Source material: Worm, Extermination 8.1
Originally blogged: November 20, 2017
Alrighty, then! It’s time to liveblarg some Blergenblurgers! Uh. Worm. That’s what it’s called.
What I don’t know yet is what this Arc is called. Swarm, maybe? No, I was looking for insect related words that could also have something to do with the Endbringer threat, and while there’s a lot the Endbringer could be, it’s very much not a swarm. We know they come one at a time.
(Hell, maybe there only is one, and its powers/form are in flux? Unlikely, but I’m not about to discount it.)
Locust? Known for widespread and rapid damage to crops, but upon further research, that’s because they start breeding a lot and form swarms, so that’s in the same vein as Swarm.
Hm… The title might not be based on the threat, either, but rather something like the conflict between Taylor and the other Undersiders and how it’s resolved. I don’t know. Let’s take a look.
Well, then. That’s quite ominous. I definitely feel even more justified than before in predicting lots of death and destruction in this Arc.
In hindsight, honestly, the title should’ve been fairly obvious. What comes around to bring an end to bugs? Why, an exterminator. (A profession that is traditionally reserved for former killer robots from the future.)
Let’s hope the title doesn’t also reflect how the conflict with the Undersiders is resolved, and move on to chapter predictions.
So, when last we left Taylor, she had agreed to fight the Endbringer along with the Undersiders. I guess this chapter might start out on the way… somewhere? The Protectorate was going to set up a meeting point for people who were going to fight the Endbringer, but does that include the villains?
This chapter is likely to be where we finally learn what an Endbringer actually is. Maybe also which Endbringer we’re up against. We only know the Simurgh by name so far – hopefully it’s not that one, since a second one will give me more to base my theories on.
Without further ado… let’s begin the apocalypse of Brockton Bay. A Brockton Baypocalypse, if you will.
What’s that? You… won’t?
The crush of bodies was a tide that Tattletale and I had to push through. There were a thousand or more scared people in our immediate area, surging against and around us.
Quite natural, given the weight these sirens have. People are scared enough in this city when the sirens aren’t blaring.
Even our costumes didn’t give people much pause or reason to give us space. Thoughtless in their panic,
The panic alone is gonna kill people before the Endbringer even arrives.
the crowd was guided only by the barricades of policemen and police cars that had been established at the intersections to guide the masses to the shelters.
Oh, good to see they’re not completely unguided.
Everybody had been informed, in the pamphlets that came in the mail and in schools, about emergency procedures.
I have a feeling that in a world like this, people take emergency procedures a bit more seriously than in ours. Hopefully.
There were multi-level shelters spaced around the city, enough for people to hunker down in for a few hours. They’d all been told that they could bring our larger pets if the animals could be trusted to behave.
“if the animals could be trusted to behave” seems like a guideline most people would ignore.
Taylor’s narration is mixing “they” and “our”, here, and that’s despite the fact that she doesn’t personally have a larger pet. This could either hold some kind of meaning about Taylor’s view of herself relative to the rest of the people, or be Wildbow changing “we” into “they” and forgetting to make the “our” reflect it.
They could bring only necessary medical supplies and what they could have on their person. People weren’t allowed to use their cars, unless they were in one of the areas on the periphery of town.
Last thing you want is a traffic jam or panicked flattening of equally panicked pedestrians.
Too easy for there to be an accident in the panic and hurry, leaving everyone else stuck in a traffic jam when disaster arrived.
Exactly. Don’t panic and drive, folks.
I suppose the first goal is going to be reuniting with the rest of the Undersiders.
But people were stupid. A chronic condition of our society, that so many people somehow thought they were special, the exception to the rule.
Yeeah, and those are often the reason we need the rules in the first place.
In this panicked crowd, every rule was being broken. There were people with luggage on wheels, one kid carrying a lizard in a glass cage.
How big and heavy is the glass cage? I feel like that matters.
It’d probably be safer to have it in a closed pocket or something, though, if it’s a small enough lizard for that.
[This lizard might have died in Plague 12.5, if it survived here. :(]
People were pushing and shoving, shouting and swearing. Pets were reacting to the ambient stress with barks and snarls, dashing around and getting others tripped or tangled up in leashes.
