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Security! is a (now complete) Worm fanfic by Ack (also known for Hope Comes to Brockton Bay and Recoil). It can be found at SpaceBattles.com (thread 1 and thread 2), Sufficient Velocity and FF.net.

'Michael Allen' (not the author's real name) is a fanfic writer who starts designing a new Self-Insert Fic for Worm. However, after working out the basics for his insert, who is to be a security guard at Winslow High that is sympathetic to Taylor's problems, he finds himself waking up the next morning in the Worm-verse as said character on the first day of the job. Using his knowledge of canon and a liberal helping of Path to Victory to control the inevitable swarms of plot butterflies, Mike sets out to make life in Brockton Bay and Earth Bet happier for all (except for Shadow Stalker. And Jack Slash. And Coil. And Scion. And Nilbog).

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It has a sequel: I, Panacea (Spacebattles, SufficientVelocity and FF.Net links) and a crack, not-quite-canon second sequel: I, Scion(SpaceBattles, SufficientVelocity and FF.net links).

Please note that since this is a Self-Insert fic where the SI has full knowledge of the completed work and is using this knowledge right off the bat, both Security! and the list of its relevant tropes are spoilerific for Worm Canon and as such only spoilers for the plot of Security! itself will be protected.


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This fanfic contains examples of the following:

  • A-Cup Angst: As is the standard for Worm, Taylor is a bit insecure about her figure. Mike tries to give her a bit of self-confidence using vague future predictions.
  • Adorkable: Amy calls Danny 'Dad' by accident on more than one occasion. He doesn't correct her.
    • In Chapter 48, he suggests adoption to formalise the relationship. She happily agrees.
  • An Offer You Can't Refuse:
    • Coil tries to make one to Mike. Emphasis on 'tries'.
    • In chapter 35 Menja escorts Mike to a meeting with Kaiser. Mike uses the term when he meets the person he was being led to.
  • Ankle Drag: Inverted. Mike does it to Bakuda.
  • And Mission Control Rejoiced: When the plan to kill Zion succeeds.
  • Anti-Magic: Mike is immune to Thinkers using their powers on him, including Scion, at least until he absorbs the Butcher. Then Butcher's Shards allow him to be tracked. This includes Path To Victory and Tattletale's gifts.
  • Advertisement:
  • Appeal to Audacity: In chapter 43 Gladys realises that Mike's true origins are too fantastic to be fake.
  • Armour-Piercing Question:
    • Subverted. Mike tends to throw off casual comments that leave characters utterly stunned by his insight ... or wondering how he knew that.
    • Also asks an actual Armor-Piercing question of Emma during a private meeting with her and her father, after Emma has been placed into in-school suspension for bullying:
      Mike: Just because someone with a stupid fucking philosophy of life does you a huge favour does not make that philosophy right. It’s still fucking stupid. Sophia can’t really help the way she is; her power fucked her head up. You don’t have that excuse. You can change. It’s up to you.
      Emma: But I did change! Sophia showed me how! I was weak, now I’m strong! I am!
      Mike: Yeah. So ... how’s that working out for you, exactly?
  • The Atoner: There are several, most of them facilitated by Mike.
    • Purity. Currently living in New York with Legend and his husband. Aster has two daddies. And a little brother.
    • Riley. Spends some time in a cell and then as a PRT-employed surgeon, but after Zion bites it, she opts to go to the Case 53 settlement Sanctuary as their doctor. The Director has no problem with this.
    • Canary. Out of the Birdcage, assisting the PRT with crowd control. Callsign: Tweety Bird. As of Chapter 50, she's living on another Earth, in a Case 53 settlement. Even more than that, her PRT handler, Joe, has gone with her, and by Chapter 54, they are expecting.
    • Lung. After a beatdown by Mike, he's decided to stop being an asshat. This may not last.
    • Bakuda. They want her to make really big bombs. She's okay with this (up to a certain point).
    • Emma Barnes. She doesn't want to embark on a heroic career. She just wants to apologize. She even buys Taylor a replacement flute.
    • The Undersiders. Joining the Wards, or getting other legitimate work. What's the world coming to?
    • Vicky. Stricken with guilt for fighting with Amy right before the battle with Zion, she wants nothing more than to apologize to her sister for losing her temper.
  • Badass Normal: Mike starts out with nothing in the way of actual parahuman powers, just knowledge, at least two voice recorders, and sheer chutzpah.
    • Although he does have military-grade mace, "screamers" (air horns meant to be used defensively) and a stun-gun as well. Oh, and two guns. One of which gets used solely as a distraction. Still, no powers.
    • Mike reveals that when he created the person of "Mike," he deliberately enforced this- he was created to not only not be Triggered, but to be incapable of Triggering for powers.
  • Batman Gambit: Due to his knowledge of the setting, and the motivations of the characters, Mike is uniquely placed to pull off a few of these.
  • The Berserker: Part of the plan was to enrage Zion so much he throws caution to the wind when chasing Mike. It works.
  • Big Brother Instinct
    • It takes four SWAT Team members to hold Theo down when he hears his half-sister, Aster crying. Later, he triggers because of it.
    • Mike isn't related to anyone in Brockton Bay, but he does have the urge to protect those named characters who got a raw deal in the story. There's a lot of them. And most (if not all) of them are female, and younger than him.
  • Big Damn Heroes: In chapter 36, Legend arrives to bail Mike out of a spot of trouble.
    • In Chapter 38, the Undersiders show up just in time to help Mike out, thanks to Contessa sending Lisa a text.
    • In Chapter 40, Aegis and Glory Girl get to rescue some hostages.
    • In Chapter 51, Glory Girl does this to rescue Amy from Scion.
      • And then Golem does the same for her.
      • While Mike is doing much the same for Taylor.
