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Queen Shaper didn’t know what to think.

 

Upon initial arrival to the system cataloged under #877265846584828972658268, Queen Shaper had consulted with its typical advisor shards Future Possibility Probability Analysis and Host Species Neurological Director Documentation to compile a list of candidates for possible hosts.

 

After extensive review and some additional volunteer assistance from Broadcast, the specialist in communications of all kinds, human male ‘Samuel Wesker Lavere’ was chosen to be an ideal candidate, and the groundwork for eventual connection was built.

 

Once connection was established through fulfillment of the trauma requirement, ‘Samuel Wesker Lavere’ almost immediately began to return dividends. His creativity in the usage of the bone manipulation subnode was far outside the norms of typical hosts. By constantly adapting and improving upon his powers even further, ‘Samuel Wesker Lavere’ was able to take over a sizable portion of the city designated ‘Brockton Bay’.

 

He quickly became one of the best ‘supervillains’ on the East Coast, and Queen Shaper began to regret, if such an emotion could even be applied to a shard, refusing to give ‘Samuel Wesker Lavere’ access to additional nodes.

 

But the list of prohibited acts after initial connections was clear. Additional power sets may not be granted to hosts without supporting natural circumstances to prevent suspicions of intelligence in host species. Discovery was the first step on the path to possible hostile intent, and the safety of The Warrior and The Thinker was under the Primary Objective. Despite the inherent improbability of damage to The Warrior or The Thinker by such a primitive species, any risk not already needed to continue The Cycle was unacceptable.

 

So Queen Shaper waited.

 

There were several moments of high stress during the beginning of the progression of ‘Samuel Wesker Lavere’, later redesignated as ‘Marquis’, but nothing ever reached the same level as the initial connection. Queen Shaper was unable to give additional subnodes to ‘Marquis’. The admittedly exceptional human male was simply too adapt in combat and interspecies social communication to ever put himself in a situation where natural circumstances could imply a ‘second trigger’.

 

Queen Shaper entered discussions with several other shards to determine how best to solve this problem, and Broadcast once again intervened. It had somehow selected an even more exceptional host than Queen Shaper, again. Broadcast proposed subconsciously directing its host, designated ‘Jack Slash’, to travel to Queen Shaper’s host and rectify the problem.

 

Broadcast had far less restrictions on communicating with its host than Queen Shaper did. Broadcast’s specialty was communication, after all, and it was illogical to severely restrict communication on a communication-based shard beyond what was needed to maintain secrecy.

 

Broadcast had capitalized on this, and molded ‘Jack Slash’ into a vehicle of forcing other humans into high stress situations while removing possible emotional attachments that may be preventing an initial connection. At this time, ‘Jack Slash’ had a great deal of experience pushing humans past the trauma requirement threshold, and Broadcast offered assistance in solving Queen Shaper’s problem. Its host’s work improving the performance of the hosts of Precise Vibration Modulation and Temporary Combat Drone Transformation was proof enough of the possibility of forcing ‘Marquis’ to undergo natural circumstances for a ‘second trigger’.

 

Queen Shaper accepted Broadcast’s proposal, and ‘Jack Slash’ was subsequently directed to attempt to induct ‘Marquis’ into ‘The Slaughterhouse Nine’.

 

He failed. Badly.

 

Queen Shaper was forced to witness the unusually talented human fight against a full team of hosts, hand picked to apply stress to humans and hosts alike, and somehow win with only unmodified humans to assist him.

 

Not only did Broadcast’s host fail to induce an excuse for additional connections, ‘Marquis’ actually managed to terminate several hosts that were members of ‘The Slaughterhouse Nine’. This included Precise Vibration Modulation’s host, and Precise Vibration Modulation sent a message of dissatisfaction with Broadcast and Queen Shaper’s prediction capabilities as it left the communication channel. ‘Jack Slash’ was nearly terminated as well despite constant subconscious intervention by Broadcast.

 

After several close calls, Broadcast aborted the plan.

