Between 8.4-8.5

Are there any characters that you picture differently in your head than how they’re described?

There are almost certainly quite a few. One of my main problems when reading is that I have a hard time properly imagining the appearances of characters as described without visual aid, especially once it’s been a while since I saw the description. Liveblogging somewhat helps with that, but nowhere near as much as the fanart does.

Also; here is the reason i suggested Apocalypsis Aquarius (FF XV spoilers): the boss you fight when this track plays isn’t just an aquatic one, it’s called Leviathan.

Oh, neat!

You already saw the blurry halberd back in Miss Militia’s Interlude.


You’re probably going to get a wave of asks to tell you this but just in case: The “blur halbert” was introduced in Miss Militia’s interlude. The blur isn’t camouflage, it’s the nanotechnology allowing the blade to cut through anything.


[me quoting the source material]

“We were talking shop,” Colin spoke. He motioned to the Halberd he had in front of him. “Procrastination through Tinker stuff. I think tonight’s project was a success.”


Armsmaster stood, seizing the Halberd in one hand. He pressed a button on the handle, and the blade blurred. Without even swinging the weapon, he let the heavier top end fall against an empty stainless steel mannequin that might have held a spare suit of his armor. Dust blossomed where the blade touched the mannequin, and it passed through without resistance. Pieces of the mannequin clattered to the ground.

“Impressive,” she told him.

He pressed a button, and the blur around the blade dissipated in a steel-colored smoke, leaving only the normal axehead top of the weapon.

“Only problems are that it’s vulnerable to forcefields, fire, and other intense energy, and the apparatus takes up too much space in the upper end. Even with my power, it likely means I’d have to do without some of the kit I’ve gotten used to.”

“I trust you’ll figure it out,” Hannah told him. Then with mock sternness, she put her hands on her hips, “Now, no more distracting me. Just what are you procrastinating on?”

Oh yeah!

I forgot about that so hard I don’t even really remember reading it now that I see it. It seems I did comment on it [here], though – including the blurriness.

Do moments of fucking awesomeness outweigh the moments of bleakness?

Sometimes, yeah. 8.4 was already not that bleak in the first place, but I feel like Armsmaster vs. Leviathan made up for what bleakness was there.

Now that some time and a not-that-bleak chapter have passed, I do feel like 8.3 was not defining a new norm for the story, it was just… concentrated bleakness. The Wormverse has had bleak sides throughout the story so far, and it does feel like a major part of the setting, but no other chapter has been as thoroughly hopeless as 8.3. It was just a lot more than I was used to at once, and the fact that I was subjected to it for about five hours due to liveblogging it (this might be why it sounds like some of you were surprised by me finding it so bleak). When I wrote the end-of-chapter post for 8.3, I was worried that this kind of bleakness would be the new norm. Some dark themes and bleakness is fine, but I don’t think I could enjoy reading another 8.3 for five hours every few days.

(#is bleak even a word anymore)

“why didn’t the system announce Armsmaster deceased, CC-7” Another possibility is that Taylor may not have heard it.

Ah, yeah, that’s fair.


*Waits patiently for the inevitable Armmaster pun*


Introducing our new character… Armmaster!


Armsmaster becomes a significantly more ironic name after this chapter

Hehe, yeah.

…Ahaha, I just thought of something: What if Armsmaster makes himself a prosthetic arm, but after attaching it, he accidentally uses his power on it and ends up with one normal arm and one tiny robot arm? 😛

Well that’s what Armsmaster was hopeful about, back in Miss Militia’s interlude. Not that he could save people with the early warning; that he could be a Big Damn Hero and kill Leviathan, prove himself so badass he wouldn’t get demoted from a team leader. (And the “How!?” was “How is this nanotech blade that can cut through anything not cutting through!?”)


[me quoting the source material]

He turned to Hannah, and their eyes met briefly. Much was communicated between them in that moment, and she wasn’t sure she liked what she saw in his eyes.

A glimmer of hope?

Dammit, Colin!

Oh, about the nanotech Halberd, I was going to point out this under the ask about its appearance in Interlude 7, but forgot:

“Only problems are that it’s vulnerable to forcefields, fire, and other intense energy, and the apparatus takes up too much space in the upper end. Even with my power, it likely means I’d have to do without some of the kit I’ve gotten used to.”

Maybe there’s a reason it didn’t cut all the way through. Maybe Leviathan has yet another power that neither the Protectorate nor Tattle’s power are aware of – some sort of semi-effective forcefield meshed with his body. Kind of like Glory Girl’s but less protective (since we know attacks can hurt him) and maybe somewhat… infused in the flesh? Does that make sense? If not a forcefield, then maybe some other form of intense energy that is responsible for the toughness of his flesh, and maybe his other powers too. Maybe this hypothetical energy is even what keeps him alive in the first place without any known form of energy intake or internal circulation.

I don’t know. It’s still just a half-baked theory.

I always thought that armsmaster monologued about his tech as an intimidation tactic.

That’s a reasonable assumption. I’d make it myself if not for Armsmaster himself pointing out that he doesn’t think Leviathan understands a word of what he’s saying. Not even that Leviathan doesn’t understand the tech lingo (which would make sense – Leviathan isn’t exactly a regular member of society), he straight up says he doesn’t think Leviathan understands English.