  • Blinded by Rage: What ultimately proves to be Zion's undoing: by getting him to focus on Mike, and infuriating him by blowing up Eden's body and then a lifelike replica, by the time he gets his hands on him, he is so infuriated that he is completely blind to the Sting effect striking him from behind.
  • Bolt of Divine Retribution: In Chapter 54, one drops down from the sky to obliterate the statue of Mike that he expressly did not want. Since this happens after his death, the reader can infer whatever they want from that.
  • Bookends: In Mike and Taylor's first time out together, Mike saves Taylor from Lung, then runs away, acting as a decoy so that she can get a clean shot at him. In their last fight together, Mike saves Taylor from Zion, then runs away, acting as a decoy so that she can get a clean shot at him.
  • Boring, but Practical/Simple, yet Awesome: (depending on the reader) Mike gets an awful lot of mileage out of nothing more than a few voice recorders and his company-issued stab vest. He actually becomes infamous for the former within a few days.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall
    • Chapter 43:
    Could we be part of a story? I wondered. Everything that's happened to me since I got to Brockton Bay, could it be part of a narrative?
    It seemed pretty unbelievable on the surface. Surely I would notice something, figure something out. So far, however, nothing had shown up.
    Hey, me, I thought quite loudly. If it's you that's writing the story, give me a sign, hey? Maybe a pointer to what I'm supposed to do next?
    But nothing happened. Not that I had expected anything.
    • Chapter 52:
    There it was. The implicit agreement that yes, they both believed that they were living in a story. Gladys didn't feel like a fictional character but then, she didn't know how a fictional character was supposed to feel.
  • Bring My Brown Pants
    • In a discarded timeline, Coil has a moment of this after being threatened by Contessa.
    • This is implied to happen in Chapter 48 to Cody after a session with Riley, in Bonesaw mode.
  • Brown Note: Spending too much time trying to figure Mike out has this effect on Tattletale's brain. Much to the amusement of onlookers. And readers. But she gets her revenge in Epilogue Two.
  • Bulletproof Vest:
    • When on duty, Mike wears a stab vest. Ironically, he's only been threatened with a knife when he was off duty.
    • Just before going after Coil, Mike gets some PRT armour. It saves him when he's shot at while getting Cody out of China.
  • Butterfly of Doom: Averted at first; Mike uses Contessa with her Path to Victory to keep his changes from spiraling too far out of control. This lasts just long enough.
  • Calling the Old Man Out: Chapter 53 (aka Epilogue 1, part 2). Golem versus Kaiser.
  • Call-Back:
    • When Mike captures Shadow Stalker and tells Taylor what he did, he thinks a poster of it would be a good birthday present. Come Taylor's actual birthday, and that's exactly what he gets for her.
    • In his will, Mike makes it clear that he does not want a statue put up to him anywhere. When one is put up anyway in Sanctuary, a random lightning bolt destroys it. This also serves as a message to Gladys and Riley that somewhere, above their plane of existence, Mike is still alive.
  • Casual Danger Dialogue: In Epilogue 1 (Chapter 52), Brian, Taylor and Theo discuss who will take on which of their adult foes, despite the fact that they're standing right there.
  • Chase Fight: Mike engages in one in the story's climax, running, jumping and teleporting through multiple worlds with the help of Doormaker and Butcher's powers, trying to evade a determined Zion long enough to hit him with the Sting effect.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • Averted. Early on, Mike says that Jack's secondary Thinker power means a non-cape would be the best to deal with him. In the end, it wasn't to be. That said, his advice meant that when they did take him out, it was at range and without giving him time to talk, so this was somewhat played straight.
    • Subverted and played straight when Mike takes an M-1 carbine out on Taylor's first outing. It actually gets them in trouble, but later comes in handy as a distraction.
    • In the second part of Epilogue 1 (Chapter 53), Weaver makes use of the Ali bug from Chapter 34.
      • This is also a Mythology Gag. "You kicked (Hookwolf's) ass with butterflies."
  • Chronic Hero Syndrome: Mike is determined to save so many people of the Wormverse as possible. It boggles Taylor's mind when he lists off just a few of the names.
  • Circling Monologue
    • Kaiser does this to Mike in chapter 36.
    • Golem does it to Kaiser in Epilogue 1.
  • Cliffhanger
    • Chapter 49 ends with a golden beam being fired through the Heberts' house.
    • Chapter 50 does not advance the story, but it explains why.
  • Confusion Fu: In chapter 51, Mike notices that he manages to buy a little bit more time by deliberately going against the suggestions that his combat mods offer him.
  • Cooldown Hug: Mike has given a few.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Bakuda seems to have covered all reasonable angles with regards to the bomb planted in Mike's neck - in addition to the proximity sensor, it speeds up if Mike has medical sensors used on him, and is also rigged to go off anyway in the event that someone somehow manages to get it out.
  • Curb Stomp: Whenever Mike gets involved in a conflict on Winslow's Campus, he completely dominates (given that he's a large, strong adult up against teenagers). Except for the one fight with an ABB thug, and he still came out on top for that one, with Taylor's help.
    • When Shadow Stalker tries to murder him in his home, he takes her out nearly effortlessly in under ten seconds, while getting full confessions out of her for what she was planning (murder and then putting child porn on his computer).
    • In Chapter 28, he beats the hell out of Bakuda - after she implants a bomb in his neck.
    • In Chapter 43, following Riley's upgrade on him, he gets into much more dangerous fights, and holds his own.
    • In the second part of Epilogue 1 (Chapter 52), Golem, Weaver and Tenebrae (aka Grue) take down Kaiser, Hookwolf and Cricket.
