Sentinel 9.3: Tick Talk

Source material: Worm, Sentinel 9.3

Originally blogged: December 30, 2017 – January 1, 2018


You know what? I’m kinda bored. Let’s slip in one last liveblog session before New Year’s!

Howdy!

Last night we saw Brockton Bay from the perspective of Flechette, as she tried to patrol with Sophia only to find out how comfortable the latter was with violence and revenge. Then she went and pursued cameraderie and love with the other needle gal, Parian, and it was sweet.

This chapter, we’re… following another hero. That’s honestly all I’m sure of. When the chapters start switching between different POV characters, it’s very difficult to predict anything solidly, as you’ve seen time and time again with the Interludes.

So right now, I think it’s best that I just let the chapter come to me, and we’ll see what happens!


“Welcome to Parahumans 103: Theories and Patterns. I see we have a packed auditorium, and according to the enrollment list, we have no less than three hundred students taking the TV course.

Hm. It seems we’re at Arcadia High, today. But who’s today’s lucky student?

A bump up from the last two trimesters, so I must be doing something right.”

Hehe, nice.

Clockblocker looked around the room.

Ooh, Clocky’s up next. Excellent.

Six PRT uniforms sat in the front row, helmets off, three with notebooks open on the desks in front of them. Weld and Flechette sat in the desks closest to the door, exchanging murmured words as the professor on the screen began going over the course syllabus.

Makes sense that Weld and Flechette would end up sitting together. They’re both the “new kids in town”, and they already knew each other from before.

Glory Girl sat just in front of him, wearing a black, long-sleeved shirt, arms folded on her desk, chin resting on the back of one hand. Vista, odd as it was, sat beside the other heroine, had been the only one to offer any conversation.

Huh, not exactly the two I’d generally picture together.

Though…

…they kind of have something to relate over now.

When Glory Girl hadn’t seemed interested in talking, Vista had instead offered her silent company. Clockblocker wasn’t exactly sure how Glory Girl had gotten into the Wards headquarters to attend the screening, but she was here, uncharacteristically quiet, much in the same way that Vista had been this past week.

…yeah.


Kid Win sat to Clockblocker’s right, fidgeting by taking apart his pen and putting it back together, his eyes not leaving the screen.

#LilTinkerThings

Shadow Stalker was sitting as far away from everyone else as she could manage, at the back corner of the room.

Because of course she does.

She sat sideways in her seat, back to the wall, her feet resting on the seat next to her. Her attention was directed entirely at the keys and screen of her cell phone, rather than the projector screen at the front of the room.

Naturally.

Only thirteen people present, altogether.

So there are usually more around?


“…for disability and pregnancy accommodations, the course syllabus gives you all the details you need on who to contact. If you aren’t already, you’re going to be sick of hearing all that by the time you graduate. We’re required to go over it in the first class of every class we teach.

Heh.

I guess we didn’t really miss anything noteworthy while Clocky was considering who all were present.

“So. Let me start off by addressing and banishing some assumptions you may have. This is not an easy class, and anyone who took Parahumans: History and Society or Parahumans: Case Studies and Powers will be aware of this.

101 and 102, I presume.

Even for those of you who emerged triumphant from the previous two semesters should know that PARA-103 may be something of a shock to you if this is your first year of University. Here, primarily, I will be looking for creativity, problem solving and research abilities. Skills and abilities that, frankly, aren’t stressed enough in high school.

…yeah, I suppose that’s a fair assessment.


“For this class, I want you to think. Parahumans. People with powers. They’ve been around for nearly thirty years. Where did they come from? Where did they go? Where did they come from, Cotton Eyed Joe?”


“For this class, I want you to think. Parahumans. People with powers. They’ve been around for nearly thirty years. Where did they come from? Why are they here?

Big questions that I’m curious about the answers to myself.

I feel like I should note that it’s entirely possible to write a story like this and not address this question at all. Basically saying, “powers started showing up one day, that’s all we know”, and leaving it at that. But here’s the thing: Worm hasn’t left it at that. It’s been made enough of a deal out of by the story itself that even if I weren’t spoiled on something called “shards” playing a role in this, I’d feel entirely justified in expecting some form of explanation, implicit or explicit, coming up over the course of the story.

It’s common knowledge that parahumans are ordinary individuals who gained abilities. It is too easy, however, to assume that this is the sum total of our knowledge. I want you to think further on the subject. For example, why does virtually every parahuman ability have some application in confrontation and combat?

That’s a good point. Pretty much everything, including powers, can be used as a weapon somehow, but it’s true that a lot of powers we’ve seen are pretty clearly weapons first and foremost. Miss Militia’s in particular is quite clear about that.

Is this the nature of humans, to turn any progress to violent ends, be it science or superpower? Or is it by design, an individual’s hand at work?

Speaking of Miss Militia, I feel like she might have a thing or two to say about this topic and Karahindiba.


“With the destructive potential of these abilities, why do so very few individuals perish in the chaotic and unpredictable emergence of their talents?

Maybe because the talents in question tend to come with safety measures for their wielders?

For the first two or three weeks of the class, we’ll be talking about these most pivotal moments in a given parahuman’s existence, these trigger events, when an individual first gains their powers, typically through some form of trauma.

Sounds like an excellent starting point.

“Throughout the course, we’re going to be looking at correlations and patterns, both in relation to trigger events and other things. For example, how does the nature of the trigger event shape the power?

Aha! So there is some theorizing around that in-universe. Niice.

Doesn’t necessarily mean there is a correlation, but it does mean there’s enough evidence that a significant portion of the scientists think there might be one.

A study by Garth and Rogers suggests that psychological stress leads to a higher prevalence of mentally driven powers. Tinkers, thinkers, masters, shakers.

Hm, makes sense. Psychological stress is what Taylor went through, and she’s a Master. And whatever happened to Labyrinth (a Shaker) was also very likely psychological in nature, and the power didn’t help on that front.

This also makes me more curious as to what happened to Tattletale.

Also: Which classification does Grue fall under? On one hand, his darkness does have an area effect that shakes up the battlefield, but it’s not really very similar to the “feel” of Labyrinth or Vista’s powers. With those two it’s more like they change reality itself.

I don’t think he fits into any of the other categories any better, though.

The more physical violence that is involved, the higher the bias towards physically driven powers. Garth and Rogers suggest a sliding scale, but it may not be that cut and dry.

If this is accurate, then Tattletale probably went through something that hurt her mentally far more than physically. Meanwhile, Taylor was physically manhandled and forced into the locker, and ended up with the power to control the quite physical bugs.

“A followup study by Garth touches on what we know about cape ‘families’. If one individual in a family has powers, it is far more likely that others will as well. Almost always, this trend is either descending or lateral, it seems to transition from parent to child, or one sibling to another, but not from child to parent.

One sibling to another is a curious one. It’s almost like the parents are carriers of a predisposition, but not necessarily predisposed in their own right.

