Insinuation 2.2: Research

Source material: Worm, Insinuation 2.2

Originally blogged: February 19, 2017


Alright, it’s a bit later in the day than I imagined when I left off yesterday, but that’s okay. It’s time to start Insinuation 2.2!

I don’t have much to say in this post that I didn’t say in yesterday’s closing post – I expect this chapter to either show the daily run or skip straight to high school drama town. I’m leaning towards the run. Maybe Taylor will run into someone or something interesting on the way?

Let’s get this row on the shoad!


The run had helped to wake me up, as did the hot shower and a cup of the coffee my dad had left in the pot.

Hm. By the sound of it, Taylor has completed the run and come back home to get ready for school afterwards. In retrospect, that makes a whole lot more sense than going from the run straight to school, all sweaty and gross and having had to carry school equipment on the run.

Her dad also seems to have left, presumably for work.

Even so, the fatigue didn’t help the feeling of disorientation over just how normal the day seemed as I made my way to school. Just a matter of hours ago, I had been in a life and death fight, I had even met Armsmaster. Now it was a day like any other.

Normality can be weird when weirdness is normalized.


I felt a bit nervous as I got to homeroom.

It’s curious how this varies between countries and schools; whether classes have homerooms and teachers come to them or they switch classrooms for almost every subject.

In ungdomsskolen (I’ve given up on equivalency of school tiers between languages, but this is year 8-10 in Norway) and below, we had homeroom for all classes except those that strictly required a specific room. Since I started videregående (11-13), however, the concept has become increasingly irrelevant as each student’s school days got more customized. When we only have two or so subjects that are common to all of us and sometimes taught in what is nominally our homeroom, what’s the difference between that and the other method?

Having basically skipped two classes the previous Friday, failing to turn in a major assignment,

Ah right, chapter 1.1. Taylor got doused, broke her art project in a fit of justified rage, and went straight home. Time for consequences, I guess.

I figured that Mrs. Knott probably knew already.

(“knott” is also the Norwegian word for black flies, a.k.a. buffalo/turkey gnat)

I didn’t feel relieved when Mrs. Knott glanced up at me and gave a tight smile before turning her attention back to her computer.

A tight smile? I immediately imagine her as Professor McGonagall, including the full robe and pointy hat getup that really doesn’t fit in here.

Unless her outfit is described, that last part probably won’t change anytime soon.

That just meant the humiliation would be redoubled if and when class was interrupted by someone coming down from the office. A part of me just wanted to miss this class too, just to avoid the potential humiliation and avoid drawing attention.

…yeah, no, that ain’t gonna help.


All in all, I felt anxious as I made my way to my computer, which kind of sucked because Computer class was one of the few parts of the school day I didn’t usually dread.

Is this a typical feature of American education? In Norwegian ungdomsskole (which is what someone Taylor’s age would be in in Norway), we had occasional classes on the use of computers for various tasks, but they were far from a regular occurrence.

For one thing, it was the one class in which I was doing well. More to the point, neither Madison, Sophia nor Emma were in this class, though some of their friends were.

I get the impression that individual subject selection starts a bit earlier in the U.S. At this stage of Norwegian school, pretty much the only subject you choose for yourself is your third language (although two of the choices are more in-depth versions of Norwegian or English).

But yeah, it’s good that Taylor can have at least one class where she’s not constantly under the watch of the Bitches.

Those girls didn’t usually feel the need to harass me without the trio around, and I was further removed from them because I was in the advanced stream of the class.

Sounds nice.

A good three quarters of the people in the room were computer illiterate, being from families that didn’t have the money for computers or families that didn’t have much interest in the things, so they practiced typing without looking at the keyboard and had lessons in using search engines.

I remember typing lessons. They were a lot earlier for me than this, though.

