I Am Ziz
Discussion, Deliberation, Delivery
I'm sitting in a rather comfortable spinny chair at the head of a conference table in one of the PRT ENE's many meeting rooms. Hands behind my head, two wings draped lazily over the back of the chair and two more on the arms. I'm bored and looking at the ceiling, waiting for Alexandria to wake up from medical.
How am I, an eight story tall hundred winged pseudo-goddess, fitting inside the PRT building, much less in a chair with only four wings?
In a spinny chair, no less?
Easy. Use atom scale TK to build a smaller body and remote control it via telepathy.
Yeah. That's easy for my new Ziz powers.
Can I mention yet again just how much they hold back?!
Is it easy for me? HELL NO. But I have Ziz's future sight to help me out with avoiding Bad Ends of my actions.
Like the several thousand times Brockton Bay was removed from the face of the planet by my atomic tinkering.
By the way, the ENE Director's reaction to the sudden appearance of my smaller body when they were fishing Alexandria out of the bay was legendary.
Hey, I kept an air stream going to her from the surface. Can't let her die from that of all things!
I suddenly remember a random factoid from my meta knowledge. Now of all times.
I'm only supposed to be fifteen feet tall, not eight stories.
I… I don't really know why that's not the case. As far as my various Sight abilities can tell Behemoth and Leviathan have changed size too. I'm still the smallest. Leviathan's about nine stories tall with Behemoth topping the three of us out at a whopping ten.
Maybe it's ROB messing with me? Nobody on the planet seems to have noticed. I've… we've… The Endbringers have apparently always been this tall. And necessarily bigger too, given we don't look like freaks.
Well, I don't look like a freak. My new brothers still do. Just bigger ones. I kinda also remember that Ziz is supposed to look sort of inhuman? Like, cloudy, unseeing eyes, slightly too long limbs, cold facial expression, white hair, too-white, porcelain skin…
If I looked in a mirror I'd see the spitting image of someone the E88 would pay anything to have as their poster babe.
Curvy and slender at the same time, long light blonde hair, stormy gray eyes. White skin, yes, but normal human pinkish instead of porcelain. A slight natural smirk to my lips at rest.
Yet again, apparently how Ziz has always looked. She's even confirmed it, that the mental image based on some fanart that I've seen I showed her has never been her form.
I may have slipped some of the more waifu-like fanart images into our exchange just to see her cutely pout, but I will deny that if anyone asks.
Someone clears their throat. I abandon my highly interesting review of the ceiling tiles and my thoughts on my own appearance to look straight into the eyes of the one who'd interrupted me.
It's Armsmaster. Great.
He doesn't know the existence of the word tact, much less the meaning of it.
"The Simurgh-" he begins.
I cut him off. "Ziz."
He raises an eyebrow. "Excuse me?"
"Ziz. That's my name," I inform him. Okay it isn't my name, but I am covering for her now so it is one of my names. "I thought I made that clear when I posted it on PHO."
Nobody says anything for several long, tense seconds.
Dragon finally speaks from out of the room's communications suite. "...You post on PHO?"
I shoot an unrepentant grin at the ceiling. "Yeah, and I'd really appreciate it if you stopped banning me."
While Dragon doesn't reach the conclusion I wanted her to, the one she does is so much better. "Oh my God you're Void Cowboy," she whines.
I admit it. That was funny. I laugh out loud. And snort. "Uh, no thanks. That idiotic moron deserves every ban he gets. I'm Winged One," I correct her.
"Winged One?" Legend asks. "Are you serious?"
"Not if I can help it," I snark back, grinning.
The silence around the room is almost menacing.
"You've warned us of every time you were going to attack, haven't you?" Dragon eventually asks, dumbfounded.
I shrug and frown. "As much as I was able."
"And I kept banning you for 'unfounded speculation' of an Endbringer attack," she mutters.
I smile sadly. "I… You all don't have any idea how sorry I am. If I could take back everything I would. I-" I am actually getting a little choked up. Ziz's emotions swell through me, almost demanding I explain her actions.
I'll try, I promise her.