Maybe everything started a generation earlier than everyone thinks, but the first people affected weren’t able to get powers themselves?


It’s entirely possible that people like Heartbreaker tailor their abuse of the potential parahumans in order to try to control what sort of power the latter might get to fit with what the former needs.

Relatedly, though, how does this all interact with the supposed tendency of second-generation parahumans to have easier trigger events? How does playing basketball fit into Garth and Rogers’ hypotheses?


We’ll talk about the theories on why. For those of you wanting to read ahead, take a look at Garth’s notes on the Dallon and Pelham families in chapter nine.

It seems this class is going to be built primarily of Garth and Rogers.

Also, Pelham, huh? I have a feeling we’ll find out more about them at some point. Or is that the other half of New Wave?

*blog search*

Ah, yeah, Shielder’s civilian name was Eric Pelham.

Moving on, then.

We can surmise that the different scenarios leading to trigger events may be directly related to the differences in powers, even among closely related members of a cape family.

We did see differences between the members in spite of significant similarities.

Similar trigger events and related individuals, similar powers.

Similar trigger events too, huh. That clouds it a tad, I suppose.

The more distant the relation and the more varied the trigger events, the more drastically different the powers they possess in the end.”

This is interesting stuff.


Clockblocker glanced at Glory Girl, to see if the mention of her family had stirred her interest. She hadn’t budged an inch. Was she asleep?

She’s probably used to it.

Not that I’m saying she isn’t asleep or despondent.

He couldn’t help but sympathize. This is a monumental waste of time. I could be out there, helping people. Or spending time with my family.

“There’s people going fucking crazy out there, and you’re talking trigger events.”

The Protectorate was coordinating shifts so the Wards could collectively get at least some education in the meantime, on Piggot’s orders. Except this wasn’t useful, this wasn’t applicable to the ongoing crisis right here, right now, in this city. Cooped up in a PRT conference room, learning stuff that didn’t apply to actual field work.

Yeah, I see where you’re coming from.

Hell, it was on videotape, a recording of last year’s lectures. Why couldn’t they watch it in their off hours? It was just a fucked up set of priorities enforced on them from the people in charge.

Yeah, that’s probably true.

On the other hand, it’s probably not healthy to be out patrolling all the time like it seems you want to. I totally get why you want to, but to save other people you also need to take care of yourself.


He shifted restlessly, annoyed, angry.

“Trigger events are a crucial element for study, because the timing, nature and spread of these emerging powers may provide a clue as to where these parahuman abilities come from. More women than men have powers, for example, and there are more powers in undeveloped countries than there are in industrialized ones

That last tidbit may be a result of more people experiencing trigger events in undeveloped countries.

– Some of you may remember me mentioning this fact in the 101 class, when I was talking about the witch burnings in The People’s Republic of Uganda.

…yikes. This is what happens when you don’t have an official PR organization, I suppose.

“Another pattern we will be exploring is the apparent effect of multiple trigger events occurring in the same time and place. There is a very strong correlation between coinciding trigger events and individuals displaying three or more powers rather than one or two predominant ones.”

Huh.

So in other words, people with lots of powers probably had lots of bad things happening on top of each other. Sheesh.

…what the hell happened to Eidolon?


“Hey, Flechette,” Kid Win called across the room, “You’ve got a bunch of powers, right?”

She turned in her seat, “Sure.”

…that’s not really the impression I got last chapter, but I guess each of the ways she can make things defy physics might count separately?

“Anyone else get powers at the same time you did?”

“Not that I know of.”

Oh, okay, it seems I misunderstood.

So if several people get their powers together, each of them will likely have more powers. Which means that Endbringer attack is likely to create especially powerful parahumans.

Also, it’s not like that hypothetical organization trying to trigger more parahumans [here] needed any more incentive to target lots of people at a time.

(Incidentally, while looking for that post, I also came across Tattle telling us about third-world countries having more parahumans, so I guess that’s not news.)


“Could someone nearby have gotten their powers, without you knowing? Way things played out? Did any capes show up around the same time as you?”

Considering the whole secrecy thing, this is definitely possible.

Flechette frowned, “Yeah. A rather persistent villain.”

“Worth thinking about.”

Neat.

Weld turned around, “Critical thinking and applying this stuff is good, but let’s not forget the lecture. Or the other people in the classroom.”

He has a point.

Is he trying to get people to dislike him? Clockblocker wondered.

But yeah, he could’ve put that a bit more nicely.

I stand by my understanding of Weld as a well-meaning kid who struggles with understanding other people’s emotions and social cues. Possibly autistic or something similar.

The professor on the screen was answering a student’s question, “…I think Eidolon expresses a single power. But thank you. Good question, and good lead-in to the next section of the course we’ll be discussing.

I like whoever asked that. Thank you.

I still wonder what sort of trigger event causes someone to develop such a fluid power.

After we wrap up on trigger events, we’re going to be moving on to what we call ‘outliers’. Parahumans or parahuman-related elements that deviate from the norm. Any guesses?”

Endbringers, except it seems like people didn’t know that they fell under “parahuman-related elements” rather than “parahumans” when this video was recorded.

Evidently, though, there must be more phenomena along these lines for the category to be a thing.


“Scion.” A student on the TV spoke. The camera shifted to him late, and by the time he’d responded, the professor was pointing to another.

Ah yeah, I guess he deviates from the norm pretty damn heavily.

“Endbringers.”

“Nilbog.”

“I wouldn’t suggest Nilbog, but we can debate the point later,” the professor spoke,

Hm, interesting. Nilbog was (were?) introduced in the same chapter as the Endbringers and the Slaughterhouse Nine, though Nilbog was more in line with the latter, among the really dangerous fuckers. Apparently they are debatably out of the ordinary somehow?

“Perhaps a subject for a course paper.

Very debatably, apparently.

Scion, yes. Endbringers? Yes. We have no reason or evidence to suspect they gained powers by normal means. Another group you may or may not be familiar with are what the PRT terms Case Fifty-Threes. Often the ‘monstrous’ parahumans, we’ll get into more depth on the subject.”

Upsilon.

Oh yeah, wasn’t Weld described as a case 53 in Interlude 7, before we knew what that meant and that he had a background fitting the usual narrative of Upsilon’s victims?


Clockblocker glanced at Weld. The boy was digging through his canvas backpack for something. Was he one of them?

Yeah, unless Wildbow is deliberately misleading us.

I figure the only reason we don’t know of an Upsilon tattoo is that his skin is too metallic to put ink in.

“Weeks five and six, assuming we’re on schedule, we’ll pull all earlier material together and discuss the beginnings of the parahuman phenomenon. Not for the individual, as with trigger events, but as a whole. Where do capes come from? There is the patient zero theory, typically working under the assumption that Scion is the source of these abilities.

But under that theory, where did his power come from? Is he an alien or something? He does have a highly alien vibe to him.

This, however, raises questions about where Scion came from.

