A/N: Welcome to my first attempt at fanfiction, paying homage to two of my favourite pieces of web fiction and comic. Chapters are short, and will update pretty fast. The initial quality of writing is not up to scratch, but it improves. If the fic can't hold you at the end of the first arc, feel free to curse me and quit.
Here's my disclaimer for the whole story. I don't own the rights to Worm or The Gamer, and am making no profit off of my silly dabbling in their multiverses. If you encounter differences from canon, consider this a mild AU.
Critique much welcome. Without further Ado, it's time for an OC SI Worm/The Gamer crossover, enjoy!
PS. if you absolutely want no spoilers, start reading from next chapter.
Brockton: In Venatus
Demo Disc - 6.7
February 7, 2011, Docks - Brockton Bay, 11:23 PM
Lung looked around as the gangers cried out in pain, most of them dropped their weapons, some misfired and hit the ground or air, Taylor made sure they were not pointing at anybody else when her pain bugs bit. That was thoughtful of her. The gangers were swarmed soon after.
Which is when I decided to make an entrance, I closed the hole in the Instant Dimension from where I was watching, walked to a point where I'd be about a few metres in front of him, then collapsed the ID. I materialized as if from a shatter in reality, Mana Construct Armor and Mana Boost combined glowing ghostly Cherenkov Blue at the edges - apparently it's extremely impressive to look at.
Lung whipped his head back to look at me, already 8 feet tall and growing, he pretty much ignored the insects swarming him and wasted no time to throw a fireball at me. I let it hit me, Thermal Resistance wasn't at a very high level but my armor took most of it like a champ. It dropped less than a sliver of my HP, which would recover in the next few moments.
I manifested a mana construct sabre. Sadly even with relentless practice, my resolution of control on Mana Construct skill (Level 49 now) had only reached nanometer levels, still couldn't make one with the mythical monomolecular edge or exotic metamaterials as I would have liked to.
Taylor had sent me a message saying his skin was getting hotter and tougher to penetrate, so she was going after his soft tissues. I internally cringed in a moment of man-sympathy. Thankfully Gamer's Mind allowed me to ignore it and keep my full focus on the fight. I lunged forward and slashed him experimentally a few times, they left shallow gashes which Taylor immediately took advantage of, sending her biters to the exposed flesh. At that moment Lung exploded in flames.
Most of Taylor's bugs in his immediate vicinity died. It was okay, they were mostly disposable, except for the few super venomous ones she had on Lung. Oh well, not like she didn't have millions more in her inventory.
I observed him, his level had already climbed above 50, his STR and VIT were already past mine. Which was well within expectations, I only needed to be faster than him, not stronger.
My next few swings hit the scales appearing on his skin only to produce sparks, flashy but useless. I changed the material of the sword construct from steel to tungsten carbide, pumping mana into it to cover for the extra mass.
The next swing went too low, because I hadn't accounted for the extra weight. I corrected that and the next hits again left some gashes. By now I was almost starting to have trouble avoiding Lung's flailing (With the amount of martial arts skills I had amassed, his movements definitely looked like flailing), I observed him again, his status effect said Mildly Poisoned : -50 HP/s while his HP was still increasing, though sluggishly compared to his levels.
I needed more poison in him to counter his regen, and fast. Lung made a grab for my sword and I didn't have time to get it out of his reach, so I let it dissipate and absorbed most of the mana back. Then I got the mental prompt from the Gamer AI that I was waiting weeks for.
Mana Construct has reached Level 50 and evolved to Advanced Mana Construct
You can now construct things at the atomic level.
Booyah! I sent Taylor a message about what I was going to do, then dipped into my inventory to bring out a collection of her most poisonous bugs, most of them normal wasps with their venom sacs modified to contain all kinds of tranquilizers and paralytics that we could get our hands on. I applied Mana Boost on them as they came out, Taylor immediately took control of them and started hovering them around me, if they got too far from me, the boost would fail, and they'd probably burn too in the veritable inferno Lung was becoming. Oh well, at least my thermal resistance was leveling up nicely. HP was still stable at above 80%.
I constructed a tungsten katana, with the edge of a single row of carbon molecules, Lung roared something unintelligible and ran at me telegraphing a punch at my stomach. I let him, atomic level construction took a lot of focus and I was durable enough in full mana boost giving me +30 to STR, VIT and DEX. Besides, his current semi-draconian 15 foot frame meant he had to bend down to punch me. Bringing his upper body well within the required range.
The punch still took out a noticeable bit of my HP and dented my armour, Gamer's Mind let me ignore the spike of pain and let me focus fully on the next move. I bent forward using the reaction to the punch, swung the katana and extended the tip at the right moment to carve out his windpipe and jugular (avoiding the spine, no killing. I had a lot of skills to outright annihilate him, and quite a few to quietly subdue him, but the goal was to put on a proper show).
