Between: Interlude 19b

Hi Krix! Really happy to read you getting to this chapter! Bonesaw is… a great character but nobody’s mood improves when she steps on stage. How old is she? Given what we’ve seen of her self-modification, I guess we should be careful about “age”; apparently those hands were “new”.

Oh yeah, I love Bonesaw, but I would definitely not want her in my or anyone else’s life off the page.

That’s actually a very good point about age! We know she appears around 11-13 based on Amy’s estimate, but she could very well be a lot older and simply like her young appearance. We know she’s been hanging around with Jack for quite a while, long enough that it implies either a very young trigger or something like that.

I went looking at some of the early stuff about Bonesaw to see if there were some more concrete numbers on how long she’d been running around with Jack, and while I didn’t find that, I did find something else of interest:

When Taylor first describes the image of the Slaughterhouse Nine, she estimates Bonesaw to be around Aisha’s age, older than Dinah. But then when she shows up in person, Amy estimates her as five years younger than herself, which I at the time took to mean about 12. Either my understanding of how old Amy was was off by a few years, Amy and Taylor differed in how good they were at estimating ages (Taylor was also dealing with an image that wasn’t of great quality), or one of the various things that changed between that image and the Nine’s appearance in Brockton Bay was that Bonesaw got younger.

A lot of Bonesaw’s childish behavior seems genuine, though. I have little doubt that she meant it when she described her reason for wanting to recruit Amy as “I’ve always wanted a big sister”, and I don’t think she would actually lie about this. But that doesn’t rule out delusion, or a focus on biological age over literal age.

Could Bitch power up Blasto’s plant-dogs? Could Blasto hybridize a hellhound in a stable way?

I’m thinking Bitch’s power might partially work. The things are based on real dog DNA in part, as I understand it, but the plant part might mess things up. But we do know there’s wiggle room, given the notion that the power is mainly supposed to work on wolves, with dogs being “close enough”. I figure the half-plants land in a gray area where the power works in some ways and fails in others, and likely just ends up killing the things or fizzling.

Maybe a Bitch/Blasto Bonesaw fusion could tap into the seed-like structure of the hellhounds and have the plant dogs “bloom”…

Conversely, I don’t think Blasto could properly work with the hellhounds. I figure it would be a bit like when Echidna copied them — they still have normal dog DNA, and the hellhound form is effectively a puppet of dead flesh controlled by the dog inside. Blasto’s use of hellhound samples would probably just yield regular dog DNA. It’s not like Myrddin, where the possibility of gaining his powers may be baked into his DNA.

Then again, he did work with Simurgh bits that were too fractal to find any actual DNA in, so I might be underestimating him.

Do you have any concrete hypotheses about how Echidna might be taken down?

Tattletale’s plan of shunting her into another dimension would be a rather poetic way for things to come full circle, which is absolutely a point in that plan’s favor.

In fact, it might even send her to the dimension with the mutants that the Simurgh unleashed on Madison, which I suppose is the dimension Echidna’s power is accessing in the first place? That might even neutralize her within that dimension.

Exactly how Tattle imagines they’ll accomplish it is up in the air, but it likely involves Labyrinth’s power, since Tattle specifically called in the Crew and Labyrinth’s power is the most obvious example of a power drawing things from other dimensions.

It’s also possible Myrddin’s power could be used, though less likely. It also already deals with dimensional shunting, so it might be possible to abuse some aspect of its mechanics to create a hole to a different full dimension instead of sending someone into a pocket dimension.

A couple other potential possibilities of varying (but mostly low) plausibility and likelihood:

  • Tricking Echidna into using sample DNA from Hatchet Face
  • Zion shows up and makes good on Kevin’s last orders
  • Zion shows up and tries to make good on Kevin’s last orders, only to get his ass handed to him, and then I guess Echidna feels bad and goes to bed or something
  • Trickster is convinced to undo his betrayal and, his range being limited only by line of sight, swaps Echidna with an equivalent amount of solar matter
  • Echidna tries to eat Gregor but doesn’t like the taste of slime and goes away to find something to drink
  • Spitfire defeats Echidna in a rap battle
  • Faultline successfully breaks both the Manton limit and Noelle’s power resistance, and cuts the human-looking part off at the waist
  • Shamrock: “Heads, you get the Undersiders without a fight, tails, you go away forever. Wanna play?”
  • Echidna eats a cameo of Charlie Brown and dies to a peanut allergy
  • Perdition pops out of nowhere, reveals his power has been supercharged, and rewinds Noelle all the way back to Earth-Aleph
  • Echidna, like Crawler, isn’t immune to Scrub’s power
  • Echidna, like Crawler, isn’t immune to propaganda
  • Echidna eats herself

Wait, has nobody told you? Scapegoat is the titular ward in Ward. He realizes that he can also take powers the same way he takes wounds and steals Eidolon’s. Its a coming of age story about dealing with the consequences of your actions, being on the run, and drop-kicking your mother.

