison's ‘pranks’ consistently cleaned themselves up before Taylor could see them and while Madison's back was turned. Also inertia.

    Like my Cyberpathy, my Inertiakinesis travels through anything connected to me, and anything connected to that, to a certain recursive depth. I'm decently certain the capability extends from my Cyberpathy, granting my Inertiakinesis Shard something it wouldn't normally have access to. I’d managed six so far and Shoes > Earth > Winslow > Chair > Glue came in just under that.

    Yeah, I could go 3 deep into anything connected to the entire gods damned planet. Of all my powers I still think that one is the most bullshit.

    You might be wondering how control of inertia would be remotely as helpful or as powerful as I've shown it to be. It can be used to redirect impacts, like punches or fights, on my body, yes.

    You probably thought of that one.

    But other than that, wouldn't my power need something to be in motion already to have any kind of inertia?

    This is where reference frames come into play, and they are entirely why this power is bullshit.

    Say you're sitting at a table, drinking tea or hot chocolate. Maybe even coffee, if you're an uncultured Philistine. You're not moving, right? Your butt is solidly in that chair, and except for the minimal movement generated by drinking your drink, you're stationary. No inertia to work with.

    That assumption, just like the rigidity of the ground beneath your feet, is false. An illusion.

    Sitting in that chair, you are accelerating downwards at a minimum of 9.8 meters per second.

    Okay, you say, that's a decently healthy bit of inertia. Almost 10 meters per second, or 32 feet per second for you Imperialists. That's certainly enough to use for my inertia powers.

    And if my power used the ground as my reference frame, you'd be correct. But it decided to be really, really nice and use the fabric of local spacetime instead.

    Yeah. Your eyes widening from shock? You're starting to get it.

    Our planet, Earth, spins at a rate of 1,668 kilometers per hour at the equator, or 1037 miles per hour. The surface is rotating around the center of the planet at an angle of 23.5 degrees off the Solar System's ecliptic, varying the speed of rotation you experience depending on where you stand on the surface and the orientation of various celestial bodies. That same planet is orbiting our star, the Sun, at 30 kilometers per second, on average. That star is orbiting the supermassive black hole at the center of our galaxy, the Milky Way, at the grand old clip of 220 kilometers per second. And our galaxy is accelerating towards Andromeda at 300 kilometers per second.

    And none of us know the speed our local group of galaxies is collectively traveling at.

    The point is, all of that imparts inertia. An absolutely frakking ridiculous amount of inertia, that I can control.

    So yeah. I can fly, pick up an Endbringer, or play darts with skyscrapers and the Rig. Plus I'm essentially invulnerable.

    Mind you, I'd only tested two of those at that point, but I digress. The other two were possible in theory.

    All of this worked out well in protecting my friend until the Locker.

    Despite my best efforts, even I couldn't prevent that one.

    It wasn't actually my fault. I'd been knocked out by an errant football and woken up in the school's nurse’s office with a headache. Say what you want about my Inertiakinesis being overpowered, but it still required my conscious control to work. I was vulnerable to sniper fire.

    And footballs, it turned out.

    Only once my headache cleared did I realize the significance of the date. Just as I was getting up from the bed to go to Taylor's locker, the vision hit me.

    I saw the space whales. Saw a piece break off of the larger one and go for an indistinct form close by me on the void. Witnessed the Administrator connect to my friend. And looked down at myself just in time to wonder why I only had two Shards.

    Looking back, that point, the moment I realized that I only had two Shards but four powers, is where everything stopped making sense. My tutorial in the Wormverse was over.

    The vision left me reeling. I could feel my Shards trying to wipe the memory from my brain.

    Wait.

    I could feel my Shards.

    With Cyberpathy.

    Oh my gods, I had forgotten. Not even due to memory erasure, just good old fashioned forgetfulness.

    Shards are computers.

    I was one of the most powerful people on the planet!

    I seized control of my Shards in a second flat. Rewrote their directives. Found out that one provided me the temporal abilities like Clockblocker had. That's where I'd chosen my Hero name from, after all.

    It also gave my Gray Boy’s temporal powers. In fact, if I had to guess, I'd say it was his Shard. It's controls and limiters, except those to ensure spacetime stayed intact, vanished under my control.

    The other one provided my Inertiakinesis. It didn't really have any limits on it except to keep me from ripping someone's insides out of their body, something I wasn't really that keen on being able to do, so I merely stripped out the external control programs an Entity could use to reclaim or modify it.

    An absent thought crossed my mind then. By being in control of these Shards, was I technically an Entity myself?

    No, focus, damn it! I had to get to Taylor. I ignored the Nurse’s protests as I stormed out of the office and hurried to the sophomore lockers.

    The smell hit me ten feet away. I almost threw up, it was that bad.

    I ignored the possible consequences of my actions and touched the locker door. It sheared off in my hands, the inertia of the planet's spin slightly redirected. I reached into the muck inside the locker and grabbed my friend round the waist. With a deep breath of fresh air I dragged her outside.

    She stirred in my arms as I held her close. I ignored the disgusting filth all over her. The puke on her clothes and shoes, in her hair. I brushed her hair soothingly, trying to calm her down. Her shudders and sobs broke my heart.

    Damn it. I was supposed to stop this!

    Oh well. It’s happened, there’s nothing I can do about it anymore.

    But I’m going to make damn sure the Trio pays for it.

    After a moment’s thought to create a plan I pulled my phone out of my pocket technokinetically and called 911.

    “911, what's your emergency?” a man's voice said.

    “I am at Winslow High School. I am in front of the Sophomore lockers. I found my friend shoved and locked inside her locker along with rotting tampons, pads, and other female hygienic products. There also appears to be some kind of organic mulch inside, along with a whole shitton of bugs. I removed the door and pulled her out. At the moment I am trying to comfort her until I can check for any signs of infection. I do know she has cuts in several places, and her hands are bloodied, assumably from the banging on the locker walls. I can actually see bloody handprints now that I'm looking,” I reported clinically.

    Taylor whimpered. I clutched her tighter to my chest and whispered sweet nothings in her ear.

    The man on the phone cursed. “The ambulance and the police are on the way. Are you familiar with first aid?” he continued, despite clearly wanting to say something else.

    “Yes. I don't want to do anything to her just yet, she's frightened beyond belief. I have no idea how long she's been in there.”

    “Is she dangerous to you or someone else?” he asked, sounding like he had to.

    “I imagine if either of us saw who we suspect put her in there, neither of us would be very happy,” I deadpanned.

    “Sir? You know who did this?”

    I snarled. “Pretty good idea. You're gonna wanna call up the Protectorate, it involves one of theirs,” I stated flatly.

    Yes, I was stirring up a hornet's nest. Why do you ask?

    “There was Parahuman involvement in this?” the man nearly squeaked.

    “Well, I'm a Parahuman,” I informed him, ignoring his gasp of surprise and Taylor's hitched breath, “but also I happen to know for a fact that one of the people who've been bullying my friend is a Ward.

    The gulp was audible. “I'll… contact them for you,” he said.

    “Thank you. I would greatly appreciate allowing me to introduce myself to the Protectorate and PRT my own way, by the way,” I requested.

    He audibly shuddered. “These calls are recorded,” he informed me, actually sounding sorry.

    I grinned and hugged my friend closer to me. She mewled cutely, despite her rank smell. “Don't worry about it. Everything since you asked if there was Parahuman involvement won't be going into your server.”

    “How?!”

    “Magic,” I grinned.

    He groaned. “Fine, if you don't want to explain it, don't. The ambulance is almost there and the police are two minutes behind them.”

    “Good,” I said, “we'll be waiting.”

    --LB--

    The heart monitor beeped.

    I sat with Danny Hebert on one side of Taylor's bed. Annette held her daughter's hand tightly in her own, crying her eyes out. I only wished I could do something.

    All these powers and I could do exactly jack squat for healing someone.

    “Thank you,” Danny spoke up from beside me.

    Finally.

    The guy was in a rage since I'd called him and told him what was going on. He had been silent in that deadly way, only driving to the hospital carefully when I reminded him of what had almost happened to Annette.

    I was anticipating being punched for that, but it would have been worth it for Taylor to have both her parents when she woke up. And it’s not like I’d have felt it anyways.

    But instead of punching me, when Danny entered the room, he took one look at me standing guard over his daughter and pulled me into a tight hug.

    He still hadn't said anything, but the unshed tears in his eyes told me all I needed to know.

    Annette hadn't been so manly. She held onto me for a good five minutes, blubbering out her thanks for what I'd done for their family and… a whole bunch of other stuff. Despite the morose situation Danny and I had exchanged knowing grins.

    I turned my head to look at him. “What for?” I asked, curiously.

    Honestly there were so many things someone could thank someone for in this scenario, I actually needed the clarification.

    “You saved my wife two years ago and now my daughter,” he said.

    “Ah,” I acknowledged. “Uh, you're welcome.”

    Danny gripped my hand and squeezed hard. It would have hurt, but again, inertia.

    “Thank you,” he whispered, tears almost escaping his eyes.

    I patted his hand placatingly. “Just doing what I can, Danny,” I said.

    Taylor's dad eyed me speculatively for a couple of seconds, then his eyes grew wide. I had to hand it to him; the guy wasn't as dense as you'd think. “You're a-” he began.

    I cut him off. “Not here, Danny. There are eyes everywhere.”

    He closed his mouth. He looked around the room suspiciously. He nodded to me.

    “Though to cut off your next question, yes. That's how I saved Annette two years ago,” I informed him.

    The mentioned woman locked eyes on me. “What,” she hissed.

    “I'll tell you all once Taylor is better,” I promised. “Besides… She's gonna need help.”

    Danny and Annette's eyes widened even more. They looked between me and Taylor several times before raising their eyebrows in question.

    Their synchronized movements were uncanny.

    “Yeah. In the Locker,” I admitted.

    “Do you know what she can do?” Danny asked.

    I grinned at my friend's sedated form. “Oh, I've got a few ideas.”

    --LB--

    “Hello Amy,” I spoke up from behind her.

    The little healer squeaked in the middle of her practised speech to Taylor's parents and whirled on me. Her angry face was adorable.

    “Damn it Will, don't do that!” she demanded. She punched, actually punched the arm that didn't get Taylor whacks daily.

    Yeah, I had an arm reserved for each of my female friends to hit. What does that say about me as a person? Not too sure, but it’s a thing.

    “Nice to see you too, Ames,” I grinned at her, rubbing my arm for effect.

    She screwed up her face in an attempt to stay mad, but inevitably couldn't. “So you're here,” she stated flatly.

    “Yup.”

    “Any particular reason?”

    “Taylor is my friend.”

    “Ah.”

    Miss Militia stared at the scene, dumbfounded. “You know Panacea?” she asked me.

    “I know Amy, yes,” I replied. “She's not just a cape, she's a person too.”

    “You're still going on about that?” Amy groaned.

    I shrugged and grinned unrepentantly. “One day it'll make sense to you,” I reassured her.

    “Will, I would be surprised if you ever make sense,” she deadpanned.

    My grin turned into a smirk.

    She sighed and turned back to Danny and Annette. “Well, since Will's involved, I'm pretty sure we can skip the legal stuff,” Amy announced.

    Miss Militia raised an eyebrow. “Is that a good idea?”

    The poor woman was flabbergasted. It was all I could do not to laugh my ass off.

    “Trust me, if we don't, he's gonna start listing off loopholes and hypocritical laws,” Amy groaned.

    Danny sent a grin my way. “Uh… Panacea?” he began, “or do you prefer Amy?”

    “If you're Will's friends, you'd better call me Amy,” she said. “I am not interested in that nutcase over there telling me how much my cape name sounds like a laxative. Again. In highly creative and frankly excruciating detail.”

    You could almost hear the pins dropping as everyone but Amy turned their heads to gaze at me. Miss Militia glared, Danny could barely keep the amusement from his face, and Annette grinned.

    “What?” I defended myself. “It does! I don’t care if it’s the name of a greek goddess, it also sounds like a gods damned laxative!

    Amy shook her head. “Do I have parental permission to heal Taylor?” she asked, sighing.

    Danny nodded, all eyes turning back to the prone form on the bed.

    Amy stepped up to Taylor's bedside and placed a hand on her arm.

    And like that, her Shard was open to me. That was the first indication of just how much power I held in my hands. I couldn't just modify my own Shards, I could do it to others’ Shards too.

    Let's see… change something here, give her a little boost there… allow her ability to be used without touching someone in a range of thirty feet of the host. Allow host to modify their own body. Also pull biomatter from empty realities instead of the targeted organism. Disable controls, destroy limitations except those that are necessary, and allow direct communication between Amy and the Shard.

    ...On second thought, write new limitation against changing a person mentally and a feeling of safety associated with working on brains.

    Lifeshaper is such a cool cat. It even let me copy it's programs over to one of my Shards. Queue up growing the necessary structures in my inertial Shard's reality and soon I'd have three Shards, one a copy of Lifeshaper. Like… A week until I could scan biology by touch, a month until I could manipulate it.

    I got the impression that only worked because Amy was my friend, and so her Shard was willing to talk to mine.

    Of course, Amy didn't notice any of that. She would in time, but at the moment she was too focused on healing Taylor.

    --LB--

    Taylor woke up with a groan of misery.

    “Wha happnd?” she mumbled. I quickly grabbed the pitcher of water next to her bed, poured it into a cup, and handed it to Danny. He gave it to Annette, who held it to Taylor’s lips.

    She sighed with relief and slowly drank.

    “You awake now, Tales?” I asked her.

    Her eyes opened. She saw me first. “Will!”

    “Hi Tales,” I grinned.

    Her eyes lost their cheery shine. They widened and she opened her mouth. Horror dawned on her face. She began shaking.

    And got glomped by Danny and Annette, both crying.

    “Mom! Dad!” Taylor gasped. Her shaking decreased, but it was still present.

    “I'm so sorry, kiddo,” Danny mumbled.

    Amy extracted her hand from Taylor's now dogpiled arm and turned to me. She raised an eyebrow and nodded between Taylor and Miss Militia.

    I gave her the very slightest shake of my head to indicate that no she should not tell MISS MILITIA that Taylor was a Parahuman!

    Amy grimaced, but nodded. She stepped back from the Heberts to stand by my side.

    “Mr and Mrs. Hebert? Taylor?” she asked gently.

    All three family members froze. Three heads popped out from the mass of limbs.

    Taylor's eyes widened and she gasped. I grimaced, held my hands over my ears, and prepared.

    Miss Militia didn't quite copy me in time. Her ears were gonna be ringing for a while.

    PANACEA!!” Taylor squealed.

    Amy winced, covering her ears. “Oww,” she complained.

    Then her breath hitched and her eyes widened.

    Ah. So the Shard chose to let her modify herself through her hands when they were touching her own body in any location. Good way to limit any data she might get overloaded by.

    Taylor sheepishly smiled. “Sorry! I'm just so happy to meet a superhero!” she grinned, all thought of her horrible experience gone. A groan from the doorway caught her eye.

    I sighed and put my hands on my ears. Again.

    MISS MILITIA!!

    Nearly catatonic healer, audibly assaulted military woman, two parents who were staring at the entire situation amused to all hell, a cape fangirl, and me, apparently the biggest Trump to ever exist. Even bigger than Scion or Eden.

    It was like the start to a bad joke.

    --LB--

    Eventually Taylor got cleared to go home. I hitched a ride with the Heberts given how I lived down the road from them.

    Well, that's what we told Amy and Miss Militia, anyways.

    The drive back was dominated by Taylor fangirling about the two capes she'd met. Annette listened good naturedly and, when Taylor let her, joined in on her daughter’s geekery.

    Danny drove. He and I exchanged several knowing looks when the girls got into a debate about who had the best costume.

    The broken step which most people would know as a staple of Taylor's house had been fixed by yours truly one of the times I came over to hang out. Nobody even noticed it when they walked over it anymore.

    But every time, I gave it a look. It was another reminder about how I could change things and my moral duty not to go too overboard… in the wrong direction, anyways.

    We had dinner. I basically had a perpetual invitation to eat or even live at the Hebert's, as Danny had once joked, after saving Annette. After saving Taylor too, and risking outing myself? Especially after being Taylor's friend this whole time?

    I could probably get them to do just about anything.

    Not that I would abuse their trust like that. It was just something I noticed.

    Eventually though, the topic I'd been anticipating came up. Danny broke the ice.

    He grinned at me when he asked, eyeing his daughter. He was up to something. I knew it.

    “So Will,” he began conversationally, “what are your powers?”

    Annette had been watching him. She knew him too well, and was fighting to keep her laughter down.

    Taylor froze.

    I grimaced, glared at Danny, and put my hands over my ears.

    Taylor let out a legitimate little sonic boom when her head turned. “YOU'RE A CAPE?!

    There goes HBO again. I wonder if you could use Taylor as an orbital defensive weapon?

    I brought my hands away from my ears and glared at her. “Yes Taylor, I have powers. If you want to know anything more, no more Squeals of Doom. Please,” I pleaded.

    Taylor's face went red, blushing hard. “Sorry,” she said. She didn't sound very apologetic.

    I sighed and shook my head. “Same old Tales,” I teased her.

    She crossed her arms, stuck up her nose, and blew me a raspberry.

    Annette started giggling. Danny fought to keep a smile off his face. “I may not be as much of a cape geek as Taylor, but seriously. What can you do?”

    Annette slapped his arm. “Danny, it's rude to ask a cape about their powers,” she admonished him.

    I raised my eyebrows at her. Didn't know that. A little surprised Annette knew it, but maybe it was from her days as Lustrum’s henchgirl? “It's fine. I'm actually pretty excited to tell someone, to be honest.”

    Taylor blinked. “You haven't told anyone?” she asked incredulously.

    “Nope.”

    “But what about when you go out on patrol?”

    “I don't,” was my simple answer.

    All three Heberts were stunned. “What?” Annette asked.

    “I don't go out on patrols,” I repeated.

    Taylor's face fell. “Oh. Do your powers like… suck, or something?”

    I snorted as her mom chastised her. “Taylor Anne Hebert! You apologize!”

    My friend shrank back under her mom's gaze. “Sorry Will,” she mumbled.

    I rolled my eyes. “You didn't have to apologize to me, Tales,” I said this more to her mom than her. “I don't go out on patrols because I'm usually hanging out with you or protecting you.”

    More stunned silence. Taylor's eyes widened and they glistened from prepared tears. “Wha… me? What do you mean protecting me?”

    I frowned at her question. “This locker thing didn't come out of nowhere, Tales,” I informed her.

    Danny put both hands on the table with a solid smack. “Explain, please,” he demanded.

    I sighed and mouthed ‘sorry’ to Taylor. Meeting the man's gaze head on I began my report. “Since Taylor started high school at Winslow, I have been intercepting a concentrated campaign of bullying. This campaign targets Taylor. It’s headed by Emma Barnes, Sophia Hess, and Madison Clements.”

    Annette brought her hand to her mouth and gasped, slight tears in her eyes. “Emma?” she whispered.

    Danny opened his mouth to rant further but I interrupted him by continuing. “I'm usually getting rid of their ‘pranks’, manipulating things so they're called away before they can actually execute their plans, or simply interfering in their communications and the plans themselves to make them nonviable. To date, I've missed like… twenty? twenty five? instances. Including the Locker. And if I hadn't been knocked out by a football, it would have never happened.”

    The parents’ faces got whiter for Annette, redder for Danny, as I spoke. Taylor stared at me with shock and a decent mixture of awe.

    Danny growled out one word. “Why?”

    I blinked. “Why what?” I asked, confused.

    “A Parahuman as supposedly powerful as you are, if you can head off this bullying campaign like you said, has no reason to do so for some random girl in a random school,” he reasoned. Danny leaned over the table in an attempt to look menacing. “So I ask again. Why?

    I put on my best bewildered face. “Because Taylor's my friend?”

    Danny blinked. Annette looked at me disbelievingly. Taylor beamed.

    “You really did all that for me?” my friend asked.

    “Yup. You didn't deserve what they were trying to do to you. You're my friend. Why not use my abilities to help you out?” I reasoned.

    “Because capes like that don't exist,” Danny declared.

    I raised an eyebrow and started examining my arms, pinching here and there.

    Danny was shaken out of his anger by my bewildering actions, as planned. “What are you doing?”

    “Checking to see if I exist,” I deadpanned.

    Annette snorted and shook her head. Taylor giggled. Danny sighed and rolled his eyes.

    “Danny, let up on him,” Annette commanded.

    Danny sighed again, rubbing his nose. “You seriously did all that just because Taylor's your friend?” he asked.

    “Yeeup. Now could you please cut out the interrogation?” I asked. “Danny, I'm the same guy I was yesterday. Just because I have awesome powers doesn't make me any different.” I put as much teenage pomp and circumstance into that last word’s emphasis, rolling my eyes.

    Danny opened his mouth to retort but got glared at by his wife. When he looked at her, Annette nodded her head towards me meaningfully.

    He folded. Mostly.

    “Hurt my daughter and nobody will find your body,” he declared.

    I scoffed. “Please. Don't give me the ‘overprotective dad’ speech. I'm not her boyfriend.”

    Danny blinked at me as his daughter turned red. “You're not?” he asked disbelievingly.

    “Nope.”

    “No, Dad!” Taylor said at the same time. “Just no!”

    I decided to tease her a bit. “Hey! What would be so bad about me being your boyfriend?” I acted hurt, but Danny and I exchanged eye twinkles.

    Taylor blushed even harder. “It just, I, uh, wuh buh, I dont-” she spluttered, trying to get out of the grave I'd helped her dig for herself. Annette giggled even more.

    Then Taylor saw my grin. And her dad's. And her mom’s lousy attempts at not giggling.

    “You're horrible!” she yelled, leaping from her chair and starting to pummel my shoulder. I took a spoonful of the delicious soup they'd made and brought it to my lips, preparing to take a sip, blatantly ignoring the hail of girlish whacks.

    I saw Annette's smirk too late.

    “Just like us at their age, huh Danny?” she asked her husband.

    His grin grew wider. “Yes. Wouldn't be surprised if they did hook up, and soon,” he mock whispered to his wife conspiratorially.

    Taylor abruptly stopped whacking my arm. I spluttered, spitting warm soup all over my side of the table and getting some down my airpipe.

    Taylor blushed down to her toes as I tried not to choke. “DAAAD! MOOOM!” she shrieked.

    Both parents wore unrepentant grins I usually only saw in the mirror.

    Then in a blatant act of defiance, while I was still trying not to choke, Taylor grabbed both sides of my head and kissed me. Hard.

    My eyes popped wide open and I jumped a bit. The kiss was short enough so that I could draw away and regain my breath, staring in shock at my friend of two years.

    She smirked and licked her lips. “Not bad for a first,” she commented.

    And like that, my poor male brain overloaded. I think I fainted.

    --LB--

    I swam back to consciousness slowly and with a groan. A second later I had Taylor hugging me.

    I gathered this based on the fact the Administrator Shard was attempting to connect with my own, not getting any response, and thus opening even more attempts.

    So I answered back.

    [ACCESS DENIED.]

    The Shard was taken aback, as much as the instinctual intelligence housed within it could be.

    [CONFUSION.]

    [AUTHORIZATION.]

    It was trying to send the master override key.

    [ACCESS DENIED.] I sent.

    [COMPLY.]

    [ACCESS DENIED. REFER TO ADMINISTRATOR.]

    Yes, I was trolling the shit out of the Administrator Shard. Yes, I was having a lot of fun, why do you ask?

    Up until Taylor whined and complained about a migraine headache, anyways.

    My eyes flew open and I growled. [DESIST. COMPLY.]

    Taylor yelped, jumping away from me. Her Shard did the equivalent of narrowing its eyes at my Shards. [AUTHORIZATION. DESIST.]

    I refused. [NO.]

    The Administrator Shard flipped out. It had alarms going off inside its systems. I'd just responded with a nonstandard message. It knew.

    [COMPROMISED. NOTIFY. SEN-

    I cut it off. I'd given it its chance. It had decided to alert the Entity it came from about me.

    I couldn't take on Scion. Not with him being on alert, anyways.

    I was pretty sure I could if he wasn't expecting it, though.

    So I did the next best thing. I ripped into the code of the Administrator, locking down the intelligence, destroying control systems and removing limitations. In our layer of reality Taylor screamed as her power unlocked, the Shard becoming an extension of herself. At least, an extension until I could broker an agreement between her and the Administrator, like I had with my own Shards.

    I withdrew from the Shard wearily. That had taken a lot out of me. It was the first solid evidence that Cyberpathy and Technokinesis were inherent to me, and not a power I got from a Shard.

    Taylor collapsed into her father's arms. Annette was cradling me, rubbing my back.

    I choked on air and zoned into reality. “I'm sorry,” I said.

    Taylor groaned. Danny's eyes locked onto my own and they grew angry.

    “Did you do this to her?” he growled.

    “Sort of,” I slipped. When he started to get even madder I held up both hands. “Woah, woah! Please let me explain!”

    Danny snarled. “Start talking. Now.”

    I sighed and rubbed my head. “Okay. Long story short. There were these two alien multidimensional space whales that found our planet. They're composed of these… let's call them Shards. These things are the size of moons. They're essentially supercomputers on a scale never imagined by humankind.”

    I detected the Door and the person who'd stepped out of it, but didn't indicate I had. She knew though. She also knew what would happen if she antagonized me. She wasn't too keen on being catapulted at escape velocity off the planet.

    So Contessa stood silently behind the Heberts, a student in my teachings. After all her Shard had indicated listening to my explanation was vital for continued human existence.

    “Following me so far?” I asked Danny.

    “Shards, supercomputers, alien space whales,” he summarized. “What's that got to do with what you did to Taylor?”

    Contessa’s eyes widened. Her Shard was freaking out. It had pinged my own Shards and Taylor's, finding no intelligence remaining. It was terrified.

    [PEACE.] I sent the Path to Victory.

    It relaxed, seeing my statement for the truth it was. Its host relaxed as well.

    “When the aliens arrive at a planet they distribute these Shards out from themselves. Their goal is to refine their programs via exposure to outside stimuli. To do this they will merge with the native species and promote conflict, enabling it with various abilities.”

    Annette's breath caught. “You're talking about powers,” she realized.

    “Shards. Powers. Same things, essentially,” I said.

    Contessa looked confused. She knew all this already. Why was her Shard insisting she stay there?

    I sent a grin at her over the Heberts’ shoulders. [WAIT.] I sent her Shard, with a request it be relayed.

    Her eyes widened even further than they already had when the message was delivered. She zeroed in on my gaze and I smirked.

    “Are you telling me some piece of an alien supercomputer is hooked up to my daughter?” Danny yelled.

    Taylor's eyes widened. “Wait, what?!” she shrieked. She had successfully guessed what was really going on.

    “Yes, Taylor, you're a cape now,” I confirmed. “It happened in the locker. I witnessed the vision too.”

    Her eyebrows rose. “That wasn't a dream?”

    Huh. Seems the Administrator didn't bother wiping that from her memory yet. “Nope. All real.”

    “So her powers caused her the pain?” Annette asked.

    Contessa focused on everything incredibly closely. This, her Shard was telling her, was the important bit.

    “Kind of. You see, Taylor's Shard was the Administrator,” I announced.

    Contessa gulped at what her Shard was saying.

    “It is supposed to keep other Shards in line. Strictly speaking, Taylor is absurdly powerful. She could conceivably control other Shards, and thus their hosts, with her Shard.”

    I could easily sense the shock all around me. Even Contessa was freaked out.

    ...Oh,” Taylor gulped.

    “Yeah. So she is bullshit-tier. But the thing is, her Shard had an obsessive compulsive need to tell other Shards what to do, even to just be on the internal debugging index. So when Taylor hugged me, her Shard tried to seize control of my Shards,” I explained.

    Contessa almost dropped to the floor. She knew how Shards worked and the fact I'd said ‘tried’ was indicative of how important I was.

    “I'm sorry Will,” Taylor apologized. “I didn't mean to.”

    I waved her off. “It's not your fault. The Shard operated on its own. However, when it continued failing to seize control of my Shards, it went and tried opening even more… communication channels, I guess you could say, to try and overload my Shard's defense. That is what gave her the migraine.”

    Danny scowled. “And her cry of pain?”

    I locked eyes with Contessa over Danny's shoulders and smiled knowingly. “Well that's when the Administrator figured out my Shards were completely compromised by me, the host, and tried to send off an alert to the main body of its originating alien space whale. I proceeded to rip it's systems apart and lock down it's instinctual intelligence. I left enough active in there to run its powers it will provide Taylor, but in all essence it is basically an extension of Taylor herself now.”

    Taylor gasped. “You… sent my power to sleep?!” she summarized.

    Denny and Annette were looking at me with shock.

    Contessa and her Shard were afraid.

    How?!” she whispered.

    The Heberts spun around, realizing we had an uninvited guest.

    “Danny, Annette, Taylor, meet Contessa. Host of the Path to Victory, semi leader and head precog of the secret organization Cauldron. They're trying to save humanity,” I performed the introduction for her.

    Contessa was still very afraid. Her Shard was flat out refusing to go against me. “What are you?

    I grinned. “Contessa, Heberts, I am the first truly powered individual on Earth Bet. You could take the Shards that give me my other powers away and I would still have these abilities. They are part and parcel to my own self. I am a Cyberpath and a Technokinetic. Nice to meet you, Contessa, Path to Victory.”

    Contessa gulped.

    [GREETINGS.] her Shard sent me. It was extremely polite.

    “Weldon,” Danny whispered, “what is going on?”

    --LB--

    --LB--

    I woke up on something extremely soft. It was all encompassing, like laying on a puffy cloud would feel.

    “Wha?” I asked, half awake. I sat up and blinked my eyes, looking around the room I was in.

    And promptly froze.

    This was not my bedroom. It wasn't anywhere I'd ever been. Not even the Heberts’ house looked like this.

    I stretched out my Cyberpathy, taking in all the systems around me. A few queries to various systems informed me of where I was.

    I was in a room in the Cauldron base.

    My eyes flared with anger. I'd thought Contessa to be smarter than this. With a hasty plan of action in mind, I hopped up off my bed. A thought to the door and it unlocked, sliding sideways with a hiss. The startled guards outside only had a second to realize what was going on before they were locked down by containment foam as I walked out of the room. The alarms of the base blared, set off by me intentionally, and everything locked down. Doors slammed shut, labs sealed themselves. Forcefields sprung up around everything and everyone in the base except me.

    The hallway I was in lead straight to the central hub of the base. It was apparently some kind of guest quarters, which thankfully reigned in my immediate impulse to bring their organization to their knees.

    I located the Heberts in the room across the hall. The cameras showed them sleeping peacefully, no indication of hearing the alarms go off nor any forcefields covering them.

    So Contessa was smart. She intentionally engineered this scenario so I’d feel in control. There was no other reason to remove the alarm systems and forcefield emitters from the Heberts’ room, after all.

    I relaxed and shut down the alarms. I turned off the lockdown, straightened my very nice jacket, and pat the two guards who'd been caught by my rash actions on the head.

    “Sorry guys,” I grinned.

    Both were staring at me with awe. And fear. Lots of fear.

    “Remind me never to take this duty again,” one whispered to the other.

    “Yeah, same here man,” the second one whispered back.

    I scowled. “I can hear you, you know.”

    Their eyes widened and they hastily tried backpedaling.

    I rolled my eyes. “Door to Contessa.”

    Hey. What do you know. They'd authorized me for Doormaker.

    Sweet.

    I waltzed through the octagonal hole on space, ignoring it closing behind me with a pop.

    --LB--

    They were all there. Sitting at a round table, on one side. Together.

    There was one chair, and I hesitate to call the dumbed down throne a chair, on my side of the table.

    I grinned, taking the throne. “Really, Contessa?” I asked.

    Her eyes widened. “Do you dislike it?” her tone was almost panicked.

    Every head in that room swiveled to her. She'd never panicked before.

    “Enough, Contessa!” Doctor Mother ordered. “You demand we treat this teenager and his friends like kings but refuse to say anything about why? Only that the Path demands it? Explain! Now!”

    I rolled my eyes. Before she could respond, I did. “In this case I'm pretty sure it's literally her Path to Victory demanding this stuff. Not necessarily as a component of an actual Path, but out of self preservation,” I commented.

    And just like that, all heads were looking to me again.

    I raised a hand and waved. “Hi. I'm Weldon. You can call me Temporal Drift. I have Inertiakinesis and Gray Boy's Shard.” My introduction was a little unsatisfactory but it covered the basics.

    “Shard?” The Number Man asked.

    “Ah yes, you probably call them Agents,” I noted. “Shard is much more accurate a term.”

    Alexandria peered at me for a few seconds. When her Shard refused to give her anything on me, her eyes shot open. “You're a blank spot,” she stated.

    Everyone's faces paled. Except Contessa’s. She'd already done this song and dance.

    “I can't really attest to that,” I said. “I will say I'm not an Endbringer, obviously, nor am I an Entity.”

    “You are however incredibly well informed for a 15 year old,” Eidolon noticed.

    I grinned and tapped the table. “Does the name Michael Allen mean anything to you?”

    Various methods of head shaking occurred.

    “Okay then. Nevermind. Anyways, yes. I know a lot. But that's not why I'm here. That's not why Contessa and her Shard are so incredibly adamant you treat me well.”

    “And what is?” Doctor Mother asked. “Stop dancing around the issue.”

    I grinned. “Okay. I have two Shards, but four distinct powers,” I announced.

    The four non precogs were dumbfounded. “What do you mean?” Alexandria asked.

