End of Prey 14.11

Not a bang but a whimper.

This chapter… didn’t add much, except an opportunity to find this note, a fate for Cherish, and the kissing scene. (The kiss-punch moment with Rachel was wonderful.)

Okay, so it added a bit. Still, though, I’m not sure the whole tracking down the Nine was entirely necessary? I don’t know, it feels a little weird, like this is a dénouement but not really?

But to be fair, it’d be strange for Taylor to give up on it that easily, and leaving the note wouldn’t work as well with the more dramatic escape we had last time.

Also, I’m not even entirely sure this is the end of the Arc. For all I know, we might have another chapter, of the Undersiders trying to figure out how to take this, especially with their knowledge of the prophecy in play. I guess I could check the link later in this post.

If there is a 14.12, it’ll probably be characterized by bittersweetness. They won, didn’t they? So why isn’t Taylor happy about it?

That’s if it’s not Taylor trying to stop Jack from leaving. Though I feel like we’re not going to see the Nine again before they leave – it’d mess with the finality of this letter.

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.

Alright, let’s take a look at the link.

Interlude 14.

Good. I think adding another dénouement chapter to this Arc would drag out a bit, and this letter deserves to be the end of an Arc.

So yeah! See you in the Interlude!

Prey 14.11

Concept: Parahumans spin-off set in Scotland.

Parahummus.

Well! Now that your expectations for my sense of humor tonight have been dutifully set, let’s read some Worm!

So, what are we in for tonight? I’m thinking we’re getting a dénouement, for real this time, focused on reuniting with and curing the other Undertravelers of the miasma. Who even knows what sorts of antics they’ve gotten themselves into while they didn’t know who was who? We do know Bentley ended up at street level somehow, so tracking everyone down might not be as easy as going back to where she left them. Let alone curing them. But I think by the end of the chapter, at least most of them will be reunited. We’ll likely also get some discussion about the implications of Jack escaping the city.

Alternatively, in spite of the final line of 14.10, maybe Taylor isn’t ready to give up on making sure Jack and Bonesaw don’t get away and, to her knowledge, catalyze the end of the world. But I really don’t know how she’d find them in time without Cherish’s help, and I doubt Cherish is particularly willing to help out anymore, if she thinks Jack might schedule a stop by her place (I don’t think he gives a flying fuck about saving Cherish).

I’m strongly leaning towards the former option, largely because of the finality in how 14.10 ended.

So yeah, I don’t think there’s much to do but take a look!

End of Prey 14.10

Thoroughly solid chapter!

I’m pleased with the fact that the Nine were trying to convince Amy to join them rather than to kill her. They need the members, and this led to a pretty interesting dialogue.

I’m not sure how much to care about the revelation that Jack apparently killed Allfather’s daughter rather than Marquis. It seems like Jack told Amy that to drive home that Marquis wasn’t all bad, but I don’t think his code against killing women and children redeems him much at all. I suppose it’s what Amy thinks about it that matters, though, and Amy is far more likely to respect someone’s dedication to a personal code of honor than I am.

(Let’s also take a moment to consider that – while children are one thing – specifically sparing women is not actually all that honorable in a modern setting like this. If he can spare the women, he can spare the men. If he can kill the men, he can kill the women. Treating them this differently is just sexist if anything, and I’m not even sure which gender it’s sexist against. Possibly both.)

Anyway, I did enjoy Jack’s attempts to convince Amy. He clearly knows what buttons to push. The parallels to Lisa are not lost on me, either – Jack is showing himself as roughly as much a dark counterpart to Lisa as Cherish is, and it’s very fitting that we got to see him do that to Amy in particular. I have to admit, he did manage to make some of what he was saying sound quite good – silver tongue indeed.

Incidentally, I’m oddly proud of this post.

The fight against Jack was very good. It’d be fun to see that one in motion, I think, with all the strategic moves and rapid slashes and everything. 🙂

Next chapter… well, the Nine have escaped and the miasma’s cure has been put into motion, so I’m not sure what Taylor can do from here. Range bugs or no, she can’t cover all the paths Jack and Bonesaw might’ve taken for much longer. She could try guessing, but she’d need quite a bit of luck. Besides, it’s a shell game, and Jack is smart enough to know that the ball isn’t supposed to be under any of the shells.