Sometimes I should read one more sentence. 😛

The theory is corroborated by the case of Andrew Hawke, who came into contact with Scion on the very first sighting of the hero, only to manifest powers of his own…

Oh yeah, that’s that guy who got killed and showed the world that parahumans were flawed, wasn’t it?

*rereads a bit from Interlude 1*

Yep, Andrew Hawke, a.k.a. Vikare, clubbed down at a basketball riot in 1989. Also the last person on the boat to make physical contact with Scion during his debut in 1982.

but there are others who manifested powers without ever coming into contact with Scion or entering a location where Scion had visited.”

Yeah, that’s kind of an issue with this theory. You could still make a case for it spreading further from other parahumans, I suppose. Hell, Taylor’s trigger event was directly caused by, among others, a fellow parahuman.

I don’t think I’m going to subscribe to this theory myself, but there are ways to make it work.


“There’s the viral theory, supposing some advanced virus, though it is flimsy at best in justifications, with no identified culprits, method of transmission or explanation as to how it provides the actual powers.

I suppose that covers the variant of the patient zero theory that I just talked about.

The genetics theory is popular, but has been thoroughly debunked. We’re going to talk about how it was debunked…”

Hm, interesting.

There’s definitely something going on with regards to genetic relations, but apparently they’re sure that’s not the original cause, at least.

Clockblocker felt a vibration at his wrist. He reached inside his glove to get his cell phone. A text.

That’s a handy place to keep it.

Pun most certainly intended.

From: Mom

Dad’s not doing well. You may want to come by the hospital.

Uh oh.

Should’ve known something was up when he considered spending time with his family on par with being out on patrol, among things he’d rather be doing.


He stood, and Weld turned to give him a look. He ignored the metal skinned boy, headed for the back door of the classroom, his keypad beeping as he dialed the number.

Least you could do is say you’ve got to go, but fair enough.

It was ringing as he closed the door behind him.

“Mom?”

“Dennis.”

Not a bad name.

“How bad is it?”

“As bad as last weekend. Worse.”

He closed his eyes. More statement than question, he said, “He’s not getting better.”

😦

“No.”

“Okay. Do you need me there? I can use my power, buy the doctors time to think or get prepared if there’s a crisis.”

Sounds like a good way to use the power.

Her voice was tight. “No, Dennis. It’s not that kind of situation. They’ve got him on a respirator, and the doctors don’t have much hope he’s going to be able to breathe without it, again. The antibiotics can’t fight the infection on their own.”

Hrm.

Crack theory: This isn’t an infection. Clockblocker’s dad ran into a trigger event and gained a power that is changing his biology over time.

I don’t think that’s the case, but it crossed my mind, so I’m putting it down here.


“So he’s going to die.”

“I’m sorry.”

This is probably really hard to face for everyone involved.

“A few hours? Days? A week?”

“The doctor says it’ll be the next few days.”

He clenched his fist, relaxed it. Not fair.

As if Clockblocker didn’t have enough to worry about with the state of the city, it’s all on top of this? No wonder he’s not in the greatest of moods these days.

“Hey, mom? Listen, I’ve got to run.”

“Come by, Dennis. Before it’s too late.”

“I’ll try.”

“I love you.”

“Love you too.”

*sigh*

I’m sorry, Clocky.


He hung up, paused to compose himself.

Not fair.

Not at all.

Stepping back inside the classroom, he returned to his seat, but didn’t sit down. Instead, he stepped up a little further to where Glory Girl sat and touched her shoulder. When she raised her head, he pointed to the door. She nodded, stood.

Hm? What does he want to talk to Glory Girl about?

Loss of family members?

When they were both in the hallway, he spoke, “Sorry to pull you away from that.”

She shook her head, golden curls swinging, “Not missing anything. I’ve already taken this class.”

Sooo, why are you here exactly? Just wanting to get away from some things, but still be around people?

“Oh. Then why are you here?”

“New Wave may be disbanding. My mom suggested that if I wanted to keep being a hero, I should consider joining the Wards. So I’m here, checking things out. Your leader and director okayed it.”

I see. They did lose a lot of manpower. Neither pun on that word intended, but both appreciated and endorsed.

I can’t blame them if some of the remaining members have decided to retire after the events of Extermination.


Hang on, I just realized something.

How the hell did I make it through an Arc called Extermination without making a single Dalek joke?


“Are you? Joining?”

“Don’t know. They’re willing, if I agree to some extra rules and stipulations. They’d be putting me on probationary membership, like they did with Shadow Stalker.

Why? Because she’s been essentially a vigilante, due to the nature of New Wave?

I came by to get a sense of things, see if it’d be worth going through the hassle instead of going solo. I thought maybe I was ok with doing it until I saw the portraits in the lobby. Now I’m not so sure.”

…which portraits?

Clockblocker nodded. She didn’t need to explain. Where the Wards’ portraits hung in the lobby of the PRT offices, the portraits of Aegis and Gallant had been reprinted in black and white, surrounded with thick black frames.

Ahhh. Memorials for some, painful reminders for others.

They had been repositioned to be just above the front desk and below the PRT logo, with wreaths and flowers beneath, tokens from the PRT employees. The building wasn’t open to the public, and was surrounded by PRT squads, but the public would get their chance to pay respects.

They sort of already do, what with the memorial on Captain’s Hill, though that’s more for everyone than for specifically the two Wards.


Glory Girl had lost three people she was close to on that day. Gallant – Dean when out of costume – was a loss she shared with Clockblocker. Her boyfriend, his friend.

RIP.

“I know it’s crass, I know you guys have rules,” he spoke, “I’ll understand if you get angry. But… my dad has leukemia. He was a few days into some pretty rigorous treatments when Leviathan came.

Ohhhh, now I get it. I’m a dumb. Of course he wanted to hear if Glory Girl could get Panacea to help out.

He got hurt when one of the waves hit, and some infection got at him through the wounds. He has pretty much no immune system, doesn’t have the strength to fight it off.”

Nasty stuff.

“You want me to ask my sister to use her power on him.”

“Please.”

Knowing Panacea, she’ll be willing to, but not necessarily to prioritize him over all the other people suffering after Leviathan’s antics.

“Okay.”

The response startled him. He looked up at her, caught off guard.

And yeah, I didn’t really see any real reason for Glory Girl to say no, other than maybe her emotional state – though she does seem to have recovered somewhat.

She explained, “I’m not promising anything. Like you said, Amy has her rules about taking requests. But I’ll see if I can convince her. Again, no promises.”

Sounds good.

And yeah, like, Amy cares a lot about helping as many people as she can, but she’s also reluctant to value one life over another.


“Thank you,” he said, “Really.”

“And if you want to pay me back, maybe tell me about Gallant sometime. Share some stories I wouldn’t get to hear otherwise.”

Heh, nice. Sounds like a good time.

“For sure.”

The door opened, and Weld stepped out into the hall, followed closely by Vista. Clockblocker felt a pang of annoyance, bit his tongue before he could say anything.