These are always solid themes for a story, particularly the one about drop-kicking your mother.

You accidentally a line: “It’s fine,” Rey cut in. “I get it.”’

Thank you!

Chuckles was previously mentioned in Piggot’s interlude.

Oh yeah, so they were! Apparently they attacked a police station, which suggested the PRT shouldn’t put too many forces in one place. That suggests to me a localized area effect, that the police forces being gathered closely together allowed Chuckles to take a lot of them out or over in one fell swoop.

‘Seriously not bad.’ The accomplishment was good, but the statement was morally awful. Dragon just said “sure I could go eliminate The Nine now, but we could also spend some time together and then eliminate them after they slaughter another few dozen bystanders. I like that plan better.”

I don’t know about that. She wasn’t just trivially “spending time with” Colin, she was releasing him from Bonesaw’s trap. By not leaving him behind, she’ll have additional help with actually fighting the Nine. Every bit of aid counts, and what Colin lacks in strength relative to Dragon’s AIs, he makes up for with an intelligence that allows him to be far more versatile in combat than each of the bots not being actively controlled by Dragon. Against the Nine, that’s important.

“I should note that Damsel is my favorite Worm character that I didn’t do enough with. In working on the Worm video game and other Worm projects, I keep going back to her as my example/test character.”
-Wildbow, March 27, 2015

Yeah, Damsel had a pretty short run there.

There’s now more of the Worm animation videos. Not sure the best way to link them. They’re from Adaptation VFX on YouTube. Welcome to Brockton Bay Part 2 and Control should be ok for Krixwell. I’m not sure about The Locker because it shows [Dandelions].

Okay, so first off, when I first received the asks a couple days ago, this one did not say “[Dandelions]”. Sharks edited that censor into the ask at some point after I already saw it. Ironically, that actually makes it more of a spoiler, because when I first saw it, the term “the Entities” just looked like a term used to refer to them vaguely, but the attempt at damage control suggests it’s probably the canon term for them.

At least this is about as light as spoilers go, and a lot of that is owed to the fact that “The Entities”… is kind of a bad name? If that’s really what they’re officially called, it’s by far the least interesting or meaningful thing about them. It’s so ridiculously generic that it tells me absolutely nothing about them other than that they do at some point get an official name. I actually much prefer “Dandelions” and would probably continue to use that term even after the point this “Entities” term gets introduced anyway.

I’mma go out on a limb and suggest that it’s Taylor who really solidifies this term in the narrative. She’s not very good at naming, with the notable exception of Shotgun Wesley.

Now, spoiler talk aside, the animations!

I’ve actually already seen The Locker. The rendition of the Dandelions was fairly in keeping with how I was imagining them from previous descriptions of them, so I didn’t really parse it as a spoiler.

Sharks also sent me this April Fool’s video, basically the first thing I saw after I woke up that day. It didn’t really get me — when she told me there was a new animation I was expecting a nospoilered rickroll — but it was pretty funny.

Alright, time to watch these actual new ones.

“Control” by AdaptionVFX

Oh fuck yes Mannequin fight let’s go

I love the introduction with the roach skittering along, playing with the focus like that, and Mannequin looks fantastic.

Watching “Welcome to Brockton Bay – Part 2” had me going “oh this is starting off where the first one ended”, but no, it’s just that I forgot I’d already watched it. Siberian is still looking awesome though.

Do you have any speculation on whether or not, (and if so, how and where) Taylor will encounter the Slaughterhouse 9 again?

We’re following up on them too much for them to be done quite yet, especially with Bonesaw now having the means to clone old members. I think they’ll continue to be a significant threat, and it still isn’t quite clear what Jack’s connection to the final threat is, though he now seems to be actively trying to make it happen.

So yes, as long as Taylor continues to be our main POV character, I do think she’ll have to deal with another incarnation of the Slaughterhouse Nine eventually. They might even be one of the five factions, depending on how successful Bonesaw is.

How and especially where are very hard to answer. Brockton Bay is running out of things and I don’t know that Taylor’s going to be staying there until the end of the story, but where she and presumably the other Undersiders end up… well, there’s practically a whole planet to choose from, though of course places in the northeastern U.S. are particularly likely.