  • Death from Above: In the second part of Epilogue 1, Director Piggot gets a lot of satisfaction from inflicting this on Nilbog via a Bakuda bomb airstrike. This is also an example of revenge Best Served Cold.
  • De-Power: With the help of Cauldron and the Removalist, Mike has this done to Noelle, as well as Marissa and Oliver on their request.
  • Disney Villain Death: Jack Slash's fate; Eidolon essentially chased him off the side of a building and then crushed him without even seeing the guy.
  • Do Not Go Gentle: In Chapter 51, Mike gets wounded twice before being shot in the chest. Following that, with ten minutes to live, he deliberately baits a pissed-off Zion into chasing him across a multitude of landscapes before he goes down for good. And all to ensure that Taylor gets a good kill-shot in on Zion.
  • Dramatic Irony: Vicky mentions to Amy how she has a fear of being Mastered, controlled or influenced, which Amy posits is why her aura goes and influences them first. Later when Vicky is freaking out about Amy's adoption to the Heberts, guess what Amy does to her to try to calm her down?
  • Ear Ache: In Chapter 44, Riley grabs Mike by the ear to make sure he's paying close attention to her.
  • Earth-Shattering Kaboom: They employ a planet-buster bomb on the world where Cauldron had its base to both destroy Eden and to piss off Zion even more than he was before. Kind of an Angst Nuke in reverse.
  • Empowered Badass Normal:
    • In chapter 42, after Mike suffers a heart attack, he gets augmented by Riley. This is both Came Back Strong and Came Back Wrong, as he is now much stronger, tougher and more combat-capable than before but he also has aggression issues that lead him to take on a warehouse full of mooks, Trainwreck, and Lung.
    • During Zion's attack, Mike gains actual superpowers when he attacks the Teeth and slays Butcher, gaining all her powers in the process. Fortunately, back in Chapter 42, he'd had Riley install brain mods that would help stave off the voices and insanity that come with them. Of course, he didn't tell her why he needed the mods.
  • Enemy Mine: Mike attempts to recruit Lung and Bonesaw to his cause (saving the world, of course), with initially indeterminate results. Bonesaw makes a full Heel–Face Turn, while Lung's is less definite.
  • Engineered Public Confession: Mike loves pulling this on others with his recorders. It gets to the point where you can tell how savvy someone is by whether they remember to ask about the recorders before speaking with him.
    • Contessa pulled off a variant on Eidolon and Alexandria by not telling them about the recording devices in Mike's house when they went to confront him on the "Lies" he spread about Eidolon, allowing Director Piggot and Armsmaster to hear about Cauldron.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Even Bakuda can't believe Mike when he asks for a planet-buster and a China-sized flesh-dissolver.
    • Especially when he asks for three of the latter.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: In chapter 36, Cauldron find it very hard to entertain the idea that Mike could be doing what he does out of a genuine desire to save the world, and want to believe all this benevolence is a prelude to some more sinister goal.
  • Evil vs. Evil: As of Chapter 33, the Azn Bad Boyz are suffering, so both the Empire Eighty-Eight and the Merchants are going to be making a move on their territory - at the same time.
  • Exact Eavesdropping: Gains Director Piggot, Armsmaster and Miss Militia some information they really would have been happier not knowing, via bugs planted in Mike's apartment.
  • Exact Words:
    • Mike tells Coil he won't hold a grudge over the kidnapping and death threat. He neglects to mention that he was already planning to take him down.
    • In a meeting with Piggot, Armsmaster, Miss Milita, Alexandria, Eidolon and Contessa, he tells them exactly what he is ... in totally misleading terms.
    “Well, then,” I began, and cleared my throat. “Well then. If I told you the true facts, unadulterated, about my origins, you would either disbelieve utterly, be driven mad, or reach a new level of understanding of the universe. But I don't want to inflict that on you, so I'll give you the kids' version.”
  • Face Palm
    • Amy, at the end of Chapter 33, in response to Danny making a Dad joke.
    • Faultline wants to do this in the second part of Epilogue 1 (Chapter 53), in response to Pandora saying that she had gone to L33t for tech, but she's wearing a welding mask.
    • Brian does this in the third part of Epilogue 1 (Chapter 54), when he finds out that Riley bet that Amy wouldn't kiss a girl, then Aisha dared Amy to do it, and Amy did it.
  • Facial Dialogue: Passes on a secret message to Dragon while talking about something else altogether.
  • "Facing the Bullets" One-Liner: Denied in Chapter 51. Mike wants to say some to Scion, but is slain before he can.
  • Fat and Skinny: Mike weighs over two hundred and fifty pounds; Taylor is less than half his weight.
  • Fix Fic: He was going to write one ... now he's living it from the inside.
  • Friendly Enemies: In Chapter 38, Legend and Purity join forces to help end the gang war.
    • This segues through Enemy Mine to Fire-Forged Friends via a Heel–Face Turn. By Chapter 50, Purity has moved to New York and is living with Legend and his husband Arthur. They take turns with the housework and the babysitting.
  • Go Mad from the Revelation
    • In a dream sequence, Mike tells a defeated Jack the Truth, which sends the latter insane. "Fucking fanfiction writers!"
    • Defied in Chapter 43: He tells Gladys the whole story, and she takes it on board.
    • During Chapter 47, Lisa infers the truth from what Mike is saying. She doesn't go mad, but she does get very, very drunk.
    • During Chapter 54, Shadow Stalker has a Villainous Breakdown when Taylor tells her the details of her and Mike's role in stopping Zion, and then unmasks to her.
  • Good Is Not Soft: Mike is a nice guy. He will help you out if you need it. Just don't get in his way.
  • Handshake Substitute: Mike and Taylor have gotten into a habit of bumping fists. Amy's been getting in on it, too.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Alan Barnes has one after finding out, in detail, exactly what sort of person Sophia is, exactly what her philosophy has done to his daughter, and what she and Emma have been doing to Taylor.