It’s a little weird for me to imagine most people not having a computer in 2011, to be honest, and it caused me to have some second thoughts about when exactly this story takes place. But then I remembered that I live in Norway, one of the richest wellfare states in the world. It’s not like my family is rich, but we’re definitely doing well relative to many Americans I know, despite none of the members of my household actually having a reliable job. With that in mind, it makes more sense.

In short, I had to check my privilege.

By contrast, I was in the group that was learning some basic programming and spreadsheets. It didn’t do a lot for my already geeky reputation, but I could deal.

Embrace the geekdom! Wear it with pride!


I don’t mean to keep bringing up stuff about Norway, but things in the story keep making me think of the differences between the society portrayed in Worm and the one I live in, and sharing my thoughts about Worm is what this blog is for.


[If this next section seems unfamiliar to newer readers of Worm, that’s because the… unpleasant stuff here was edited out of the source material some time after I liveblogged it. Later still I found out that Wildbow had been reading my liveblog around this time, so it’s genuinely a possibility that my reaction below helped prompt him to go change it.]

Mrs. Knott was a tallish, broad shouldered and strong jawed woman.

In a robe and pointy hat?

She kind of looked like a caricature of a transvestite with her long blond hair and trying-too-hard-to-be-girly dress and blouse.

Ohhkay. 2011. Let’s leave it at that.

I’m guessing plenty of actual transgender headcanons have been formed because of this description, though.

Rest in peace, my dreams of Mrs. Knott dressing like Professor McGonagall in class.

You just had to imagine her with stubble on her chin or hairy legs and she was the image of a man doing a very bad job at passing as a woman.

Ugh.

This part hasn’t aged well.

She was an alright teacher though;

…“though” implying that her appearance would suggest otherwise…

she was usually content to give us advanced students an in-class assignment and then focus on the more rambunctious majority for the rest of the class. This suited me just fine – I usually wrapped up the assignment in a half hour, leaving me an hour to use as I saw fit.

That’s handy!

I had been recalling and going over the events of the previous night during my morning run, and the first thing that I did when the ancient desktop finished its agonizing load process was to start digging for information.

Even here, the school’s desktop computers were never particularly up to date.

So what kind of information are you looking for, Taylor?


The go-to place for news and discussion on capes was Parahumans Online.

At parahumans.wordpress.com?

The front page had constant updates on recent, international news featuring capes. From there, I could go to the wiki, where there was information on individual capes, groups and events, or to the message boards, which broke down into nearly a hundred sub-boards, for specific cities and capes.

Sounds like a handy website for anyone with an interest in parahumans, be they heroes like Taylor, villains like the Mozart Gang (for some reason I can’t imagine Lung using it), or just fans.

I opened the wiki in one tab, then found and opened the message board for Brockton Bay in another.

I had the sense that either Tattletale or Grue were the leader of the group I had run into.

Ooh, are we going to learn more about them now? I hope we at least get a better name than “the Mozart Gang” for them.

Turning my attention to Tattletale, I searched the wiki. The result I got was disappointingly short, starting with a header reading “This article is a stub. Be a hero and help us expand it.”

Heh.

There was a one sentence blurb on how she was a alleged villain active in Brockton Bay, with a single blurry picture. The only new information for me was that her costume was lavender. A search of the message boards turned up absolutely nothing. There wasn’t even a hint as to what her power was.

Well, I mean, Armsmaster (Nathan Fillion, for those of you who haven’t paid attention to the asks) did say Tattletale was a bit of an unknown to the Protectorate. I’d imagine they have people paying attention to the wiki and other online information, so they’d probably know if there was information for Taylor to find. Question is whether Armsmaster would tell her that, though – it’s not like he was under an obligation to tell Taylor everything he knew about the Mozart Gang.

I looked up Grue. There was actually information about him, but nothing detailed or definitive. The wiki stated he had been active for nearly three years, dealing in petty crimes such as robbing small stores and doing some work as an enforcer for those who wanted a little superpowered muscle along for a job.

