Hey there. I know I said that I wouldn't be working on any more stories until I get through my current workload. But this isn't really me starting a story. I'm just posting this to show some Prototype/Worm fans what I wrote, and to ask some questions to said fans to help me with my story. This probably won't be updated for a while, so that gives me time to work things out and add them in based on what you guys say.
For now though, just give it a read and tell me what you think.
Shards of Impossibility
Chapter 1: The First Steps to Surviving a Comic Book World
The sun was almost completely gone by the time the Bay Central Bank decided to close its doors. Jeffrey, the manager there, sighed in relief as the last customer left them alone. Fucking nightmare today. So many people wanted loans for some reason or another. Building a new extension, replacing a stolen car, covering damages incurred during a parahuman attack. And of course, none of them were happy that they couldn't grab some extra cash from them. But there were rules. Regulations. If they shelled out everytime something was broken during an attack, they'd be out of business within weeks. And so he told them what he had to tell every other client dealing with parahuman problems.
If they wanted it sorted, either take it up with their insurance companies or the PRT.
He sighed again, looking at the security guard sitting behind his screens. "God, somedays I wish I had your job, Phil."
Phil looked up at him, a heavy frown on his face. But then he seemed to recognise him and gave him a tight smile. "Don't think you would, Jeff. Every night I worry that some parahuman is gonna come smashing in here intent on taking the money while all I've got is a flashlight." Phil was a good man. The usual type. A family man, a wife with child, mortgages, the lot. Jeffrey had known him since they both started here, and while he'd always moan and complain he would still keep coming every week.
"Pfft. There's always a risk when money's involved." Jeffrey replied.
"At least you can call the PRT to help out. Cops aren't usually too pleased to be woken up at some ungodly hour because of a slovenly security guard."
Drew shrugged. "Well, you know what everyone says…"
Phil gave a forced laugh. "It's my problem now?"
"It's your problem now. Catch you later Phil." And he started heading towards the doors, ready to return to a hot dinner and a relaxing bath.
"Hey Jeffrey." He stopped as Phil called out to him. "Afraid I'm gonna have to cancel on our bowling night on Wednesday. Got other plans made."
"The missus." Phil nodded.
"Ok then. 'A happy wife is a happy life' and all that. But you definitely owe me next week." He closed the doors behind him, Phil locking them securely behind him. The overweight security guard waved to him as he drove off. Only once Jeffrey had left did Phil drop the smile and the hand. He frowned as he looked around the empty parking lot, looking for possible threats.
"I don't owe you shit Jeffrey." Phil said in a gravelly voice, as his body started changing. As a wave of red and black tendrils roiled over his body, a slimmer man dressed in a black hoodie and jeans walked towards the giant vault door.
A week ago, the viral lifeform known as Alex Mercer hadn't been expecting to spend a night as a security guard. But then again, a week ago he hadn't expected much beyond keeping one step ahead of Blackwatch.
You see, Alex was originally a bioweapons/super soldier project known as Blacklight, the ultimate weapon against any organic threat. His very existence broke over a dozen humane and safety laws, and Blackwatch was meant to ensure that things like him were kept in check. And to silence anyone who started looking into the shell company Gentek too much. Ironically, in the attempt to purge Gentek of unimportant workers after one got cold feet and tried to tattle, they ended up causing events that unleashed him upon the world. The original Alex Mercer, a man devoid of anything resembling empathy for his fellow man, felt pissed that he was regarded as expendable. Especially since he was the one who perfected Blacklight. He stole a sample of his work and attempted to flee to Penn Station, where Blackwatch managed to corner him. So he decided that if he was going down, the so was everyone else.
As he was shot to death, he shattered the vial he had stolen. And the sample, now taking Alex's identity and form, woke up to Hell on Earth. A world where monsters roamed the streets, Blackwatch was barely holding them back, and everything just kept getting worse. And where him, a sociopathic entity designed and bred to infect and kill and grow, a being who consumed scores of people whole and painted entire streets red with blood, was the closest thing to a hero. It was only his connection to his new sister Dana Mercer - and her acceptance of what he was – that helped him stay sane. He worked hard to undo his 'father's' mess. It nearly killed him. It nearly left him dying. It nearly killed Dana. But he had done it. He broke the infection. He killed its leaders. He wiped out the leaders of Blackwatch. And he stopped their attempt to nuke New York City and everyone living in it, and survived.
But the men stationed in New York hadn't been all of Blackwatch. Just the ones that had been ordered there, under the assumption that they were more than enough to contain the infection. There were plenty more in every state, in every government arm, at every level of leadership. And they were all determined to wipe him from the face of the planet. And so they followed the same old routine. He and Dana would run to a new hiding place in a city. He would blend in with his shapeshifting to get them money while she worked to expose Blackwatch's actions to the public. Eventually, one of them would slip up and accidently reveal themselves, and Blackwatch would find them. He'd kill every agent they sent, they'd run, and then they started the whole thing over again. He was living through life without a purpose, just determined to keep Dana safe. She wasn't really his sister. But she was all he had.
This all changed one fateful day, where two men grabbed Dana as she went for a walk. Alex followed them to an impossibility, a white sterile room connected to an alleyway, before something shoved them both out in a different place. Inside an abandoned church.
Well, it didn't take them long to find out where they were. They were still in America. Still in that shitty town they had been living in for three weeks. It was just that now they were in a world where superheroes were real, have been fact for decades now. Some world unofficially known as Earth Bet. It made him wonder what their world had been called. And whether they wanted to go back.
But for now, the means to do so were beyond their reach. No one could travel to another Earth (besides their mystery kidnappers). With no money, no home, no one they could reach or even a log in any system, they were forced to become homeless. It wasn't the kind of world Dana deserved. Anyone stuck out on the streets was vulnerable. To the greedy, to the violent, to anyone interested in flesh or just hurting others. He could protect her from all of that, but she still wanted better.
At the time, robbing a bank had seemed the best option.
Enough funds to afford a house, afford food, afford some sense of protection. Most people in his situation, with near-unstoppable healing, super strength and speed, and the ability to adapt, would have gone over the top with their robbery. Attack in broad daylight, rib the door with their bare hands, beat up the kid heroes and walk off as the biggest headline of the week. Make a name for themselves. Become notorious.
But when you also have the power to take on the appearance, mannerisms and memories of anyone you please, the loud approach was stupid. Better to work in the shadows, and let the law chase after a dead man instead.
