Colony 15.2

Alright, time to get this show back on the road!

Colony 15.1… damn, after that Interlude last time, it took me a moment to recall what even happened in 15.1. It’s coming back to me, though.

So, the Undersiders are going up against Coil in sneaky ways. How exactly are they going about this? It seems like they do think it might come to blows eventually, but they’re focusing on more covert operations at first.

The obvious answer would be trying to sneak Dinah out somehow, but that doesn’t seem particularly easy. Especially if Coil himself is around when they try, in either of his realities. Then again nobody said this would be easy.

But no. I don’t think that’s really why that doesn’t seem like the right option. I think it’s more that it’s too obvious. If it was that simple, we’d know it by now. No, Skitter has a plan and it’s going to be a lot more interesting than that.

Maybe they’re going to undermine Coil and cause his whole setup to collapse before he can stop it with his power? Somehow? And grab Dinah in the ensuing chaos?

I don’t really know what their plan is, and I’m itching to get back to some Worm, so let’s go and find out! Probably.

End of Interlude 15

That was… a lot.

Fuck, let’s split this up by the sections:

Darkness: A fantastic intro, raising many questions and getting the reader invested in where this chapter would be going and who it was about. Sets up the desperation of the trigger event as well as the way Carol would later feel about the long-haired guy’s betrayal really well.

Alan Barnes: By far the most mundane section, but it casually shows us who we’re following and how she’s dealing with what she knows of the Victoria and Amy situation by seeking more mundane work as a break from her endless search, while somewhat subtly making it clear that she favors Victoria. The section is not that interesting at first read, I think, but it’s not without purpose in the chapter.

It does suffer heavily from the inclusion of Alan Barnes and the fact that his surname was being kept from us until the end of the section, even though this was clearly the section’s second purpose: Telling us that Emma’s father, and therefore very likely Emma herself, is/are back in town. The fact that this happened just after we got rid of the other Alan, and only two chapters after the latest reminder of that name for the other Alan, made things extremely confusing for a while. Especially as this section happens early in the chapter, while we’re still trying to figure out exactly when things are set and how things are laid out.

Trigger events: Dandelions, fuck yeah. I love the fact that what appears to be their birth mirrors the spreading of seeds from a dandelion.

The action, and especially Carol’s reaction to the long-haired man attacking them, was also pretty decent, especially with the way the latter was later revealed to have affected her for the rest of her life.

Daughters, plural: A pretty short section, really more of a transition. Carol’s reaction to the others finding both daughters is worth a mention, though, and the way it reinforces what was subtly set up in the Alan section.

Marquis: Marquis is such a good character. Must run in the family.

The battle was very good. I love the fact that Marquis was defeated because he was acting differently than usual to protect Amy. It really helps to sell the love he has for her. And the way he acted after his defeat, entrusting his daughter to the people who were about to take him away from her forever? So good.

The battle was suspiciously different from what we’ve been told about it before, about how they sent in an all-female team to play off of Marquis’ honor. I suppose in retrospect that might’ve been a public fib made to protect the secret of how he was really beaten? Except I’m pretty sure we heard that story from Dragon, one of the few who seem to know the truth.

Anyway, I love how things come together in this section, between their trigger event and Marquis’ appearance and Carol’s behavior regarding Amy (as seen in two of the earlier sections and from Amy’s perspective).

Art: And the pain begins.

Carol confronting Amy and making it clear that only Victoria is her daughter.

Amy’s uncertainty and fear.

The horrifyingly beautiful sculpture that used to be Victoria, and the way that came about.

Carol picking that moment out of them all to finally realize that Amy wasn’t so different from herself.


So much pain in all the best ways.

“Please tell me what to do.”



One of my favorite characters just decided to take herself out of the story (as long as the Birdcage isn’t compromised, anyway). I’m fine. Sure.

You guys were just waiting for me to get to this, weren’t you. I know how liveblog readers work.

But seriously, this is a really painful but really fitting ending to her character arc. She’s been in so much turmoil since she found out about Marquis, and Bonesaw set her on a downward spiral of unethical use of her power. Now we got to see the climax of the latter and an apparent acceptance of the former – she must’ve known she’d meet Marquis in the Birdcage, and it might even be a part of why she volunteered to go.