Yeah, I really didn’t get the impression that these guys were big time villains, though it’s of course suspicious that they keep getting away from the Protectorate and that Lung saw reasons to mobilize a tiny army to kill them.

And out of the whole gang, Bitch/Hellhound is the only one we actually know one of the powers of. Grue, Regent and Tattletale are all mysteries.

Tattletale’s powers clearly allow her to know some things she has no business knowing. I’m leaning towards something like remote senses, astral projection, etc. Premonitions are also a possibility. Whatever it is, Tattletale’s power is probably how the Mozart Gang “heard” that Lung was coming from them.

Grue’s power… I’ve got nothing. It could be something basic like super strength (if we take “superpowered muscle” a bit too literally), but that seems… well, basic; more so than the story has set precedent for.

We know almost nothing about Regent so far. Judging by the way he dresses and named himself, though, I’m guessing something that involves control of others. Alternatively… if I recall correctly, his outfit was Italian-inspired, so maybe he can summon pizzas?

[Is this joke racist? It might be racist. Tsk tsk, Pastwell.]


Recently, he had turned to higher scale crime, including corporate theft and robbing a casino, together with his new team. His power was listed as darkness generation in the sidebar under his picture.

…why did I discount the darkness association so much that I completely forgot to mention it in my speculation? I have no idea.

This makes a lot of sense. You wander into the darkness and get eaten by a grue.

The picture seemed crisp enough, but the focus of it, Grue, was just a blurry black silhouette in the center.

At least if Taylor ends up fighting him, she already has a way to “see” him through the darkness he creates, as she already demonstrated with Lung – she can surround him with insects and sense where the negative space is.

I’d imagine this would be a pretty handy power if combined with martial arts, though. The opponent can’t see your punches and kicks coming. There’s also the question of range – if he creates a sphere of darkness just around himself with a radius of a meter or two, then it’ll disguise his actions but not really where he is. But if he’s got a radius of, say, ten meters, he can engulf an opponent in the darkness, attack from any angle, and keep the opponent from navigating the environment properly.

Of course, it would just be a pain in the butt if he doesn’t also have the ability to see through his own magical darkness.


I searched for Bitch, next. No results. I did another search for her more official title, Hellhound, and got a wealth of information.

I like that Taylor seems to respect Bitch’s chosen moniker on some level. Not necessarily respect as in “that’s a good one”, but as in “that’s what you’ve chosen and I accept that”.

I honestly think Hellhound is a better name, but she’s chosen Bitch, and I think we should accept that. The media’s censorship shouldn’t define who she is!

Rachel Lindt had never made any real attempt to hide her identity. She had apparently been homeless through most of her criminal career, just living on the streets and moving on whenever police or a cape came after her.

Lindt is a good name for a homeless character.

I guess she lives in the Mozart Gang hideout now, assuming they have one.

The sightings and encounters with the homeless girl ended around a year ago – I figured that was when she joined forces with Grue, Tattletale and Regent.

Hm, sounds like it, yeah. And now we have a timeframe for how long the Mozart Gang has been a thing.

(seriously, give them a name already)

The picture in the sidebar was taken from surveillance camera footage – an unmasked, dark haired girl who I wouldn’t have called pretty. She had a squarish, blunt-featured face with thick eyebrows. She was riding atop one of her monstrous ‘dogs’ like a jockey rides a horse, down the middle lane of a street.

I do wonder whether those dogs are summons or actual dogs transformed by Bitch. I’m leaning towards the latter.


According to the wiki entry, her powers manifested when she was fourteen, followed almost immediately by her demolishing the foster home she had been living in, injuring her foster mother and two other foster children in the process.

What a good start.

This was followed by a two year series of skirmishes and retreats across Maine as various heroes and teams tried to apprehend her, and she either defeated them or successfully evaded capture.

More evidence towards the dogs making Bitch the arguably toughest member of the Mozart Gang, as far as we’ve seen. Then again, Regent is at least named like he has some pretty strong powers.