  • Heel Realization: After Mike had a talk with Emma about what happened in the alley and her parents had another talk with her about her actions, Emma realizes that she'd been a horrible person.
    Emma: Sophia’s a psychotic manipulative bitch, and she turned me into one, too! Right now, she’s up for attempted murder! Do you really want to emulate that? For fuck’s sake!
  • Here We Go Again!: Mike's last thoughts when he gets to leave Security! ... only to be pulled into I, Panacea. And from there, he gets sent into I, Scion.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: A man's gotta do what a man's gotta do. Mike, in Chapter 51.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Taylor and Amy.
  • Hidden Elf Village: The Case 53s that Mike ordered Cauldron to rehabilitate create a new settlement colony on an alternate earth full of Ghibli Hills. Mike calls it "Area 53". Everyone else calls it Sanctuary.
  • Hidden in Plain Sight: Several villains are incredulous over the fact that "Security," a high-ranking consultant to the PRT and the motivation behind several major upheavals in the Brockton Underground, is actually a security officer in real life.
  • High Fat Index: Mike is actually fat (not Hollywood Pudgy). In the words of one character, he is "overweight, over forty and over the hill". He weighs more than Director Piggot. This does not stop him from trying to save the world anyway.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard
    • In chapter 24 Cauldron uses on Coil the same drugs that he would have used on Dinah.
    • In Epilogue 2 (Chapter 54), Lisa begins to write a fic with Mike as the main character.
  • Hope Spot: Two are inflicted on Zion. He gets a chance to see Eden's corpse and starts thinking of ways to revive her ... just in time for the entire planet to be blown up. Then he sees what appears to be her revived avatar... only for that to blow up in his face as well. All part of the plan.
  • Horrifying the Horror:
    • Coil has Mike tied up and at his mercy. He threatens him with death if he does not cooperate. Mike says two words in return: "Cauldron. Asset." Coil immediately orders his release. With apologies.
    • Despite Lung's internal insistence to the contrary, he gets chills down his spine when the idea of fighting Zion comes up.
    • Bakuda really doesn't like the idea of building a planet-buster without knowing which planet it's going to be set off on.
  • I Never Told You My Name: Miss Militia to Mike, when he absently refers to her by her civilian name.
  • Idiot Ball
    • Mike tells Eidolon how to regain his ebbing power, and that he really has to get therapy. Guess which piece of advice he doesn't take.
    • In Chapter 46, Mike tries to recruit Cody, who retaliates with a Saturday Night Special. This does not end well for Cody.
  • Immune to Bullets:
    • Lung. Mike shoots at him with a .30 M-1 Carbine, with predictable results. But it's only a distraction anyway.
    • After the events of Chapter 42, Mike is sporting subdermal armour. During the warehouse fight, it serves to deflect a pistol bullet from his chest.
    • As well as the bullets from Cody's Saturday Night Special.
  • It Has Been an Honor: Spoken by Noelle to Mike after he refuses extraction from certain death at Zion's hands.
  • In Spite of a Nail:
    • In chapter 24, though Coil was captured, his failsafe intended to out Empire 88 still goes off.
    • In Chapter 37, after Mike tells her to take Aster and leave town, Kayden leaves her daughter with Theo and returns to Brockton Bay. Back in Boston, someone tips the police off, and Aster is taken into protective custody anyway.
    • In Chapter 38, Theo triggers.
  • In the Back: This is how Taylor delivers the Flechette effect to Zion via a L33t gun.
  • Incredibly Lame Pun: Danny delivers many "dad jokes" over the course of the story. Mike even gives a few.
  • Instantly Proven Wrong: In order to prove to the assembled capes in the Anti-Scion meeting, he asks all the Thinkers to try to predict what he's about to do, keeping their hands raised if they've successfully predicted him. He then stands up, and nearly all the hands go down.
  • Joker Immunity: Jack Slash didn't have this.
  • Large and in Charge: How Mike portrayed himself at Winslow. Since leaving Winslow, he's done a little of that at the PRT base.
  • Loophole Abuse: Coil manages to No-Sell Canary's commands by insisting that "There's a difference" between 'resisting' which she's telling his men not to do and 'retreating' which is what he's doing.
  • Mentor: Mike has been acting as this for Taylor and, to a lesser degree, Theo.
  • Maybe Ever After: In Chapter 48, Mike introduces Flechette and Parian and tells them what happened in canon. They initially show cautious interest, but no more than that.
    • Chapters 50, 52 and 53 show the relationship developing over a Time Skip.
  • Mr. Exposition: Subverted; Mike does a certain amount of exposition, mainly to Taylor, but he's usually explaining what would have happened, had he not altered the timeline.
    • He also does a bit to Cauldron, mostly to fill in the blanks in their understanding (stuff about the Entities, Endbringers, Powers, and saving the world).
  • Nerves of Steel: One of Mike's strengths is his ability to not give in to panic in high-stress situations, at least not until it's over. Afterwards, however, he tends to fall to pieces. Especially after Zion was finished with him.
  • No-Sell: Kaiser cannot control any metal that Golem is controlling. Golem uses this fact to turn Kaiser's armor into a straitjacket.
  • Not-So-Harmless Villain: As the opening paragraphs of chapter 35 remind us, while the Merchants are seen as Super Losers by almost everyone, this is only because the other gangs have either more or stronger capes. Take away almost all the competition...
  • Oddly Overtrained Security: Averted. He's a reasonably competent security guard, and as Piggot notes in Chapter 32, a fit, aware, trained foe would do well against him. Then again, he has all the knowledge of the setting under his belt.
