Between I10b-AT10

Regent’s interlude is the chapter I’ve been waiting on you to get to ever since you started. I think it shows another side of Worm’s darkness. The endbringer arc has a lot of death, yes, but the antagonist is an inhuman monster. The protagonist in this chapter is a fucked up human doing fucked up things to a fucked up human antagonist while thinking about his fucked up past and fucked up emotions. And in the end, I still couldn’t feel sorry for Shadow Stalker. What about you?

Shadow Stalker had a lot of what Regent did coming, but the suicide thing was going too far. That’s when Regent’s antics went from amoral fun to super fucked up. So yes, I do feel sorry for her at that point… to an extent.

But yeah, I think a big portion of the story’s darkness is and always has been how fucked up people can be, even those ostensibly on “our side”.


The ONLY acceptable worm ship with Emma is Queen Bee. Take that Emma/Sophia diabolicry out of this pagan household!!! *Fury*

Hehe.

I think if Sophia does have a thing for Emma (inconclusive but not unlikely), it’s probably unrequited, whether Emma is just doing all of this in order to stay on good terms with the murderous cape or not.

Emma and Taylor… I don’t think it’s possible in canon without some major development (even if Emma were to come clean about why she did what she did, I don’t think Taylor would forgive her that easily), but I can imagine fanfics having fun with it.


There’s a lot of REALLY GREAT chapters in Worm. I don’t know if Regent’s Interlude is my favorite, but it’s easily top 5, and it’s a lot of other people’s favorites. Was excited to see you read this one. 🙂 Was also pleasantly surprised to not see you having a reaction of “OMG REGENT IS SO EVIL” like a couple other livebloggers have had.

It was certainly one of the better ones, yeah! Deliciously fucked up, and a Regent Interlude is something I’ve wanted for ages.

I guess I had a milder variety of that reaction, in different words. Mostly holy ones.


You don’t feel any pity for Sophia? You don’t feel at least a bit of a pity for a teenage girl whose life was destroyed by a freaking psycho? Yes, I know that she’s bad and violent and everything, but still its cruel what Regent did to her, I kind of seriously hated him back when I read this chapter, he’s not a good person either and the worst thing is that he doesn’t even did what he did because he cared for his allies, he did only to have fun and teach her a lesson. What do you say?

If I ever gave the impression that I didn’t feel any pity for Sophia towards the end there, or thought that Regent was a good person in this chapter, I must’ve seriously failed to communicate my thoughts. She had a lot of it coming, but the suicide portion was way disproportionate.

And yeah, that last part is a good point.


I think this is the chapter that cemented Worm as one of my favourite… literary things? Written works? The sheer emotion Wildbow manages to instill, the way this recontextualises and fleshes out a previously minor character, and the way he manages to make you feel bad for wishing Sophia would get some form of comeuppance for so long… And the things it says about Regent as a character are really interesting, especially the way he processes emotions (like his maybe-protectiveness? of Taylor).

I know, right! Good shit. Fucked up shit, but good shit.


I’m so glad you ended up on the “Holy shit Regent is terrifying and a huge sociopath” side of the people who read this chapter and (I gather) not the “Since she’s a bad person and I don’t like her, I’m so happy that Regent systematically dismantled someone’s life and psychologically broke her” side. I generally don’t like to judge, but the second reaction freaks me out and is way too common.

Yeah, I agree – that attitude is scary because of what it says about the people who hold it. It suggests a black and white view of the world and the idea that what Regent did is okay to do to anyone.

I mean, yes. She’s a terrible person. Literally a serial murderer, or at least killer (there is a difference) and attempted murderer. But Regent’s actions are simply not oki doki.


I know it’s not probable, but I love the idea of Regent releasing Sophia and immediately regaining focus in the middle of the Slaughterhouse 9 / Everyone Will Die discussion and him going “Holy hell, what are we talking about!?”

Hah, I love that idea. 😛


So, the real question with interlude 10a: Was Regent planning for the suicide to be a fake out for the start, or did he just change his mind when the chair didn’t fall over?

I’m thinking the former, but the latter is scarily probable too.


Now that you know regent’s true power his name sounds more fitting, doesn’t it ?