And Carol’s found a certain acceptance. She’s not feeling good, but she acknowledges that Victoria is for all intents and purposes gone, and she seems to accept that Marquis and his daughter are reunited and may even be happy together in the Birdcage.

It’s bittersweetness at its finest.


Holy shit, this was so good and so painful but so fucking good.

See you next time. I have a chapter to go recover from.

Interlude 15 (Donation Bonus)

Well, that’s a surprise! An Interlude this early in the Arc? Sure, why not.

So who are we following today, then?

I’m inclined to think we’re about to learn a thing or two about the Travelers and their perception of Coil. Maybe one of them finds out what the Undersiders are up to somehow.

Perhaps more importantly, a Traveler Interlude would give us a chance to find out what the hell their deal actually is. I’m thinking Trickster’s perspective would be ideal for that, but Ballistic is more likely because we don’t know him as well as the other main Travelers. Maybe Ballistic finds out the 325?

If it’s not the Travelers… I have no clue who it’d be. Who else is relevant to this Arc that hasn’t had an Interlude? Brian, I suppose, but I don’t think we’re getting him right now. Rachel’s minions (I feel like Barker and Biter might be put to use at some point), but they don’t seem important enough to get an Interlude yet…

I don’t know.

So let’s find out!

End of Colony 15.1

The Undersiders stick together! I honestly wasn’t entirely expecting that.

This was pretty good for a strategy meeting chapter. I very much appreciate that we’re finally making headway with Taylor and Rachel, and I quite enjoyed seeing Rachel’s reaction to Taylor making her a costume in spite of being told to fuck off. While I’m a little bit miffed we didn’t get to see the others’ immediate reactions, this was the one reaction that actually mattered and I’m glad we were allowed to witness it.

Those stairs are gonna be so worn out if they continue like this, though.

As for the actual strategy meeting part, that went quite smoothly. Alec decided to mess with everyone a bit – though he’s possibly more affected by the whole end of the world thing than he’d like to let on – but we got to a unanimous decision of “fuck Coil” fairly easily.

From there on out we got some strategy talk. It’s still not clear what exactly they’re planning, which is a good thing for their odds early on, but we’re playing secret chess and I’m very much here for it.

The ending line is a little bit iffy. It seemed to come almost out of nowhere, like Wildbow wasn’t entirely sure how to lead the dialogue into the line he had planned to end the chapter with, or wasn’t sure how to end the chapter, period. At least it’s a fairly good line.

Next chapter, we’re presumably beginning to put some of these plans into motion. We may also get more adventures in Taylor’s territory – I’m still fairly sure the chapter title is related to the territory in some way. Maybe Taylor will have to make the choice between her territory and Dinah by the end of the Arc, with her non-subterfuge activities in the Arc helping to build up how much Taylor cares about the territory a bit more?

Whatever the case may be, I’m sure it’ll be good. See you next time!

Colony 15.1

It’s that time again – time to start a new Arc!

Due to this ask I now know that Prey is considered the end of book 2, which I means that we are not ending the book in Colony. That has implications: For one thing, this is very likely an Interlude Arc like Sentinel.

For another, we’re most likely not seeing an attack from the Simurgh yet unless this Arc follows characters from a different location dealing with that, which I find unlikely because unlike regular Interludes, judging by Sentinel, Interlude Arcs seem like they should be at the beginnings of the books and an Endbringer attack is very much something that belongs at the end of a book. Although with the scaling of the threats, maybe that won’t be the case for much longer. Also, this Endbringer attack would need to have some connection to the main plot – getting to see the attack just because it is happening would be weird, considering that at this point, they’re just a thing that happens in this world. Thirdly, we’d need to have reason to care about the characters involved, though I suspect Wildbow could pull that off.

So if this is an Interlude Arc and not an Endbringer Arc, what are we in for? Whose POV?

My first thought is the population of Taylor’s territory. But we’ve just had an Interlude from the POV of one of a total two or so non-Taylor residents we have reason to want an Interlude from the POV of.

Hmm. Colony, ant colony, ants, workers… Docks? Something to do with the rebuilding of the town? Or maybe the Guild, finally learning what their deal is beyond “Dragon is part of both the Protectorate and the Guild”?