So here he was, now Phil Bennings, with the security cameras deactivated an hour ago and with all the keys to the building. By the time anyone realised they were robbed, Phil would be long gone. And Dana would be living in a real home. He tapped away at the keypad for the vault door, Phil's memories reciting it over and over in his head. He deactivated the alarm, the silent alarm, the secret alarm meant to alert the PRT… And then his enhanced strength let him swing the door open like it was barely weighing anything.
Now that was how you rob a bank. Quiet, easy, no mess or fuss.
His chest opened up like a giant maw, spitting out the two large bags he had stored in there. Then he grew several arms and started packing in as much money as the bags could physically hold. The physicists in his head calculated the volume of the bags, the mass of the money bundles, the integrity of the seams… All happened in mere seconds. And with their help, he managed to load up as much as they could carry without splitting at the seams. He ignored all the vaults he remembered had documents and art in them. None of them interested him. None of them were cold hard cash. He didn't want something he could use in five years' time. He needed something now.
With a casual flick of his wrist, he sealed the vault door behind him. It slammed shut with a boom, the rods locking back in place again. With a flourish of his key, he unlocked the front doors and walked out with his bags, locking the doors behind him and throwing away the key. If he ever needed to break in again, he could always just make a new key from his biomass. All in all, the act itself only took him thirty minutes to accomplish. In, out, no one the wiser.
At least, that's what he thought until something landed behind him, sending a blast of air outwards. "Hold it right there, scumbag." A female voice ordered.
He growled as he turned, hiding his face behind a black featureless faceplate. Apart from his clothes (which he had made more dull for this job) his face was his most vulnerable place in terms of 'staying off the radar'. Though he could assume a new identity (and usually did) he felt attached to the Alex Mercer Identity. Maybe because it was the first one he had. Maybe because he wanted to atone for his father's actions. Maybe because Dana preferred it too. But he didn't want to lose it because of some nosy bitch. So when he finally faced Glory Girl, all she could see was a darkness under his hood.
"Drop the bags pal, and I might go easy on you." She said haughtily. He tried to remember what Phil had heard of her. Part of New Wave, a superhero family that believed that people like them shouldn't hide behind masks and names, be fully accountable. The movement lost progress when a heroine was murdered in her civilian identity. Stupid really. Standard 'flying brick' powers, meaning flight and super strength. Has some kind of invincible barrier. Also has the power to radiate an aura that embolden allies and frighten enemies. She's gonna be a right pain to deal with.
He rolled his non-existent eyes and turned away, moving to jump away. He didn't have the time or inclination to get involved in this fight. He could easily lose her, change shape, and sneak back to Dana. Every minute he left her alone was another minute she could be in trouble. He was stopped though by an unfamiliar feeling.
A hand gripping his collar.
He growled again as he slammed his elbow against her, it coming in contact with a firm barrier. But he managed to slip free, his collar breaking in her hand. As he landed, he noticed that he did manage to make some progress. The redness of her face told him that he had been heavier than she had been expecting. She just glared right back at him and cranked up her aura. A part of him - a primal human part – told him to start running, to drop the bags and get the hell out of there. But it was a quiet voice, and he silenced it with ease. He did however drop the bags. They were only going to get in the way during this fight.
Glory Girl smirked as she rolled her shoulders. "Really? You want to fight me? Haven't you heard by now? I'm invincible. You can't hurt me."
He didn't say anything back. He didn't banter, mock, or threaten. He just moved towards her at top speed and slammed a fist into her stomach. His theory was that even though she could ignore the blow, she must still have to obey Newton's laws. The kinetic force behind his punches must still do something to her. And so when he punched her, she was thrown back through the air by the force. Her surprised expression was enjoyable. But then she righted herself and flew towards him at high speed, fist extended. He jumped over her, but she simply flipped over and flew at him again. A quick burst from him air dash organ allowed him to dodge a second time, his hand lashing out as she passed. The blow bounced off her barrier, but it also pushed him away from her. She simply changed directions again, still aiming for him. Her expression was getting more and more angry. Evidently she wasn't used to someone dodging her so much. Instead of dodging again, he formed a shield from his arms. She slammed into it at top speed, slamming them both into the ground. He pushed her aside with his shield, feeling slight cracks in the hardened membrane. Looks like if he was going to fight again, he'll have to strengthen it some more. He dropped the barrier and glared at the dust-covered heroine, trying to…
Wait. Dust-covered. But her barrier was supposed to protect her from everything, including getting dirty in a fight.
An idea started forming in his head. He charged towards her again. She simply rolled her eyes and flew at him as well. He blocked her punch with his hand, his lack of bones allowing him to ignore the force behind it. He slammed his other fist into her stomach again, hitting the barrier yet again. But this time, he released her fist and slammed his other hand into her. This one met no resistance, and the sound of cracking bone filled the air. Glory Girl's eyes widened as she gave off a soundless cry of pain. He felt the barrier reform under his hand, but he still smirked.
He knew her weakness.
She lashed out wildly at him, but strength doesn't mean speed. He dodged it with ease and unleashed another one-two punch. His fist shattered her pelvis, causing her to flop to the ground. As she tried to reach towards him, he simply slammed his fist against her chest before giving a sharp tap to the head. She was out like a light.
Well, looks like Glory Girl wasn't as tough as she pretended. Under that barrier was a simple flesh-and-blood human. She wasn't worth the energy to feed, and she might also not be alone out here. So he grabbed the bags and ran for it, leaving her in a shattered heap on the ground.
One bank robbery, minus some complications, done.
Even as the sound of breaking wood reached her brain and jolted her awake, Dana was already moving to cover. Months of dealing with Blackwatch's raids had instilled in her a series of steps and plans. Step one was to evaluate the dangers. No point moving towards the back door when some shithead was already there waiting.
She peeked out over the ragged table she had been using for a bed. Three men, their clothes threadbare, were standing in the doorway, her improvised barricade in pieces. They were breathing heavily, eyes seemingly bloodshot, swaying where they stood, and the leader had a bottle in his hand. At least, she assumed he was the leader, since he was the biggest and ugliest one.
Wow. Even when they didn't have any money, some people could still get alcohol. What a fucking surprise.
"Spread out." The leader shouted in a slurred speech. "Some bitch and her brother live here, and I got a hankering for some ass." Oh god, really? Did this asshole wake her up to try and rape her? She rolled her eyes in disgust. Whatever. The bank only closed nearly an hour ago. Assuming Alex, she should be well on his way back by now.
