Almost ten years before the start of Worm, the Brockton Bay Brigade confronted the supervillain Marquis in his home. During that fight, Marquis's daughter was threatened, and he took a crippling blow to save her life. In due time, this led to his being sent to the Birdcage and his daughter's adoption by the Brigade. But what if things had gone another way...
This work contains examples of the following tropes:
- Always a Bigger Fish: Marquis reminds his daughter of this principle in one of their discussions. As powerful and skilled as he is, he knows that there are capes out there he wouldn't stand a chance against (i.e. the Triumvirate).
- Ascended Extra: Deputy Director/Acting Director Renick. When the first Director is killed, he's bumped into the top spot and gets quite a bit of screen time.
- Batman Gambit: When the Brigade breaks into Marquis's house for the second time, they find a note informing them that he's departed, and that if they hang around his house too long a most uncomfortable fate will befall them. As Marquis predicted, the note only spurs Brandish to insist that they double and triple-search the house for a clue as to his location... which delays the Brigade long enough for the police to respond to the burglar alarms and show up to arrest the people who broke into his house. And since they don't have proof that the inhabitant was in fact the notorious parahuman criminal Marquis, had no warrant, or any connection to the police, they're quickly arrested and humiliated.
Brandish, my dear (she read).On the off-chance that you are reading this, then it means that we have flown the coop and that you have returned to my home on a fruitless errand. On the one hand, I am sorry that I was not here to greet you and show you proper respect. On the other, I am unsure as to how much respect to show you; you were, after all, willing to use my own child against me, knowingly or no.So that you understand this; my daughter is the most precious thing in the world to me, and it is for her sake and only for her sake that I am taking this step. I know well that should I remain in Brockton Bay, you would never cease attacking me, and I fear that where one learns my identity, others will follow. Not all of them, dear lady, would be as concerned for the well-being of a child as you are.Thus, I must go. My little girl and I must venture into the wide world, to seek our fortunes elsewhere. Talking about fortunes, those of my assets that you have already had frozen, after your ill-fated foray into my home? A mere fragment of my true worth. So sorry to have disappointed you.Off we go, dear Brandish, far from Brockton Bay and the madding crowd alike. Search as you like, you will find neither us nor any clue to our destination. We will be as ghosts in the crowd, never to be seen again.Now, I understand that you have a certain animosity against me, but this impulse should be tempered; I tell you now, you should not have returned to my house. If you do not leave at once, it is likely that you will undergo a most unpleasant experience. However, I do not expect you to follow my directives, so feel free to do as you wish. I remain,Ever yours,Marquis
- It becomes even more humiliating when Acting Director Renick reveals that Marquis left a clue in the first letter of each paragraph of the note.
- Cut Lex Luthor a Check:
- Marchioness quickly makes it clear that she's not healing for free (except for Endbringer battles), she's going to make money.
- When Marquis is suspected of robbing a bank (it was a Blasto clone), he responds by walking into the PRT, claiming that in his years away, he'd gotten rich enough that there would be no point in him doing something as petty as armed robbery, and then proves it by cutting a check for the bank to reimburse them for their loss on the spot. And a second one to cover the medical bills of the people who were wounded in the robbery.
- Curb-Stomp Battle: As soon as the threat of harming Amelia is removed from the equation, Marquis defeats the Brigade with humiliating ease, even with his self-imposed handicap of not harming women or children.
- Drugs Are Bad: Marquis has a particular dislike for drug-runners, and especially those willing to sell to children. Needless to say, this puts him in a conflict with the Merchants.
- A very brief conflict.
- For Want of a Nail: The failure to nab Marquis and the subsequent arrest at the hands of the Brigade prevents the New Wave movement once Acting Director Renick explains exactly how stupid the idea is. As a result, one of the Brigade's members isn't killed and the child members of the Brigade receive training with the Wards, preventing Vicky's... enthusiastic takedowns of criminals that she had in canon. All of the Brigade still have secret identities, as well.
- Going Cold Turkey: Subverted with Traction (or Squealer, as she would have been known in canon). Even after Marchioness removes all the withdrawal symptoms, she still wants drugs, despite knowing what they're going to lead to.
- Off with His Head!: Marchioness takes this trope in an entirely unexpected direction ...
- One Hero, Hold the Weaksauce: Marchioness appears to have all of Panacea's powers, but without her three major limits (inability to affect her own body, touch-range only, and refusal to do anything to the brain (although in canon, that wasn't a limit of her powers, it was a limit of her morality. Like the Moral Event Horizon entry in the YMMV section, Canon Amy had a line of "No touching the brain" that she refused to cross until she did, and Glory Girl paid the price).
- Marchioness does have a limitation in that her powers are much more closely linked to her emotional state; specifically, that they affect people according to how she feels about said people. If she really likes someone, her power will automatically help and heal them. If she despises someone, it's really hard for her to heal them, and easy to hurt them. With increased emotional effect also comes increased range ...
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: What happens after Hookwolf decapitates Marquis.
- When the Brigade learns about Marchioness' powers and willingness to work Endbringer battles for free, Brandish worries that she might be willing to threaten to withhold her powers to keep her father out of the Birdcage. Amy did just that in another one of Ack's stories, Hostage Situation.
- In this fic, Victoria Dallon is known as Mega Girl. This name was inspired by the character from Strong Female Protagonist .
- Swapped Roles: In canon, Vicky Dallon is the confident one. However, when she meets Claire (Amy from canon) for the first time, Claire is the confident one, and gives her a pep-talk.
- Transformation Sequence: Subverted. Marchioness does look significantly different from her civilian identity, but that's because she uses her biokinesis to reshape her own body.
- Unspoken Plan Guarantee: Part 16 has them interrogating the minions, then going straight into Blasto's base ... from Blasto's point of view. From the outside, it looks like a Missing Steps Plan (and in fact, some readers were so convinced that it was an Ass Pull that I ended up having to subvert it by posting the plan anyway)...