I sent Taylor a burst message which mostly amounted to "Neck! Now!" and she immediately sent all the reinforced bugs to burrow into the gash and pour out all their venom and chemicals. Lung possibly tried to roar, but only a wheeze came out. The bugs came back out and I put them back into inventory, where they'll stay in stasis till I could refill their payload. Lung grabbed his throat, stumbled and toppled.
He fell down in the exact fashion that a 15 foot dragon-man would. His level started dropping as his status changed to Heavily Poisoned, Stunned, Drowsy : -500 HP/s, -20 WIS, -20 INT, -20 DEX. His HP started dropping quickly as his regen short circuited, thankfully his windpipe healed and his jugular stopped squirting blood, the fire sputtered out, his HP soon dropped to a sliver and his status became Unconscious. I checked his health, didn't want him to die from any toxin reactions. The HP stopped dropping at 10 and remained so as I stabilized him and used one of the unconsciousness tricks Panacea had taught me. His natural regen would take care of the rest.
I got a mental thumbs up from both Taylor and Lisa this time, she must have dealt with Oni Lee and arrived sometime during the fight, good, I wanted the rest of the Undersiders to get a nice view. Though I wondered why she didn't pepper me with her analysis during the fight, I figured she wasn't too worried or didn't want to distract.
I replayed the memory of the fight in my mind. Encoded the visual and auditory parts into computer format and transferred it into my smartphone, honestly, creating the Mana-Computer Interface skill was one of my proudest achievements.
A quick message to Taylor and she immdeiately sent me a comprehensive summary of the fight and the situation leading to it, including the kind of bugs she used and the chemicals they were treated with, which she was apparently composing during the fight - her multitasking makes her appear a stone cold monster to whoever doesn't know of it.
I edited out a few bits that revealed too much about our powers transferred it as a text file into the phone, attached both the files to a mail and sent it off to the Protectorate and PRT public mail addresses via my anonymous server.
Another message from Lisa informed me that they had moved away and were waiting at a nearby rooftop (Taylor would know which one) but I had to deal with Armsmaster first who was on his way.
Fair enough, Lung had finished shrinking, he was glowing blue as I had pushed mana into him and scanned his brain and body constantly as he was changing back, scanning was difficult for unwilling subjects as they had to be in contact and the blue glow was telltale. I pushed the scan results directly into the AI message buffer, analyzing them would distract me for hours.
I held his arms and legs together and Constructed Carbon Fibre shackles around them, I could create flawless Carbon Fibre now! I pushed a major chunk of Mana into them to make the constructs real, still needed to find a way around the mass problem, more massive the construct, more mana it needed to be constructed and much more to be turned into real matter. A problem for a later time. I could already hear the drone of the ArmsBike. I messaged Taylor to ask if she would like to join in.
A swarm of bugs appeared and coalesced into the well-endowed-7-foot-amazonian-woman-in-a-gown shape of Taylor's cape Identity, blue ghost fireflies peppered throughout the surface to give the whole structure a blue glow quite like mine, yellow-green fireflies to make the eight eyes, hair and cape, which moved as if underwater, and the omega symbol on her chest (a careful misdirection so it could be speculated that she was a case 53, but not tilted like the actual Cauldron symbol, darknet conspiracy forums help a lot.) it was very ethereally beautiful while being quite terrifying with all the buzzing and being made of insects. It was the one 'Garam' thing I approved of, when dealing with people, put on a show.
My shapeshifted avatar was no slouch in that field, 6' 5", heavily muscled, black tungsten armour with blue glowing edges, black featureless helmet ending upwards in two hornlike protrusions (I could easily see through my mana constructs). A glowing blue spiral on my chest, a light-emitting mana construct which required a measly 10MP per minute to sustain (The spiral means growth and evolution... It's not the Uzumaki Crest I swear! Fine, I'm a nerd, sue me!) Overall it was the exact mix of heroic vs villainous ambiguity that we wanted.
Till date we had avoided meeting the authorities, leaving the crime scene as soon as we knew they were coming in, and always only presenting mine or Taylor's cape personas to the gangers and thugs we subdued. We made sure to use our chosen names to call 911 and occasionally to any victims rescued, so that the community would not saddle us with stupid names.
Armsmaster appeared around the corner on his bike. I observed him.
Colin Wallis / Armsmaster
Class: Protectorate Hero
SP: 4980/5000 (parasite Shard Points)
STR: 15 + 26 = 41
VIT: 14 + 19 = 33
DEX: 16 + 24 = 40
INT: 20 + 50 = 70
WIS: 17 - 10 = 7
CHA: 10 - 5 = 5
Desc: Colin is a man who wants to be self-reliant at all times and to excel at everything he does. He sees himself as a soldier of the good side in the war against Villains and Gangs. He has no social life to speak of.