The view of the Simurgh crying, as both my bodies are doing, broke the spell. "If what you're saying is true, and you were essentially Mastered by Eidolon," Director Piggot cuts in, "what now?"
I shrug. "Well, obviously you don't need to worry about me attacking anywhere ever again," I point out. "Uh, well, anywhere good."
Piggot grinds her teeth. "And what of your time bombs?"
I furrow my brows in mock confusion. "I don't remember building any temporal bombs…" I trail off as if searching through my memory.
Armsmaster sighs. "We mean the individuals you have manipulated into becoming walking disasters later on."
I raise my eyebrows with faux surprise. "Oh! Those people in the 'Containment' Zones. Yeah, freeing them and reversing the changes was one of the first things I did after gaining control of myself."
The shocked look on everyone's faces is worth it. "So no need for the domes anymore. Just to be clear," I reiterate. "Although they're very impressive work, so you might want to keep them around for other purposes. Like a gigantic swimming pool!"
The looks I get straddle the lines between totally dumbfounded, amused, and 'what is my life right now'.
I wilt see into my chair. "Or, you know, arcologies. That works too."
Piggot narrows her eyes at me. "You could very easily be lying to get us to remove them ourselves, allowing your agents free to destroy the world," she growls. She's pointedly ignoring my swimming pool comment even more than the blatant ignorance of the arcology suggestion.
I snort and giggle a little. I can't help it. Knowing what I know now about Ziz's… my, powers, that's fucking hilarious.
Legend's face falls. "What's so funny?" he demands, looking like he has an idea and is dreading that he's right.
"Okay, okay," I begin, trying to get myself under control. "First of all. If I wanted those people out? Without the absurd degree which I held myself back before, they would be out. Nothing anyone on your planet, nothing even my siblings could do, would stop me."
I am sort of fibbing here, because Scion could interfere with me, but… well, he's not really on the planet, now is he?
Technically correct, the best kind of correct.
White faces abound around the table. "What do you mean, holding yourself back?!" Piggot yells.
"I have 300 year absolute precognition, telepathy and telekinesis that function from high orbit without dropping efficiency or power, and the ability to open Quantum Tunnels, or as you would call them, portals, through which my telepathy and telekinesis can propagate."
Is that fear?
Yep. That is most definitely fear.
Ziz cackles in my mind, almost throwing her popcorn over her head.
"Like I told you, I was holding myself back. In our battles I used my two weakest abilities, that being the Scream, or as I call it Mental Control, and my… tech mastery, for lack of a better term, for offense. Precog and telekinesis were only ever used for defense or on someone who could take the hit. You may have noticed that casualty counts when fighting me were far lower than Leviathan or Behemoth. Every time I killed? That was a directive. Eidolon would think about how odd it was nobody was dying and suddenly I would be directed to send a piece of some building or a car through a cape or some poor civilians. My siblings limit themselves as well. Not as much as me, they don't have quite as dangerous abilities as I do, and they're… well, them, so they actually like to fight... even though they hate killing. Unfortunately they aren't quite as… precise as I am. They are after all the level one bosses..." I trail off, looking between the horrified faces all around me.
The amount of bullshit is too damned high, but none of them know that.
I can even sense Dragon's terror. Interesting… An AI with a soul? How'd that come about?
"Look," I say, placing both hands on the table and spreading my fingers. "I'm not telling you this to scare you."
That's definitely a lie, I'm trying to scare the crap out of them.
It seems to be working rather well.
"I'm trying to be honest and make up for what I was made to do," I continue, shaking my head. "I told you some of my abilities to show you just how much I was trying to fight back against Eidolon, even as I was forced-" I choke up again and shake my head to clear the tears from my eyes, "-forced to kill, to destroy, to bring your world to the brink of destruction. I hated it. I never used more than a metaphorical ounce of my total power in the hopes I could give you a fighting chance. Maybe-" I choke up again, tears freely flowing from my eyes. I abruptly stand up, turn around, and float over to the window. It overlooks the bay, so I can watch my real body, try to calm down my raging emotions.
"Maybe what?" Dragon asks gently.