Tattletale and I passed two cars that were even making their way forward in the midst of stampede, inch by inch, honking their horns the entire time.
At least they’re polite enough to not straight up drive over the pedestrians? It’s so rude when people do that.
Between the air raid sirens and the honking horns, I couldn’t make out the words people were shouting. I could barely think.
Such a noisy scene. It’s a wonder we can even read the narration.
We reached a trio of police officers, who had used their cars and yellow tape to cordon off two sides of an intersection. I could see the eyes on the officer nearest me widen in recognition.
He was about to say something, but the officer next to him put a hand on his shoulder, reached in the window of the police car. He pushed pieces of paper into each of our hands.
Invitations to the cape meeting?
I glanced over it, found what I needed, and gave him a curt nod. Tattletale grabbed my hand and pulled me away.
The paper, labelled at the top with the words ‘Parahuman Response’, contained a picture of our destination in black and white and directions on how to get there.
Yup. The truce is fully in effect – known parahumans being gathered, not to be arrested, but to help.
It wasn’t far – the area which divided the Docks and Downtown, a short distance East from the mall where Brian and I had gone.
So are we going to seek out Grue, Regent and Bitch first, or hope that they too got this kind of slip and meet them at the PRT meeting spot?
I suppose they should call and agree on that, if they haven’t already done so between chapters.
The closer we got to our destination, the more the crowd thinned out. We saw another crowd moving toward a different shelter as we got close, but we could avoid that by detouring around that particular set of streets.
Yeah, looks like we’re going straight there.
As we got close enough for me to wonder what direction to take, I saw the streak of smoke as an huge armored suit plunged down from the sky, just a block away.
Hi there. Friend?
Possibly a Protectorate member from out of town, or a member of the Guild. Or maybe a solo villain… lots of options here. I don’t think it’s anyone we know, at least – the smoke and flight doesn’t seem like Armsmaster…
It was clue enough for Tattletale to pull me forward to follow it. Reaching the end of the street, we saw our destination on the other side of a nearly empty four lane road.
At first I thought it seemed a bit odd for such a high-bandwidth escape route to be empty, but then I realized that’s probably exactly why it’s empty – the people who needed to use it to escape may have reached their shelters already.
The building was fairly nondescript. Six stories tall, it featured dark brown brick and dark tinted windows, and sat alone on a grassy hill.
It’s funny how you never really see “nondescript” as the only description for something in decent-quality literature.
I probably mentioned that back in 5.1, too, I guess. I seem to recall the villain pub (whose name escapes me at the moment) also being described as nondescript.
A nearly empty parking lot sat between us and the building, and a stretch of beach sat on the far end. People in PRT uniforms stood guard around the parking lot and entrance, and four of the five vehicles in the parking lot were PRT vans, with turret-mounted hoses and armored exteriors. As good an indication as any that this was the meeting place.
Yeah, looks like the right place.
Past the hill and to the left was Dragon, in a mechanical suit that was as large as two PRT vans put together, four legged, with what looked like a single jet engine on top, still smoking from her recent flight.
Oh hey! It was someone we already knew, and she’s not trapped in TV land!
Unless of course the suit is a robot and she just shows up on a screen on the front of it.
(To be clear, the “Dragon is trapped in video chat” theory is entirely a joke. I feel like I’ve made enough semi-serious but “out there” theories that I need to clarify that.)
On either side of the engine or oversized jetpack or whatever it was, were two shoulder mounted missile launchers, each pre-loaded with four missiles longer than I was tall.
She was facing the water, unmoving, like a gargoyle standing guard.
Are you sure she hasn’t left the suit?
I saw what she was watching. A stormcloud in the distance. It hung over the water with an opaque curtain of rain descending down from it. It was gradually getting closer.
Ahhh, hello there.
We meet at last, Endbringer.
As we approached the parking lot, a squad of PRT officers blocked our way. I felt a moment’s trepidation. Were any of these the same people we’d attacked at the Protectorate’s fundraiser? I couldn’t tell, with their helmets and tinted faceguards covering their faces.