“Kind of having a moment here, guys!”

“Everything okay?” Weld asked.

I could tell them, Clockblocker glanced at Vista, but the rest of the team would find out. They don’t need another thing to worry about.

Fair enough. The one who really doesn’t need another thing to worry about right now is you, but it does apply a lot to the others too.

“Things are okay,” Clockblocker spoke, carefully.

Some things are okay.

Not all of them, but some things.

“We paused the video, waiting until you guys are ready.”

“Alright,” Clockblocker replied. He added, “Thank you.”

Nice.


“I’ll trust you have reason for this,” Weld smiled slightly, showing a row of white metal teeth, “But don’t take too long. You’re on patrol at two this afternoon, and that doesn’t allow us much leeway for delays if we want to finish watching.”

I kind of figured they were on a time limit given that they didn’t flagrantly abuse the pause function to discuss, like with the comments about Flechette’s trigger event, without missing stuff.

“Alright,” Clockblocker repeated, his tone growing impatient. He watched as Weld returned to the classroom, shutting the door behind him. To the closed door, he muttered, “Tool.”

Yeeah, probably gonna take a lot to get Clocky to like Weld at this point.

“He’s trying,” Vista piped up. “It’s hard to be leader, but he’s working hard.”

Between 9.1 and now, Vista seems like a rather perceptive girl, emotionally and socially speaking. A counter to Weld, in that sense.

“That’s my whole problem with him,” Clockblocker answered, annoyed, “He gets on our case about patrols and training and paperwork, then turns around and says he’s not asking us to do anything he isn’t doing himself. Except he only sleeps one or two hours a night, he barely eats, doesn’t need to use the washroom or shower. He’s got no friends or family here to look after. He can afford to work hard. He’s a f…rigging robot.”

…that’s a good point. In some ways, Weld is quite privileged.

He censored himself for his junior teammate.

I like that, even though we already know Vista has no apparent qualms with using the other F word herself. :p

The censoring says more about Clocky than about Vista.


Vista shook her head. “That robot, and he’s not really a robot, by the way, is doing as much paperwork as the rest of us put together. He only makes us do the paperwork he can’t do himself. Even if he doesn’t have to. That gets brownie points from me.”

Rumor has it he eats it sometimes too.

His temper flared. “What, are you channeling Gallant, here? Standing up for…” he trailed off before he could finish. Realized who he was talking to. “Shit, no, I…”

Aw. Yeah, try not to get too harsh.

Vista just stared at him. After a second, her eyes got shiny, and she looked down at the ground, an angry expression on her face. She wheeled around and ran down the hallway.

To quote a certain pre-teen from two chapters ago: “Yeah, you fucked up.”


He moved to chase her, stop her, but the hallway folded together, letting her reach the end in two strides, snapping back to its full length as she passed along it. She rounded a corner in the distance.

It’s not easy to win a race against someone who can make the goal come to them and move away from you.

He looked at Glory Girl, his voice small, “I’m sorry.”

She answered him with only a glare. He wondered if she would hit him.

Oh cod I forgot she was still there when he made that comment about Gallant

You fucked up, Clocky. You really fucked up.

Is Glory Girl angry enough to let it out on Clocky’s dad by not doing Clocky that favor she just said she’d do?

She relented, looking in the direction Vista had run off. “It’s okay. We’re all worn down, at the end of our ropes, and you’re worrying about your dad on top of that. You get one pass from me. One.”

Phew.


He nodded.

“But you’d better go after that girl and apologize. Because the way I heard it from Kid Win, you were the one who told everyone else to be extra nice to her, because she was taking it hard. You convinced Shadow Stalker to play nice, and from what Kid Win said before class started, that was a pretty big deal.

Hoo boy, hypocrisy on top of everything else wrong with what Clocky just said and did.

Maybe I’m wrong, I don’t know your team like you do, but I’d guess that if you don’t fix this, your team won’t forgive you for a long time.”

His team, maybe. He himself? I’m not sure about that.

“Yeah,” he swallowed. Was she using her power? He was getting a bad vibe from her. Like he was locked in a cage at the zoo with a murderous jungle cat.

She might be, but she’s kind of intimidating to begin with.

She poked him in the chest with a finger. “A real apology. You own up to what you said and did, acknowledge that it wasn’t fair of you to say, and you promise to do better in the future. That probably means you should cut Weld some slack, because Vista wants you to.”

Okay, so when I first met Victoria and Amy, I liked them a lot. Over time, some of my hype for Victoria faded, though.

But this? She just stuck a jetpack on her back and rocketed back up even higher than before.

Wait, she doesn’t need a jetpack, she can fly.


“Okay. Right, okay.”

She pushed his shoulder, making him stumble in the direction Vista had gone. Easy to forget how strong she is. “Now go.”

Hell yes.

He ran.

Definitely don’t get the sense I’m forgiven, there.

Yet Victoria focused on helping to set things right between Clocky and the other person he upset, no matter how much it hurt her.

He checked two empty rooms and made one nervous check of the women’s bathroom before he found Vista halfway down the stairwell at the rear of the building.

Good to know Clocky has enough sense to check there, in spite of the awkwardness of entering.

(Which, by the way, is bullshit. Gendered bathrooms are bullshit. There’s literally no good reason to have them that I’m aware of.)

She had one leg up on a higher stair than the other, her hands clasped around her knee. She turned her head partway, acknowledging that someone was there, then wiped at her eyes with the sleeve of her costume.

It’s gonna be hard to approach her if she doesn’t want to be approached.

“I’m sorry,” he spoke to her back.

“You’re a jerk.”

Good start, opening with that. If you didn’t, you’d risk suddenly being far away from her.

“I am. I’m the worst jerk.”

Heh. Yeah, sometimes it can be good to go along like this.


Vista twisted around to look up at him, “You said that in front of Glory Girl, too. He was her boyfriend.”

Both of the girls are concerned with how it affected the other, not just themselves. I like that.

“I know. She said she understood and that it was okay, but I don’t know how true that is. Before I figure that out and work out how to make it up to her, I want to make sure you’re okay.”

I think it counts for a lot that Clocky actually mentions that he’s not sure how true that is and that he still intends to make it up to her, because I feel like if he didn’t, Vista would absolutely guess that it wasn’t okay and get even more annoyed/angry at Clocky for seemingly having taken it at face value.

She hung her head.

It was a long time before she spoke. “He was the reason I looked forward to coming here every day.”

😥

Seriously, Clocky literally couldn’t have picked a worse pair of people to speak ill of Gallant in front of. At least among the cast we’re familiar with.


He walked down the stairs and sat down next to her. “Yeah.”

“I knew I didn’t have a chance with him. He was way older, he was rich, handsome. He was dating Glory Girl, or they were just getting over a breakup, or he was starting to patch things up with her for the millionth time.

Off and on.

Kind of like this song but without the finality, I suppose. (And yeah, I realize the finality is the most important part of that song.)

