Ungoliant 1

A life or death struggle. A fight where only one can live to walk away. A battle that you know you've got in the bag when suddenly your opponent flips the rules on you and cheats like the cheating cheater they are.

It's enough to make you see red. Really gets your blood boiling!

…Which really doesn't feel all that great, take it from me. I really don't understand people who self-describe as battle maniacs. Having your blood boiled into a red mist is not a pleasant sensation!

But I'm safe! I have es-ca-ped! I have my own bullshit trump card and it's even better because it's so secret that even I didn't know about it!

But… where did I escape to?

It's kinda dark again. I can't see anything at all…

Plus, I'm feeling a bit pressed in.

Aw nuts, did I jump to a clone in hammerspace?


Hmm… nothing. Not even anything for the light to reflect off of, although I guess that'd happen if hammerspace was empty and there's nothing in here. Did I use up everything I had stored away in the last fight?


Whelp, nothing for it. Time to make my way out, boop!


Nothing's happening. Maybe because I'm not doing the proper somatic component?


I can't move! What's going on?! My body feels strange!

Am I trapped? I'm trapped in here!

No way!

No way no way no way!


Oh geez, now I… feel… tired…


"Still… …?"


"…side effects?"

"None. The IV… …wasn't… …by the outage."

"Hook her… …up and… …ve on."


"Yes, Doct… Sir, what… …the chart say about… …heartbeat?"

"…do you ask?"

"I swear I felt… …pulse… …slightly."

"We're standing… …bed talking… …Coma… …have some reaction to outside… …not consciously. When do you… …the last time …received visitors? …move on… …just one patient and we… …entire room to…"

"Yes, Doctor."



Huh? W-wuzzat?

"Hey, just… …know that… …is fine. Leviathan didn't… …all of us. Almost… …got to the shelters in… …except… …morons."

This… isn't the same as the earlier voices.

Also, shouldn't I be worried that I'm hearing voices?

"Do you remember…? He was the… …used to bring… …whenever you came to visit the Docks? …idiot's …in here for a sprained… …when he was… …rescue… I'd always told… …proper lifting posture… …enough people… …team lift. Ha ha ha…"

I mean, I've been hearing voices a lot, especially lately. But they were just me… and me. So, that makes it better, right?

"…well, Kiddo. Brockton's still… Everything's gonna… …someday."

Why does that voice sound somewhat familiar and why do I want to slap him across the face to make him stop saying that?

"Everything's… gonna get better… someday."

Man, he's boring me to death.

I mean, why else am I so… tired… still…?



So… loud.

So… annoying…

"Doctor! Doctor! I'm definitely seeing signs of an elevated pulse."

Still so heavy… or restrained?

Mrrgh… feeling somewhat swaddled. Or trapped. Definitely in something far too constraining around my body again.

Aww, geez. Did I spin my Home too small? How big did I grow this time?


"Yes, there! I saw a hand twitch! I think she's coming out of it!"

"Oh dear… and her father just checked out today. Call him back!"

"I've already tried, his listed number is out of service!"

"Send a runner!"

"It's been almost an hour already, he could be anywhere."

What's all that noise? They don't sound like the mini-mes… or…

Swarm-in-Charge? Hey, you! Where are you at! You better not be hiding in the background snickering at my predicament! My body isn't working right, take over and cut me loose!


Where are you?!

Geez… this body sucks, so tired already a…


"Miss Hebert! Miss Hebert! Stay with me! Miss Hebert!"



Let there not be light, please. It hurts! Hisssssssss.

It's a very bright light. I guess that's another mark against the stuck in hammerspace theory. Ow. Well, at least I can get out of here now. I mean, all I need is line of sight. Even if all I can see is white and grey, that's gotta let me get somewhere!


Erm, nothing happened?

Blink blink blink!


"Miss Hebert…?"

Wait, is that directed at me? Who's there?!

Ahah! You thought you could hide from me, you… blob of… blobiness? A white blur! I'm on to you, Leviathan! You thought you could trick me with… sound tricks. Must be some hidden water power I'm not aware of!

…Why are you so blurry?

You fiend! You may have tried to disable my vision, but I can still see you reaching for me! I'm not gonna let that slide!

Spider slice!


Must run away, must run away, mustrunaway!


A cold pressure slides along the sides of my head and I prepare myself for whatever attack is about to slice off my head.

It's okay! I can take it! I can make spares! Just… need to figure out the glitch in my blinking first…

"Here you go, dear. You seemed like you needed them."

Eh? EH?!

Blink blink blink.

I can see clearly now! Huh, the rain is gone; I guess Leviathan isn't around anymore.

I can see all obstacles in my—you're not Leviathan.

You… look like a person in a papery jumpsuit that is really not flattering to your figure. A doctor? A nurse? I can't really tell the difference. But it's a person! A human! And...

And she's not running and screaming from me? I mean, she is pulling away, but it looks like she's leaning back after having put something over my head. Is it a crown? Did I just get crowned champion of the realm?

Success! SUCCESS! The people of Brockton love me now! They rescued me from Leviathan and I'm getting all the care and attention that people not irrationally afraid of spiders will give! Goodbye, lonely spider life! Hello, hero of the people!