So if Taylor can’t catch the Nine… what’s next? Seeking out the rest of the Undertravelers to cure them of the miasma by sweating at them? Maybe asking Amy again whether she’d like to join the Undersiders? Whatever the case, I think we’re actually going into the dénouement this time.

I do wonder if Jack will bother with attempting to save Cherish before he heads for city limits. She’s certainly a useful tool for Coil and the Undertravelers to keep around if they can, so it might serve a story purpose for her to get busted out. I’m just not sure Jack wants to.

There’s also Siberian, who is apparently in a similar cocoon-like setup as Victoria. Will they fetch him before leaving? And then there’s Shatterbird, who could break free of Alec’s control at some point. The core of the Nine may be leaving, but we’re not quite done with the team’s members yet.

So yeah. This was a good chapter. See you next time!

Prey 14.10

Well this is a fine pickle. Let’s see how Taylor solves this!

Last time, Taylor once again proved much smarter than me, even though I was supposed to figure it out before she did. Hell, I had a major advantage, even, and she still beat me to it. Let’s see if I can be less of an idiot this chapter. :p

She was still fooled long enough for it to count, though, and now Jack and Bonesaw know where Amy (and seemingly Victoria, who might be an issue for them) is, and intend to make it so she isn’t. There or elsewhere.

Oh cod, Bonesaw probably wants to turn her into part of an amalgamate so she can use Amy’s power on her creations like she asked of Amy in Interlude 11h. I’m guessing she’d find it appropriate to mash her up with Victoria in particular, if she knows anything about their relationship.

Meanwhile, Taylor needs to do what she can to save Amy and probably Victoria. She has a couple school stories worth of time to do it, but I kinda doubt it’ll be that easy.

I’m guessing we’ll see the return of some of the tactics she used last time she was protecting Amy from one of the Nine, such as using her bugs to reduce visibility for the Nine, and perhaps setting decoys in a bunch of spots in Arcadia High. She should probably make the decoys seem to collapse if sliced through, so the Nine have to take a closer look to determine if they got Amy or not.

Like I mentioned at the end of the previous chapter, I have a feeling Bonesaw will die soon, possibly in this chapter, but Jack might make a break for city limits.

I don’t really know what else to speculate on, so I think it’s time to jump in and see what Taylor does with this situation!

End of Prey 14.9

krixwell-liveblogs:

AND I THOUGHT THE LAST ONE WAS AMAZING

The best twists are the ones that, in retrospect, make you feel blind for not managing to put the massive clues together, or alternatively, make you feel awesome for figuring it out ahead of time. This was one of the former for me and I loved it, even as it made me feel stupid.

And it was all hinted towards at least as early as the last line of last chapter, which I found really weird. Someone smarter than me could probably tell from that line what was going on (rather than look at the line like a joke that didn’t land mixed with a dramatic ending line that also didn’t land), and end up having a completely different experience of this chapter than I did. I think I would still enjoy this quite a lot if that were the case.

Sometimes it feels great to feel like an idiot.

This was extremely well crafted, with all the alternate options being available for the reader to explain away the various clues as other things, and the way everything comes together when the truth is revealed. Good work, Wildbow. Good fucking work.

The scene with “Brian” brutally manipulating Taylor in order to make her kill Battery was really well done too, though it’s not quite the same with the knowledge that it was actually Jack rather than a heavily mentally compromised Brian. Still, that was fantastically painful.

Cherish was pretty great, apparently trying to worm her way back into the Nine. The Nine could certainly use the numbers right now – they may be down to just the core members, Jack and Bonesaw, unless healing Siberian in ways Bonesaw can’t is part of why they’re tracking down Amy. In retrospect, that’s unlikely, since Bonesaw can do a lot.

The fight at the end had some good moves on both sides – the initial Bonesaw shield was a particularly good one – and really helped to set up the tension for the next chapter.