That just meant that she had to hold out until he returned. Her hand grabbed a large stick of wood nearby. As one of the men rounded towards her, she sprung out from cover to bash him upside the head. He howled in pain, hand grasping for her jaw. She slammed him again and again, knocking him to the ground. The problem with drunks is that they tend to ignore more injuries. You had to be rough to get them down. But as she turned towards the next guy, the leader grabbed her stick. He leered at her as he grabbed her arm with his other hand, pulling the stick away from her. She responded by slamming her head against his, knocking out some blood and making her head ring. As she stumbled back, she felt hands grabbing her arms. She tried to struggle free, swearing and kicking, but he just powered on through the pain. The leader glared at her now, face covered in blood. He slapped her across the cheek once, nearly knocking her to the floor. Damn this asshole was strong. She felt his dirty hands grab her jacket, tugging on it as he tried to tear it open. But as she opened her eyes and glared at him, she saw someone else standing outside the window.
In a second, there was a person-shaped hole in the wall, and two halves of a man splattering the room. The third drunk barely had time to scream before Alex had ripped his head clean off. He turned as the final man tried to run, only getting the doorway before Alex pulled him back with a tendril. He snapped his neck and pulled him in, removing all traces of him. Only then did he look at her again.
"I could've taken them." She said with bravado, hand pressed against her cheek. Alex moved her hand away and rested his own against her face. She felt a wetness before her nerves went numb, and he moved his hand to her forehead. A twinge of pain, and the bruise was gone.
"You shouldn't have had to take them on." He growled. As in literally growled. Whenever she was threatened, Alex got angry, even by his standards. Then anything within reach usually ended up very dead. "I should've been here to keep them out."
She shrugged, moving back to the desk that had been her bed, pushing aside the sleeping bag she had been using so Alex could throw the bags onto it. "You can't be everywhere at once, Alex. Sometimes you've gotta put one thing over another. Tonight was just bad luck, that's all. Any other night those assholes might've just left me alone."
Alex started pacing the room. Whenever he got worked up like this, he just couldn't sit still. It was like he had to be doing something. "It's that damn hero's fault. If she hadn't wasted my time on some bullshit fight, I would've been back before this ever happened." She looked up at him in alarm.
"Hold up. What hero? I thought this was meant to be a clean job."
He rolled his shoulders. "I got jumped by that New Wave chick, Glory Girl. She must've been doing a patrol or something and spotted me. Don't worry though. I kicked the shit out of her."
"You kicked the shit out of Glory Girl. As in the invincible girl." She raised an eyebrow at him. "I know you can do some crazy fucked up shit Alex, but I'm pretty sure you can't do the impossible like that. Her barrier's indestructible."
"Not entirely true. Not sure why, but I think that after every solid hit it takes, it shorts out for a second. You just have to hit her twice in rapid succession to overcome it."
"So, without it…?"
"She's human. With all the implied weaknesses." He noticed her glaring at him, and seemed to remember their newest rule. "I didn't kill her. Just left her in a broken heap. She should be ok as long as they get her to a hospital in the next two to three hours." He shrugged, one of the human motions he liked to use. "Besides, she shouldn't have gotten in my way."
She gave a heavy sigh, but decided to drop it. It wasn't like she was gonna be able to convince Alex that he had done something wrong. He was trying, really. But he didn't understand morality the same way she did. To him, if something is threatening him or anything he cares about, then it needs to be dealt with. Usually in a way that meant that it wouldn't be a threat any longer. Like that sleaze ball she tried to date one time. He wouldn't accept no, tried to force himself on her. After getting the shit beaten out of him by her, he turned to see Alex standing right behind him. The most wanted man in America.
At least he had gotten the blood out of everything afterwards.
"Well, I'm not entirely sure how much you managed to grab, but it looks like it'll be enough to at least put a deposit on a new home. But it'll have to be on the cheap side." He gave her a dubious look. "Hey, homes are expensive. Robbing banks are meant to supplement your bank account, not start it."
"But it's enough to get you to a safer place, right?" He asked.
She smiled in return. "It's enough." Tomorrow, I'll go to the internet café and start looking for a place. You can just…" She waved a hand at him. "…Do whatever it is you do when you're not following me." An idea came to her, and she snapped her fingers. "I know. You could look up about the local heroes and villains. Find out what they can do, how dangerous they are; things like that."
Alex looked at her in confusion. "Why? I'm not planning on getting into a pissing match with these people."
"Just like you weren't planning on kicking Glory Girl to the curb. Alex, she's one of the tougher people in the city. The kind of girl that everyone looks up to for protection. And having an unknown just show up and take her down… Well, that's gonna scare a lot of people. Some of them are probably gonna keep a look out for you. Get revenge or lock you up or something. And what if you need to commit another crime like this and you get jumped again? You're tough, I'll admit, but you're not fucking invincible."
"Neither are they." He saw the look in her eyes, and relented. "But I suppose it might be a good idea to learn the local power structure. Help with making any plans in the future."
"Thanks." She said in relief. Yeah, he was actually a bioweapon wearing her brother's face, but he was still her brother. If anything, getting killed and brought back as someone else seemed to have made him a slightly better person than before. The corners of Alex's mouth twitched upwards as he tried to smile while he grabbed the bags of money and dropped them to the floor. She yawned as she moved the sleeping bag back into place, crawling into it and snuggling up.
Alex stood in the center of the room, ready to kill anything that tried to disturb her sleep.
I sat down on the couch with a loud sigh. Me and Brian had just spent the better part of an hour training in hand-to-hand combat. Something that'll allow me to still fight when I don't have my bugs to support me, or if the people I'm up against get too close to me. It had been a real workout. Brian had been holding back, focusing more on the teaching than the fighting, and he still managed to knock me around a bit. My shoulders ached from where he had been jabbing them. Beside me, Alec was busy playing a video game. Brian was doing some exercises, stretching out his joints and muscles so that they don't seize up or something. A part of me was enjoying just hanging out with other kids around my age (even if they were actually supervillains), but another part was getting impatient about finding out dirt on them. Something I could give to the Protectorate to bring them down, get me some recognition and jumpstart my career.
Maybe it was time to try broaching a subject. But how?
"So how do you guys get all this stuff?" I asked, waving a hand at the room around them. Even though it was set up in an abandoned loft, it was surprisingly well-kept. Had water and everything apparently. "I can't imagine you guys just going out and buying all this with some stolen loot."
"Actually, we steal most of it." Alec said, not looking away from his gaming. "We find some rich home filled with junk, break in, and then steal everything not nailed down. It's hilarious to see the owners wake up to empty rooms. One time, Brian managed to steal the bed the owners were sleeping in."
"Yeah, yeah. Laugh it up asshole." Brian replied. But his tone didn't sound very serious. Probably some 'boys-making-fun-of-each-other' thing. "We do buy some things with our loot, but a lot of the essentials here – water, power, the building itself, and our gear – is supplied by our boss."