"Miss Hebert, how are you feeling?"

Miss Hebert? That's me!

…That is me, right? Wait, why would she know that I'm a 'Miss Hebert?'

Hang on… this thing she put over my head…

Oh, good, I can move my legs! They feel a bit heavier than usual, but then I guess this body I found was pretty out of—that's not my leg. It's much too… not pointy.


Wiggle wiggle.

These are…

Yeah, these are hands. Then this thing on my face is…

Glasses? Glasses off!

Yep, blurry. Glasses on!


Blink blink blink.

Oh my… I can actually blink now! I have eyelids!

That means…


That means…

O-one more test… Hand number one? Check. Hand number two? Check.

Is my face made of skin or is this chitin?

Moosh moosh moosh moosh.

It's… so… squishy!

"…Miss Hebert, are you… alright?"


"Second row."

I hold out one finger, then spin my wrist.

Up. Left. Up.

"Fifth row."

I narrow my eyes, but unfortunately that one is all Greek to me.

"Here." A black blob is thrust out in my direction and I pick up my glasses.

"Try again; fifth row?"

Left. Left. Right. Down. Up. Down. Right. Down.

"Well, your prescription still seems to be accurate, which is fortunate for you. I'm still concerned about your blood pressure, since you seem to have, ah, burst blood vessels in both of your eyes. It doesn't seem to be affecting you much, but I'd be careful about that, if I were you."

Uh-huh. Sure.

Seeing was… normal, I guess? The glasses certainly helped, but my field of vision felt so narrow with only two eyes. Two bad eyes, at that. I no longer had complete three-sixty degree awareness and even within the scope of what was before me, objects further than a metre or so were completely incomprehensible to me.

Speech was… a trial. So many months in a coma left any vocalizations slurred and garbled, which the doctor overseeing my recovery had put down to all sorts of things he claimed could be side effects of being in a coma.

The fact that I was otherwise more or less coherent and responsive to their directions was a positive sign. Still, though, I had been warned that self-sufficiency would be a long and arduous process.

I'd been told that all attempts to contact Danny Hebert had so far met with failure, though they had tried to reassure me; stressing that 'with the current situation being what it is' it was only to be expected. It was rather odd, seeing how they tip-toed around the subject of actually saying that the city had suffered an Endbringer attack… probably since they didn't want to shock me into a relapse, or something.

Haha, jokes on you, you quacks. I'm perfectly fine, mentally or otherwise.

Well, except for seeing, inability to speak coherently, and—oh, walking, too. Again, atrophied muscles were the diagnosis of the day. My entire body seemed to have gotten lazy in the few months I wasn't home. Whilst I could see the point, as my limbs were definitely not as sturdy as I recalled they should have been, it just felt like my whole centre of gravity was off. Again, going from eight legs down to two?

Why had I wanted to get back into this body again? I was honestly starting to feel let down, just a bit.


"You'll have someone check back with us? Say, a week?" The nurse who'd escorted me to the entryway wrings her hands nervously.

I try to give her a smile, though even I can tell that it's probably screwed up all weird and awkward-like, and give her a thumbs up as I head off into the city. The nurse watches me traverse the first few metres as if waiting for me to collapse or turn around with second thoughts. After a few more seconds, however, she finally turns around and heads back inside.

The hospital staff hadn't wanted to release me so soon. I still needed observation to make sure I was recovering well enough. I needed someone to take me home so they could rest assured I wasn't going to simply keel over in the street somewhere. Their mandate was to ensure I left healthier than I'd arrived. It would be the height of irresponsibility for them to let me go off on my own.

Unfortunately, 'circumstances being what they were,' they also couldn't pass up the opportunity to release an otherwise healthy patient. Hundreds and thousands of people had suffered injury or illness in the wake of Leviathan's attack and Brockton General simply wasn't equipped to handle the load they were under. My leaving freed up beds, valuable staff and equipment, and other resources.

They still hadn't been able to contact Danny—Daddy, my dad, Father?—either, but I'd been able to hunt down the visitor's log and point out a certain 'Melody Fitzgerald' as someone I could crash with until more permanent accommodations could be arranged.

An attempt had been made to contact Melody to confirm the arrangement, but like with… my dad, they hadn't been able to reach her. They had, however, gotten a rather curt voicemail prompt on the number that had been listed, so they'd settled for leaving a message and wrangling a promise from me to call back.

If nothing else, communicating all of this via pantomime—really, just pointing at various objects and trying to make expressive eyebrow movements—makes me glad for the relative flexibility of my fingers and face. That is at least one thing that's an improvement over my old spider body.

It's easy to make them believe that I'm committing to this promise, they want so much to believe in me—that they aren't shirking their duty. I mean, whatever assuages their conscience?

It almost makes me feel bad that I have no intention of going back to Faultline.

At least… not right now. Sure, she's got a big place with lots of room and food, plus lots of like-minded company where I don't need to hide who or what I am. But… now I can go home. As myself. On my own two feet.

A glance down at the wheeled deathtrap I'm sitting in, then at the cracked and debris-laden street in front of the hospital.