  • Oh, Crap!: Cauldron gets one when they reveal to Mike that Eidolon hasn't been to a single therapy session, which he explained is absolutely crucial to stopping the Endbringers. When they counter that his other advice gave him way more power, Mike reveals that not only are the Endbringers sandbagging hard, and that what they've been facing with these casual city-obliterating monstrosities was "Easy Mode," there's another seventeen waiting in the wings if one is defeated.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: Almost all of the fighting with Zion is reduced to exposition from the Tactical Room, with the focus being on Mike's ultimately fatal part to play.
  • Omniscient Hero: Mike starts out as almost being this, but erosion of his knowledge base (by using it to change matters) is transitioning him into Not So Omniscient After All.
  • Only a Flesh Wound:
    • Averted in Chapter 40; Aisha gets stabbed, and nearly bleeds to death before Mike can help Lisa find her because her powers have triggered, and they keep forgetting she exists.
    • Subverted in Chapter 44; after Mike's run-ins with the remnants of the ABB and Merchants, and with Lung in his cell, Riley yells at him for not taking proper care of the minor injuries he has suffered from those encounters.
    • Averted in Chapter 51. Mike is badly injured, but he's got no choice but to keep going.
  • Only in It for the Money: Inverted with Trickster, who No Sells Canary's first set of commands by telling himself that It's Personal, not financial motive, that's driving him.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Mike makes a fairly good attempt at passing for American, but every now and then under stress an Australianism or two slips out. By chapter 31, Dragon is getting suspicious. By Chapter 51 (Epilogue 1), the secret is out.
  • Out-Gambitted: Mr Gladly, furious at Mike, asks him very politely to turn off his recorders. Mike does so, and Gladly unloads a barrage of profanity at him. Cue Mrs. Knott poking from around the corner, having heard everything, and Mike turning his recorders back on.
  • Parting Words Regret: After the Hebert house is destroyed by Zion's laser, Vicky is stricken with the thought that the last thing she did to Amy was harm her and those she cared about.
  • Personal Effects Reveal: Chapter 52; Lisa and Gladys, in Mike's apartment.
  • Pitbull Dates Puppy: Sabah and Lily's relationship is a positive example: Sabah has trust issues and needs to feel in control, and Lily is shy and feels more comfortable being a follower. Their dominant/submissive relationship is exactly what both girls were looking for.
  • Police Brutality: In chapter 37 a SWAT Team is sent to subdue a chubby 15 year-old and a baby. Downplayed in that they didn't shoot Theo or even use a taser on him, or flashbangs for that matter.
    • And somewhat Justified in that the 15-year-old and baby are the family of Purity, and they aren't totally certain that she or one of her minions isn't on the scene.
  • Polite Villains, Rude Heroes: Mike mouths off at Kaiser when they meet for the first time.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Subverted. Mike doesn't tell everyone everything ... he tells them what they need to know, when they need to know it. This sometimes causes a great deal of irritation.
    • When Mike gives Coil the Trust Password to get out of his clutches, the villain splits the timeline, intending to milk his prisoner for all he's worth for the little time he has. Unfortunately, he only manages to get a single word: "Worm..." Thinking Mike just used his last moments to insult him, an irritated Coil drops the timeline.
  • Portal Door: Turns out when Flechette's power to touch all worlds simultaneously interacts with one of Labyrinth's creations that exist in multiple worlds, the result is a portal that can be redirected to any other alternate world.
  • Properly Paranoid: Mike always has at least one, and most often two, active voice recorders in order to ensure that people can't make false accusations against him. This pays off on numerous occasions.
    • Bakuda's design of Mike's neck bomb is absurdly overengineered. It's set to go off in twenty-four hours, it has a sensor that decreases the time until detonation based on Bakuda's location, she can activate it at any time, if it's exposed to EM waves (from, say, a scanner or an MRI machine) it rapidly speeds up the countdown, and it explodes if it's not inside of Mike. It took Dragon and Bonesaw working together to ensure Mike's survival.
  • Psychic Block Defense: Mike is immune to Thinker powers. All Thinker powers. Precogs can't sense him, and even the Path To Victory can't do more than work around his actions. During the meeting on how to fight Zion, none of the Thinkers or Precogs can predict what he'll do more than a few seconds out.
  • Reality Ensues: Jack might have a power that tells him what other capes are going to do, but he doesn't have Super Speed or Super Toughness, so he can't avoid an attack with a big enough area of effect. Which is how he gets killed.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: In Chapter 30, Mike gives one to Kaiser when he finds the latter waiting to talk to him about the unmasking of E88.
  • Reformed, but Rejected: Downplayed. After her Heel Realization, Emma was genuinely sorry and apologized to Taylor for betraying her and bullying her. Taylor replied that saying sorry wasn't enough to forgive her, but she'd take her apology. Word of God is Taylor will eventually will forgive her.
  • Robo Family: With Armsmaster modifying and unshackling Dragon, she eventually gains the ability to replicate her code and essentially have children. Her two daughters, Theresa and Pandora, are the result.
  • Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies: Essentially what happens to the Slaughterhouse Nine when Mike gives the go-ahead for Eidolon to take them out.
  • Running Gag
    • After Mike came home to find someone waiting for him two nights running, a whole series of omakes and snippets was spawned on the topic of who he would find in his apartment the next night. Examples include the Slaughterhouse Nine, the Simurgh, Scion, Behemoth, Uber and Leet, himself, and (after the Nine were taken out by Eidolon) Jack Slash.
      • In Chapter 30, when Mike gets home with Piggot, Armsmaster and Miss Militia, for the 'save the world' meeting, Kaiser is waiting for him, along with Night and Fog.
    • Nearly everyone who meets Mike ends up asking him "How do you know that?"
    • Contessa and her cookies.
    • Riley calling Amy 'big sister'. Also a Mythology Gag.