Granted, he could be aiming to intimidate simply by way of his tone of voice.

(Also worth noting: It’s still unclear whether Leviathan even has a sense of hearing.)

What do you think happened to Taylor’s armband?

Hm… I thought it might’ve happened along with Taylor’s arm injury, but looking back at when that happened, and it doesn’t make sense for several reasons:

  • Immediately after the injury took place, the armband announced the deaths of Escutcheon and Herald. Counterpoint: She could’ve heard it from the other armbands without noticing that her own was silent.
  • If the system had announced “Skitter deceased, CD-6″ just then, she definitely would’ve heard it, with how many other armbands were around at the time.
  • The injury happened before Taylor a) had a decisive role in getting Clockblocker out of his precarious position, b) was present for an extended time-out, and c) got orders from the Protectorate members in charge. There’s a good chance Armsmaster would’ve noticed she was alive there, not to mention anyone else who knew who she was.
  • Oh yeah, and we got messages from the armband as late as a few paragraphs before Taylor noticed it was dead, making all the arguments above pointless.

So what exactly happened beween Kid Win going down and Kaiser getting killed?

And then Leviathan was in view, entering the same street I was on. As if to herald his coming, a massive wave crashed hard against the barrier of ice Eidolon had erected around the wrecked Boardwalk, the spray seemingly reaching nearly to the stormclouds above.

One shoulder was bloated, five times the normal size, twisted, like it was covered in elephantine tumors, bleeding openly. He was injured in other places, had a hole through the side of his stomach, a larger blackened wound at the base of his neck, and a fifth of his face was missing, torn off below the cheekbone. He didn’t seem to be suffering much. He held Kaiser’s upper torso in the one claw, tossed it casually to one side. The man’s legs were nowhere to be seen.

Wait, what? I hadn’t heard the report on Kaiser’s death. I checked my armband, where my arm hung immobile at my side.

It was dead, offline. Black screen.

Hm. Nothing that seems to have anything to do with the armband.

Maybe it did get damaged in 8.3, but managed to keep going for a while? Sabotage is also a possibility, but I have no clue who would want to do that to Taylor or why (except Leviathan, naturally, but he doesn’t seem to have the capability to do that without directly attacking).

Now that Kaiser is dead, here is another reason for you to hate him! According to the author (I’m pretty sure he forgot to put it in the story so it isn’t a spoiler) he actually never believed in Nazi ideology and only used it to maintain E88 together.


I’m… not sure how to feel about this, to be honest.

Aren’t you a little mad because Kaiser died like a true hero? I mean, he fought against a common enemy more deadly and vile than him and his people, he tried to protect his city/his children by fighting with Leviathan and he sacrificed his life. If this isn’t heroic then what else can be?

It’s certainly not the way I would’ve expected him to go!

That “Chevy with the Levvy” pun was better than my entire week. You make deadly battle scenes so much better. God bless the moose that saves us all from darkness.

Hehe, glad you liked it! I was honestly afraid it’d feel too forced, personally.


I dont see Scion having much use for a cellphone, only speaking one word in three decades and all.

True, though at least it’d let people say words to him. 😛

Sounds like it’d be awkward to call him, though.

PRT person: “Hello, is this Scion?”

Scion: “…”

PRT person: “Uh, if it is… there’s, uh, an Endbringer in Brockton Bay.”

Scion: “…”

PRT person: “So, uh, if you could come deal with that, that’d be nice…?”

Scion: “…” *hangs up*

PRT person: *turns to other PRT people* “Uh, I think he might be on his way?”

Fun fact: 8.4 is actually a little bit shorter than either of the previous two chapters.

Huh. I guess it was more a result of my varying reading speeds than the chapter being longer.

Krix buddy, there’s no need for the (sic) whenever you see a typo, we know that you’re copypasting the text.

I guess on some level, I feel the need to acknowledge that I notice them, but it feels too distracting to actually call them out in my comments. I’ve also thought “on the off-chance Wildbow ends up reading this, it could be useful to point out typos he can fix”, but that’s kind of unlikely and that’s probably just an excuse I made up to rationalize my behavior.

I can stop if it’s annoying.


About the use of unknown tinker tech: The Protectorate has their hands on their own share of thinkers and tinkers. Tinkers have difficulty figuring tech from others, but some can have a general sense of the structure of some of it. Run that by a few and you get a pattern, then run THAT through some thinkers to figure out how safe a specific one is to use in x and y situations. Some, most, will be uncertain and be disposed of in the safest way possible, or at least contained.

Ah, right, makes sense. And I suppose they might have people whose power is directly figuring out advanced tech on sight.

(They’d have to bring one of those along to Bakuda’s hideout, since her hypothetical dummy bombs could easily (by her standards) be rigged to detonate on touch by anyone who isn’t her.)

[I don’t think I knew about the Thinker classification until 9.1, so I may have misinterpreted the bits in this ask about them as being about more Tinkers. That said, the kind of parahuman I brought up here would be Thinkers, so I was at least kind of on the same page.]

All of this talk about bleakness has gotten me thinking. What type of differences are there between the situation with Leviathan, and the situation with Bakuda in Arc 4. Or even with the other situations so far?

It’s mainly one of magnitude. Things appeared kind of hopeless when the Undersiders were being guided/chased around the Trainyard, but it was nowhere near as intensely bleak as 8.3.

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