Summary: A petty, self-obsessed teenager who is suspiciously similar to Greg Veder finds out that he is Greg Veder, circa 2010. Armed only with having read 2/3rds of Worm, absolutely no powers, and an extremely kidnappable puppy, Greg "Eric" Veder tries to survive in the face of the greatest foe Worm has to offer: the average teenage girl!
Featuring special musical guest, the Simurgh.
Chapter 1: Dein Ende
— 1 —
It was like this.
You ever just wake up one day and know it was gonna be a bad day? The sort of day where, later on, you reflect how great of a mistake it was to get out of bed in the first place, I mean. I reckon there's a few ways for a body to tell when you're in that way. Maybe it's precognition or just a self-fulfilling prophecy. It doesn't really matter. What matters is that you know you're gonna have a bad time.
In today's case, it was waking up face-down on a very sticky keyboard that smelled distinctly of Mountain Dew, a headset clinging tight to me, and a weird video and song playing on my PC. Of course, the matter further complicated itself by me being mostly naked with a body that I was 95% sure, wasn't my own. I say 95% because there was this time that I looked into a mirror one time and didn't recognize my own face, then spent the whole night idly wondering if I had been replaced by a shapechanger with amnesia.
I lived a fun life.
Sitting up in my comfy chair, I stared at the computer screen for a moment. The video was trippy. Hard to describe, on a loop, and was playing some weird opera-like song. I took off the headset and leaned back.
This wasn't my computer
For starters, I seem to have been using internet explorer like some kind of plebian. And the date on the bottom right informed me that it was June 23rd, 2010.
I spun around slowly and eyed the room. It was a basement, cold and spartan save for a bed, my desk, some bookshelves, and a massive TV with a few game consoles. Most of the room here was unused. I saw a door to another room and a staircase leading upwards.
Alright, so. Neither me nor my house. Because for the record, rural Florida does not allow for basements. You dig anywhere down for five feet and you get water and sand. On the plus side, I get all the alligator I can eat, since, y'know, swamps. I swear, ten foot long man-eating gators are like pests where I'm from.
I looked back at the computer. Windows 7, ya say?
I minimized Explorer and looked at my desktop. A few IE links and folders, as well as applications called Mist (some Steam knockoff), uJam (apparently some indie iTunes ripoff), and something called "P.H.O." that was more or less an IM/calling app. I had no idea what those apps were, but it was clear that this computer was owned by some vile hipster. The folders were: The Path to Being a Philosopher, Schoolwork, Torrents, and Porn.
The first folder was just porn, so was the second one. Third one had torrented porn plus a bunch of other miscellaneous things. Music, videogames, and comic books. The folder labeled Porn seemed to just be schoolwork and a few older non-porn subfolders.
I stood up and said, "Well then, this is new."
Hello there, new voice. It didn't carry as well as the voice I was used to, lacked that… not booming, but ability to just carry and be heard, a powerful presence. Well, no, I was just bullshiting myself there. But this new body felt like a total bitch.
No muscles. Kinda short and skinny. Internet Explorer. Who was I?
Oh yeah, I guess I should have been flipping my shit that I was clearly not who I was when I went to bed last night. But really, that didn't feel important. I mean, what was I gonna do, collapse on the ground and hyperventilate?
I saw a remote on my desk next to my monitor and used it to turn on the TV.
The news was about superheroes in the town of Brockton Bay. The local Wards team had done something interesting, and there was footage of beings doing superhuman acts. Oh look, a flying human!
As if in a daze, I turned the TV off, set the remote on the desk, and gave the tool a little pat. My mind blank, I found myself walking up the stairs into a very strange house.
Capes. Superheroes. Brockton Bay.
I was in the Wormverse.
And the most pressing question on my mind was: Just what state am I located in?
I entered the main floor and wandered around until I found a kitchen. Opening the fridge, I found junk food, soda, and other crap.
Instead, looking through the kitchen, I found a glass and filled it with water from the sink. Hmm, was that a bit of dried blood under my nails? Why's that there? As I stood there, idly drinking water and just wondering how long it was going to be before an Endbringer or Jack Slash took a liking to my asshole, I heard footsteps.
From a doorway came a woman's chokey voice. "Greg, what happened to you?"
"Beg pardon?" I asked, looking at the mousey woman who was a good head or so shorter than me.
I touched my countenance and it stung. There were cuts on both sides of my face, almost as if someone had grabbed me hard, their nails digging into me. I looked at my nails; the blood was there.
Had I done that? Had Greg?
With the most stern face I could manage, I looked to her and said, "Some girl was the absolute worst at my video game and drove me insane last night."
The woman—my mother? Aunt? Milf girlfriend?—ran through a gamut of emotions, from horror to denial, to anxiety, before settling on a blank face. "Ah. Okay."
We stared at each other as she slowly backed out of the room.
I got the feeling this wasn't the first time I had done this.
Also, a shower. I had to clean these wounds.
