She Who Skitters in Shadows: Second Breath

Discussion in 'Creative Writing' started by gibbousmoons, Sep 27, 2013.

  1. gibbousmoons Have fun!

    Seven hours, a snow day, and a single shard. Is that all it takes to doom a world? Welcome to unlife, Taylor Hebert, day caste Abyssal. Yes, that's one of the nasty kinds. It's a good thing she's such a nice girl, right? Worm/Exalted cross.

    Disclaimer:
    Worm belongs to Wildbow's twisted mind, and is finished at last. Exalted is White Wolf's.


    -+-SWSiS-+-

    Index

    --Part One--
    _*_ Raising Spirits _*_
    Chapter 1: Consent
    1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4
    Interlude 1- Wards

    Chapter 2: Car
    2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 2.4, 2.5, 2.6, 2.7
    Interlude 2- Panacea

    Chapter 3: Corpse
    3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 3.4, 3.5, 3.6
    Interlude 3: Helpers

    Chapter 4: Scepter
    4.1, 4.2, 4.3, 4.4, 4.5, 4.6
    Interlude 4- Regent

    Chapter 5: Category
    5.1, 5.2, 5.3, 5.4, 5.5
    --End of Part One--
    Part Two
    _+_Bloody Fingers_+_

    Interlude 5- Inaccurate Online Bulletin Board
    Chapter 6: Time
    6.1, 6.2, 6.3, 6.4, 6.5, 6.6, 6.7
    Interlude 6- Dragon

    Chapter 7: Tipping Point
    7.1, 7.2, 7.3, 7.5
    Interlude 7- Jack

    Chapter 8: Totality
    8.1, 8.2, 8.3, 8.4, 8.5.
    Interlude 8- Colin

    Chapter 9: Turn
    9.1, 9.2, 9.3, 9.4, 9.5, 9.6, 9.7, 9.8
    Interlude 9- Larquen

    Chapter 10: Trap
    10.1, 10.2, 10.3, 10.4, 10.5, 10.6, 10.7, 10.8
    Interlude 10- Doctor

    --End of Part Two--
    Part Three
    -..,.-Foothold-.,..-
    Chapter 11: Double Cross
    11.1,
  2. gibbousmoons Have fun!

    Game Mechanics Character Sheet

    She Who Skitters in Shadows(Taylor Hebert)
    Renegade Abyssal

    Health Levels:
    -0 []
    -1 [] [] [] []
    -2 [] [] [] [] [] []
    -4 []
    incapacitated [] [] [] [] [] []

    Willpower: 9/9
    Resonance: 0

    Physical: Strength 2, Dexterity 2, Stamina 5
    Social: Charisma 2, Manipulation 1, Appearance 4
    Mental: Perception 4, Intelligence 2, Wits 5

    Virtues: Compassion 1, Conviction 4, Temperance 3, Valor 2
    Flawed Virtue: Compassion
    Essence: 4
    Personal Pool: ??/21
    Peripheral Pool: ??/47

    Abilities: *Archery 2, Martial Arts 5, *Integrity 2 (+1 verbal), *Presence 2 (+3 fear), Resistance 5, *Investigation 3 (+2 power ID), *Lore 2, *Athletics 3 (+3 running), *Awareness 5, *Dodge 5, *Stealth 3

    Backgrounds: Whispers 3, Backing 3 (Protectorate and Affiliates), Mentor 2 (Armsmaster)

    Charms:

    Lore
    - Essence-Draining Touch
    Resistance
    - Cadaverous Torpor Technique
    - Ox-Body Technique (2)
    Athletics
    - Spider Pounce Technique
    - Corpse-Might Surge
    Dodge
    - Second Dodge Excellency
    - Infinite Dodge Mastery
    - Flickering Wisp Technique
    - Flitting Shadow Form
    - Thousandfold Shadow Dance
    Investigation
    - First Investigation Excellency
    Stealth
    - Shadow Cloak Technique
    Awareness
    - sensory enhancement charm (olfactory)
    Martial Arts (Dark Messiah Style)
    - Dead Man's Grasp
    - Inescapable Iron Grip
    - Ravaging Blow
    - For-Blinding Jab
    - Dark Messiah Form
    - Grievous Agony Attack
  3. gibbousmoons Have fun!