Next chapter, it’s time to visit Arcadia High, Taylor fighting the Nine as they move bottom to top in search of Amy and presumably Victoria Dallon. How tall is it, I wonder?

Obviously the Nine aren’t going to succeed here. We genuinely do need Amy to survive and I’m sure Wildbow isn’t going to let this mist kill off most of his characters. (I’m working off the assumption that Bonesaw was telling the truth about what the prions would eventually do, because Bonesaw would be compelled to brag about her art.) We also need a way to get rid of the mist, for that matter. Maybe Bonesaw has something on her that can remove it, if you can get it?

I’m thinking Bonesaw will die soon, but Jack may escape and make a break for the city limits. I don’t think it matters as much as everyone in-universe thinks whether he gets out of the city or not (in fact it might be worse if he doesn’t, as the characters get lulled into a false sense of security for the next two years), but he thinks it does and wants to see how. It also becomes a matter of survival when the girl who’s gonna “make sure he [survives]”… doesn’t.

Hm. I suppose if the news say that Jack’s dead, that would remove Theo’s motivation to become a hero quickly. Maybe it’s not as irrelevant as it might seem.

Of course, that’s all assuming my theory is correct. If it isn’t, well, then it matters a lot whether Jack gets out or not. In which case I’m pretty sure he’ll get out.

So yeah! Hella good chapter, A+. See you next time!

Prey 14.9

Alright, looks like we’re seeing this through in this Arc.

Howdy! It’s time to play some Paranoia! Wait, no…

So, last time in Worm: Things went to shit, as they do, and Brockton Bay is now wicked cool looking covered in deadly red miasma that first makes you lose access to most knowledge of other people, causing almost everyone to have trouble trusting anyone else. Taylor has managed to meet up with and regain a shaky trust in Lisa and Brian, and thanks to Lisa’s power circumventing the miasma’s effect, they may actually have a shot at fixing this mess and saving the city from succumbing to the prions.

This time, we need to find cell reception (is it the miasma that blocks it?) or physically travel to Cherish (bad idea). Also, I just remembered, they found Cherish a place in the Trainyard, didn’t they? So she’s not quite as safe from the miasma as I suggested last chapter, though it might not have spread that far (yet). It’d be interesting to see how it interacts with her and her power.

If we have time for it this chapter, we might also track down Amy. Maybe. Oh jeez, what does she think about Victoria if she’s affected by the miasma? Or maybe worse, what does Victoria think about Amy?

I don’t really have anything else to say, so let’s get into it!

End of Prey 14.8

Ahh, yes, a lightweight, low-intensity dénouement chapter indeed.

Sure.

No, but seriously, this was great. I really love everything about this one, from the aesthetic of the city under the miasma’s effect, to the mad scramble to avoid the effect, to Sundancer revealing how much she’s a dark mirror of Taylor in terms of loneliness and friendship as Taylor is facing her friends giving themselves up to an unknown threat, to Legend and Vista, to the precise effect of the miasma, to Lisa bringing them together but Brian ultimately being the one to make Taylor trust them… Just, everything. This was a damn good chapter and I’m very much looking forward to seeing how this plays out from here.

The final line of the chapter was kinda weird, I suppose. It feels like a joke I didn’t quite get, but there are ways to read it that don’t seem so jokey.

Anyway, next chapter, I guess they’re off to find proper reception so they can call Cherish and find out where Amy is. Man, if Cherish enjoyed trying to sow seeds of discord before… Hell, she might even be jealous at Bonesaw for managing to do this so effectively.

There’s also Coil, who’d be a good resource if Lisa is right about him being safe from the miasma.

Finding Amy isn’t enough. They also need to get rid of the miasma, which would likely require finding either Bonesaw, a fuckton of salt, or both. This ain’t gonna be easy, and I’m surprised it seems we’re doing this in the same Arc. Unless we’re going right into the next one from here, perhaps with an Interlude next chapter. We’ll have to see.

If that’s the case, maybe the next Arc is titled something like Spray (might be a little too close phonetically to Prey), or Cannibal(ism), or… something else that might indicate bugs turning on each other. I don’t know.

So yeah, see you next time!