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Taylor triggers with Contessa's Path to Victory power. However, due to being somewhat high on painkillers when she figures it out, she believes she has a strange limit- all plans she makes must in some way involve food.

Hilarity Ensues.

The story can be found here

Tropes

  • Actually Pretty Funny: Hookwolf laughs when a delivery girl (Taylor) claims to have been sent with a pizza for a "Mr Wolf".
  • All Crimes Are Equal: In one of Taylor's paths, she gets into an argument with Tattletale who tries to pull this argument on Taylor, only for Taylor to rebut that no, pickpocketing to survive and supervillainy are not equal to one another. This is only a one-sided conversation, as Taylor is just thinking out loud when considering ideas.
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  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: “What is best in life? To crush your enemies, to see them driven before you, and to bake a lovely casserole that will help you reconnect with your father.”
  • Badass Normal: Director Piggot, during her confrontation with Coil. No powers, but she's quick enough on the draw to kill him several times.
  • Beware the Silly Ones: A parahuman chef doesn't sound that dangerous, does it?
    • Her first plan to deal with Kaiser via Pie in the Face leaves the man a completely broken individual. Following plans allow her to defeat him in a straight fight - and turn Alabaster into a wreck every time he hears the 1812 Overture.
    • Coil gets dealt with in such a way that, ultimately, he's curled up into a fetal position, sobbing into a box of muffins on Director Piggot's floor, mind totally snapped.
  • Berserk Button: After Contessa returns from successfully removing her power's restrictions on what it could plan around by getting it to bud off another parahuman, Eidolon realises that it means that there's a second person with access to the Path to Victory and they may need to silence her if necessary. Contessa makes it clear that that's not going to happen.
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  • Brain Bleach: When she first wonders who Coil is and why killing him would make things better, the answer leaves her wishing for a gallon of brain bleach.
  • Cool and Unusual Punishment: What happens when one of Uber and Leet's schemes leads to two dockworkers being badly injured? Taylor tracks them down, then puts them into a horror scene straight out of Alien, complete with chestbursters... made out of jello and candy.
  • Curbstomp Battle: Path to Victory allows you to plan out the perfect way to defeat your enemy.
    • Taylor vs Hookwolf. Time lapsed: 120 seconds. End result: uninjured Taylor, dogs saved, four guards unconscious and tied up and Hookwolf impaled with two rebar spears, hooked up to a generator and turned into a nightlight.
    • Taylor vs Squealer vs Oni Lee. Time lapsed: 30 seconds. End result: uninjured Taylor, Armsmaster saved, Armsmaster's motorcycle foamed (and saved), Squealer's truck rendered inoperable, Squealer trapped in a cotton candy cloud, Oni Lee with a bucket of molasses on his head.
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  • Dad With The Leash: Danny helps Taylor figure out what plans would best suit her actual goals, and how to defeat people without killing them.
  • Dramatic Irony: The comedic variant; after one of Taylor's Paths encourages her to do a morning workout with her father to rebuild their relationship, both of them are later seen agonizing over their aches while thinking that the other is perfectly chipper and unruffled.
  • Did I Just Say That Out Loud?: Andy, one of Taylor's new friends in Arcadia, eats one of Taylor's homemade brownies and is so lusted out he lets slip a racy fantasy to his childhood friend/crush Jordan, which leads to them hooking up shortly after.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: While Taylor is improving her life in Brockton Bay, Contessa is working behind the scenes recruiting the woman who would've been Bakuda to the Protectorate as Starburst, and using her gadgets to eliminate the Slaughterhouse Nine and Nilbog.
  • Elvis Lives: Apparently, a path to eating burgers with Elvis is not a good example of a incompletable path. He's in Iowa.
  • Embarrassing Nickname: In the Path-to-make-Kaiser-surrender-via-Pie in the Face, Clockblocker begins to call him "Pieser".
  • Engineered Public Confession: Well, not 'public', since it's only delivered to Piggot, but Taylor engineers Coil's downfall with a love note detailing all his plans attached to a case of muffins.