“Uhh, sorry about kinda sorta attacking you that one time…”
“It’s cool, miss. We’ve got bigger problems right now.”
“But if we didn’t, I’d be foaming your ass right now.”
shit, bad wording
With a sound like a muffled thunderclap, a half dozen people appeared in the center of the empty lot.
Ahh, did you perhaps arrive by portkey? Wait, no, this isn’t the Harry Potter AU.
Still, this does seem like some sort of teleportation. Did Trickster replace the air in the space with himself and his teammates? That would explain the sound.
When I saw who they were, I was awestruck. That wasn’t hyperbole or whatever, I was using the word awestruck in the original, zero-embellishment sense of the word.
…not Trickster, then. And not the Triumvirate (alone, at least), there’s too many. But evidently big shots.
Alexandria stood at the head of the crowd that had just arrived. Her head turned from one side to the other as she surveyed her new surroundings, the long, straight black hair that spilled from the back of her helmet sweeping from one side to the other.
Eyyy! Finally we meet her. I’ve heard about Alexandria for so long now.
That’s one out of three Triumvirate members accounted for, so I guess the other two – Legend and Eidolon – are among the remaining six as well. But then who are the three with them? Other big shots?
She was everything that made you think ‘superheroine’; athletic, tall, muscular, but still feminine. Her costume was black and light gray, with an image of a tower in the center of her chest, and she featured a wide, heavy cape that flowed over her shoulders and draped onto the ground beside and behind her. Alexandria.
Hey! Now that I’ve gotten a physical description of Alexandria, I hope you’ve got that fanart of giddy nine-year-old Taylor in an Alexandria t-shirt [here] ready! I swear, that has to exist, and I want to see it.
Her team – people I recognized but couldn’t necessarily name – followed behind her in a loose formation.
Ah, alright, I guess it’s not three umvirates, but one of them and her personal five-person team.
Only one man in a blue and black uniform and cap stayed behind in the middle of the parking lot. He looked around for a few moments, then disappeared with a crack and a whoosh, smaller than the one that had brought the entire group there.
…four-person team. Alexandria, her four-person team (not counting her), and a parahuman taxiporter.
Tattletale and I circled around the parking lot, to avoid getting in the way of any incoming teleporters.
Sounds like taxiporters are fairly common. I wonder what kinds of variations we find between them.
We were nearly to the door when we heard another group arrive behind us, the same way Alexandria had come. Teenagers, this time. I couldn’t place them, but the brighter colors of their costumes led me to suspect they were heroes.
Heroes and villains: Color coded for your convenience!
Hm… Wards from a different city?
The man who’d teleported them in said something I couldn’t make out over the the wailing air raid sirens, and they quickly set to marching in our direction.
Are they coming over specifically to the Undersiders, or just going the same way? It feels like the former.
Leading them out of the parking lot was a shirtless, muscled boy with metal skin, eyes and hair and a strange texture to his shoulders and spine.
Weld, I presume? That would confirm my lowkey suspicion that this other city might be Boston.
Among other things, I noticed the tines of a fork sticking out near his neck, and what might have been the wires of a chain link fence half melted into his opposite shoulder.
Huh. Well, certainly sounds like the result of welding.
But where that strange half-melted-metal texture didn’t cover him, his metal body was exceedingly detailed and refined. His ‘skin’ was a dusky dark gray metal with the slightest of swirls of lighter metals in it, and his ‘adonis’ musculature was perfectly etched out in the metal, with silver lines tracing his muscle definition like veins of metal in raw ore. His eyes, too, were silver, and two lines ran from the corners of them down his cheekbones and to the sides of his jaw.
Like what you see, Taylor?
He clapped one heavy hand down on my shoulder as he passed me and offered me a tight smile.
Well(d) then, we’ve got another boy smiling at Taylor. 😉
I’m not going to straight up ship them just yet, but I’m not gonna lie – Taylor deciding to remain a villain but ending up in a romance with a hero could get interesting.
It seemed we were allies, at least for the time being.
Ah, yeah. But assuming this is Weld and I’m not being stupid, he’s gonna be sticking around after this… better not get too attached if you’re gonna be a villain, eh?
