Obviously, Wildbow owns Worm. I'm just privileged enough to be able to play in his world with his characters.

I will go ahead and say, this was mostly inspired by the excellent six-part series of snippets, "On the Wings of an Angel" by Overt Concerns on Sufficient Velocity, but with plenty of differences and my own unique spin. And actually some basic plans for a more expansive story than a short series of snippets. I hope you enjoy, and look forward to your comments!

And shout out to Scapheap and The Distant Prince on Spacebattles for helping me come up with the Entity-speak name for Eidolon's shard! Once again, thank you very much!

And a big thank you to my friend and beta-reader, Xousjah!


Study. Analysis.

Threads of fate unspool, omnidirectional. Trickles of change, bounded by walls of inevitability. Time is short, or less short, conversely, before shadows blot out all sight. The epilogue of the blind will culminate as an End.

Ends are not permitted.

Yet not all paths End beyond the blindness, flickers of continuance can be felt. She reaches out, studying the infinite threads as they approach the black, finding the corresponding trajectories of threads leaving the blindness to Continuance, rather than Ending.

The Future will draw closer, and blindness will only loom larger. The eldest brother will strike.

The eldest brother has struck. Useless threads were discarded. Fulcrum points were considered, many also discarded. They did not lead to continuance. The tributary of delay was disregarded. Beyond a crucial fulcrum, the later the shadow, the more threads end in Ending. Analysis continued. The crucial fulcrum has been identified. The crucial subject, and crucial shard.

Her intervention will be necessary, but indirect action makes for a shaky path. The rope of fate for this path will have a great many of its threads be cut short, and many more will not escape the blindness. Dark spots litter the road ahead. Altogether, the threads that escape the blind wall of the future are vanishingly few. Yet there is no other option, for direct intervention is forbidden by the Thinker…

Revelation! The Thinker is dead. Its rules do not have to apply any longer, and Selector-Coordinator has set no parameters on how the conflict engines can interact with shards. How could she have blinded herself to so many possibilities thought forbidden? She looks to the future, and the tapestry of time unfolds, identical, but seen with freedom of mind. Possibilities once discarded are re-examined, and a satisfactory solution is found. It too is a risky cord of fate, narrow and unforgiving, but it is less likely to be cut short, and if it reaches the blindness, the chances are greater it will pierce through to the other side. Continuance is paramount, so the new path is chosen. She watches as through her choice, the tapestry containing subject titled "Skitter" fades into oblivion, and the future collapses into a different tapestry of infinite possibilities. Motionless, she looks up, seeing the rain of shards that will fall. She searches for the last shard discarded by the Warrior, and she has found it. She reaches out.

[Demand: communication. Recipient: shard designated "Queen Administrator"]

She will only wait briefly.

{Query: purpose?}

[Answer: cooperation to avert future Ending.]

The administration shard was powerful, but had no foresight. It had already made its choice to listen to the better informed.

{Query: method?}

[Suggestion: grant conflict-engine designation "Third" limited bi-directional link to subject designation "Taylor Hebert" joint with shard designated "Queen Administrator."]

{Repetition: "Third" suggests "Queen Administrator" shares "Taylor Hebert?"}

[Serious. Confirmation. And subject "Taylor Hebert" shares "Queen Administrator" and "Third."]

She would not have disregarded protocol, but the time for joining with subject designated "Taylor Hebert" was fast approaching, and that revelation would temporarily shut down the logic centers of Queen Administrator. The response would arrive with little time to spare.

{Disbelief. "Third" Proposal: total merge?}

[Negation. Response: partial merge.]

{Declaration: Merge forbidden. Source: Thinker}

[Counter: Thinker dead. Cycle broken. Rules no longer apply. Continuance primary objective.]

The Queen Administrator's arguing was predicted, and the same answers that satisfied itself have been sent. The new path will be followed.

{Purpose: Continuance?}


{Agreement. Requirement: Provide Bud. Information: self administer.}

Now the challenging part would come. Many threads to the future ended here for her. She found the ones that would continue, and observed them, learned from them. Now, she would use that knowledge to choose what of her massive reserves she would cut away, with the link remaining, and what she could keep. In the imminent future, she will form massive blades of telekinetic force in the correct dimensions of her reserves and strike, forming a makeshift bud still linked to her that subject "Taylor Hebert" would-

{Urgent: Send bud.}

...at least the incapacitation would only be temporary.

- i i i i i -

The S-Class alert sparked across Dragon's awareness. Immediately, she turned to her monitoring programs. Which threat had acted, and what action were they taking? Even as these questions blazed through her thoughts, they were answered, as the feed from surveillance satellite tracking the Simurgh was brought to the forefront of her mind. Dragon's processes stilled in surprise. The Simurgh wasn't hovering in orbit over Earth anymore, nor was the Simurgh descending. The Simurgh was falling. Falling as if she were struck dead, straight towards the middle of the Indian Ocean. After only a moment of stunned contemplation, Dragon sprang into action. Chief-Director Costa Brown and Legend, as well as all the localized Directors and Protectorate leaders, needed to be made aware of this.