    In-Universe Character Sheet: (PRT version)

    Cape Name: Skitter
    Real Name: Taylor Hebert
    Alignment: Hero (Wards)
    Location: Brockton Bay
    Age: 15
    Gender: Female

    Powers:
    +Trump 4: inner power source used for a variety of abilities
    -Shaker 2: fear aura, illusory fire generation
    -Shifter 3: momentary immaterial form
    -Striker 3: knock-out touch- non parahumans only
    -Thinker 1: perception increase, scent based
    +Breaker 3/4: altered physical laws*
    -Breaker 3: strength erratic, not standard brute (needs verification)

    The following section is under construction

    Striker 5: altered physical laws*
    -kept Crawler from breathing despite numerous respiratory adaptations, also stopped his regeneration of damage to neck inflicted during choke
    -Crawler was likewise unable to make any sound while touched
    -Autopsy reveals no cause of death, Skitter refuses to elaborate. Suggest adding additional warning to file about death inflicting Striker effect.**

    (!) WARNING: This cape's powers can be harmful to bystanders at full power.
    (!) WARNING: This cape's powers are not fully under her control.
    (!) WARNING: This cape has shown mental instability while under stress.***
    NOTE: This cape's powers cause the following mental effects on their user: occasional emotional suppression and mental susceptibility.

    *broken into new category following demise of Crawler

    **Dammit who keeps changing my edits? That should be at least Stiker 8, she killed Crawler by choking him to death, that makes no sense!

    ***do we really need a tag for this? Almost the entire Protectorate has it.
  4. Selonianth Writer of Words

    I still want her to get the Uncanny Dodge Technique. If only for the dodging lulz.
    Rc1212 likes this.
  5. ultima333 Level 44 Walking Carpet

    Awesome! Thread two's up! Was worrying about the old one reaching critical mass. Can't wait to see how this goes. :D
    Just one thing. Taylor's last name is Hebert, not Herbert. You have it on both the Mechanics sheet and the In-Universe sheet.
  6. Mental susceptibility, huh?

    At least until she gets Integrity Charms! :D
  7. Stratagemini I'm a Fire Ferret, Really!


    No Stranger rating?
  8. Rathmun Registered

    Well, only so long as what she's being asked to do while in limit is in line with her motivation. Useful for the PRT at the moment, not so useful for any villians.
    Winged One likes this.
  9. gibbousmoons Have fun!

    --SWSiS--

    Interlude 6- Dragon

    After she’d gotten the various standard test results in, it had taken a full fourteen seconds, a figurative age, for Dragon to realize that something was wrong with the Brockton Bay Wards’ newest member. Not that irregularity was, by itself, really that unusual.

    It was a testament to whatever system that created them that parahuman powers came in so many forms, and any averaging she attempted could only produce the loosest guidelines of what they could or could not manifest as.

    But still, fourteen seconds after the last test (full-body physical and blood work) was processed and entered into the Protectorate databases, nearly three months after the girl had signed on, Dragon could tell that something was more different than usual about that case.

    Skitter, she called herself, and Dragon supposed that name made as much sense as many, and more than hers. She paused for a moment, midway between modifying her latest armor’s thrust pack and parsing the latest posts on the Paranet forums. Well, admittedly she’d chosen her own name because of The Hobbit,

    It was still her favorite.

    Her thoughts wandered back to Skitter, the anomaly.

    She’d used up the original sample of blood, and had to resort to cloning more. Not the most complex procedure, but hardly groundbreaking. Half a dozen Tinkers had made new processes for the procedure in the past year alone. Then the odd thing happened.

    The power went out, and the instance of her in her little Ontario facility failed.

    Seven minutes and forty-four seconds later, Dragon was active again, rerouting her current suit to check in. The lab’s systems refused to answer her electronic hails. She slipped into a suit with an organic processor, the only kind that could hold most of her and still fit in a human-shaped armor, and a modular static shield. She wasn’t going to risk the blackout being the fault of Saint and his Dragonslayers. The shield would stop electronic interference from her own systems long enough for her to make a getaway.