There was never a good time to talk to him one on one, unless we were out on patrol together, and I dunno what I would have said if there had been a chance.”

It’s probably for the best that Vista didn’t explicitly confess (though she didn’t exactly hide it either). Even if he were single, it’s not like he was in a position to accept without being a creep. Better to just let her enjoy his company one-sidedly.

I have a hard time believing he wasn’t fully aware of this. Especially considering his power involved emotion.

“He liked you. He was fond of you.”

Vista gave him a sidelong glare, “Are you lying to me?”

Shame Vista never caught on to this, though.

“No! No. I’m saying he actually enjoyed doing patrols with you. Never had an unkind word to say about you-”

She interrupted, “He didn’t have an unkind word to say about anybody.”

Fair enough.

“Not exactly true. When Piggy caught on to the fact that Shadow Stalker was doing solo patrols every night, made us take turns going with her, he had a few things to say. About both Piggy and Shadow Stalker.”

Hah, nice.

Vista smiled slightly.

“He enjoyed your company, Missy. There were little signs, but I believe it. When Triumph or Aegis assigned him a patrol shift with Kid Win, Browbeat or just about anyone else, it was ‘okay’, or ‘yes sir’. But when it was with me or you, it was ‘great’ or he’d just smile really wide, like it had made his night. It sounds dumb when I say it out loud-”

😀


“No. I kind of noticed that too. I thought it was wishful thinking.”

Aw, Vista…

Clockblocker sighed, “He was a good guy, and it’s shhsss…ucky-”

Ahaha, there he goes again.

“You can swear around me, Dennis. I’m thirteen, not eight.”

Oh hey, either the info in Agitation was outdated or she’s had a birthday since then.

Also, that means Weld was wrong in 9.1, unless the birthday just happened. He got told by a Real Certified (Barely) Teen.

He smiled a little behind his mask, feeling embarrassed. “Okay. Sorry.”

More seriously, he admitted, “It’s shitty of me to snap at you for doing what he would do. Glory Girl said I should let the grudge toward Weld go, partially for you, and she’s right. You’re right. I was, am, angry. At the pointlessness of what happened, what’s still happening out there. I get frustrated and angry when I’m here, because I feel like I should be out on the streets. I get pissed off when I’m out on patrol because I feel like I should be with my family… but when I’m with my family, I feel frustrated and helpless because I can’t do anything there…”

Basically, Clocky’s getting 8.3′d everywhere he goes. It’s nice that he’s opening up about it a bit, at least.

He stopped himself before he admitted the full extent of his difficulties back home.

“…I was taking it out on the new guy, when he probably doesn’t deserve it.”

This seems like an important realization to have. Guess you’ve got one more person to apologize to, eh?


“I miss the old Dennis. The guy who picked a sorta rude codename and announced himself in front of the news so Piggy and the other people in charge couldn’t really make him change it. Because it was funny.

Ahahaha!

Because he liked pushing the limits and because he saw this all as something fun. The new Dennis is so angry. Now I guess I get why.”

“Aren’t you? Angry? At everything that’s going on? At the unfairness of what happened?”

It doesn’t seem like her primary emotional reaction, but there might be some anger tucked away there too.

She shook her head, which amounted to rubbing her head against his shoulder. “Yeah. But you can’t let it consume you. If you really don’t like Weld, you don’t have to force yourself to get along with him. But don’t stay like this. Don’t stay angry.”

tfw the 13-year-old with a crush on one of the dead guys has it all more together than you

Seriously, though, I’m really liking Vista. Good kid.

He nodded. It wasn’t so easy, though. Letting things go, relaxing, he couldn’t help but feel like he’d fall apart if he did.

LET IT GOOO, LET IT GOOO, CAN’T HOLD ME BACK ANYMOOO’

He couldn’t get his hopes up about Panacea’s willingness to help his dad – and facing any of that head on, without a buffer of smouldering fury? It might leave him unable to serve and protect the people who really needed it. He felt his pulse quicken a step at the thought of it.

People deal with bad stuff and pressure in many different ways. This isn’t the healthiest, but it is one of them.


He hedged his answer, “I’ll work on it. Sorry if that’s been bothering you.”

“It’s okay. I’m tougher than I look.” She bumped one fist against the armor that covered her chest.

Hehe, yeah. It kind of seems like you might be the toughest one here, sometimes, in some ways.

“And I’m sorry, again, for saying what I did. You’re good people, Missy.”

“Want to go back to class?” she asked.

“If you’re okay?”

She nodded.

🙂

I’m glad they got to work these things out a bit.


When they returned, the Wards and Glory Girl were out in the hallway. The PRT officers were rushing out of the room, pulling their helmets on.

Um. Trouble? Or is it just patrol time?

“You’re back,” Weld informed them, “Just in time. Class is cancelled. We’ve got trouble.”

Trouble it is.

Also, I like the word choice “informed them”, following a statement that should be especially obvious to them.

Alright, looks like we’re heading out to see the trouble for ourselves rather than have Weld explain it to us.


There’s plenty of chapter left, it’s 3 AM, and this seems like a fantastic breaking point, so I’m going to stop here for the year. See you in 2018 (or whenever you’re reading it, for you fancy future people) as we find out what sort of “trouble” is afoot!

Ooh, maybe it even involves Taylor’s plan? I’ll have to wait and see.

[End of session]


[reblog]

loreweaver-universe:

[link to this Reddit writing prompt]

The first time I killed a man, I swore I’d never do it again.

Keep reading

Early during my session tonight, my friend Loreweaver posted this short story. I personally thought it was brilliant, and it just so happens to be a superhero story with a tone much like Worm’s, so I think it will appeal to just about all of you as well. Go read it! 😀

(#lore has not yet read worm)

[If Tumblr dies, the story can also be found as a comment to the prompt, here.]


HAPPY NEW YEAR!


[For clarity going in: These next posts are asks, not session 2.]

The rating system isn’t so much a description of their powers but of their capabilities. It’s what the PRT uses to get a read on what to look for when fighting parahumans.

Fair point. Technicalities don’t matter that much unless they impact combat significantly.


I’m really glad you discussed the issue of “scale” in your last predictions post. Early on in your liveblog, I was dying a little bit because “Oh Krix, you have /no idea/ the size of the story and the elements that are coming!” (Remember when you thought it might just be a high school drama?!) But now you have a better idea and I’m just really glad to see your sense of scale expand appropriately. 🙂

Hah, yeah… this story and world have just been constantly expanding. It makes it hard to tell what’s important sometimes.

Wildbow has struck an odd balance between the benefits and drawbacks of not following the law of conservation of detail. On the plus side, plenty of dud information makes it harder to correctly deduce the plot despite the evidence being there, the world feels a lot more real, and there are lots of hooks for fanfiction authors to work off of. On the minus side, you get this effect, where it’s hard to tell not only which details matter, but which subplots matter in the grand scale.