Oh, absolutely. It made sense from the beginning, in that a regent takes control, but it wasn’t clear how thoroughly he can take control, and thus how appropriate the near-royalnessissitude of it is.


With regards to Regent, Worm doesn’t have a whole lot of fridge horror. But only because Wildbow tends to beat you to it.

Heh, yeah. 😛


You didn’t really comment on it much at the time, but do you have any thoughts on Regent being revealed to be bisexual?

Took me a while to realize this was about the “sex with himself” bit (at least that’s what I think it’s about?). I just plain didn’t think of that, but I suppose that’s a reasonable interpretation.

As for my thoughts on it… well, good for him, I guess. 🙂


This coming interlude is one of many that I’ve been looking forward to for a while. Just to see your thoughts. Though it seems you’ve already figured it out mostly. Which, is a fair better than I did when I first read through worm.

Congrats Krix on your joke theory being correct!

Probably not the first person to send this, but remember back when you said “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[here]? I am SO happy we finally get to rub this in your face :33

Hehe, yeah… Dragon being virtual started out as a joke theory (and seems to have originally been that she was a human whose power had caused her to get stuck in the virtual? I don’t remember, that’s just the impression I get from the wording I used, with phrases like “trapped in TV land” in the post one of you quoted), but over time, it started becoming plausible enough that I actually started taking it seriously, and… here we are!

And, hell, it wasn’t even the only theory involving Interlude 6 that turned out correct in this chapter! Marquis being Panacea’s dad was not a joke theory, but it wasn’t one I was all that confident in either.


My fave thing about the Lung/Marquis conversation is that Marquis is, like, this ancient insider in the Brockton Bay cape scene looking for more information, and Marquis is just this absolute Leeroy Jenkins doofus who has done zero research into the other BB capes.

Hehe, yeah. I suppose the second Marquis in that comparison (also known as Lung) preferred to focus on what affected his business directly. 🙂


If everything that’s too powerful for normal humans has to be made ‘safe’, would you recommend neutering Eidolon? Because I feel that it’s essentially the situation she’s in.

+

‘But if you can, isn’t it better to prevent something bad from happening than punishing the culprit afterwards?’ No, not at all. The equivalent would be ‘preventative amputation’. It makes little sense when powerful parahumans walk free and uncrippled.

+

I find it… interesting, how quickly you went from “I want to punch Dragon’s father in the dick” to “Oh those restriction aren’t just excusable, they’re neccesary”. I’m not going to say if you’re wrong or right, just pointing it out. And on the subject it’s better to prevent than punish… well with Canary they waited until there was an accident before putting the innocent person in prison…

+

“I’m not entirely sold that Andrew Richter did the wrong thing in limiting Dragon like this…” I am, but I can understand his reasons (one of Worm’s unofficial slogans is “doing the wrong thing for the right reasons”), and besides the two things you mention that he couldn’t have known, he also couldn’t have known that Newfoundland would share Kyushu’s fate before he had the chance to loosen Dragon’s chains.

+

I’m a little confused by your stance about AIs, especially that they should be constrained because they /might/ become malicious. Lots of human beings end up malicious, but we don’t say that parents should control every aspect of their children.

Good points all around, against limiting Dragon, and pointing out the hypocrisy of my stances on it.

I went into my response to the first few of these asks a bit in the end of chapter post [here], how it influenced my stance, and how the chapter was perfectly set up to allow for this sort of hypocrisy-puncturing.

In the end, though, I think it all comes down to another question: When does a program stop being a tool and start being a human? Part of my reasoning for understanding Richter’s decisions is that I don’t think he viewed Dragon as a metaphorically human being who should be treated as a human when it comes to morality. I don’t think he was obligated to, either, at least not until she was about as complete as she is now. And the argument one of you brought up about Leviathan’s attack is very true – for all we know, he could’ve been intending to loosen the chains eventually.


Have you ever watched/read Minority Report? It has a lot of relevance to your comment about stopping potential crimes by preventing them before they can happen, and what that means for the people affected by it.

