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Fanfic / Co-op Mode

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A Knight and his Lady (And her steel bat)note 
A Worm fanfic co-created by Faria Lyton and Harper Potts.

Synopsis is as follows: Cauldron's plan was bad. The Protectorate was deeply flawed. The PRT was a joke. If Gaia wanted to save her babies, save herself, she'd need to interfere. Enter The Gamer. Too bad it's James. Self-insert story with a twist in that the inserted character has no memories of who he used to be.

Has a companion fic called 'A Bug In The Game' that focuses more on Taylor's perspective of the story.

Unfortunately, there have been no updates since May 2016, so this can be considered a Dead Fic.

Co-op Mode can be found on Spacebattles, Sufficient Velocity as well as FanFiction.

A Bug In The Game can also be found on Spacebattles, Sufficient Velocity as well asFanFiction. note 


Co-op Mode contains examples of:

  • Adaptive Ability: As usual for Gamer fanfics, James has this, and so do those in his Party. So far, he has gained Acquired Poison Immunity, Damage Reduction to both Elemental Powers and physical attacks, and even a partial resistance to Clockblocker's power!
    Quote for <Time Resistance>: "BULLSHIT!"
  • Accidental Pervert: While massaging Taylor, James accidentally touches Taylor's bottom, but surprisingly, Pervert Revenge Mode is averted - and without needing even explanation on James' part, as Taylor correctly concludes that it was all just an accident. Whether this is out of the fact that Taylor has low self-esteem or that she just trusts James, or even both, is not totally clear.
  • Adults Are Useless: As this is Worm, this automatically applies. A special example though is the Winslow's gym coach Wolf Shane - due to James being possibly conducive to his own goals, he can be seen as a Reasonable Authority Figure when James and Taylor get into a fight with the Trio and their cronies. However, he ends up as a Double Subversion, as he does not particularly care for his job, being more interested in his own wants than actually being a coach.
    Coach Shane: “I’ll be honest here. I don’t approve of steroids. But with the girls’ track team bringing home medals, Blackwell wants the other teams to earn some trophies. If our football team doesn’t start winning games, she’s going to make me do weekend training for the guys. And that would cut into my weekend plans. I think I can turn you into a decent running back or a passable lineman, but there’s no point if you’re going to get disqualified. So. Can you pass a drug test?”
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  • Alternate Universe: Of a kind wherein James exists since birth in the Wormverse. A closer example could be that Gaia exists, and thus is at work with helping parahumans (like Contessa/Fortuna) in defeating Scion, which leads to Taylor choosing to become Lady Bug.
  • Batter Up!: The first weapons both James and Taylor use are bats - with a metal bat for Taylor and a pink bat for James.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: As of the Grave Lord omake, James is revealed to be capable of being between this, Good Is Not Soft, and Knight Templar. In that alternate possibility, alone and without Taylor, James ends up single-handedly disabling and capturing each and every hero in Brockton Bay while scaring the villains badly enough to keep away while he does it to save Taylor. However, in the omake he doesn't avert Good Is Dumb for forgetting that he could've done it with less violence.
  • Butt-Monkey: Ooh, James. Just how many times are you going to shoot yourself in your own foot... and just how many times are other people going to shoot it for you?
    James: *under chemical influence* “Tah-lahdy Bug, forg me!” Damn it.
  • Call-Back: When James first convinces Taylor about the existence of the Gamer ability, he stabs himself with a fork to prove it. Guess what he tries to convince her to do when he needs to prove it to the Protectorate...
  • Calling Your Attacks: Enforced, discussed, and partly averted by James and Taylor with the Skills given by the Gamer ability. As stated in story, at low levels (specifically below level 5) all skills have to be activated by vocalizing their names, but afterwards they can be used without having to call out the attack and risk being countered as a result. However, the usual argument of them helping to focus still applies, plus there is a decrease in effectiveness when they are used silently.
    James: "Okay, let's go. Stealth."
    Taylor: This is so weird. How counter-intuitive is that?