And honestly? I’m inclined to say all of them matter, even though some are definitely on a higher scale.


You keep saying Interlude 4 when you mean Interlude 3. Interlude 3 was the post-bank-robbery Wards interlude, Interlude 4 was Brutus being a good dog. Also, RIP Aegis, Gallant, and Brutus.

Whoops! Yeah, I think that’s an error that’s fair to go back and fix. It’d be a different story if I’d been wrong about which Interlude something was in and actually meant the Brutus Interlude, but I was absolutely talking about the Wards Interlude.


I don’t know what the name for Parian/Flechette is, but I do know it’s a popular ship, so somewhere someone’s got to have a name for it.

+

There ARE loads of Lily/Sabah shippers but I don’t recall ever seeing a ship name, which is weird. I guess the Wildbow fandom just doesn’t really do ship names. :/

+

I think that Needlepoint is the ship name for Lily/Sabah

+

I don’t know of any ship names for Parian and Flechette, but how about Pins & Needles?

+

You caught on to the hints far quicker than the last live blogger that got to that part! As for ship names, Needle and Thread certainly fits.

+

Needlepoint! Is the ship name i prefer. There are probably others. These others are blatantly inferior. (Pun ship names are the best. Like the ship name for Taylor/Lisa: Smugbug.)

Nice! I like Needlepoint. Certainly a lot more elegant than “needle gal pals”.

YAY you finally reached Lily’s interlude! Her and Sabah are second only to Rosemary as my favorite ship from anything ever!!!

I really liked their interactions. I hope it works out for them! 😀


A fun little bit of Stealth World building many people miss: The full name of Uganda in our world is Republic of Uganda not People’s Republic of Uganda. Also for Parian/foil Shipping I prefer Needle and Thread.

Huh, that’s interesting. I guess things went a little redder for Uganda in the Wormverse, presumably for parahuman-related reasons.


Stalker could be cheating at track and field yeah but honestly with all the hero-ing she’s probs in good enough shape to be real good at track and field without needing to cheat

Yeah, that’s true. That’s what I was assuming before the bit that made me consider the possibility of cheating.


To my knowledge there is no WoG on Weld’s meme, but when the question was asked on the fan subreddit, the overwhelmingly upvoted suggestion was that it should be cheesy metal puns: “FIRST I FIGHT EM. THEN I BARIUM”; “PERP CARRYING DRUGS? BETTER CESIUM”; “THINK THEY CAN TAKE ME? I ZINC NOT”, and so on…

I love this so dium much. 😀

[Hopefully you don’t find my puns to be too boron.]


“Ironic, isn’t it. All of this trouble is caused by a kaiju bringing in too much water, and the one thing they find themselves lacking is water.”

“Water, water, every where, Nor any drop to drink” – Samuel Taylor Coleridge

A highly appropriate quote here. 🙂


I love surprises. Especially surprise liveblog sessions.

😀

Oh, really? Maybe I should stop doing #next posts, then, and make every liveblog session a surprise… o:)

(#nah i’m kidding)


You might want to google “witch burnings Africa”. Or maybe you shouldn’t…. Let’s just say you don’t need superpowers for people to do horrible things.

Oh, yikes, the professor was talking about a real world event? From context it seemed reasonable to assume that it was brought up in Parahumans 101 because the “witches” in question were parahumans.

I suppose if this happened after 1982, then it’d be like the real African witch burnings except that some of the witches were parahumans.

Alright, so I googled it, and while it doesn’t mention Uganda specifically (it does mention other specific countries), the Wikipedia article on “Modern witch-hunts” does list sub-Saharan Africa as one of the hotspots for them.

Anyway, yeah, having superpowers or magic is not a requirement for people to do horrible things to you under the belief that you do. I guess if that tells me anything about the Wormverse, it’s that parahumans were likely only a small fraction of those killed in the Ugandan witch burnings.


Your probably going to get a few of these, but flechette states that she gets an intuitive understanding of angles, trajectories and timing from her secondary powers, in addition to the physics breaking touch

Flechette mentions her superpowered sense of timing in the last chapter; there may be something else she just didn’t mention or I forgot?

Ah, right, those count separately. That makes a bit more sense. 🙂


Weld does have the Upsilon tattoo. It’s just branded in his heel. Search your blog for heel, you’ll find the citation.

Oh, really?

…I was prepared to say “huh, there it is”, but blog search only found Shadow Stalker smacking a guy. Blog search is a bit unreliable at times, though, so that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s not there. Which chapter should I look for it in?

His heel, huh. He’s got a really tough body and a mark on his heel… It might not be a weak point, per se, but hi there, Achilles.


“And I guess Lung is a Blaster specifically because his pyrokinesis doesn’t belong in the Striker category, then.” Correct, Lung would be a Brute/Changer/Blaster with a low Mover rating (thanks to his wings).

I see how you came to that conclusion, but we actually know Lung’s classification from Interlude 6: “Brute 4-9*, Blaster 2-6*, fire and heat only.” [here]

The reason I brought it up in the first place was that when this was revealed, I was surprised to see Lung’s pyrokinesis described as “blast”ing after we’d seen it be far more versatile than a literal interpretation would imply. I wasn’t saying “I guess Lung is a Blaster” so much as “I guess this is why Lung is a Blaster”. 🙂


The needle gals by LinaLeeZ, submitted by mhplayer!

I love the designs! Especially Flechette’s costume, with the arrows and excellent colors. Lily’s civilian face (…maybe not the best way to put it, but I’m gonna stick with it) is great, too. She looks lovely.


Rachel Lindt by somnolentslumber, submitted by cedeelbe!

Damn, that build! It’s pretty obvious that she can kick your ass with or without her dogs. The colors are nice, too. 🙂


Tattletale by lisawilbourn (self portrait?), submitted by john-loves-broadway!

My favorite character in one of my favorite colors. What more could I ask for, really? I especially like the expression and the liney/sketchy way the hair is drawn. 🙂


[Session 2]
I haven’t liveblogged since last year, wow. Let’s finish up 9.3!


The scene was set up in the husk of a building. Walls loomed on three sides, but there was no roof remaining. The floor was uneven, composed of layers of broken boards, shattered drywall and chunks of concrete.

This city is such a mess right now.

Yet there’s no way of knowing whether or not this building was like this before.

“There’s two more crime scenes like this?” Clockblocker asked, eyes wide. He craned his neck upward to look above them.

…alright, sounds like that was an even newer development than I thought it might be.

“Yeah,” Weld spoke.

“It’s the middle of the day,” Kid Win spoke, “Broad daylight.”

Huh. Someone destroying buildings… stealthily?

Clockblocker looked at the overcast sky above. Not quite daylight. And people weren’t around. It was still ballsy, and more than a little scary.

On each of the three interior walls of the older building was a body, twenty feet above the ground.

Oh.

Yikes.