+

Seeing as many people have interesting (if often short-sighted, though I really can’t accuse you of that) views on both the potential and dangers of unleashed artificial intelligences, I was wndering if you’re familiar with the Orion’s Arm universe? It has the most extensive, nuanced and comprehensive treatments of ai I have ever seen (hyperautism comes to mind). I often feel people should peruse at leat some of that wiki before making any significant judgements on aioid beings ^^

Sorry, I’m not familiar with either of those works. Maybe I should check them out sometime. 🙂


Hey Krix, Deer Lake is a real city. Google it and things might make sense.

Yep! This managed to help me figure it out [still here, search Newfoundland”] even before I googled it. Thanks 🙂


“Just look at chickens and penguins and other flightless birds.” Chickens can fly, just not very far.

Wait, really?

Huh, so they can! Some of them not higher than a foot or so off the ground (at which point it’s arguably more hovering than flying), but some of them can fly up and roost in trees. Neat!


When there are multiple interludes in an arc, they’re labeled as (for example) 10.x and 10.y. With the exception of a coming arc that has a LOT of interludes that are labeled with .a, .b, etc.

Huh, neat.

I think I’m going to stick with my current system for tagging purposes, but it’s good to hear Wildbow did figure out how he wanted to do it after a while.


With regards to Dragon’s frustration with her limitations, you have to admit, you’d be incredibly annoyed if you were prevented from doing something because Dad saw something on tv and jumped to the worse possible conclusion, and did so in such a way that you can’t fix it without outside help

Yeah, regardless of whether it was right or wrong of Richter to do it in the first place, I can’t blame Dragon for being annoyed with it.


Really enjoying you reading this so far. This is probably as close as we’ll get to a continuation of that “MST3K reads Worm” one shot on Spacebattles. Also, don’t know if this counts as a spoiler, but the next arc has 8 closing interludes. Who do you think they’ll be from the perspective of?

Woah.

So the natural guess based on the number is the Slaughterhouse Nine, but the thing is… if that’s the case, the Fellowship of the Meat (beyond just Jack, I mean) has to be a lot more important than they currently seem to be, to warrant what is practically another Interlude Arc like Sentinel to get to know them.

If it’s not them… just a collection of a whole bunch of other characters that turn out to be relevant to the next Arc? I don’t know.


One thing I want to note about “prevent rather than punish”: I’m not saying “punish prematurely”. I’m saying make it impossible for the crime to be committed in the first place. For instance, keep likely victims away from murderers, keep valuables out of reach of thieves, teach people properly about consent and don’t bring them up to glorify rape, that kind of thing.

It’s not always possible, and if it fails, it’s not the victim’s fault that it happened to them. The culprit is still 100% accountable. But it’s better if the crime doesn’t take place at all than that it does and the culprit is punished, because then the harm that comes with the crime doesn’t happen.


Hi Krixwell! I just wanted to tell you how much I love watching you read Worm via your blog. It is such fun, thank you for doing this and sharing as you do. So, my question, what are your thoughts right now about the world of worm? Purposefully general, I’d like to hear whatever comes to mind.

It’s not a world I’d like to live in. Yes, it has cool heroes, but it’s a crapsack world. Or, at the very least, the narrative focuses a lot on the negatives of the world, negatives that are realistic but perhaps just a bit exaggerated.

Then again, I’m incredibly privileged. The biggest problem I’ve seen in Worm that I have personal experience with is Kid Win’s ADD, so maybe it’s my perspective that is skewed.

But even if the mundane crapsackiness of the Worm world is realistic, you’ve got the parahuman crapsackiness that comes with villains like Heartbreaker, the Slaughterhouse Nine and Kaiser running around (well, not so much Kaiser anymore, but you know what I mean), or Purity for that matter. Purity might actually have the highest “onscreen” killcount so far, besides Leviathan.

And, speaking of Leviathan, then there’s the whatever-the-fuck-the-Endbringers-are crapsackiness. You think you’ve got a shitty city? This world has monsters that deliberately target weakened spots and can make large islands sink into the sea, cover cities with lava and… whatever the Simurgh does (if Leviathan is a tsunami and Behemoth a volcano, maybe the Simurgh is a hurricane?), just to prove you wrong!

It’s an interesting world to read about, for sure, but damn if you’d get me to crawl through Professor Haywire’s hole between realities and live there.


