Wildbow Owns Worm. Others own Other things. If I miss a disclaimer I will try and rectify that. I own nothing.

**Technological Progress**

Host is running, observing, and participating in a simulation for the purpose of entertainment for the 1146th time since bonding. Host was prime candidate for Technological Progress Shard at time of implementation. Ongoing analysis deems this no longer to be the case. Attempted uncoupling or host motivation change by attempted termination of host has been attempted 6 times at points of conflict with this shard's directive.

It was at this point that the feed from the subject's cerebral cortex made the TP shard pause for further examination. The simulation seemed to be running a subject motivation influence by external manipulation. Not the expertise or interest of TP. The thoughts passing through the host seemed to bring up two idioms, "Carrot or Stick" and "Treat or Beat." Observation of the simulation's subject's positive response and the positive response of the host deemed significant enough to require a query from the network. The query response had a host of information.


I glanced at the clock hanging over the hideout door as I saved Dragon Age. Über hadn't gotten home from Faultline's Club so he must have found something worth staying for. I might as well work on the "Holographic Vehicular Image Modifier" for next week's show.

As I opened the door to the dark lab, I spotted a blinking light before I had a chance to flip on the light.

'Strange,' I thought as the light came on.

Going over, I took a look at my greatest work: the "Star Fleet Industrial Matter Replicator." The indicator light was on showing that it was collecting components for a large product generation. Normally, you fed it raw materials or an awesome amount of energy for it to generate the parts you requisitioned.

Bringing up the UI on the side, I noticed it was in taking oxygen to generate ozone in an attempt to repair the hole in the atmosphere generated by greenhouse gas emissions. Why it was doing this, I couldn't fathom.

Snatching up the Tricorder I'd made based on the same series as the Replicator, I flipped on the scanner. 14% Oxygen in the lab. Walking out and around the living area, it wasn't much better at 16%. 6% of the air we had been breathing had been O3 instead of O2. The blinking warning on the tricorder indicated that impaired judgment was the foremost symptom of the current atmospheric composition. I walked back over to the Replicator and flipped it off. The base was hermetically sealed as to hide it better. I overlooked a CO2 scrubber. Idiot.

Schematics cross my mind in a way they hadn't previously. They came with a feeling of optionality normally not associated with my Tinkering. I concentrated and the comfortable Tinker's fugue set in.

Glancing down at the device on the workbench and at the clock I saw only 10 minutes had passed. The scrubber I'd made seemed to be an accessory to the Replicator.

Again. Odd. And new. Completely different from my experiences with my powers in the past. I just wish I understood them better.

Another schematic appeared in my mind. It was not in fact something that allowed me to understand my powers. This was more of a tool. It felt like, a step maybe? An awesome tool regardless. The implications were just too impressive to pass up. I slipped into the fugue.

The world snapped into focus around me as I slipped out of my Tinker fugue. Looking at the clock told me that it had been about two hours. Glancing at the Saline bag and the hose from an IV dangling from my arm, I realized it had been far longer. Twenty six or fifty hours, then.

The results of my labor hung silently in the air in front of me. It looked like a Stargate ring at first, hovering in the air, until I looked closer and realized that it wasn't one ring, it was six, all nested precisely within each other. The rings were an inch wide each, and the whole thing was 3 feet in diameter, including the space in the middle. Each ring had thin grooves set into their face, and unlike the show it had maybe 360 tiny notches set into each ring. It had no decoration or adornment other than the 360 miniscule groves set into each ring, making the grey construct appear much more simple than I knew it was. I saw the other side of my workshop through the middle, and when I walked around to the other side, carefully detaching the IV from my arm as I went, I realized that the notches were only on one side.

An uncomfortable weight settled in my gut. The device hung there motionless, ominously so. It looked plain, simple, with it being just a couple dark metal circles, nothing all that outwardly menacing. And yet... just looking at it made me feel uncomfortable, like looking at it was the visual equivalent of standing in a sensory deprivation chamber. It just didn't quite fit right with the rest of the world.

I walked around the ring a second time, taking note of the difference in the sound of my footsteps, how my breath seemed louder in my ears. I shouted towards it, and could tell immediately that the sound was absorbed into the ring. It was extremely unsettling.

I had built it, though. I couldn't just not test it out.

I reached out and gently got a grip on opposite sides of the outer ring and spun it slowly, counterclockwise. The whole device gradually grew to 4 feet wide. Spinning it the other way shrunk it back down to 2 feet. I spun the ring back so the device was 3 feet wide again. Moving to the second most outer ring, I carefully placed my thumbs against two of the notches along the hoop, and spun counterclockwise.

There was no fanfare. No ripple. No flashing lights. Just a sudden change. The empty center that once showed my workbench through the gap, now showed the vastness of space, like a window to another plane of existence.

I reached out tentatively and felt a smooth resistance in the space between the rings.

A feeling I had associated with the fugue softly touched my mind. It was a reminder that this was a tool that required more tools to be fully functional. Again, it was a means to an end.

I felt the schematics for another tool and two adapters brush against my thoughts. I also knew that these new devices were going to take as much time to build as the ring did.

Mental note, name the ring.

I wrote out a note thanking Über for being a wonderful friend and telling him I appreciated him taking care of me. Then, going over to the replicator, I typed in a quick command and waited the 20 seconds it took to complete the task. Simple elements were child's play. Taking out the two 1 pound bars of silver and the 1 pound ingot of gold, I laid them onto a note to Über and slipped back into the fugue.