  • Casual Danger Dialog: James doesn't speak it out loud, per-se, but due to <Gamer's Mind> he is prone to thinking like this inside his narration in the middle of battles, leading to gems like this:
    James: *narration while fighting Lung* He starts throwing fireballs everywhere. Wow, his aim sucks worse than Bowser.
  • Chainmail Bikini: Naturally, this is lampshaded, discussed, and averted with Lady Bug's armor. James even comments on the fact, lampooning on how impractical such armor is, and Taylor specifically designs her clothes to avert both this and Battle Ballgown:
    James: There’s a golden breastplate done in a vaguely organic style next. The… ah… chest… is a little bigger than I think Taylor is naturally, but still done in a sensible single-breasted, high-coverage style. None of that pseudo-bodice lift-and-separate, guide-swords-to-the-center nonsense you see in fantasy games. Or on most armor-wearing female capes. The entire piece also extends down to her belt, instead of leaving room to show off abs and ask to be gutted.
  • Charles Atlas Superpower: Invoked by the Gamer ability, as continued exercise can and would increase the physical stats of a person to inhuman levels. However, considering the difficulty of training a stat gets higher as the value of that stat grows, this can also be considered as a Zig-Zagging Trope.
  • Chekhov's Armoury: The <Inventory> is showing to be this, being the stockpile of whatever item or plot-important object that James would end up using in the future.
  • Cooldown Hug: James and Taylor ends up sharing these right after some fights. Considering how close they get to death during these moments, there is little to wonder.
    ''Taylor: *hugs James* "If you ever do anything that crazy again, I'll kill you myself!"
  • Cool Helmet: James has one as Beetle Knight. Depending on what ornament he wears with it, it gives him status buffs or useful effects.
  • Crapsack World: As in Worm canon, Earth Bet is this. However, considering how the world itself is at work at fixing itself...
  • Crash-Into Hello: The real part of the story starts with James crashing into Taylor's body trying to escape her locker.
  • Critical Existence Failure: James barely escapes this by a hair on the very first chapter, with Taylor unknowingly saving his life as seen at the Crash-Into Hello above. This also nearly happens again during the fight with Lung.
    James: *loses all but four HP* "Please let him, please..."
    Lung: *finally collapses*
    James: "Holy..."
  • Dead Fic: Has not updated since May 2016.
  • Deuteragonist: Taylor is this to James' The Protagonist, with Co-Op Mode focusing on James and A Bug In The Game doing the same for Taylor.
  • Does Not Know His Own Strength: James almost ends up outing himself as a parahuman when he starts lifting weights several times heavier than what he used to lift inside the school gym. Luckily, the gym coach just mistakes him for having taken Tinkertech drugs.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: When James first learns <Massage> to relieve Taylor of a bad muscle sprain, this is what results. This leads Lisa to tell them to Get a Room!.
    Taylor: "Ooh, aah. Please, don't stop."
    James: *freezes* "I-is that... better?"
    Taylor: *blushes* "It's better, but it still hurts, please keep on going."
    Lisa: *laughs* "You two should get a room."
    • James' perspective on the matter only makes this scene even more funnier!
    James: *thinks with a Luminescent Blush* Does she have not hear what she is saying?
    • When Lisa gets a turn at being massaged...
    James: I swear she's making noises just to make me uncomfortable.
  • Dysfunctional Family: James is hinted to have one, and what we've seen and heard so far doesn't look good...
    • Starting from Factions 4.6, we are given a view by James of the Barron family, starting from the youngest Andy who is several signs short of being a Sociopath, followed by James who has long been shown to have several self-esteem issues, to two AWOL older brothers and one non-present sister, only to be finished by his overbearing, mother and passive father. Dysfunctional indeed...