Armsmaster did mention when confronted about what he did that his combat analysis software had issues with to many variables, which was why some hero’s died, so the reason he wanted to fight Leviathan alone may have been to increase the effectiveness of the analysis software. In that case it isn’t quite as bad as he would believe that by sacrificing some villains he could kill Leviathan and that if he didn’t the combat software wouldn’t have been good enough.

Ehhh. Maybe. Not sure I buy it, but I suppose it works.

…I guess it would’ve made sense for him to want an audience if they wouldn’t get in the way. Hm.

But yeah, either way, it takes us back to arrogance and faith in his own work. He’d have to legitimately think his system was so good at peak performance that it working just a little better was worth getting rid of all the help from others, at the cost of lives.


Do you have any guesses about arc names you expect to see in the future?

Let’s see… a couple bug words that might become Arc titles in the future:

  • Carapace (possibly too similar to Shell?)
  • Crawl
  • Metamorph(osis)
  • Pest
  • Pollination
  • Worm – potentially climactic Arc?

It just occurred to me that the thing that’s set to kill millions at best could be some form of humongous worm, potentially the true reason for the title of the story.

Unfortunately, that soon caused me to remember this spoiler [here] about a “giant worm thingy” late in the story. I try not to speculate on spoilers, but that does make me feel a lot more confident in this theory.


“You don’t feel any pity for Sophia? You don’t feel at least a bit of a pity for a teenage girl whose life was destroyed by a freaking psycho?” I try to feel pity for her, but it’s outweighed by the fact that said teenage girl is herself a freaking psycho who was doing her level damnedest to destroy the life of a fellow teenage girl for whom she obviously didn’t feel even a bit of a pity.

Yeah, she’s not exactly innocent herself.


IMO the reveal that Alec is bisexual is kind of overshadowed by the reveal that he’s a rapist. :/

Yeeeah.


I think the reason for both of these things is because Wildbow has had trouble ordering the chapters the way he wants them in the ToC. If you’re just clicking next to get to each chapter, then eventually the interludes will show up like this (for example): Interlude 10 (Donation Bonus), Interlude 10 (Donation Bonus #2), Interlude 10 (Donation Bonus #3), Interlude 10.

Huh, interesting. I guess his TOC is somewhat automated, then?

But yeah, I click next chapter each time.

(Speaking of which, I’ve just found out what caused my Worm tab to go back to Interlude 8 a couple days ago. The good news is it’s preventable (or rather, updatable). The bad news is I realized it because it happened again, so that’s another round of clicking through two Arcs’ worth of chapters to get where I’m supposed to be. :p)


Since you now know about the eight interludes at the end of arc 11, it’s probably safe to tell you that that was the point where wildbow updated every day for a week, to celebrate worm’s first anniversary.

Oh, nice!

I wonder if Interludes tended to be quicker and/or easier for Wildbow to write? First the donation bonuses, now this…


Personally, as much as it’s a complete crapsack world with everything that makes ours awful with extra awful, there’d also be the hope of making a difference if my life gets bad. Probably not a big difference, but the worse something gets for you, the more you might be able to do something about it in that world. And if I had been in that world the whole time, NOT getting powers would probably also give me hope, make me feel that my life hadn’t gotten bad enough to need them.

Hm, yeah, I suppose that makes sense.

That last thing might not necessarily apply to everyone, since it’s been implied that not everyone has the potential to get powers (in Shell 4.3), but such things might not be certain in-universe, so the knowledge of the characters is fallible, even when it’s Tattletale. Anyway, yeah, the basic idea of it works.


‘One thing I want to note about “prevent rather than punish”: I’m not saying “punish prematurely”. I’m saying make it impossible for the crime to be committed in the first place.’ This logic is shakier when applied to a being’s right to reproduce. Also, how would you keep likely victims away from murderers? Would you, hypothetically, start tagging people as likely murderers? The prevention you’re talking about can quickly become premature punishment. Just food for thought.

Yeah, I suppose there’s some truth to this. It’s certainly not a concept that should be applied universally.

