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Fanfic / Abberation (Worm)

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Freakshow, as drawn by Storn Cook, commissioned by Cheiromancer.

A Binder of Zceryll finds herself in Brockton Bay. Magic Space Whales, meet horrifying Far Realm abominations.

Aberration is a crossover fanfic between the crapsack superhero world of Worm and a Dungeons & Dragons character dropped in the mix.

Freakshow (later Star Spawn) is a Binder of Zceryll. In short, a summoner of eldritch abominations, who is something of an eldritch abomination herself, and whose summons (along with being terrifyingly weird and distorted monsters) have their own rather useful spells (like walls of stone/ice/wind, fly, wind walk, true seeing, obscuring mist, major creation, etc), all day, forever. Up to four summons at a time, each lasting 84 seconds, summoned every 24 seconds. A constantly rotating menagerie of Trump-rated aberrations.

She immediately falls in with the Merchants and starts producing drugs.


It goes downhill from there.

Aberration provides examples of:

  • Agony Beam: Freakshow gains this ability when she becomes Butcher XV.
  • And I Must Scream: Baleful Polymorph can turn you into a small animal with the chance of keeping all your memories and understanding of language intact. Applied to Cherish and Siberian.
  • Annoying Arrows: Freakshow gets shot with an arrow in the chest, with festering wounds to boot. She doesn't even notice.
  • Badass Army: Star Spawn creates the Spell Corps, a group of magically-enhanced humans and parahumans. They fight dangerous threats, help deal with Endbringer fallout and evacuations, and perform rescues... but are also at her complete discretion, without government oversight of any sort.
  • Becoming the Mask: It's unclear whether or not this has happened with Alexandria in her attempts to control Freakshow/Star Spawn by being her friend and eventual love interest.
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  • Black-and-Gray Morality: There are very few genuinely noble, good characters in Worm. There are even fewer here.
  • Body Horror: The main character is pseudonatural, which means eldritch aberrations are part of the deal. All of her summons share similar disfigurements, and can transform into an alternate form which means ALL tentacles, eyes, teeth, and other bits.
  • Bond One-Liner: Freakshow tries one in 5.8 against Shatterbird. It goes alright.
  • Breather Episode: Between fighting monsters and saving the day, Freakshow/Star Spawn has the occasional soft-hearted moment of downtime. Several of these involve Alexandria.
  • The Bus Came Back: Squealer disappeared for a while after 6.3½. Turns out she was just working on her next big-ass mecha and shows up again during the Simurgh fight.
  • Canon Discontinuity: Due to heavy reader backlash and some very convincing arguments, the story split in 6.2 in three different directions for two full chapters. Eventually one was decided upon.
  • Cape Busters: The Spell Corps, although they include parahumans as well as unpowered humans.
  • Character Development: From an insecure, somewhat sociopathic murderhobo to a slightly less insecure, slightly less sociopathic superhero.
  • Chekhov's Gag: After Star Spawn destroys the Simurgh, she jokes "I suppose I could start a religion." By 9.4, the First Temple of the Star Spawn is opened.
  • Chest Insignia: When she makes her first real armor as Star Spawn, she puts the symbol of Zceryll on her chest.
  • Cool Airship: Seen in one of the parallel worlds Alexandria takes Star Spawn on dates to. Denied from Star Spawn by her teammates from building her own.
  • Crapsack World: As in Worm canon.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: There are a few of these. Freakshow capturing half of the Empire 88, killing half of the Slaughterhouse Nine, becoming the Butcher, destroying Valefor and Eligos, one-shotting the Simurgh, wiping out Nilbog, and 'recruiting' Moord Nag, to name a few.
  • A Day in the Limelight: Interludes show the perspectives of minor characters, just like in Worm.
  • Deadly Dodging: The Simurgh uses this against Star Spawn, Eidolon, and Artificer (formerly known as Squealer).
  • Deal with the Devil: Pacts with Vestiges, the source of Freakshow/Star Spawn's powers, involves binding your soul with an otherworldly entity in the gaps between universes for inhuman abilities.