— 2 —
As I sat under the boiling water of the shower, I thought. The shower in the basement. I had basically a whole apartment to myself down here. Had a shower, toilet, and a washer/dryer combo. And Jesus did the shower's temperature go from cold to HO FUCK fast.
I liked that.
My name—or really, that of my body—was Gregory "Greg". I really had no idea what my last name was, and I didn't feel like asking that mother/milf girlfriend of mine what my surname was. I'd figure that out. I hoped that woman was my mother, and if so, then I dreaded my other idea of her. Did Greg have an Oedipus complex or was that just me?
In any case, from what I gathered from the calendar on my computer, I had just turned fifteen, and I would go to Winslow High as a Sophomore by August. I was 5'8" and suffered from what were clearly growing pains. My shoulders were a lot less broad that my real ones, but I could see I had potential to grow as I, uh, aged. Oh, and I had some acne issues. I could clear that up.
Those nail cuts on my face were strange. They weren't very deep, likely owing to Greg's very short, clearly bitten-down nails. Had I been clawing at my face last night? Weird. I wondered what would drive Greg to do that.
I reckon it didn't matter too much now. That was Greg, and now I'm Greg. A new Greg.
Greg was a lanky thing. Like, I'm pretty sure little girls beat the shit out of him on a regular basis. He got winded like a man ten times his weight, seemed to dedicate most of his PC's hard drive space to porn, lacked clear friends, wasn't very handsome, and overall had absolutely zero redeeming qualities.
I could work with that. I've done better with less before.
The year was 2010 and summer break had only just begun. I had no summer homework and my school was shit. If what I knew of Worm was right, Emma and that Sophie girl were currently doing vile girl stuff in a summer camp by now or something. I wasn't sure; I wasn't really paying attention.
Also, really what state was Brockton Bay in?
I left the shower very clean. And from the looks of things, it had been Greg's first shower in a very long time. I was going to change that. Just like me brushing my teeth as I got out seemed to the first time he'd done so in a few days. the plaque made me sick. How did he live like this?
I made sure my face was as clean and scrubbed as possible, with all zits dealt with cleanly.
That done, I left the bathroom and went to my computers to do some research.
Opening up Internet Explorer, I downloaded Firefox and imported all of my favorites and bookmarks. But before I did that, I looked over my old tab selection.
Parahumans Online (PHO, I think some people called it). I was XxVoid_CowboyxX and looking over a PM I had received from Winged_One
There was a new PM, too, from the letter icon—also from Winged_One
It simply read: "Thoughts on the video?"
Before exiting out of Explorer, I did a little digging and found a note labeled "Passwords" in the Porn folder. It gave login credentials for a ton of accounts, plus his banking information. Oh, Greg, you were not a very clever boy.
I ended Explorer and logged into PHO over on Firefox and saved the credentials into the browser.
But no, why was I here? I hated being on the computer without physical activity for too long. I had all the time in the world to troll forums. Although I did want to see how this world's 4chan was. Since it was 2010, I think this was before they had captcha.
The fact that I could remember a /b/ before captcha meant I was an oldfag. Good times.
I found Greg's not-iPod, a pair of earbuds, and got myself dressed. Greg's wardrobe sucked. I'd need to buy him some hiking boots and running sneakers. He also lacked any of the weapons I had in my room. Not even a paltry hunting knife to hook into my belt. And why did Greg's wardrobe consist mostly of gym shorts? Where were the jeans?
Everything in order, I headed outside into the strange air of a strange city in a strange world—a world I knew only from half-reading a book from the point of a view of a crazy teenage supervillain.
— 3 —
"Bye, Ma!" I called out a I left. "Going for a walk. Be back sometimes today, I hope."
The fact that she didn't correct me to "milf girlfriend" meant I was right. She expressed only pure shock that I was leaving my basement room. And likewise, confusion over my backpack—I'd filled it with water bottles, a few pencils, and a blank notebook because of reasons.
My house was pretty nice, all things considered. Not as roomy as my rural house in Florida, but whatever. Nor was it as good as the house I spent time in over in East Tennessee. Home was home.
As a thought, I spoke various words and sentences aloud as I walked around the house. "And then you'll see what I reckon might well be words of a different feather with a side of chickpeas and freedom fries, like he that on a lonesome road doth walk in fear and dread." And so forth. It was basically gibberish, but it still made me think.
Despite being Greg, who was in a state that was very much north of the Mason-Dixon, I still had my Southern patois—a mix of Deep Southern, a fair whack of upper class Southern, and a smattering of my mother's Queens accent. It was the kind of accent where you expected the speaker to bust out his KKK hood and lynching rope at a moment's notice.
I liked to think I sounded cultured. Or pretentious, It was hard to not sound one or the other when you sometimes forget to pronounce yours Rs and all of you "wh" sounds go like "hw."
Still, I had a big, walled backyard. Was it bad that my first thought was wondering what the local gun laws were like? I mean, I had some experience with home making explosives and firearms. I wondered if I could get Greg's dad to buy a gun. Or was I from a single parent household?
Guess I'd have to find out.