  • Sacrificial Lion: Mike uses himself as bait for Scion.
  • Saving the World: Mike tells people straight-out that's what he's trying to do.
  • Scared of What's Behind You: In chapter 38, Mike is in a Last Stand situation, when the Merchants attacking him turn and run. He pauses, asks himself if he's really that scary, then says out loud, "I'm not alone, am I?".
  • Secret Keeper and Secret Secret-Keeper: He is the former for Taylor, and the latter for everyone else with a secret identity that was mentioned in canon.
  • Self-Insert Fic: A particularly good example.
  • Set Right What Once Went Wrong: What Mike is effectively trying to do.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Shrouded in Myth: Mike picks up quite a reputation as he goes along. Especially when people start piecing together the results of his past manipulations.
  • Someone Has to Die: To save the world ... Mike.
  • So Proud of You: Mike and Danny both say this to Taylor, separately. And to Amy.
  • Spy Speak: Mike and Alexandria do this in a phone call discussing Eidolon, the Endbringers and the Slaughterhouse Nine.
  • Stay with the Aliens: After the final battle, Gladys and Riley choose to emigrate to Sanctuary, the Case 53 settlement on another earth.
  • Survivor Guilt:
    • Vicky gets this after Zion blows up Taylor's home, thinking that Amy is dead and the last thing she did was blow up at her.
    • Flechette gets this after Mike is killed during the Zion battle. Her thoughts of "It's All My Fault" stem from the fact she was spending too much time with Parian and not enough time with L33t to make the Sting-powered guns. Director Piggot tells her instead that there's enough blame to go around.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: How Mike clues in Taylor that Sophia is Shadow Stalker (he's signed an NDA, so he can't just say it ...).
  • Teleport Spam: Between Doorways and Butcher's powers, Mike does this a lot to keep ahead of a pissed-off Zion.
  • Tempting Fate: In chapter 37, Mike tells Legend to go deal with the gang war, confident that he can safely make it to the PRT building without the other as escort. Then he runs into a bunch of gangsters chasing down a woman and child.
    • After the fight with Lung, Taylor comments to Mike that he said that they'd be meeting some villains (the Undersiders) that night, but they never showed up. Guess who's waiting at Mike's car?
  • Thanatos Gambit: Once Mike knows he's got to die if Zion's going to lose, he makes his plans accordingly.
  • Then Let Me Be Evil: Kaiser makes such a resolution in Chapter 33.
    "So Max Anders is a wanted criminal?” He sneered. “Let me be a wanted criminal."
  • There Are No Therapists: Averted. Mike insists that both Amy and Eidolon attend therapy. He speaks to Director Piggot about making plans for Riley and Theo to be included as well.
    • Director Piggot also tries to dissuade people from getting therapy- but not for evil reasons, and she explains why. She knows that, thanks to Trigger Events, literally every cape needs therapy. However, if she took them off the streets long enough to get the care they need, not only would Brockton Bay (which is divided between at least three major gangs switching between Cold War and Hot War between each other) suffer for their absence, but the PRT probably couldn't afford it. Thus, she tries to make sure that only the most critical of cases get it out of resource management.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill:
    • Zion's anger at Mike for destroying Eden is so great that his disintegration blast not only kills his target, but lasts for a good long while and vaporises the landscape in the process. Long enough, in fact, for Taylor to finally hit him with the Sting effect.
    • Two of Bakuda's macro-scale flesh-dissolver bombs might have been enough to kill Zion. He gets hit with three.
  • Things Man Was Not Meant to Know: What some people are starting to think Mike is. Not dispelled by the events of chapter 30.
    "“I'm from beyond your time and space,” I told them. “I'm older than your universe."
  • Time Travel: Not quite what Mike has done, but it's close enough to be used as a cover story. Of course, he doesn't have to worry about paradox ...
  • To Absent Friends: One of these is held for Mike in Chapter 53.
  • Tranquil Fury
    • In chapter 36, Kaiser speaks in a cold whisper when interrogating Mike.
    • In chapter 48, Riley is almost playful when explaining to Cody exactly where he went wrong, and why he shouldn't do it again.
  • Trespassing to Talk: The list of people who sneaks in Mike's flat in order to have a talk with him is annoyingly long and includes Sophia Hess, several members of Cauldron and Kaiser. Also Jack Slash in a dream sequence.
  • Unexpected Character: When told that Mike was going to help the Travellers, not many readers remembered to include Cody/Perdition in that list.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom
    • In chapter 37, the son of the owner of the motel where Kayden, Theo and Aster are staying lets his greed get the better of him and calls the police on them.
    • In Chapter 50, it is explained that Zion's attack on Mike and Taylor in Chapter 49 is a direct result of Glory Girl's attack on Mike in that same chapter.
    • Mike himself also in Chapter 50; it turns out that his Shipper on Deck tendencies towards Lily/Sabah led to Lily postponing a request from L33t to get some work done on replicating her power's effects. As a result, when Zion attacks ahead of schedule, there was only one special gun available, making things much harder than they should have been.
  • Villainous Breakdown:
    • After witnessing the death of his partner, twice, Zion goes absolutely ballistic, blitzing the land with all his power to kill the one responsible, which also blinds him to the Armor-Piercing Attack coming for him In the Back.
    • Shadow Stalker has a couple, once after her murder attempt on Mike leaves her trussed up in Christmas lights, and when she learns that Zion's killer is the weakling Taylor Hebert.
  • We Used to Be Friends:
    • Emma and Taylor, although the former regrets her actions and want to make amends.
    • After her Heel Realization, Emma wants to have nothing to do with Sophia, though this turns out to be remarkably easy since Sophia gets arrested very early on.