Tattletale and I followed his group into the building.
Folding chairs had been set into rows and columns in the center of the lobby, facing a trio of widescreen television sets, which in turn were backed by a series of large windows overlooking the beach. Through the windows, we had the perfect view of the looming storm.
Dragon just stays out in the mech and talks to them through one of the TV sets.
As daunting as the approaching clouds were, what drew my attention was the crowd. There were people filling the lobby. Only a few were local.
I.e. we’re getting lots of new characters!
Empire Eighty-Eight was here, at the back corner of the room. I saw Hookwolf there, half covered in a layer of his metal hooks and barbs. I didn’t see Cricket or Stormtiger. He glared at Tattletale and I.
Hi there. Nice to see you, for once – I genuinely wasn’t sure you’d show. Though it sounds like we might’ve gone for the divided E88 option, unless Cricket and Stormtiger are just out of view or hospitalized.
The Travelers were all present, I noted, the only other local team of villains to show. Faultline’s crew was absent, and I couldn’t help but note that Coil wasn’t around.
Huh. I was right about the Travelers, at least, but it is surprising that Coil himself didn’t show up. I mean, I guess he personally can’t do much on the scene that he couldn’t do from home, but it seems like he might want to be here for the meeting.
I suppose the Travelers might be keeping in touch with him.
He wasn’t a front lines kind of guy, but he’d at least supplied his soldiers for the ABB situation.
Yeah. I guess maybe he didn’t think even his best-trained soldiers would do much against the Endbringer?
Or rather, knew they most likely wouldn’t, with Dinah’s help.
The local heroes were present in force. I wasn’t surprised – skipping this fight, as a hero, let alone a team of heroes, would be unforgivable to the public.
In that sense, being a hero is much more difficult than being a villain, really. With villains, selfish decisions are par for the course.
Aegis was talking with the metal skinned boy who’d arrived at the same time as Tattletale and I.
I guess they’d have a lot to talk about, as fellow Ward leaders who are about to switch places.
A large group of fifteen or so other teenagers were gathered and talking amongst themselves. There was some joking, the occasional laughter, but it felt forced, strained. False bravado. I was assuming they were all Wards, from at least three different cities.
So, three cities. Brockton Bay, Boston, and… New York, maybe?
The kids from New Wave were near the Wards -Glory Girl, Panacea, Laserdream and Shielder- but they weren’t really joining in with the conversation the Wards were having.
Bit of a schism there.
I could see Glory Girl and Gallant standing together; she was holding his hand.
Well – with an exception or two.
Panacea was sitting backwards on a chair just beside where Glory Girl stood, her arms folded over the chair back, chin resting on her wrists.
Probably going to be a lot of people who need healing today.
She glared at the two of us, though the look was mainly directed at Tattletale.
Haven’t forgotten Agitation, eh?
I just realized we might get Clockblocker and Taylor interacting
Maybe she actually gets a chance to make good on that apology she said she’d give him…
Near Panacea, the adults of New Wave had pulled the folding chairs into a rough circle so they could sit while they talked in a bit of a huddle.
And then there’s a camera stuck into the huddle but you can’t hear what anyone is saying anyway and then the timeout is over and they all go out to kick a ball around again
The Protectorate was present, and it wasn’t just the locals, but the big guns. Armsmaster, standing a little taller and looking more confident than I’d seen before, with not one but two Halberds connected to his back, was having a quiet conversation with Miss Militia and Legend.
Oh hey, that’s two out of three!
And Armsy is looking ready.
It took me a second to absorb that picture. That was the head of the Protectorate, the leader of the largest team of capes in the world. What’s more, he was right in front of me, having a conversation with someone I’d talked to. Ridiculous as that sounded, it affected me.
Taylor may not be the type to get overly giddy about specific people (anymore), but she’s absolutely a fan of some of them.
Legend sported a skintight blue costume with a design in white that fell somewhere between flame and electricity in style.
Hm, interesting. Sounds… energetic.
He had a perfect physique – one I didn’t mind giving a second glance-over –
a strong jaw and wavy brown hair. If Alexandria was the flying bruiser that just about every other flying bruiser strove to match up to, then Legend was at the head of the pack when it came to being flying artillery. His firepower was on par with Purity’s, if not outright surpassing her, and he was far, far more versatile.