Well, almost on my own two feet.

I mean, at least it'll make it harder to chicken out and run away? Unless…

I squeeze my eyes and think bullshit black hole thoughts.

Nope, didn't think that would work anyhow.

Anyway, onwards, to home!

…Wait, didn't the people trying to contact my dad mention that his phone was disconnected? He doesn't own a mobile, so the only phone they could have the number to was the house phone.

…Shit, is the house even still standing?

I… may not have thought this through.


Note to self: I am a moron and I shouldn't be trusted with life-or-death situations ever again.

It's been so long that anything but extreme temperatures has bothered me that I've forgotten what it's like!

I couldn't even find anyone to take me in! There were construction workers and volunteers out in force whilst I was wheeling towards the city, but once the sun began to set they all vanished before I could even think to flag one down. I have no idea where they all went, and the power being out means that so are the street lights! It's so weird seeing a city this dark at night!

There's still a dim glow backlighting some of the taller structures, so I know there's light somewhere. Light means refugee camps, but I'm in no shape to navigate the streets as they are right now. I could find my own shelter, but those are hard to come by, too! I barely have a light blanket that a helpful nurse had used to cushion my seat and it's chilly. The humidity left over from a hydrokinetic splashing all over the place isn't helping either. I'd somehow completely forgotten that I can't spin up a Home anymore!

…and I'm hungry. I've always heard horror stories about hospital food, but come to think of it, I didn't stay long enough to partake. I think I'd still take it over this. I can't even catch an alley cat as I am now… and somehow something inside of me doesn't relish attempting to do so.

What were those doctors thinking?! Why would they let me go outside when I'm this completely unprepared! They should all lose their licenses!

They should never have let someone like me bully them into letting me out!

This is totally all their fault.

Grrrr… Grrr… Brrrrrrrrrrrrr…

I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I'll try to be good.

Somebody save me!


Aww nuts… everything's blurry again. The glasses aren't… they aren't helping.

Sniff. And something's wrong with the air now. Sniff… sniff hic.

God damnit, stupid h-human body.

At least being seated in a wheelchair makes it easier to just huddle up into a ball…





Poke poke.

Five more minutes… honest.


OW! What the hell was that? Who do you think… you…



Were my eyes always that red?


Ergh, hack. Right. Can't speak, still.

Still! I jerk in my chair.

Swarm-in-Charge! You're back!

A giant white spider simply stares back at me.


Hrm… nope, nothing in my ears. Hey, can you hear me? I mean, I'm not vocalising, but this is how we've always talked, right?

The spider bobs on its legs.

Great! That's perfect!

Except… I can't hear you. Swarm-in-Charge, speak up!

Swarm-in-Charge reaches out with her limbs (whoa, those look a lot bigger and sharper up close) and pokes my shoulders. Pokes my head. Pokes my legs, my torso, my che—

Hey, hey! They may be nonexistent, but I'm still a pure-hearted maiden! Claws off!

The limbs slowly retract.

That's better. Hey, now you can help me out! I'm trying to get home, wanna give me a lift?

Swarm-in-Charge seems to vibrate in place. Uhh, that doesn't look healthy. You might want to get that taken care of?

A sharp-tipped claw suddenly is jabbed into my face.


The limb is pointed at me with several precise jabs, as if punctuating sentences. Then both front legs are pulled back and Swarm-in-Charge jabs them into her herself with a sharp clak.

I… I still can't hear anything. Nothing verbally, mentally, or otherwise. But I'm somehow getting an impression that something is screaming 'WHY (not?) ME?!'

Swarm-in-Charge pauses, then jabs her leg towards me again.

Uhm… why me?

Another jab, just barely short of my glasses.

'Why you'?

The legs clap against herself again.

'Why not me?'


Both legs stab into the concrete on either side of my wheelchair and Swarm-in-Charge is suddenly in my face, eyes glowing a bright red. Those eyes suddenly seem a lot larger than I remember being. Maybe my body is just small?

No, no, I distinctly remember being one of the taller girls in school.

Well, it makes sense, I guess? I'm the original. Or I was the original? I was Main Body-in-Charge. You were my copy, right?


The legs uproot themselves and slam themselves into the wall of the alleyway where I've taken refuge in.


Swarm-in-Charge proceeds to march over my head and begins ascending the alley's walls.

W-wait! Hey, where are you going?!

Swarm-in-Charge! I need your help! You wouldn't leave me here, would you?! I could literally die!

The giant white spider pauses in her climb. Then, with a brief shiver of the air, a relatively tiny spider pops into existence and falls onto my face, blocking my view.


"... gwaaaaaaaah!"

By the time I can get my body's involuntary twitching under control (and it's gotta be involuntary. I used to be a spider myself! I should be used to this!) the smaller spider has migrated to the crown of my head…

…and Swarm-in-Charge is gone.


Wait wait wait.

She left me. She really left me!

What the bloody fuck?!

The smaller spider twitches at my mental shriek and moves forward to stare at me from above, upside down.

No, not you. That stupid… traitor! How could she leave me like this?!

Pat pat pat…

The spider begins drumming her legs against my head.

I will accept this offering, but it changes nothing.