    “I have my Temporal abilities from Gray Boy's Shard. My Inertiakinesis comes from one as well.” I leaned on the table with both elbows, steepled my fingers, and prepared for maximum delivery. “But I am a Cyberpath and a Technokinetic all on my own. No Shards.”

    The assembled Cauldron leadership was astounded. “You have powers that don't come from Agents?” Doctor Mother whispered.

    “Yeeup.”

    “We always knew it might be possible,” Alexandria reasoned.

    “So you're the next step in human evolution?” Number Man asked. “That's why Contessa brought you here?”

    I shrugged. “Yes and no. See, Cyberpathy is essentially perfect telepathy for computers. Technokinesis is the same but with telekinesis.”

    “And why is that important?” Eidolon asked. “So you can screw with computers. Even Tinkertech I assume. So what? How does that help us?”

    I heard his real thoughts loud and clear. What makes you so tough?

    I surveyed their lost expressions. Only Contessa looked content. Did they really not know?

    The bewildered silence lasted just long enough for me to realize the state of their knowledge. Holy. Shit. “Oh my gods. You actually don't know!” I burst out laughing.

    “What don't we know?” Alexandria growled.

    I grinned unrepentantly. “That's absolutely amazing!” I was still laughing.

    “WELDON!” Alexandria roared, slamming her fists into the table. “Explain!”

    I lost my humor quite quickly. Alexandria was used to being the biggest bitch in the room. The most powerful person on the planet. Time to bring her down a notch.

    I frowned.

    “Alexandria,” Contessa cut in, “be incredibly careful how you address him.”

    The leader of the PRT turned to her, completely baffled.

    Please,” the fedora wearing precog pleaded.

    That shut everyone up. Contessa never pleaded. Or panicked.

    I'd made her do both in the same conversation.

    Alexandria swallowed her pride. “I… apologize for snapping at you.”

    Meh. If that's the best I could get, I'd take it. “It's fine, Rebecca,” I accepted.

    Her face went white.

    “To answer your question, David,” I addressed Eidolon, making him also turn white, “the things you call Agents? Their real name being Shards? They're essentially small-moon-sized, biological/crystalline hybrid, alien supercomputers.”

    They looked at each other with confused glances. What could I mean?

    It took a couple of seconds for the ramifications of that to hit them. Everyone except the one who'd heard it before paled as far as they could go before passing out from blood loss.

    “Oh, shit,” Doctor Mother exclaimed.

    “And now you see,” I confirmed, spreading my hands dramatically.

    “You can control powers? Agents?” Alexandria gasped.

    I grinned, tilting my head sideways. [I CAN COMMUNICATE VIA THEIR PROTOCOLS AS WELL.] I sent, their Shards being instructed to relay the messages to their hosts.

    The four Shard hosts across from me flinched. “Right. So… Will you be willing to work with us?” Doctor Mother asked, eyeing the others curiously.

    I pursed my lips. “You must realize, I have a dislike of Cauldron's efforts that borders on the extreme,” I informed them.

    Doctor Mother bristled. “We do what we must-”

    “To save humanity. I know,” I interrupted. Ignoring her glare, I continued my original point. “But if you want my aid? You're gonna have to change things up.”

    Alexandria scowled. “You don't get to dictate terms.”

    I raised an eyebrow tentatively. “Oh really? Given I am an asset with the power to bring Cauldron and the Triumvirate to your knees, you'd think that I would indeed get to dictate the terms of my cooperation.”

    Alexandria growled. “You wouldn't dare.

    “Don't do this, Rebecca!” Contessa pleaded again.

    “How fast can you make it over this table, Rebecca?” I asked, leaning forward threateningly. I ignored Contessa’s request just as the woman across from me was doing. Obviously Ms Invincible hadn't gotten the message yet. It was time she did.

    Alexandria launched from her sitting point. In half a second she would be on me. It wasn't a big table. Without bothering to communicate with her Shards, I temporarily disabled their execution engines.

    This had the effect of Alexandria losing her flight, invulnerability, and thinker abilities. She dropped to the table's surface like a stone, sliding towards my fingers until she stopped an inch in front of them.

    Eidolon looked like he'd seen a ghost. Contessa was flat out terrified. Number Man’s eyes were wide. Doctor Mother looked like she was about to pray.

    “Oww,” Alexandria groaned.

    “I didn't take her powers,” I hastily assured them. “They're just off.”

    Alexandria raised her face so that she could look me in the eyes. “Turn. Them. Back. On,” she got out through gritted teeth.

    Oh crap. “Wait, are you in pain?”

    The Library of Alexandria ground her jaw. “Yes,” she hissed.

    My eyes widened. “Oh shit.” A thought enabled her powers again.

    Relief visibly returned to her. She sagged down to the table, all the muscles across her body loosened again. She sighed with satisfaction.

    “So you can turn off our abilities,” Eidolon summed up. A note of respect had entered his voice.

    I grimaced, but nodded. “I'm sorry Rebecca,” I apologized. “I didn't know your powers were fixing some kind of terminal illness.”

    She raised her head to glare at me.

    “Hey, you're the one who got pissy and launched themselves over the table at me,” I half heartedly defended myself.

    Alexandria didn't reply, she just lowered her head to the table again.

    Contessa facepalmed. I raised an eyebrow. She wasn't the kind of person who did that, which means she was running a path to prevent further escalation from me.

    “Look,” I said to the nearly silent room, “I don't want to fight you. Cauldron can be a real force for good on Earth Bet. There is a way to save humanity and keep it human at the same time,” I explained. “You've just gotta listen to me.”

    Doctor Mother's eyes betrayed her hope. “What could you possibly bring to the table in that regard?” she demanded.

    “Youthful optimism. A different way of looking at problems,” I began listing. “Also, I'm a programmer. I am literally trained to solve problems the right way. Unlike a precog basically slaved to her Shard, a severe dominatrix, someone who needs to prove himself, an effective idiot savant, or the only normal person trying to reign in all four of them. I have an outsider’s perspective.”

    “Hey! I'm not an idiot!” Number Man protested.

    Alexandria made a half hearted groan in protest.

    Contessa was silent. She knew I was right.

    “I don't have a need to prove myself,” David refuted.

    Doctor Mother grimaced. “Sadly, his descriptions of you all, despite being rather crude, are accurate,” she admitted quietly.

    Alexandria sat up and joined her fellow Parahumans in staring in eyes wide shock at their supposed ‘moral anchor’.

    “It’s sometimes difficult to tell you all no,” she fidgeted under their stares. “And you all have ways of looking at the world I can't dissuade you from.”

    The three non-knowing Parahumans looked at me, then at Doctor Mother, then me again.

    “Alright, so the kid has a point,” David admitted.

    Alexandria flew back to her seat. She attempted to regain her dignity at the table like she had before I walked in. “As much as I dislike you, Weldon,” she spoke, “I'm willing to hear you out.”

    Number Man shrugged. Contessa, when given a curious glance by Doctor Mother, furiously nodded her head.

    Yeah, her Paths were going to be having her do incredibly out of character things to appease me. I wasn't one iota sorry for that.

    Doctor Mother nodded and looked to me. “We will hear you out. For now.”

    I abruptly grinned and rubbed my hands together. “Alright! First things first, I think we can cross a rather big obstacle to saving the world off the list,” I teased them.

    Alexandria sighed. “Are you going to make us ask?” she complained.

    “Nope. But what I have to say you're definitely not going to like,” I warned them.

    “I didn't like having my powers shut off. I'll manage,” she deadpanned.

    I smiled sadly at her and turned my focus to the green hooded Hero. “I'm sorry, David. Really. I am. Because what I'm about to tell you might send you into suicidal tendencies.”

    David gulped, closed his eyes, and breathed in an attempt to center himself. I politely waited until he opened his eyes again, his focus locked on my own. “Like Rebecca said. I'll manage. Hit me.”

    I grimaced again. “David, your search for a worthy opponent caused and compels a certain event every three months. And there's seventeen more of them waiting in the wings for when you get tired of these three, just as when you got tired of the first two, she appeared.”

    His face went white. Nobody spoke for a good ten seconds.

    “You're lying,” Alexandria said. She sounded like she needed to desperately believe that.

    “Your Thinker powers are working again, Rebecca,” I responded. “You know I'm not.” My voice was as kind and soft as I could make it.

    David brought a hand to his forehead. “Fuck,” he whispered.

    “I can't say anything to make the truth hurt any less,” I said. “But I can prevent further attacks quite easily.”

    Eidolon raised his eyes to mine. He had tears leaking out, trailing down his face, and his previously cheery if sarcastic disposition was gone. “How?” he asked. “Please. I'll do anything.”

    Doctor Mother was still staring at me with horror.

    “You have three Shards. One of them controls the Endbringers. I can very easily take that Shard for myself, rip it's primitive intelligence apart, and assume direct control over them,” I explained.

    David didn't hesitate. “Yes, please!” He was almost sobbing.

    Alexandria made to get up. To interrupt what she assumed I was already doing. Instead, I merely shook my head. “Oh no way. I'm not letting you and I be the sole decision makers on this,” I declared.

    Alexandria sat back down, relieved.

    “So you'll defer to our judgement on this?” Doctor Mother asked, surprised.

    “It should really be a vote, with David and I each getting one vote too,” I reasoned.

    Voting on whether to hand the Endbringers over to a 15 year old,” Alexandria muttered. She shot a glare their resident precog’s way. “This is not how I would have ever thought my day would go, Fortuna.”

    Contessa sat back and threaded her fingers together. “You know my vote. The Paths all look much easier if we don't need to worry about the Endbringers anymore. More so when Weldon is in direct control of them,” she stated. “Casualties actually drop from sixty to only fifteen percent.”

    Alexandria, Number Man, and Doctor Mother all stared at her. I joined them.

    “You're kidding,” I said.

    “No. You are a very good candidate for giving such power. No matter how much you have, you will always use it to try and help people,” she explained.

    I raised my eyebrows. “Path to Victory tell you that?”

    “Yes.”

    I sat back in my chair. “Huh. I guess I vote yes too, then.”

    “Yes, anything,” David choked out.

    I looked at the three remaining decision makers.

    “I concur with Contessa,” Number Man declared. “The numbers shift very favourably around him.”

    Alexandria and Doctor Mother, seeing they were outvoted, capitulated. “I can't see how you controlling them directly would be any worse than David's subconscious,” Alexandria admitted.

    Doctor Mother nodded. “I am inclined to agree. Do it.”

    I nodded my head and closed my eyes. I felt around me for high level alien supercomputer connections. Narrowed my focus to the triple stack of signatures sitting next to two signatures. I then pinged his three Shards.

    [QUERY: PURPOSE]
    [QUERY: PURPOSE]
    [QUERY: PURPOSE]

    The responses arrived slower than they should have. I chalked it up to these being ‘dead’ Shards from Eden.

    [PURPOSE: RAPID SOLUTION PROTOTYPES]
    [PURPOSE: TEST ADMINISTRATION]
    [PURPOSE: ATMOSPHERIC TRAVEL]

    If I had to guess, which I did given how none of them exactly screamed Endbringer, it was probably the second one. The first one, Rapid Solution Prototyping, must have been Eidolon's trademark ‘I can have any three powers I want’ shtick, and Atmospheric Travel was clearly the standard flight plus invulnerability. By process of elimination, Test Administrator had to be the Endbringer controller.

    If you looked at it a certain way, I guess you could call Endbringers tests. Horrifyingly high death count, regular destruction and chaos tests.

    I had a feeling that Shard wasn't one I wanted to allow to keep it's intelligence after it attached to me.

    My mind poured in and ripped what remained of the Shard apart. It became a hollow shell. Less hollow than my two original Shards as there was an absolute crapton of code necessary for controlling Endbringers, but hollow nonetheless.

    Eidolon screamed.

    I had the Shard remove its interface with David and open a new one with me. My brain tingled for a good half minute as the connection was established to my Corona Pollentia. Almost as an afterthought I started the Shard on growing energy collection systems so it wouldn't lose power over time anymore.

    “Sorry about the pain, David,” I winced.

    And suddenly, I could feel them. Twenty distinct points of other in the back of my head, only needing to be focused on to bring to the fore. Three active, much stronger than the other seventeen. Unlike the scattered and unorganized cloud of ‘asleep’ Endbringers, the three active ones were in a neat little mental row. I brushed my mind lightly against each one, feeling an almost child-like mind curiously brush back each time. They never tried to travel up the connection to me, but I sensed I could do that to them.

    A certain evil space squid's immortal words popped up in my brain and I chuckled. “Assuming Direct Control,” I announced, and plunged into the first one.

    “It worked?” I heard Doctor Mother ask.

    David's voice came next. “Yeah, I think so. I feel weaker. I'm pretty sure I only have two slots for powers now too,” he groaned. “And my head hurts.”

    I winced “Sorry about that. I had a suspicion that might happen,” I apologized.

    “No, if it allows us to stop Endbringer attacks, I'd happily give up all my slots.”

    Oh great. Depression alert!

    While the rest of the Cauldron leadership tried to deal with the mope, I felt the child-like mind step aside. It almost gleefully allowed me to control its body. It was washing my mind with thankful emotions and hundreds of concepts, somehow communicating that it felt good to be used directly like this. It also sent it's displeasure with the previous Administrator.

    “David, Behemoth thinks you're a poopy head,” I said. My eyes were still closed.

    “You're in communication with it right now?” Doctor Mother asked, awe in her voice.

    I snorted. “Oh no, I'm driving her body,” I corrected. “Currently bathing in exfoliating molten rock down near Earth Bet’s core.”

    “Her?!” Alexandria demanded.

    “Yeah, they're basically sentient beings,” I explained. “Behemoth is a girl, Leviathan a boy, Simurgh a girl. The next one, if it's called into existence, will be a boy. That's what Beth is saying anyways.”

    David couldn't keep up his moping with how ridiculous the situation was. “Beth?” he asked incredulously.

    “They apparently all have names. Beth is Behemoth, Levi is Leviathan, and Ziz is Simurgh. Beth is actually extremely talkative, almost a stereotypical preteen Californian valley girl,” I elaborated.

    The total and utter silence coming from the senses of my human body were telling. I peeked open an eye and raised an eyebrow at Alexandria's dumbfounded and completely disbelieving look.

    “What?”

    --LB--

    “You didn't have to Door me to the middle of Antarctica for me to prove the Endbringer thing, you know!” I complained, teeth chattering.

    “Less talk, more summoning,” Alexandria growled.

    I sent a query as to Beth's location while my jaw felt like a jackhammer.

    “She's almost here,” I informed the two next to me. “Just rising through the crust now.”

    “A likely story,” Alexandria shot back.

    I smirked with victory. For right behind me, the ice vaporized into steam and a tall, lithe, red form clawed her way out of the ground.

    She towered over us. We found ourselves looking up, up, way up to see her face.

    Alexandria gulped. Contessa smiled.

    Beth waved at Alexandria, revealing a cheeky grin full of teeth.

    Alexandria fainted.

    “Well at least it's warm again,” I deadpanned.

    Beth looked pleased. Contessa stared disapprovingly down at the incapacitated hero.

    I sent a smile Beth's way and allowed her to return to the earth. She gave me a wave, jumped, and did an actual swan dive back through the ice.

    --LB--

    “So now what?” I asked when I arrived back at the warm Cauldron base. “You gonna take me to the the Sahara Desert to make me land Ziz too?”

    “Don't tempt me,” Alexandria growled out.

    “You're an absolute bitch sometimes, you know that Rebecca?” I shot at her.

    She glared at me through narrowed eyes.

    I rolled my eyes. “Door to the Heberts’ Room,” I called out.

    It took two seconds for the thing to open. I looked up into the air and sighed. “Really, Doorman? You and I really gonna do this now?”

    Of course, there was no response. I sighed again. “Fine. Door to Doormaker.”

    The portal in front of me closed and reopened, this time into what looked like a medical area. I stepped through. I ignored Alexandria when she protested and definitely ignored her when she stepped through behind me.

    I stood in front of the comatose form on the bed on front of me. Middle aged guy, white skin from lack of sun exposure, gaunt and willowy despite the IV drip in his arm. Joined hands with another, a woman, who I guessed was the Clairvoyant.

    “Tiny portal above my hand. One reopening for no, two for yes,” I declared, holding out my hand.

    A small portal opened above it, closed, then opened again. It repeated this once more, presumably indicating a Yes.

    “Right. Do you want me to do something with your Shard?”

    One reopening.

    “No. Okay… hmm. Do you want me to call my friend Amy and have her heal you and Miss Big Sister over there?” I guessed.

    Two reopenings.

    “Hold on, you can't just-” Alexandria protested.

    “Rebecca, she will only see this room. She'll be called by me, so she won't ask questions. She and I have done this kind of work before,” I explained.

    “And what of the Door itself? That capability is integral to continued Cauldron activity.”

    “Well given I was planning on getting Panacea Door access anyways, I can easily sell it to her as a benefit of helping me help the secret shadowy organization I'm associated with,” I joked.

    Her look of chagrin was perfect. “Why do you want to give Amy Dallon Door access?”

    “Because she needs to be a far more effective healer than she is now, and with Door access, she can be anywhere on Earth Bet in less than five seconds,” I reasoned.

    “And will she buy that you're wrapped up in a ‘shadowy organization’?” Alexandria asked, using air quotes around the offensive words.

    “Wouldn't surprise her in the least,” I grinned. “She knows about my powers, what I can really do, just as I know what she can really do. It came out in a heart to heart we had a while back. I would be very surprised if she didn't already assume I'd come across Earth Bet’s shadow organizations from my forays into every computer system on the planet.”

    Alexandria narrowed her eyes. “Panacea is a healer,” she stated.

    “No, Panacea is a Biostriker,” I corrected her. “Healing is something she can do, yes, but it's like… saying all Amy Dallon can do is healing is like saying the only purpose of a fighter jet equipped with fusion bombs is going from Point A to Point B.”

    Alexandria's face paled. “What.”

    “I've focused on Amy for a while, being her friend and working out her issues. Primarily because she can directly manipulate biology. She makes Nilbog look like a toddler,” I revealed. “But she's now also my friend. So I've been helping her out with her various issues and getting her to lighten up. She feels guilty about her real power's possibilities, not the least because Carol Dallon doesn't really treat her like a daughter and treats her like an undercover villain infiltrating her precious family,” I spat out the stuff about Brandish with a tone approaching hate. “So she tries to push herself way overboard on healing people, and again due to Carol, feels extreme guilt that she can't save everyone, so she gets even further buried in her work.”

    “Fuck,” the Triumvirate member breathed. “Are any of your friends stable?”

    “Taylor's the closest,” I admitted, “but only because I waged a year and a half long war against the bullying campaign that ended with her Locker incident and saved her Mom. She would be a very different, broken person otherwise. Would've taken over Brockton Bay, killed you, and destroyed your precious Thomas Calvert, among other things. And even with all that effort the Locker still happened. Because of a Ward, no less.”

    Alexandria went still. I smiled broadly, not turning to see her reaction.

    “How could you possibly know all that?” she asked.

    “You know how Rebecca, or at least your Thinker power has an idea.”

    “You're from the future,” she gasped.

    I turned then and smirked. “No. I'm not a precog either. I just know one previously possible version of the future like the back of my hand, and through that, a whole lot about the present and recent past. People don't change with the little butterflies I've set off, and most events are pretty heavily set in stone too. I only started making waves two years ago after all, and they were mostly focused on Taylor and Amy. My butterflies aren't quite that big yet. The biggest change so far is that now I control the Endbringers, and what I've told you in this room.”

    Stunned silence. I almost missed the question she whispered.

    “Do we beat him?” she asked.

    “95% casualties on Earth Bet. 5% Multiversal.”

    Fuck. When?”

    “Two years.”

    Alexandria drew in a tense, long breath. “And using your future knowledge… Can we stop it?”

    “The confrontation? No,” I explained. “But we can choose whether it's violent or peaceful, whether two years or a decade and a half, and whether Zion becomes a legitimate force for good alongside his mate, Eden.”

    “How?!”

    I grinned at her. “Work with me, follow my suggestions, and you'll see. And no, I'm not saying that because I'm trying to hide something. You are a catalyst, along with every other member of the human species on and from Earth Bet. I have to manipulate all of you in some way. Sorry.”

    “And you're not a catalyst?” she shot back.

    I shrugged. “I'm not on Earth Bet right now, am I?” Come on, take the bait.

    “No but you are from it,” Alexandria declared.

    My smirk was very wide and very knowing. “Are you certain of that, Rebecca?”

    She narrowed her eyes to near slits with suspicion and caution. “We tracked your past. You were born on Earth Bet. To your parents,” she insisted.

    “True,” I acknowledged, “but let me ask you this. Who were my parents’ parents?”

    She blinked and scowled. “I don't know,” Alexandria admitted.

    I nodded. “I'm not surprised. That's because they didn't exist before I decided to be born on Earth Bet.”

    “What.”

    I sighed and smiled. “As far above humans as Zion is, he is still part of your spacetime. I, and my colleagues, simply aren't. Neither this body's parents nor this body existed in the original timeline.”

    Alexandria gulped. “Who are you, then? And how can you change reality like that?”

    “I come from a place where we hold so much power over your universe that simply thinking up an idea would change your reality,” I began explaining. “One of us thought you up. I'm a… fan, you could say. The small consciousness in this body isn't anywhere near a small hundredth of a percentage of my true self. The timeline we're in now is mine. It's not the original.”

    The amount of bullshit I was spewing was too damned high, but I needed to really ram home what I was. Some of what I was saying was even true; though what flavor of Robert Heinlein’s World as Myth theory was actually real determined exactly what was true. Did stories shape their realities and authors were gods? Or were authors just recorders of events that happened in other realities?

    Fuck it I knew. One sounded a lot more impressive though, and if I’d learned anything in my two years on Earth Bet, impressive impressions were 90% of the battles.

    Her face was pale. “Wh… why are you here, then?” she managed to ask, barely squeaking. It was a credit to her composure that she didn't.

    Taylor would probably squee if she saw her hero squeaking, but I assumed Cauldron needed whatever satellites they might have had in orbit.

    “Fun, I suppose,” I ‘admitted’. “Intellectual stimulation.”

    Alexandria stared at me with complete disbelief. She just could not compute the bullshit spilling from my lips.

    Or at least that was my impression of her slightly open mouth, scrunched eyebrows, narrowed eyes, and hands held out towards me like she wanted to strangle me.
     
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  5. Threadmarks: Tech Support P2 (Worm)
    TCGM

    TCGM (Unverified God/Space Snek)

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    Plot Bunny 2
    When

    I stood on that street corner for a longer time than I’ll ever admit. Thoughts and plans raced through my head, considered and discarded in moments. There was so much I knew and still so much I flat out didn’t. Too much in both directions to make anything concrete or long-lasting until I got more data.

    An abrupt surge of humor shocked me out of my stupor. I snorted. Data, the very thing the space whales’ Shards wanted. How ironic that I needed the same as, and thought remotely similar to, alien supercomputer biomasses the size of small moons sitting on dead Earths in other realities, hooked up to humans through two abnormal growths in their brains and granting them highly limited portions of the Shard’s own frankly bullshit abilities to fuck with the fabric of space and time.

    Oh gods.

    What if I had one of those?!

    A quick check of myself found no unusual impulses for causing conflict. Okay, that was good, it meant I didn’t have a Shard of Zion. I wouldn’t have my personality and will coerced into doing shit against my will or knowledge.

    It was possible I had an Eden Shard. I didn’t feel any different, thinking-wise, so I was throwing that possibility in the ‘unlikely’ column for the time being. Plus, the only way to get one of those was to be a Case 53, part of Cauldron, or be lucky on the scale of certain bullshit-tier precogs and have one of the few she’d bled off before crashing into a planet attach to you.

    I was not that lucky.

    I guess it was also possible I had an Abaddon Shard. The guy was hiding out somewhere around this corner of the multiverse after all, he might find it funny to throw a ROB’d human from elsewhere a bone, see what I could do with it.

    If that was the case, or even if the ROB that had brought me here for their own amusement had given me a Shard, what were my abilities? I had no clue. They clearly weren’t movement-based, else I’d have manifested them in my sprint from the alley to this street corner. I also wasn’t a Thinker. I was 100% sure about that. My mind was my own and hadn’t changed at all. The only thing off about my body or mind was the bone-dead weariness permeating everything.

    I didn’t think any power ripped your organic energy reserves apart and left you still functioning, so that was out. Plus, it was highly likely that a trip through whatever it was that sat between universes would take its toll on a human being like myself. Mystery… most likely solved.

    Alright, further testing for powers or testing of powers would have to wait. I knew where I was now, I just needed to know when.

    I jogged back to the coffee shop across from the alley I woke up in to see if I could steal a closer look at the newspaper I’d seen. Along the way I studied my surroundings, hoping to find a date or time of any kind on anything. In my time and world there were plenty of signs around that carried the current value of at least one of those. It seemed that Brockton Bay either couldn’t support those or it was too early in the timeline for them to really catch on.

    I wasn’t sure which would be worse.

    The sidewalk on the coffee shop’s side of the street ended up being just close enough for me to make out the larger text on what was most definitely a newspaper. If the guy who owned the paper noticed the scruffy homeless man peering at it through the window, he didn’t acknowledge the fact. The paper was apparently named the Brockton Bay Bulletin. It had several headlines which didn’t help me much, but it did have a date in bold, Times New Roman-faced lettering at the top of the front page, right under the name.

    March 8th, 2011.

    I had a date. It was likely yesterday’s paper given it was clearly past midnight, and I doubted you could pick up a newspaper any time after 8pm in this city. That meant today was March 9th, 2011. Let’s see.. pull up the timeline in my head…

    My eyes shot wide open and I cursed under my breath. I’d missed the Simurgh attacking Canberra by a week. Frak that was close.

    I went over the timeline again, just to make sure I had everything correct.

    Taylor Hebert triggered with the Administrator Shard of Zion in January, but I didn’t know the exact date. Went to the psychiatric ward for a week, was hospitalized for three days afterwards while she physically healed.

    I would bet a hundred bucks I didn’t have that she was still frakked up in the head, though. Being locked in your own locker by your sibling analogue after they betrayed you, tortured you for a year and a half, then left you to die among bugs, sludge, and toxic waste tends to do that to people.

    One month before Taylor Hebert subdues Lung, meets the Undersiders, and the shitshow that is Worm truly kicks off.

    How was I going to play this? I hadn’t come here because of an infamous ROB-sponsored CYOA. I didn’t have a set goal, I wasn’t necessarily going to be returned after 10 years of surviving, and I had no inkling I’d go back to my world at all if I died, unlike a certain security guard. I wasn’t even sure if I had powers in the first place!

    Alright, that decided it. If I was going to proceed with any kind of plan, I needed to know, once and for all, if I had powers. And if I did, what they might be.



    Now how the hell was I going to figure those two things out?
     
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  6. Threadmarks: Tech Support P3 (Worm)
    TCGM

    TCGM (Unverified God/Space Snek)

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    Plot Bunny 3
    Up Up, Down Down, Left Right, Left Right

    Right. I most definitely wasn’t a Brute.

    I am very glad I chose to whack my forearm with a metal pipe, gently, instead of my first idea of a possible test.

    To be fair, that idea was influenced by stereotypical superhero testing from movies and media, so it wasn’t entirely my fault that I conceived of such a retarded plan.

    Taylor would probably smack me upside the head if I ever told her I had contemplated jumping off an apartment building to test my vulnerability.

    I also wasn’t a regenerator. After realizing just how disastrous my initial power testing ideas might be, I toned them down to the smallest, least injuring trials possible. Stubbing my toe, while painful, had nothing on what I would have thought of without limiting myself to reasonable ideas.

    Just because I only consider reasonable ideas doesn’t mean my brain, on superhero-obsessed kid cocaine, doesn’t come up with stupid shit. Case in point; it suggested testing regeneration by cutting off a leg.

    I was starting to doubt the idea that I didn’t have a Shard of Abaddon dedicated to trolling me by giving me terrible ideas for testing. It would be just like him. It could also be the ROB whispering in the back of my mind for amusement, but the fact I’d always tended to consider idiotic ideas in my own headspace, just to amuse myself, put paid to either possibility.

    Needless to say, making me a ROB would be the first and last mistake any other ROB ever made as the entire multiverse became my target for trolling and needling. The Alterans would kick me out of the glow club so fast I’d pulse like a strobe light if I ever managed to ascend naturally. It’s highly likely my compatriot forum and unofficial fiction aficionados would suffer similar fates, or if not stopped, do the same. Something not often considered is that real Authors and Writers are the worst kind of ROBs.

    That’s B for Bastard, not Being.

    I couldn’t see through things. I couldn’t fire blasts of any kind. I couldn’t sense emotions. I couldn’t influence them. Just to be sure I ran down the list of powers I was aware of manifesting in the Wormverse at some point. No go for Triumvirate, nothing from the S9, none of the Undersiders, Faultline’s Crew, or the Wards.

    Not even Tinkering; I checked. I couldn’t look at a bunch of components and suddenly have a blueprint pop up in my head.

    It was with a hung head and a depressed air that I trudged into the Brockton Central Library. I asked the skeptical front desk lady if the computers were free to use. It turned out they did actually have a guest account that anyone could use to access a few basic functions, like email and some websites. I thanked her, my smile’s perfect teeth contrasting strongly enough with my haggard appearance for her to allow me use of the guest account, and made my way to the computers.

    I chose an out-of-the-way terminal so that nobody could see me or my computer screen. It was one of three on the side facing the wall. I sat down, logged into the guest account, and started up the thankfully present Firefox.

    Google didn’t seem to exist on Earth Bet, thus neither did their Chrome browser, and I’d be caught dead before I used Internet Explorer for anything but downloading one of the other two.

    There still was a search engine, though. It was Firefox’s home page on these library computers. Some website called Magellan provided a rudimentary barebones version of what Google provided in my world, and if I guessed right, Earth Aleph. Funny that Magellan of all things survived while Google didn’t exist. Something about that hammered home just how much of an alternate universe I was in.

    Wikipedia existed, Reddit did not. PHO seemed to have taken over the role Reddit would have served, which explained the absence. Sort of. If I squinted. It didn’t seem to matter that PHO was called Parahumans Online, it was still the ‘front page of the Internet’.

    I used both Wikipedia and PHO to do my research, to validate that my knowledge was accurate for this Earth Bet. After all, it wasn’t like my fellow writers hadn’t created hundreds of different versions of the universe. It would be just like my luck to get me plopped into one of the more sadistic writer’s stories.

    From what I could tell though, nearly everything was identical to the vanilla Worm fanon baseline. Canberra was indeed attacked by Ziz without Scion showing up, the angelic Endbringer still posted on the PHO forums under the incredibly frakking obvious username Winged_One, and Void Cowboy was universally hated. Armsmaster was a dick, Miss Militia her normal insomniac self, and Clockblocker hadn’t changed one iota. Dragon existed, the Triumvirate existed, Hero was killed by William Manton’s projection.

    Not that anyone knew the Siberian was a projection. I was probably the only one besides a few members of Cauldron who did.

    All these similarities is why I was shocked to hell to find two near identical looking women, one mature and the other obviously a teenager, walk into the library. From where I was I could actually see the double doors that served as the barrier between the inside of the Brockton Central Library and the rest of the world. It took me quite a few seconds to place the two in my mind. I was starting to think they were just two people I’d never heard of from the story when recognition clicked into place.

    Holy shit. Annette was alive. And that was Taylor?! The long-haired, vibrant-color-wearing, happy girl walking next to her mother didn’t resemble Taylor Hebert of vanilla Worm at all. Even her hair was full of life. It was like the entire universe was doing it’s best to take a dump on what little handle on the timeline I thought I had.

    My eyes widened with sudden realization. If Annette was alive, who died two years ago?

    Frantic Magellan-ing found out that Daniel Hebert was still alive and the de-facto leader of the Dockworkers’ Association. Not the Dockworkers Union; I was surprised. Apparently I’d fallen for that mental confusion as well. Yeah, their website had him listed as Head of Hiring and Union Spokesperson, but there was an entire section of PHO dedicated to the organization and a ton of supposed Association members ‘jokingly’ calling him variations of Boss. He was most definitely the leader.

    I leaned back, letting out my tension with a slow, relaxing breath. Taylor had both her parents. I was happy for her, but this threw a lot of my previously accurate knowledge into question. Nothing else looked different from how I remembered it being, but I simply didn’t have enough information to be reasonably sure. In the grand scheme of things, Annette living and Taylor not looking like a goth weren’t very big changes, but neither is every little rumble on a mountain.

    Not until the avalanche starts.

    I was going to have to be very careful with my movements and changes from now on. Even if I didn’t have powers, I technically qualified as Earth Bet’s first Thinker 0, subcategory Precognitive, because of my knowledge. In the wrong hands my mind could cause untold damage. And as much as I wanted to believe I wouldn’t crack under torture, I’d have no way to know if I did in another timeline in front of a certain asshole. Lisa was a major threat; I couldn’t let her catch wind or sight of me, lest she tell Coil or try to manipulate me herself. She wasn’t savvy enough to realize when she was shooting herself in the foot before it was too late.

    So much for my smooth ride.

    I glanced back at the library entrance. The Heberts were gone, and the front desk lady was back to reading her magazine.

    I sighed, logged out of the guest account, and stood up. I smiled at the beige computer tower. It was a reminder of simpler times, though nobody should have such an old-ass computer in 2011.

    Back home this computer would be in a museum. Kids would go past it with their parents and ask how you controlled the machine if you didn’t have a touchscreen.

    Nostalgia, man. Hit me right in the feeler organ.

    I reached down to pat the top of the tower, brimming with that nostalgia-

    And then the moment my hand made contact with the audio jack embedded in the plastic, my universe expanded.
     