Power: Technological Efficiency (Passive). Can take tech from various sources, including other tinkers and improve them in miniaturization and efficiency. He uses this power to create ridiculously efficient technological devices which he outfits into his suits of armor or into his weapons.
Status Effects: Aggressive, Socially Challenged. (power induced) -10 WIS, -5 CHA
Okay, I had to share that title with the others later, AI, you might be a dick but you're a magnificient dick! Armsmaster parked his bike, walked briskly over to Lung, checked his vitals, shot him with a dart from his halberd. Then turned towards us and gave a curt nod.
We both nodded back, Taylor's nod even simulated her flowing firefly hair jerking forward and backward, god the girl's multitasking was ridiculous! I still hadn't practised my multitasking skill well enough to use more than 5 streams during combat. And creating and manipulating mana constructs easily took up 3 streams worth of focus.
"Armsmaster. Good to know you're aware of our monikers." Taylor replied in her buzzing voice, I'd already messaged her saying that I would not be doing any talking. Even after practising my American English skill, Lisa had still told me my North Indian accent was guessable. I did not want my voice to go through whatever analysis software Armsmaster would definitely be running the recording of this meeting through. Lisa and I would still be messaging Taylor with our opinions as and when required.
"Yes. Your presence has been noticed recently. We were hoping to meet you sometime. Would you be willing to come to the protectorate HQ and give us a statement of this capture?" His tone was gruff, but professional.
"A full statement with recordings has been mailed to the protectorate. Regardless, we would like to come over in a few days to register as an independent team." Her wording of the registration did not go unnoticed.
"Not as independent heroes?" Armsmaster asked, his grip on the halberd tightening.
"We find the classifications of Hero, Villain, Vigilante and Rogue to be too blurry. After all, it's not rare to see one turn into the other at the drop of a hat. We have powers and we wish to help people, that is all." Heh, Taylor was still annoyed at the PRT for the Sophia Thing, and recent news of the upcoming Canary trial also had her pretty pissed when she learned of it.
"I see. Since you're new parahumans, it's my imperative to offer you to join the protectorate. Especially for a tinker and a case 53, our facilities are meant to help and support new capes like you. Now that you've taken down Lung, the rest of the ABB will be looking for you." Good, all our preparations had worked, he thought we were legal adults, that my armor and constructs were tinkertech (the recording+statement mail would further support that). And he was giving us the carrot and the stick all at once, I didn't have to message Taylor anything, we'd discussed this in enough detail already.
"I would like to respectfully decline. Firstly, we're not new at all. Secondly, as you might have guessed, we're not operating solo anymore. However, we're quite willing to participate in joint operations with the PRT and Protectorate."
Armsmaster was possibly expecting something like that. "Very well, I have confirmation that your statement has been received. There is a reward for capturing lung, how would you like to claim it? Also, do you have any contact information?" Then he held a hand to his helmet, possibly to show that he was conversing with someone, at least he has that much social grace.
Lisa messaged me that it was Velocity on the console informing him that all the information he asked for was already there in the mail. Thank you for the useless trivia Lisa. Lisa immediately messaged me again with the mental impression of a tongue-out gesture. Smartass.
"I see. Your contact and account information is there with the statement. Very well, unless you wish to talk about anything else, you need not wait for the PRT to arrive, I'll secure Lung. And we expect you to get in touch with us soon about the registration. We will also be sending you further protocols for contacting us and sending incident reports."
We both nodded, Swarm dispersed into insects as I dropped into an ID, with it's reality cracking effects. I poked a hole in it and watched Armsmaster look around with his mouth open. Priceless.
Taylor messaged me with the exact location of the rooftop where the undersiders were waiting. It was about half a block away, I made my way up there, opened a hole to watch, there they were, Lisa, Grue, Bitch and Regent, standing in a close semicircle, flanked by four horse-sized dog-monsters. The dogs themselves were level 30 each, that's not a small amount of firepower.
I observed them all and saved the results for later perusal. Lisa looked very hot, ahem, I mean suitably appealing in her costume. I positioned myself roughly in front of them, coordinated with Taylor, we both materialized together side by side.
Lisa seemed unfazed, the rest seemed suitably intimidated. She took up our appearance as her cue to speak.
"Swarm, Maker. Thanks a lot, we don't know how well we would have fared against Lung."
Grue seemed to snap back to reality and followed up.
"Ahem, yes, thank you. We owe you one. We're the Undersiders, this is Tattletale, I'm..."
"They know who we are." Tattletale interjected, and turned to face the rest of them, waving her arm at us in an introductory fashion, "Guys, meet our new bosses."
Yeah, well, that happened.
It's a long story, let me tell you how it all started.