She had no powers that would have made her any stronger or faster than the average Jane, but she was apparently able to turn ordinary dogs into the creatures I had seen on the rooftop. Monsters the size of a car, all muscle, bone, fang and claw.

Called it!

A red box near the bottom of the page read, “Rachel Lindt has a public identity, but is known to be particularly hostile, antisocial and violent. If recognized, do not approach or provoke. Leave the area and notify authorities as to her last known location.”

Yeah, it’s becoming really clear that Bitch is not to be messed with. And that’s probably exactly how she likes it.

At the very bottom of the page was a list of links that were related to her: two fansites and a news article relating to her early activities.

Naturally, even the villains are going to have fans, especially those who are as Edgy™ as Bitch is. I mean, look at what we know of her – she’s antisocial and violent, clearly has problems with authority, and can turn dogs into awesome and grotesque beasts. Of course a lot of people are going to think she’s super cool!

A search of the message boards turned up too many results, leaving me unable to sift through the crap, the arguments, the speculation and the villain worship to find any genuine morsels of information. If nothing else, she was notorious.

“Villain worship” is a good term for what I was just talking about, yeah.

I sighed and moved on, making a mental note to do more investigation when I had the time.

Time for some Regent development, I presume?


The last member of the group was Regent. Given what Armsmaster had said about the guy being low profile, I didn’t expect to find much. I was surprised to find less than that. Nothing.

…Apparently not. I guess he’s going to remain a mystery for now.

My search on the wiki turned up only a default response, “There are no results matching this query. 32 unique IP addresses have searched the Parahumans.net Wiki for ‘Regent’ in 2011. Would you like to create the page?”

Well, at least it confirms that the year is 2011.

I wonder if Wildbow nabbed that URL. I’m not going to check, though, in case the front page contains spoilers.

Also, I’m guessing at least a few of those IP addresses are from the Protectorate.

The message board didn’t turn up anything else. I even did a search for alternate spellings of his name, such as Regence and Recant, in case I had heard it wrong. Nothing turned up.

“…and that’s Rieiageeount.”


We

Are the Mozart Gang
We’ll always wreck your day
And if you think we can’t
We’ve got hellbeasts, okay?
That’s why the people of this world
Live in fear of
Hellhound, Tattletale and Gruuue
And Rieiageeount!


If my mood had been on the sour side as I got to homeroom, the dead ends only made it worse.

Getting less than three hours of sleep after a battle of life and death, and then getting unsatisfactory research results, does that to you.

I mean I can’t exactly say I relate but I totally relate.

I turned my attention to the in-class assignment, making a working calculator in Visual Basic, but it was too trivial to distract me. The work from Thursday and Friday had already given us the tools to do the job, so it was really just busywork.

Sometimes easy tasks are too easy to pull off. Now this I can really relate to.

I didn’t mind learning stuff, but work for the sake of doing work was annoying.

FUCKIN’ PREACH

I did the bare minimum, checked it for any bugs, moved the file to the ‘completed work’ folder and returned to surfing the web. All in all, the work barely took fifteen minutes.

Damn, when did Taylor become so relatable to me?


I looked up Lung on the wiki, which I had done often enough before, as part of my research and preparation for being a superhero. I’d wanted to be sure I knew who prominent local villains were and what they could do.

This is one of Taylor’s strengths. She does research, so she mostly knows what she’s up against, which is incredibly important in a battle. Actually, it’s incredibly important outside battle, too.

The search for ‘Lung’ redirected to a catch-all page on his gang, the ABB, with quite a bit of detailed information. The information on Lung’s powers was pretty in line with my own experience, though there was no mention of the super-hearing or him being fireproof.

I mean, being fireproof is kind of a required secondary power in the case of pyrokinesis. Not having it would quickly get you hurt.

The super-hearing, of course, is much harder to figure out without going into battle against him.

I debated adding it, but decided against it. There were security concerns with my submission being tracked back to Winslow High, and then to me. I figured it would probably be deleted as unsupported speculation, anyways.