I tried to appear as though I wasn't so interested. "Sounds expensive. Who is this mystery guy anyway?" Both Alec and Brian went silent. I turned to see them exchanging a look. Was I being too nosy? Had Tattletale already figured out that I was secretly a mole? Or was I just not as good as appearing a villain as they made me think I was?
"Thought you might ask something like that." Brian grunted, standing back up. My heart shivered as I tried to decipher his tone. "Thing is, we don't know who he is. Or she."
I frowned. Deeply. "We've got some kind of anonymous sponsor?"
"Yep. Really fucking weird, but I'm not complaining." Alec said. "We get cool gear, a nice team, free cash; everything you could possibly want without any drawbacks."
"But there's got to be something they get from you guys. No offence, but I can't see someone sponsoring a team of villains for no reason."
Brian chuckled. "None taken. We do do some jobs for them. But most of the time they're stuff we'd already do anyway. Win-win for everyone. And if we don't feel comfortable with something, we can always say no. He's not gonna force us to do a sleazy job that we don't like. He never makes an issue out of it."
I felt intrigued. How many of the Undersiders' jobs had actually been on order of this sponsor? Maybe the PRT could find a connection. "What kind of jobs does he have you guys do?"
"Mostly robberies and stuff." Lisa – otherwise known as Tattletale – said from behind me, giving me a fright. "I think it's more about the timing than the money, since he tends to offer to pay us to do them."
Brian didn't look surprised to see her sneaking up on them. Or maybe it had only been me that got snuck up on. "He's got a job planned for us right now?"
"Kinda." Lisa said. "He wants us to pull a big job next Thursday, something big enough to get everyone's attention and get on the front page. He's probably planning a hit that day, and wants us to draw everyone away from his target."
Brian didn't look too happy. "Anything big like that is gonna end up getting us caught. The PRT aren't going to just sit this out. Add in the Wards and the Protectorate, and we'll be running up against a solid wall of heroes waiting for us."
Lisa shook her head. "The Protectorate is going to be out of town that day, which is likely why he chose it in the first place. That just leaves the Wards and New Wave, and luckily for us, we can hit during school time."
"How is that lucky?" I asked in confusion. Four… Five school kids out during school hours? The police were definitely going to pay attention if they spotted us.
"Because it means that we won't be dealing with all of the Wards." Lisa explained, smiling. "Everyone in Arcadia knows that the Wards are based there, and they're itching to find out their secret identities. Nothing like having a cape for a friend to make you more popular. But because everyone's looking for them, the school can't send the same dozen people out all the time. It'll give the game away. So we'll likely end up fighting two of their strongest, or one and several weaker members. Those are odds we can beat."
"There's still New Wave to deal with though." Brian argued, right at the same time Alec said "Why don't we rob a bank or something?"
Lisa sighed. "Well, the Bay Central Bank was my first idea. But that's a no-go now since someone new got to it last night."
I frowned again. I hadn't heard anything about a bank robbery. But then again, I didn't really have time this morning to read the papers. Alec paused his game and gave Lisa his full attention.
"I thought they said that was an inside job. That a security guard did it or something."
Lisa shook her head. "That's the 'official' story. But what the papers don't tell you is that Glory Girl caught the thief in the act, tried to bring him down. Now she's stuck at home getting healed by Panacea, while New Wave is busy looking for this new creep. I don't think they'll give up the hunt just for us. Not when the Wards could deal with us instead."
"Hold on. Glory Girl got her ass beaten? Even Brian was surprised by this. "But how? She's invincible."
Lisa shrugged. "Guess she's not as invincible as everyone thinks. All my powers can tell me is that she suffered plenty of broken bones and internal bleeding. So whoever did this is pretty damn strong."
"So what are we gonna do instead? There's not much going on in Brockton Bay that can get on the news." Brian asked.
"The Bay Central isn't the only bank in town. We could just rob another one." Alec suggested. "And hey, two bank robberies in two nights? That'll be worth going in the newspaper."
"Yeah, except that the other banks are going to be more prepared thanks to this. They'll be more suspicious of any strange activity, more likely to call the PRT at the first sign of trouble. They think there's any funny business, and the whole thing gets ten times more challenging."
Alec mulled things over, before looking at me with a wicked gleam in his eyes. "Hey dork. You go to Winslow High, right? Anyone there you think deserves a little bit of a scare?"
I blanched, shocked at what he was suggesting. Brian seemed to feel the same way. "Alec, are you seriously suggesting that we attack a fucking school?" He asked angrily.
Alec shrugged, apparently not bothered by the morality of his idea. "We need something big, don't we? Attacking a school would put us on the front page for sure. And in case you've forgotten Brian, we're villains. We're supposed to be nasty people."
"Yeah, except that pulling stupid shit like this is the right way to ending up in the Birdcage." Everyone looked a bit tense as he said that. The Birdcage was the name of the parahuman prison. An impenetrable building that couldn't be broken into or out of, meant to hold the worst of the worst. You don't lock people in there so much as throw them in and forget they ever existed.
Brian sighed in frustration. "When a villain goes after school kids, they lose any and all sympathy from the public. The Protectorate, the PRT, the Wards… They all hound you so much harder. People are far more filling to inform the police about you than before. It's just one nightmare after another."
Lisa stepped in before it turned into a major argument. "Ok, ok. Attacking a school is off the table. We're just brainstorming right now. Nothing's set in stone yet." She turned to me. "How about you? Can you come up with anything?"
"Me?" I was sure I squeaked. I'd forgotten that I'd have a say in all this too. But what could I suggest that would be good enough for the front pages, whilst also not being a threat to anyone. "Well… We uh… We could…" A juvenile idea came to me. Something that I recalled the trio doing to me. "We could vandalise Mayor Christner's house." I suggested.
Wow. I could almost hear the crickets chirping in the silence. I blushed in embarrassment. This was the stupidest thing I could ever think of. Vandalism? What kind of villain vandalises a house? That was for school kids and people who haven't grown up.
"I like it." Alec said after several seconds. "Stick it to the man, have some fun, steal some expensive shit. The mayor's got to have something of value, right?"
"That could actually work." Brian was actually giving it some serious thought. "Hitting something like the mayor's home would definitely be on the news. Maybe break a few other houses nearby, cause some ruckus. We'd be able to get outside in a hurry, meaning that we couldn't get boxed in if we're smart. The only downside is that we won't be making much money from this. I doubt he's got a few thousand dollar stashed in there or something."
"He might if you include items of value." Lisa was also thinking it over. "Besides, the boss really wants us to play decoy that day. He's willing to pay us thirty thousand all together. Along with paying for the equipment and gear we use."