  • Entertainingly Wrong: Armsmaster's deduction of Beetle Knight starts off with... well, everything possible going wrong in a first meeting. Beetle Knight is wearing civilian clothes (except for his helmet), wasn't present in the final blow (which Armsmaster did witness Taylor make) and (out of a desire to hide his true abilities so as not to be taken advantage of) deliberately undersells his powers. Because he's seen many people try to fight Parahumans Batman-style (with no powers, but with Tech and guts to make up for it), the design of his helmet looking like something out of a Super Sentai, and Beetle Knight not having a Corona Pollentia, Armsmaster dismisses James entirely as a Cape. It's easy to see how he came to those conclusions, but he is plainly wrong.
  • Foreshadowing: Once in a while, both Co-op Mode and A Bug In The Game have interludes that act as like this. For example, Fortuna's interlude ended up foreshadowing Armsmaster being sabotaged into tranquilizing James as well as Coil's interlude hinting an earlier confrontation with the villain.
  • Femme Fatale: Lisa plays this up in front of James to distract him whenever they meet. The results are... amusing. This causes much frustration on Taylor's side when it comes to the subject of Tattletale.
  • For Want of a Nail: Because of Gaia's presence in the story, a lot of things in the Wormverse change - with the most important one happening so far being Contessa abandoning her previous Path of Victory to follow Gaia's plans. This leads into more changes down the line.
  • Freudian Slip: Part of the humor of the story comes from the fact that James is a teenager and thus thinks, speaks, and acts like one.
    James: *thinking about Lisa inviting them into a meeting* Unless she’s planning on screwing us. Over. Screwing us over, we’ll be seeing her face whether or not we show her ours.
  • Groin Attack: Early on the story, Taylor has the tendency to do this on male zombies, causing James to wince and worry for his own safety around an angered Taylor.
    James: Lady Bug slams the zombie she’s fighting in the nuts. She does not need to hit that low for the skill to work.
  • Grotesque Cute: James has been shown to think of Taylor as this, as opposed to Madison who, while he admits he thinks as cute, is pretty disturbing.
    James: Speaking of Taylor, it looks like she’s… petting a loose cloud of hornets, wasps, and ladybugs. And cooing at them. It’s creepily cute. Kind of like an inverse-Madison. Should be creepy, but is cute. Somehow.
  • Healing Hands: <Massage> turns out to be this for James, though it is only capable of healing minor muscular damage, being best for recovering fatigue than actual healing. Word of God even states that ever since the authors have placed the Skill in the story, several... scenes have become necessary for the story!
  • Heel–Face Turn: Through Gaia's machinations, Fortuna. As of the latest chapters, the same goes for Lisa.
    Fortuna: "My name is Fortuna. There are 5,023 steps, or 2 years 2 months and 16 days left until the world is safe. On that last day, that last step, Cauldron will burn and, by my choice, I with it."
  • Henpecked Husband: James' father shows to be a particularly bad example of this, as shown by him being too passive to make himself heard around his wife.
  • Heroic Self-Deprecation: As in canon, Taylor has this. James, as well, has his moments of thinking lowly of himself.
  • Home Base: As of the Role Playing 5.2 chapter, James and Taylor are shown to have gained access to this.
  • In Spite of a Nail: The confrontation with Lung still happens, as well as meeting with Armsmaster. However, with James' presence, the latter goes better than in canon, though Taylor is left unwilling to become a Ward.
  • Jewish Mother: Gaia, in the holiday specials, comes across as this, with hilarious results.
  • Kangaroo Court: After Taylor and James get into a fight with Sophia, Madison, Emma and their cronies, Taylor names this trope word-for-word for the 'talk' they end up having with Blackwell. This leads them into getting a quest to reveal the corruption in Winslow.
    James: “Taylor was crying when I arrived. They had her surrounded and Sophia had her foot on Taylor's bag. Deliberately. They've been attacking her every day for months and you and the teachers never do anything! We told you what happened in January. You ignored us then, and now you're trying to make today sound like our fault. You're just another bully, like them."
    • Once more, this trope is invoked word-for-word by Taylor when Danny ends up talking to Taylor about her being a cape for the second time. And it shows just how much Danny's wish to keep his daughter safe is backfiring badly on him in Taylor's eyes.