I don’t know. Even with some of my options practically ruled out by the knowledge that this isn’t included in the Slaughterhouse Nine book, this Arc remains very hard to speculate on. Much like regular Interludes, actually.

I think it’s time that I just jump in and find out! And try not to get bitten by too many ants that are pissed at me for jumping into their Colony.

Arc Thoughts: Prey

In which everyone hunts everyone else.

There’s one big question Arc 14 of Worm has left me with: How do these Arcs just keep getting better?

I mean seriously, let’s look back at the progression in this Arc:

  • 14.1: In which we got attempted mind games from Cherish and learned that someone among the Undertravelers (probably Trickster) has a potentially lethally upsetting secret. Only one of the weakest chapters in the Arc because the rest were so good.
  • 14.2: Solid rescue operation of one of my favorite characters from Siberian.
  • 14.3: Epic chase scene, and excellent Amy development.
  • 14.4: In which Jemily Piggot is delightfully devious and Amy continues to be fantastic with her latest contribution of Atlas the giant beetle.
  • 14.5: Taylor and Weld fighting together nearly seamlessly, big asshole kitty getting some much-needed attention, fantastic tension as the Undertravelers try to escape the blast zone, Taylor learns to fly… So much good stuff.
  • 14.6: That Amy and Victoria scene was so good! Honorary mentions: Taylor’s tangent about eating bugs and Regent being beautifully on the ball.
  • 14.7: Some pacing/tension issues drag this one down, but the descriptions of the Bakuda barrage was amazing.
  • 14.8: AND THIS IS WHERE THE ARC WENT FROM GOOD TO FUCKING AMAZING. The miasma is one of the best concepts Bonesaw could drop on the city and I love it so damn much. Honorary mention: Sundancer’s spiel on being alone and the way it ties in beautifully with what was about to happen to her and everyone else.
  • 14.9: AND THEN IT JUST GOT EVEN BETTER (even if I was being a bit of a dunce)
  • 14.10: Really good dialogue between Jack and Amy as he tried to get her to betray her morals and join up, followed by a pretty good hallway knife/gun– wait a minute. Jack. Literally brought a knife to a gun fight. Or was it Taylor who brought a gun to a knife fight?
  • 14.11: Well that’s certainly a way to go about curing Rachel and Lisa! And then there’s Jack’s parting message and Cherish’s fate.
  • Interlude 14: Sierra Interlude? Don’t mind if I do! I had some trouble getting through the earlier parts of the Interlude but once Taylor showed up things got really good.
  • Interlude 14.5: LEGEND IS SO GOOD FOR KID WIN. Shame they’re probably not getting another chance to talk. …oh yeah, and the Triumvirate are working with Cauldron despite two of them apparently knowing what’s up. That’s a pretty good curveball reveal. BUT KID WIN GUYS

In short, really fucking good Arc. Quite possibly the best one so far, even!

This was the climax to the Slaughterhouse Nine plotline (though Jack at least will likely become relevant again when we find out how he dooms the world), which has been going for 3.5 (or 5, depending where you count from)


now, and I really think Wildbow nailed it. The miasma was a really amazing way to end this sequence, and I appreciate just how unwilling the Nine were to give in, how much they had to be whittled down before they left – it made it feel like this was an amazing accomplishment by the protagonists even though the core of Nine ultimately got away.

Even if Taylor doesn’t feel that way. Taylor is weird about acknowledging her accomplishments, though it all makes perfect sense with regards to her character.

The Arc title

Everyone was indeed Prey, except maybe the Protectorate. And even they were caught in the miasma.

The Undertravelers hunted Siberian, who hunted Amy. The PRT/Piggot hunted the Nine and the Undertravelers, and when parts of the Nine slipped away from the Protectorate, the Undertravelers took up that hunt (after being Crawler’s and the PRT’s prey at the same time), while Legend was hunting Siberian. And so it went on until the miasma struck and made everyone downtown the Nine’s prey in a sense (not that that’s much of a change from the norm), as well as feel like everyone else’s prey. Jack tried to prey on Amy’s insecurities. Then we had Taylor hunting the Nine again at the end, though they ultimately got away.

Sierra and Charlotte avoided the miasma and even they ended up as prey for the metaphorical ravens.