    And then she’d come back for a rematch, Protectorate in tow.

    But it wasn’t the Dragonslayers.

    Once she’d pried open the government mandated service hatch on the roof, the bulky suit was able to access the lab’s power grid, forcibly activating the emergency lighting and computer systems, letting her access the video logs directly.

    Fifteen seconds later she’d found the source, Skitter’s blood.

    The moment she’d finished cloning the first batch the feed cut, the power was out. Primary, backup, geothermal, all of it was rendered nonfunctional in less than a single processing cycle.

    If only she could think faster, observe more in an instant, but no. Dragon had almost gotten used to the old chains.

    But that didn’t mean she couldn’t improvise.

    A message was sent to a local film group, inquiring about an add to rent out a high-speed camera, one of the old film ones. Would they be willing to sell it instead? A storage facility four miles east had a gasbag from a university’s defunded high-atmosphere data gathering efforts. She could give them a donation in exchange for a days use. They gave it to her freely, and Dragon made a note to see about an anonymous donation. Some of the equipment she didn’t need in the small lab was repurposed, the armor’s plasma caster modified to be used as a welding torch.

    In three hours, Dragon had an observation balloon capable of recording events at ground level. In another thirty minutes she’d peeled back the armored roof to expose the interior, and set the automated (but non-replicating or intelligent- damn) probe overhead.

    Then she pushed the button that would start the process of cloning Skitter’s blood again, and jumped into the air, her thrust pack accelerating her until the lab was a speck beneath her.

    Her camera feed of the interior of the lab went out again, and the negatives retrieved from the probe indicated that nothing had happened.

    And yet, for some reason, activities similar to those recorded when Skitter’s powers raged out of control manifested whenever her blood was cloned.

    It made no sense to Dragon. Skitter’s blood had to be able to replicate, she’d bled before, and wasn’t suffering low blood pressure, so she could replace it on her own. What was so different about cloning it?

    By now the subject gave her a headache whenever she thought about it, which Dragon was sure shouldn’t be possible either.

    Maybe she could distract herself with some better problems.

    Was her tracking software still working correctly? It always needed tune-ups. Behemoth was mostly stationary, and the software she’d distributed to the Protectorate was only off by a kilometer, according to sensors. That was within parameters. The same with Leviathan. The Simurgh was. . . that couldn’t be right.

    Dragon looked up.

    A distant speck of white was barely visible in the upper atmosphere, directly overhead, when her pattern-based predictive software said it should have been over Honduras.

    Dragon immediately began to accelerate out of the winged Endbringer’s flight path, breaking off at a tangent. She was running on an organic interface at the moment, she was suddenly aware, and nobody liked to fall in an Endbringer’s shadow, let alone that one.

    As she flew she finished her diagnostic.

    The Sleeper was still where he always was, good.

    The Slaughterhouse Nine was an interesting case. They didn’t make waves often, sticking to small towns and back roads as the moved across America, but every now and then they made big news by attacking a city. As individuals they were problems. As a group, directed by Jack Slash’s unique brand of genius?

    They were unpredictable, impossible to corner, and always had a way out, even if sometimes it was over the body of one of their own.

    But Dragon could track them.

    She had the kind of processing power that was needed to roam the thousands and thousands of news reports and articles on crimes and odd occurrences, and find the patterns that fit S9’s current lineup.

    Disappearance in the mountains, no body found. Hospital ransacked for medical supplies, patients left with candy on their bedstands. A wildfire that reignited on the same plot of land five times in a single week.

    A line that lead down an interstate, to a familiar city.

    Dragon touched her finger to a land line, and the suit’s electromagnetic manipulator transmitted a message down it, to her closest friend. “Collin? You've got incoming, the Slaughterhouse Nine are on course for Brockton Bay.”

    A response, direct and to the point. He knew when not to play word games with her. "When?"