A lot of capes were namedropped in the Blasto interlude, care to guess on the powers of Chain Man, Spree, Winter, Chuckles, Murder Rat, Nice Guy, Screamer, Harbinger, King, and Grey Boy? Maybe even what you think Chevalier or that new guy Defiant’s powers are?

  • Chain Man: Sounds like a ferrokinetic sort. Could also be a rival Tinker focusing on chain-based mechanical contraptions.
  • Spree: The most obvious connotation is that of a murder spree, which doesn’t tell me a whole lot about their power. More generally, a spree involves rapid repeated actions spread out over an area. Machine gun Tinker? Speedster?
  • Winter: As one of the Nine, likely thematically connected to horror stories. There are plenty of horror stories tied to the cold, and cold can certainly in itself be a horror, but one that comes to mind is The Thing, given it’s literally set in one of the coldest places on Earth. I haven’t actually watched it, but I know how the titular Thing operates. It feels like a little bit of a stretch, but I’m going to say that Winter is kinda sus.
  • Chuckles: As I suggested in response to one of the earlier asks, rereading the first mention of Chuckles got me thinking about their power as something that can take out a lot of people in a specific location at once. The horror theme is easy enough; they’re obviously clown-themed. I’ve previously suggested that their power was something along the line of forced laughter, and I still think that could work. Another option is some form of crowd mind control.
  • We’ve already met Murder Rat. It’s actually very interesting that there was a sample of her, because she only lasted a chapter and Bonesaw suggested she hadn’t existed as Murder Rat for very long. Then again she was dripping drool everywhere so I guess it would be easy to gather up in the wake of an encounter.
  • Nice Guy: Incel powers. Just. The opposite of what Oliver got.
  • Screamer: This is the recruit they picked up when they couldn’t find anyone suitably horror-movie-themed and had to settle for bad late 2000’s YouTube pranks. Maybe ear-piercingly loud, allowing them to disrupt enemy communication and cause great distress to anyone who forgot to bring earplugs?
  • Harbinger: This sounds like a precog. The Nine should not be allowed a precog. Alternatively, a timeline manipulator who can manipulate the odds of chains of events leading to a particular person’s death, like a mix of Final Destination, Death Note and Coil.
  • King:
  • Gray Boy: Apparently this dude’s memorable. Which is ironic because if we didn’t have Imp, I would suggest something similar to her power for him. But we do, so maybe this is more akin to gray goo than gray men. A nanobot Tinker, or maybe a gooey Shifter… Or maybe we’re evoking one of the most classic horror story threats, ghosts, and have a phaser on our hands. Phasers can be a lot of fun — I’ve talked before about Tyki Mikk and his ability to be selective about what he can and can’t collide with.
  • Chevalier and Defiant: Hehe, look, Chevalier is so far a distinctly forgettable character with a much more memorable name (that had also been brought up in the chapter). I’m not sure whether Chevalier’s power has been established (if it was, it was during Extermination, which was a good four and a half years ago and full of new characters, many of whom I didn’t need to remember), and his name suggests a knight aesthetic, so when I forgot who Defiant’s ridiculous spear-lance-thing belonged to it was fairly natural to guess it was Chevalier I vaguely remembered having that. Because he definitely sounds like the type to be jousting.

I like the Firefox browser

For Browser suggestions, I use Firefox but I’ve heard Opera GX is pretty nice (it has CPU and RAM limiters!)

Firefox is pretty popular, and I did use it for a while when I was younger. I don’t know how it compares when it comes to memory hogging (the main reason I don’t want to use Google Chrome; I originally found Maxthon specifically by searching for more lightweight browsers), but it’s worth a shot.

As for Opera GX, I learned about that one separately between asking and getting these asks, through a YouTube sponsored segment. It sounded pretty good, but I looked it up on Wikipedia afterwards and learned that unfortunately it’s doing the same kind of crypto bullshit that got me interested in switching away from Maxthon in the first place.

Update: Firefox doesn’t work. At all.

One thought on “Between: Interlude 19b

  1. Amy asked Jack Slash if Bonesaw had fiddled with her age and he replied “No, she’s just like this” in one of the chapters you’ve read. I think that can be taken to mean Bonesaw really is the age she appears. Taylor estimated she was 14 (Aisha’s age) and Amy estimated she was 111-12 (I forget if Amy’s 16 or 17), but really for two different people guessing someone’s age that’s an acceptable range.


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