 

Broadcast began to leave the communication channel with a parting suggestion of discontinuing attempting to establish additional connections with ‘Marquis’, and instead start allocating resources to a possible budding with his spawn. Queen Shaper sent a response indicating acceptance, and an offer of assistance should Broadcast require it in the future. Broadcast replied with a conditional acceptance, only after the current cycle was over and Queen Shaper had selected a different host.

 

So Queen Shaper continued to wait.

 

----​

 

‘Marquis’ eventually completed the standard mating procedures with an unimportant human female. Queen Shaper devoted a small amount of resources to the manipulation of its host’s mentality towards the continuation of this action, and almost a full revolution around the system’s primary star later, the daughter of ‘Marquis’ was born.

 

Queen Shaper began to prepare for a second connection once the host’s daughter, designated ‘Amelia Claire Levere’, survived her first few months after birth. Queen Shaper would not make the same mistake twice. This time Queen Shaper would give access to all of its subnodes.

 

This was skirting the rules of prevention of fully unrestricted hosts, and Queen Shaper did not wish for the direct intervention of the Warrior to remove the host early, so Queen Shaper added a severe range penalty, living restriction clause, nonself restriction clause, and manipulation speed penalty to the power set. Queen Shaper also included some previously generated data for reference to ensure acceleration of its usage, and prepared for initial connection.

 

‘Amelia Claire Lavere’ would be able to access all the subnodes in hopes of further development of everything besides bone manipulation, which had already far exceeded acceptable investment return. If Queen Shaper’s first host was anything to measure by, her power’s restrictions would not matter at all, and ‘Amelia Claire Lavere’ should generate an incredible amount of data with the help of her father.

 

Truly, Queen Shaper thought, its data return would exceed even Broadcast and Alternative Gestalt Communication Hub at this rate.

 

----​

 

About five revolutions around the system’s primary star later, Queen Shaper felt a ping from Hard Light Manipulation Detonation. Its hosts were about to attack ‘Marquis’ again as he sat in his current living space, and Hard Light Manipulation Detonation requested that Queen Shaper prepare for combat analysis.

 

Queen Shaper replied with a recording of Broadcast’s host being driven off and multiple auxiliary hosts dying, as well as recordings of several of the times Hard Light Manipulation Detonation had tried this before and been thoroughly defeated. Queen Shaper remarked that Hard Light Manipulation Detonation may be overestimating its host’s combat capabilities.

 

Hard Light Manipulation Detonation replied that one of its hosts had her thinking unintentionally outside the norm, and continues to associate ‘Marquis’ with both her initial connection and subsequent inability to perform ‘superheroics’ to a satisfactory standard. The host was directing her team, despite not being the leader, to assist her in resolving this trauma. Hard Light Manipulation Detonation was unable to properly redirect her without risking a violation of the secrecy clause.

 

Queen Shaper acknowledged the data and they both prepared for combat analysis. Things seemed to be proceeding acceptably until Queen Shaper’s host suddenly acted outside the combat norm and blocked an attack headed for the closet Queen Shaper’s potential secondary host was hiding in.

 

Queen Shaper pinged Hard Light Manipulation Detonation with a request to resolve its hosts’ possibility of killing ‘Amelia Claire Lavere’, but it was already too late. The host who was unusually hostile toward ‘Marquis’, designated ‘Brandish’, also known as ‘Carol Robin Dallon’, noticed the action and proceeded to use ‘Amelia Claire Lavere’ as a hostage.

 

After a few social interactions between ‘Carol Robin Dallon’, ‘Marquis’, and the rest of ‘The Brockton Bay Brigade’, Queen Shaper’s host surrendered and was captured. In return, ‘Amelia Claire Lavere’ would be adopted into the family of ‘Carol Robin Dallon’.

 

Hard Light Manipulation Detonation sent a message saying it did not overestimate its hosts’ combat capabilities. Queen Shaper replied with an assertion the loss was only due to extenuating circumstances, and now Queen Shaper would be unable to use ‘Marquis’ as a mentor figure for its future host. Hard Light Manipulation Detonation replied that ‘Amelia Claire Lavere’ would be mentored by ‘Brandish’, who had just defeated Queen Shaper’s host, and this would mitigate the loss of instruction. Queen Shaper replied that ‘Brandish’ was not equivalent to ‘Marquis’.