Prediction review

Rolling over all the way from Arc Thoughts: Infestation:

And, if someone attempts to kill Jack Slash, they will either fail, or do it too late.

Yeeah, nobody succeeded at that. Anyone who manages to do it later in the story will be too late according to Dinah. I’m going to consider this one proven correct.

And now for predictions from Arc Thoughts: Snare:

Due to an accident while writing the End of Interlude 13 post yesterday, I know the title, or original title if it has been changed, of Arc 14: Prey.

Who’s the prey, exactly? After hearing Piggot’s plan, I’m inclined to think it’s both the local villains and the Slaughterhouse Nine. The Nine are at the bottom of the parahuman food chain for a change, being hunted by the Undertravelers and the Protectorate, but the PRT is also hunting the Undertravelers and other local villains.

I suppose there’s still civilians under the Nine on the overall food chain, but the Nine have already been preying on them quite a lot, so that shouldn’t be enough for an Arc title.

…oh. Oh, right.

I was already going to predict that Siberian was going to be in the spotlight next Arc, because of the focus she got in Interlude 13. Of course that ties in with the title Prey. She’s probably the next tester, which means the nominees are going to be her prey.

That doesn’t invalidate the other interpretation, though. I’m inclined to think both are correct.

I think I was right here, except I was thinking too specifically. I later added that everyone’s prey, in the chapter thoughts of 14.1.

So is the next Arc going to give the spotlight to only Siberian, among the Nine? The Nine’s numbers have been reduced enough that Wildbow can do that now, especially if they continue being reduced.

No. At the time I was writing this, I still thought the plotline might go on for a bunch more Arcs.

I don’t think the Undertravelers are going to let up on their ongoing assault against the Nine, but Taylor might start being a tad more cautious thanks to Grue’s input. Maybe that’s what ends up saving them from the Protectorate’s explosive backstab?

I haven’t really seen her be that notably more cautious, really. And the thing that ended up saving them was Piggot tipping her hand while making sure they’d all go into the blast zone.

And finally, I think there’s a good chance we’ll finally learn what the Travelers’ deal is. Hell, if my theories on that are anywhere near right, that might even be another reason for the title.

Not yet, but we’re definitely building up to it, what with the massive secret and the Sundancer development. Roll over.

From a post made shortly after Arc Thoughts: Snare:

Oh yeah, one more prediction for Prey: I suspect one or more of the minor protagonists is/are going to die to Siberian, or at least get mauled. Maybe even one of the major protagonists. This would mirror the Case 01 video, perhaps even closely.

The Nine have actually been remarkably non-lethal to the named characters. They’ve slayed hundreds, maybe thousands of redshirts civilians, but only, what, five characters whose names we knew? Four of which were incredibly unsympathetic? Though some more may have died in the miasma.

Predictions for Arc 15 before reading the title

This is a hard one. There’s not much to go on as far as where the story is headed next.

It’s possible we’re about to learn more about the Travelers, but I doubt that’s the main plot. Likewise, I don’t think dealing with the Chosen is that big of a deal for Taylor at this point, especially since they’ve lost their leader.

It is also very possible that we’re heading into the second boss battle Arc, though it’d be a bit curious that no strong indication of that (except Eidolon mentioning that another Endbringer strike was due soon) appeared at the end of Prey like what happened at the end of Buzz. If we are heading into that territory next Arc or in Arc 16, I think we’re in for the Simurgh attacking Brockton Bay.

If she does, we might see some of the characters start to question why two Endbringers would attack the same location in a row like that, lending more credibility to Coil’s “Noelle draws Endbringers” theory.

I suppose it’s also entirely possible that the miasma was the boss battle of this section and we’re not getting attacked by all three Endbringers like I’ve been theorizing, in which case we’d be moving into an Interlude Arc.

But that’d feel kind of anticlimactic, even though Prey was a fantastic climax to the Slaughterhouse Nine plotline, and unless the chapters in the Interlude Arc were themed like the ones in Sentinel, it’d call into question why we had two Interludes in Prey. Though that can still be explained by thematics and threads, wanting Legend’s Interlude to be clearly tied to Prey.

So yeah, I’m not really sure what to expect. Let’s see if the Arc title gives me any ideas, shall we?