At this hour of the morning, I had a long time to just walk. I was always good at directions, but even then, Greg's phone had a GPS map. I would try to not use that if I could help it. Technology stole your soul.
My wallet contained a debit card and $50 in cash. And from what I saw of my bank account, I had around $300 on my debit. Plus, I knew my PIN, so it was all good.
As I walked down the streets of Brockton Bay, I wondered if Greg and I had swapped bodies. I could just imagine him waking up in my body, failing to shave, shower, or brush his teeth. Ruining my social life. Getting attacked by the local alligators And even worse, being a moron with a Yankee's accent.
Which gave me a thought.
I took out a pencil and my notebook and wrote down: "Ideas for Halloween: Captain Confederacy." Greg had much better handwriting than I did. "Confederate flag cape. Shield. Lynching rope. Bandages and painkillers for when I inevitably get my ass kicked for being a racist."
I stopped in a park and found a bench. This city sure was okay. I mean, it was a city, and I hated those on principle. City slickers and minorities lived there. The horror, I know.
I thought about people of note to me, what with my incomplete knowledge of the Wormverse.
All were girls, though. It read more like a list of Woobies than people of note. Dinah had that one super power, so she could help me. Maybe Coil, too; I really didn't mind him too, too much, as far as villains went. But Coil wasn't a woobie, so he got to wait outside.
So I made a list of other people who could help me.
Those Cauldron People?
Chris Brown (his skills at smacking women might be invaluable in this world)
That Guy in England who "controls" Scion.
Aaand that was it.
As I thought about it, wasn't TayTay at a summer camp, not Emma? Yeah, that was the case. And something happened with Emma and the ABB, I think, and that caused Emma to become a mega bitch and led to Taylor's trigger.
It was a thought: maybe I could stop that? But if I did that, Taylor wouldn't trigger, and her bug powers would never happen, and without her, a lot of bad shit might happen. I think.
Also, in order to stop that, wimpy Greg would have to stalk a fourteen/fifteen-year-old girl. And something about that didn't work well for me. Maybe I could let that happen, have Taylor suffer, and make her my friend? And… actually, what end did that serve?
On the other hand, I reckon everyone's eyeballs would thank me for not letting Taylor trigger. Also, Lung's junk would be indebted to me. Then again, I wasn't sure how how keen I was on the idea of Lung's junk being grateful to me.
Still, stalking Taylor would have to wait until she returned from summer camp. So, no Emma or Taylor. I had to turn my attention to Dinah or Tattletale, if I could either of them. I was sure I could stalk the Alcott family and find her. Her superpowers would be incredibly useful to me.
To what end? Actually, I didn't know. To go home? To save the world? Really, I wasn't sure, but it felt right to stalk a prominent family in order to talk with their prepubescent daughter.
I was not a creep. No sir.
Speaking of which, I really ought get to cleaning up Greg's hard drive some time.
I might chat with GStringGirl. Poor Sveta. I mean, when you're basically a face with a bunch of super strong murder tentacles, what could you do?
I got up and continued my walk around the city. Jesus, Greg was pale. Like, I was White through and through, but Greg was white. When I first stepped outside, my body's first reaction was to hiss and cower.
Pulling up my phone, I checked my map. It was a few miles to the Boardwalk. Might as well check that out before Leviathan destroyed it and turned it into Skitter territory. Actually, that was a thought. Maybe I could find a nice place to stake claim for immediately after not-Godzilla attacked and make sure to run into TayTay.
But that was thinking too far ahead.
As it stood, the biggest issue I had to face right this now was the fact that I was pretty sure that I was burning up from mere moments out in the sun.
Brockton Bay's boardwalk reminded me of the stories I'd heard of Atlantic City, at least before Hurricane Sandy. I wasn't sure if the boardwalk over there actually existed anymore back home, but… probably?
I perused the shops for anything of note. Nothing upon nothing stood out to me until I found a hat shop, where I found a perfectly suitable brown leather cowboy hat. It was made in the Southern style, and it was genuine leather all right. Back home, I worn on such hat out every day, having gotten it from a small leather shop in Kentucky. This was easily double the price at $40 and not as handmade as the one I negotiated for.
But Greg had money for a reason.
I walked out of there with a cowboy hat. XxVoid_CowboyxX was in business! Still needed to find a pair of boots, though. But that could wait. Thereafter, I stopped by a Greek street vendor and picked up a lamb gyro. Lovely.
As I sat there, eating my gyro and eying the distant oil rig that was the Protectorate's local base, I looked over my options for the remaining summer.
And I came to a set of goals and wrote them down on a new page of the notebook.
Shower every day.
Brush teeth every day.
Work out. A lot.
Don't be a loser (IE, Greg)
Make Taylor Hebert my BFF
After a moment, I added "build homemade napalm" to that list.
A/N Originally from SpaceBattles, now your least favorite GregFic SI thing makes it to . Oh boy, prepare to be dissapointed! And yes, I have since read all of Worm, dove into this fandom, and everything else. What matters is that Greg here doesn't have this knowledge.