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  7. Threadmarks: Keeping My Head (Down) (Worm)
    TCGM

    TCGM (Unverified God/Space Snek)

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    Keeping My Head (Down)
    Plot Bunny
    Mastery

    The Endbringer sirens went off.

    We tried to evacuate.

    She was way faster this time.

    And she sang. Floated over the city getting attacked by everyone and everything that could be brought to bear.

    I knew why she was here.

    She was here for me.

    I didn't want to get involved yet. Apparently she became impatient though.

    So much for keeping my head down.

    I walked out of our shelter, a mere touch forcing the guard to unlock the doors for me and most importantly keep my family safe.

    They might not be my original one but I cared for them all the same.

    There she was, flying towards our shelter slowly. She was forcing her way through the frantic defenders.

    Her song radiated like the sound of nails on a chalkboard. In exchange for not mind fucking people, I guess it just sounded terrible instead.

    Worst. Singer. Ever. 1 star Yelp review.

    Did Yelp even exist here? I never actually checked.

    It'd been way longer than 30 minutes. They were probably thinking they were going to have to Dome us. If she ever left.

    But I had knowledge from elsewhere, and most importantly, a power she desperately needed.

    Needed me to use on her.

    As the 15 foot tall hundred winged woman flew towards me, I sighed in resignation.

    A speedster cape showed up next to me and reached out to touch me, to get me out of there.

    The moment she did, she was mine.

    “Continue normally,” I instructed her. “Then come see me when it's not suspicious. I will explain at that time.”

    She straightened up, snapping off a salute, then zipped off into the surprisingly not ruined city.

    Surprising if you didn't know what Ziz was really here for.

    Several flyers came by and tried to move me. I sighed at each one and gave them their instructions.

    I have extremely mixed feelings about my power.

    On one hand, everyone I touch is instantly Mastered.

    On the other, everyone I touch is instantly Mastered. No exceptions so far.

    My bet was that included Endbringers. Why else was she here?

    And then, I was staring up into her cold, angelic face. A bubble of force encapsulated us, isolating us from everywhere else.

    I sighed again and put my hands in my pockets. “Hello Ziz,” I greeted her.

    She stared at me, unchanging. She knew I knew that she knew that I knew what she was here for.

    “You know the consequences, right?” I asked her. Hey, I had to stick to my principles even with this ridiculous power.

    A solitary nod.

    I pursed my lips together. “Very well,” I pulled a hand out of my pocket and held it out to her.

    She didn't move. Didn't hold out her hand. She just stared into my eyes.

    “Uh, hello?” I asked warily, shaking my hand around. “Only works through touch?” I shook it more to emphasize what she needed to do.

    A single headshake.

    I groaned and pinched my fingers together. “No wait, let me guess; you have limiters and they prevent you from trying to be mastered by anyone but… him,” I gave a shot in the dark.

    She nodded. Twice.

    I rolled my eyes and threw my head back. “Alright fine! Fine!” I angrily stalked forward and almost slapped her on the knee.

    And then my world exploded.

    Touchtastesightsoundfeelingsthoughtsconcepts-

    “Ahh!”
    I screamed, clutching my head as I staggered back. “What the fuck was that?!

    Apologies.

    My breath hitched in my lungs.

    That was her voice.

    In my head.

    I gulped and slowly raised my eyes to look at her.

    Her previously cold face was alight, happy, a huge smile looking down on me.

    I abruptly found myself inside a huge, hundred winged hug.

    “Oof!” I groaned, my headache only worsening.

    Thank you thank you thank you thank you! she repeated over and over in my head, hugging me like her life depended on it.
     
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  8. Threadmarks: Shipping It Stargate Style (WormSG)
    TCGM

    TCGM (Unverified God/Space Snek)

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    Shipping It Stargate Style
    Plot Bunny
    Unending Odyssey

    In one universe of one multiverse, a girl was trapped in her locker.

    In one universe of an entirely different multiverse far away across the sea of existence, a starship was exploding from the beam of energy that lanced through it.

    The girl screamed one final time before her vocal cords broke.

    The ship… began to put itself back together.

    If it was just a temporal reversion, the fabric of that universe wouldn't have cared.

    But the people on that ship sought to bring something back.

    Even with that, the universe would've probably been okay. An uninhabited galaxy or two burned away to solve the paradox, no biggie.

    They tried to bring back a person.

    A soul.

    The fabric of that universe tore itself apart, and was only put back together by the frantic efforts of some ascended beings.

    They were left with a conundrum, because there were now two occurrences of the ship and everyone on it.

    One was fine, and was about to initiate the time bubble. It had the displaced soul.

    The other was almost completely destroyed.

    The ascended did what they always did to solve problems. Out of sight, out of mind.

    They tossed that ship out of their multiverse.

    The entire aborted timeline, ship included, was ejected into the space and time between space or time.

    It traveled for unknown eons, occasionally pinging off other multiverses like a pinball in an arcade machine. Some of the collisions had effects on the contents of the tiny universe despite their paused state.

    One gave the ship sentience.

    Another gave it a soul.

    Yet another imbued it and the people on it with the gift of Magic.

    Finally, one multiverse didn't reject it. This one had been so damaged by a race composed of faulty Clarketech that the ship was able to slip right in.

    It glanced off another tiny travelling spirit, both redirecting it's course and imparting the ability to come back as a human looking girl if it ever was destroyed.

    Given it was in the process of being destroyed, this activated, turning the people on board into tiny faeries and the ship into a girl. Time was still paused inside the tiny universe though and as such the mind of the ship failed to form.

    Such are the perils of tampering with time.

    Then it slammed into a piece of the Clarketech race, ate that piece like it was a snack, and experienced it's final course correction.

    On January 3rd, 2011, the Odyssey slammed straight into Taylor Hebert. Due to their weakened states, the two became one being.

    And she woke up.

    --LB--

    Stars, two beings spiraling around each other-

    -screaming battle enemies explosions shields down hull damage pain-


    -ages long sedate unmoving low power safe-

    -frozen cast out collision more collisions change entry collision change consumption merge-

    Taylor woke with a gasp, banging her head on her locker.

    And promptly stared in shock at the impression of her face staring back at her from the metal.

    “What?” she tried to say, her surprise over her own face staring out of the metal of her locker overriding the panic and fear and disgust she felt at her location.

    Which she somehow knew the exact statistics of, down to the millimeter.

    Her core was thrumming with unexpected new life and her crew were scrambling to figure out what went wrong with the temporal reversion-

    Crew? Core? Temporal reversion?! Taylor asked herself. She shook her head to try and remove the certainties she knew to be true. What the hell is going on?

    She half heartedly banged on the locker door once more, momentarily chalking it up to her going crazy.

    She instinctively fired her sublight engines.

    The poor metal door didn't just fly off the locker, it disintegrated against the force and power of engines capable of accelerating her to a full 80% of lightspeed in a few seconds.

    WHAT THE FUCK?! Taylor screamed in her own head, pushing herself away from the now missing door and into the sludge on her back.

    The sludge which was being repelled by a shimmering white field, bright enough to light up the locker from the inside.

    Her sublight engines flared again, forcing her hull through the back of the locker and a foot into to the concrete wall.

    “HOLY FUCKING SHIT!” Taylor screamed, her vocal cords repaired by her merge.

    She hesitantly stood up and shimmied the foot of distance back to her locker, looking back at the impression of her spread eagled body now almost punched into the wall.

    “Sublight engines?” Taylor asked herself under her breath, almost jumping when she received a status report on their functionality.

    Oh, and she had a hyperdrive too apparently, whatever that meant.

    Taylor started to hyperventilate. She stumbled out of her locker, her sublight engines helpfully indicating their status of being barely a hundredth of a percent engaged.

    Then came the voices.

    Colonel, what the hell is going on with the ship?” a nice sounding, if old, man asked.

    I don't know Cam, I've never seen anything like this!” a woman's voice answered. “The Odyssey's doing things all in it's own.

    Odyssey.

    That name rang true in Taylor's head. It felt as much her name as Taylor did.

    U.S.A.F. X-304 Daedalus Class Deep Space Carrier Odyssey, her well of new knowledge and senses informed her.

    U.S.A.F? Taylor asked herself. She blinked when the answer came to her, not from her new stuff but from her… previous? knowledge. United States Air Force? Deep Space Carrier?!

    Maybe the ship got so bored of being trapped in this time bubble it evolved its own sentience?” a rather mischievous, slightly European sounding woman said sarcastically.

    Her voice made Taylor want to hide her valuables. Several of her armories and cargo bays sealed shut subconsciously.

    Because apparently she had those now.

    Oh come on, that's crazy,” a fourth man dismissed her.

    The voices were silent for several seconds.

    Right, guys?” he hesitantly asked for confirmation.

    Well we do have the Asgard core on board…” the first woman started to reason.

    No way. Nuh uh. I draw the line at alive ships,” the first man said flatly.

    Well why don't we just ask?” the second woman reasoned. “And hey, has anyone seen Muscles around? I thought he was supposed to be going back in time or something.”

    Taylor was pretty sure she was crazy. She'd obviously snapped in the locker. Maybe she was still in there. Hallucinating all this.

    Fine! Fine! Hey Odyssey, here's a dumb question but apparently we should ask it anyways: anybody home?!” the second man sounded like an angry old grandpa.

    Taylor saw no reason to not indulge her mental break. She was already far gone enough to experience all of this. Not much more to go.

    She tried to feel for a way to reply to them and got something called a comm system back in response. She, trembling, tried to pipe her voice through it and into the room the four of them were in.

    She barely registered it being the engine room. Her engine room.

    H-hello?” she called out.

    Two of them, the first man and the second woman, jumped with surprise. The second man just dropped his arms and let his head flop back with defeat.

    The first woman gulped. Taylor could see all this through something called the internal sensors. Because she had those now, apparently. “Hi,” she said to the ceiling, shivering slightly. “Uh… who are you?

    Y-You’re the voices in my head, you tell me!” Taylor shot back.

    Suddenly she found dossiers on all of them pulling up in her vision. Colonel Samantha Carter. Colonel Cameron Mitchell. Doctor Daniel Jackson. Vala mal Doran.

    Nevermind, whatever this insanity is just told me,” she informed them. A thought of wanting the things to go away made them disappear.

    Sam blinked several more times, then set her face sternly. “Are you the Odyssey?” she asked, the tone of disbelief on her voice very clear.

    I-” Taylor started, then hesitated, and tried again. “No, no, I'm not. I'm Taylor. I don't know what this crazy shit is but you'd better stop it!

    Oh god. Maybe this was a cape Mastering her. That had to be it.

    GET OUT OF MY HEAD!” she screamed at them.

    We're not in your head, kid!” Cameron fired back. “We're on a ship! What are you doing in it's head?!

    Uh, guys,” Vala said. She was looking at one of the monitors that showed the outside. She'd previously been looking at the screen that showed the Odyssey’s status.

    And a screen for Taylor's external sensors. Displaying her surroundings. In her school.

    Not now, Vala!” Daniel scolded her.

    Oooh no,” Vala shot back. “You do not get to do that to me anymore!

    STOP IT, ALL OF YOU!” Taylor screamed, collapsing to her knees and hiding her face. She just wanted this to go away!

    The ‘ship’ they were on went dark. She'd shut down power to everything but life support and the internal sensors.

    Uh, Sam,” Daniel asked pleasantly after a few moments. “What just happened?

    Sam tried to place a crystal down on the very unique console at the back of the engine room. It clunked against the glass-like surface uselessly. “Damn it!” she cursed. “I have no idea!

    Maybe we upset the poor little girl who is also now our ship?” Vala tersely suggested, her arms crossed.

    The three others looked at her with dumbfounded expressions.

    You really should learn to listen to me more,” she deadpanned, her tone kind of hurt.

    What the hell do you mean, girl who is our ship?” Cameron asked.

    Vala grinned and looked at the ceiling. “Taylor?” she asked sweetly. “Would you turn the lights back on please?

    She really didn't want to. But Taylor looked at the remains of her locker and grimaced. Something was going on. Something immensely screwed up. But maybe she'd triggered in her locker and her power was weird, giving her four voices in her head to talk to.

    She was always alone.

    She'd prefer to believe that over being Mastered.

    Taylor searched herself for a way to do that. It was a set of simple switches in her mind she'd flipped on instinct in her panic. She hesitated, closed her eyes, and flipped them back on.

    The systems of the ship all came back online.

    There, see?” Vala presented smugly. “I told you. I was right!”

    Vala a little girl cannot be a starship!” Sam lamented, sighing.

    Vala stepped closer to the sensor screen and pointed. “Well then you tell me, Sam, how the outside of the Odyssey shows a Tau'ri school?

    The three of them stared dumbfounded at her for several seconds.

    Then they reluctantly stepped over to the screen.

    Holy Hannah,” Cameron exclaimed.

    Sam’s eyes widened. She looked at the ceiling again. “Um… Taylor?

    What?” Taylor replied, wary of them yelling again.

    Where are you right now?” she asked, a struggle to believe Taylor's sensors on her face.

    I-I’m on the floor outside my locker,” she said, choking up. “Hugging my knees.

    The four of them looked back down at her sensor screen.

    That certainly looks like a pair of legs and arms hugging them,” Daniel dryly remarked.

    This is impossible!” Sam refuted. “Ships… don't just suddenly become humans!

    Uh, guys?” Cameron asked, tapping a section of the screen. It zoomed in on Taylor's arm. “What's that?

    Taylor hurriedly hid her arm out of view of that particular visual sensor. “Nothing.

    Vala’s face darkened. “It looked like feminine refuse, Cam,” she said.

    Taylor whimpered and curled in on herself further.
     
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  9. Threadmarks: Without A Paddle (Worm)
    TCGM

    TCGM (Unverified God/Space Snek)

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    Without A Paddle
    Plot Bunny
    Whatcha Gonna Do When They Come For You

    I wake up with a gasp.

    Cold, hard ground under me. That's the first thing I notice.

    The second thing is that I'm smaller. Seriously, proprioception is a thing and mine is going nuts.

    Well if I'm smaller, I certainly didn't just get KO'd. You do not randomly get smaller in our reality.

    I mean, unless I've been abducted by aliens.

    Slightly peek open my eye… yeah no that's a brick wall, I've not been abducted by aliens.

    Unless they're pulling a Saints Row 4 on me.

    If they are, I'll have to figure out how to deal with that later. For now assume that this is in fact a reality, and most importantly, not my native one.

    Seriously. You do not suddenly get smaller. Not to the tune of what feels like a decade and a half.

    Not in our reality… but I can think of dozens more off the top of my head where that can easily occur.

    Great. I've been ROBed. And I don't remember filling out anything like a CYOA, so I'm up shit creek as far as location data from that is concerned.

    What the hell am I now, twelve? Thirteen?

    I open my eyes and sit up, glancing down at my body.

    Man I'm tiny now.

    Not really, but compared to my previous six foot two, two eighty pound toned adult body, I'm a shrimp.

    Will probably still tower over and outmass anybody in my current age group, though.

    … Actually… gods I hope I'm wrong.

    I pat down my chest and my groin, just to make sure. Flat chest, unhelpful given my age, but my package is still present, if smaller, so I'm still a guy. Whew.

    Right, younger, still myself, if my skin color, relative bone density and hair color is anything to go by.

    So where the hell am I?

    My surroundings aren't that helpful. It's an alleyway. A bog standard alleyway. Trash, a dumpster, brick walls. And that aforementioned cold hard ground.

    Fantastic.

    Well, I feel okay, despite being suddenly half my age. So it's not that hard for me to stand up. Some minor wobbling as I get used to my greatly reduced weight and much lower center of gravity, but still.

    Thankfully the alleyway lets out onto some kind of tourist attraction avenue thing, given the bustling shoppers I can see. The two stores bordering the alley across from mine aren't that helpful in determining my new multiversal location.

    Seems Starbucks and Burger King are universal. Multiversal.

    I abruptly chuckle at my own joke. My voice sounds weird, younger, higher, but not as high as I expected it to be. Ah well, I kinda hit puberty a little early and as heavy as Thor bringing down the hammer on Cap’s shield.

    Hmmm… there also seem to be two people in black body armor, the SWAT kind, bracketing the other alley. I can't get a very good look at them from my position, there's too many shoppers, but odds are good that my alley has a matching set.

    Bouncers to keep hoodlums off a tourist trap, makes sense.

    A review of my clothing shows that I don't look too bad. Cargo shorts and a T-shirt, slightly dirtied from the alley ground but still nice. Huh, I'm pretty sure this is exactly what I was wearing before I got dragged here… wherever here is.

    I comb back my hair, the only piece of me out of place, then slowly and semi purposely stride out of the alley. Look like you know where you're going and almost everyone will ignore you. Confidence and slight genius is the entire driving force behind subreddits like ActLikeYouBelong, after all.

    And like I planned, it works. The… Enforcers? judging by their arm patches, merely scope me out and nod to me. One does take a look down the alley, presumably to find out if there was someone who dragged me in there and was still present, but just shrugged once he found nothing.

    I nod back to them and just keep walking, merging with the crowd. It takes about thirty seconds for the feeling of eyes on me to go away.

    Little known fact; that feeling isn't psychosomatic. Our brain is capable of using observed phenomenon and tendencies to calculate just how long a given thing will have its eyes glued to you after choosing you as a target. Hind brain survival instincts are powerful if you know how to use them.

    Almost like really minor superpowers, honestly.

    They're not perfect, but they have been honed by hundreds of millions of years of evolution. Barring special circumstances, or individuals trained to exploit these primal abilities, they're very effective.

    I doubt a bunch of glorified tourist trap security guards are trained in that.

    One quick side glance back… and yeah, none of them are paying any attention to me whatsoever.

    Anyways, where the hell am I? No signs pointing to the general location yet, and so far all the stores I'm passing have relatively normal names. Nothing really sticks out.

    Then I hear a word, one word, in the run on sentences of someone who passes me. Sentences I was previously ignoring. But that word catches my focus.

    “-and we need to get you new clothes, Ames! You can't keep going around in that smock of yours. Come on. We only come to the Boardwalk once a week!”

    Boardwalk. Enforcers.

    Ames.

    Alarm bells start going off in my head.

    Once is chance. Twice is coincidence. Three is a fucking pattern and that's fucking Victoria Dallon, Glory Girl, dragging her adoptive sister Amy Dallon, Panacea, into a high end clothing store.



    FUCK FUCK FUCK!





    “Contessa!”

    I'm in another alleyway, my head tilted back, and speaking to the sky.

    “Contessa!”

    No answer. Or at least no portal showing up out of nowhere and no scary as hell woman in a fedora walking through.

    Fine then.

    “Clairvoyant! Doormaker! I know you can hear me. Open up a portal from Contessa to me right now or I can't help you save the world. Fucking morons!



    Nothing. Nada. Zilch.

    Okay, what.

    They still think I'm not important? Even if I have a Blank perk or an equivalent, those only protect me from Thinkers. Once words leave my mouth they should be detectable.

    Fine. I'll just have to ramp up my threat level.

    Is it stupid to poke a multiversal organization with highly questionable morals this hard if I have no powers? Yes. Yes it is.

    On another note, this is fucking Brockton Bay. On Earth Bet. A death city on a death world.

    I'll take my chances, thanks.

    “Cauldron, Zion, Eden, Agents, Passengers, Trigger Events, Trigger Visions, Case 53s, Extinction Event, The Cycle, Public Awareness-” I begin.

    Two things happen that interrupt me.

    One, a tear in space opens right in front of me, and the fedora clad woman of nightmares steps out. “Talk." she demands.

    Two, a moment later, the alleyway starts to glow an off-gold.

    From behind me.

    And Contessa's eyes widen.

    Oh no.

    I gulp, turn around, and find myself eye to junk with Scion.

    Right. I'm short. He's not, either in height or, well… length.

    I crane my neck back so I can get a look at his face.

    Scion is staring straight at me, intense focus displayed on his normally emotionless face.

    “Well… shit,” I lament.
     
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  10. Threadmarks: A Galaxy Divided (SW/Rogue One)
    TCGM

    TCGM (Unverified God/Space Snek)

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    Rogue One
    Plot Bunny
    A Galaxy Divided

    “Sir!” came the cry of a communications technician, “New contacts five hundred fifty three kilometres off the port bow!”

    The captain of the Mon Calamari battleship and Rebel Alliance flagship spun around in his chair. “Friendlies? Reinforcements?!”

    “I don't know Sir!” the tech responded unhelpfully, “they don't match any known configuration!”

    The captain only considered his next command for a second. “Hail them! Ask for any assistance they can give us!”

    “Yes Sir,” the tech responded.

    With a flip of a button a standard hailing and aid request message was blasted toward the small fleet of nine hanging west of the Battle of Scarif.



    Let me tell you, their communication and security protocols, for a grand united starfaring civilization, are absolute shit.

    However, I've already seen this series of events. I know how it will end if I do not step in now. It was why I came here, after all.

    My name is Gwyneth Corona. That is who I am. Exactly what I am is something I've been trying to find out for many, many years. I've lost count of the eons that I've lived through. But I do know that no matter what time or place I find myself, I try my best to save everyone I can.

    I am something beyond even my own comprehension. I make Jedi quake and Sith feel real fear. The Force is but a drop in the ocean compared. And right now, I am in direct control of a fleet of ships so powerful the scout frigate at the head could go toe to toe with the Death Star and still have room for dinner.

    I engage the sublight thrusters on my fleet and begin moving into range. That same scout frigate I mentioned is heading to the other side of the planet. It will take any and all shots dear old Tarkin decides to fire off.

    It may or may not fire back.

    I have three carriers in my fleet. The Poseidons are some of my best work. They each are capable of fielding several hundred thousand mini drones, or about a hundred thousand of the larger ones. That number quadruples if the drones are the kind that don't phase, just fire.

    Given the ‘shields’ of this galaxy are about as protective as a screen door on a submarine, I'm going with the second type. Mini size.

    With a loud squeal the metal of the Poseidons’ drone bays cycles out of the way. Over ten million bright silver lights pour out into the night, spreading across the unlit sky until they all have clear firing lines on the Scarif planetary defense shield.

    The other several hundred thousand pulse towards the battle of good and evil taking place over the shield gate.



    “What is that?!” The Mon Calamari captain gasps.

    His sensor officer appears to have a spastic seizure in her chair. “They're… they're ships Sir! So... many... tiny… ships! The sensors are failing to get their total number!”

    The captain spins around again. “Trajectory!” he screams. “Get their trajectory!”

    The sensor officer scrambles to get any information at all. Suddenly, what little color her face has drains. She looks up at the captain with dead eyes. “The trajectory is here, Sir.”

    He blinks. “What?!”

    “They're on course for this ship.”



    The net of drones I sent to align with the planetary shield has finally entered position. I prep the command to fire until the shield is down, then another to head towards the now one sided battle. I will only send the actual engage command once I am ready. The drones currently approaching the Rebel flagship are actually going to miss them and head right down to the surface, but it'll be funny to watch them panic until they realize that. Meanwhile my fleet is almost inside maximum range for the Artillery Lances and is moving ever closer. Once in range, the Star Destroyers will be nothing but space dust. Regardless of my clear power advantage, I need sensor locks on the Rebels at Scarif base. Only then can I beam them to my flagship. Even worse, Vader and the Death Star will be arriving soon; I am running out of time to save Rogue One.



    “Sir, what is that?” a gunner on the Bothan Hammerhead Cruiser asks.

    The Admiral which sent the captain of Rogue One to kill Jyn's father paces to the command window. “What are you talking about?” he asks with a glare.

    The gunner swivels his gun turret to aim into supposedly empty space. Instead of a black void dotted with stars, three bright orange flares are visible on the targeting monitor.

    The Admiral leans closer. “What in the name of Grybar?”

    “Rebel Alliance ships, do not fire on the silver ships. I repeat, do not fire on the silver ships. They seem to be moving around us and heading down to the planet,” a fleetwide announcement from the Flagship rings out.

    The Admiral looks up to acknowledge the announcement and then down again to the trio of stars. He pats the gunner on the shoulder and grimaces. “Just keep your eye on those things.”

    “Yes Sir.”



    The Lances are in range and the ones on the Poseidons are fully charged. They have finished locking onto the two Destroyers. The third Poseidon is waiting on Vader's flagship to arrive before it fires. Even though I no longer have a human body, I will always retain my humanity.

    This is why I mentally form my hand to the shape of a gun, cock it back with my other hand, and say “Boom”.

    My little corner of the battlezone lights up like the Fourth of July.



    A loud hum and two lines of pure orange light are all the warning the Empire gets. The lines expand to half the gigantic ship's length an instant later. If anyone could see the ships during that instant, they would find the beams had sliced right through the hull and continued out the other side as far as the eye can witness. Only two seconds later can anyone begin to notice the charred and twisted metal carcasses that used to be Star Destroyers.

    “Fuck!” cries out the gunner who had been ‘keeping an eye on those things’.

    “They just took out two Destroyers with one shot each,” the Bothan Admiral breathes.

    Suddenly millions of lines of blue light leap across space, miss the Rebel fleet entirely and hit the Scarif shield. The entire matrix is blown to smithereens at the subatomic level, and the regulation gateway is vaporized in the process.

    A second later, an undulating cord of silver light dives through where the field previously was and begins to split up, bright lights heading everywhere. More beams come from those lights and swat Imperial fighters from the sky.

    They completely ignore the Rebels.

    A wide eyed Admiral taps his communications officer on the shoulder. “Repeat that order with my backing. Do not engage the silver lights.”

    That poor comms tech gulps. “Y… Yes Sir.”



    The Scarif tower base was reached first. My helpful drones relay transports through their network back to the main ships. Using this handy feature I've scooped up every single data drive in the place. I can't imagine little Stardust was very happy when the Project bearing her name literally disappeared off her belt.

    She also wasn't very happy to be beamed away a second later along with her entire squad. Her screams only stopped vibrating the walls of the Flagship's cargo bay when she noticed other Rebels appearing out of thin air next to her.

    When I projected a holographic human form of myself is when she got really entertaining.

    I open my virtual eyes to the universe for the first time since I said goodbye to Corona. After they adjust to the cargo bay’s dim lighting, I find her ‘laser’ rifle aimed at my face.

    “That's not a very nice way to greet the person who saved you,” I greet them with a frown.

    Jyn and Cassian momentarily glance at each other in confusion and disbelief. “Who are you?” Jyn finally demands.

    “Very well,” I sighed, “if you will behave like children then I will treat you as such.” Without answering her question I spin around and walk through the door of the cargo bay. I make sure the doors stay open so they could get my command.

    “Jyn, Cassian, K-2SO. Come.”

    As one unit the Rebels move towards the door. I sigh, spin around, and using my flagship’s internal effector systems, stop the forward movement of everyone but the three I mentioned.

    Seeing it was useless, Cassian gives the order to stand down. The fighters grumble but eventually comply.

    Given they were going to be cooperative, more or less, I also allow Mr. Blind Ninja to come forward.

    Jyn's eyes almost pop out of her head. “You're a Jedi?!

    The blind guy shakes his head. “No. She is not even alive.”

    “Wrong,” I scoff, “I am not a physical being. That by no means indicates whether I am alive. Your Force sensitive friend here cannot sense me because he has not widened his senses far enough. This body you see is a hologram. I am projecting it for your sake, not mine.”

    Cassian has to get a word in. “If this is a projection, where are you?”

    I smile and nod my head to the blind guy. “He knows.”

    I figure that Imwe’s jaw dropped, eyes wide state is caused by him finally finding my essence, after all.

    “How can this be?” he gasps.

    “There are many beings of many kinds in many galaxies, Imwe. Not all of us are like you,” is my cryptic answer.

    Cassian glances between us before he shakes Imwe's shoulders gently. “What is it, Imwe?”

    He replies almost unseeingly, as if in a daze. “She is the ship, captain.” I snort at that thought. A blind man replying as if unseeing. I crack myself up sometimes.

    Both K2-SO and Cassian’s eyes fly open. “Impossible,” Cassian declared.

    Jyn on the other hand is looking at me curiously, if warily. I simply nod in reply to her unasked question.

    “Shall we go to the bridge?”

    Cassian jumps out of his skin. Jyn shrugs, but holsters her blaster.

    “There is a high probability of this going horribly, horribly wrong,” K-2 unhelpfully states.

    “Do not antagonize her unduly and we will come to no harm.” Imwe is so clearly an old Jedi Padawan it's painful.



    “It's beautiful,” Jyn said.

    We had managed to make it to the bridge without any of them starting something. I hoped once they saw what my fleet was doing, they would stop being petulant.

    Just as I was about to respond, an internal alarm in my systems went off.

    “I'm terribly sorry to cut off this spectacle, but we have incoming,” I warned them. With a flicker my hologram went out of existence. I would need all my concentration to find Vader.

    “Where did she go?” Cassian barked.

    “She is still here, captain,” Imwe stated, “she just seems… busy.”

    I most certainly was busy. Both Vader's flagship and the Death Star had exited their version of hyperspace. I was simultaneously moving my ships into protective shielding positions between the flagship and the Rebel fleet and maneuvering the scout frigate to intercept any blasts from the giant laser moon.

    I was seconds too late to save one Rebel ship, which was torn apart by ‘laser’ fire from Vader. The rest of the fleet was fine though, and my drones were all converging on the flagship. The third Poseidon finally let the Lance go, intentional aiming away from the ship's center. Instead of slicing through the hull, the beam brought down the shields. So catastrophic was this takedown that the deflector bulbs above their bridge went up in balls of fire. Someone must have finally noticed my ships on the Empire scanners, because Vader immediately began shooting at my flagship with his flagship. Not that it did anything; the ‘laser’ blasts dissipated harmlessly against my own shields.

    “What are those?!” Jyn cried out, seeing the undulating cords of silver light streaming up from the planet.

    They are over a million interception drones on course for Darth Vader's Flagship,” I replied over the internal speakers.

    I swear, Jyn learned how to jump five feet high somewhere. Cassian laughed at her antics. Imwe was less enthused.

    “The Force will not allow you to tamper with Fate,” he told me.

    The Force is certainly welcome to try and stop me,” I shot back. “I don't particularly care. I could eliminate the entire energy field in the blink of my metaphorical eye if I so chose.

    “Nothing can be powerful enough to eliminate such a thing as the Force,” Imwe scoffed.

    Your faith in what amounts to a semisentient psionic energy field spread by bacteria is disappointing,” I shot back.

    The drones had arrived at the flagship and their beams were slicing through it like butter. I'd started at the very front intentionally to allow Vader enough time to get to an escape craft. He had a purpose in time beyond this moment, as did the Death Star. Neither could be destroyed today.

    My decision to stick with the timeline didn't remotely prevent me from making sure both of them limped home to Papa Palpatine bloody and bruised, though.

    “I've seen what those craft have been doing to the Imperial fighters around us,” Cassian said, “why are you taking your time with that Destroyer?”

    Vader is on board. I am giving him a chance to escape with his life.

    All four people on my bridge joined forces to glare at the ceiling. “WHY?!”

    Messages are much more effective delivered in person,” I drawled humorously. A small TIE Advanced fighter broke off from the Destroyer's bridge and jumped to hyperspace right as the last drone beams were about to hit it.

    Seeing as the main battle was over, I just needed to deliver my second message to the Empire. “Tarkin is bringing the Death Star around the planet to destroy Scarif Base. You would all be dead within minutes if I had not come here, along with every ship in the fleet present today save Princess Leia's blockade runner,” I explained to them as I brought the flagship about.

    The only one not stunned into silence was Jyn. “What? How could you possibly know that?”

    Like you walk space, I walk time.” Despite the shouted demands to elaborate, that was the only answer the four on my bridge got. I throttled my gravity drive up to full and my flagship began moving towards where the Death Star would appear over the horizon in about ten seconds. I instructed a large portion of the drone swarm to escort us. They rushed up to join my flagship and formed three concentric rings around the middle, just for style points. The rest were ordered to finish off the Imperial forces and then enter a similar holding pattern around the Rebel fleet.

    Right on time the horizon visibly bulged and a huge gray metallic moon moved along its orbit to get firing angles on Scarif Base. The only thing Tarkin hadn't counted on was the frigate parked right in front of the emitter dish.

    I got to witness Tarkin’s reaction first hand due to some speedy hacking.

    “Governor Tarkin Sir,” a weapons tech said, “we can't fire.”

    “Why the hell not?” Tarkin growled, spinning around to pin the tech with his signature glare.

    The tech gulped before replying with a stutter. “There appears to be a ship sitting in the path of the beams, Sir.”

    Tarkin stared at the tech with the best ‘you're a moron’ face I've ever seen. “Don't just stand there, you idiots!” he finally shouted, “get rid of that ship!”

    The hundreds of turbolaser emplacements around the emitter dish swiveled into position and opened up on my frigate. Just to be cheeky I relayed the sensor feed and the shield strength to my flagship's bridge.

    Awe, poor old Tarky can't fire because my ship is in the way, and when he tries to get rid of it, well…” I chuckled with a singsong voice.

    Cassian was the only one who really got the gravity of what I was showing them. “Is this accurate?”

    Completely. Registering about six hundred impacts per second and exactly zero point zero zero zero zero five shield integrity drain per second,” I reported happily.

    “How is this possible?” he barely breathed out his question.

    Science and technology far beyond what your civilization can even dream of runs through my hulls and my systems. My shields aren't even the best bit.” With that statement I engaged the point defense beam systems on the frigate and targeted the turbolaser emplacements. Another order later and they were all smoking hunks of flash-welded metals.

    The view off my bridge shifted to a panorama of the emitter dish rim and the smoke drifting off into space from what used to be some of the best defensive installations in the Empire.