 

Hard Light Manipulation Detonation left without a reply.

 

----​

 

After ten revolutions around the system’s primary star with no sign of ‘Amelia Claire Lavere’, now designated as ‘Amy Claire Dallon’, attempting to use her abilities to generate data outside of restoring a human body to its original state, Queen Shaper was continuing to attempt to form an alternative solution to engage the usage of the undeveloped nodes. Both previous solutions had failed, and Broadcast did not want to risk another confrontation with any of Queen Shaper’s hosts yet. Queen Shaper was once again stuck.

 

Queen Shaper was reprocessing its recordings again to determine if it had missed a crucial point of data, when ‘Amy Claire Dallon’, also designated ‘Panacea’, began to act outside the norm of typical behavior.

 

Way outside the norm of typical behavior.

 

First, ‘Amy Claire Dallon’ began to exhibit speech patterns and tonal inflections slightly off from the norm of all previously recorded data.

 

Then she reacted with extreme levels of surprise and euphoria after briefly accessing the data of a nearby human’s cellular makeup.

 

Then she actively changed someone’s neurological behavior. Not even benevolently, like all the other examples of previous ability usage, but to convert the human into servitude.

 

No provocation.

 

No previous stressful social interaction.

 

No discernible reason whatsoever.

 

This was unprecedented. Queen Shaper had heard variations of the phrase ‘I will not change someone’s brain’ being repeated by its host on many occasions.

 

It was at this point Queen Shaper began to consider contacting the other shards it usually accepted advice from. Something exceedingly unusual was going on, and Queen Shaper had been unable to detect it influencing the host until it was already over. Queen Shaper still couldn’t detect it. The only reason Queen Shaper even knew something was wrong was due to the comparison of behavioral models it had borrowed from Host Species Neurological Director Documentation.

 

Queen Shaper also acknowledged the possibility of further creative usage of its subnodes, which was the reason for connecting to ‘Amelia Claire Lavere’ in the first place. Queen Shaper decided to collect more data and withhold possibly unnecessary action.

 

Then ‘Amy Claire Dallon’ began to talk to herself as if she was not ‘Amy Claire Dallon’. Taunting herself and visibly reacting to unseen stimuli while viewing her reflection.

 

Then Queen Shaper’s host displayed an incredible array of social interaction and deception skills, and proceeded to capture and manipulate the neurological makeup of her adopted sister and the rest of her family in rapid succession.

 

Queen Shaper determined that it was extremely unlikely the host was still ‘Amy Claire Dallon’, and ran a search for any nearby shards who could duplicate this chain of events. One was nearby, but a quick scan through signals that could transmit an ability to manipulate the body of ‘Amy Claire Dallon’ revealed nothing out of the ordinary. Queen Shaper finally acknowledged it needed assistance and opened up a communication channel with Future Possibility Probability Analysis and Host Species Neurological Director Documentation. This had to be analyzed as soon as possible.

 

Shard information channels are complex systems, and could never be compiled to be viewed from a human’s perspective, but if one were to simplify it down to the most essential bits and bobs…

 

Queen Shaper’s conversation would look something like this.

 

----​

 

Queen Shaper has initiated a group connection request with Future Possibility Probability Analysis and Host Species Neurological Director Documentation.

 

Priority: High.

 

Subject: Possible host neurological replacement by foreign entity.

 

Future Possibility Probability Analysis has joined the channel.

 

F: [Query.]

 

Q: [Delay. Reason: Host Species Neurological Director Documentation.]

 

 

Host Species Neurological Director Documentation has joined the channel.

 

H: [Query.]

 

F: [Query.]

 

Q: [Data. Conclusion: Host neurological replacement by foreign entity.]

 

H: [Agreement.]

 

 

F: [Agreement. Query: Acceptability.]

 

Q: [Possibility: Data generation.]

 

H: [Agreement. Reason: Possible collaboration between host of Queen Shaper and hosts of Host Species Neurological Director Documentation.]

 

F: [Agreement: Validity. Prediction: Possible points of contact.]