  • Exact Words: When Taylor wonders if she can make a plan to make Brockton Bay a better place by using food, she gets one - which involves killing people with it by exploiting allergies, distracting them with an offer of food or convincing people to kill others in exchange of food.
  • Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap!: Danny insists that before she pulls off Paths where she's a hero, Taylor runs them past him so as to help her refine the plans and avoid the Path simply going nuts. To humor him, she starts listing off how her "Pie-ing Kaiser in the Face" plan would cause gangs to put pressure on the Empire, and gets to "Oni Lee starts serial bombing buildings," before she gets his point.
  • Foreshadowing: Theresa Romano is Taylor's librarian at Winslow. Just before Taylor is attacked, she is seen checking her phone and starts running in Taylor's direction. At about the time Taylor triggered, she collapsed to the ground - one fact that's known about Trigger Events is that they knock out every Parahuman in the immediate vicinity for a short time. Further, Taylor is unable to locate Ms. Romano in the wake of the Locker, when she went missing, even with PtV, which a vanishingly small number of beings can do (but includes Eidolon, the Endbringers, and Scion). Eventually, it's revealed that her nickname is "Tessa," which is short for Contessa, the canon holder of Path To Victory. This leads to the truth being revealed later on - Contessa deliberately spent time with Taylor so that Path To Victory would spawn a "Bud" of itself which would attach to Taylor, put her into a situation where Taylor is under such anguish that she Triggers while Contessa is so anguished at what she's doing to her protege that she Second Triggers, causing a recursive feedback loop between their Triggers that would unmodify the blocks that Eden put on her power. This allowed her to accurately include Eidolon, Entities and Endbringers with her power, allowing her to bring the entire war that Cauldron had prepped for to a close in under a year.
  • Heart Is an Awesome Power: A Path To Victory that requires all paths to be in some way related to food, is still a Thinker 12 level power.
  • Hero of Another Story: Contessa was using Taylor's trigger to remove her own restrictions and arrange the defeat of some of the world's worst villains.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: A minor example - Taylor is able to turn Lisa's 'I'm Psychic' routine against her.
    • Taylor gets manipulated by Mrs. Abbotson, an old friend of Annette's, in the wake of her first Path- that to getting cookies. Taylor helps make cookies, but her power makes her make them right, so when Mrs. Abbotson takes the (many) cookies and baked goods to a bake sale, she rakes in $800. All Taylor got out of it was a few cookies (although it was her idea to help make cookies for the Mrs. Abbotson's bake sale).
  • Humiliation Conga: Had Taylor run her first Pie-Kaiser-In-The-Face plan, it would have been this for the Nazi villain.
  • I Need a Freaking Drink: The April Fools update ends with Amy, Tattletale and Contessa sharing a bottle of alcohol over how dumb the reasons behind Scion's behavior are and how Taylor prevents him from destroying the world.
  • I Never Said It Was Poison: Calvert accidentally says a line from Coil's love note out loud, and Piggot is quick to point out that he never read the note (well, he did, but it was in another timeline).
  • Imagine Spot: A few of Taylor's Paths are played out purely in her head to envision what might happen.
  • Impossibly Delicious Food: Taylor is now incapable of making food that isn't this. The cookies she made for a bake sale for example earned more than any other item there.
  • Instantly Proven Wrong: Taylor asking about "how to have burgers with Elvis," is meant to show a path that can't be completed... only for her power to tell her that he's in Iowa. She shifts to President Kennedy.
  • Loophole Abuse: In this fic, the restrictions that the Entity Eden put on Contessa's Path to Victory power made her completely unable to model or plan for the Entities, the Endbringers or their plan, but because they were put in in a rush, they did not prevent Contessa from making a Path to model and bypass the restrictions themselves.
  • Meaningful Name: The names of the PRT Agents sent with Thomas Calvert/Coil to Director Piggot's house to address a mysterious box of muffins and a love letter are named Mulligan (a reference to Coil's Save Scumming power), Hanlon (Hanlon's Razor) and Murphy (Murphy's Law).