Fair enough.


The section beneath the description of Lung and his powers covered his subordinates. He was estimated to have forty or fifty thugs working for him across Brockton Bay, largely drawn from the ranks of Asian youth.

I believe I guessed that the Azn Bare Bears amounted to about 50 people, after the comment that Lung was more powerful than fifty people with guns. It seems only half of them were present when Taylor attacked. A bunch of them were with Oni Lee, but it sounded like he didn’t have anywhere near as many people with him as Lung did, so where were the rest? Maybe there was a third group led by Lung’s other superpowered lackey, the bomber gal whose name I seem to have forgotten?

It was pretty unconventional for a gang to include members of the variety of nationalities that the ABB did, but Lung had made it a mission to conquer and absorb every gang with Asian members and many without.

Makes sense. If you look beyond nationality, you can amass a larger gang, and thus more lackeys to do your bidding.

Once he had the manpower he needed, the non-Asian gangs were cannibalized for assets, their members discarded.

Hm, or you can do that.

Even though there were no more major gangs in the east end of town to absorb, he was still recruiting zealously. His method, now, was to go after anyone older than twelve and younger than sixty. It didn’t matter if you were a gang member or not.

Those are some pretty lax requirements. Perfect for undercover intelligence to get in. I wonder if any members of the Protectorate woke up with a lot of stings this morning.

If you were Asian and you lived in Brockton Bay, Lung and his people expected you to either join or to pay tribute one way or another. There had been local news reports on it, newspaper articles, and I could remember seeing signs in the guidance counselor’s office detailing where people who were targeted in this way could go for help.

But why is he so hung up on “Asian”, if his goal is getting as large a gang as possible? I mean, it is a logical next step after looking past national borders, but it would make sense for Lung to take that open attitude even further. Is his main goal to unite the city’s subcultures of Asian descent?


Lung’s lieutenants were listed as Oni Lee and Bakuda.

Ah, right, that’s what her name was.

I already had some general knowledge about Oni Lee, but I was intrigued to see there were recent updates to his wiki entry. There were specific details on his powers: He could teleport, but when he did so, he didn’t disappear. As he teleported, his original self, for lack of a better term, would stay where it was and remain active for five to ten seconds before disintegrating into a cloud of carbon ash.

Oh, okay, that explains the confusion on whether he creates copies of himself or teleports. In a sense, he does both: He creates a copy within teleport range, but the “original” is destroyed a few seconds later. If he spams it, he should be able to have a whole bunch of Onis on the scene at once.

What I want to know is how he himself experiences it. Do the original and the copy function independently? Is there a hivemind kind of thing going on?

Or maybe the copy even remembers what happens to the original in those five to ten seconds, before it happens? Teleportation with a side effect of temporal dislocation, where teleporting through space also takes you a few seconds into the past? (This would also mean that any injuries sustained by the original after the copy shows up would be reflected on the copy to begin with.)

I don’t think there’s enough evidence to confidently suggest that kind of spatial-temporal dislocation just yet, but so far, I wouldn’t put it past Wildbow to do something like that.


Essentially, he could create another version of himself anywhere nearby, while the old version could stick around long enough to distract or attack you. If that wasn’t scary enough, there was an report of him holding a grenade in his hand as he repeatedly duplicated himself, with his short lived duplicates acting as suicide bombers.

…well then. So much for spatial-temporal dislocation!

Oh, and if he teams up with Bakuda, he can replace those grenades with her super-tech bombs!

Topping it all off, Oni Lee’s wiki page had a similar red warning box to the one that Bitch/Hellhound had on hers, minus the bit about his public identity. From what they knew about him, authorities had seen fit to note him a sociopath. The warning covered the same essential elements: exceedingly violent, dangerous to approach, should not be provoked, and so on.

Yeah, I’d say. This guy could wipe out a city by duplicating überbombs all over the place!