Each had received a different kind of treatment. To their left was a corpse that had been flayed, the gender no longer identifiable. Directly opposite their group was the corpse of an obese woman, charred black. Completing the scene was the body of what appeared to be a homeless man, or one of the people who’d been rendered homeless by the recent disaster, judging by the layers of clothing he wore. His limbs had been severed at each joint, then reconnected so each was joined by a short, foot-long length of chain.

Sheesh. Someone’s got a flair for dramatic desecration.

Nails placed through the chain kept him in position, head hanging, a macabre puppet with an overlong body. The chains jangled and swung in the wind.

Only thing missing is a cross.

Occupying the same building as the corpses was a familiar group. Trickster, Sundancer and Ballistic stood beneath the corpses.

What.

What are you guys doing here? And why are the heroes talking like they aren’t?

Did the Travelers find the corpses and report them, despite the risk of their own arrest?

A winged figure that might have been a gargoyle, demon or dragon was clutching to the sides of an empty window frame with three talons, the other reaching toward the homeless man. Genesis.

Right, that was the cape name of the pseudo-shifter.

“Pardon the cliche, but this isn’t what it looks like,” Trickster spoke.

Yeeah, this really isn’t something I’d expect from the Travelers.


“I believe you,” Weld spoke, “I’ve read your file, and this isn’t your M.O.”

Yeah.

“Excellent, excellent. I commend you,” Trickster tipped his hat, “Then we’ll be on our way?”

Hehe. As if you aren’t still wanted villains.

“No. But if you come into custody-”

“You’ll arrest us for any number of other criminal charges we’ve got waiting. And you can’t promise that one of your superiors won’t try to stick us with the blame for this.”

Sounds about right.

Weld frowned.

“Let us go. Whatever happened here, it deserves your full attention. You should be trying to find and capture the real criminals. This guy here was still alive when we arrived.” Trickster pointed at the man with the chain limbs.

He does have a point, the Wards are probably better off focusing on the matter at hand, whatever the fuck that actually is.

My guess is on Fenrir’s Chosen. Hookwolf is among the characters I’d most expect to be willing to do something like this.

[Funny you should say that, part me, five Arcs before Hookwolf becomes part of the group that did this.]

“Can’t do that. You’re still suspects, regardless of how much this deviates from your usual methods.”

Also fair.


“A shame,” Trickster bowed.

In the blink of an eye, Weld disappeared, and Genesis loomed in his place, eight feet tall and nearly as broad across the shoulders, a body of pebble-like scales, heavy with muscle, a short tail and broad bat wings sprouting from her shoulders.

Hah, nice. But doesn’t this just put Weld over to the side?

I guess it might’ve been more about putting Genesis in a strategically important position than about sending Weld off.

She spun to face the rest of the Wards as Weld fell from the window.

Oh right, her gargoyle-like position is a bit of an issue for Weld, especially with the element of surprise.

Ballistic turned on the fallen captain of the Wards, unloading a barrage of debris and rubble to keep the metal skinned boy off-balance and on the defensive.

Sounds like they’re focusing a lot on Weld so far. I’m not sure he’s the biggest threat to them here. That would probably be Clockblocker or Vista, both of whom can keep one or all of them in place.

Clockblocker lunged for Genesis, hand outstretched. He was mere inches away when Genesis disappeared from in front of him. Or, rather, Clockblocker had been moved somewhere else.

It’s entirely possible for Trickster to swap the positions of one of the corpses with one of the Wards. He probably can’t adjust the pose they show up in, though, so they’d presumably just fall down from there like Weld just did from the window.

A lack of proper footing made him stumble, and he nearly collided with one of the dilapidated walls of the ruined building.

One thing’s for sure, Trickster’s power can be quite disorienting.


As he spun in place, catching a glimpse of Genesis exchanging blows with Glory Girl, he had his position swapped yet again. He found himself once more with his back to the brawling pair. One of them bumped into him, and he sprawled.

Bunp.

If only he’d been able to tell if it were Genesis or Glory Girl that bumped into him; had he known, he might have used his power, taken Genesis out of the fight.

I suppose that’s why he was teleported in the first place – Trickster tricked him into turning around.

Annoying. He climbed to his feet, wary of more teleportation hijinks.

So far, Trickster’s being the MVP. I have a feeling this chapter is going to show us more from the others too, though. Weld vs Sundancer, for example… What happens when a man made of metal goes up against someone who can melt it?

Ballistic is also a threat to Weld if he somehow knows how Weld’s power interacts with metal.

Kid Win wheeled on the spot to raise a square-nosed pistol and fire what looked like a brilliant blue flare at Trickster, but the teleporter swapped positions with him. Kid Win ducked the moment he was teleported, but he still got grazed by his own shot, blue sparks showering off his armored costume, small arcs of electricity dancing briefly around the metal joins.

Ouch.

Sundancer created her flaming ball – small, but still far too bright to look at – and sent it after Kid Win. The young hero scrambled for cover, dropping his gun in his hurry to get away from the superheated orb. Flechette moved to shoot, then reconsidered, threw a handful of darts at Trickster instead.

Sending projectiles after Trickster didn’t work out so well for Kid Win.

The darts disappeared in midair, and splinters of wood and small stones dropped straight out of the air where they had been.

Huh, interesting. The teleportation swaps positions, but not momentum. Don’t know why I expected it to do so, really.

Might have some interesting implications for a hypothetical interaction between Trickster’s power and quantum physics?


Really fucking annoying, Clockblocker revised his summation of the teleporter.

Ahaha 😛

Shadow Stalker had positioned herself on the ragged top of the wall where the roof had crumbled away, high above the skirmish, cloak billowing. She fired a shot at Ballistic and Sundancer, reloaded as Ballistic sent a piece of rubble flying through her shadowy form, then fired again.

I wonder how long that position’s going to last. Pretty helpful to have objects pass through you when you’re fighting Ballistic, at least.

The Travelers had body armor, so she wasn’t doing more than distracting them. The needles of the tranquilizer darts wouldn’t pass through the durable armor or material.

And the other darts are off-limits.

“Red rover!” Vista shouted, “Go!”

Good girl. Clockblocker dashed for Trickster, and the distance between them compressed to a matter of feet, the highest points in the uneven ground flattening to make running easier.

Ooh, named combo tactics!

It’s a pretty good tactic – Clockblocker needs touch range, and Vista can arrange that for him.


Trickster swapped him with Vista, placing him several feet back.

Unfortunately Trickster has quick reactions.

Ahead of him, he could see the girl where he’d just been, within a few feet of the teleporter. Clockblocker found his footing, darted forward once more. Again, Vista’s powers helped close the distance.

Good luck!

Kid Win, Flechette, and Vista joined him in charging the enemy, so that Clockblocker wouldn’t be set too far back if he was teleported to their locations.

Good thinking! Still, though, there are other people Trickster could swap him with, including three corpses that would drop him down 20 feet.

Sundancer moved the orb in between them and Trickster, igniting a few of the pieces of wood that were exposed and above the water. Vista responded by raising her hand to shrink it dramatically.

