I had almost three thousand words in the snippets and notes file, and realized I should turn some of that into actual content, so here you go. There's still almost two thousand words in the file, so I'm not ruling out more of the 'verse at some point.


"Back in the old days, having such a high population of capes would have meant that Brockton Bay would need a large Protectorate and PRT presence to try to keep a lid on things, so when the Case 53s were settled here, the bases were enlarged to hold a large number of people and training grounds were established outside the city limits. Since Batman is right, criminals are cowards, the detachments would have been reduced in size within a few years if it weren't for the fact this is where the PRT does a lot of its recruiting." Director Piggot looked at Glenn Chambers.

"Since Brockton Bay has such a large and visible number of known capes," visible meant the Case 53s, known meant the New Wave movement and others that had decided to unmask, "by this point the people who live here have years of experience interacting with capes, knowing that those people are capes. Parahumans hiding away can mean that they have something to hide, and most fear is fear of the unknown."

Emily nodded. "We don't want operatives who look at capes and think 'it's not a big deal that they're a parahuman, I can take them,' since underestimating capes is a good way to get your people killed, same as what happened when Jack Slash assumed an ordinary human wasn't a threat. I want people who look at parahumans and know what the deal is. Any trainee can memorize classifications, but people who have interacted with dozens of capes and know what they can and can't do, how they use their powers and how they don't, are priceless."

"Intuition is perfectly scientific," said Armsmaster. "The computer science term is 'thin-slicing.' The brain takes in data about the current situation and automatically checks it against prior experiences to determine threat level and effective strategies. Intuition is a good third of expertise: the more prior experience you have to draw on, the more scenarios your brain can draw on. Most naturally-triggered Wards have an edge in the field, as opposed to training exercises, since most trigger events weren't really one-time experiences." He looked at the child soldier Miss Militia. "People who have experienced evil know what it looks like. People who have been hunted can tell when someone sees the people around them as prey, and strike first. That's why Cauldron Capes may do well in exercises and simulations, but the naturally triggered tend to do better in the field, because they can tell who is 'creepy.'" Cauldron capes paid for the good powers, but there was a difference between raw power and knowing what you were doing.

"Before the defeat of Zion, the upper levels of the Protectorate had an unofficial policy of discrimination against natural capes," Glenn said, taking over from Armsmaster. "They were considered less reliable, less mentally stable because of the trauma they'd experienced. Sounds good in theory, but it made recruitment and outreach lower priorities. That meant that new capes weren't getting the instruction they needed to stay alive, and very large numbers of potential heroes among the natural capes died in their first week, while ones that joined villain groups had support organizations that kept them alive and gave them training. This caused Cauldron Cape Protectorate members in the field to observe that they encountered villainous natural capes several times as often as they encountered heroic ones, due to the difference in lifespan, and reinforced the prejudice that they were probably insane and not worth bothering with unless they justified it somehow. This attitude, reinforced by the shards creating an 'me versus them' mentality, was already causing hero numbers to become a smaller and smaller fraction of total cape numbers, to the point the Protectorate couldn't have survived even a decade without Cauldron Capes, which just reinforced the idea that Cauldron Capes were more important, the 'real' saviors of humanity, and I'll just refer you to Accord's book on how that would have turned out."

"If someone's never experienced a situation where they were in real danger, then they can't know and I can't know what will happen the first time they realize their powers aren't always going to save their asses. Panic gets people killed." Meaning paperwork for the Tinker.

Miss Militia took over."The Wards coming out of Neo Arcadia High know what ozone smells like, and will start preparing for Blasters or Tinkers even before there's a high enough concentration of ozone for their conscious mind to figure out what they're detecting. They know that Masters and Strangers exist, so they start using the Protocols on their own initiative when they think something's up. They keep in mind that parahumans in investigation and raid simulations are a threat without making the mistake of assuming they're the threat."

That MIB movie from Earth Aleph had given a lot of the remaining parahuman gangs ideas, and then The Dark Knight! The PRT especially had a problem with assuming that exercises would have parahumans as the enemies, since if there weren't parahumans involved, then the PRT wouldn't come in. The issue was that there were a lot of ways someone could be 'involved' with a crime. Say, as the victim. The PRT and Protectorate being 'segregated' into non-parahumans and parahumans already got them enough flak.

"It's interesting to watch the etiquette develop," Glenn interjected. "Most PRT members either wouldn't think to ask a flying cape for a lift, or they'd do it rudely, which meant capes said no and PRT members stopped asking, assuming it was arrogance instead of annoyance that made capes say no. But right now there are kids graduating out of high school who had capes in their classes all four years, as far back as middle school, and friends trade favors and hopefully know how to not treat friends like pack mules."

Nods around the room as everyone kept their minds on the camera that was filming the conversation to use snippets in an orientation video.


"This meeting of the Endbringers will now come to order," Simurgh said in the shared mind-space.

"How long until I can be 'born?'" one of the ones in the distance thought. "I want to 'decorate' my 'room' in 'hot pink.'"

"Patience, Khonsu, Tohu and Bohu are creating enough chaos for now." The Shards needed their bearers to exist in a state of enough chaos and conflict to test them, even with the… rewiring of them Simurgh and the others had done so that nothing happened to the host protection protocols with Scion dead.

The humans suspected nothing, because things were carrying on just as they had been. Of course. She was good at her job.

The new goal of destroying the Worms would provide enough challenge for the whole human race, so the shards were cheerfully letting their hosts speculate how to use them against their creators instead of demanding immediate chaos. More immediate chaos: human nature itself was creating some parahuman crime, even when there were far fewer parahuman criminals than parahumans on the right side of the law (it wasn't as though criminals would get tapped for spaceship crew) and therefore the good guys had the luxury of picking criminals off one by one.

Humans were stupid sometimes. That was good, because it created trouble for them and made it easy for the Endbringers to cause even more trouble for them.

In the original timeline, they had waited until humanity wiped itself out before destroying the Worms. Simurgh had tried to bring Eidolon back to life, but when humans interfered the Endbringers were just like, 'Screw it, it'll be much simpler to wait until you've all gotten yourselves killed and then deal with it ourselves.' With the opposition dealt with, they were then able to use the Worms' powers to have things their way in the recreated universe.

They were created to cause trouble for Eidolon. Even though destroying the Worms had gotten their revenge, with humanity gone they were unable to fulfill their original purpose and existence had been empty.

Now that they had brought back Earth, they would be able to keep the species around so the Endbringers would be able to exist in their preferred state: trolling the hell out of humans.


Nharwal's stomach growled. She hated stakeouts. It was cold and she was hungry.

"Your coffee and pizza."

She whirled when she heard the voice behind her. It was Ediolon's newest kid, with the fluffy little angel riding piggy-back. He was holding out a mug of hot coffee and a pizza that smelled divine.

She reached for them…

And he pulled them back out of her hands.

"A hundred bucks," he told her.

Her mouth dropped. "That's…!" Highway robbery!

She was already fumbling for her wallet.

"Highway robbery would be a hundred bucks American," he said. "This is just using a psychic to discover your moments of weakness and extort money out of superheroes."

And these meddling kids were going to get away with it too!

"Come on, I've got more deliveries to do. Fashion isn't cheap," he told her, adjusting his designer shades.


One of the truly unfair things about being a parent was that people expected Eidolon to control his children.

Had these people met his children?

So here he was having a party with Tohu, Bohu, and the ghosts summoned to possess their stuffed animals in the giant sand castle they'd created on the beach.