  • Death Is Cheap: Freakshow can raise the dead as of 3.6.
  • Deity of Human Origin: Freakshow/Star Spawn becomes a goddess after Jack Slash causes mass psychosis around the world to make people slaughter each other in her name.
  • Defied Trope: Regent expects trouble after defeating Valefor and Eligos of the Fallen and declaring "That was easy."
  • Dope Slap: Much like canon, Grue has occasional reason to invoke this on Regent.
  • Dwindling Party: Surprisingly, not due to deaths. Half of the Travelers accept a ticket home.
  • Elaborate Underground Base: Star Spawn borrowed one from Coil for a while, then made her own when she went legit.
  • Eldritch Abomination: All of her creatures are pseudonatural, giving them a terrifying appearance. Freakshow shares the same template, giving her a scattering of extra eyes, mouths, and a terrifying array of teeth packed in a mouth that literally stretches ear to ear. Unlike the page illustration, she also shaves her head.
  • Emergency Transformation: Freakshow is forced to do one in 2.2, making a hasty pact to fight. It did not go as well as she hoped.
  • Enemy Mine: Star Spawn and Lung versus the Yàngbǎn in 8.7.
  • Eye Scream: Siberian takes out Star Spawn's eye. It doesn't take.
  • Fish out of Water: Freakshow was raised on adventurer values of killing, looting, and leveling up.
  • "Hell, Yes!" Moment: When Star Spawn appears to comes back from the dead to one-shot the Simurgh.
  • Heroic Host: Freakshow/Star Spawn's powers come from a bond between her soul and an alien vestige.
  • Holding the Floor: in 2.2 Miss Militia occupies Trickster so her teammates can get the drop on him.
  • Honey Trap: Depending on your interpretation, Alexandria to Freakshow/Star Spawn because she can raise the dead.
  • Honor Before Reason: Taylor, much like in canon, but for different reasons.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: Noelle and Sundancer, like in canon. Except here, Sundancer goes home to Aleph and Noelle gets a magic item that removes her powers and transforms her into a normal human.
  • In Medias Res: Several scenes start this way, mid-battle.
  • Internal Reveal: It isn't revealed to the public until 57 chapters later that Freakshow can raise the dead.
  • Karma Houdini: Among the usual canon examples, Freakshow/Star Spawn experiences zero repercussions for mass-producing illegal drugs.
  • Killed Offscreen: Entire Endbringer battles take place offscreen. Of course, once Freakshow reveals she can raise the dead, they don't really take.
  • Knight Templar: Taylor fancies herself one in her identity as Veritas.
  • Life Energy: Appropriate because of D&D, completely out of context in Worm. Star Spawn has to explain that yes, souls are a real thing.
  • Linear Warriors, Quadratic Wizards: Once Freakshow/Star Spawn starts to ramp up, her abilities get increasingly ludicrous.
  • Mood Whiplash: In 7.1, events go from a sweet date between Star Spawn and Alexandria to the announcement of a Simurgh attack.
  • Mundane Utility: Prestidigitation is much neater than showers, and can also flavor food! Also, one of Freakshow's summons can create vegetable matter... including arbitrarily high quality drugs in massively high volumes.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Several examples, but one of them involves the heroes arresting Freakshow, only to lead her to realize that adventuring was the only way to achieve her quest.
  • Nothing Is the Same Anymore: The moment Freakshow develops the ability to raise the dead, the game is forever changed.
  • Not So Different: Jack Slash outright states this to Freakshow. It almost takes.
  • Not So Invincible After All: Freakshow has her powers effectively scrambled by Bonesaw, and is subsequently killed. It doesn't take.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: The entire Leviathan battle takes place in the Medic tent, including a point where Squealer reveals a giant mecha and blows a hole through Leviathan. Also, the first mention of the Spell Corps (before they even have that name) involves them tracking down Ascalon and saving Dragon.
  • Omniglot: One of Freakshow/Star Spawn's spells lets her and others speak and understand any language.
  • One Steve Limit: Lampshaded. When Freakshow couldn't be bothered to remember the names of her minions, she named them all Steve.
  • Only a Flesh Wound: When you have magical healing on tap, and then regeneration and immunity to pain thanks to the Butcher, most injuries are easy to ignore.