Though allegedly, he’s also a bit of a scaredycat without Lung’s support. There are somewhat mixed messages going on here, and they might be meant to show how dangerous the Mozart Gang is.

I glanced at his picture. His costume consisted of a black bodysuit with a black bandoleer and belt for his knives, guns and grenades. The only color on him was an ornate Japanese-style demon mask, crimson with two green stripes down either side. Except for the mask, his costume gave off the distinct impression of a ninja, which just added weight to the notion that this was a guy who could and would slide a knife between your ribs.

If he teleports, his original self stabs you, and he lets go of the knife, does the knife still disintegrate?

…If it doesn’t, then he has the ability to permanently duplicate items too. It makes more sense for everything that goes along with the copying to disintegrate when the time is up.


Bakuda was a new entry, added to the ABB wiki page just ten days ago. The picture only showed her from the shoulders up, a girl with straight black hair, large opaque goggles over her eyes and a metal mask with a gas mask styled filter covering the lower half of her face. A braided cord of black, yellow and green wires looped over one of her shoulders. I couldn’t pinpoint her ethnicity with the mask and goggles, and her age wasn’t any easier to figure out.

I like the design of this costume. It really suits her abilities.

The wiki had a lot of the same details Armsmaster had mentioned to me. Bakuda had essentially held a university ransom and she did it with her superhuman ability to design and fabricate high tech bombs.

We know the what and the how already, but why?

There was a link to a video titled ‘Bomb Threat @ Cornell’, but I didn’t think it wise to play it in school, especially without headphones. I made a mental note to check it out when I got home.

Yeeah, good choice.

Maybe this video will hold some answers to Bakuda’s motivation, assuming we get to see it.

I wonder what exactly this chapter is building up to. Most of it has been rehashing what we already know, with occasional bits of new information, but I have a feeling that Taylor is going to find something more major by the end of the chapter. Otherwise, what is the main point of it, narratively speaking?


The next thing that caught my eye was the section heading titled ‘Defeats and Captures’. I scrolled down to read it. According to the wiki, Lung had apparently suffered a number of minor defeats at the hands of various teams, ranging from the Guild to the local teams of New Wave, the Wards and the Protectorate, but consistently managed to evade capture until last night

The Guild and New Wave are new names… It sounds like the Guild doesn’t have a “local team” in the same way as New Wave, the Wards and the Protectorate, which suggests to me that the Guild is exclusively local, while New Wave, like the Protectorate and the Wards, has other teams outside Brockton Bay.

Judging by the name, I’m guessing New Wave might be a group that has broken off from another (the Protectorate?) on account of less traditional views.

But despite these defeats, Taylor and Bitch are apparently the first ones to put Lung so out of commission that he could be caught. That’s quite a debut for Taylor!

A blurb read, ‘Armsmaster successfully ambushed and defeated the leader of the ABB, who was weakened from a recent encounter with a rival gang.

Seems Nathan Fillion I mean Armsmaster did indeed take credit for the defeat, but at least he didn’t claim to have done it all on his own.

Though I’m not sure if Taylor is going to be particularly happy with the way it’s implying that he was weakened by villains. She has been mistaken for a villain twice already, which is twice too often for her liking.

Lung was taken to the PHQ for holding until the villain’s trial by teleconference.

That’s a smart approach. Wouldn’t want him to vaporize the judge.

Given Lung’s extensive and well documented criminal history, it is expected he will face imprisonment in the Birdcage should he be found guilty at trial.’

The Birdcage? That is the best name for a high-security prison!


I took a deep breath and let it out slowly. I wasn’t sure what to think. By all rights, I should have been angry that Armsmaster took the credit for the fight that could have cost me my life. Instead, I felt a building excitement. I felt like shaking the shoulder of the guy sitting next to me and point to the screen, saying, “Me, I made that possible! Me!”

Taylor, that is adorable.

I can relate to this kind of pride, to be honest. Of course, I’ve never taken down a supervillain, or at least that’s what I want you to think, but that sense of pride over having had a personal impact on something greater than yourself? Feels great.