Niice.

Reminds me of a scene in Homestuck where a character raises a hand to casually shrink a meteor with a soft smile.

Weld ducked one of Ballistic’s attacks, then charged for the orb, striking it out of the air with one fist. The blow dispersed it enough that Sundancer couldn’t draw it back together, and a wave of hot air washed over everyone present.

Huh, nice! I guess metal beats fire if it hits fast enough.


Weld, for his part, staggered back, his hand glowing white-hot. He flexed his glowing hand, and it moved slowly, stiffly. Even as far down as his elbow, the metal of his arm was an orange-red.

Ah, maybe I spoke too soon.

At least we know he can melt parts of his body in the first place, and does so regularly to absorb metal that got stuck to him.

Clockblocker didn’t get a chance to see if Weld was okay. He charged around his team leader, using the metal boy’s broader body to put himself in Trickster’s blind spot. From this position, he tried to charge and tag the villain.

Ooh, good luck.

An instant before his hand could brush against Trickster, the villain was gone, and Weld was in front of him.

Dang it.

His hand touched the metal of Weld’s back.

Welp, guess we’ve got both molten and frozen metal at once.

He breathed a sigh of relief when Weld turned around.

Wait, really? Is he immune to Clocky’s power too? I know Weld was immune to most powers affected by the Manton effect, but as far as I’ve gathered, that’s not actually the case with Clockblocker’s.

Only the fact that he’d expected something along these lines had allowed him to turn his power off in time.

Ah, okay.

Spinning around, Clockblocker reached for the space Weld had just vacated, but Trickster was already swapping places with Glory Girl to place himself as far away from the thick of the fighting as he could get.

Glory Girl’s power might actually be among the more useful ones here. Intimidating Trickster might be distracting enough for Clocky to get his hands on the guy.


I can’t keep track of this guy.

He’s rather… tricksy.

Clockblocker looked around to survey the situation. His group was sandwiched between the Travelers, now.

Welp. That’s probably something Trickster’s been deliberately arranging.

On one side, Sundancer and Ballistic crouched in the far corner of the building. Trickster and Genesis stood on the other side, atop the rubble that spilled across the building’s entrance and onto the flooded street.

Genesis inhaled, chest expanding, and Weld was the first to react, stomping one foot hard into the rubble underfoot, using his foot to raise a large, ragged piece of plywood.

Hm.

With his hands, he forced the large wooden board into a standing position, placing it between himself and Genesis. Kid Win, Flechette and Vista wheeled on Ballistic and Sundancer.

So does that mean he’s using the board as a shield…?

Weld’s piece of plywood served to block the worst of whatever it was that Genesis exhaled. From what Clockblocker could see around the plywood, it was a dark, gray-black vapor.

So wait, wasn’t Genesis’ ability a sort of illusion? In other words, is there even something real there to block?

Wisps billowed around the edge of the board and drifted their way – it had a bitter smell and taste, like ashes mixed with something foul. Even inhaling a trace of it through the air holes of his mask forced barking coughs from his lungs.

Real enough to cause a reaction, I guess.

His teammates seemed to be in rougher shape, Vista falling to her hands and knees. The changer’s exhalation hadn’t even reached them directly.

Hm, strange. Did Genesis get ahead of herself in stimulating reactions to match the visuals?

So, that’s what a changer nine brings to the table. Different forms, each with their own powers.

That’s a reasonable assumption.


Weld staggered as Genesis lunged forward, and Clockblocker ducked low under Weld’s arm, planted a hand against the plywood. He felt his power snap out to encompass the material, and he fixed it in place, cutting it off from the flow of time.

Why? I mean, it’s a more effective shield against this one attack, but now it’s stuck in that one spot for a while.

A second later, he felt a heavy hand on his shoulder. Weld, standing over him, gave him a quick smile and an offered hand. He returned it with the briefest of nods and took Weld’s hand to stand straight. Together, the pair of them stepped back and away,

Nice. Good to see that they can work together even if they have their differences. And hey, Clocky did admit he should go easier on Weld.

to see Genesis rising into the air with heavy flaps of her bat-like wings, inhaling to prepare another blast of the noxious smoke.

Okay I kinda think I should go back and reread Tattletale’s explanation of Genesis’ powers.

remotely controlled, solid projections [here]. Right. Genesis probably isn’t actually there.


He felt oddly calm as his group squared off against the villains with some of the highest power ratings in Brockton Bay, beneath the grim display of the three hanging corpses.

Heavy hitters indeed.

He reached into the slot of the armor at his side and withdrew two sheaves of paper. Moving his thumbs in one direction, he fanned out the papers, holding them like anyone else might hold a pair of knives.

Hm. Now what’s this? Gonna rip them up and freeze the shrapnel or something?

He realized what it was, this calm. Whatever else it was, this fight was a refuge from that feeling that had plagued him since the fight with Leviathan ended.

I see.

The feeling that he was always in the wrong place, doing the wrong thing at the wrong time, in the face of a city in crisis and a dying father. This, right here, was where he was needed.

Ah, yeah…


This is what I’m here for.

😀


End of Sentinel 9.3

This was a very nice look into Clockblocker’s, Vista’s and Glory Girl’s states in the wake of Leviathan’s attack. We got to learn about Clocky’s dying dad, followed by a heartwarming bonding between Clockblocker and Vista over the memory of Gallant.

Additionally, we learned about possible correlations between trigger events and powers, the fact that Glory Girl (and maybe Panacea – after Interlude 3, I have a hard time believing she would quit unless forced to, even if she doesn’t enjoy being a hero) might join the Wards, and the fact that someone (possibly Fenrir’s Chosen) is quite brutally murdering and desecrating people in broad daylight.

Why were the Travelers at one of the crime scenes? Maybe we won’t find out. Maybe they just happened to find it right before the Wards arrived? Maybe they were the ones to contact the Wards in the first place, and didn’t evacuate the premises quickly enough, though that seems unlikely. Especially since no one brought that up.

I don’t think we’ll get to see the end of the battle. I feel like the outcome wasn’t the point of it, so much as showing Weld and Clockblocker working together and addressing Clocky’s feeling of belonging in the battle. That said, we’ll probably find out who won… my money’s on the Travelers, just because I don’t think there’s much point in having them arrested right now and they did seem to have the upper hand in the fight.

Next chapter, we’re presumably continuing our trek through the Wards. I suppose the ones left are Kid Win, Vista and Shadow Stalker. Glory Girl might also count. These last two chapters have sort of covered Shadow Stalker, Vista and Glory Girl to some extent as well as their respective POV characters, so I’m not completely sure we’re getting chapters from their POVs at all. As such, my guess is that Kid Win is up next. Out of all the OG Brockton Bay Wards, he seems to be dealing with this the best, but appearances can be deceiving.

See you then! Which is to say… now!

2 thoughts on “Sentinel 9.3: Tick Talk

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