    Dragon ran the math again to make sure. "Hours."
  10. Uh-oh…

    The fact that Simurgh's on the drop isn't good either. Now, the question is, where's she headed?
  11. chrnno Time Traveller

    Because I never unwatch threads since it is highly useful if I want to find something later on.

    As for the update nice, poor Dragon getting utterly confused. That Simurgh is there is highly worrying since she likely derived at least some information from Dragon's experiments and that is never good. Also advance warning for the S9 heading to Brockton Bay? Wonder what that will change...
  12. gibbousmoons Have fun!


    It's more that they're almost there. I'll change the message to give a more accurate impression.
  13. It is quite logical, the only way for her to be so sure they are going to BB is that they're already driving on a road with no other important cities nearby. Which probably means that at most they're a few hours from arrival.

    And Taylor thought that Lung was scary.
  14. chrnno Time Traveller

    Hum... Am I misremembering canon since I remember people only knowing about the S9 after they already had contact with each potential recruit? That is why I said advanced warning.
  15. Vaalintine Wild Wonderous Wolfalope

    I'll bet it was the town's weather going all silent hill that caught S9's attention. Given the outcome of most of their actions, I wouldn't be surprised if they became interested in Skitter.

  16. A good interlude, but two minor points.

    1: I'm pretty sure that she explicitly can't replicate herself, she operates from that one location and remote controls stuff in distant locations, rather than replicating herself in different places to do different things.

    So rather than an instance of her failing, it would be more like she lost a connection to her tools.

    And secondly, I'm, not sure about this but did she call him colin at this point? Remember, they haven't had time to bond yet, he knows nothing about her. And you implied that they sometimes play word games.

    Not sure about this, but I thought they barely knew each other a this point?
  17. Selonianth Writer of Words

    Abyssal vs Abyssal! FIGHT!
  18. This is way before Leviathan so probably Dragon lost them after that. Also I wouldn't be too surprised if Jack is letting Dragon track them just to mess with everyone.
  19. gibbousmoons Have fun!


    The Dragon that 'died' when the lab went silent isn't the Dragon that woke up, since that particular instance had memories the backup didn't.

    And Dragon knows everyone's name. Since both she and Armsmaster have been active for what, a decade? I'd imagine that they're at least friendly, if only because Armsmaster has so very few friends, and Dragon doesn't storm off in a huff if he doesn't act like a functioning member of society.
    Kaynato, Valiran, Salbazier and 3 others like this.
  20. So why would Skitter's blood not be cloneable? I thought Resonance was just something that happened to the Exalt, not her body tissues.

    Also, Saint's group is called the Dragonslayers, not the Dragon Killers.

    And the S9 are coming to town well ahead of schedule. Either Mr. Winters has given some more info to Bonesaw, or they just couldn't resist the idea of recruiting a cape who can turn the environment into a horror movie. A few hours of warning is a pretty good advantage, though. Enough time to mobilize the PRT, bring in more capes, prepare for Shatterbird, and so on.
  21. Ah I see, it wasn't two simultaneous instances of dragon, which is impossible. She died, and then her backup came online. That's pretty serious.
  22. Swarmer31857 I lost a black widow around here somewhere.

    I was still reading because I don't have super speed. Now that I'm and have been a wisacre, I'll go back to the top and read. ;)
  23. Oh dear. Bonesaw is off to visit her sister.
  24. Well lets face it Skitter's patron fought, survived and won a war against beings that are just on a whole other level compared to the endbringers and after being betrayed started working for a particularly scary bunch of them whose end goal is to literally destroy everything, and then Dragon comes along and starts messing with her blood (which has so many metaphysical properties in well anything related to metaphysics) to something as sensitive as the Simurgh it would probably be like some one doing this.


  25. Guile The Blind and Buttonless

    What's more likely? That between now and when the S9 arrive (this is what, a month or two ahead of canon?) she goes from not knowing him to calling him Colin, covering for him more than any other person, wondering to herself if she loves him, choosing him to tell the truth about herself and help her slip her bonds... or that they've had a cordial working relationship and building friendship for the last half decade, since she became a PRT-friendly hero after Newfoundland in 2005?
    Kaynato, Winged One, Valiran and 11 others like this.

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