Sounds awesome. I’m guessing part of his repertoir is shooting fire and lightning, but there’s probably more if he’s that much more versatile.
Knowing I’d seen two members of the leading three figures of the Protectorate, I looked for the third. I glanced past Myrddin, from Chicago, with his brown burlap robe and wooden staff, Chevalier, in gleaming silver and gold armor, carrying his cannonblade, and Bastion, who had earned a great deal of bad press, lately.
Myrddin certainly dresses like his namesake. I’m very interested to see what he can do with that staff of his.
Chevalier is predictably knightly, and carries… a cannonblade? Sounds like a weapon out of RWBY, and RWBY weapons are awesome.
The name Bastion just makes me think of Overwatch, though of course that wasn’t out when this was written. A bastion is a kind of platform for artillery, so maybe Bastion should’ve been the one with a cannon.
Someone used a cell phone to catch Bastion using the word ‘spic’ several times as he yelled at a kid who only wanted to take his picture.
I’m not familiar with that word, but it sounds derogatory. And it’s not like the action of yelling at that kid wouldn’t create enough bad press to begin with.
Let’s see… (time to cross off “looks up a word” on your bingos, folks, if anyone’s still doing those)
Urban Dictionary says that it’s a highly offensive racial slur referring to people of Latino descent. I see.
He was studiously ignoring Kaiser, who was standing nearby, staring at him, taunting him without speaking or doing anything.
It was only at the back corner of the room that I found the third member of the Protectorate’s triumvirate.
Eidolon stood behind one of the large television sets, staring out the window.
Hiii! I’ve been looking forward to meeting you. Your name intrigues me.
He wore a blue-green skintight suit that expanded into a voluminous hood, cape and sleeves that draped over his hands. The interior of the hood and sleeves wasn’t shadowy, but illuminated with a soft green light.
Hm. Possibly coming off of him? It’d make sense for an apparition to glow softly green.
Debating the relative strengths of various capes was common enough, in the schoolyard and elsewhere. If Alexandria and Legend fought, who would win? Would Boston’s Protectorate win against Brockton Bay’s team? What if you removed Boston’s weakest members until the sides were even in number?
Naturally. This kind of thing is a universal constant.
When the question inevitably got to who was the strongest, the ‘big five’ were generally ruled out, in the sense of ‘well, yeah, but besides them‘. Scion got counted as a part of that group because the powers he did have were head and shoulders above just about everyone else’s.
Hm. It’s interesting how the first known parahuman is so definitely one of the most powerful ones. I wonder if there’s an actual correlation here.
Eidolon was almost the opposite, because he had every power, though he could only hold on to a handful at a time.
Oh man, that’s awesome. I wonder how often he gets to switch them out. Daily, maybe, or whenever he takes a long rest of at least eight hours?
Then there were the Endbringers, because they mandated situations like this, where even Scion or Eidolon plus multiple teams of capes weren’t necessarily enough.
Sure, some loyal people might argue that Legend was better than Eidolon, or maybe even some other cape like Dragon or Alexandria. Generally speaking, though? Eidolon was a top dog.
I looked away from Eidolon, to check out the rest of the crowd. There were a few other unofficial teams of heroes, including Haven, the Christian team from the bible belt, and two teams with corporate sponsorship that were being very careful to not interact with one another. Some sort of bitter rivalry, there.
And of course there’s a Christian team. I suppose one of them probably hogged the name Angel, which I suggested for Glory Girl when she asked Amy to use her codename back in Interlude 2.
A scattered few independent heroes and villains were around as well. Few I could name. I saw a girl dressed up like an old fashioned doll. Parian. She was local, and she wasn’t hero or villain. A rogue, who only used her powers for business or entertainment.
Nice. I figured some rogues might show up. Not wanting to protect the city as a living or live a life of crime on it’s dark side doesn’t mean you won’t help protect the city against a major threat like this.
She could sometimes be seen doing some promotion for a store downtown, giving life to some massive stuffed animal or a store mascot.