Predictions for Arc 14: Colony

Colony. That, to me, sounds like we’ll be focusing on the rebuilding of Taylor’s territory and its community for a while. Maybe all the territories, even, turning the city into the Undertravelers’ colony?

But that sounds like a really anticlimactic premise on its own. We may focus on that, but something needs to not go smoothly to make the Arc interesting. It needs more conflict than just “how do we fix up this building”. Dealing with the Chosen still doesn’t sound all that interesting after tangoing with the Nine.

I’m not saying I expect the upcoming Arc to be boring. I’m saying that if I’m right about what the title implies, I don’t really know how Wildbow is going to prevent that. I do trust that he will, though, in some way.

Perhaps the title is less literal. Maybe it’s about the cohesiveness and cooperation as the heavily hurt and fractured people of Brockton Bay band together to defend their colony, their home, against the Simurgh or another threat?

Or maybe it’s a colony in the sense of an additional area taken and controlled from afar? But I can’t imagine Taylor wants to take another piece of territory, away from her current one.

This next Arc is very hard to speculate on, jeez. In any case, I’m looking forward to starting on it and finding out what’s actually going on. See you soon!

End of Interlude 14.5

In which Legend continues to be great as he says all the right things to Kid Win, learns some things we already knew while showing us things we didn’t and raising an alarming amount of death flags. Don’t think I didn’t notice that he still hasn’t gone home.

This was a very interesting one. Cauldron has been working with the Triumvirate, and two of them have apparently been helping to keep Legend in the dark about Cauldron’s true neutral alignment. Well then.

Eidolon also brought up that an Endbringer attack is likely to happen soon. I think we’re getting close to learning more about the Simurgh. I’m not sure if it’ll be next Arc, though, considering that that’s the only mention of such a thing in this Interlude – we’re not leading right into it like the end of Buzz did to Extermination. But the question of what’s up next still stands. Maybe the alarms will indeed go off in 15.1.

More on this in the Arc Thoughts, I suppose. See you there!

Interlude 14.5 (Bonus Interlude)

Let’s see how Wildbow decided to number this one… my money’s on 14½…

“Interlude 14.5 (Bonus Interlude)”. Alright, sure! One of these days I’ll probably get to a point where Wildbow starts to get more consistent about these, but it doesn’t look like today is that day.

Anyway, howdy! It’s time for the beginning of the end of the end of the end (but not THE end)!

(That is, the beginning of this Interlude, which is the end of the pair of Interludes that make up the end of the Arc, which is (I think) the end of the larger arc that covers the Slaughterhouse Nine’s presence in this part of the story, but not THE end of the story as a whole. That makes sense, right?)

So, for less nonsensical things, what are we in for tonight?

It’s a little late and I’m eager to get into the chapter, so I think I’ll let Pastwell do most of the talking here:

So – there’s one more Interlude before we reach the end of Arc 14. I don’t know if I dare to hope that it’ll be Charlotte’s POV, though that’d be neat. She’s my favorite of the drones (Sierra didn’t manage to take over that spot in this Interlude), and there’s clearly a story to be told regarding her reaction to Sugita. And I’d like to hear how she perceives Skitter too.

But if it’s not her… maybe someone in the Chosen (Cricket in particular comes to mind) learning about Hookwolf having gone?

Or maybe someone who was deeply affected by the miasma, perhaps finding out the member of the Nine they killed in self defense was actually a family member or something? Except the Interludes usually have an impact on the main story somehow. Maybe they’d trigger in response to the realization, or something like that. But now I’m less speculating and more making up a fanfic premise (that has probably been done at least five times). What kind of power would that lead to… Maybe the power to know who anyone you see is?

The one thing Pastwell seemed to neglect in that last paragraph is that maybe such a character would be a parahuman already, someone we already know. Who would be best suited for something like that, thematically? I’d say Amy, but we already know that doesn’t work. Again, though, I doubt we’re actually getting this tonight. It’s too specific a guess, and a bit too fanfic-y.