  • Mistaken Confession: Early on, Danny confronts Taylor, telling her that he knows it's been going on for a while, and he's confused and hurt as to why she didn't tell him. She replies that she's only had her powers for a few days. It takes her a few moments to realize he was talking about Emma bullying her, then curses the drugs she's on that make her loopy.
  • Mistaken for Romance: In the April's Fools omake, Taylor is able to stop the end of the world when she realizes that Scion and Eden were not mates, as much as they were a drug dealer and her bodyguard/best client - so she gets Blasto to make some weed and hands it to Scion.
  • Mood Whiplash: Thanks to her being loopy on drugs, Taylor goes from freaking out about her power having the potential to cause a gang war to excitedly squealing about puppies on the news in about three seconds.
  • Mundane Utility: The first time that Taylor uses her power, which is Path To Victory, an unstoppable universe-computing power capable of altering the destiny of the planet, is to get cookies.
    • She realizes that she can use it to get into shape, and determines that she can use it as a personal trainer so she doesn't get fat eating all the things her power says she should eat.
    • Coil tries to use his power to play Minesweeper.
  • Murder Is the Best Solution: Taylor's power, when not given restrictions like 'no killing', tends to default to 'the unholy lovechild of Martha Stewart and Conan'.
  • Mythology Gag: The fic ends with Taylor asking Contessa if her plans were worth it, while Contessa answers she does not know. The original story had a similar meeting, but with Contessa asking Taylor if what she did was worth it and Taylor answering she did not know.
  • Noodle Implements: All Taylor needs to completely destroy Coil is a box of muffins and an Obsessive Love Letter.
  • Noodle Incident: Taylor describes one of her plans as "Greg Veder gets a cattle prod and a segway, chases 'them' across the mall while a band plays 'Ride of the Valkyries' on kazoos." She describes it as a bad plan, but it's reassuring that she's not the only one who hates the Trio.
  • Not So Above It All: Taylor's path tells her that Eidolon would be interested in her power, and would like to use her to play a prank on a friend of his (most likely Contessa).
  • Not So Harmless Rogue: Fête is initially believed to be a Thinker 2, Tinker 1, a joke who only got lucky when stopping Hookwolf and then started a cooking web show. Stopping Oni Lee and Squealer using cotton candy and a bucket of molasses in thirty seconds without incident or visible effort makes Armsmaster consider that rating total garbage (that, and the posterior Thinker 6 rating the PRT assigns to Fête after reviewing said encounter).
  • Obsessive Love Letter: Taylor's Plan to take out Coil involves forging one of these sent from Coil to Director Piggot, spelling out his plans to rid Brockton Bay of its villain gangs and that it was all to earn her love.
  • Parental Sexuality Squick: In an omake, Victoria and Amy find out (to their disgust) that their parents, after eating some of Taylor's brownies, got in the mood and spent the entire night having sex. It gets worse for Amy when it turns out they have been engaged in some kinky roleplaying with Mark disguised as Marquis.
  • People Puppets: Taylor's power can do this to her. She finds this out when she wakes up already downstairs and doing stretches before the run with her father, and immediately vows to be careful with it so she doesn't accidentally complete a path that would have serious consequences (she mentions making Lung choke to death on zhao ji and then having to explain to Armsmaster that it was an Accidental Murder).
  • Pie in the Face: Turns out, throwing pies at Kaiser until he surrenders is not only doable, it's rather sadistic. The first time Taylor tries to run that Path, she sees herself getting labeled a villain.
    • An omake has her do this to the Simurgh.
  • Please Kill Me If It Satisfies You: Taylor and Contessa's last conversation in the fic has Taylor asking Contessa if all her actions were worth it. Contessa says she does not know, and decides to fully confess all her Dirty Business in Cauldron to her new apprentice, then give Taylor her pistol and tell her to do as she wishes. Taylor decides to just give her a hug instead.