  • Lady of War: Taylor ends up choosing this as a theme for her cape name, as well as playing with Medieval European Fantasy as Lady Bug. However, unlike most examples of this trope, Taylor doesn't wield the usual weapons, forgoing the usual rapier, naginata or steel fan for a steel bat. This might change in time, but as of the current chapters Taylor has stated her newfound preference for metal bats.
  • Leeroy Jenkins: James does this when he and Taylor end up overhearing Lung's plans on attacking the Undersiders. Amusingly, this leads him into getting a <Fool's Act> skill.
  • Launcher of a Thousand Ships: Meta and Played For Crack, but the fanbase of this story has James shipped with a variety of people, with a doorknob as one of the worst examples.
  • Living Crashpad: Taylor becomes this for James on the very first chapter by catching his head from hitting the floor due to his attempts on escaping her locker - unknowingly saving his life by preventing his HP from reaching zero.
  • Lighter and Softer: As a whole, as stated by the authors, James' presence changes a lot of things in the setting, making it comparable to the original manwha's tone when it comes to storytelling. However, as Coil's Interlude would show, this does not mean that the grim parts of Worm are entirely gone. This can be even considered Fridge Brilliance when one realizes the parallels of the story to the manwha's own version of the Black Market.
  • Logical Weakness: Taylor needs time to replenish her swarms in between difficult battles, as in canon, but due to her choosing to become Lady Bug, she also needs it to repair her more intricate equipment.
  • Magikarp Power: As always, the Gamer can be considered as this - and to a lesser extent, his teammates as well. Consider how in the initial parts of the story, James almost killed himself trying to escape a locker if it weren't for Taylor catching him in time. Several chapters later, James is sturdy enough to take blows from Lung and return them in favor.
  • Meaningful Name: Taylor, James, and Lisa's team ends up being named the Team Monarchs, referring to both the regal theme they have in place and for the famous monarch butterfly.
  • Mistaken for Gay: Somehow, James inverts this by mistaking Taylor mistaking him for gay because of the way she had let him massage her.
  • Mistaken for Romance: Armsmaster thinks Beetle Knight and Lady Bug are dating, when in truth it is all in his head. The same goes for Coil, but does not take it as far as Colin, who even concludes - wrongly - that Beetle Knight is only an overzealous fanboy, which is not helped by James' lack of a Corona Pollentia.
  • Mundane Utility: James can use his power to wash dishes, as is common with Gamer fics.
    • After the Kangaroo Court above, Taylor gets the idea of using James' powers to skip out of school entirely. Whether it happens or not remains to be seen.
      • As of Factions 4.6, James, Taylor, and Lisa, as Team Monarchs, have used a variety of Skillbooks to put this plan in place.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: As with Skills, James and those in his Party can do this with a variety of mundane tasks. It has even gotten to the point where James takes this up a notch in the interludes and omakes, with the crowning moment being on the Saint Patrick's Day Holiday Special:
    Alexandria: “You expect me to believe you pinched them so hard that Shatterbird screamed herself hoarse, Burnscar and Cherish just plain passed out from the pain, Mannequin's body fell apart, Hatchet Face’s arm came off, and Mouse Protector was successfully separated from Ravager?”
  • Outrun the Fireball: Lisa ends up doing this, to comedic effect, when she first uses a Skillbook to learn a Skill. Taylor and James end up laughing the moment she gets out behind the dumpster she jumped to, leading her to say this gem:
    Lisa: *after learning Capoeira, with a burger wrapper in her hair* "You do know I just learned how to kick your asses, right?"
  • Outside-Context Problem: James is one, and nobody knows it.
  • Overprotective Dad: Danny is showing to be one, and Taylor hates it. It has even gotten to the point where she plans around his intervention rather than with it. Inverted with the case of James' own father, who after living so long with his Control Freak wife, has become passive as to be nonexistent when it comes to family matters.