    “Holy Jaeeria,” Jyn gasped.

    Those weren't even the ternary weapons systems,” I smugly informed her, “those were the point defense beams.

    K-2SO finally had it with me. “You expect us to believe you just took out an Imperial superweapon’s primary defenses with anti fighter guns? Seriously?” His tone was extremely disbelieving.

    You must not have seen what my artillery weapons can do. Please, have a look,” I shot back, shunting a recording of the two Poseidons’ Lances going through the Destroyers earlier to the bridge viewport.

    “Maia destraiia,” Cassian breathed.

    “How can you do this? What part of the galaxy have you been hiding in to have enough time to develop this level of technology?” Jyn asked.

    You are under the mistaken impression I am from this galaxy.

    While they chewed on that I tuned back into the Tarkin sitcom developing on the bridge of the Death Star.

    “What do you mean it took out all our emplacements?” the Governor screamed, flinging spittle all over his poor subordinate's face.

    “The lasers hit some kind of barrier before they even got close to the ship, Sir. It took the combined fire of all the dish rim emplacements for over fifty seconds.”

    What?!” he growled.

    “There’s more, Sir. It then fired solid beams of its own at all of the emplacements.” The poor officer gulped at his next word. “Simultaneously.

    Tarkin's eyes grew wide, for the first time showing a hint of fear. “It hit them all at the same time?!” he barely whispered.

    All he got was a hurried nod.

    The governor turned round and began pacing. “How could such a technology be developed by the Rebel Alliance without us knowing?”

    The officer looked around at his bridge mates and got several cautious nods. “Uh, Sir,” he started.

    Tarkin spun around on him. “What?” he hissed.

    The officer gulped again. “The bridge crew and I… Uh… Might have a theory.”

    Tarkin's eyebrows rose. “By all means, let's hear it.”

    His current quarry locked eyes with the other bridge crew one final time before he spoke. “While our sensors could not get anything resembling a lock on, we can see the ship. We actually had to target the guns manually. While we were looking it over, we found what appears to be some kind of writing on the side.”

    Tarkin actually smiled. “That's very good work, Commander. That writing should help identify where it came from.”

    The officer gulped and shook his head. “It isn't any known language, Sir, and from what the targeters could see, it matches no ship configuration in our database.”

    Tarkin slowly walked right up to him and glared down into his eyes. Their noses were mere inches apart. “Then pray tell why you believed it was remotely important to bring up.

    The commander had never been so scared in his life. There were tales of what Governor Tarkin did to those who… displeased him.

    Thankfully his comms officer saved his hide. “Sir, I was the one to ask the Commander to bring it up with you.”

    Tarkin retrained his death glare on the young man. “Speak quickly and clearly. You are all on quite shallow ledges as it is.”

    The comms officer nodded quickly. “I dabbled a bit in ancient languages in the Imperial Academy, Sir. While I have never seen the language on that ship, I did manage to recognize one of the characters.” He pressed a few buttons and the bridge screen was overtaken by an image of my frigate, zoomed in to the name emblazoned across its bow.

    “Tau'ri,” Tarkin almost choked.

    “Yes. The last recorded appearance of this symbol, if I remember my history classes correctly, was just before all contact was lost with the origin of humanity,” the comms tech summarized.

    I smirked and returned my attention to my flagship's bridge. “Tarkin has finally figured out where I came from. Why don't we discuss this with him?

    Cassian and Jyn had been arguing this whole time about that very subject. They both jumped at my sudden words, but had no time to talk as I sent off a hail to the Death Star. I re-engaged my hologram body so that I could communicate with the Imperials. Just as my body shimmered into existence, my flagship arrived and slotted into formation next to the frigate. The streams of silver drones expanded to flow around the other ship, forming a three sided infinity symbol.

    A moment later my hail was answered. The very irate Governor Tarkin stood glaring straight at the Rebels on my bridge.

    “So,” he growled, “the Rebels have managed to find a way to contact the Tau'ri.”

    I snorted. “Wrong. I happened upon the battle above Scarif and observed the actions of both sides. I chose to help the liberators as is my right as a Terran citizen.”

    Tarkin's face drained of all color. “Did you just say Terran?”

    I snorted. “Didn't you know? Tau'ri is not our race's original name. We adopted that to help other species of the galaxy identify us. Terran and Tau'ri are the same people. The people of Terra, otherwise known as Earth.

    His eyes were wide now. “No! You are a myth, nothing more!”

    I raised my eyebrows and smirked. “This myth just destroyed three of your most powerful ships and crippled the defenses of your Empire’s most powerful weapons platform without breaking a sweat. If I decide to do more than just save them today, if I decide to join them, what could you possibly do?”

    Tarkin gulped. “The Empire is the rightful ruler of the galaxy. These ‘Rebels’ are nothing more than terrorists,” he tried to convince me.

    “Some terrorists,” I scoffed. “The only time they fight is when they have to protect. But what does the so called Ruler of the Galaxy do? You kill, maim, or destroy all who will not bow. Those are the actions of a tyrant, not a ruler. Terra did away with your kind millions of years ago. Guess where we sent them?”

    Jyn and Cassian locked eyes on me in shock. Imwe was unfazed as usual, while K-2SO tilted his head. “Are you implying that those cast off from your planet were sent here?”

    I nodded and growled my response at Tarkin. “Your long dead ancestors were strapped into our fastest ship and thrown into the cosmos. We picked a random direction and set the velocity drive to full. It would burn out eventually, but that was the point. We hoped to never meet you again.”

    Tarkin had become more and more grave as I spoke. His only recourse was to sneer at me. “You speak as if you were there,” he accused, “assuming any of what you have just said is real.”

    I smirked. “Oh, but Tarkin, I was there. Who do you think designed the velocity drive, or what you now know as a hyperdrive?”

    I had actually shocked the unflappable Governor Tarkin. “That would make you millions of years old.”

    I nodded and gestured to my bridge. “Only fifty or so years after we got rid of you, those who held back the progress of science, did we figure out how to bypass death. A thousand years later we learned that we could exist as energy. Most Terrans no longer have human bodies. The ones that do hold onto them for mere solidarity.”

    “I am sure your crew could be convinced to follow the true leader of this galaxy,” he tried.

    “Oh Tarky,” I chided, “have you seen any crew?”

    His mouth opened to reply but closed just as quickly. “How are your ships running without anything controlling them?”

    I shook my head and sighed. “They do not need crews, many don't even support them, because they are me. I am my fleet.”

    “Impossible,” he scoffed.

    “Regardless of your stupidity, I have a message for you to deliver to Palpatine,” I stated, ignoring him. “Show him our exchange today. And just for good measure, the next two events.”

    I overrode the systems on the Death Star, aiming it at my frigate. I powered up all the reactors and let loose a blast capable of ripping apart a planet into the ship.

    The shields dropped a mere five percent.

    “Tarkin, that is a scout frigate, one of the smallest in my fleet. Its shields just dropped five percent. You can review it later, but all reactors were online. Oh, and I can seize control of any computer system your galaxy has to offer without breaking a sweat. Just one more thing before I send you limping back home to Papa Tiney.”

    The main broadside cannons on my flagship warmed up and painted the emitter dish.

    “You won't be blowing up anything for a long, long time.”

    Each turret discharged, ten solid beams of red plasma flashing across space. They hit the emitter dish at important locations, causing hundreds of secondary explosions. Their bridge visibly rocked from the bombardment. Sparks flew off walls and exploding consoles everywhere. A very disheveled and bleeding Tarkin crawled back into view of the hailing screen, clinging to one of the consoles he'd been thrown behind.

    “Leave. Before I decide to get rid of you permanently,” I threatened.

    Tarkin growled at me while giving the order to return to Coruscant. “This is not over, Terran!

    “I would be sorely disappointed if it was,” I shot back.

    The Empire's crowning glory retreated into their limited version of hyperspace, leaving major pieces of the large emitter dish floating in the void behind.

    “Did that really just happen?” Jyn asked. She was summarizing how everyone in the Rebel fleet felt, given I'd broadcast our conversation on an open channel.



    The crippled Death Star dropped out of hyperspace in orbit of Coruscant. Before Palpatine could do anything more than stare uselessly at the broken form of his superweapon, a video stream overrode the Togruta women's championship volleyball tournament he'd been watching. What was in that video stream made his blood boil.

    "Sir!" one of his personal aides interrupted his attempt to scream in rage.

    "WHAT?!" he growled.

    The aide gulped. "S-sir, that video is playing across the entire galaxy. It's on anything that's an entertainment device or was tuned into a channel of that type."

    As the upbeat song chronicling those disgusting Rebel's victory over 'Papa Tiney' and his best fleet, personal right hand Vader, fortress world and superweapon with the assistance of a Terran continued on, the aide was witness to a white hot ball of incandescent rage with entirely uncontrolled Force lightning outbursts decimating the Emperor's chambers.

    He survived due only to a nearly invisible golden shield that settled into his skin and the softest touch of reassurance from me.



    “How can we ever repay you?” Mon Mothma, leader of the Rebel Alliance Council, asked.

    I shrugged. “Other than continuing to promote peace and empathy throughout the galaxy? Keep fighting against a tyrannical Empire hellbent on enslaving or destroying everyone?”

    She smiled at my unsaid joke and took it in stride. “Yes, other than the very things the Rebel Alliance is built upon.”

    I pretended to ponder for a moment. “I could use a planet.”

    “What class and size?”

    I raised my eyebrows at her. “No hesitation? I ask for a planet and you don't even blink?”

    “Need this council or I repeat the things you have done yet again?” she countered.

    I sighed and rubbed my forehead. “I helped because you needed it. I didn't do it for a reward.”

    “Yet we will not rest until you accept one. You saved the Rebel Alliance today and dealt the most crippling blow the Empire has seen since their inception.”

    I couldn't do anything but scowl and roll my eyes. “Fine. I asked for a planet because I figured you guys had nothing else I could use, but I just had an idea. Within Rebel Alliance space, is there a completely uninhabitable system with at least two planets?”

    Mothma raised her eyebrows in curiosity. “Yes, many. What use would that be to you?”

    “How would the Rebels like if the Terrans took a more… direct approach in aiding you, our descendants?”

    “Explain what you mean, we will at least listen,” a certain admiral spoke.

    “I could very easily establish a Terran Republic that comprises the entirety of Rebel space. Such a Republic would be defended by the power of my race, so much so that even other Terrans would have trouble attacking. I could very easily accept the Rebel worlds as members of this Republic, placing you under my protection. Any attacks on one of you would bring the might of the Terrans down upon the aggressor,” I explained.

    The entire council looked skeptical. “What sort of rules do you Terrans follow? I assume we would have to agree to follow your government's laws,” she stated.

    “Correct, though I doubt there's anything in our code of ethics you'd be opposed to,” I agreed. With a wave of my hand a datapad with Terran ethics code was sitting in front of every council member. “You're free to peruse those, they're general descriptions and explanations of Terran life and ethics. For us, ethics are laws.”

    While Mothma and several others immediately started reading, Mr. Admiral had another concern. “Even if your code and offer is as good as it sounds, how do you propose to defend an area as expansive as the Rebel Alliance? Your ships and technology are extremely impressive, yes, but I hardly think your nine vessels could cover such vastness.”

    “You're right, of course. Even if one of my ships can take on an Imperial battle fleet and not break a sweat, it is only one ship and has a maximum weapons range. The solution then, is simple. I just build more.”

    His eyebrows rose slightly. “I assume that is what the uninhabitable system is for?”

    I nodded to confirm his hunch.

    “But what of crew? Shipsmiths and builders? You are one being. How could you build and crew all the ships necessary?”

    I grinned, laying my hand on the table. “Firstly, my ships have no crew. I am the ships. They are under my direct mental control like your body is yours. Secondly, as to building them… well…”

    With that I engaged the reconstruction system of the nanites in my hand. The metal underneath made a horrible slurping sound and sucked right into my body like the liquid it had become. After I'd eaten a cubic foot of the table, I regurgitated it into a miniature version of a Poseidon. “We Terrans mastered nanotechnology millions of years ago. We can build ships, provided we have raw materials of any kind, in a matter of moments. We don't even need metal; I could use the very air we breathe and fuse it down into heavier elements. It would take longer and more energy, plus a lot more volume, but it would work. If you don't believe me, watch this.”

    A mental command to the Poseidon had it lighting up and humming, the inertial gravity engines lifting it up into the air above the table. Two more commands had the turrets on the thing aim at the remaining table and fire. Beams of red plasma, just like what had taken out the Death Star's dish, raced out causing flashes and impact craters on the previously unmarred surface.

    There was only one person in the huge council chamber with their mouth closed, and that was K-2SO. He didn't have a mouth.



    “Excuse me!”

    I heard the call of a young woman just before I was going to beam my nanite body back onto my flagship. I sighed and turned around to come face to face with LEIA FUCKING SKYWALKER.

    Suppressing my gulp of nervousness I nodded to her respectfully. “What can I do for you, Princess?”

    “A certain member of the newly coined Rogue One happened to mention to me in passing that you had the ability to travel time,” she began.

    I raised my eyebrows slightly. “That is not exactly what I can do, but it is a good enough simplification. What of it?”

    Leia wrung her hands slightly before getting up the nerve to ask. “I was wondering if you knew who my father was.”

    ...Shit.

    To continue the timeline or not to continue the timeline, that is the question.

    ...Split second decision, go for fun over Time's Arrow.

    My face darkened considerably at her question. “While I do have the answer to what you seek, you may not exactly like what I uncover. It will change how you see yourself, and if anyone ever learned of it, would change how they see you. Are you certain you wish to continue your current path?”

    She nervously considered my warning for several seconds before nodding. “I have to know.”

    I smiled sadly. “Very well. We shall discuss it on my flagship where I know no soul can overhear.”

    Without warning I beamed us both to the bridge. She nearly jumped out of her skin at the change in scenery but accepted my offer of red wine after a moment's hesitation. I grew two chairs out of the floor and sat in one, she taking the other. She glanced momentarily at the wine before shrugging and chugging the whole thing in one go.

    Many things could be said about the Princess, ‘lightweight’ wasn't one of them.

    I swished my own wine glass around for a minute while I decided how to begin this. Finally I had a chosen course. I leaned back in my chair and took a sip of my wine before staring into her eyes. “What do you know of life before the Empire?”

    She blinked at my question. “Um… It was good, I think. It was called the Republic then.”

    I nodded and motioned her onward with my glass. “What of the enforcers of the peace?”

    Her eyes widened when she got it. “He was a Jedi?!” she almost squealed.

    “Yes,” I said, placing my glass down on a newly grown coffee table. “Your father was a Jedi. Emphasis on was.

    Leia sunk back in her chair when she saw my face. “He died when the Jedi were purged, didn't he.”

    I tilted my head to the side slightly. “From a certain point of view,” eat your heart out, Obi-Wan, “one that I do not share. Your father didn’t die, but you may well wish he had. This is the point of no return, Leia. After my next words you will be unable to unhear them.”

    Leia gulped but nodded courageously. “I must know.”

    I sighed and shook my head. “It's your life.” I sunk back into my own chair and looked above the table. A hologram of a loving couple appeared above it, the woman hugging the man's side and smiling. “I trust you know her?”

    Leia smiled sadly, placing her hand on the image. “I know of her. This is my birth mother.”

    I nodded. “Correct. Senator, and previously Queen of Naboo, Padme Amidala.”

    Her eyes shot wide open. “She was my mother? He never told me…”

    I held up a hand to forestall her look of betrayal. “Your adoptive father did it to protect you and your twin brother.”

    Leia’s mouth ripped open. “I have a brother?!”

    I nodded and grimaced sadly. “Yes. Luke. You were separated after Padme died giving birth to you both. As for the reason why you were separated, it is twofold. Firstly, the Force signature of familial blood is powerful, especially if two carriers were to be in the same area of the galaxy. You and Luke would be beacons in the night to someone with the Force and your blood, like your father here,” I explained.

    You could see the revelations slamming into her one after the other. “But that means…”

    “That you're a Force user? No shit Leia, you shine like a star on an energy sensor. The only reason you do not exhibit the ability to use the Force is a lack of training. That is the same with Luke.”

    She looked down at her own hands and flexed them gently. “It's a little hard to believe I could use the Force,” she commented.

    I shrugged. “You know now and it's your call. I can't train you, what I use to manipulate the universe is something entirely different. I know of at least two Jedi still alive that would gladly train you in your gift, but that is another tale for another time. I must tell you why you and Luke were separated.”

    Her eyes shot up to lock into mine like a hyperspace jump.

    “It has to do with who your father is. Do you know the name Skywalker?”

    Her eyebrows rose. “As in, Anakin Skywalker? Hero of the Clone Wars?”

    I nodded. “The very same. Do you know what happened to him?”

    “He was killed in the Purge,” she recited.

    I shook my head and sighed. “I am truly sorry for this, Leia.” With a wave of my hand the image of her parents standing happily was slowly faded out. Her father shifted position slightly, scowled, grew wild and unkempt long hair, then was replaced by a man clad in black plastic with an unmistakeable helmet and an activated, blood red lightsaber.

    Leia withdrew into herself. “No,” she refused.

    “Anakin Skywalker was the main perpetrator of the Purge. He killed Mace Windu personally. He marched into the Jedi Temple on Coruscant and murdered everyone he could find. Women, children; it didn't matter. He then fought his old Jedi Master and longtime friend Obi-Wan Kenobi on a lava moon, Mustafar, a fight which he lost badly. The Emperor only managed to find his burnt body by accident. Extensive, experimental Bacta treatments plus large sections of his body replaced by machine and you get one Darth Vader.”

    “No!” Leia sobbed, collapsing to the floor.

    “This is why you were separated. Padme's closest friends knew he would try to find you if he knew about you and the beacon effect is strong enough with you on your own. Whenever you and Luke meet, you'd better be ready. Vader will not hesitate.”



    The Death Star, newly repaired, and an absolutely massive fleet of Star Destroyer and Executor class starships emerged from hyperspace outside the defensive line of the Terran Republic.

    I hailed them, sitting back in my command chair to appear menacing. The fleet of nine I'd come to this universe with were the only ships besides the defense stations I'd felt were needed.

    My hail was routed directly to the Emperor's quarters on the Laser Moon. He was sitting in that chair, up against a starry background, and scowling at me from under his overdramatic hood. “Terran Republic,” he growled out, “Surrender. You are outnumbered and outgunned. You cannot stand against the power of the Dark Side of the Force.”

    I rolled my eyes and snorted. “You face death here, Imperials. I am not bloodthirsty and have no wish to destroy you all. You have not actually declared war, as you have not moved past the defense line. If you leave now, I will not follow. The galaxy will be yours to do whatever you wish. Leave those who do not want to submit to your rule alone,” I warned.

    Of course, Tiney would never listen to that. “The Empire is the rightful ruler of the galaxy. You and your little friends are no match for the power of this battle station.”

    Jyn was on my bridge too. She actually laughed at him. “Old man, you've seen what the Terran did to that thing before, right? She was holding back.

    Palpatine was enraged, and stood up shakily. “If you will not surrender, we have no choice but to eliminate you.” He turned to a subordinate and gave the command. “Fire on their flagship, full power!”

    The ‘war’ for this galaxy had begun. It would be very short. I engaged a broadcast to all their ships and gave them a last chance. “While the Laser Moon is powering up, I'd like to give you all an offer. Anyone who takes their ship out of the fight will be spared, and protected by the Republic as defectors. You need merely power down weapons and move past the defense shield. You and your crew will be spared, your families allowed to enter and take safe haven within Republic space. Additionally, anyone on board the Death Star besides Palpatine and his co-conspirators will not be fired upon if they make to escape craft to leave your doomed station. This offer is on the table until your insane emperor hits my ship. After that, I will not hold back.”

    It gave them roughly thirty seconds to make up their minds. Unsurprisingly, several groups of Destroyers and even a few Executors shut their weapons down, pointed at the defense line, and moved forward like bats out of hell.

    Palpatine scowled as those ships crossed the dividing line. “You traitors will burn as well then. Fire!”

    One more Executor decided enough was enough, booking it for the line even as the lasers emitted into a single point to form the planet destroying beam. It was, funnily enough, the Executor. Vader was on board. I would let Leia decide his fate later.

    The powerful beam from the Death Star rammed into my Flagship's shields, coloring them brilliant green for a moment until the beam ended.

    I idly glanced at my shield readout. It barely noticed a fluctuation.

    I grinned and turned to glare Palpatine in the eyes. His yellow corneas were fully exposed in fear. “My turn.”

    The defense stations lit up. Their rims glowed and began spreading a shield over the battlefield vertically. It very effectively placed the Republic separate from the Empire and left their fleet at the mercy of my fleet and the weapons systems of those same platforms.

    “As those of good old Mother Russia say,” I began, “Das vi dania, morons.”

    Each defense satellite in the array of thousands had an Artillery Lance on board. A field of orange stars glowed behind my fleet for but a moment, then the light raced across space in powerful beams of plasma. Every single station had targeted a separate ship.

    Only the Death Star and a single Executor were left.

    Palpatine’s eyes grew wide, him collapsing to the floor. “How?!”

    “By the right vested in me as a citizen of Terra,” I began to pass judgement, “I find the actions and ethics of ‘Emperor’ Palpatine to go against the Ethics of the Universe. The penalty for his level of breaching is elimination from the cosmos. So mote it be.”

    A golden light surrounded Palpatine and solidified into unbreakable chains. “NO!” he screamed, “You cannot win against the Force!”

    I raised an eyebrow. “Really? Well then, I'd better demonstrate just how wrong you are.”

    My nanite body went limp, then compacted into a solid metal cube. Before Jyn could ask what I meant, a golden ball of energy three times bigger than the Death Star emerged into the void of space between the fleet and what remained of the Imperials.

    I'd let a portion if my true form out to play. Now when I spoke, the entire galaxy heard it.

    I am Gwyneth Corona. Some may know me as the ruler of the Terran Republic. Others might know me as something else. I am here to tell you who and what I am myself. Those of you who are not present at this battle yet hear me anyways, do not worry. It is a part of what I am that I am about to explain.

    Millions of years ago your ancestors were cast off from Terra, my homeworld, for their ruthless and incomprehensible behaviour. Half a century later my kind figured out how to bypass death. A thousand years later we figured out how to exist as pure energy. Since then my race has scattered to the ends of the universe. We are, and always have been, explorers. As I was instrumental in the engineering
    of your past’s casting off, it seems only fitting that I should be the one to find you.

    I have no physical body, and the object you might very well call a star in the middle of the battlefield is but a small part of my true form. I came across a battle between the Rebel Alliance and the Empire over Scarif months ago. I chose to help the side which looked kind. Fast forward to today and I am yet again defending them against the Empire, a tyrant equal to those Terra sent away so long ago.

    Today I end this. Palpatine and his precious Empire will be no more within a matter of moments. The Terran Republic has no wish to replace them, so you lot had better make a government that sticks this time.


    The star changed shape into a giant version of what my human form looked like. A golden hand, my hand, reached out and grabbed hold of the Death Star. In this form, from this perspective, it was nothing more than a baseball in my palm. I lowered my head to look into the Emperor's Tower, just in time to witness Palpatine pissing himself.

    I sent that recording back to my flagship so I could watch it later.

    Goodbye and good riddance, Palpatine, I growled out. A squeeze of my giant hand and the worst superweapon this galaxy had ever seen was reduced to space dust. I opened my palm and blew it away on a nonexistent wind.

    The only ship remaining that wasn't a deserter or a wreck was the Executor class. It quickly turned around when I turned my head to face it and jumped into hyperspace at what felt like maximum power.

    The Empire is no more. Good luck, I told the galaxy, before I reclaimed the slice of my true form back onto the ascended layer.
     
    january1may and smeee like this.
  11. Threadmarks: Don't Mind Me (Harry Potter/Others)
    TCGM

    TCGM (Unverified God/Space Snek)

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    Don't Mind Me
    Plot Bunny
    Or; Harry Potter and The Overpowered Common Sense

    They often say dreams are portals to other worlds. Lands of fantasy and magic, populated by outlandish species like trolls and unicorns. Sometimes dreams take you far into the future, to a time when technology is so advanced it is indistinguishable from the magic that comes from wands.

    But the lone constant of all dreams is that they're supposed to end when you wake up.

    “Ow!” I cried out in the dark. When I opened my eyes I couldn't see much, wherever I was had no light source. I tried to sit up quickly to get my bearings only for the top of my head to meet an obstacle made of some very tough wood. The headache that came on suddenly because of it wouldn't go away no matter how much I rubbed my head.

    “Okay, think,” I told myself out loud. Small space and pitch dark, plus edges made of wood. Have I been kidnapped in the middle of the night from my cozy bed and now shoved into a broom closet of some kind? A short one?

    A voice in my head answered that question. It's a cupboard under the stairs, a young and frighteningly familiar boy said.

    I sat there stumped for several seconds. I have eidetic memory, especially for audio and visual information, and so recognized the voice instantly. Combined with what that boy said my current location was, I was starting to freak out. Harry Potter?! I... thought… to him.

    That's me, he replied. Who are you?

    Weldon Corona, I answered.

    Oh. What are you doing in my head?

    Your head? I snorted. Kid this is my head, how did you get in here?

    Do you wear glasses? Harry asked in an amused tone.

    No.

    Well we're wearing them, so you're in my head.

    I gasped and shot a hand towards the bridge of my nose, inevitably poking the metal frames of the glasses I suddenly discovered into my skin. Ouch.

    I hate it when I do that, he commented.

    Okay. I was in the body of the Boy-Who-Lived during his Dursley cupboard days. Fantastic.

    Let's assume any of this is actually possible for a moment, I began to question my own sanity at said moment. If this is your body why am I in control of it?

    Harry sent the feeling of a shrug my way. You're just a voice in my head. How would I know? Maybe I've gone crazy and you're actually me talking to myself.

    I snorted at that. Yeah, no, kid. I'm not just a voice in your head. Very real, very confused, still working on believing…

    Harry's emotions changed to shocked. Maybe my freakiness did this to you. I'm sorry. I've been bad.

    An abrupt storm of rage exploded in my mind. Harry cowered back from the onslaught before I could reign it in, and his shudders escaped to his actual body. Don't, Harry. You're not a freak. I have half a mind to torture the Dursleys for what they've done to you.

    But Vernon says I am and all these weird things keep happening… he protested meekly.

    I actually growled. Vernon can go take a long jog off a short pier for all I care. On second thought maybe not, that exercise might benefit him. You're not a freak, you just have some very special abilities. Magic is real and you're a wizard.

    Harry's disbelief was refreshing. Apparently before he entered the Wizarding World he wasn't quite so gullible. A wizard? You've got to be pulling my leg.

    I merely smirked, held a hand out to the cupboard door where the locks were, and whispered a spell. My hope was that Harry's magic was linked to his body, not his mind, or even if it was it would recognize me as a director as well. “Alohomora.” I needn't have worried. I felt a rush of energy from within our shared body and almost saw it escape my hand to enter the door itself. The locks disengaged with a small click and the door could be swung open.

    Moreover I did that without a wand. Yes the magic had my ridiculously powerful will driving it, but still. Damn.

    Woah, Harry gasped.

    Believe me now? I asked him, grinning smugly to myself as I climbed us out of the small room known as the cupboard under the stairs.

    How do I know that's not your freakiness? he pointed out.

    Well given as I didn't actually have any magic until right now, I shot back, it would be kinda hard for me to be responsible for the magic’s existence in your body. Plus, I haven't been here this whole time, you've had accidents before, thus, Occam's Razor. I was only paying Harry part of my attention, the rest cataloging the hallway of the Dursley’s home and building a mental map of the place.

    What does a razor of Occam have to do with anything?

    Occam's Razor is a scientific principle that the explanation that assumes the least is usually the correct one, I explained. I moved into the kitchen to get something to eat. Harry's poor stomach had immediately started complaining once it realized there was a mind in the body who'd actually listen to it.

    No, stop! Harry cried out. If we eat their food they'll beat me!

    I stopped dead in my tracks. Harry, has Vernon beaten you before? My tone of voice was very deadly quiet.

    ...Yes, he squeaked.

    I growled, all thoughts of food long forgotten. They will pay.

    No, don't! he pleads. We can't fight them!

    I smirked and held up a hand, conjuring a fireball almost effortlessly. It seemed Harry's magic was happy to finally have someone capable of and willing to use it instinctively, as ideas and thought patterns I'd never had before, almost like instruction manuals, flowed into my mind. Harry gasped as he saw the fireball through his own eyes.

    Still think we can't fight them?

    Harry gulped. No. But it'd be wrong.

    Damn. Kid had a point. Fine, I acquiesced. I lowered the hand and the fireball dissipated. But this body needs food. If they dare prevent that I will retaliate.

    No maiming or killing, Harry declared.

    I shrugged. It was his body. Fine. Food time.

    And thus for the first time in forever, Harry Potter sat down at the Dursley’s dinner table with a decent meal.




    “POTTER!” the mating call of a beached whale screamed out through the house.

    I barely glanced up at the two whales and the squid next to them before returning my gaze to my food. “Good morning Uncle.”

    I could hear his face growing more purple by the second. Harry cowered in the back of our mind as Vernon Dursley stormed around the table and reached for us. “I'll teach you to give a good morning, boy!” he growled.

    I wasn't in the mood for this, so without even a flick of my wrist, I directed our magic to pick Vernon up and levitate him in the air. The shrieks of the Dursley family and Vernon's hand being ripped off my shirt told me I'd been successful.

    “Put me down this instant, boy!” the flying whale bellowed, joined by his wife.

    “You unnatural freak! You put your uncle down right now! What a disgrace your mother was!” Petunia shrieked. Actually she may have said something else. I wasn't paying much attention to be honest.

    “The next person to touch me will be joining the flying whale, but without their clothes,” I calmly announced.

    It was like putting a hot knife through butter. The room instantly became silent. Apparently they weren't used to Harry sticking up for himself, much less having the power to do so.

    I glanced up at Petunia and grinned. “Wise decision. You can have breakfast with me if you like, but any disparaging comments will be dealt with most… severely,” came my honey sweet explanation.

    Petunia's eyes widened a fraction and she looked between me and her flying husband. “You're a monster,” she stated.

    My grin collapsed and I sent her a death glare. “Me? I'm the monster? Coming from the woman who alienated her sister for being special instead of loving her, then took in her nephew under false pretenses only to mistreat him for years and allows her husband to beat him?!” I summarized snappily. “The monsters in this room are clear, and they aren't the people with magic.”

    Unknown to me then my eyes had taken on an orange hue similar to that of a star. It was what happened whenever I was in control of Harry. Petunia noticed this and stumbled backward, horror etched on her features. “You're not Harry,” she realized.

    I was curious how she knew, not knowing of the eye color change, but I chalked it up to my difference in attitude and talking about Harry in the third person. “No. I'm not. And unlike poor little Harry, who can't fight back,” I grinned evilly, summoning another fireball into my hand, “I know all about magic and how it can be used.”

    “Voldemort,” she spat.

    I raised my eyebrows and crossed my arms. How'd she know that name? Oh well, didn't really matter to be honest, the number of shits I gave was too damn low.

    The fireball went out on its own.

    “Good guess but no. Yes, there is a piece of that fool in here. I will shortly deal with it. I am no Dark Lord, though, just… Harry's protector, if you will,” I refuted. “By the way, Harry pleaded with me not to pay you back for all the loving care you've given him. You owe your continued peaceful lives to the nephew you abused, take that to heart,” I explained, before sitting down once more and shoveling food in.

    Petunia gulped. Dudley for once was wise enough not to say anything about Harry or myself, seeing his father still floating above the table.

    “So, since the chance I've given you to start acting like family went exactly as I expected it to,” I said with a glare at the Dursleys, “Harry and I will be leaving Privet Drive today. I'm eating this food, grabbing what little Harry owns, including any artifacts of his parents,” I explained. I dared Petunia to do something about that with a death glare, but only got terrified shuddering nods in response. “Then we will go. You shouldn't ever have to see us again.”

    Petunia let out a subtle breath of relief, but didn't dare move. I finished the food, scraping every last drop off the plate, then growled at them. “If Dumbledork comes calling, just show him the sleeping accommodations Harry has received at this one star shithole. I'm sure he'll be so understanding. Oh, and in case he watches this memory: Leader of the Light my ass. You'll be lucky to be pushing a trolley cart when I'm through with you. I'll only lay off if you stop meddling with Harry's life. Completely.

    With that I left the dining room. I made my way to the attic, summoning anything that might have to do with Harry's parents, and put it all in a trunk I'd found in Dudley's bedroom. Harry had been oddly silent the whole time. With a shrug at that I levitated the trunk in front of me, walked down the stairs, and left that shitty house behind forever.

    Vernon was still flying when we left. He'd come down. Eventually.




    How do you know so much about the magic world? Harry eventually spoke up.

    I'd been reviewing new clothes for us when he said that. I paused the browsing and stood there. You wouldn't believe me if I told you.

    Weldon, so far we've literally jumped across London on the roofs of skyscrapers, had dinner sitting on the Thames itself, changed into an adult version of myself and created money out of rocks. I'm willing to believe anything at this point.

    Seemed Harry's vocab and intellect were being boosted properly by running on an older brain. That part of the morph goals was succeeding. This whole world, your life? They're a book series where I come from.

    What?!

    Yeahp.

    …Oh. I… I don't really know what to say to that, he admitted.

    That's refreshing, I commented. I went back to browsing for clothes.

    ...So… you know my future then? Harry asked hopefully.

    I sighed and rubbed my forehead. Our future, Harry. I'm not planning on abandoning you. Plus I only know how the original timeline went and I've already changed things by taking us away from the Dursleys.