I don’t think I have anything else to add, so let’s get into the finale of Prey! 😀

End of Interlude 14

This chapter was a mixed bag. It started out with some nice thoughts about the corpses and dealing with them, as well as setting up some Chekhov’s gunmen (though the one using the literal gun ended up being the woman), but then it proceeded to talk about soup for a while (admittedly we got a nice contrasting of Sierra and Charlotte, helping to expand on Sierra’s character, when they discussed caring for the children vs putting them to work), with a “Bryce is a little shit” intermission. It wasn’t bad, but it felt dull by comparison when coming down from the excitement of the miasma.

Then the ABB members in the crew threw away the hope of redemption, which I wasn’t thrilled about. I know this isn’t a story where redemption is easy, but I still kinda wish this had happened with some other people. Some jerks that weren’t introduced a couple Arcs ago as former antagonist mooks. Sure, it makes sense that it’d be them, and it helped make them a credible threat, but I had better hopes for them.

Sugita’s treatment of Charlotte and the way she reacted immediately made me very uncomfortable. I only tagged the initial bit of this with the rape and abuse TWs once I got to the later part where that was made a little more explicit by Sierra speculating on Charlotte’s behavior (the other post with those tags), because that’s when I realized I should probably go back and add those, but the warning bells for those things were definitely going off in my head when I first blogged that part too. I think this might be a part of why I had some trouble getting back to the chapter, mixed with the other criticisms I’ve mentioned so far.

I am interested in hearing Charlotte’s story later, though.

Things rapidly got better the moment Taylor showed up, though! We got treated to some fantastic character writing here as she displayed her theatrical and intimidating side while also being very transparently exhausted as fuck. I could almost hear the exhaustion in her voice, the matter-of-factness of everything, things said by someone who just doesn’t have the mental energy to feel the emotions right now. The casualness of her cruel punishments, even if some of that was for show. And then the way she briefly broke down afterwards, showing her human side to Sierra more than ever, before opening up about her plans. So much good character stuff in the latter part of the chapter.

This is exactly the kind of role I was hoping Sierra could play for Taylor, isn’t it?

So – there’s one more Interlude before we reach the end of Arc 14. I don’t know if I dare to hope that it’ll be Charlotte’s POV, though that’d be neat. She’s my favorite of the drones (Sierra didn’t manage to take over that spot in this Interlude), and there’s clearly a story to be told regarding her reaction to Sugita. And I’d like to hear how she perceives Skitter too.

But if it’s not her… maybe someone in the Chosen (Cricket in particular comes to mind) learning about Hookwolf having gone?

Or maybe someone who was deeply affected by the miasma, perhaps finding out the member of the Nine they killed in self defense was actually a family member or something? Except the Interludes usually have an impact on the main story somehow. Maybe they’d trigger in response to the realization, or something like that. But now I’m less speculating and more making up a fanfic premise (that has probably been done at least five times). What kind of power would that lead to… Maybe the power to know who anyone you see is?

Hmmm. Well, I’ll have to find out next time. See you then! 🙂

Interlude 14

Howdy! It’s time to wrap up Prey – and, at long last, the presence of the Slaughterhouse Nine in Brockton Bay – with an Interlude.

Who are we in for today? Well, that’s usually pretty difficult to speculate on, but I had some ideas at the end of the previous chapter:

If it’s an Interlude… fuck, Interludes are so difficult to speculate on. Maybe we’d have a look at what someone else has been up to under the miasma’s effect? Ooh, maybe we could get Legend’s perspective on the miasma and his head clearing? Though I do feel like if Wildbow had had a Legend Interlude planned around the time of Interlude 13, he might’ve saved the details on Legend’s family life for Legend’s own Interlude.

Another option is that we might follow one of the Nine – Bonesaw, Siberian or Mannequin if he’s alive – and seeing how they feel about the retreat. That feels wrong, though, due to the finality issue.

Hmm. Honestly, I feel like a Protectorate perspective on the Bakuda bombing and its consequences would be quite appropriate, ideally from someone who didn’t know about it like Legend did. Though such a thing could still be presented from Legend’s POV, as someone confronts him and/or Piggy about it.

But we’ve got other Protectorate characters we could use for that, such as Triumph or one of Legend’s people.

Then again, we had a PRT perspective last time. It’s probably more likely Wildbow’s going to switch it up.

Victoria could be an interesting and relevant POV character, but I’m not sure she’s in a good state to be giving her POV right now.

I should probably just jump into it and find out. Let’s go!