"Maybe even let you kill me, somehow, to spare me the suffering of my life," I sob. My emotions are apparently not only connected to Ziz's, they are the same. My words may have been largely bullshit, but the intentions behind them...
Even if my mind is different, I still have what amounts to a tortured teenage girl's emotions underneath.
Shit. This is gonna be a problem.
:Sorry:, Ziz says.
The silence outside and inside my mind is telling.
"She's suicidal!" Piggot declares once I leave the room.
Dragon is quiet for several moments. Everyone else just nods. "Wouldn't you be?" she finally asks. "Mastered your whole life? Forced to attack, ruin and kill millions of people?"
A little subconscious anger there much, Dragon?
"She's not human, though," Armsmaster points out. "We have no idea of her moral code."
"She seemed pretty human to me," Assault chips in.
"Traumatized teenager, maybe young adult," Miss Militia agrees.
Piggot sighs and collapses into her chair. "Yes. That was apparent to me too," she admits.
Legend scowls. "So what? We excuse everything she's done? The people she's killed? What about all the capes, our friends and family, that died fighting her?"
"If she's telling the truth, all of that is the fault of Eidolon," Aegis states flatly. He is glaring at Legend like he is something he scraped off his boot.
Legend opens his mouth to rebuke him, finds no fuel against Aegis' excellent point, and sighs. "God, if she's right…"
Piggot clears her throat. "For the moment let's take her at her word. This situation is already so far outside our comfort zone, so unexpected, the only explanation that does fit is hers," she declares.
"Nobody's a little worried that's the case?" Battery points out. "That the only explanation is the Endbringer's?"
Piggot slams her hands down on the table, wincing as her pain centers relay how unhappy they are with her actions. "It does strike me as very convenient. However, it all fits, and if it's true, we are going to have a shitstorm descend upon us. As much as I want to dismiss her, she broke her pattern, came to us, never fought back, and moreover if she's telling the truth about her abilities, there's nothing else we can do but listen to her!" she rants. "God! She's probably aware of this entire conversation anyways!"
Everyone goes silent at that. My remote body's breath bitches. Several heads turn to look at my real body out on the water.
I slowly turn it and grimace at them. "To be fair, I have both telepathy and precognition. It's incredibly hard to ignore being talked about with one, much less both," my voice booms across the Bay.
Piggot collapses into her chair and throws her hands up. "I rest my case."
I wince with both bodies. The guards around my human size one watch me for any sudden moves. I just shake my head at them. "Sorry," my real body says sheepishly.
"Eidolon," I curtly address the hooded 'Hero'.
We're in the depths of the oil rig the Protectorate uses as a base. My body is standing outside, watching for any signs of my, or Ziz's, siblings. Leviathan is slated to attack Brockton Bay soon after all.
If I can't free him before then, I will have to fight him.
Maybe even kill him.
Ziz hates it just as much as I, but I will not sacrifice the hundreds of thousands of human lives in Brockton Bay to save our brother.
He opens his mouth to reply, thinks better of it, and closes it again. My accusations have really shaken him. "Is it true?" is all he asks.
I nod slowly, never letting my eyes leave his. "Every word."
He closes his eyes and brings his hands to his face. "I'm… I'm so sorry," he murmurs.
I huff. "Apology not accepted. I can't free my siblings from you. And what you've done to us, made us do, is… It's frakking unforgivable."
"What do you expect me to do?!" he abruptly yells.
"Spend the rest of your definitely incredibly long life making up for it? Work with me to free Levi, Beth, and my other 17 siblings who sleep?" I ask rhetorically.
Eidolon's jaw drops. Utter silence meets my ears.
"Seven… seventeen?!" Alexandria yells.
I snort. "You didn't really think I was the last one, did you?" I turn to the rest of the people in the holding cell.
At least three of them vapidly nod.
I sigh, then smile sadly. Time to hammer it home just how screwed they were before I showed up. Let's see here… need a name… ah, yes, thank you, Kirk!
"Khan was set to come online within three years. He's a temporal manipulator," I explain. "Much like the Parahuman you called 'Grey Boy', only… about my own power level."
More fear? Come the frak on.