  • Outside-Context Problem: Magic is kind of broken compared to the Wormverse.
  • Panacea: Along with the eponymous hero, this is the name of a spell Freakshow/Star Spawn uses in her armor to ignore injuries.
  • Playing Cyrano: The non-romantic version. Acolyte formerly Tattletale feeds Star Spawn lines and insights as she observes from out of sight.
  • Power-Up: The Spell Corps are fueled by this trope. Packets of spells in disk form are shattered for a variety of buffs lasting anywhere from several hours to an entire day. In 9.4, Star Spawn creates an item that allows her to mass-produce these spell disks.
  • Pyrrhic Victory: The Simurgh is killed, only to reveal Alexandria as Chief Director Costa-Brown in her final moments.
  • Race Against the Clock: Freakshow/Star Spawn's summons are on a timer, both in how long they last and how often she can summon them.
  • Reincarnation: How Star Spawn comes back after killed by Khonsu. She becomes Earth Bet's first and only elf.
  • Relationship Upgrade: In 7.9, Alexandria goes from 'possibly pretending friend' to 'possibly pretending romantic interest'.
  • Required Secondary Powers: Among the usual, Freakshow/Star Spawn has an inherent sense of timing, measured in rounds, necessary to keep track of exactly when her creatures will disappear and can be summoned.
  • The Reveal: In 6.9, we find out that when Freakshow turned the Butcher to stone (deliberately not killing her), she became Butcher XV regardless.
  • Scry vs. Scry: Freakshow/Star Spawn's Alien Mind causes trouble for precogs (including putting Tattletale in a coma. Later on, she can completely no-sell all precognition with Inaccessible Mind. This includes the Simurgh.
  • Self-Destruct Mechanism: In 9.3, Armsmaster suspects Saint has one, and plans to use it to cover up his murder of Saint. Star Spawn offers to take the rap instead.
  • Shipper on Deck: Imp squeals with excitement when Star Spawn and Alexandria first hold hands.
  • Slave to PR: Artificer formerly Squealer complains of this in 10.4.
  • The Sleepless: Freakshow/Star Spawn joins Alexandria and Miss Militia in this regard as a result of her pact.
  • Sociopathic Hero: Murdering is only wrong if there are consequences. Otherwise it's just adventuring!
  • Sophisticated as Hell: Artificer formerly Squealer attempts to show off this way, only to realize Star Spawn has never read Shakespeare.
  • Summon Bigger Fish: How do the heroes defeat Scion? By contacting the third Entity, Abaddon, and having it deal with Scion.
  • Summon Magic: Freakshow's entire shtick.
  • Superhero: As expected of the setting.
  • Super Senses: Freakshow/Star Spawn has Mindsight, which lets her pinpoint all intelligences, regardless of barriers, within 100 feet.
  • Supervillain: See Superheroes.
  • Super Weight: Freakshow/Star Spawn started off at 3, is working her way up to 4.
  • Teleport Interdiction: Freakshow/Star Spawn has several methods of preventing teleport, as do the Yàngbǎn and apparently Jack Slash.
  • Tempting Fate: Mentioned by name by Regent in 6.10 after a surprisingly easy victory, and again by Acolyte to Star Spawn in 9.6, who hopes for a trap to break up the monotony.
  • The Quest: Sent on one by Pun-Pun, god of Munchkins.
  • Waking Up at the Morgue: Squealer and Skidmark do this in 6.3½ after Freakshow reveals the ability to raise the dead.
  • Weaponized Teleportation: The Butcher's explosive teleport. Gained by Star Spawn after she becomes Butcher XV.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Cute?: Freakshow/Star Spawn grew up around pseudonatural abominations. She thinks they're cute. She also thinks Crawler looks magnificent (with several omakes implying her tastes run towards the eldritch), and genuinely thinks Nilbog's creations are adorable.
  • What You Are in the Dark: Despite her general lack of heroic tendencies, when it came to risking her own life to disable a massive Tinkertech bomb created by the Simurgh, Star Spawn surprises herself by doing the heroic thing.
  • Wretched Hive: With granite countertops and wainscoting, thanks to Freakshow's matter creation abilities... but it's still a Merchant base.
  • Xeno Fiction: A brief snippet in 4.9 is told from the point of view of one of Freakshow's summons.
  • Year Inside, Hour Outside: Star Spawn spends nine months crafting inside a Khonsu time field.

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