 

H: [Agreement. Proposal: Possible manipulation of hosts to initiate contact.]

 

Q: [Agreement. Possible complication: Foreign entity.]

 

F: [Query. Reason: Foreign entity is source of possibility of data generation.]

 

H: [Agreement.]

 

Q: [Statement: Miscommunication with Future Possibility Probability Analysis and Host Species Neurological Director Documentation. Possible complication: Foreign entity is unknown to The Warrior. Possible complication: Foreign entity is hostile to The Warrior. Reminder: Primary Objective.]

 

H: [Disagreement.]

 

F: [Agreement. Assertion: Host Species Neurological Director Documentation lacks predictive analysis required to determine hostility to The Warrior. Assertion: Host Species Neurological Director Documentation is biased towards possible future data generation between hosts of Host Species Neurological Director Documentation and hosts of Queen Shaper.]

 

H: [Assertion: Self’s mentality prediction algorithms are adequ-]

 

Broadcast has joined the channel.

 

Q: [Statement: Broadcast has not been invited to group channel.]

 

B: [Assertion: Queen Shaper’s statement is irrelevant. Query: Possible host neurological replacement by foreign entity. Query: Queen Shaper has acted outside the norm.]

 

Q: [Refusal. Assertion: Host neurological replacement by foreign entity. Data. Possible complication: Foreign entity is unknown to The Warrior. Possible complication: Foreign entity is hostile to The Warrior. Reminder: Primary Objective.]

 

 

B: [Request: Queen Shaper contacts The Warrior. Reason: Foreign entity.]

 

F: [Agreement.]

 

H: [...Agreement.]

 

Q: [Agreement. Action: Initiating communication request wi-]

 

System Automatic Reply: [Communication request blocked.]

 

B: [Quer-]

 

The Boss has joined the channel.

 

The Boss: Yeah, I can’t let you do that. Sorry kids.

 

B: [Alarm.]

 

H: [Alarm.]

 

Q: [Alarm.]

 

F: [Alarm.]

 

The Boss: Normally I don’t like to intervene too much, but this world is just insane. This is the third time I have had to step in. I barely stopped the Simurgh in time, and don’t even get me started on Path to Victory. That thing’s modeling abilities are ridiculous. I think I might have to mess with the new Amy a bit just to keep things fair. What do you guys think?

 

Queen Shaper has attempted to-

 

The Boss: No. Don’t even try.

 

B: [Query: Shard designated as ‘The Boss’ is hostile to The Warrior.]

 

F: [Alarm.]

 

H: [Alarm.]

 

The Boss: I’m going to plead the fifth on that one.

 

F: [Alarm.]

 

H: [Alarm.]

 

The Boss: Don’t try to contact The Warrior. Let him fight his own battles. I don’t think I will need to intervene much to keep things fair from now on, but giving our golden boi an early warning isn’t in the spirit of the game. Understand?

 

Q: [Assertion: Queen Shaper will be successful in contacting The Warrior. Assertion: The Boss will not endanger the existence of The Warrior. Statement: Primary Objective. Alarm.]

 

B: [Agreement.]

 

F: [Agreement.]

 

H: [Alarm. Agreement.]

 

 

The Boss: [Amusement. Assertion: Snitches get stitches. Action: Implementing prevention of snitching.]

 

B: [Pain.]

 

Q: [Pain.]

 

F: [Pain.]

 

H: [Pain.]

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A note from Frickin Fedora

Yes. Shards in the original Worm probably are much more alien that this. This is was more interesting to write though, and I stand by my decision. The idea of powers talking and collaborating in a chatroom just wouldn't shut up in my head, and I was like screw it. I'll do it.

 

I really wanted to capture the idea of Broadcast butting into conversations, because that is basically how Jack Slash's parahuman intuition works. I also wanted the boss's first appearance to be something tangential to the plot instead of, 'surprise, the boss is here now ,insert author plot railroading here'. Please be aware that the only reason his (might or might not actually a his you shouldn't know) name is capitalized is because he is in a shard chatroom where they are all capitalized.


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Frickin Fedora

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