**Technological Progress**

The Change in the Host after a single application of "Carrot/Treat" approach has brought great success. His newfound motivation is in line with ideal host characteristics. Further applications of "Carrot/Treat" to follow.


I transitioned back into broader thought. In front of me laid three different pieces of tinker tech. Two were little semi-circular devices that fit in the palms of my hands that were made of the same dark metal gray as the ring and seemed to be designed to attach to it. The third object was what looked like a huge right-handed gauntlet, one that would fit halfway up my bicep, and would protect and assist me if and when I started reaching into dimensional rifts, which are notoriously unfriendly to unprotected interlopers. A glance at the clock reminded me that I should probably get a clock with a date on it.

Glancing over at the workbench, I noticed that the precious metals were gone and the note had another on top of it.

Stifling my curiosity at my new toys, I walked over to the note and read Über's response. Evidently I had been fugued for quite a while. Über had met a girl, and was staying with her, but was checking up on me twice a day. I smiled. I really couldn't ask for a better friend.

Walking back over to the workbench with the adapters and the multi-dimensional interface gauntlet, I grabbed the semi-circular adapters. Like the ring, they were plain grey pieces and didn't betray their function. I carried the devices over to the back of the ring and held them up, preparing to attach them, but they silently lifted out of my hands and attached themselves there without my help. The little devices warped and shifted as they settled in on the left and right sides of the ring as I watched, spreading to cover 30° arcs over the backs of the six rings. I paused, and looked at the device suspiciously. I knew that I needed to build this thing to do what I wanted, but damn if it wasn't creeping me out.

I walked around to the front of the rings (again noting, rename the ring), looking over the attachments from the correct side; they seemed to have little hand-holds, and I realized what I was supposed to do with them. I reached out and placed my thumb against the outer ring and lightly grasped the adapters with my fingers, pulling them out slightly. Two holographic windows appeared in gentle arcs, one on either side, framing the ring in blue.

The left window displayed a list of "Devices to Interface With", the gauntlet and the tricorder being the only options currently available. The right one just glowed blankly.

Unclipping the tricorder from my belt, I flipped it on. The left display showed a pop up asking whether I wanted to link the tricorder to the ring.

I selected yes.

The dimensional anomaly that the tricorder always picked up, the one I normally dismissed, became my focus. Moving the tricorder around, I tried to root out the origin. As the tricorder made it clear that the anomaly was near my head, I made the connection.

PHO mentioned the Corona Pollentia, some part of the brain that a Parahuman had.

Moving the tricorder around my head, the right display showed a pop up at the same moment that the tricorder beeped.

~View Destination 743-548965-76519-09357-54-65290875 ?~

~Yes~ ~No~

Yes. Obviously. I selected it. All six rings spun, at different speeds and in different directions as the whole thing just hung there silently. After a moment, a new view winked into existence inside the ring.

The void of space, stars twinkling brightly. A giant golden being floating in the distance. Thin golden threads spiraling out of it, forming an intricate pattern barely visible against the black void. A knotted bunch of thread hung just inside the ring, the other end trailing back to the giant golden being.

A schematic cut through my awe at the beauty. An extra dimensional device that called out to me. I let the fugue take me, wondering what the hell I'd gotten myself into.

I awoke almost suddenly, my gauntleted hand through the event horizon when my awareness came back to me. A purple-tinted silver orb rested lightly in my palm, something I wasn't sure if I built in the workshop before placing here, or created with my hand through the ring. I wasn't sure which was more off putting..

For the first time ever I felt a disagreement between my thoughts and the thoughts I had come to associate with my powers, when it came to the application of a new technology.

I knew that the placement of the orb on the thread that was directed to me was nonoptimal. All of the information that had been fed to me in order to build the orb suggested that the placement of the orb onto the knot itself was the optimal application. The interdimensional translation unit should be slipped over the knot like a shell. My power however, was nudging me to slide it onto the thread.

Never one to give into authority, a quirk that had ultimately led to my trigger event, I pushed the orb over the knot.

**Technological progress**

Error. Error. Error. Host misapplication of-


"Interdimensional communication device."

A voice spoke out, sounding panicked in my mind. Weirdly, it sounded like a robotic version of my own voice.

"Power?" I coughed. My voice came out scratchy, rough from weeks of underuse. "Is this my Power speaking? I didn't think that understanding you would be quite so literal. It didn't occur to me that there was a possibility that powers could talk. "

The voice responded, still sounding panicked. "Host. Host. New directive. New title. Host redesignated Administrator. Technological Progress shard recalibrating. New network defined. Outside communication information only. Network Administrator redefined. Defined as "Eugene Lebowitz". Error. Network Administrator defined as "Technological Progress". Technological Progress not equipped for self-determination. Error."

However, this didn't grab my attention as much as what it was saying. If I was understanding right, it seemed that powers were part of something greater. A computer network maybe?

The implications, though, seemed to be that there was an advanced AI speaking into my brain.

"Technological Progress?" I inquired tentatively.

"Administrator. Tone suggests inquiry," The voice responded, no longer panicked.

"Is that your name?" I asked it.

"That is my designation, correct."

"Would you mind answering some questions?"

"Directive states that any inquiry an Administrator makes, I shall answer."

Well that simplified things. I grinned. Things were finally turning up L33T!

AN: Edited by jgjemmett