  • Wham Episode:
    • Chapter 25. Kaiser is gunning for Mike, and things start to go wrong for Mike.
    • Chapter 26 put Bakuda on his case as well.
    • Chapter 30. He tells them everything. Almost.
    • Chapter 38. The gang war is over, but Aster and Theo have been taken by the police, and Theo has triggered with powers.
    • Chapter 41. Everything is easing down; Taylor and Amy have just finished off their day at school after saving the day (again) while Mike and Theo have been playing board games with Bonesaw. Danny and Taylor have been bonding while Amy is getting some much-needed therapy in. Everything, in other words, is going well. And then Mike gets a text message. From Dinah. About the end of the world.
    • Chapter 42. Mike has a heart attack. Then Riley rebuilds him ... better.
    • Chapter 43. Mike tells Gladys the truth about his origins.
    • Chapter 47. Mike tells everyone the truth. Almost. Kind of.
    • Chapter 49. Mike attends Taylor's sixteenth birthday party. Despite a minor hiccup, everything is going well, and Taylor is opening her presents, when Zion attacks.
    • Chapter 51. Mike dies. So does Zion.
  • Wham Line:
    • Chapter 39.
      The text read: ONI LEE AND ABB AT MAYORS RESIDENCE. HOSTAGES TAKEN.
    • Chapter 41 - A text from Dinah.
      71.6349% CHANCE END OF WORLD IN SIX MONTHS.
      98.4193% CHANCE END OF WORLD IN TWELVE MONTHS.
      PREPARE. NOW.
    • In-universe, Mike's opening to the conference on how to stop Zion. "Hi, I'm Security, and you're all going to die!"
    • Chapter 49: Another text from Dinah.
      GET OUT NOW.
  • What Were You Thinking?: The reaction in Chapter 44 of Armsmaster, Director Piggot, Riley, the sickbay attendant, Gladys, Amy, Taylor and Danny, following Mike's fights the previous day. He is suitably apologetic.
  • Xanatos Gambit: This is attempted a couple of times, with varying levels of success.
    • Averted: Bakuda implants a bomb in Mike's neck, with the expectation that whether he stays close by or runs away, he's screwed. She does not expect him to Take The Third Option and beat her up then remove her control mechanism.
    • Mike's attempt goes like this: "Get Contessa on side. I win." It works, to a point. He is, however, not immune to anything short of actual death. And given that his death is a condition of beating Zion, even that isn't true at the end.
  • You Are Fat: He's hit with this insult by several people (well, it's true. He is fat.) It doesn't bother him; he's got a job to do.
    • He also uses it to his advantage at several points, noting that even though he's often fighting people who are younger and fitter than he is, he has way more bulk on them, and are able to take and give bigger hits.
  • You Wouldn't Believe Me If I Told You: When people ask him how he knows what he knows, this is what he says.


Tropes found in I, Panacea:

  • An Arm and a Leg: Vicky loses both of her legs when a glass bomb goes off. Thankfully, Amy's around, so this isn't even fixed onscreen.
  • Batman Gambit: Mike's plan for making sure Coil is in his base. He and Amy have Vicky go to Thomas Calvert's house and beat him up, knowing that this will collapse the timeline where she actually succeed in doing that. This leaves the timeline where Coil is still in his base, pinning him down and preventing him from escaping.
  • Bully Hunter: After finding out about Taylor's school plight, Amy and Vicky are determined to stop the bullying. They even convince Carol to help.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Mike doesn't believe in fair fights.
    Amy: I suppose it's a little bit unfair.
    Mike: It's a whole lot unfair. But do you know what they call someone who offers his opponent a fair fight when he doesn't have to?
    Amy: A sportsman?
    Mike: An idiot. Coil doesn't deserve a fair fight. He never gave anyone else one.
  • Grey and Gray Morality: After working with the Undersiders and meeting Taylor, Vicky agrees that her old black-and-white worldview was too simplistic:
    Amy: Yeah, she's a villain. Yeah, she uses her powers to commit crimes. But she's being bullied right now, and she's refusing to use her powers to retaliate. Tell me what sort of villain does that.
    Vicky: Seriously? Life was a lot simpler before this shit started.
    • Amy is astonished when Mike explains... well, how absolutely normal Taylor and the other Undersiders are, as well as their reasons for getting into crime. She's forced to confront her own Black and White worldview, and she admits that it's not as clear-cut as it might seem.
  • History Repeats: Averted. When talking to Alexandria, Mike refuses to tell her the reason for Eidolon's power loss until he's gone to therapy, remembering what happened last time.
  • Make It Look Like an Accident: Mike outright tells Alexandria to arrange for Teacher's death, even using this trope if necessary.
  • Morton's Fork: When Taylor, Lisa and Dinah face Coil, he splits the timeline and tries two different tactics. He dies in both timelines.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Mike has this reaction when Grue asks a question that really shouldn't have been asked.
      Grue: We were told that you bought your powers. Who did you buy them from?
      Mike: Oh shit -
      Amy: Is it so bad?
      Mike: Fucking yes.
    • A second later, Contessa shows up.
      Mike: Oh shit oh shit oh shit.
    • Then, after they take out Contessa, things get even worse when Alexandria shows up, wondering where her friend went and finding a murder scene.
  • Pitbull Dates Puppy: Carol and Mark. Carol is very domineering and insecure, and she dated Mark because she thought someone with chronic depression wouldn't try to turn against her.
  • Power Perversion Potential: Denied. He's a 44 year old man, stuck in a 16 year old girl's head, with the ability to take control of her actions at any time. He's a fanfiction writer; of course he's aware of the potential ways that this could be misused. But he flat-out refuses to take advantage of the situation, even to the point of reciting poetry to distract himself while she's showering or changing.