Was she serious? This sponsor was willing to fork out money I hadn't even dreamed of? I mean, I've barely had more than five hundred in my bank account, let alone a thousand. And all for some pointless vandalism?
Whatever he's got planned for Thursday, I have to tell Armsmaster about it.
The act itself wasn't until next week, leaving me with loads of time to contact Armsmaster, let him know what I found out (whilst stopping Tattletale's power from finding out too), set up some kind of plan, and hopefully arrange it so that the Undersiders could still possibly get away. Or at least I wouldn't begin my hero career with a record. I imagined that Mayor Christner wouldn't be too happy about his house, but sometimes you needed to make sacrifices to capture villains. In the meantime, what was I going to do to keep myself occupied? I couldn't exactly go to school, not with Emma and her posse waiting for me. Maybe it would be easier to just hang out with the Undersiders. See if I could learn anything else from them. That decided, I moved to leave the house and head towards the docks…
There was a battered pick-up truck parked in front of the house next to them. The previous owners had sold it months ago, but it looked like someone had finally bought it. The new owners didn't seem to have much. Just some second-hand furniture loaded precariously in the back. There was only one man outside, unloading the truck by himself. I had a closer look at him.
He didn't seem much to look at. He was certainly tall, about the same height as her dad. And lean too. But whereas Dad was built like a stick or a beanpole, this guy was thicker, built with some muscles. He was lean like an athlete, all hidden power and speed. And he was stronger than he looked, not even grunting as he pulled a bed frame off the back. His face was hidden behind a dark leather hoodie, a red stylised symbol on the back. Underneath it was the hem of a white shirt, hanging slightly over blue weathered jeans.
He was bending over to pick up a cooler when he stopped as though aware that I was spying on him. He turned around to face me, and my heart started beating faster.
His skin was pale and pallor, the colours merging with his icy blue eyes. Dark under shadows plagued his face, and his frown was clearly evident. But behind his eyes, there was… something else. A hunger, a well of rage and hatred. It was like he felt nothing about anything.
He looked dangerous, like Lung or Oni Lee. But Lung was dangerous in that he was larger than me and well-muscled; Oni Lee was dangerous in that he looked like he could very easily stick a knife through your ribs.
This man seemed as though he could kill you very easily and not even give a damn.
I felt herself backing away slowly, in the midst of a panic attack. I still had my pepper spray on hand, but I wasn't entirely sure it would be of any use against him. Maybe I could use the bugs? Distract him with stinging and biting insects? But that would take time. I wasn't expecting to be attacked right outside my own…
"Taylor." I heard Dad call out, as he walked through the front door. "Are you ready to go to…?" He stopped, seeing the man unloading the truck. I turned back to see him standing upright, hand in his pockets and glowering. At the same time, a woman walked out of the other house. She was shorter than him, with short brown hair and the same icy blue eyes. But hers seemed more alive somehow, and made her seem calm compared to the man. She saw the two of them standing outside.
"Hey." She said, moving towards them. "Guess you're the neighbours." She held out a hand to Dad. "Dana Mercer. And this is my brother, Alex."
"Danny Herbert." Dad said, shaking firmly. "This little one is my daughter, Taylor. Nice to have some new faces around here." I wasn't completely paying attention to the conversation. I was too busy watching Alex, who was still staring at us. I noticed that he wasn't blinking, wasn't doing any of the normal things people do when they're just standing there. Dana looked up at him and elbowed him in the side. That got him to react. He looked at her in confusion.
"Alex. Say hi." She ordered. Alex turned back to them, still acting slightly threatening.
"Hey." He said in a gravelly voice. And then he turned back to Dana. "Where do you want me to put the couch?"
"Just in this room here. But wait until I help you out." She said hurriedly. Alex huffed slightly before leaning against the truck. I took careful note of how it dipped slightly where he was leaning. Dana gave them a tired smile. "Sooo… What do you do for a living Danny?"
"Me? I'm a spokesperson for the dock workers. I'm supposed to talk to the mayor's office to try and get the workers more jobs, better pay and things like that. In reality, I keep hearing excuses and have to go and tell the men that more of them have lost their jobs." Dad shook his head sadly. "Despite the mayor's office promising that there would be more jobs for them."
"Really? That's interesting." She pulled out a notebook from her pocket, along with a pen. "So how often does the mayor make promises that he has no intention of keeping? Once a month? Twice a month?"
"I…I'm sorry but are you…?"
"A freelance reporter-slash-blogger. Not officially with any paper, but I tend to mail in anything I find interesting. Moved to Brockton Bay to try and find some better work." She waved a hand at their surroundings. "No offence to anyone, but this place isn't exactly the millionaire's club."
"None taken. I know exactly how you feel." Dad ran a hand through my hair, just like when I was younger. "This one loves to go running to try and get some air, give her some time to think. I just wish that she could do it in a better area. Somewhere where I don't… have to worry." He gave me a sharp look. "Speaking of which, you really need to get to school. Don't want to be late now, do we?"
"No Dad." I replied automatically, feeling guilt at lying yet relief to get out of there. I ran past them towards the bus stop, temporary bag bouncing against my back. I looked back quickly to see Dad and Dana still chatting amicably.
But Alex was watching me closely as I left, his eyes like a hawk.
Fitting, considering that birds eat bugs.
Alex had gotten most of the furniture all set up by the time Dana had finished interviewing Danny about the dock workers. Luckily, he was so engrossed in answering questions and trying to get something done that he didn't notice that Alex had moved the heavier things all on his own. It also helped that Dana had kept him distracted everytime he moved something. He was just screwing the table together when Dana came back into the house, the smile on her face sliding off. She shook her head ruefully.
"Alex, things would be so much fucking easier if you didn't frighten off everyone you encounter." She admonished him, sitting at the desk he had already assembled. "I saw the way you were watching Taylor. You looked like you were planning on murdering her on the spot."
"Wasn't." Alex grunted. "I just don't trust them. Not good with people."
Dana rolled her eyes." Yeah, not shit you're not. That's why we're trying to change that. Get you more sociable. Or at least not looking like you're three seconds away from killing everything in sight." She sighed and leaned back, looking up at the stained roof. "In the meantime, we need to talk about something."
"What about?" He asked, not even looking up. She opened up her laptop, bringing up the pages she had saved.
"I did some probing into the PRT system, sticking to the public areas. It seems that Glory Girl finally got around to giving them the description of her assailant." She cleared her throat. "New local villain wears a casual outfit of a black hoodie over blue jeans. Face is hidden under a black featureless mask. No other identifying features. If sighted, do not approach. Contact the PRT as soon as possible." She looked at him expectantly. Alex frowned as he saw her expression. It was strange. Usually she would be upset that he attacked someone. But now she was trying to contain some glee. Maybe. He wasn't still sure.