That is awesome. Y’know, the PRT wants to promote the existence of rogues because it leads to less parahuman fighting, but honestly it’s probably worth it just for cool things like this.
Just, be careful what you make those mascots do.
Sometimes, they’re awfully literal-minded.
She’d done an interview in a magazine I’d read back before I had powers, and I knew she was a fashion student, though she wasn’t revealing just who she was until after she was more established.
A fashion student with the ability to make her mannequins come to life. Wherever she does her fashion work sounds like a lively place.
She looked as though she were trapped in a conversation with a curly haired, dimple-cheeked villainess that looked no older than eight, who wore a frock that was maybe from the same period as Parian’s. The pseudo-child was Bambina, if I was remembering right.
So is it her power that makes her look so young, then?
Parian was rescued by one of the out-of-town Wards, a girl in a skintight costume with a visor covering her eyes, nose and ears, with a quiver of what looked like giant needles and a massive crossbow.
Sounds like the visor stands in for a blindfold, symbolically. Maybe this Ward is designed after some kind of personification of justice, luck or love.
The Ward said something to Bambina, who scowled and managed to look cute while doing it.
Then the heroine ushered Parian over to where she’d been talking with Shadow Stalker. What in the world could that group talk about? I might not have been alone in thinking that – Shadow Stalker seemed unimpressed with the new addition to their group, judging by her body language.
Visor girl and Shadow Stalker do have the choice of weapon in common, at least.
Tattletale spotted the Undersiders before I did. I’d been looking for Bitch and the dogs as things that would stand out in the crowd, but they weren’t present.
Hm. Why not?
Tattletale squeezed my hand and gave me an apologetic smile before letting go, patting me on the upper arm, and crossing the room to head over to where Grue and Regent sat.
The two boys glanced my way, then turned their attention to Tattletale. Ignoring me.
That… really stung.
I guess Tattle was right. Taylor’s not really part of the Undersiders anymore, and tensions are high between Taylor and Brian (and to some extent Alec) at the moment.
It was sort of inane, that I was concerned over something like that, given the seriousness of the present situation. We were here because we faced the very real possibility of facing down one of the Endbringers. I shouldn’t be worried about broken friendships.
I don’t know. Maybe not. But you’d work a lot better together as friends.
But I was worried about it, stupidly. I felt like I was back in school, the only kid left when everyone else had found their groups, and a hit to my confidence was not what I needed on a day like this. I looked for a place to sit, and settled for a chair in the overall vicinity of the Undersiders and the Travelers.
Sundancer glanced at me, noted my presence, then she seemed to go out of her way to avoid looking at me again.
What? Why are you avoiding Taylor? Did you get in trouble with Trickster because of what you told Taylor back in Hive?
That caught me off guard, because I’d somehow let myself believe I’d left our cooperative battle against Lung with a good impression. It seemed she wasn’t so willing to look past the fact that I’d carved out Lung’s eyes.
…I mean, it could be that, but I feel like Trickster taking action regarding what Taylor said when they were with Coil is more likely.
Feeling more and more like an outsider, more out of place, I watched as others filed into the room. More of the Protectorate, and a small few members of the Guild.
Hah! Called it!
Man, I’m glad I remembered the Guild was a thing. I’m almost certain they haven’t been mentioned at all since 2.2.
Narwhal turned heads as she entered the lobby. She stood seven feet tall, with a curtain of glossy, pale hair extending almost to the backs of her knees.
Did I know Narwhal was female? I don’t think I did. I guess that has an 85% chance of dashing my dreams of her having a secondary power of “extremely long nose”. (Please tell me she still has a long nose within normal human variation, though…)
She was unclothed, not even wearing a skintight costume on her long limbed body, but it somehow wasn’t obscene.
I’m sure some of the fanartists had some fun with that, though. *pathetically fails to waggle eyebrows*
Her skin was layered with fine crystal scales that caught the light and scintillated with faint rainbow hues. A single horn stood out from the middle of her forehead, three feet long.
I mean it’s not a nose, and it’s not a more biologically accurate extended tooth, but YES.
She ignored stares as she found a space to lean against a wall near the front of the room.