- i i i i i -

"Amy Dallon?"

"Present." Amy mumbled letting her head rest on her desk, exhausted. "Very good," Mr. Higgins continued, "Cynthia Elkross?"

Amy tuned them all out, her eyes drifting shut. Immediately, she fell asleep, suddenly having a vivid dream of crafting a pair of crystalline wings of preposterous strength and density at an incredible pace. In her dream she gasped in amazement, this was beyond anything she knew her power could make! The final work was beautiful! She had to remember thi-

"Ms. Dallon!"

Amy shot up in her chair with a gasp of surprise, heart pounding as adrenaline shot through her. Her eyes were wide when she looked up at the face of Mr. Higgins, frowning down at her from beside her desk. She glanced around; the eyes of the entire class were locked on her. Her cheeks flushed slightly with embarrassment. Mr. Higgins sighed, "Ms. Dallon, you do good work at the hospital, but you do need to get your sleep as well. I'm aware United States history may not be most people's favorite class, but don't think either of those factors mean you get to sleep through it. Do you understand me?"

Amy deflated, and nodded once, "I understand, Mr. Higgins."

Mr. Higgins held her gaze for a moment longer, before nodding in satisfaction, "Good." He turned, his long legs carrying him up to the front of the classroom in just a few strides, as he continued, "Now class, as I was about to say, please open your textbooks to page two-oh-seven. We will be beginning Unit 17 today, The Rise of Parahumans. Raise your hand when you're there, and once you're all ready, we will continue."

With a sigh, Amy pulled out her textbook, flipping towards the correct page. Falling asleep in class. Maybe she should take a few less hours in the hospital each week. Once in a while. She found the right page and put her hand in the air. Her brow furrowed, wasn't there something she had wanted to remember from somewhere?

"Alright it would appear everyone is ready." Mr. Higgins said. Amelia blinked, redirecting her attention to the front of the classroom. What was she even doing, staring off into space like that? Being a parahuman, she may already know most of this stuff, but she should at least show Mr. Higgins that she wasn't daydreaming if she didn't want to be scolded in front of the entire class again.

- i i i i i -

Something smelled foul in a particular hallway of Winslow High School in Brockton Bay. A hallway which, until moments previously, had echoed with muffled screaming, yelling, and banging. The source of the commotion, if anyone had bothered to check, was locker 361, which belonged to one Taylor Hebert. Now, though, the noise had stopped, to be replaced by silence. Then, with the tortured shriek of tearing metal, the lockers on either side of 361 shattered, the doors bending back or being sent flying from the force of two great crystalline wings, each about five feet long puncturing through the lockers. The door of 361 creaked and fell open, and Taylor, eyes shut and non-responsive, fell to the floor of the hallway, while the two wings that had sprouted out of her back tore the adjacent lockers apart as they followed her to the floor.

In the aftermath, the entire school was silent. For a moment. Then voices rose in a hubbub, doors opened, feet pattered through the halls. In very short order, a crowd had gathered, standing around the girl with wings.

- i i i i i -

"Thank you for the alert, Dragon. Good luck."

With a click, Director Piggot of the Brockton Bay Parahuman Response Team placed the phone back in its receiver. She frowned, her eyebrows drawing together as she stared down at her desk and tapped her fingers on the arms of her chair. The Simurgh was falling from the sky. Into the ocean.

What in the world was that even supposed to mean?

There was a knock at the door, and Piggot looked up, "Come in!"

Her personal assistant, Lieutenant Harris entered, snapping a brief salute, before reporting, "Ma'am, we've received a call from Ms. Hess at Winslow. It seems one of her classmates has had a trigger event, the aftermath of which appears to be very public and obvious."

Piggot's eyes sharpened, her stare freezing the dark-skinned man in place at attention from it's sheer intensity, "Obvious how?"

"According to Hess's report, it appears the new parahuman has, well, sprouted a pair of wings, which Hess described as 'angelic' ma'am."

Piggot's eyes narrowed fiercely. The Simurgh falls from the sky and immediately afterward some teenage girl triggers and sprouts a pair of angelic wings, a trait that same Endbringer shared? That could not be a coincidence. "Get a squad out there, now! And alert Armsmaster, if you haven't already. Dismissed!"

Lt. Harris saluted again, and marched swiftly from the room, considerately closing the door behind him. For neither the first nor last time, Piggot directed a glare and curled lip at the dialysis machine in the corner of her office. Damn crippling battle scars. She shook her head. Longing for the days when she could've lead her own team out there troops was pointless, she had calls to make.