He shrugged and flipped the table over, setting it down without any effort. "Is this the part where you tell me off for defending myself from an overzealous busybody?"
"Actually, this is the part where we come up with your supervillain name."
He stopped, turning to face her slowly. "…My what?" He asked in confusion.
"Your supervillain name. Don't want the local papers to call you something lame like… Hoodie Man or Masked Menace." She stuck out her tongue in disgust. "Some journalists have no sense of style here. They're living in a real-life comic book, and they can't come up with good names if their lives depended on it."
"I'm not a supervillain." Alex said dumbly. Why would she even think that about him? Supervillains… they were crooks with weird names and powers and with grandiose plans of dropping the moon or drowning cities.
He just wanted to keep his sister safe and have people leave him alone.
"I know you're not, Alex. But let's look at the facts. Your first big entry into the world of parahumans was by robbing a bank, beating the shit out of a rising heroine, and then vanishing without a trace." She summed up on her fingers. "It'll be really hard to convince people you're a good guy after all that. Assuming you were even planning on joining the Protectorate." She smirked. "Though given your age, maybe the Wards might be a better fit."
He grunted back at her, still glowering. "I'm not a parahuman."
"You're close enough that I don't think anyone will care."
"Dana." He said sharply. "The bank robbery was a one-time deal. Crimes here, especially with my skills, are going to attract the PRT's notice. Getting their attention will bring in the Protectorates, the Wards, and every other fucking superhero squad in this city. Getting their attention will likely lead them to you. And I doubt they're very friendly to the family of villains." He crossed his arms. "On this planet, there's no massive conspiracy that I need to worry about. No secret projects experimenting on people trying to create weapons of mass destruction. And no one here knows anything about Blacklight, or Redlight, or anything related to me. We're keeping out of their way."
Dana groaned, rolling her eyes at him. "Killjoy. I was actually kinda enjoying having a supervillain for a brother." She sighed. "Fine. Fine. You can go and… I don't know, get a nine-to-five job or something. I'll make you a fake ID again." She turned back to her laptop. "But you'd better hurry with finding that job. Putting down the deposit and getting the furniture hasn't left us with a lot of money."
He waved her off. "Just find me the first job you find, and I'm sure I can adapt. God knows I've got enough people up here. Someone's got to have the skills I need."
"Fine." Dana muttered, typing Danny's words into a document, sorting it out into a story.
But she kept open the page about the parahumans in Brockton Bay. She had a few ideas she wanted to at least save for another time.
"Thank you. Have a very pleasant day." Alex said automatically, giving a cringe worthy grin in an attempt to smile. He didn't need to see the customer's expression to know that his smile didn't get anywhere close to his eyes, whatever that saying meant. Maybe it meant how he still had a cold look to him, the monster within irritated at this charade. Maybe it meant that it didn't literally reach his eyes (though he was certain that having a smile that took up half your face was creepy too). Whatever it meant, he was the fucking embodiment of it.
Inwardly, he sighed heavily as the next customer approached. Outwardly though, his body was running on autopilot. Over an accumulated century of working on checkouts took over, his body moving through every step without his say-so. Pretty damn useful, if only because he would've butchered everyone here if he had to be conscious of every fucking boring second he spent here.
Maybe Dana had a point about him being a villain.
"Hello, welcome to Tech Mart. How can I help you today?" He heard himself say.
"About fucking time." The customer said angrily. Alex paid attention to him now. He was a larger man, white-skinned, shaved head, and a tattoo on his arm. 'Extreme Endurance Eating'. The hidden call sign of all members of Empire Eighty Eight, a white-supremacist gang led by a Cape. Great. He was at least glad he stuck to his preferred skin colour, even if he did change around the features. He had placed a tattered box on the counter before Alex. "This piece of shit you lot sold me is busted. Was doing my thing when the whole thing crashed. Then it fucking exploded in my face. I want a replacement, the latest fucking model right now."
"We're sorry for your inconvenience, Sir. If you could just let me look at the device, we may be able to help you much faster." He pulled the box towards him, hands feeling the wear and tear to the packaging. Either this guy had crumpled the box recently in a fit of rage, or it was a lot older than he seemed to be implying. A slight cloud of smoke billowed out as he opened the box. The techies in his head informed him that was not a good sign.
The first thing he noticed was that the laptop hadn't so much exploded as been smashed with a sledgehammer. Probably by the bastard before him in a fit of rage. The second thing was that there was glue holding parts of the frame together, the signs of warranty-voiding modding. And the third thing was the date on the inside of the box. This thing was over six years old. And Tech Mart policy stated that warranties on laptops only last for five years.
"I'm terribly sorry sir, but I'm afraid that this device is no longer covered by our refund policies. You see…" He was interrupted as the man grabbed him by the front of his shirt, pulling him nearly over the counter and getting right up in his face. Alex rankled his nose as he took in the smell of bad meat on this guy's breath.
"The fuck did you just say? You motherfuckers trying to cheat me?"
"Of course not Sir." Alex kept saying, even as he fought down the urge to slam this asshole through the counter and the floor. "But I'm afraid that the warranty on this device expired the middle of last year. There are clear signs of tampering and modding, which Tech Mart policy clearly states will void your warranty. And then there is the clear signs of this device being deliberately damaged by a blunt tool. As such, I'm afraid that we can't help you. However, if you are still interested in a new laptop, we have some great deals in store for…" The man grabbed Alex by the head and slammed him against the counter. The customers around them gasped in shock.
"Do you know who you're fucking with?" The man said angrily. "I eat scrawny bastards like you for breakfast. Now you're gonna get me the latest laptop free of charge and a thousand bucks, or me and my boys are going to make you wish that you've never been born."
Ok, fuck this.
The man was clearly surprised when Alex grabbed him by the arm, pulling him away with ease before smashing his own fist into his face. He tugged him over the counter, sending him crashing against the display set up behind them, before slamming his knee into the creep's stomach. He heard plenty of bones shatter, and the man coughed up blood. Alex punched him once, twice, before grabbing him by the shirt and dragging him to the front of the store. He stopped by the door, and held him close to his face.
"Let me make this absolutely clear, fucker." He growled, grip tightening. "You don't have any clue what you're fucking with. If I ever see you again, I am going to drive my fist through your stomach, before beating you to death with your own spine and intestines." And with that, he tossed the freak out the door. He sailed over the first row of cars before skidding across the carpark, leaving a slight red trail behind him. Alex turned back and strolled to the checkouts, surrounded by silent customers. He tried to smile again. "Just had to eject a threatening customer, that's all. Now did we mention that we're currently offering half off when you buy a second toaster?"