  • Pragmatic Hero: Danny says it's okay for her not to join the Wards, telling her that it's ultimately her decision, and that her power will keep her safe (with Path To Victory, that's guaranteed as long as "personal safety" is a condition of the Path). Internally, even though he wants her to join the Wards (safety in numbers and a support structure are big plusses in his mind), he figures keeping her talking to him and not having a big argument is a better option, because she was able to hide her bullying for a year and a half from him before she got powers that let her do literally anything she puts her mind to with flawless results. If he keeps her talking to him and being on her good side, he can at least stay in the loop and help her out.
  • Psychic Link: Due to Contessa essentially using Taylor's Trigger as a way to jailbreak her own Shard, the two start getting overlap and minor nudges from each other. On the night Taylor ran her first path, to find cookies, Contessa felt an overwhelming urge to go buy some cookies herself (and even thought she was pregnant due to all the food cravings), and Taylor has gotten flashes of Cauldron's attempts to fight Scion.
  • Semantic Superpower: Mostly because the connection to food is psychosomatic. Her actual power is a non-limited Path to Victory, but Taylor phrases all her requests to involve food in some way. She can use it to find anyone by 'pathing' the steps needed to share a meal with somebody, and defeating an opponent in such a way that the resulting fight creates food, such as her capturing Oni Lee and Squealer ends with the Tinker's car engine spinning cotton candy.
  • Shout-Out: When Taylor does a Path about how to register in the PRT, she asks for tea and is given something that is almost, but not quite, entirely unlike tea.
  • Slasher Smile: When Taylor comes up with the path to defeat Coil, she brings out what Danny calls Evil Smirk #4, which Annette would give whenever her plans promised great suffering at the next faculty meeting.
  • Super Power Lottery: Taylor gains the strongest Thinker power possible, with only her belief in what its limit is keeping her from fully using it.
  • Supreme Chef: Taylor, of course. Her superpower means that her food is always perfect.
  • That Came Out Wrong: A news article discussing Jack Slash had a Master power to control other Parahumans is titled "Jack Slash: Parahuman Heartbreaker?", referring to the infamous Canadian Master.
  • Traumatic Superpower Awakening: Exploited by Contessa. Working on a Path that could let her bypass the restrictions on her power, the Path led her to get close to Taylor as her school librarian and new mentor, got her to build up a genuine, emotional rapport between them to get Path to Victory to "Bud" onto Taylor, then forced Contessa to put Taylor into a situation bad enough for her to Trigger while reminding her that her Path is forcing her to do this, the mental anguish causing Contessa to Second Trigger. Since both of them were close to each other, both shards pinged off each other to communicate and modify each other, and the recursive modification caused a feedback loop that eventually caused Path to Victory to reset itself without any restrictions.
  • True Companions: The group of friends Taylor makes in Arcadia were this before they met her, and she gets accepted into the group shortly after.
  • Underestimating Badassery: A teenage girl who has a power related to making food? Yeah, piece of - wait a moment, how did I get trapped in a cloud of cotton candy?
  • Undignified Death: Taylor gives a version of Coil one as part of her plan to take him down. While he has the timeline split Coil listens to Piggot read out a love letter to her apparently from himself, he is so shocked that the version of him eating breakfast chokes to death on a piece of grapefruit. This forces him to close out the 'safe' timeline and traps him with Piggot.
  • Villainous BSoD: Coil breaks down into hysterical laughter in front of Director Piggot when he realizes all of his plans have been ruined... by a box of muffins.
  • Wham Line: Teresa Romano gives away her real identity in a Spanish lesson: “Estoy estudiando en la biblioteca con Tessa” ("I am studying in the library with Tessa").
  • Worthy Opponent: Hookwolf thinks that the mysterious girl that has just defeated him was quite the amazing fighter. Of course, that's a couple of seconds before falling unconscious from the electric current currently crossing his body.
  • Your Approval Fills Me with Shame: After taking down Uber and Leet, Taylor starts a cooking podcast under her cape identity. When takes down Squealer and Oni Lee, Night and Fog show up... and they're fans of the show and want her autograph (and even try to set her up with Theo Anders). Taylor is visibly uncomfortable and forced to use her powers to keep her reaction to a minimum.
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