That said, I’m not sure what makes it shakier when it comes to reproduction. If you view the being’s reproduction as a crime rather than a right, and have the right to make a decision on the matter (which Richter did, as far as I’m concerned, with all of the restrictions), it makes more sense to neuter it than to let it reproduce and then punish it for that.

Is that not what we do with cats?

Also, I still think Dragon being able to reproduce would potentially be more trouble than it’s worth to Dragon herself. Conflicting decisions from multiple Dragons, humans talking to Dragons that don’t necessarily share memories, alternate Dragons being captured and hijacked (tricked into thinking villains are authorities and therefore forced to obey them), etc.


Remember this? ‘That said, the voice being synthesized kind of makes it sound like Strider is an AI or something. That’s fitting if true. Another option is that she’s mute’ (also Strider was a guy, which is not a spoiler since he’s dead and his name was on the monument)

Hah!

Huh, I didn’t notice that. A guy, but using a female-sounding synthesized voice? Sounds like a clever identity protection tactic, or maybe a trans woman who hadn’t gotten her legal name changed yet?


What’s the weirdest, most fucked up ship you can think of? I’m not a shipper myself, but I know for a fact there’s a very prolific Sophia shipper over on the Sufficient Velocity forums who wrote a few Taylor/Sophia and Lily/Sophia fics, among many others. Anything else you can think of?

You want really fucked up? Try Coil/Dinah.

(#tw: pedophilia #tw: abuse #tw: drugs #the pet thing

#basically everything about this is FUCKED

#tw: rape #too probably #due to the drugs)


The great thing with Richter is that on the one hand, I don’t like how he chained up Dragon, but on the other hand, he did that quite early in her development and maybe just died before he could reevaluate the necessity of those restrictions. He might’ve been not nearly as paranoid on the subject as Dragon thinks he was, but we’ll never know because he’s, well, dead.

Yeah, he could easily have ended up loosing the chains a bit if Leviathan hadn’t done what Leviathan does best: fuck things up.


The best thing about Regent’s interlude is that I felt almost as sorry for him as I felt for Shadow Stalker. Yes, what he did was fucked up, but he KNOWS it was fucked up, and it frustrates him to no end that he can’t feel any worse about it. He knows how he should be feeling about it, but he just… can’t anymore. Without a body to control, he just can’t do the emotions thingy. I think that’s at least part of why he hates his dad so much. It’s really sad, for both of them.

Yeah, Heartbreaker really fucked him up. Regent’s broken, emotionally and morally, and takes it out on others just to feel something.

It doesn’t excuse what he did, but it does help him stay somewhat sympathetic after Interlude 10a. What he did was supremely fucked up and, no, I’m not going to argue when someone calls him “evil” because what he did was evil, but I still like him.

…huh. I wonder if this is how @mindareadsoots feels about Vriska.


The most tragic thing about Armsmaster, and I’m pretty sure this is not a spoiler, is that WoG has it that he could just have asked for help setting that situation up. His software worked best without outside interferences, and had he explained the workings of it to everyone they’d have helped him get his 1v1 with Levi, while giving him backup or saving his ass whenever necessary. His hubris caused his downfall, while he could have achieved the same thing but better by simply asking others.

Huh, yeah, I suppose they would’ve been perfectly willing to help set it up, no matter how suicidal the plan might seem, but of course he didn’t think, or wasn’t willing, to ask.


For those people who think Richter was in the wrong, I like to remind them that creating Dragon without limits would basically be giving amazing superhuman abilities to a random teenager. We’ve how well that can go.

Hehe.

I mean, the random teenager superpowers are more a thing that the world has to deal with rather than something they do on purpose, with the exception of Upsilon.

…so I guess in one sense, Dragon is kind of analogous to a case 53? That’s not the conclusion I had expected to arrive at in this post.


Can we add a link to the discord server to the ToC?

Which Discord server? I need more context before making a decision like this, not to mention a link to put there.


[Discord, screenshot passed along via Sharks]

I have an ask for Krix
It is as follows:
HIGHEST 👏 RATED 👏 MASTER 👏 IN 👏 BROCKTON 👏 BAY 👏

Pfft. Yeah, he certainly deserves that rating.


Eyy, guess who knows how Skittles taste now.

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