The store was returning to normality rather quickly (maybe dealing with having actual supervillains had made them jaded to these things), but Alex found himself being called to the manager's office. He resisted the urge to growl in frustration. He really didn't need to deal with this shit. He was near his breaking point already. But he kept himself from lashing out, even though his biomass was almost begging to be allowed to rend someone, to rip them limb from limb.
"You called for me Boss?" Alex called out as he entered the manager's office. "If this is about the stand I broke, I'll fix it up pronto for you."
The manager, a pudgy man with oily hair and an obvious comb over named Mr. Drisk, glared at him. "It's not about your fight, though I am very concerned about that. Sit." Alex did as he was asked, hands clenched to stop them from extending claws. Drisk placed a piece of paper dramatically onto the desk before him. "Tell me Mr. Donald. Do you know what this paper is?"
Alex only had to look at it for a second to realise what it was. "My details." He said. Now he was starting to get worried. His body tensed in preparation. Was there something he and Dana missed? Some small detail that had this guy suspicious? Was it time to silence him and try to sneak away?
"Correct, Mr. Donald. Those are the details about you as found in the Brockton Bay systems. Details that, until yesterday, didn't even exist." He folded his arms. "Some of us in the business would call that 'rather suspicious'. So perhaps you'd care to…"
He didn't even get to finish or react before Alex had a hand wrapped around his skull, snapping it and his neck like a twig. He consumed his body quickly, tendrils pushing things off the desk as he dragged the body towards him. He had to know what he had learned, who he had told, what actions he had to prepare for.
To his relief, all Drisk had done was remove him from the store's servers. Compared to what he could've done, firing him was actually a blessing. Going into retail was the stupidest thing he's ever done.
"Hey Don." Another staff member said once he exited the office. "So what did Sam want with you?"
Alex shrugged, trying to hide his glee. "Apparently he didn't appreciate me dealing with that racist cheating scumbag for him. Got handed a notice of resignation and told to get out."
"What? He can't do that. You didn't even make it to payday. There are rules against just letting you go without any pay. We should have a word with him."
"Nah. Don't sweat it. It's not worth the hassle. Between trying to get him to pay and deal with that asshole trying to sue me in court, I'd have probably made ten times my pay in that time. I'm not gonna waste time on either of them." He turned back towards the entrance. "Catch you guys later."
"Yeah. Hope you get something better after this." The guy said, turning back to the shelves he was stocking. Alex just ignored him and walked out. None of them mattered to him. This had been just a temporary solution. Right now, the only thing he was worried about was Dana's reaction to finding out that he had gotten fired. Ah well. He would've gotten kicked out anyway. He just wished he could've grabbed some cash while he was…
"Son of a bitch." He growled. He could've stolen from the safe. Everyone would've gone looking for Drisk, or Don Donald. Both who would've been long gone by the time someone noticed. He was such an idiot.
Around the same time, he noticed that he had company. Four of them, one limping down the road. He walked past a mirrored pane, looking back with it as he went past. It was the Triple-E asshole. And he seemed to have brought a few buddies with him.
He couldn't stop himself from grinning. Even if these fuckers didn't have any cash on them, they'll know where he could get some. All he needed to do was play the role of the idiot victim-to-be. With that said, he headed towards the nearest alley, acting as though he hadn't noticed his shadows and was merely taking a stroll. He heard the sound of quickening steps. Perfect. Those idiots took the bait. He headed towards the very end of the alley, to the solid wall in his way. Behind him, the enclosed walls made their footsteps almost echo. "Hey fuckhead!" The Triple-E shouted angrily. "Time to show you what happens when you fuck with Empire Eighty Eight."
Well. He let them have their moment. Now it was time for some fun.
He jumped backwards toward them, flipping around as he did so, so that when he landed the first idiot could see his hungry grin, his red glowing eyes, and his massive claws. He barely had time to scream before Alex sliced his head into chunks and consumed his body.
But the others did. And they did so loudly as he leapt at them, claws trailing blood. He could almost hear them over the sound of something heavy hitting the ground, fragmenting it and sending dust flying.
Goddammit. Not again.
The dust parted as something fast came flying out of it towards him. His coiled biomass allowed him to dodge it, causing the hero to crash fist first into the wall behind him. It practically exploded from the force, cracks forming everywhere. He quickly ate the men he had killed before turning to face his attacker. At the same time, he put on his 'disguise'. The dust parted to reveal Glory Girl again, face scrunched up in rage.
"You've got to be kidding me." He sighed. "You again?"
"You're dead, motherfucker!" She screamed, flying towards him again. He packed some extra biomass into his arm, turned his 'muscles' and 'tendons' into something like dense steel. Even then, when Glory Girl's fist landed right in his palm, he felt the force behind it travel down his arm. But he didn't react. Instead, as soon as he could feel her skin against his own, he quickly jabbed her in the side with open fingers. Not enough to rupture anything, but still enough to bruise an organ and leave her writhing on the ground. He sighed as he stood over her.
"I've already figured out your weakness. I know how to hurt you. What made you think that round 2 is going to go any different from the first time?
"Because of THIS!" She punched at his chest at great speed, her arm a pile driver of pain. But he had already seen her moving. The martial artists and hand-to-hand experts inside of him had already noted where she was aiming for. He doubted she really knew how to throw a punch. Not like the mortals she likely lorded over, who had to worry about someone killing them with only a few punches and who couldn't lift more than half their own weight. Her attacks were slow, easy to read.
So when her fist finally impacted against his chest, he had had plenty of time to both strengthen his defences there and anchor himself securely to the ground. Even so, there was still enough energy to cause the ground he was anchored to to crack loudly and wildly. And her fist still managed to dig itself halfway into his chest.
His biomass crunched down on it as soon as her barrier went down again, breaking every bone in her fingers. She screamed loudly as she tried to pull free, while he used that time to slap her around. Once to shut her down, another to hurt her. She managed to pull free just in time for him to slap her upside the head and then slam her forehead against his knee. Blood flew everywhere, and there was a slight dent to her forehead. She fell to the ground in a heap, puking her guts out.
Really now, he should just let her suffocate on her own vomit. But if he did so, then New Wave might start trying to force him into the open, tap into the full might of the Birdcage. He'd rather avoid all that if possible. He jammed two fingers down her throat and cleared out the puke. Hey, biomass is biomass, no matter where it came from.