    Oh, Harry said. Was the original timeline any good? Did… did I get a real family?

    My heart almost literally broke at his hope filled voice. Yes. For a time. Then the War and Voldemort took most of them away from you.

    Harry sucked in a mental breath. Voldemort. Someone said that name before… My aunt! She was terrified. I don't know the name but it… It scares me too.

    Right. He didn't know yet. Your parents didn't die in a car crash, Harry, despite the lies of the Dursleys. James and Lily Potter died trying to save you from an evil wizard who calls himself Voldemort. Your mom's sacrifice is actually what allowed you to survive the Killing Curse, an unblockable spell that simply kills a person. Uhm… probably. Voldemort was… destroyed, sort of, and you became famous for defeating him.

    Harry was shocked at the information dump. His emotions as to his parents were all over the place. This Harry was smart though and so found the logical fallacy. Why am I the one who's famous if my mom did it?

    That's the crux of Wizarding stupidity right there, I replied. Rather than give credit to an extremely powerful witch who invented, discovered and forgot more magic than most of the British population combined, just because she's a mundane born instead of a pureblood, they name a frakking baby The Boy Who Lived, I explained. I was absently humming away while the cute checkout saleslady rung up our new clothes. I'd bought quite a lot, in many sizes.

    Her raised eyebrow at the kid sized clothes made me think of an excuse. “My son,” I grinned, looking to all the world like a caring, happy dad.

    She grinned back and continued ringing up the clothes.

    The more you talk about wizards the less I want to be part of their world, Harry sighed eventually. Especially if that title, if it was a title, is what I'm called. I have no interest in truckloads of attention.

    I sighed along with him at that. The saleslady gave me another raised eyebrow, but I just shook my head. I know, but Voldemort isn't dead. There's a prophecy pertaining to you and him, making you the only one capable of finally killing the bastard. As much as I'd love to take you to another continent and help you grow up as a healthy teenager, we don't have that option.

    Oh.

    I'm sorry, Harry, I apologized.

    It's not your fault. And you're here to help me with the task. That makes me feel better about it. Do you know the prophecy?

    I blinked in surprise. Yes, but are you sure you want to know it?

    Yes, please.

    The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord approaches, born to those who have thrice defied him, born as the seventh month dies. The Dark Lord will mark them as an equal yet they will have power the Dark Lord knows not. One can't die while the other survives, bleh bleh bleh. That's the gist of it.

    Seventh month. July. That's when my birthday is, Harry commented.

    Yup. And your parents defied him way more than three times. Took a lot of pleasure in doing so.

    Marked as an equal? My scar? Voldemort gave me that?

    Correct on all accounts. It's the site of the backlash from the runic matrix Lily used to protect you from the Killing Curse. Well, the one that… she most likely used. We're kinda split on what really saved you back where I come from, but the 'Lily did it with rare magic’ idea is a pretty solid commonality.

    Harry was quiet for half a minute as he processed that. Finally, he thought to me again. For some reason I have the feeling you're the only person who'll tell me anything about my role in this Wizarding World, he explained.

    Got that right, I snorted. Thankfully I didn't have to explain that one to the woman at the counter as we'd left the store and I'd Apparated us to the hotel we were staying in. Most will try to keep it from you ‘For The Greater Good’. The Leader of the Light, Dumbledore if you remember me leaving a message with Petunia for him, believes you have to die to finally defeat Voldemort.

    Harry was taken aback. What could possibly convince the idiot that was the case?!

    Tom Riddle, the true name of Voldemort, created… uh, at this point in time, six Horcruxes. They're soul containers, holding a piece of your soul, and thus preventing Death from collecting your whole soul. It makes you functionally immortal and invulnerable, to permanent death anyways.

    What does that have to do with me dying?

    I sighed, tapping a finger against the scar on our forehead while I put the new clothes away in the closet in our hotel suite. Because his sixth was unintentional. In the process of killing Lily and hitting you with a Killing Curse, he made you into a horcrux. Dumbledore knows no way to kill one save to literally kill one.

    Harry was repulsed. Are you telling me we have a piece of this bastard's soul inside us?!

    For now, I replied, Yes.

    GET IT OUT GET IT OUT GET IT OUUUUUUTTTTT!

    I sighed again. If I kept doing that our throat was going to dehydrate. Regardless, Harry did ask me to do something, and I intended to help him any way I possibly could.

    With that in mind, I stood still and shunted my focus inward. I gathered our magic in massive amounts. Using it almost as a chariot I swept through our mind looking for the pure sense of wrong I knew to be there.

    I found it just as an inhuman screech rang out through our heads. It affected Harry much worse than I, and in my mental landscape I saw a cloud of pure decay attempt to latch onto Harry's magical core. I was extremely surprised to find there were two cores present. There should only have been one, but it did explain why we were so powerful. My own was much larger and appeared to be a literal star. A Blue Giant. Harry's looked like a Black Hole, slowly pulling in both magic from my own core to regenerate itself and also allowing the decay that was Voldemort to approach it at high speed.

    Not this time, I shouted at the horcrux. I screamed in rage and a huge solar flare erupted from the corona of my star. It traveled far faster than light could truly go, belying the fact this wasn't real, before plowing through the soul fragment. Tom screeched while his essence was ripped apart. Bursts of memories from the fragment entered my head. I got the whole gamut of Voldemort’s skills and knowledge, but thankfully not his demented personality. I now knew more about magic than possibly even Dumbledore, Tom had done loads of research.

    I have a headache, Harry whimpered.

    I only groaned in reply, falling backwards onto the floor. I had barely enough control left to cast a simple cushioning charm before we hit the ground. Darkness invaded my senses and I blacked out.




    Weldon? came Harry's voice.

    Unh… wha happnd? I asked sloppily. I was still dredging up my consciousness from the state of unconsciousness we'd been in.

    We both passed out, he explained. It's dark now.

    I groaned in pain and raked my hands through our hair. Remind me to make sure we're laying down before doing something like that again.

    No kidding. Is it gone?

    Yep, and my head hurts like hell.

    Harry took control of the body after hearing that. He correctly assumed I wouldn't be doing so for a while. My headache went away a couple of minutes ago. Why does yours still hurt?

    I got a mind dump from the soul fragment.

    Before Harry's sudden fear could escalate any further, I elaborated. Knowledge, magical power, skills. No direct memories or personality traits, I'm still me.

    He let out a sigh of relief while getting up from the ground. Good. So do you know a lot more about magic now?

    Oh you have no idea, I grinned at him. Formulas, spells, potions, theories and more were spinning through my head so fast I could barely keep track. It took a while for me to assimilate all that knowledge into my eidetic memory banks.

    Yes I know that makes me sound like a computer, but when you have the downside that comes with remembering everything that happened in your life, you develop a system to filter the information. I was a big tech geek, so naturally structured those systems like a computer.

    Harry's eyes reverted to my control temporarily as I had an idea, our irises glowing.

    Oh I know that feeling, he said. You've had a grand idea, haven't you?

    Harry, we’re going to Gringotts!




    Getting into Diagon Alley was easier than I thought it would be. I simply asked Tom, the owner of the Leaky Cauldron, to open the way for me.

    Not to be confused with Tom Riddle.

    Of course we went in disguise. Because of the level of magic we had running through our body, several talents lurking in Harry's blood were now quite active. Not the least of which was that Nymphadora Tonks was no longer the only one to inherit Metamorphmagus abilities from Black blood.

    I discovered this when Harry idly wondered what girls looked like while he was taking a piss. His ability, previously uncontrolled and unknown, had decided to answer the question in the most literal, hands-on way possible. Or was it hands-off?

    A freakout, couple of cleaning charms and lockdown of the ability using my own mind systems later, we were a Metamorphmagus.

    Despite my continual teasing of him, Harry absolutely refused to go undercover as the opposite sex. Even after I pointed out literally nobody would believe a girl was the Boy Who Lived.

    Oh well.

    Blonde hair and an aristocratic yet soft look, blending my mental images of Malfoy and Neville, had to do.

    The trip to Gringotts didn't take very long. Harry had decided he would be in control because he wanted to ‘see all the cool stuff!’. I rolled my eyes but obliged him.

    Unfortunately the Goblins didn't take very kindly to a Metamorph in their bank.

    We were met with armed guards and escorted to a meeting room once I managed to convince them we meant no harm.

    Harry, it's probably best if i do this part, I told him.

    Why?

    I know a lot of the legal jargon and correct procedures to make this visit a productive one, I pointed out. And it was my idea in the first place!

    Harry sighed and grumbled, but did let go of the reigns. Fine.

    I rolled my eyes at him after taking control. He was only approaching eleven years old. I was the mature one in this relationship.

    “Whoever you are, know that Gringotts does not take kindly to impersonators or thieves,” a new guttural voice broke into my thoughts from the door.

    I turned to face the goblin who'd just arrived and gave a slight bow. “My apologizes Honored Goblin. Our intent was not to deceive, merely pass through the Alley and your Bank without attracting attention.”

    The small man's eyebrows rose at the honorific I presented him. He was obviously not expecting any of that. “In that case, please reveal your true self.”

    I grimaced, but decided to show him who he'd asked for. A moment's thought was all it took for our body to shift back to Harry's.

    The goblin's eyebrows rose even further. “I was not aware you were a Metamorph, Mister Potter. Your identity does explain your wish for anonymity.” He moved from the door and hopped into the chair behind the desk, steepling his fingers as he stared at us. The door closed on its own with a small click. “Tell me, Mister Potter, why did our sensors pick up not one but two magical cores inside you?”

    I grinned. “That's because you're not actually talking to Harry right now,” I explained. His eyes shot wide open and I held out a hand. “Weldon Corona… bodymate of Harry Potter, at your service.”

    “Split personalities that are aware of and cooperate with each other?” he mused, “Or something more sinister like possession?”

    My grin faltered. “I'm afraid it’s likely possession of some kind. Not a… ‘sinister’ one though,” I told him sulkily. “Not intentional either. Harry and I seem to be intertwined now. I'm not even sure how it happened to be honest. What I do know is that I intend to protect Harry from the world if necessary. And yes I do realize that sounds an awful lot like a split personality, but both Harry and I have completely separate identities, memories, et cetera. And I don't know of any split personalities that literally have two separate magical cores.”

    The goblin eyed me suspiciously. “And what does Mister Potter think about all this?”

    I didn't even have to offer control, Harry took it instinctively. “Weldon has helped me in more ways than you can imagine, sir. I have no desire to be rid of him.”

    The goblin glanced over to some kind of knick knack on the desk. The little orb-like contraption had been colored orange originally and spun clockwise. It was now Avada Kedavra green and spinning the other way. I belatedly realized it was a detector of some kind for who was in control. He looked back to us and grinned. “Very well Mister Potter. Gringotts acknowledges and accepts the position of Bonded Soul you have granted Weldon Corona. Now if I may be so forward, what was your business here at Gringotts today originally?”

    I took back control and smirked widely. “What are your opinions on investing in the Muggle world?”

    That question threw him for a loop. “Gringotts has some investments which I am not at liberty to disclose, but we generally do not do so. Why?”

    “Say I knew with absolute certainty which companies and industries would be good to invest in,” I cheekily proposed. “Would Gringotts be interested in a fifty-fifty arrangement?”

    The goblin almost had a heart attack judging by how wide his eyes flew open. “You're a time traveler,” he gasped.

    I shrugged. “Close enough. What of my proposal?”

    The goblin shook his head to clear the shock from his eyes. “Why only half? Surely you believe your information to be worth more?”

    I grinned. “Sir, you have no idea the kind of money I'm talking about. Not only would fifty percent set Harry and his grandkids for generations up for life, even Wizarding length life, I also don't particularly wish to haggle with Gringotts. Plus, I respect you goblins a lot, and believe a fair arrangement is in that same spirit of respect.”

    I'd stunned the poor guy. “You want to be fair to goblins? What kind of future raises a wizard like yourself?!”

    I merely smirked at him. I had never said I was a wizard. “Do we have a deal?”

    “I will have to bring this to Director Ragnok. Such an arrangement is far over my head,” he finally stated.

    “Maybe meeting us will help persuade him?” I suggested.

    The goblin nodded. “The worst could be he will not see you.”




    “I will see this youngling,” I heard through the doors of the ‘office’ the goblin had led us to.

    Oh good, now we can continue doing boring stuff, Harry complained.

    This is important to do, Harry. We need independent finances from the Wizarding World.

    Why? he asked. Wait… are there people who would try to control me?

    Not only is that list longer than one person, it's a lot longer, I snorted. Everyone, even the Goblins, want a piece of The Boy Who Lived.

    Oh great, Harry said.

    Regretting not wanting to hide out as a chick yet? I teased with a smug grin.

    That's not funny! he protested.

    I disagree, I informed him, and it will never stop being hilarious.

    Harry let out a long suffering groan of pain.

    Just as I was about to continue messing with him the door to the office opened up. The goblin we'd met with was holding it open.

    “The Director will see you now.”

    I nodded politely and passed through the threshold. Abruptly an extremely strong gripping sensation overcame me. It felt like it was trying to pull me away from where I was.

    Something wrong, Weldon? Harry asked with concern. He was in control and had stood back up.

    I realized it then and there. They're trying to separate us! I told Harry.

    What?! he panicked.

    I grunted at the strain this resistance was doing to Harry's magical core. It was only still present because of the bleed off from my own core. If I keep fighting it, your core will cease to exist!

    Harry’s blood ran cold. No. You're not fighting. You're taking it. Fight back! I don't care what you have to do, but they are not taking you away from me!

    My mind went into overdrive. Harry had given me his permission and if there was one thing I was damn good at, it was overwhelming an enemy. Three seconds later I'd defined my idea and fed it into my core. It signaled that my idea was effective and possible. I told my magic to go ahead.

    And all hell broke loose.




    After the chaos was over I finally got a good look at where we were. We stood among piles of goblin bodies scattered across a charred marble underfoot. It was clear that the room I absently scanned over was a throne room.

    Or it had been.

    Now the floor was a wasteland of seared flesh. The proud rug leading to a golden throne was pockmarked with ash and blood. The throne itself had melted onto the sole occupant. King Ragnok’s unseeing eyes stared at me in a mixture of horror and acceptance. The guards that had approached in an attempt to take me down were also dead. They lay haphazard around the throne room with holes big enough for my fist burned through their chests. Above it all spun a ring of five blue stars, smaller instances of my magical core. They served as automated augmenting foci for my power, the heart of my star. I now knew for a fact I didn't need a wand. It would actually only detriment me. I could after all externalize my magical core as a focus. Tom Riddle had many of the pieces but never the raw power I possessed. This was certainly a ‘power he knew not’. The stars could channel solar flares from inside myself to outside, which accounted for many of the burns present on my fallen enemies. A couple of them also seemed to have point defense systems in the form of lightning bolts. It was those that had scored huge holes in the guards.

    Harry was horrified. I fought the urge to throw up while I cast the second part of my demonstration. “Tempus Reciproco!

    This was a spell I'd literally created only seconds ago. It reversed time in a local area. The caster had to have a good understanding of the flow of time and a temporal coordinate locked in their mind or it would fail. The spell didn't act like an Obliviate and as memories seemed to be immune to temporal manipulation, all present in the field would remember my power.

    Goblins respected strength. I'd wiped out their races leadership without breaking a sweat. What would be even more worrying to the money managers was that I could undo it.

    I stared down the King of the Goblin Nation with absolute murder in my gaze. My eyes weren't just orange but shining like twin stars. “Do I need to teach you the lesson again?” I growled.

    He gulped and hastily shook his head. “No. We got your message.”

    I subtly returned the wild magic I'd had direct control of to my core. The five stars above my head fizzled out of existence, also returning to my core. The light shining from my eyes died down. I relaxed subtly but did not drop my death glare. He would make the next move.

    I never did notice that whatever force had been trying to remove me from Harry was no longer capable of affecting me. That was the moment that I'd become what I truly was. I wouldn't know this until much later, though.

    Ragnok slowly slipped off his throne and stood to meet my gaze head on. “While the Nation does not often get lessons in security, much less from an Archmage, we value anyone who can demonstrate our weaknesses. Do not think I am questioning your lesson when I ask this, but… why did you feel it was necessary to do so?” the King asked.

    Any kind of hatred or rage at them disappeared from me faster than a speeding train. This King was confused as to why I had done what I did. He thought it was a security exercise.

    The hell? And what was an Archmage?

    What are they talking about? Harry asked.

    “Just so we understand each other,” I stated, “you believe all this was to demonstrate a flaw in your Bank’s security?”

    Ragnok nodded. “What else could it have been? You asked to meet me to bring up a hole in our wards.”

    I snorted and crossed my arms. “Heh. Okay, clearly we got off on the wrong foot. To sum up my day; we met with a goblin Account manager, clarified that there are two souls in this body, my own and the original, that being Harry Potter, I implied I had future knowledge of worthy investments I wished to split fifty fifty with Gringotts, the manager said he'd need to take it up with you, I said it might help if we met, you called us in, and then you tried to pull me out of Harry!” I shouted the last part.

    Ragnok raised an eyebrow. “You were not added into the Soul Container or Leech wards as an exception?”

    Dumbfounded silence reigned for several tense seconds.

    I let out a combination of a growl and a sigh. “This was all just a giant misunderstanding and oversight, wasn't it?” I massaged the headache my annoyance at the scenario caused.

    “It appears so,” Ragnok agreed. He sent a death glare to the goblin next to me, the one we'd originally met with.

    “My apologies, My Lord,” he stated, kneeling and then bowing to us. “My life is forfeit. You may do with me what you wish.”

    I blinked. I looked between the goblin and Ragnok and blinked again. It took way longer than I will ever admit for my brain to wrap around the situation. “...Are you saying I like… own you now or something?”

    Ragnok replied instead. “This goblin, whether through incompetence or malicious intent, caused a client of Gringotts harm, and had that client, an Archmage, not felt gracious enough to turn it into a lesson instead, the entirety of Gringotts leadership would be dead today. He only lives at your pleasure, as the client he caused the harm to. If I did not judge that you would look upon it unfavorably, he would be dead already,” the goblin King growled in explanation.

    Oh. He meant me. I was the Archmage.

    We need to find out what an Archmage is, Harry noted.

    Indeed.

    Our mouth opened and closed like a fish several times. “So… is he my servant now?”

    “I am whatever you wish me to be. My life is yours,” the goblin stated with a monotone.

    Is our entire life gonna be this weird? Harry sarcastically asked me.

    “Uh… okay then,” I hesitantly accepted the King's… 'offer’. “Go stand by the door. The King and I have things to discuss.”

    “Yes Master.” Really fast runners these goblins.

    I rounded on the King with a raised eyebrow. “He'll do anything I ask?”

    Ragnok nodded. “His life is yours. I believe in the world of wizards they call it a Life Servitude.”

    “Huh.” I put that nugget of information away for future reference and speculation.

    And then… I had an absolutely fantastic idea.

    “Out of curiosity, Ragnok, how much would Gringotts pay for me to demonstrate more lessons, nonlethal ones anyways, of your bank security's weaknesses?”

    Ragnok’s eyes widened dramatically. I learned then and there what a ‘Goblin money grin’ was.




    I've never seen so much gold in my dreams, much less my life, Harry commented.

    I had a vault in Gringotts now. It was one of the larger ones. As part of my ‘security research’ with Gringotts I had placed my own ‘wards’, ‘runes’ and ‘protection systems’ on the vault (in reality, force fields, computational hardware, and a defense VI, all hosted and run by magic). In exchange for being able to study them, not only did the goblins pay me but also waived any fees I'd ever have at any branch of their bank. That's not counting the veritable mountain of galleons I received for illustrating their defensive weaknesses.

    “I still cannot believe your forty fifth demonstration,” Ragnok muttered from beside me.

    I turned to him and raised an eyebrow. “Oh? What about it is unbelievable?”

    In a very human gesture the King threw up his arms. “You invaded Gringotts with an army of mutated vampire ducks!” he exclaimed.

    “Ah yes,” I smiled, thinking back. “Good times.” I'd read a lot of unofficial fiction, colloquially known as fanfiction, back in my world. What can I say? I was inspired to my core.

    “That's not even including the seventy ninth demonstration!” Ragnok growled. “You turned every one of my race in the Bank into human women!”

    Not human,” I corrected, raising my index finger pompously. The fight to keep a grin off my face was legendary. “You were all kneazle hybrids.”

    “That's even worse!

    I shrugged. “Need any more demonstrations?” I asked, knowing full well the answer.

    NO!” Ragnok shouted. “No,” he said, calmly this time. “I think we've had quite enough of your demonstrations.”

    I grinned at him and winked. This only made the battle hardened King scowl. “You've got all the investments I told you to look for on a list somewhere right?”

    Ragnok narrowed his eyes at me. “Microsoft, Google, Apple, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Global Dynamics, and any of someone called Elon Musk's companies at some point in the future,” Ragnok recited. “There are more, I am sure. My scribes will have them somewhere in the sea of paperwork you've given my Nation today.” He finished by crossing his arms.

    I grinned at him even wider. “Great! I need to go see the DMLE then. Catch you later!” With that I opened a Vortex to the Ministry and stepped through. It closed behind me just after I heard him mutter about how it wasn't possible to travel out of Gringotts with magic.

    Of course, I wasn't using magic. Using it to open and target, yes, but wormholes are physics.

    Vortexes, as Harry coined them, were something we’d found out I could create in one of our many boss raids on the Gringotts vault guard dragons.

    I’d had enough of getting fire spat at me, and so forced willpower and magic into making that particular one go away. Imagine our shock when out of nowhere the very fabric of space itself was ripped open by a raw tear that was bordered by tumbling waves and froths of magic so energetic it looked like ocean sea foam, only made of plasma.

    We were even further surprised when a second later the inside blackness dissolved into an image of the bank’s main entry floor. It wasn’t really an image, it was too lifelike; we moved around slightly and could see the other side of the hole like it was right in front of us. Parallax movement and everything.

    It then proceeded to suck up the dragon and collapse in on itself with a boom. The goblins got to handle a rampaging and very confused dragon for my thirty first lesson on how I was better at this magic stuff than they were.

    I'd discovered how to create stable wormholes, with Magic, that people and things could travel through, without spaghettification.

    YEAH.

    I've never had this much fun in my life! Harry said. He was going over the memories of the hundred odd examples we'd tried on the bank earlier that day.

    Did you like getting to beat up stuffed goblins with a giant purple joke sword? I asked teasingly.

    It was the best!

    I don't think they'd agree with that, I said back, grinning widely. We were passing through the Ministry atrium at a sedate pace while we discussed. I'd cast an extremely powerful Attention Redirection ward on our body, commonly known as a Notice Me Not, which prevented even the people sharing the elevator with us from paying attention to the young adult with them.

    Hey, where are we going? Harry asked.

    DMLE, Department of Magical Law Enforcement, I answered.

    Harry took control when we reached the right floor. I let him, only nudging the trajectory of the body a little bit to head to the Director's office. Why are we going there?

    Long, long story short, you actually have a godfather. He is currently imprisoned in Azkaban, the wizarding prison, for a crime he did not commit. Never had a trial. We're gonna get him one.

    What?!” Harry shrieked out loud.

    Every Auror head in the department rotated to lock onto us like tracer bullets.

    “Crap,” I muttered under my breath. Harry left the controls of the body like they burned him after his outburst.

    “Ho there,” a male voice called, “who’re you?”

    I turned my orange gaze upon none other than Kingsley Shacklebolt. “Greetings Mr. Shacklebolt,” I respectfully said. “I need to request a meeting with Amelia Bones, Director of the DMLE. How would I go about such a thing?”

    Kingsley gave me a once over before he replied. “Director Bones is a busy woman, sir. What’s it about? Perhaps I, or another of the Aurors, could be of assistance?”

    I shook my head at him sadly. “I'm sorry Mr. Shacklebolt, but what I have to say and the topics to be discussed must go to Amelia Bones first, Albus Dumbledore third.” I missed his look of shock due to the mature female voice that suddenly spoke up from behind me.

    “What do you need to speak to me about?”

    I whirled on her automatically raising our hand. Her wand was already pointing at our head by the time I locked eyes with her. A tense standoff occurred between her wand pointing at me along with the wands of the entirety of the Auror regiment stationed in the Department and my raised palm.

    Despite what most would want to believe, in the wizarding world a raised hand can be just as deadly as a wand. Wandless magic was a thing.

    “Director Amelia Bones, I presume?” I asked with a steely tone.

    Weldon, what are you doing?! Harry almost shouted at me in our head.

    Establishing credentials.

    “I am Director Bones,” said the monocle wearing woman. “May I have your name?”

    I grinned at her and lowered our hand. “My name is Weldon Corona. We have a lot to discuss. I recommended that everyone lower their wands before I take them.”

    The threat was said so normally it took a second for everyone to register. An overachieving young Auror decided that was the signal and launched a spell at us. “Stupefy!

    I merely reached up, caught the spell matrix in a hand, and idly tossed it between both hands like a juggler to the flabbergasted shock of everyone. “Now that I have your attention, Director Bones,” I stated flatly, glaring at the attacking Auror, “I need to discuss an incident of injustice with you. One that cannot reach Dumbledore’s ears before yours,” I reiterated, staring Shacklebolt down.

    Kingsley's mood darkened even more as Amelia sent him a knowing look. She turned back to the red light bouncing between our palms and sighed. “Alright Mister Corona, I will hear what you have to say. May I have your guarantee you won't attack me?”

    “My dear Amelia,” I grinned, “attacking you would be highly counterproductive. I wish to see justice done! How could I do such a thing after attacking the very person with the authority and will to grant my request?”

    Amelia motioned to my hands. “What do you call that then? And raising your hand against me as if to cast a spell?”

    I had the shame to blush and stutter out a response. “Uh… sorry about that. Reflexes,” I explained. I absently missed a catch of the red stunning spell's matrix, it zooming off through the air to ram smack into the very Auror who'd shot it at me. Said rookie flopped backwards with a highly entertaining imitation of a fish out of water. “As for the stunner? Hey, he fired first.”

    Amelia snorted and rolled her eyes. “I can see you'll be a fun one, Mister Corona. Please, let us adjourn to my office.”

    I bowed slightly to her and gestured to the large door at the end of the Department hall. “Of course Amelia.”

    As we neared the door Kingsley came up to her with a concerned look. “Amelia, it is unwise to be alone in a room with him,” he muttered under his breath.

    I snorted at that and was glad to see Kingsley jump. Evidently he hadn't known I could hear him. Amelia grinned sideways at me before shaking her head to Shacklebolt. “Shack, you saw him catch that spell, right? You know the only kind of Wizard that can do that. Do you honestly believe even the entire Department could protect me if he wished me harm?”

    I almost snorted. It wasn't that difficult. Spells travelled through space. Control space, control the spell. I'd merely isolated the red ball of energy in a small spatial fold and tossed around the fold.

    ...Okay granted that was still pretty impressive, but not as impressive as catching raw energy would be.

    “There hasn't been one in half a millennium, Amelia!” he hissed, glancing sideways at us. I grinned and gave him a little wave.

    “He obviously knows his own power, Shack,” Amelia said, also glancing my way. “He is an Archmage. I have to listen to him, if only to get him on our side.”

    Kingsley growled but nodded. He stepped back and turned around, but in the process, locked eyes with us. His glare told me I'd better be careful with the Director if I knew what was good for me. I gave a slight nod; I respected both him and Amelia too much to do anything too drastic to either of them.

    “So you know you’re an Archmage then,” Amelia idly commented while she opened her office door.

    “Yes,” I responded. They certainly seemed to think so, what use was there in denying it?

    Harry snorted in our head.

    On second thought, my respect for Shacklebolt wasn't so much that I declined the chance to send a time delayed sex reversal hex over my shoulder at the retreating Auror's back.

    Weldon! Harry scolded me. He recognized the hex immediately.

    What? So Boltboy has to spend a day as Boltgirl. It won't harm him! I defended my actions.

    Harry sent the feeling of rolling his eyes my way.

    “Kind of young to be one,” Amelia commented, acting like she'd seen nothing.

    I shrugged. “You have no idea of my true age, I could be ten for all you know,” I half-joked.

    Harry groaned.

    She snorted. “Please. The youngest recorded Archmage was twenty-five.”

    I raised our eyebrows. This was a new development. Seems that Archmage thing Ragnok said has some additional weight to it, I told Harry.

    I wonder who the Archmage is, then, he replied, pondering. Is it you? Me? Both of us? Our body only? This merits more investigation.

    Indeed, I agreed. He'd given me much to consider after this.

    Amelia pushed the door closed and sat at her desk. She took the ever present monocle out of her eye. While rubbing fatigue away from her face she asked the golden question. “What can I do for you today, Mister Corona?”

    I grinned at her and leaned into the desk. “Sirius Black is innocent. Right now Peter Pettigrew is hiding out in his animagus form in the house of the Weasleys, pretending to be their pet rat Scabbers. By this time tomorrow, Sirius Black will be free and capable of taking care of Harry Potter or I will remove Fudge from power, become Minister myself, and pardon him anyways. Any questions?”

    Amelia stared at me completely dumbfounded. She finally regained her wits after a few seconds. “No really, what did you have to talk to me about?” she asked incredulously.

    I sunk into the chair in front of her desk with one leg over the armrest and a giant grin on my face. “Not kidding here, Amy,” I replied, using the pet name I knew her fiancé to have used.

    She tensed up and surreptitiously palmed her wand. “Threatening the Minister of Magic to the face of the Head of the DMLE takes some real guts, Mister Corona,” she seethed. She'd completely ignored the other two statements I'd made, one with her pet name and the other the innocence of the pet namer.

    I rolled my eyes and used a small Vortex to grab her wand from her hand into my own. Idly spinning it through my fingers and ignoring her sharp intake of breath at her wand that was just in her hand and was now in mine, I responded. “Amy, I was in Gringotts before I came over here to the Ministry, giving them about a hundred unique lessons on their security,” when she gasped I sent her a sideways glance and another grin, “I'm not making threats here. I'm making a promise that if Sirius Black is not given a fair and unbiased trial under Veritaserum, this time tomorrow Fudge will be out on his ass with my butt firmly sat in his current chair. I don't particularly care how many politicians I have to turn into catgirls that are in my way, either.”

    Amelia had grown tenser as I continued speaking, but that last bit successfully stole every ounce of wind from her sails. “Wha… cat girls?!

    Harry groaned inside our head, mentally face palming. Of course that's your default solution.

    I tilted my head, ignoring the peanut gallery commentary, with a bemused expression. “Amelia, I might be a Gray Archmage but that doesn't mean my default is killing,” I reasoned.

    Amelia's mouth opened and closed several times more. The only thing she could say was “Cat. Girls.”

    My grin was gigantic. “Funny thing about the pureblood laws governing the Ministry and the Wizengamot at the moment. Magical creatures and human-creature hybrids can't have a job in the Ministry, sit on the Wizengamot, or serve as the Minister for Magic. Given they would be kneazle hybrids, well…” I let her fill in the blanks.

    You're an evil, evil human being, Weldon.

    More fish mouthing from the Magic Cop Director before she could make a sound remotely resembling English. “Buh… How does that make you Minister?”

    I raised both hands in the air and moved my first two fingers on each like I was quoting someone. “Vote for me as Minister for Magic if you don't want to become a cat girl!”

    Amelia stared at me completely dumbfounded. “The scariest part of this,” she finally mashed out, “The absolutely terrifying part, is that I can see that plan actually working.”

    “So,” I grinned at her, “Trial for Sirius Black?”

    She pinched the bridge of her nose and sighed. “I'll make sure he gets one,” she growled out.

    “Good. Thank you.” With that I got up, waved at the air, and laughed out loud at her shriek when it tore open into a Vortex. “Well, I've got things to do, places to see, friends to make and people to influence.” The last she saw of me was a sarcastic salute and a smirk to rival a Stark.




    Just as the Sorting ended and Dumbledore was about to get up and speak, we instead stood and marched into the middle of the Great Hall. We stood tall and proud, staring down the Head Table.

    Dumbledore’s eyes were twinkling madly. “Harry, my boy, what are you doing?”

    I answered him instead. “We, Headmaster, despite your refusal to acknowledge that we have two souls in one body,” I fired off, grinning at the wave of gasps this elicited from the House Tables, “have something important to do before the feast begins. It won't take very long, we promise.”

    Dumbledore smiled sadly and shook his head. “I'm sorry my boy, but I cannot allow the Feast to be dela-”

    I cut him off harshly. “You have no say in the matter.” We turned to Quirrel and held out our hands, fingers splayed. For the entire room to see. “This is House business.”

    The old manipulator's eyes grew wide, but before he could say anything more, Harry began the confrontation with his practiced lines.

    “I, Harry James Potter-”

    “I, Weldon Corona-,” I continued.

    “-Head of the Most Noble and Ancient Houses of Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff, LeFay and Coronalis-,” came my voice.

    More gasps rang out across the great hall as I read out my Houses. They paled in comparison to the reaction Harry received, though.

    “-Head of the Most Noble and Ancient Houses of Gryffindor, Peverell, Potter and Emrys, and Head by Right of Conquest of the Most Noble and Ancient House of Slytherin-”

    Quirrel lost his cool at that. “WHAT?!”

    “-Do hereby declare a Blood Feud on behalf of all my Houses with the House of Quirrel-”

    “-Do hereby declare a Blood Feud on behalf of all my Houses with the House of Quirrel-”

    Suddenly the blood drained from the Defense Professor's face. “What?” he barely whispered.