With a renewed enthusiasm, I switched tabs to the message board and began looking to see what people were saying about it. A post by a fan or minion of Lung threatened violence against Armsmaster.

Naturally.

There was a request by someone asking for more information on the fight.

Obviously.

I was given pause by one post that asked whether Bakuda could or would use a large scale bomb and the threat of potentially thousands or hundreds of thousands dead, to ransom Lung back.

Aaand there’s the problem with supervillains. They’re powerful.

I tried to put that out of my mind. If it happened, it would be the responsibility of heroes better and more experienced than I.

Either way, it wouldn’t be your fault. You’re not even the one who imprisoned him, nor the one who wrote the laws requiring his arrest.

It struck me that there was one person I hadn’t looked for. Myself.

I did have a vague feeling she might end up finding something about herself, but I forgot to mention it. (That kind of thing is probably going to happen a lot because of the way my brain works.) I didn’t expect her to try searching, though.

If she finds something, there isn’t going to be much. The only ones who really know anything about her superhero side are Lung, the Mozart Gang and Armsmaster; one is incapacitated, one suggested her anonymity in the first place and the rest likely don’t use the wiki. And if the Mozart Gang did add her, she’s going to be listed as a villain, probably under the name Bug.

I opened up the advanced search page for the Parahumans.net message board and did a search for multiple terms. I included insect, spider, swarm, bug, plague, and a mess of other terms that had struck me when I had been trying to brainstorm a good hero name. I narrowed the timeframe of posts to search for posts made within the past 12 hours and hit Search.

Sounds like a pretty good search. Let’s see what she finds.

My efforts turned up two posts. One referred to a villain called Pestilence, active in the UK. Apparently Pestilence was one of the people who could use ‘magic’. That is, he was if you believed magic was real, and not just some convoluted or deluded interpretation of a given set of powers.

Yeah, what does “magic” even mean in a ‘verse like this? I’ve referred to certain power effects as magical from time to time, but that’s just one way to interpret how powers work.

The second post was in the ‘Connections’ section of the message board, where rescued damsels left their contact information for their dashing heroes, where conventions and fan gatherings were organized and where people posted job offers for capes and the cape-obsessed. Most were cryptic or vague, referring to stuff only the people in question would know.

The message was titled, simply, “Bug”

There we go. Tattletale, presumably? Are they going to ask her to join?

I clicked it and waited impatiently for the outdated system and overloaded school modem to load up the page. What I got was brief.

Subject: Bug

Owe you one. Would like to repay the favor. Meet?

Send a message,

Tt.

Tattletale, yep. Now what does Taylor do with this? Does she meet up with Tattletale and find out how they want to repay the favor, and also risk getting caught fraternizing with villains? Does she tell them that she’s not in fact a bad guy? Does she inform the Protectorate that the post could be traced back to Tattletale, making enemies with the Mozart Gang?

This is going to be a bit of a dilemma.

To be honest, I really want Taylor to befriend the Mozarts, because I’m a sucker for casual hero-villain friendships.


The post was followed by two pages of people commenting. Three people suggested it was something important, while a half dozen more people decried them as tinfoil hats, Parahumans.net’s term for conspiracy theorists.

Forums gonna, uh, for.

…that didn’t work.

It was meaningful, though. I couldn’t interpret it any other way; Tattletale had found a way to get in contact with me.

This could get interesting.


End of Insinuation 2.2

This chapter was… meh. It was very recappy, although it also provided some new information both for Taylor and for the readers.

I can see why it would be considered necessary for the narrative, but it was rather tedious to get through, at least when stretched out over five hours like it was for me.

On the bright side, we got narrative development at the end in the form of Tattletale making contact with Taylor. Taylor now has a bit of a dilemma regarding how she responds to that, and I’m looking forward to seeing what she does.

Here’s to a more exciting chapter next time!

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