Of course, that didn't mean he liked adding puke to his body's stockpile. Wiping his fingers off on her dress, he searched her for a cellphone. Luckily, his stereotyped assumption was right. She did carry it on her person. And all the hacker brains told him exactly how to get past her security code. He just selected the first name on the list, someone named Amy, and sent her a text. His work done, he snapped the phone in half and threw the pieces at her, jumping over the roof to escape.
Maybe this defeat will teach her to mess with him.
Dana was already waiting by the door when Alex arrived, arms folded and with a heavy expression. The kind of expression most men didn't want from a woman. Alex didn't flinch as he saw her, but he did look away in embarrassment.
"Uh… yeah." He said nervously. "That job I took? The one at Tech Mart? Didn't really work out."
"No shit it didn't." She said testily, turning back to her laptop. She opened up the page she had set up an alert for, reading it aloud for him to hear. "'Saw an uber badass today at Tech Mart. Triple-E threat tried to intimidate him. Dude kicked his ass and threw him out. Sucks that he got fired for not letting the freaks and assholes kick him around. We need more folks like Don.'" She turned back long enough to give him a look. "You got fired?"
He didn't even blink. "Drisk found out that my ID was fake. Had to silence him. He already filed the paperwork." He reached into his jacket – his biomass – and tossed out several wads of cash. She quickly skimmed through one, seeing mostly twenties and fifties. "Found another revenue though. That asshole and his friends tried to jump me later. Only fair that they pay up."
"And Glory Girl?" She asked. That finally got a reaction from him. He blinked in surprise. It was surprisingly human, mostly because he didn't do things like that.
"You've already heard about it?" He asked.
"Everyone's heard about it. You turned one of the toughest teen heroes into something kids poke with a stick. Apparently her sister, Amy, had to call her family to help carry her home."
"It was her own fault. She jumped me. Wanted revenge. Stupid really."
She smirked. "Pot calling the kettle black anyone?" She took a deep breath and counted the money again. This was enough to keep her fed for another week or two. But she still sighed. "Alex, this isn't going to work."
"You having a job. I know we keep trying to fool ourselves, but you're not human. You're a… A living murder machine with a massive chip in your shoulder. If something's making you upset, you kill it. Brutally. And I know that's your thing, but the real world doesn't work like that." She tapped the money. "We need something more regular than some scumbag pisses you off, you eat him, and then you learn about some hidden stash."
He frowned at her. "Are you trying to convince me to be a supervillain again?"
She hesitated. Was she? Yeah, it sounded cool, having a real supervillain for a brother. But he was trying to change, trying to fit in. It'd be wrong for her to set him back just so she could have something more exciting to think about than the fact that he could destroy entire cities by himself.
But could he really be anything other than a weapon? A monster?
"I… I'm just thinking that retail's not for you. Maybe you'd be better with a job that's late at night. Manual labor. Something that doesn't deal with many people." She sighed, and stood up. "I'm gonna take a nap. When I wake up, I'll see about finding you something else. In the meantime, just… Just don't kill anyone that isn't a scumbag."
She closed the door behind her, and Alex was left to mope around.
She was right, of course. The rest of the day he kept telling himself how stupid it was to try and deal with customers. He didn't have people skills, he had people-eating skills. Good for fighting, not so much for when someone's upset because they're being charge five bucks more than they were expecting. Maybe he could take a midnight shift. Putting stock on shelves, cleaning up buildings, carving meat with his claws.
But a primal part of him enjoyed that 'fight' with Glory Girl. It wanted to face someone better, someone who actually knew how to fight beyond 'hit the enemy as hard as you can'. Someone who could actually hurt him. And besides, the next official payday wouldn't be for until next week. He'd rather have more cash for Dana now. Maybe it might make her forgive him.
So, legal work was out. Anything that would have to wait for official channels to cough up some cash. So what else did that leave? Villainy? Robbing places, mugging people, holding the world for ransom?
Actually, that didn't sound like a bad career choice for him. What better place for a living weapon than somewhere where he'd get to fight stronger people.
His eyes turned to the fancier houses in Brockton Bay, and a plan started coming together.
And that's the first chapter. As you can already figure, third person is Alex/Everyone else, while first person is Taylor. We're probably going to see things more from Alex's point than Taylor, but she can help too.
Now, there are several things I want to talk about (sorry if I bore anyone). There will be spoilers about Worm, so anyone not interested in spoilers should probably just skip this whole section. We'll give you time.
… Alright then. Everyone who's sticking around, listen up.
First off, Alex is definitely going to be one of the more dangerous people in this story. See, most capes in the Worm universe are glass cannons. They can dish out a lot of power with their abilities, but anything that can hurt or kill a regular person is just as effective against parahumans. Alex, however, has insane durability and incredible strength. He can survive a lot of punishment as long as he has biomass, and he can hit hard enough to kill people or turn them into a red mist. Secondly, he's smarter than he looks. He's got all the memories he's consumed at his disposal, and base Alex was already a scientist. A lot of things that can be figured without powers, he could probably figure them out too.
Now comes the questions. See, there's a lot about characters and their powers on the site, but not enough for what I'm working on. Some things I need to make guesses at. Some I'm probably going to be horribly wrong about. That's where you guys come in. I'll be leaving questions here that are things I need to know to help with my story. They're all pretty much about how Alex's biology interacts with powers.
We'll start with my biggest question. The Slaughterhouse Nine. We all figure that Alex could kill them easily. Jack Slash's power is practically useless against Alex, and he can carve him up like a prime leg of lamb. Jack's other ability to detect shard powers is useless on Alex since he doesn't have an active shard, and Alex doesn't listen enough for his words to affect him. Shatterbird, Bonesaw, Mannequin, Burnscar, Cherish, Hatchet Face… They'll all die just as easily. My question is about Crawler and Siberian. Now, Alex could theoretically take out Siberian if he knew that she was a projection and used some kind of sonic attack to disrupt his ability to think. But like I said, that works on his finding out somehow. Crawler though… Well, his power is that anything that injures him gets healed over and he becomes immune to it. That might also work on viruses, even ones as strong as Alex. Now, how would you guys see Alex taking either of them down, but mostly Crawler?
Second question is about Laserdream and New Wave. They have the ability to shoot lasers. Lasers are basically lethal rays of light. Do you guys think that if someone were prepared with a mirror, they could reflect the lasers away?
Third, do you want to see Alex stay to help fight Leviathan, or leave to get the fuck out with Dana?
That's all for now. I hope you guys give some great answers. I'll name drop whoever I think has the best idea. Also, constructive criticism is good. Let me know if there's something that bugs you.