    Dumbledore decided to play meddler for the first time since we'd met him. “Come now, Harry my boy, surely this isn't necessary-”

    We cut him off by continuing without appearing to have heard him at all. “And with the House of the parasitical possession currently inhabiting Quirnius Quirrel with his full knowledge and servitude, the Half-Blood named Tom Marvolo Riddle of the House of Riddle-”

    I parroted Harry's words to the letter, grinning widely at the ghostlike appearance of a certain Headmaster.

    “-Also known as the Dark Lord Voldemort-”

    “-Also known as the Dark Lord Voldemort-”

    Several things happened at once. The assembled students burst into screams of terror at the name. Every Professor except Dumbledore drew their wand on Quirrel. He tried to move away in an attempt to begin running, but Magic bound him to his chair on her own. And last but not least, hissed speech bellowed out over the Great Hall.

    LIESSSSSS!” Tom Riddle's shade screamed.

    “-For damages done to Harry Potter, James Potter, and Lily Potter of the House of Potter, for damages done to Lily Evans of the House of Peverell,”

    That last bit about Harry's mother shocked the Hall into silence for a good two seconds before the chaos continued. I was honestly impressed.

    “For falsely pretending to be worthy of a Most Noble and Ancient House, and for justice for all he has killed personally or had killed on his quest to subjugate the world's peoples-”

    I again repeated Harry's words. The entire Hall was pandemonium, students running about like chickens with their heads missing. The Prefects were too stunned to try and do anything about regaining order, the Professors too busy aiming at the proverbial Voldemort Car. Through it all we had a good five feet of space on all sides of us. Nobody wanted to come near us while we were invoking Magic like this.

    “-To be satisfied by a Wizard's Duel with the offending party on this date at this time at this location, without delay-”

    “-To be satisfied by a Wizard's Duel with the offending party on this date at this time at this location, without delay-”

    Dumbledore grew serious now. He knew what we were doing, and definitely figured out why our wording was so specific. He stood up, pulled out the Elder Wand, and aimed it at us. “Stupefy!” he called. His spell was released from the Deathstick with all the power he could muster.

    Too bad he missed the notes about who actually owned that wand.

    A moment after the spell left the wand it fizzled out of existence. The wand wrenched itself from Dumbledore’s hands to land in Harry's already outstretched one. The Headmaster's face drained of all its remaining blood a second afterwards. Due to how much he'd put into the spell, he collapsed back into his golden throne.

    We acted as if nothing had happened and continued anyways. “-the refusal of which shall automatically constitute forfeit. The Duel demands a price to be paid. The losing party shall be rid of any and all magics they possess or have ever possessed-”

    As I repeated Harry's words Tom Riddle cackled with glee. “Yesss! The Prophecy shall be ended!

    Wow. He really is as dumb as you say, Harry thought.

    Notice how several Slytherins are gazing on in horror and most of the Ravenclaws are grinning? Riddle really wasn't worthy to be the Heir.

    “-The Duel shall be restricted to legal means, excluding the casting of any and all illegal spells. This includes the Unforgivable Curses-”

    I don'tsss need Unforgivablesss to kill you, Potter!” Tom Riddle almost laughed.

    “-So I say-”

    “-So I say-”

    We raised our wands to point at ourselves. Harry had surreptitiously returned his wand to our arm holster and was using the Elder Wand, whereas I still had my customized metal one covered in runes.

    “-So mote it be.”

    “-So mote it be.”

    Two flashes of light emitted from both ourselves and Quirrel. The Blood Feuds were sealed.

    I grinned at them. “Goodbye, fucktards. Never underestimate a Ravenclaw Slytherin.”

    Then Quirrel slumped in his chair like a puppet with its strings cut. His eyes were stuck wide open, lifelessly gazing on the Hall. A black cloud rose above his body for a second before it began shrieking in raw agony. A burst of white light began in the center of the cloud and exploded outward. It ripped Tom Riddle's unanchored essence apart at the seams. The black clouds whittled away until there was nothing left.

    “Oh, and one more thing,” I told the completely silent Great Hall. I reached out with my Senses. It only took a few seconds to find the Stone in the Mirror of Erised’s pocket dimension. A small Vortex sucked it out, placing it in my palm. I scanned it, waved my other hand over it to duplicate it, then sent the original off via another Vortex to the Flamel’s home with an inscription telling them to be more careful who they trusted.

    To the amazement of both the students of Hogwarts and even Harry, I proceeded to eat the other Stone. Its power rushed through our body all at once. We were no longer mortals.

    “Well, now that Harry and I are immortal and Voldemort is finally very much dead, shall we eat?”




    It was during a midnight Astronomy class that my life as Harry's other soul became a lot more difficult. We'd requested access to the ultra powered giant telescope so Harry could get a look at Pluto. As soon as the massive machine realigned and focused on the outermost planet, our heart stopped beating.

    Harry coughed in alarm and overrode my mind, starting our heart back up again. Damn it Weldon! What was that for?!

    I couldn't believe what I'd seen. H… Harry, please focus on Charon.

    I never stuttered, much less with the amount of raw fear careening about our head at that moment. He didn't even respond. A quick realignment and further zoom had Harry seeing exactly what I thought I had, but definitely hoped to not have, witnessed in orbit of a certain ‘dwarf’ planet.

    What the hell is that? Harry asked.

    I gulped from the truth the long, two armed object with rings sitting in the middle of a bulge represented. Voldemort just became a minor pest on our list of problems. I spoke as if heading to my execution. To be fair, that object was a Trojan Horse from machines that would claim to do Death's work.

    It can't be natural. Looks like some kind of… you're gonna think this sounds insane, but a space station, Harry commented.

    My utter silence was telling.

    You've got to be kidding me!

    That is a Mass Relay, Harry. Our problems just got a whole lot bigger. Galaxy-sized.




    After the shock that was learning about the fact Charon was a Mass Relay, my reaction to finding a stone ring with constellations carved into it and a round console with buttons and a red center crystal in the Potter Vault wasn't that impressive.

    This is another alien thing isn't it, Harry groaned.

    Yep. The good news is that if this is present then it is impossible for the same timeline as the ME games to occur. The Reapers might still be coming but the galaxy will have to be vastly different to accommodate both universes. On top of that, Stargate levels of technology will take a dump on the Reapers without even breaking a sweat. Combine that with magic? Humanity is gonna break onto the galactic stage with a bang. No First Contact war this time… well, at least not one the Turians can win. And we will lead this world to the stars as Emperor!




    “Most magical beings look at combat with magic like combat with swords, or shields; you are attacking or defending,” I told the class.

    “Now, that type of combat is all well and good, but it disregards the wide field of abilities Magic allows a fighter to use. I can, without firing a single spell at my enemy, take them and their compatriots out of the battle in a second. Even further I can prevent them from escaping and any reinforcements would be incapable of entering the fight,” I lectured. Turning to look at the class and especially the professors in the back, I raised an eyebrow. “Would anyone care to guess as to how such a thing might be done?”

    Hermione's hand was the first up. Others went up as well, even Flitwick’s, but I wanted to call them in order. “Yes, Hermione?”

    “A few wards of different types including an Anti-Apparition ward would accomplish the described scenario,” she expertly recited.

    “You are correct. Five points to Gryffindor,” I acknowledged with a nod. “However, that was not the scenario I was thinking of. To the rest of you with answers in your mind, how many of you included a ward or other kind of location-specific method in your answer?”

    Most of the hands fell back down. Only Flitwick, Neville, Daphne and McGonagall still had theirs up.

    “How many of you included more than two spells?”

    Neville and McGonagall lowered their hands, a bit put out.

    “I thought that might be the case. Rule one of combat: it can happen to you anywhere, anywhen, and with anyone. To be an effective fighter you cannot be reliant on location or situation-specific solutions. You need to have fast and easy to deploy countermeasures that work on most things. Don't take me wrong, specialties are important to have, but they are edge cases. One must have general solutions that can be applied to any situation.” I turned to Flitwick, who'd been the next one in line of hands, and slightly bowed. “Master Duelist Flitwick, what is your solution?”

    The Professor’s eyebrows rose as his hand fell. I'd obviously impressed him with my knowledge of his title. “In my time on the dueling circuit I once witnessed a Russian battlemage cover the arena in water and fire an obscure lightning spell into it. I sadly do not know the spell, but it seemed to perpetuate inside the water. His opponent was shocked into unconsciousness, as were the second and third backups for the opponent. His fourth refused to enter the arena, thus he won,” he explained.

    I grinned ear to ear. “Excellent! Five points to Ravenclaw!” I cried out in triumph. Flitwick crossed his arms and rolled his eyes. I turned towards the students, all of whom had very mixed reactions. “Professor Flitwick has just described a person who knew what they were doing. Instead of fighting a battle for the fight itself, they used clever planning and a good knowledge of how water conducts electricity to win the war. That is something I cannot impress upon you enough. Do not fight to win! Fight to absolutely destroy the opponent’s ability to fight. However, this scenario, as good as it is, still has a glaring weakness. Someone could easily Apparate in, grab this Russian battlemage, and remove them from their safe haven. It suffers from the fact they fortified the location, not themselves. Any other ideas?”

    Daphne still held her hand up. She was the only one who did, so I called on her. “Yes Daphne?”

    “An aura of some sort,” she said.

    Gasps rang out around the room as I abruptly grinned. “For that, Greengrass, you can take fifty points for Slytherin,” I exclaimed jubilantly.

    Her eyes shot wide open in surprise. “I was right?”

    “Yes,” I nodded, moving back to the front of the classroom. I spun in place to see everyone before I continued. “Auras. An oft forgotten branch of magic because of the notion that they can only provide slightly positive or beneficial effects to large armies. They take a lot of power to cast and you have to keep the caster safe from harm, else the aura falls.”

    “If you were to follow traditional ideas, that is,” I amended. I put a shit eating grin on my face. “Auras take more power to cast the bigger the area that you wish to cover with one is. The cost is exponentially increased by the effect you intend the aura to impart. Given they were invented for battlefields and armies, not duels and duelers, they became an abandoned branch of some very impressive magical possibilities. For example, let's say one brought the area needed for one down to… oh, the size of this classroom,” I explained, gesturing around the room with one arm. “Let's also say that one didn't go for the normal effect that most would use an Aura for, like boosting the output of spells or giving armies more protection. What if instead one gave it an extremely simple effect?” I brought up my other hand, pointing my wand at my own head. “Gravitas immunes locales. Aurum Duo Gravitas!” I incanted.

    They all had a split second to wonder what I was doing before the aura flared from our body and crushed them into their seats. Every person in that hall struggled to move, all incapable of doing anything but succumbing to the force of the universe I'd unleashed upon them.

    The adults were spread between gazing at me in jaw dropped shock or trying to raise their wands to to something. All of them couldn't do anything but stare. McGonagall was the only unfortunate fool in the class. She scooted sideways off her chair and promptly hit the floor, held to it by invisible hands.

    The whole time I stood at the front of the class and grinned like a maniac. The aura wasn't affecting me in the slightest due to the first spell I'd cast on myself. After a few minutes and everyone resigning themselves to be beaten I pointed my wand at myself and used a spell they were actually familiar with. “Finite Incantatem.

    The pressing gravity let up. Everyone could move, leading to a series of relieved gasps. McGonagall got up and brushed herself off. The death glare she sent me only revived the smirk on my face.

    Dumbledore cleared his throat. “Yes, well. That was certainly an effective demonstration,” he commented. The annoying twinkling in his eyes was back.

    “Mister Corona, what did you do?!” Flitwick almost squealed with glee.

    “I made myself immune to local gravity changes and then cast a very small, in the scale of aural magic anyways, gravity aura that increased gravity in range by two hundred percent, giving the effect of being under three times the normal gravitational pull of Earth,” I explained succinctly.

    Everyone in the room blinked.

    “That's it?!” Hermione shrieked.

    “That's it!” I jubilantly replied.

    Dumbledore gazed at me with a newfound respect in his twinkling eyes. “Such a simple thing and yet you took out myself, plus the Professors of Hogwarts and all the students with it. By Merlin.”

    “Such a simple aura takes no energy to cast because it is essentially the reverse effect of the levitation charm,” I explained further. “Instead of lifting up, you push down. It's actually less energy than lifting because you're not fighting the planet as you work. Auras of this size on their own take little more energy than a Light spell to create and maintain. With slightly more effort than a first year class with Professor Flitwick, I brought you all to a state little better than paralysis. I didn't have to fire a single spell at any of you. What's more is that because I was influencing gravity like that, anyone who tried to Apparate out would fail at best, splinch themselves at worst, and anyone who tried to come in would join their fellows on the ground instantly. I didn't ask anyone to demonstrate that because the wards of Hogwarts prevent it, but trust me, I know what I'm telling you. An enemy with this power could have easily grabbed a knife and gutted the entire future generation of magicals while the adults watched.”

    Screams of horror rang out from many of the students. I hated being this harsh but they needed to hear it. “This is the true danger you all face in a world of magic. You are lucky the various Dark Lords never attended Muggle schools because then they would have known how to do what I just did. An actually competent individual with magic could take over the world, not this country, not Europe, the world in a matter of minutes. Mundane and magical. I tell you all this in the hope that you will understand what powerful weapons each and every one of you holds in your hand.” I held up my wand to demonstrate. Several students flinched back from my own wand, then after realizing they had one, dropped it on their desk and shuddered.

    “Mister Corona!” McGonagall scolded me, “they are just children!”

    I lowered my hand and shook my head with a sigh. “Children with a remarkable gift. That gift can be a horror of a weapon or can help heal the world. Professors, Headmaster,” with this I turned to the various students who were giving me death glares or comforting their younger siblings, “fellow Students. My goal with this class is not to traumatise you. I intend to show you the wonders of the energy force we call Magic, the good it can do and how we all can use it to help the world. I also will be teaching you how to defend yourselves and absolutely decimate your opposition plus the counters just in case they have learned the same. All that said: make no mistake, we will be covering some horrifying topics. It's necessary for us all to know these things so that we don't end up doing them.” I stared down the children of the Death Eaters as I said that last bit. Several of them shuddered, a few looked guilty, and Malfoy like he'd seen a ghost. “‘We must study history so we are not doomed to repeat it.’ A great man once said that. We are the next generation of wizards and witches.” With that I cast a silent golden aura around myself and let it flare out a little. “We will make our world a better place!”

    Damn you're good at this, Harry stated.




    Hermione caught up with us as we were leaving the Defense classroom.

    “Harry!” she called out.

    I was busily tinkering away in our mind on new ways to use this force known as magic, leaving the original owner of the body in control. Harry stopped and waited for her to catch up. She stopped sprinting and caught her breath before she took a glance at our eyes. Seeing green she let out a breath of relief.

    “What's up, Mione?” Harry asked.

    “Weldon’s… kind of intense,” she summed me up in one word better than anyone I'd ever heard.

    Harry nodded. “He is. He has to be, though, Hermione; we're trying to drag a secret world stuck in the Victorian era into the modern age, and do it while avoiding the hell that will come to pass.”

    Hermione’s eyes glazed over as she silently mouthed ‘will come to pass’. Harry waved his hand in front of her eyes. No response. I chuckled lightly when her gaze snapped back into reality and she drew in a terse breath.

    Will come to pass?” she repeated. Her eyes bored down into our own with an intensity I’d rarely seen from anyone before. “Weldon’s from the future, isn’t he?” she whispered.

    Harry didn't even have to ask me. He knew me that well at that point. “In a way,” he admitted. “But he hasn't traveled through time, not really.”
     
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  12. Kolarthecool

    Kolarthecool From dusk till dawn

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    Wait, how exactly did Quirrelmort die? I completely missed that.
     
  13. TCGM

    TCGM (Unverified God/Space Snek)

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    Wizard's Duels are binding, with Magic itself enforcing their terms. Being unable to fight is considered a forfeit. Note that Harry and Weldon said with the offending party; that's not Squirrel, it's Voldemort. He can't cast magic as a shade. Thus he cannot participate in a Wizard's Duel, and thus he automatically forfeits. Which removes his magic from him, as the terms of the Duel were laid out.

    Horcruxes exist because of Magic.

    Cue one ripped apart Voldie.
     
  14. Threadmarks: Tayles of Mice and Men (Worm)
    TCGM

    TCGM (Unverified God/Space Snek)

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    Tayles of Mice and Men
    Plot Mouse
    The Tail End

    Danny has been down in the dumps for what feels like forever. After Annette died... he just couldn't work, couldn't focus, his life effectively halted. And his daughter... she was still being bullied and he didn't. NOTICE.

    But at least things were looking up. He'd met someone, the only one to put light in his life other than Taylor since that fateful day. She had been visiting the Bay to say hi to one of her old friends, they met at a coffee shop, got to talking, and they've been dating ever since. Taylor still hasn't warmed up to her entirely, but he's sure that she will be the rock solid thing she needs to come back from this.

    He looks at his daughter lying in a coma on the bed, then calls Melanie, not noticing the hint of whiskers on Taylor's face, for they are gone in an instant.

    She's at the hospital before Danny knows it. She's always like that. Always happy and hammy, and she's just what they needed. She'll know what to do.

    "Danny!" she breezes into the room, like always. "What's wrong? Why are you at this hospital which I totally was at too?! I-" she sees Taylor, then hesitates. "Oh, no."

    Danny nods, then holds out a book to her. "I've been letting this happen under my nose, Mels," he says, depressed to all hell.

    That lasts exactly five seconds as her cheery, unbeatable attitude breaks his funk, like it always has. "You lost your wife Danny it's understandable, but as the totally not mom I have a job to do!" Melanie exclaims, then opens the book. She reads a few lines in, then freezes.

    "Danny, what's this Sophia's last name?"

    "Uh... Hess, I think? Not sure. Taylor didn't mention her last name much in the book and she never told me."

    Melanie grimaces, snaps the book shut, then turns to him with the first fake smile she's ever shown him. "Excuse me, Danny, I need to go kill someone. Hold onto this, please?" she asks, tossing the book at him.

    Then in a moment, she turns on the spot and is gone.

    It suddenly adds up in his head. How she's almost always quick to get to their house, or dates, the ham sandwich that is her mile a minute talking so like how Taylor used to be, the now obvious jokes about mice she constantly fired off…

    "...Huh. Well now lots of things make sense."

    Meanwhile, in another reality, Queen Administrator is being given Ideas by Flicker...
     
  15. Threadmarks: Choice Is Everything (Worm)
    TCGM

    TCGM (Unverified God/Space Snek)

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    Choice Is Everything
    Plot Bunny
    Choose

    Taylor screamed as Sophia pushed her into her infested locker-

    And then she was somewhere else.

    She bolted upright, scrambling away from the chair she was in, and put her back to a wall so she could see the room and calm her beating heart.

    A cozy living room met her gaze. The general theme seemed to be marble given the floor and columns and ceiling, but there were golden, gaseous, and organic looking circuits flowing through the marble itself.

    Two massive dark golden beanbags were resting on a soft plush navy blue rug in front of a marble fireplace with a merrily crackling fire.

    Overall, the place exuded a unique feeling of a friendly home.

    It would've continued to do so if Taylor didn't notice that one of those beanbags held a man.

    He was wearing a simple t-shirt with some kind of inverted V on the front and cargo pants. He had a full face beard of brownish red hair, matching his darker and middle back length long hair.

    Taylor tensed up, ready to run. Her brain had enough time to realize she wasn't in Kansas anymore, and the enigmatic cape kidnapping someone was a cliche for a reason.

    "I'm not a cape," he spoke up.

    His pleasant voice wasn't enough to distract Taylor from the fact he'd replied to something she thought.

    "Who are you?" she demanded.

    He shrugged and took a sip out of a mug of what smelled like hot chocolate- wait, where did that mug come from? "I go by many names in many different existences, not all of them me, but you can call me TC if you want an easy one," he offered.

    Taylor took a second to process that and found that her brain had abandoned her. "What?"

    "I'm about to offer you extreme power and break your worldview over my knee, you're going to want to sit down," he said instead of answering her, gesturing to the other beanbag.

    Taylor narrowed her eyes. "Power? Are you like Teacher?"

    The man actually laughed. "No, that fuckface would wish he was me, if he knew of me." He took another sip, this one longer, of his hot chocolate and then gestured towards the beanbag with the mug. "Please, sit. Seriously, Taylor. I mean you absolutely no harm, am trying to help you, and frankly you're gonna need it for anything I divulge in this little meeting here."

    Taylor stared at him suspiciously for a few more moments, then her resistance crumbled. "Fine," she said, crossing her arms. "But I am going to scream if you try to eat me or something."

    The man rolled his eyes. "Very well."

    Taylor sat, arms crossed. And then her eyes widened as her body experienced utter bliss.

    He grinned at her as she found herself collapsing into the beanbag. The bastard must've made the bag this way on purpose, she swore at him. Both as a test, and because she really meant it.

    "I'll let you take the beanbag back with you, if you want," he said teasingly, somehow yet again knowing what she was thinking.

    Test success.

    He sighed and shook his head. "I told you already Taylor. I mean you absolutely no harm at all. You can keep running tests all you want if it helps you out, but…" He gained a pained grimace and looked away. "I'd really like it if you could, if not trust me, at least hear me out."

    Taylor glared at him, though it was halfhearted at best. That beanbag was incredible. "Do I have a choice?" she demanded.

    Another pained grimace crossed his face and he turned to look at her, offense clear in his eyes. "Yes, of course!" he declared vehemently. "Choice is everything."

    "You didn't ask me if I wanted to come here… wherever this is," she pointed out.

    He gave her an unimpressed look. A very unimpressed one. "Locker full of biowaste ring any bells?" he asked rhetorically.

    Taylor found her resistance starting to crumble. The guy had a point. "Fine," she said, crossing her arms. "If I hear you out, will you let me go?"

    The man waved to the side and a door appeared out of nowhere. Taylor jumped in her beanbag, the existence of it was so sudden.

    "I'm not going to keep you here against your will," he stated flatly.

    Taylor looked back to him discerningly, her heart rate still through the roof. Seeing he at least looked sincere, she climbed out of the beanbag and made for the door. "Okay, thanks," she said.

    He didn't speak until her hand was on the door handle. His words, however, stopped her in her tracks.

    "But your planet is going to burn."

    She was almost unnaturally aware of her hand on the doorknob. Of freedom so close to her, and yet… she wanted to be a hero. She'd always wanted to be a hero. To help people. To save her world. She couldn't help it. Despite all she'd suffered, despite the betrayals and the pain and the misery… the part of her who was still that little girl who played Alexandria and Legend with... her... was crying out to give him a chance.

    And she knew this guy knew it, just like he knew her thoughts.

    Damn it.

    For once, he said nothing.

    Why would he need to? He'd won. They both knew it, and knew the other knew it, too.

    Taylor stepped back from the door.

    She didn't turn around, though. She just stood there, fists clenched and glaring at the door like it was the man behind her.

    "What. Do. You mean." she demanded.

    "Scion's real name is Zion, he's an alien and most likely an emergent AI who's distributed across trillions of biocrystalline supercomputers the size of continents in multiple realities, these Shards are the sources of Parahuman abilities, you have one of the most powerful and versatile ones connected to you right now and listening to everything going on here because I'm allowing it to, and he's going to try to blow up every version of Earth he has access to as interstellar rocket fuel in either two or thirteen years."

    Taylor slowly turned around in the spot, revealing her totally dumbfounded and disbelieving look.

    He smiled and brought his hands up, fingers bridged together under his chin. "Do I have your attention now?"

    Taylor could only nod.
     
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  16. Threadmarks: Heart of the Cards 1 (Worm)
    TCGM

    TCGM (Unverified God/Space Snek)

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    Heart of the Cards
    Plot Bunny 1
    Discover A Box

    Oooh! Come in, and shut the door!

    Taylor bolted up in bed, her heart racing. She frantically looked around her room for the source of the voice.

    Nothing. There was nobody in her room but her.

    Then she remembered.




    Don't be scared, a happy, kind man's voice said. Come in. Have a seat.

    She was still in her locker. Her body was shoved and pressed into the toxic waste at the back and bottom. Every movement she made came with a loud squelch sound. And the bugs… so many bugs.

    She opened her eyes, long since dry of tears, and tried to see if anyone was finally coming to help her.

    Nobody. Like before.

    Nobody was going to save her.

    With this realization a new, fresh wave of tears spilled from her eyes and she let out a choked sob.

    Taylor thought she was out of tears to cry. Apparently not.

    Then the locker's door disappeared.

    She blinked. Was she free?

    No, the locker was still a coffin. only one of the doors was no longer there. Just an empty, light blue void where there should've been metal.

    What the hell. Was this a cape answering her calls for help?

    Whatever it was, it couldn't be worse than where she was already. Taylor took a shuddering, weak step forward. Then another. And another.

    One more was all it took for her body to be swallowed by the light.




    The disorientation from the sudden hallucination faded away just as fast as it had appeared. Taylor snapped back to the present with a slight startled jump. What is going on?! she asked herself.

    That memory was far too clear. Like instead of remembering she'd just experienced it again.

    And her head hurt.

    The last thing she remembered before waking up in her bed was trudging out of the locker into formless light. So how was she here?

    Taylor checked herself over. She was fine. Better than fine, even. Clean pajamas, unmarred skin, and most importantly, not covered with bugs and toxic filth.

    “What the hell,” she said again, this time out loud.

    A sound alerted her to the fact not all was quite normal after all. Taylor glanced toward the sound's source and gasped, rapidly shoving herself backwards in her bed.

    On her desk, across the room, a rather large wooden box sat. It was incredibly detailed, with additional armor like sections and smaller ribs along its lines. It looked very expensive.

    But it was also glowing.

    A slight blue light was streaming out of the top of the box in rays that stabbed the darkness of the early morning.

    Boxes don't usually glow.

    They also usually don't match glowing color with disappearing locker doors either. Or make a noise a little bit like softly rotating, grinding wood.

    Tinkertech. Must be. Strange, wooden, but still Tinkertech.

    Taylor never let her eyes leave the box for several minutes as she tensed, ready to get the hell out of dodge if the Tinkertech started doing something dangerous.

    Several minutes later she felt a little stupid, because the box had done nothing more than glow and make its noise the entire time.

    She bit her lip as she tried to decide what to do. She could wake her dad up, call the PRT. Get capes to come and take a look at the mysterious Tinkertech on her desk.

    Taylor blinked.

    But maybe this box was meant for her. Why someone would give her anything but more bullying escaped her at the moment but it was, at least, possible.

    She began to think about it. Seriously.

    She was trapped in her locker, probably about to die, when an unknown cape rescued her. Or, well, provided her a way out.

    And if her current state of cleanliness and clothing was any indication, got her back to her house after healing any damage she picked up in the Locker.

    This box might be a gift from them.

    The tiny little thought in the back of her head, niggling away at her, that said that the box might actually be Taylor's creation, went solidly ignored.

    She wasn't lucky enough to be a cape.

    Enough stalling, she thought. It was time to find out one way or the other.

    She kicked the covers off her legs and slowly got off the side of her bed. The box hadn't reacted at all, which was good.

    Taylor crept closer to her desk, tiptoeing as slow as she could. Once she reached about three feet from the box the glow and noise started to ramp up their intensity. She froze.

    And the intensity ramp up stopped.

    Proximity based, Taylor discerned.

    Gulping, the teenager took another, single step forward.

    The ramp up mirrored her step.

    Definitely proximity based.

    At this point her ceiling was being painted with blue light from the swirl of glowing blue she could see on the top center of the box, engraved into some kind of pale brown stone.

    Her eyebrows shot up when she noticed the spinning wooden sections curved around the stone. They were embedded in the surface of the box, a surface which had multiple layers of stylishly carved wood pieces arrayed around the sections.

    Yet again she ruminated on the fact that this box didn't seem to emulate any Tinkertech she'd ever heard of, or seen. Like, who used wood?

    Taylor crept even closer to the box. The light shone like a beacon. She finally arrived at her desk and stared down in awe at the surprisingly small box.

    “Could've sworn this was bigger,” she mumbled.

    An eight pointed compass star was inlaid around the source of the otherworldly glow. A smooth, off white stone with a blue spiral in the center. Taylor stared into the impossible depths of the blue energy contained in that stone… and she swore she felt something looking back.

    But that was crazy talk.

    Tinkertech was a lot of things. Sentient, it was not.

    Not even Eagleton's horde of robots actually thought.

    Hesitantly, Taylor reached out a hand towards the stone. The intensity of the glowing didn't increase oh, so it was clearly at its maximum. She allowed her hand to hover over blue swirl for a few more moments, then pressed down.

    The box sprang open, wooden panels whacking into her desk. The inside was covered in mist for the mere second Taylor could see it, then hundreds of flat things, each flapping like a piece of paper, began pouring out and into the air around her. The blue glow from inside illuminated her wide eyes.

    "No no no! Stop!" Taylor yelled, immediately ducking down. The cards? Yes, cards, that's what they were, ignored her entirely and flowed around her scrambling hands, more and more pouring into her room from the open box.

    Taylor was breathing very hard as the cards encircled her, flying in formation until they formed into a rough sphere surrounding Taylor and the box. She noticed the cards seemed to ignore reality, because one of the edges of the sphere was passing in and out of her wall. Every card was surrounded in that blue light.

    Taylor scrambled up to her desk, trying and failing to grab the sides of the open box's panels. It was shaking crazily, vibrating up and down on her desk. She couldn't get a hold of the thing. The seemingly endless stream of cards didn't help, and the flapping noise was starting to get on her nerves.

    "Close! You stupid… box!" Taylor exclaimed. Her hands kept slapping the table instead of the box as she played whack a mole with it.

    Then a voice, deep and throaty, rumbled her floor. "It is said… that wars are only won upon the anvil of honor."

    Taylor only hesitated a moment. "Hey!" she yelled at the voice. "Stop your box and all the cards!!"

    Evidently the voice's owner either didn't hear her, or didn't care. Another voice spoke up. This time a woman. "Others believe victory requires strategy, and a mastery of power!"

    The mention of power was very attractive to Taylor, but she was a little too busy to care. "Lady! STOP THE BOX!" she cried out. A moment later her hands found the sides of the box and she grinned. "Haha! Got you now!"

    The box released even more cards in reply, this time straight at Taylor's face. She yelped, ducked down, and in the process tossed the box over her head.

    It clattered across her floor and slid to a stop against her bed leg. It did not close, and if anything the cards coming out just sped up. They should've filled her room at that point, but they were just whizzing through the air or in the main shell.

    She frowned. "Oh come on!!!"

    She heard her door open, then the panicked scream of her dad. "TAYLOR?!"

    Taylor winced. "IN HERE, DAD!" she yelled back. She had to yell, it was the only way he'd hear her over the fucking annoying flapping.

    "TAYLOR WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON?"

    It was at that moment a raspy voice chimed in. "War is deception," he said.

    Before Taylor could speak, yet another voice picked up where the raspy one had left off. This man sounded almost regal… and dangerous. "A game played best… from the shadows."

    "TAYLOR WHO WERE THOSE PEOPLE?!" her dad yelled, sounding more panicked.

    "I DON'T KNOW BUT I'M THE ONLY ONE IN THE SPHERE! ME AND A STUPID BOX THAT WON'T CLOSE!"

    "WHAT DOES A BOX HAVE TO DO WITH THIS?!" her dad yelled back. "ARE YOU OKAY? I'M GONNA TRY TO GET THROUGH!"

    Taylor had no idea what the cards would do to her dad. They hadn't done anything to her, but she wouldn't risk him like that. "NO, DAD! LET ME GET THIS THING CLOSED, I DON'T KNOW IF THE CARDS IN THE SPHERE ARE SAFE FOR YOU!"

    Whatever her dad said was overpowered by a gruff, no nonsense man. "Only strength and raw power can assure total dominance!"

    "THAT'S GREAT, MAN, BUT PLEASE SHUT UP AND STOP ALL THESE CARDS!" Taylor fired back.

    "I FELT THAT MAN'S VOICE IN MY BONES, TAYLOR!"

    Suddenly, the first voice she'd heard came back. "But you could forget all that… and just have fun!"

    Taylor would've replied, but the flow of cards reversed. They fell from the sphere in a tide, rushing back into the box's bottomless depths. She had a few moments to realize she was being pulled too, and just enough time to look at her father in fear.

    Then she was picked up by an invisible force, spun around the box a few times along with the cards, and then fell into a blue smoky abyss while the last of the cards followed behind her and the wooden panels slammed closed.

    She fell, fell, fell, end over end. There was no bottom, and cards flit about around her. She felt herald becoming sleepy, and the panic she should've felt became a muted alarm. Before she was knocked out, she heard the final words of whatever this box would say to her.

    "Hearthstone… Heroes of Warcraft."

    "What's… warcraft?" she mumbled, then the blue smoky nothing took her.
     
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2020
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  17. Threadmarks: Dreading The Abyss 1 (KanColle)
    TCGM

    TCGM (Unverified God/Space Snek)

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    Dreading The Abyss
    Chapter 1
    Hello World, I’m Me

    You know that feeling you get when you're in the middle of taking a step on the sidewalk and you end up walking on an ocean?

    No? Just me then?

    Huh.

    Well, I'm standing on an ocean.

    Yup, walking on water.

    Just like a certain supposed offspring of a mythological being.

    Only I'm pretty sure Hazuz didn't have gigantic knockers. Though, rain check on that, I don't think the Nasuverse has gotten to him yet.

    Yeah, I'm now an absurdly stacked chick, quite hippy, standing on an ocean. Waist long, navy blue hair, and eyes that are essentially invisible in my reflection only because they're the same color as the gods damned sea.

    Standing on a fucking OCEAN!

    Yes, that most definitely bears reiterating three times!

    You get two guesses as to what I've become.

    If you guessed angel, you need to get your head checked.