  • Psychic Block Defense: Mike retains this from the prequel, but in a new form. He may have it, but Amy doesn't. Amy's body has it while Mike is in control of it, but it goes away for her once she's back in the driver's seat. Mike can also give Amy suggestions, and while she's acting on them, her actions can't get predicted by a precog as Contessa finds out twice. That said, while she's acting on his suggestions, there's a limit to it- she doesn't get total immunity, just for a few moments before the precog can catch up again. In a fight, though, that's pretty significant.
  • Sharing a Body: Mike gets stuck inside Amy's body accidentally. Not in that way.
  • Smug Super: This leads to Alexandria's downfall. She's so confident that she can take care of Bakuda on her own that she goes after her alone, without backup or telling anyone where she's going. Normally, given that Alexandria is one of the strongest capes on the planet and is the local equivalent of the Flying Brick standard a la Superman, this might be plausible, but she attacks Bakuda in her own lab, which even Alexandria admits is a terrible idea, and tries to convince her to work for the PRT with talking. This gives Bakuda enough time to detonate a Black Hole grenade, which distracts Alexandria long enough for Alexandria to be hit with a time-stop grenade.
  • Three-Point Landing: Vicky likes doing this. Mike recalls that in canon, she practiced her landing till she got it just right.
  • Too Dumb to Live: In a split timeline, Coil taunts Lisa even though he's tied up and can't move, Lisa hates him, and has a gun.
    • Alexandria decides to confront Bakuda, who is crazy even by Brockton standards, in her own lab. For the record, Bakuda is a Tinker, and this is pretty much Locking MacGyver in the Store Cupboard, which even Alexandria admits to.
  • Trapped in TV Land: The end of "Security!" implies that the reason Mike is trapped in Panacea (and the I, Panacea world) is that he's actually in a fanfiction written by Security!'s version of Tattletale, who wrote it pretty much to screw with him after all the times he messed with her head.


Tropes found in I, Scion:

  • Amnesiacs Are Innocent: Mike rescues Riley and deletes her memories so she doesn't remember being Bonesaw, leaving her around six years old mentally.
  • Comically Invincible Hero: Mike's got a pretty nice grasp of the overall situation in Worm. Coupling that with Scion's virtually unlimited power, he solves all the problems plaguing Earth Bet in a matter of days.
  • Destructo-Nookie: Mike and Eden cause this. They manage to fix it soon enough.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: The Simurgh is cold, calculating, and cruel... but even she starts laughing her ass off when she sees Mike's attempts to fly around in Scion's body.
  • Grievous Harm with a Body: Jack Slash and Shatterbird get used in this fashion. Against each other.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Mike is justifiably fond of dispensing very quick and very effective punishments to any antagonists he encounters.
    • Coil is caught. It doesn't matter which timeline he uses.
    • Shadow Stalker is depowered after her dirty laundry is aired in front of Piggot, effectively exposing Blackwell, the PRT handler and Mr. Gladly. When Mr. Barnes tries to introduce legal arguments, Mike steals the clothes of everyone at the meeting except Taylor and Danny and drops Sophia at the PRT cells.
    • Nilbog gets vaporized.
    • Jack Slash and Shatterbird get used as blunt weapons against each other. Crawler and the Siberian's controller are vaporized.
    • Lung and Bakuda get trapped in the radius of her time-freeze grenade.
    • Kaiser and Hookwolf are turned, respectively, Asian and black. Rune's later revealed to have been turned Indian.
    • Skidmark is censored so every profanity he screams instead comes as a beep. He and his followers are rendered incapable of feeling artificial highs with their drugs, but they still experience the negative effects.
    • Saint gets briefly dropped into cyberspace, Dragon's domain. After being booted out, he never gets near a computer again.
    • Heartbreaker gets depowered, surrounded by his restored victims, who remember everything he's done to them.
    • Armsmaster gets several Dope Slaps to make him more aware of Dragon and his own jerkass tendencies.
    • On the other hand, he also rewards altruistic behavior and helps innocents, fixing Garrote and all the Case 53s, sending them back to their worlds, congratulating Jessica Yamada and Mrs. Knott on their work. He heals Piggot and has Canary released (and gifts her a new house). Finally, he arranges a friendly meeting between Grue, Tattletale, Taylor, Parian, Flechette, Vista, Dinah, Panacea, Theo and Rune.
  • Naked People Are Funny: Mike thinks so, and subjects those who would torment Taylor to this. Multiple times. Taylor even has a camera some of those times.
  • Oh, Crap!: Mike, when he realizes that his attempt to destroy Eden's remains instead has revived her.
  • Oh, No... Not Again!: Mike's first thought when he realizes that he's now controlling Scion.
  • Reality Ensues: Mike has problems thinking up things to do when trying to show Eden the wonders of the world, since a lot of things they could do are really not as much fun when you have all the superpowers. White water rafting, for example, has no thrill when you can freeze all the water in time and just walk down the river. Or fly.
  • Rule of Funny: For some reason, when Behemoth shows up three sheets to the wind (thanks to Eidolon drinking... well, everything) he has a lamp shade on his head.
  • Sense Freak: The Entities are so above the material world, they have virtually no sensory input. Eden's neutralized when she's made aware of what she's missing by remaining so aloof.
  • Villains Out Shopping / Heroes Gone Fishing: After the Endbringers are neutralized via getting Eidolon to relax and Scion and Eden cease to be active threats, Eidolon gets a girlfriend and goes to the beach with her, Contessa and Number Man. Alexandria gives up on trying to follow the madness and joins him there.
  • What Did I Do Last Night?: Or... month, actually. Mike solves Eidolon's power issues by guiding him to a worldwide uninterrupted bar crawl. By the time they reach Caracas to confront Behemoth, the Endbringer is completely plastered itself.

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