Yeah, I’d imagine her outfit might draw some attention. Maybe some “happy birthday” wishes.
She had her chin against her chest with her eyes closed, as though she were resting, or concentrating. Or maybe it was a habit she’d picked up when standing straight meant stabbing the average ceiling with her horn.
Heh. Yeah, I suppose that’s a bit of an issue.
Yet more were continuing to arrive when Armsmaster and Legend turned away from their conversation and walked up to the front of the room. The din in the room quieted, and every set of eyes was on them.
Looks like we’re about to start the meeting.
Legend cleared his throat. He had the kind of voice that you listened to, “We owe thanks to Dragon and Armsmaster for their early alert. We’ve had time to gather, and that means we have just a few more minutes to prepare and brief for Leviathan’s arrival, instead of jumping straight into the fray as we arrive.
Leviathan. Good ol’ monstrous name. I guess we’re up against a particularly sea-based Endbringer?
With this advantage, some luck, teamwork and hard effort from everyone, I hold out hope that this could be one of the good days.”
Unfortunately hope is sometimes kinda hard to come by in this story.
[You’ve seen nothing yet, past me.]
A pre-battle speech from Legend. It almost made the lousiest, most painful and dangerous situations I’d put up with since putting on my costume worth it.
Hah! What did I say? Absolutely a fangirl when presented with the right people.
“But you should know your chances going in. Given the statistics from our previous encounters with this beast, a ‘good day’ still means that one in four of the people in this room will probably be dead before this day is done.”
Yeeeah. Extermination, here we come.
Endbringer of Extermination 8.1
Geez, when I decided to use “Endbringer of” for the closing posts of each chapter of this situation, I wasn’t expecting Arc 8 to have such a long name.
Anyway, this was an alright chapter. It had a lot in common with Hive 5.1, in that it was primarily about a whole bunch of new and old characters attending a meeting under cape truce. And hey, that’s not a bad thing – we got to meet a lot of characters that I’m looking forward to seeing in the upcoming chapters. Though I’d better prepare for a bunch of them dying, too.
Armsmaster, for one, has a huge death flag. As far as Brockton Bay is concerned, he’s practically retiring in dishonor anyway, most likely exiting the story for good (except maybe a very occasional guest appearance). As such, there’s no reason for him to not end up dying in this battle, possibly heroically to make up for his dishonor. There’s also a risk of something similar with Aegis.
Taylor, obviously, needs to survive if she’s going to keep being the POV character and narrator, but I’m not sure I’d assume the same plot armor for all of the Undersiders. One in four is a scary ratio when we’ve got exactly four of the main protagonists here. Anyway, I think if anyone’s going to die among them, Brian is particularly vulnerable, being someone Taylor has built up a strong emotional attachment to (that attachment having been ripped to pieces in the last Arc only makes it worse). Alec is unlikely because he needs more fleshing out. Lisa has some of the same issue as Alec, though not as intensely – we know her a bit better, but I still feel like there’s a lot more to know about Lisa before she gets killed off.
As for the rest, Sundancer is at some risk, though I think Wildbow might want to delve more into the issues in the Travelers at a later date, and Sundancer seems to be his main conduit for doing so.
I’m also thinking at least one of the big shots might go down, to show even more how powerful Leviathan is. Legend and Alexandria are at a fair bit of risk due to their idolization by Taylor, though their status as Triumvirate members ought to protect them somewhat. Maybe Myrddin or Chevalier will go down instead – as team leaders, they’re still fairly big shots, just not that big shots.
On the other end of the scale, there’s likely cannon fodder such as a whole bunch of thus far unnamed Wards and Protectorate members, Parian, Bambina… Laserdream and/or Shielder might go down too so we’ve got some from New Wave…
Basically, lots of people are gonna die and this is getting morbid. I’m beginning to understand Lisa’s reaction in Agitation 3.6.
Next time is presumably briefing time, but since they only have a few minutes, there’s a decent chance they’ll start moving out for the battle as well. Then the dying starts.
Whew, what a fun story, eh? See you next time!
Man, I’m no stranger to lots of kids dying in my fiction, but at least Homestuck has ways for people to come back.