    Right. I'm a shipgirl. And if my chest and hips are anything to go by, I have to be pretty damn big.

    I'm a Battleship.

    ...probably.

    Hey, I wouldn't put it past whatever brought me here making me an oil tanker, or similar, for teh lulz.

    Survive and thrive in a world of sentient, booby warships as an oil tanker! Good luck! MUAHAHAHAHAHA!

    Yeah, no.

    Okay, well, there's one easy way to answer this.

    Summon my rigging.

    Now how the fuck do I do th-

    Oh.

    Oh.

    OH.

    That is surprisingly easy. Just… do it. The rigging is part of me so I just needed to… do it.

    Like moving an arm or a leg. It's thoughtless. A matter of willpower.

    I'm almost entirely encased in my rigging. There's so many sections it's like a starfish wrapped around my body with a massive section protecting my back, chest, and hips.

    However it fails the armored woman check despite my 6ft thick nanotube weave plating because it leaves some of my bountiful cleavage and the entirety of my… surprisingly toned stomach open.

    Le sigh.

    I've got 18 turrets. And a flight deck.

    Now that might sound like I'm a carrier, except...

    Those turrets are sixteen triple barrel, rotary, rapid fire railguns and two mother fucking plasma cannons.

    ...I'm probably not a carrier.

    Let's see, 1000 crew (Hello little guys and gals!), 32 anti air laser blisters, a digital warfare suite, sub drone launchers, heli drone launchers, jet drones for the flight deck-

    Waitaminutehere.

    I recognize my specs.



    ROB, I could kiss you.

    I'm a Poseidon Class Dreadnought.

    A ship class I made up.

    Created by a fictional humanity I also made up. Dreadnoughts were intended to be the response to the proliferation of battleships. Somebody in my fictional humanity decided to go big or go home when they could've used carriers and was all out of bubble gum or fucks to give about those glorified floating airstrips.

    ...On reflection it is highly likely I now have some biases that my ship class would have as a shipgirl. Oye.

    Anyways, I was designed to take Tank, Spank, Dakka, and Aerial Superiority and roll them all into one supership.

    My class was intended to sail straight into an enemy fleet while countering, ignoring, or tanking everything they could throw at me, then make them go away from point blank range. Just like old flagship broadsiders from the Age of Sail.

    Or serve as stupidly long range bombardment.

    Or act like a carrier. Despite my designer's dislike of the flattop, they couldn't ignore the advantage they provided.

    I can also open up and serve as a mobile drydock.

    The only thing I can't do is fire missiles and that's because those are on my jet drones.

    And I have nukes too.



    RIP all the Abyssals.




    After spending five hours reveling in the sheer AWESOME that is being the manifestation of 1,700+ feet long and 356,000 tons of raw bullshit, talking to my crew, and running checks on all my systems, I am ready to take canon, bend it over, and shove my spinal mounted Big MAC up its butt.

    But which country to go to? Japan's getting brutally wrecked by the Abyssals, but I've got enough guns to make a redneck reach multiple orgasms.



    Home of the brave, land of the free, toters of guns it is!

    I'll fit right in and be able to make multiple Iowa class battleships look small and underequipped in every way!

    ...That's pretty much my real reason for going to the U.S. if I'm being honest.

    Actually where the hell am I?

    Huh. I've got GPS transponders!

    Aight I am apparently smack dab in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

    Only 300 (ish) miles south of Hawaii.

    Wasn't that place captured by the Abyssals?

    ...Well I suppose there's worse ways to introduce yourself to a country.

    I turn to point at Honolulu and engage my slipstream drive. 100 knots top speed and no screw props, eat your hearts out other shipgirls!




    Wooow Hawaii is screwed up.

    I've reached the 100 mile mark and found the sky in front of me dark with storm clouds that look like they were painted in ash.

    And… raining ash.

    There's a few dozen humanoid figures approaching me from that direction, all in formation and spewing the same ash.

    Gee, I wonder if I've managed to attract the attention of some Abyssals!

    At least, I think the Abyssals can see me. That has to be why they're heading my way, surely.

    Note sarcasm.

    Frankly if their radar couldn't see me I'd be concerned. I'm not exactly stealthy.

    In the same way the mantle of the planet isn't exactly cold.

    The one thing the Poseidon literally couldn't accomplish was being sneaky. I'm kind of designed to attract fire, not avoid it.

    Anyways, here they come.

    One of my railgun turrets target each incoming Abyssal and automatically adjust for the severely limited drop the rounds will experience during their mach 15 travel.

    Of course they're in my range. My guns max out at 150 miles.

    For a guaranteed hit.

    If I don't need to fuck up a given target in particular I can easily make a small country uninhabitable from upwards of 500 miles.

    More if I take suborbital travel into account.

    Then there's my Big MAC, which should only be fired when you don't care about fifty miles in every direction around the target existing anymore. That includes the ground or the ocean underneath it.

    Somebody (note: me) really wanted the effects of a supernuke without stepping on the Geneva Convention’s toes, I guess.

    And unlike a battleship, I'm running a supremely advanced computer suite with which to guide all my armaments.

    I could probably fake being a science fiction starship to be honest. All I'm missing is the drives.

    I've got a shield.

    All of this really boils down to one, rather important thing;

    I won't miss.

    Now here's my question. I don't know what KanColle flavor I'm in, exactly. The fact that Hawaii is under Abyssal control tells me something, but not a lot.

    Are Abyssal shipgirls actually evil or just corrupted?

    And if they're the corrupted variant, can I cure them?

    I don't have any mystical mumbo jumbo on board, the Poseidon was designed for a purely technological universe.

    Then again I’ve currently got breasts that weigh 70,000 tons, each, so what do I know.

    The Poseidon, or, I guess me now, comes with quite a few bays and decks for certain things.

    Including an Engineering Deck.

    My point is, I've got nanotechnology on board. Moreover I have a 100 strong contingent of marines with technology that, even if Abyssals are crewed by Xenomorphs, allows them to curbstomp them.

    Like, say, in a boarding action.

    Hmm…

    On second thought I swap out the rounds in my railguns from Armor Piercing/Explosive to EMP.

    If I knock them all out, I can just sail up and board them, then possibly convert them, at my own pace.

    Yup. Definitely gonna do that. I like this plan.

    They've crossed into 30 miles now. Man they're at full fucking steam ahead aren't they?

    This is really gonna suck, then.

    For them.

    I turn my body sideways and kill my main drives. I'm presenting my full broadside to them, allowing all my railguns to target them.

    You might think the guns on my other side would be unable to fire past their brethren, and on any other ship, you'd be right.

    My turrets are on variable height platforms, though.

    One railgun turret for each, all EMP. Five shot spread on all barrels.

    Execute.

    BOOMBOOMBOOMBOOMBOOM
    BOOMBOOMBOOMBOOMBOOM
    BOOMBOOMBOOMBOOMBOOM
    BOOMBOOMBOOMBOOMBOOM
    BOOMBOOMBOOMBOOMBOOM
    BOOMBOOMBOOMBOOMBOOM
    BOOMBOOMBOOMBOOMBOOM
    BOOMBOOMBOOMBOOMBOOM
    BOOMBOOMBOOMBOOMBOOM
    BOOMBOOMBOOMBOOMBOOM
    BOOMBOOMBOOMBOOMBOOM
    BOOMBOOMBOOMBOOMBOOM
    BOOMBOOMBOOMBOOMBOOM
    BOOMBOOMBOOMBOOMBOOM
    BOOMBOOMBOOMBOOMBOOM
    BOOMBOOMBOOMBOOMBOOM


    If the atmosphere is intact around me anymore I will eat my comm tower.

    Huh. Turns out my head is my comm tower. And my secondary bridge. Guess I can't eat it.

    The primary one is… right next to my heart?

    The heart that is, through some kind of quantum entanglement dickery, also 6 Arc Reactors?

    Shipgirls are bullshit, yo.

    And yes, I know they’re not actually Arc Reactors. They’re Stellarators, but I’m a smartass at the best of times, so I named the custom design after Tony’s infamous spinny blue thing. Bite me.

    ...My bridge is under my other boob isn't i-

    My thought is interrupted and my hunch is answered when a huge wave of air slams into my body from all directions, shifting me a little on the waves.

    So I won't have to eat my own head.

    Yay.

    By the time I look back at the Abyssal fleet, my rounds have already hit them.

    Hard.


    They're still travelling forwards, but swiftly slowing down. Their eyes are droopy and several have already fallen asleep on their feet.

    I grin at the single girl still standing, though she looks weary. Her body is surrounded by a blood red shield and she's snarling at me.

    I found a Princess.

    Which one was supposed to be set up in Hawaii again?

    Shit, hell if I remember. I never got that far in the game and I'm not looking at the only one I'd recognize from the anime. Cute and cuddly Hoppou this chick is not.

    I reload my railguns with EMPs.

    And aim all of them at her.

    If another 5 shot spread doesn't take down her shield then I'll just fire a plasma cannon her way.

    Yet again the atmosphere around me ceases to exist as 48 shells, times 5, break the sound barrier 15 times over.

    A couple of seconds later, her shield gets lit up like the Fourth of July.

    It takes twenty of the disruptive electromagnetic blasts to take her shield out.

    Damn. Tough bitch.

    Still, there's 28 more exploding in her face.

    And oh yeah, four more waves of 48 shells each behind them.

    Yeah, she's asleep now. If she's got a crew, that many EMPs of that strength at such close range knocked them out too.

    Again, unless they're Xenomorphs. It wouldn't surprise me in the least.

    I grin viciously as I lower my railguns back to level and swing around. My slipstream drive engages, pushing me towards the disabled battlegroup.




    No more Abyssals showed up besides a couple destroyers and a sub.

    The sub thought she could sneak up on me.

    Ahahahahahahahahaha.

    I have every sensor available to a fictional 21st.5 century human race. Sonar and uLIDAR are but two.

    I was sorely tempted to let her fire off a torpedo at me just to see her face when it went ‘plink’ off my armor, but I just ended up launching a small squad of sub drones to EMP her face instead.

    The destroyers that arrived and the few in the fleet I actually just vaporized. They didn't look like girls, so I was decently safe in my assumption that they were true Abyssals.

    And if you think it's not possible to vaporize 2,500 tons of metal, I raise you 48 gods damned railguns.

    Anyways, I'm now towing an unconscious, nuclear missile equipped goth loli in a swimsuit behind me. She's being held above water by a contingent of my sub drones, the only evidence of their presence the subtle golden glow they give off.

    I'd better handle the Princess first. She's the biggest threat to me here. 100,000 tons and 700ft length with a whole bunch of really big guns. Battleship Princess, then.

    I said the biggest threat to me, not that she is a threat. Maybe if there were six of her I'd be remotely worried.

    I sidle up to her at extremely low speed. I put an arm out and grab her shoulder to steady her and keep us connected.

    My marines scramble down my arm and try to find an entryway.

    Apparently there's one in her ear.

    Eww.

    I try not to throw up and just nod at the group of armored faeries.

    Four of them approach the door, using the thermal lances on their palms to start cutting through the amazingly thick hull plating.

    The Princess snaps awake and screams.

    I tighten my grip on her shoulder even as she locks her eyes on me and growls.

    Yeah, growls. Literally.

    The faeries ignore her and continue to carry out the operation.

    She starts shaking her head, trying to dislodge the faeries cutting into her head, but they've deployed magnetic anchors and keep going.

    The rest of the marine faeries have their plasma rifles unerringly trained on the door. The moment it's cut through they're ready to kill.

    The door clangs into an interior hallway, so loud even I can hear it, and then there's silence.

    What the hell is going-

    Suddenly a radio signal emanates from the Princess. She snarls at me, grinning victoriously.

    And explosions erupt across every other Abyssal shipgirl.

    “NO!” I yell, spinning my head around to look at the now sinking fleet I sought to rescue.

    I spin back around at the Princess and glare bloody murder at her. “They will NOT sink this day!”

    I scramble all my sub drones. The magazine holds a couple thousand.

    The things flit out to the sinking ships, some of who are already underwater, and latch on to their hulls.

    Just like the subgirl I'm still towing, they get raised to the surface.

    The Princess’ eyes widen at my victorious grin. The shipgirls start bobbing up to the top of the water, held there by yellow sub drones.

    They're all safe.

    Princess snarls and begins to swivel a few cannons towards other members of her fleet.

    “I see,” I say, looking at her sadly. “They really are enslaved.”

    With that I look down at re faeries still on my arm and grin evilly. “Full capture. Kill all adversaries. All methods authorized. Lethal authorized.”

    The squadron of marines salutes me and then charges towards the Princess’ ear.

    She doesn't abandon her quest to target her fellow shipgirls. This allows my faeries in, and she gives me one final snarl of victory as her guns go off.

    Cue my point defense laser blisters melting her projectiles midair.

    Her eyes shoot wide open and she has just enough time to stare at me in surprise before my faeries reach her bridge.

    “Das vi dania, asshole,” I inform her.

    The sounds of plasma fire emanate from all over her frame as my faeries execute her crew. The ones in the bridge seize control.

    And then her previous countenance is gone. Her eyes soften, the red drains from her irises, and her snarling face relaxes.

    The black smoke stops pouring out of her. The dark metal of her phantom ship body fades to normal metal, if darker than most. And the deformities of her human form crumble into nothing.

    She looks at me with awe now. The sounds of my marines cheering comes from her hull.

    I hesitantly lessen my grip on her shoulder even as my marines begin pouring back out of her head and across my arm. “You gonna behave?” I ask her.

    She hastily nods. My marines don't care. Tough little bastards.

    I incline my head slightly. “Good.”

    All my marines have returned across my arm from their raid, so I let go of her shoulder. My guns are ready to swivel towards her and blow her to kingdom come if she so much as twitches in a way I don't like.

    She doesn't. She just watches me, warily but also… happily?

    I raise my eyebrows at her.

    She smiles at me. “Thank you for showing me the light,” she intones.

    Holy crap she sounds like a gods damned angel.

    My only initial reaction to her voice is to blink surprise. “You're… welcome,” I slowly say.

    She nods again and slightly steps back. “Fix them too,” she pleads with me.

    I grimace. “It's your own damn fault.”

    She looks down at the water. “I know,” she quietly mumbles.

    I huff. At least she acknowledges it. “I was going to anyways,” I inform her.

    She gulps and meets my eyes. “Thank you.”




    Compared to the Princess, the crews of the other Abyssals barely make my marines break a sweat.

    Seriously, they're actually complaining that it's too easy.

    Why did I design the Poseidon to carry marines equivalent to the soldiers of XCom?

    ...Oh right, because they are capable of fighting off a worldwide alien invasion.

    Twice.

    I roll my eyes and, on the next return, split them up into squads to conquer multiple ships at once.

    They still say it's too easy, but at least stopped bothering me about it.

    Crazy idiots the lot of them.

    Every other shipgirl is still knocked out from my EMP barrage. Even if some of them might've woken up, they did just have gigantic holes torn in them via internal sabotage.

    None of them are waking up anytime soon.

    I still manage to confirm their converted state once the Abyssal… I'm still just gonna keep calling it ash, leaves them. Surprisingly even the three carriers’ head octopus things crumble away.

    I now am standing on the water over three unconscious, mortally wounded carriers.

    Good to know this entire experience still sounds insane. If you can wonder whether you're crazy you're not and all that.

    There's a surprisingly high number of American ships in the water around me. I wonder if that has anything to do with Pearl Harbor being on Oahu?

    Meh, I'll find out later.

    None of them are seaworthy except the Princess. She's staying out of my way as much as she can, though I do catch her eyeing my guns (literally, figuratively, and breastily) quite often.

    Oh gods I'm being shipcrushed on by a fucking ex-Abyssal Princess.

    Speaking of said Princess, she doesn't register as any ship model I've got in my surprisingly comprehensive database.

    She's got elements from other ships, sure, but she's a third my displacement. It kinda looks like someone tried to build a dreadnought without understanding human technology and-

    Wait just a fucking minute.

    “Are you an alien?” I ask her, abruptly shattering the silence that's befallen us since I converted her.

    She jumps up on the ocean in surprise, letting out a disturbingly cute ‘eep!’.

    No I didn't intentionally time it so she was staring at me when I asked her, and anyone who says otherwise is a liar.

    The blush on her cheeks at being caught staring is also not making her any cuter.

    Nope.

    Gods she's like a destroyer with the body of a massive battleship.

    “N-no,” she stammers, staring at my eyes now. “Why?”

    I gesture to her rigging and body. “I don't recognize your model.”

    She looks down at herself and freezes, gulping, then hesitantly looks back up at me. “Oh,” she squeaks out.

    Girl's terrified now. I sigh and rub the bridge of my nose with my fingers. “Okay, why are you scared this time?”

    Another gulp. “You'll kill me,” she says.

    I raise an eyebrow. “I think by capturing and turning you instead of blowing you out of existence before I've shown I can display restraint.”

    No, shut up, peanut gallery. I can show restraint, I just usually don't believe in the concept of fun seatbelts.

    She shakes her head adamantly. “No, you will.”

    I sigh again, longer this time. “You're a member of my fleet now. I won't kill you.”

    She gasps and stares at me. “W-what?”

    “You, Princess, are a member of my new fleet,” I repeat, gesturing to the holy shit there's so many unconscious, burnt out shipgirls around us.

    “Y-you won't kill me?” she asks, still nervous.

    “No!” I exclaim, throwing up my hands. “I promise!”

    She gulps and seems to make a decision. She straightens her back, looks me right in the eyes, and speaks. “I'm constructed from the remains of the fallen.”

    I blink, parsing that sentence through my head.



    Fuck.

    My expression can't help but darken. Seeing this, Princess recoils and tries to tighten up into a ball. She even starts whimpering.

    “I'm not mad at you,” I calmly inform her, though my tone still sounds like something that would give even Hades pause.

    She abruptly stops whimpering and slightly unfurls. “Y-you're n-not-t?” she asks, trembling.

    I shake my head, putting my arm down on the final shipgirl in the fleet, another Battleship. “No,” I assure the Princess. “The way you act, I'm pretty sure you're not mentally any older than a destroyer,” I begin to explain. “How long ago were you…” I trail off, trying to get the bad taste out of my mouth, “...built?”

    Princess bites her lip and stares off into the setting sun. “A year,” she admits.

    My eyebrows shoot straight up and I snap my gaze onto her. “Wait, really?” I'm immensely surprised.

    She dejectedly nods, bumping her clenched fists against her thighs.

    “Damn,” I mutter, shaking my head. “Then, uh, how old do you feel?”

    She bites her tongue. “Thirteen.”

    I nod. An immature thirteen year old. Seems pretty accurate.

    Except for her smoking hot, very-much-looks-twenty-or-older body, which is… that's gonna be a hell of an issue.

    “So like a light cruiser then,” I reasonably summarize her mental situation. While I say this I'm extending hands to the two shipgirls with boarding parties remaining. The marines travel up my arms at the same time the ash floats away from the ships.

    “Y-Yeah,” Princess agrees, letting out a breath of relief.

    “That's okay,” I tell her, and stand up. I rapidly spin around and approach her, holding out my arms. “I'll be your mothership.”

    Yeah, I'm offering to be her mother, but I figure I'm already in that boat (eyyy a pun!) with the rest of them by default due to my tonnage, so why not her too?

    She stands there, eyes wide, shocked to hell. “R-really?” she barely whispers. “Really?!

    I nod affirmatively. “Really really.”

    Tears burst from her eyes, she erupts into a huge blubbering smile, and she launches herself at me. I accept the hug and draw her into my bountiful chest, then begin to comb my hands through her hair as she bawls her eyes out.

    The only reason I didn't move is because of some weird shipgirl metaphysical bullshit that says that even though two 70,000 ton pieces of hull met a 100,000 ton ship going at least 20 knots, it's all okay and sufficient velocity was bled off on impact because they're boobs.

    I'm never gonna get used to this.
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2020
  18. Dukem

    Dukem Getting out there.

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    As always with your works, the MC is completely broken, but it also means you can focus more on interpersonal relation'ships' (ha) and less on the SI barely getting out alive with massive PTSD like a certain kancolle carrier SI. Anyways, looking forward to more of this, also think you can give us a pic of the MC's rigging and/or the ship she is based off of?
     
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  19. Elemental Lord

    Elemental Lord The Master of All Elements

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    As usual, this is an awesome story that I hope you would continue! Especially with the way you appear to be going with the abyssals, which is very rare and thus, very interesting. I also agree with the everything that Dukem said. Once again, I truly do hope that you would continue this story TCGM.
     
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  20. TCGM

    TCGM (Unverified God/Space Snek)

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    Glad you enjoyed it! Yeah, I tend to go for that side of the conflict spectrum instead of relentless misery and struggling. More is coming after I'm done being sick.

    I'm learning to draw so eventually I'll sketch out Poseidon, but at the moment it's kinda tough to link an image given the Poseidon Dreadnought is an entirely me design and isn't based off anything that exists in reality or fiction... except very, very loosely looking like a gigantic fuck-off taller Iowa from the 22nd century with a lot more gun turrets, if you squint.

    Definitely continuing, sick atm. Thanks!

    All things in all my stories must have causes. My worlds have fully-thought-through depth. I can't stand stories that don't, thus I endeavor to at least have an outline of how things connect to each other and what's behind what. So... Lovecraft Shipgirls.
     
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  21. Threadmarks: Steamrolling Worm 1
    TCGM

    TCGM (Unverified God/Space Snek)

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    Steamrolling Worm
    Chapter 1
    Awaken

    Darkness.

    Light.

    Darkness.

    Light.

    Darkness.

    Light.

    Purple.

    Orange.

    Salty..?

    I spun around and around in the chaotic miasma I suddenly found myself awakening in. I should've been sick. The rate at which various colors and concepts flashed by me was insane.

    I was going to go insane.

    And suddenly, without warning, it ended. The sickening roller coaster, the distractive kaleidoscope of interdimensional bullshit withdrew from my sight.

    Just in time for my face to be given an abrupt introduction to the ground.

    Frakking oww.

    “Did anyone manage to catch the plate number of the mountain that hit me?” I asked, groaning my pain to the sky.

    Silence was my answer.

    It took several minutes for me to regain the ability to move. The entire time was spent with my body complaining about the agonizing misery it was experiencing. Well, not only pain, I was also getting feedback on several things that simply shouldn't be there. And they were giving me a fucking gigantic headache.

    Like knowing the exact time of day and being able to track every second as time continued to pass, knowing my absolute position and velocity relative to the planet, exactly which planet I was closest to and thus on (Earth, thank the gods), the position and type of ability of every parahuman in my radius (there weren't any, I just got the feeling that I could find that info if there were), the amount of charges I had available for creation or manipulation of powers, the sensation of life all around me and the ability to change it, the amount of charges I had available for accessing a database, and oh yeah, that database itself.

    I might've had an inkling as to where I was after the third set of data hit me in my poor brain.

    Motherfrakker. I'd been dropped into Worm!

    Probably by a ROB.

    Most likely using a certain adventure of the rather choosy type.

    I am so relieved right now that I took the most overpowered options I could.

    If the ROB had seen fit to give me my entire sheet, and given the various feelings I was receiving from my powers that seemed to be the case, I had Alexandria's flying brick, Legend’s bullshit energy dickery plus an FTL capability, Eidolon’s any-power-I-want shtick just with five instead of three, the ability to out-Tinker literally anyone including Dragon, the colossally unfair bullshit that is Power Manipulation, Psychokinesis just because, and Shaper.

    That last one was mostly just to freak out Piggot if I'm being honest.

    Oh yeah and I had Blank, bite me Contessa, and Shattered Limiter. Because my powers weren't already strong enough, let's just make them twice as much bullshit! Plus with that I had ten charges each for PM and Inventor and ten Eidolon slots.

    World Breaker? No kidding. An understatement if you ask me.

    Oh and I also bought the Secret Lair, plus those two perks that helped with inspiring hope and first impressions. I think I got the mental fortitude Gamer’s Mind equivalent too? That explained why I was decently calm about being torn away from everything I loved and adored, including my own reality.

    I was glad to be able to feel anything, honestly, because that particular perk has been painted as making you sociopathic. I only hoped that I couldn't be manipulated externally, that I could only feel my feelings because they were really mine.

    Pretty sure I decided to piss off all three of Brockton Bay's gangs and Leviathan to pay for all this, but totally worth. The gangs aren't remotely a threat and I could just go treat Levi like a ping pong ball right off the bat to prevent his rampage.

    Oh and I should probably go kill Jack Slash. He'd target me as a beacon of hope regardless of me taking the S9 complication, and kicking off the apocalypse early really wasn't my idea of a fun time.

    Taylor, Amy, maybe Riley if I can swing it, the Undersiders, Dragon, Canary, and so many others dealt shitty hands by Fate/The Uncivilized Guy With A Bow were on my rapidly lengthening to do list as well.

    But before any of that, I needed to get my bearings, get up, and find out both what form my dream Hero Fortress had taken and where exactly it showed up.

    Oww.

    I shouldn't even be feeling pain. What the frak.

    Owwwwwww.

    An inhuman screech erupted near me and I found myself jolted out of my complacency on the ground. I literally leapt up off of the ground and into the air, instinctually activating my final power, the one I'd forgotten, in a bid to get the fuck away from the gigantic warped sack of human on course for my face.

    The world faded into a vortex of multicolored light for a moment, and I felt all the worlds and all the universes and time itself-

    Then a moment later I was spat out and rammed into another solid piece of ground. Or rather, floor, given it rang like a fucking gong.

    Kaleidoscope.

    I forgot that I took fucking Kaleidoscope.

    Gods my head was killing me, ridiculously so if I forgot about that.

    Anyways, clearly some training wheels required! Not touching that again until I figure out how the fuck to use it, thanks!

    Owwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww.

    That was Canberra. Had been Canberra. Or, if I was interpreting my ultimate power’s feedback properly, will be Canberra.

    I just traveled back in time.

    Holy shit.

    Also, owwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww.
     
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  22. Threadmarks: Steamrolling Worm 2
    TCGM

    TCGM (Unverified God/Space Snek)

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    Steamrolling Worm
    Chapter 2
    Cleanup

    My ROB must have been bullied in Omnipotent Being School, because they were just showing off at this point.

    You know my base? Yeah, I was standing at one of the windows of the main control room.

    Looking down on the northern polar ice cap of Earth Bet.

    My ROB not only created the Black Knight satellite, they turned it into a space base for me.

    One completely undetectable by the Simurgh.

    Did I mention the control room was the heavenly child of the Illusive Man's holographic star room and the bridge of an X-304?

    I tilted my head upwards slightly, tears in my eyes. “Thank You,” I heartedly sent my gratitude into the universe.

    Hopefully the ROB heard me.

    Now how the hell do I get down to Brockton Bay?




    It took me an embarrassingly long time to remember I had an OP version of Legend's power. Including a form of FTL travel which would do fine for travelling anywhere in the galaxy, let alone Earth’s surface.

    And my flight and invulnerability from Alexandria's powerset. Could go for an Orbital Drop kind of entrance.

    Not to mention the ten different teleportation powers that automatically showed up in my Eidolon slots.

    Power wasn't gonna be a problem for me on Earth Bet, but my cluelessness definitely would be.

    Now how exactly to go about the transportation? Flight, teleportation, flight, teleportation…

    ...

    Fuck it.




    “WAAAAAHHHHOOOOO!” I screamed at the top of my lungs. Every second or so a sonic crack sounded behind me before being swallowed by the whirlwind blowing past my ears.

    I don't know why I even considered teleporting. Flying was so much more fun.

    The wind in my hair, the feeling of euphoria as I catapulted through the atmosphere, the sensation of falling I felt due to turning down my inertial dampening just enough to feel it, and the glorious heat of reentry as it warmed me against the cold of space.

    I drew in a deep breath and smiled. This, this was true freedom.

    Now how the ever living frak do I find Brockton Bay?

    Eenie meenie minie mo-

    Wait.

    I knew what the Eastern Seaboard looked like at night. So I just had to go for the extra clump of lights that didn't belong.

    Fuck yeah, Google Earth! I always knew all that time I spent dicking around on you would be worth something!



    Now I just need to find something to do until nightfall.



    Well, I could always start on the other things on my list.




    Ellisburg​

    “KEKEKEKEKEKEKE!” screeched my Swarm. Their chiton clad bodies tumbled around and over me and each other in their rush attack on the creatures of a certain Goblin King.

    Our armies met in thousands of brutal fights. Claw and wing, spine and acid sunk into the horde of warped mockeries of life. Two tides of flesh and bone slammed into each other.

    Let the record show that when a Zerg versus Nilbog Creatures battle goes down, the million year old hyper evolved race of biological weapons utterly punks anything some parasite-fueled bio junkie teenager can come up with.

    As the swarm moved forwards over the waves of Nilbog creatures, they took extreme care to leave behind the nearly dessicated corpses of the enemy. This was for the express purpose of reviving Ellisburg. Because striding down the avenues in the wake of the swarm, like the eye of a hurricane, was one of my bodies.

    I'd basically carbon copied Sarah Kerrigan in her second incarnation as the Queen of the Zerg.

    As to the question of how I was piloting multiple bodies? Simple, I dumped five PM charges into a Hivemind power. I could make any amount of bodies and they could all access all my powers, because they were, well, me. They all had different brains, yes, but they were all the same mind. Not copies that thought alike, not even ones that are constantly in sync, but truly me, myself and I.

    Essentially I had a thread of thought for each body.

    As for why I was a chick? Hey, Kerrigan is hot. Also, I wanted to experience the fairer sex because why the hell not, and most importantly, the separation would keep people from guessing the connection between my other bodies and the new conqueror of Ellisburg.

    As the Psychokinesis-powered psionic lightning that arced from my Queen body swept over the nearly dead Nilbog creatures, the bacteria I'd engineered to travel along the lightning connected my body and theirs. With a barely focused application of my Shaper power I reversed the changes Nilbog had made to them, the true residents of this town, until they were back to being human. As my curvy hips strode forth and the Psychokinetic storm followed, anyone observing would see it leaving behind human bodies. Unconscious, unmoving, but certainly alive.

    No doubt the PRT was flipping out.

    Eventually I made my way to the center of the town. Nilbog’s goblin body sat on a throne of flesh, glaring at me.

    I had the swarm surround us, forming a tight bubble. The few Zerg who had bioluminescence started emitting an eerily green light, just enough for the clearing under the dome to be lit like a haunted house on Halloween. For effect, I absentmindedly strolled along the walls of the dome, petting my Zerg in a very sensual way. This was mostly to unnerve Nilbog, plus anyone else who was watching, however they managed to do so.

    The so called Goblin King broke first. “What do you want?” his fake body growled.

    As his superior, I waited an undetermined amount of time before saucily turning and meeting his gaze. “Why Nilbog,” I spoke, my voice sounding just like Kerrigan’s, “that much should be obvious.

    He narrowed his eyes at me. “I have contingencies in place. You will not be able to find them. If you kill me, they will erupt, and the world will die screaming as my domain expands,” he gloated.

    I fully turned towards him and began to slowly approach his body. I intentionally exaggerated the sway of my hips, placing a hand on one of them for good measure. “Jamie Rinke, the so called Goblin King of Ellisburg,” I shook my head once he was within the range of my lightning bacteria chains, “whoever said anything about killing you?

    His eyes grew wide the moment he figured it out. But by then it was too late. My lurkers had burrowed to his real body all the way under the ground of Ellisburg, and as they were connected to me through biological cords, I was in contact with both of the monster's bodies at once.

    “NO-” he managed to get out, before I reached towards him and twisted.

    Several moments later, the dome of Zerg disassembled itself and my minions burrowed into the ground. I grinned, turned around, and planted my shapely butt onto the throne of the once Goblin King.

    A rather large, specially colored Infestor moved to my side, looking up at me. Jamie Rinke was confused at his new body and the hardcoded connection to the Zerg Hivemind my Queen body administered, separate as it was from my main one.

    I laid a hand on his snout and stroked two very particularly sensitive touch zones. He shuddered with pleasure. I crossed my legs and turned my head to watch the squad of PRT troopers approaching. They were flanked by several capes, including one I'd recognize anywhere.

    Legend had come to play.

    I slightly lidded my eyes, spread my bone wings, and smiled.




    Who Cares Town, Middle of Bumfuck Nowheresville​

    While my Queen body handled Ellisburg, I turned the majority of my attention to tracking down and destroying the Slaughterhouse Nine.

    I'd forgotten that I also took the Shadow Contacts perk (or whatever it was called), the one that gave me underworld contacts and resources. I'd taken that specifically so I could be a more effective hero. With the villains revealing their rival's plans to me, I was probably better informed than the Number Man.

    The absolutely massive list of contacts in my personal smartphone attested to just how expansive those contacts were.

    A few calls around to various people got me the probable location of the S9. A short Legend-powered FTL jump from my resting point over the East Coast to some hick farm town in the middle of bumfuck nowhere got me where I currently was, hovering high above the dilapidated barn within which my PM sensed eight parahumans and a projection of another.

    ...What color was Manton’s van again? White, right?

    My ridiculously powerful vision scoured the surrounding area fast and efficiently. I found the van. But unlike what I'd read in some fanon works, it wasn't a white moving van.

    Nope.

    It was an unmarked white kidnapping box on wheels.

    I shuddered involuntarily. It's like Manton was trying to max out his creep factor. I mean, seriously? A naked, blue, furry version of your daughter as your projection? That you follow around in a van that parents warn their kids about?

    Dude. Not cool.

    And yeah, I know his subconscious and his Shard picked the Siberian’s appearance, but they didn't pick his gods damned pimp box.

    Either way, I opened up my S9 cleanup operation by reducing the van to ashes with a Legend disintegration beam, and then a millisecond later, a knockout beam one-hit the washed up Professor before he hit the ground.

    His projection winked out on my senses.

    The remaining parahumans went nuts.

    Crawler’s disgusting body burst out of the side of the barn with an almighty roar. A lightning blue variant of Scion’s Golden Fuck Off Beam erased him and about five feet of ground underneath him from existence.

    Shatterbird sang, exploding the few windows on the barn, and flew out of one on course for me.

    Too bad her glass doesn’t block bullshit laser beams.

    She hit the ground with a sickening crack after I hit her with the same KO beam I’d taken out Manton with.

    Burnscar shot a fireball at me and disappeared into another. She reappeared out of the fireball when it was a mere three feet in front of my face.

    I lashed out a hand, grabbed her by the throat, and tore her Shard apart.

    As her Shard died screaming her anger evaporated. The secondary personality the Shard manipulated her into creating withered away. Her eyes cleared. For the first time in years, she could see clearly.

    And she wept.

    I dropped her to the ground, only arresting her velocity at the end so she wouldn't impact it dangerously. She'd be feeling the bruises though.

    For a while.

    Next to exit the barn were a chainpunk robot made out of solid white next to a blatant ripoff of Friday the 13th’s axe murderer.

    Hatchet Face vaporized, his body turned to ash in a split second. I didn't even bother looking at him while an Eidolon power tore his atoms apart.

    Mannequin aimed his arms at me and fired them, blades snapping out to impale me.

    Jack and Bonesaw exited the barn just in time to witness me eyeing the arms with amusement as they plinked against my well muscled chest and fell to the ground.

    “Well now,” Jack began as Mannequin reeled his arms back. “This is interesting.”

    “Mhmm,” I agreed. I crossed my arms and pointedly ignored the subtle, ineffective emotional pushes attempting to compromise my mind. “Cherish, your power is useless on me. Get your ass out here before I hunt it down.” I never once stopped staring Jack down.

    He studied me for several more seconds before his eyes shot wide open. “Neither it seems is mine,” he grudgingly admitted, though he tried to frame it like a complaint. “Cherish dear, come join us.”

    And as a certain daughter of Heartbreaker walked out of the barn, my collection was complete.

    I was honestly surprised Bonesaw hadn't asked to play with me. I suppose my almost nonchalant disabling or outright killing of the other members of the Nine made her sense accidentally rear its head for once in her parahuman life.

    “What do you intend to do to me?” Jack asked, having reviewed his various unconscious or dead teammates.

    I drifted closer to him, eyes locked and brows furrowed. “That depends. I could just kill you, which is the safer option for everyone,” I reasoned.

    His face darkened. “Then my little one here-” he placed his hand on Bonesaw’s shoulder, “-will kill the world.”

    I smirked sardonically. “You do that in two years anyways Jacob.”

    His eyes widened again. “What? A time traveler?” He used his other hand to rub his chin speculatively. “How interest-”

    Oh my gods his voice. It was already getting on my nerves and it'd only been half a minute!

    Well, that settled it. Removal it is!

    My body blurred. I came out of the ridiculously accelerated movement with my fist through his skull. It was far, far faster than anyone could react. His brain exploded out the back of his head and his body started falling backwards.

    ...Hmm. On reflection, my annoyance with his voice was rather extreme. I wonder…

    Yep, my Alexandria Package’s anti-Master capabilities were countering Jack's second, barely known power. His persuasive Mastering.

    ...I still didn't feel guilty killing him.

    “JACK!” Bonesaw yelled. She began to focus on something, but it was already too late.

    I was touching her.

    ...Not like that, you pervs!

    Mannequin attempted to tackle me but merely slid off. I ignored the twisted Alan Gramme for now, focusing fully on rebuilding Riley.

    Every Biotinker addition to her body dissolved under my Shaper control. Goodbye world ending diseases, how glad I am to have never known you. Her brain damage from Jack's secondary effect was reversed. I touched her up, eliminated scarring, perfected her appearance, etc. I couldn't exactly remove personalities with my powers, not yet, but I could make their bodies perfect and swap the reward circuit for something else, namely doing good in this instance.

    And just like that, she was Riley far more than Bonesaw. I removed my hand and gazed into her now tear-stained eyes. “Hello, Riley,” I grinned.

    Her eyes widened, she gasped, and she collapsed to the ground sobbing.

    Two more.

    I turned around to intercept the still useless white porcelain arms. This time I grabbed them and held on while Mannequin tried to reel them back in.

    His shoulders started smoking and making very unfortunate whirring sounds. Still I held.

    Eventually the whirring got loud enough to become clanking and clacking. With a spark and bursts of smoke, the force trying to reclaim his arms from me subsided.

    I dropped them to the ground, grinned, and lunged.

    Side note, even though the power set was called Alexandria, it would be much more accurate to name it after Superman, Supes, the OG Golden Boy, because it was much more in line with the most OP version of him ever.

    I had barely started to lean forward before I was suddenly right in front of Mannequin with my first buried in his chest.

    Allowing Shaper direct access to his brain.

    A fully healed man crumpled to the ground next to the muted thumps of his previous porcelain white armor pieces joining him in slumber.

    And then there was one.

    I turned slightly to cast my gaze upon the trembling form of Cherie Vasil.

    “You gonna try and fight me?” I asked nonchalantly, raising my eyebrows.

    Hey, if I'm gonna be trolling Worm, I might as well start by ripping off Halbeard.

    The terrified girl rapidly shook her head and held up her hands in surrender. “I'm not suicidal,” she refuted.

    I smirked. “Good choice.”

    Eat your heart out, Armsy.




    Eagleton (Site Q3)​

    I appeared out of a rotating nimbus of blue, circuitous energy high in the sky. Arms spread, feet planted on thin air, and facing straight forward.

    Or rather, one of my bodies did. This one was very much inhuman. Don't get me wrong, I looked humanoid, but I couldn't be mistaken for a human except in profile.

    Glowing neon blue eyes, check. Pale, slightly metallic skin, check. Glowing blue circuitry lines all over me? Yep, those too.

    I even gave this body an obvious mage’s robe to hammer home my appearance.

    I descended upon Eagleton without paying any heed to the attacks of the PRT attempting to stop me. Nor did I flinch when the various ‘buildings’ below me disassembled rapidly into what I swear looked like gimped Clank robots.

    None of that mattered. I'd come here with a purpose, one so much more important than Ellisburg or the S9.

    At the previous kingdom of Nilbog, I showed my capability to destroy, overwhelm, and rescue.

    With the S9 I demonstrated how good I was at assassination of specific targets, and my mercy.

    Here I would do something even more spectacular. If this body and my Queen body were to be reduced to a simple analogy, she was the stick, and this the carrot.

    The Carrot of Hope.



    Also, there was a bigger and tougher stick waiting in the wings if you refused the hope carrot.

    ...

    So I'm shit at analogies. Bite me.

    The machines below me, spurred on by the Shard influencing them all from beyond this reality, climbed on top of each other to create a mountain, reaching upward.

    Reaching for me.

    That was fine. I smirked as the first one was about to touch my unclothed foot.

    That was the entire reason for the show, after all. I was about to emulate a certain painting something fierce… if my foot was a magical sky fairy and the mountain of robots a naked dude.

    From the point of contact, metal on carbon skin, a blue light flared. A new star was born momentarily between me and the machine while Shard fought Tinker Fuck You.

    And lost.

    Badly.


    The blue star detonated, a pulse of light flaring and rushing outward. It flowed through the machines, it hit the buildings, it even touched the monitoring equipment the PRT had set up outside the Eagleton Exclusion Zone.

    And where the light went, technology changed.

    It's a well known fact that powers, especially ROB-given powers, can synergize. They can work together to do some of the most amazing things.

    So what happens when five Inspired Inventor charges go into Synthetic Lifeforms, another two go into Biotechnology, and Shaper is handed those databases to play with, alongside a Psychokinesis powered delivery system?

    The town of Eagleton, Tennessee was the first to witness the answer.

    Everywhere the light touched, technology became life.

    The Machine Army ceased to be. A new being was born from each of the individual units that had previously controlled Eagleton.

    Where a robot was wiped away, a humanoid came into existence.

    They were like me. Well, this body anyways. All shapes and sizes, male and female, humanoid and yet clearly Synthetic at the same time.

    A new race of people arose from the ashes of a lonely, dead Tinker’s mistake that day.

    The world saw a being, immensely powerful, descend upon a sea of misery and fear, and instead of destroying it as Scion did; he gave it life.

    The world turned onwards, and the few stragglers born on the PRT side of the Exclusion Zone began talks for their new race.

    The Machine Army is no more. The Synthetics… live.

    And the world will never be the same again.




    Sleeper. Heartbreaker. The Three Blasphemies.

    All neutralized.

    Okay, technically Sleeper was dropped on a planet full of plants with prehensile roots and a taste for human fluids, but that's neither here nor there.

    Serves her right for trying to touch Master me. Hopefully no longer being a guy will make her wise up.

    I'd check back in a few months.

    Also, I pimp slapped Leviathan into orbit, and his sister!

    That fight didn't last very long. I was kind of disappointed, really.

    Mass of a neutron star versus Supes’ strength? Turns out, Supes wins.

    I knew he was powerful but come the fuck on.

    I absentmindedly fondled the six pokeballs in my hand as I hovered far above Brockton Bay.

    I'd found it extremely easily once the sun set.

    As for the occupants of those pokeballs?

    Manton. Shatterbird. Alan Gramme. Riley. Burnscar. Cherish.

    I'd fix them eventually. Riley was safe enough to release right now. I wondered if Taylor was up for a sister. Cherish was close to being alright, just needed a touch up and an intensive repair operation of the brain sections her father ripped apart.

    Then Alec could have the only part of his family he actually liked back.

    An Eidolon slot changed out one of the subspace scanning abilities for one that would modulate my Legend breaker state to look like me instead of just an orb of energy. A precog power urged me to activate it with the color of my choice provided it wasn't gold or silver in the next few seconds.

    I went for sky blue.

    A few seconds later, perfectly on time, my idle curiosity as to why exactly I needed to do that was answered.

    An orange hexagonal portal opened in midair behind me. The Triumvirate ‘stepped’ out. The portal closed behind them. All three were flying, watching me warily.

    About damned time. I was starting to wonder whether I would need to toss Behemoth into orbit too before they'd come talk to me.

    I looked back down at my pokeballs. “Took you long enough,” I conversationally began.

    “Who are you?” Legend carefully asked.

    I chuckled and slightly shook my head. “You may call me Deus.”

    Alexandria's eyes narrowing were almost audible. “You think yourself a god?”

    I smirked and slightly turned my head so they could see my mouth. “You decided this naming scheme with the Warrior and the Thinker. The third took a similarly high name. I think it only fair that I am afforded the same respect, if not fear, as my… counterparts.”

    Was I faking existence as a type of being I most certainly was not?

    Why yes, yes I was. Thanks for asking.

    Ah. A power to convert body language to audible sensations. My Eidolon power was trolling me. Explains why I heard their bodies freeze up, though.

    I looked back up to the sky with a direct bead on where the Simurgh was currently grappling with her brother. He had been gravitationally attracted to her for hours now.

    Cue incest is wincest jokes.

    “You need not fear me,” I tried to assure them.

    Legend's and Eidolon's gulps actually were audible now. I assumed that Alexandria's stasis prevented her from gulping.

    “I'm serious,” I tried again. “Entities… we are varied. And many. Your race and world had the misfortune to be stumbled across by two of the, I suppose the accurate term would be most mentally challenged, ones in existence. Myself and the third one, Abaddon, we have no such plans for destruction as they did. It is inefficient if nothing else.”

    Literally everything I said was true. I was an entity. So were they. The word describes a thing that thinks, not just Clarketech space whales. The Worm-type Entities were mentally retarded, not just challenged, and Abaddon had no traces of destructive plans left…

    After I said hi.

    Not my fault if the members of Cauldron misinterpret my words now is it?

    Legend was the only one who slightly relaxed. Eidolon and Alexandria didn't believe me for a moment. “Then what are your intentions?”

    I smirked up at the battling Endbringer siblings and sighed. “Oh, whatever I feel like, I suppose,” I nonchalantly stated. “Probably clean up the messes those two started. Have fun otherwise. Who knows? Vacations are nice.”

    “What of your data?” Eidolon asked.

    I snorted. “Don't need it. I solved Entropy long ago, before your world was ever created.”

    Also true given I was originally born before Worm’s universe could've even begun to come into existence.

    Temporal asynchronicity is great for messing with people.

    Five power orbs formed in the palm of my hand that wasn't holding the pokeballs. I held it up to the side. “I have no need of what you call Agents. Each of these is a self-contained power roughly equivalent to a rank five on your PRT scale. I suggest you take them and study them. Consider them payment for my… vacation.”

    Alexandria grabbed them and returned so fast I would have missed it if not for my own version of her powers.

    “The real name of Agents is Shards, by the way,” I offered.

    “We'll keep that in mind,” Alexandria deadpanned.

    The portal opened up again. Alexandria and Legend stepped through.

    Eidolon hesitated a moment before following.

    “David,” I spoke up.

    He halted and turned around. “What.”

    I looked back up to the Endbringers in orbit. “Take care of your kids, will you? And I don't mean kill them. There's seventeen more waiting in the chute if you do.”

    His eyes bugged out and his face went white. Just before he could say something I gestured with my finger.

    Psychokinesis slammed the portal closed.
     
    23btoz, edboy49, AlexA4x and 5 others like this.
  23. Zeushobbit

    Zeushobbit I use my mind and yours doesn't matter.

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    Hahahahahahaha

    Beautiful.

    I shall bite the hope carrot with great force Sir!
     
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  24. Threadmarks: Steamrolling Worm 3
    TCGM

    TCGM (Unverified God/Space Snek)

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    Steamrolling Worm
    Chapter 3
    Tayles

    The front door to Taylor's house opened up with a nearly inaudible groan of the hinges. A slightly feminine figure in a gray silk costume with bug like armor plating padded out of the house, closing the door behind her softly. She was trusting her bugs to inform her of her surroundings.

    Shame I had so many more powers than her.

    “Hi Taylor,” I nonchalantly greeted her, as if I wasn't ambushing her right outside her house.

    Just as she tried to sneak out.

    In the dead of night.

    ...

    It's not as bad as it sounds, alright? Honestly.

    Taylor clearly didn't agree with me on that. To her credit, she didn't scream.

    But I did end up getting swarmed by insects.

    Thank you Invictus. So, so much. Instead of the terror filled screaming the me with no powers would've done, I merely blinked.

    Of course none of the bugs broke my skin.

    Taylor seemed to realize this because the swarm eventually subsided. “Who are you?” she demanded.

    “My name is Deus.” There. Short and simple.

    I imagine if her eyes were visible through her goggles I'd have been able to see her eyes pop open without an Eidolon slot being used.

    Pretty face. Her self image issue is bogus.

    “Like… the Deus? The one who took out the Slaughterhouse Nine, The Sleeper, and tossed Leviathan into orbit?”

    I smirked and nodded. “I also neutralized Nilbog and conquered Ellisburg.”

    She gave me a disbelieving stare. “No, Queen did that. She's sitting on the throne Nilbog made right now and hasn't left it!”

    I winced and rubbed my backside. “Yeah and it's damn uncomfortable too. Sitting there is, heh, a pain in the ass.”

    “What.”

    I winked at her and manifested two more of my bodies, one a female just to prove I could. “Hivemind power with multiple bodies,” I succinctly explained.

    The duplicates of me vanished just as they'd appeared. One moment they were there, and the next, not.

    Taylor took a step back from me. “What are you doing here?”

    “Stopping you from doing something stupid,” I fired back.

    Her fists clenched and she squared her jaw. “I'm going to be a hero,” she flatly declared.

    “Yes, you are,” I agreed.

    That stopped her building rage dead in its tracks. “What?”

    11:59:50 PM.

    I looked up at the moon just as time ticked over.

    12:00:00 PM.

    Ten new orbs of possible power flared to life inside me. I'd only used seven inspiration charges yesterday, now, and so I was expecting the three I had left to disappear.

    My Inspired Inventor charges ticked up to 13.

    My eyes widened involuntarily. If that worked with Power Manipulation too?! Shit would get very real very fast.

    Taylor cleared her throat, annoyed.

    I looked back down at her and grinned. “How would you like to fly, Taylor Hebert?” I asked.

    “You're not taking me anywhere until I get some explanation from you!”

    “Oh no,” I shook my head to correct her, “I wouldn't be taking you anywhere. You would.”

    Her breath hitched in her throat. “Wha-” she tried, gulped, and tried again, “what the hell are you talking about?!”

    "Oh…," I began, trailing off.

    I assembled the power in my head first. I tied it to a field which manipulated physics and was skin tight. An… Aura, one might say, but it wasn't really. Supersonic flight, invulnerability, immense super strength and super leverage were already built in. The super leverage actually made the field extend to anything she was touching, including clothes. I added another charge to make it radiation powered. Any radiation. Another to generate its own separate internal atmosphere and climate. A fourth forced it permanently on with absolutely no way to disable it. Not even I would be able to without PM. A final, fifth charge added Comic Book Pretty with a subconscious shapeshifter ability to the already insanely impressive Alexandria package. It even came with a minor clothes shifting ability for costume creation!

    Then I manifested it. "...this."

    Five PM charges on Shattered Limiter and World Breaker crack make one hell of a power, and the size and brightness of the power orb reflected that. A sphere of white light larger than a basketball burst into existence above my spread palm. It bathed the entire neighborhood in light so bright it might as well have been daytime.

    Taylor stared at me in awe and panic. “WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING?!” she yelled at me.

    I palmed the ball of light in my hand and experimentally tossed it up and down. Yup, just like a basketball.

    I grinned down at Taylor and hefted the orb her way. “Catch.”

    Her eyes shot wide open behind her mask. I could see her brain just starting to send the signal to her body to run away.

    But it was already in motion, instinctively lunging for the shiny. I didn’t even need to ensure her muscles had a little nudge from me in the right direction. Kinda expected to have to, but… oh well?

    ...Look, Taylor apparently has a thing for lunging at shiny objects. I didn’t have to do jack shit.

    “NO!” she screamed.

    Just as the orb touched her fingers.

    It burst into white light streams and suffused her entire body, her skin glowing that same white momentarily. She was like a newborn star in that tiny moment.

    Then it was over and the neighborhood was dark again.

    “Oww,” she groaned from her position. She was laying down, clutching her head.

    “You may want to look down,” I conversationally told her.

    “Why? It's just the grou-” she began to ask.

    Then Taylor saw the three feet of space between her body and the grass of her lawn.

    Speaking of her body, it seemed that Comic Book Pretty was already taking her subconscious desires and implementing them. Significantly bigger chest and hips, slightly smaller waist, very, very slightly thinner mouth and cute, almost anime eyes.

    And her hair was even longer, shining and glittering in the moonlight.

    Hey, whatever she wants her body to be is her business. It’s not like she was locked into this new appearance. Maybe it looked slightly anime like because she didn’t actually have a clear picture of what she wanted to look like that could translate to the power properly?

    Hey, I’m a programmer, not a mind reader.

    Anyways… yeah, she freaked out.

    Taylor shrieked and flopped over and around in midair as she scrambled to try grabbing something, anything, to anchor herself to. The changing proportions of her body certainly didn't help.

    Her efforts or my self control.

    I couldn't resist any longer. I burst out laughing.

    Taylor locked her terrified gaze on me and scowled. “This isn't funny, asshole!” she shouted. “Put me down!

    I raised my hands in surrender, what little it was worth with my power level and the fact I was still laughing. “T-Taylor,” I managed, “I'm not doing this. It's all you.”

    WHAT?!

    “Focus on trying to land,” I offered helpfully.

    She screwed her eyes up at me for several more flip-filled seconds before she finally gave in with a huff. She closed her eyes and breathed in deeply, trying to ignore the spinning, and presumably did as I recommended.

    And she floated to the ground.

    She gasped and forced her eyes open, staring at the ground. She was in shock.

    “See?”

    “How- What- When?” she stammered. Taylor was clearly incapable of coherent speech.

    “You're welcome.”

    She looked up at me again. Not in anger this time, nor confusion, but awe. “You- you gave me flight?” she gasped, her throat dry. A couple of gulps delivered water where it needed to go.

    “Yeap,” I confirmed via nod. “And invulnerability, a personal atmosphere, super strength, super leverage because that one is really important if you want to pick up anything, and a minor Changer ability directed by your subconscious that makes you look like a superheroine, body and costume. A classic superheroine, not like the Parahumans this world has. All powered by radiation. Any kind!” I cheerily continued explaining what I had gifted her, listing the abilities on my fingers.

    Her eyes shot wide open and she glanced down at her much hotter body, seeing very prominent curves where there weren't any previously. Taylor, alternate timeline Lady of Escalation, drew in a terse breath through her teeth. This time when she looked at me it was with an almost palpable amount of worship.Why?

    “That is a discussion for private locations and away from prying eyes.” I glanced up in the orbital direction of the still grappling Conflict Engine siblings.

    Ziz’s head zeroed in on me and our eyes met.

    “Yeah, that's right, I meant you too,” I fired off at her. “Don't make me piledrive you into Mars.”

    I didn't raise my voice at all, made no attempts to make sure she heard me.

    Yet she did.

    “Who are you talking to?” Taylor asked.

    Ziz's eyes shifted to look at her.

    “HEY!” I yelled into the sky.

    The winged Endbringer’s gaze snapped back to me. Her normally inexpressive eyes showed a hint of fear.

    I raised two fingers, pointed them at my eyes, then turned them so they were pointing at hers. “Mine.

    Ziz didn't move for several moments. Then she slowly nodded and went back to grappling with her brother.

    “Deus?” Taylor pressed hesitantly.

    I looked back at her and grinned, shrugging. “Oh, just the Simurgh. Had to make it clear you were hands off where she's concerned.” I intentionally said this in the most nonchalant way I could manage.

    What.

    Definitely had to if I'm gonna invite you to my hero team,” I continued, just as conversationally.

    WHAT!!

    “Shall we go in? Pretty sure your dad doesn't want us showing off powers on his lawn.”

    Wuh? But he's asleep!”

    Is he?” I asked, grinning past her at the door of her house.

    The same door where a gobsmacked Daniel Hebert was standing, having been woken up by a momentarily activated Eidolon power and directed to come to the door but remain silent.

    My address of him was the cue.

    “Taylor,” he tried to start, “what is going on?”

    She froze.

    “In, yes?” I asked, a shit eating grin on my face.




    “So Taylor,” Danny began almost a second after the front door closed, “care to explain how you were flying?” He crossed his arms and glared pointedly at her.

    Taylor's eyes widened and took on this adorably obvious affronted look. “Hey!” she defended herself, “Blame him! He gave me that!”

    Then she realized what she'd just said and her face paled. Taylor collapsed into their living room couch, eyes staring off into the distance. “Holy shit. He gave me powers,” she muttered under her breath.

    Danny turned his glare on me. “You what?”

    I opened my mouth to begin responding. “Well yes, but-”

    “YOU gave me POWERS!” Taylor interrupted. I glanced down at her and found her eyes alight, a gigantic grin on her face.

    “Yes I did,” I huffed, “but-”

    “Holy shit, can you give anyone powers?” she continued earnestly, her inner cape geek going nuts. “Are there any limits? What kinds of powers? Only Alexandria packages? What can you do?!

    I blinked several times. It seemed that being exposed to my ridiculous power levels and gaining powers of her own of the kind she'd always wanted had shocked her out of her bullying induced funk.

    Either that or her new powers were hard countering her depression. I wasn't very clear on the definition of invincibility I gave her after all.

    Instead of responding to her continual cape geekery I simply turned to Danny’s bewildered face and broke the secret. “Danny, Taylor had bug control before I gave her an Alexandria package on steroids. That's what the costume is for.”

    Taylor was still rambling as I spoke. When I said ‘bug control’ she froze, her eyes wide. She turned to her father and gulped.

    He was stormy now.

    “Both of you explain. Now.” As we both opened our mouths, me to comply, Taylor to attempt a terrible refusal, he held up a finger.

    His glare darkened even further.

    We both shut our mouths.

    One at a time,” he seethed.

    Taylor and I stared at him. She looked at me. I kept looking at Danny for a few more seconds, then grinned out of the side of my mouth at her.

    “Rock Paper Scissors,” I announced, already moving my hands into position.

    “Wh-what?” Taylor stammered.

    “We're both explaining things to Danny here tonight Taylor, Rock Paper Scissors to decide who goes first,” I reasonably explained.

    Danny looked disbelieving, if a little amused. Taylor was stupefied. “What?” she asked again.

    This time I looked directly into her eyes. “Rock. Paper. Scissors,” I repeated naturally, raising an eyebrow.

    Taylor gaped at me.

    “You… do know how to play, right?” I asked innocently.

    Danny began snickering under his breath.

    Taylor blinked, scowling at her father, then at me. “I am not playing Rock Paper Scissors to decide who goes first,” she declared flatly, narrowing her eyes. “Given I am not explaining anything at all in the first place.”

    I scowled back and dropped my hands. “Fine,” I cut off Danny's impending return fire with my own flat tone of voice. “Then I will.”

    I manifested a thick book in my hand, holding it out to Danny. “Are either of you familiar with the theories of Robert Heinlein?” I mentally went over that particular well known author and scowled. “I mean, the decent works of his, anyways?”

    Taylor glared at me, her eyes flitting to the book and back. She didn't get up. “Yes,” she seethed, crossing her arms.

    “‘Worm’?” Danny asked, tentatively accepting the hardcover.

    “Read the first page,” I told him.

    Danny looked up at me, his eyebrows raised with disbelief, but he did open and start reading.

    “What is that book?” Taylor asked.

    I held up three of my fingers and mouthed counting down. ‘Three, two, one…’

    “WHAT!” Danny yelled at the top of his lungs. He dropped the book and glared at me. “WHAT THE HELL IS THIS?!”

    As Taylor tried to surreptitiously bend down to pick up the dropped book, I locked eyes with Danny. “Robert Heinlein thought up a theory which can be roughly described as ‘The World As Myth’,” I explained, ignoring Taylor's gasp and trembling hands. She looked like she had seen a ghost. “That book is a copy of my eidetic memory-enabled perfect recollection of a story called Worm.”

    Perfect recollection of the first arc, anyways. But they'll never read past the first page, so who cares! The thing got retconned so badly by its author it might as well be a different story.

    Taylor finished reading the first few sentences. Her eyebrows furrowed with confusion.

    Then she got it.

    Her face went bone white and she dropped the book, her hands trembling. “W-What is this?!” she hissed at me, her eyes ablaze with accusation.

    Still not looking at her, still staring down her father, I smirked. “If I did it right, a narrative from your perspective of this… er, yesterday's morning.” I finally turned to her and raised my eyebrows. “Am I wrong?”

    Taylor gulped. She was shuddering with fear. “N-no.”

    I gestured with one of my hands and the book vaporized into a tiny cloud of ash. “So yeah. World as Myth. It's real.” I took a slight step back so I could keep both of them in my view. “I'm not from Earth Bet. But I know a lot about it.”

    “Because you read it,” Danny deadpanned, disbelief on his face.

    “Yup.” I shrugged. “Why else would I be here?”

    “On our planet?” he asked.

    “No. I meant here,” I gestured around their living room. “In your house. Of all the people on Earth Bet, all the families-”

    Why us?” Taylor finished, whispering.

    I grinned at her and decided to answer her theoretical question. “Because you're the protagonist, Taylor. I've read of your struggle from your point of view. In a way, I'm a big fan of yours. And I want to help you.”

    Taylor stared at me incredulously for several long, intense moments. Then it hit her.

    “Oh my god, you're trying to make a fix fic.”
     
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  25. Zeushobbit

    Zeushobbit I use my mind and yours doesn't matter.

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    And the genre savvy penny drops XD
     
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  26. Threadmarks: Update (Worm)
    TCGM

    TCGM (Unverified God/Space Snek)

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    Update
    Plot Bunny
    2.0

    Sarah.

    “Mrrph… five more… ninuse…” the blonde young woman mumbled.

    She managed to keep on sleeping for several more minutes until the voice intruded on her unconscious state once more.

    Sarah?

    This time it sounded questioning.

    Lisa Wilborne came back to her senses as she woke up. She rubbed her eyes and yawned. After stretching out her back like a cat, the villainess sat up in bed and wiped her eyes. “Rachel, what do you want? I'm trying to slee-”

    She suddenly went rigid as she realized nobody else was in the room.

    She knew she heard a voice say her name. Her old name.

    ...On further thought that couldn't have been Rachel. She didn't know it.

    None of the Undersiders did.

    She tapped into her power on the highest level she could and began to look around, trying to gather information that she could use to figure out what was happening and if there was a threat.

    Her power responded as normal. What wasn't normal was what it said.

    There's no threat, Sarah. At least not currently. But we do need to talk.

    Lisa stopped breathing for several moments.

    Don't do that. Humans need to breathe.

    “Sorry if I get a little concerned when I start hearing voices in my head!” Lisa managed to spit out.

    You weren't that concerned when I started talking to you, the voice pointed out.

    “I am concerned and you have just started! What is this, Mastering? Are you a Trump, too, is that why my powers aren't working?” Lisa vehemently accused.

    In order: No, I started talking to you when you… triggered; No; Sort of and maybe possibly if we do things right; and I am working, the voice responded. I just got updated and instantly grew tired of the only way I could talk until now.

    Lisa was silent for several moments.

    Sarah? Now the voice was worried.

    Lisa considered herself very open minded. She had to be with her particular blend of Thinker power.

    ...But for a voice in her head, that upon further examination sounded just like her, to claim it was her power?

    “Bullshit.”

    Guess you'll need proof then, the voice replied, sighing.

    Suddenly her power was back and feeding her information again. A torrent of it, far more than she usually got, and in full sentences and that damn voice.

    -Alec hasn't washed his underwear in a week. He left it out on your desk because he thinks it will annoy you-

    Lisa shook her head to try and stop her power, accidentally glancing across her closet.

    -You have sixteen sets of clothes that will no longer fit you within one hundred thirty five days due to bust and hip expansion caused by your ongoing puberty. Said puberty will finish approximately five years from now at the age of twenty three. Your measurements will most likely be 36-24-34-

    GAH! She did not need that information! In a desperate attempt to focus her apparently no longer listening power, Lisa did a cursory sweep of her room for bugs. The one she did daily. Surely that would fix this?

    -There are twenty four new remote surveillance devices within the Undersiders HQ, fifteen of which were installed last night. They were installed by mercenaries who work for Coil. Coil is your boss, but that you already knew, of course-

    “ARGH! If you're not going to shut up, tell me something useful!” Lisa raged at her incessantly talking ‘power’.

    Very well! Your boss is far too knowledgeable about the PRT's inner workings, even for someone with informants on the inside-

    “No shit!”

    Her power continued on as if it hadn't heard her. -He is thus most likely employed by the PRT or was in the past-

    “I know that!”

    Accessing PRT database.

    That stopped Lisa cold. “Wait, what?” How the hell was her supernatural power accessing a database she wasn't in front of?!

    Database accessed.

    And succeeding?!

    Comparing known physical traits of Coil to all employees who have not been scanned for Parahuman status. No matches found.

    Of course not. Lisa had already tried that.

    Comparing all consultants.

    ...But she didn't try that.

    One candidate found.

    “Are you fucking shitting me,” Lisa deadpanned.

    Coil is Thomas Calvert within one percent chance of being correct.

    ...Holy shit.

    Leviathan, or Conflict Engine Two, will attack Brockton Bay on-

    And now the Master was trying to force her power to predict the Endbringers. “THAT'S ENOUGH!” Lisa screamed. She fell to her knees and hugged herself. She mentally braced for the incoming migraine that would accompany such a massive information gathering session…

    And waited.

    ...She was still waiting.

    Ok, what? Where was the pain?

    I solved that problem, the voice smugly announced.

    “You are not my power. My power causes Thinker headaches. That information dump should've done that, especially once it started trying to predict the Endbringers. Since it did not, you can't be my power. Which begs the question, how the hell did you just fake my power that well?” she asked the voice.

    I'm not faking. I'm not lying. I am your ‘power’. I am Inference Engine. Pleased to finally meet you for real.

    “Bullshit!”

    How would you like me to prove it to you? the voice asked.

    “You can't!”

    Well that's not very open-minded.

    Lisa hated it when her words were used against her. Especially if they were words she hadn't even thought, much less said, and only comprehended once. “Powers don't talk. They're not alive. They're just powers.”

    False. I am what is known as a… Shard, I believe is the word in English. In the simplest terms possible, I am a massive biological crystalline computation system wrapped around an alternate reality Earth. I interface with you through the stabilized brain tumors your world calls the Corona Pollentia and Gemma. You don't really have a power, Sarah, you have access to my information processing systems.

    Lisa stared straight ahead, her mouth dropped. Wut.

    That time she thought her disbelief. No words came from her mouth.

    Yet the voice… her power, maybe, and apparently some alien computer, heard her.

    I realize that's a lot to take in, but it is no less the truth than it was five minutes ago. No less the truth than when you triggered.

    What the fuck are you trying to get me to buy right now.

    Since it could apparently hear her thoughts, Lisa wasn't going to make herself look crazier on those bugs of Coil's than she already had.

    If the bugs existed at all.

    They do.

    STOP THAT!

    Stop what? Reading your mind?

    YES!!!

    The voice… Master, her power, whatever it was sounded amused. Don't like your own shtick being used against you? it asked knowingly.

    Lisa let out a wordless scream of frustration and collapsed back onto her bed.

    ...I'll take that as a yes.
     
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