  • Parental Favoritism: Andy is this to the Barron family, and considering the boy is a few screws short of being a sociopath, this doesn't bode well for the already dysfunctional family. At one point in the story, Andy sneaks out some money out of their mother's purse, only for James to take the fall for him without even necessitating any proof. When asked about it, the author has only one thing to say:
    Faria Layton: 'Framing' implies effort. Andy doesn't have to frame James.
  • Pervert Revenge Mode: Averted in the case of James massaging Taylor and accidentally touching her bottom as a result. Taylor concludes - correctly - that it was all an accident without needing further explanation.
  • Power Glows: Like in the original manhwa, using Skillbooks to learn skills leads into a cool lightshow, with the book breaking to fragments of light as an unseen wind causes the person's hair to move.
  • Power Limiter: As in Super Empowering below, James can help those he invites into his Party into gaining Skills, but it is limited by them only learning up to the number they have for INT. As per Word of God, this is so as to avoid logical exploits like learning a thousand Skills in order to get through fights with just the passives.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: James' Tranquil Fury has this, as shown below.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: The coach at Winslow is an odd variant of this, as he's not actually a good coach, being more interested in self-gain and personal success than his actual job - the man asked James if he would pass a Tinkertech drug test just in case he could enter the team for crying out loud - but as James is conducive to his goals, he ends up looking like this.
    Coach Shane: “I’ll be honest here. I don’t approve of steroids. But with the girls’ track team bringing home medals, Blackwell wants the other teams to earn some trophies. If our football team doesn’t start winning games, she’s going to make me do weekend training for the guys. And that would cut into my weekend plans. I think I can turn you into a decent running back or a passable lineman, but there’s no point if you’re going to get disqualified. So. Can you pass a drug test?”
  • Running Gag: Several, mostly focusing on James, like:
  • Self-Insert Fic: Played amazingly well by authors, as many of the readers would attest to how James is unfailingly a teenager in all senses of the word, fitting into the Worm-verse almost seamlessly, especially with the barest hints of about his home...
  • Sentient Cosmic Force: Gaia is this, being the nail that changes the setting of the story, and nobody other than Contessa/Fortuna knows of her presence yet.
  • Ship Tease: The readers love pairing up James and Taylor and the authors know it.
  • Shout-Out: The entire story is rife with these, especially with James being who he is and Gaia loving her snark...
  • Simplified Spellcasting: Through reaching level 5, a Skill can be used silently, though with a decrease of effectiveness as the cost.
  • Suddenly Bilingual: Through a Skillbook, James learns how to speak Chinese, though it starts at a kindergartner's level when it first pops.
  • Sudden Game Interface: As with all Gamer crossovers, James has this.
  • Super Empowering: James can give his Party members the ability to gain Skills like <Aikido> and <Chinese> through either practice or Skillbooks, but a Party member can only learn a number of Skills up to that person's INT. As is standard with Skills though, they can be practiced and exploited to absurd effects. This leads to Taylor worrying over James being used by other people as a personal trainer.
    • The way he can also increase the stats of somebody either through stat points or exercise also counts.
  • Super Serum: When James accidentally reveals too much of his newfound strength in the middle of gym class, the gym teacher (a remarkable subversion of the Reasonable Authority Figure trope) ends up concluding - incorrectly - that James had used doping to do it. Of course, when James is invited by the teacher into a sports team, he denies the invitation by saying he would get caught by a comprehensive drug test.
  • Squick: As per usual in Worm fanfics, Taylor's powers invoke this on those around her. Thankfully for James though, <Gamer's Mind> prevents him from reacting too badly in the face of so many insects.
  • The Atoner: As of her Interlude, this applies for Contessa/Fortuna.
  • The Gadfly: Gaia can come across as one, especially with her love of snarky quotes and quips in James' alert windows, though nobody knows about her presence yet. So far, James just thinks it's all in his head.
    James: *thinks after reading an alert* It really does seem like my power likes teasing me. ...I wonder what that says about me, psychologically speaking…
  • Tranquil Fury: Surprisingly, James' anger shows as this, as in the time it appears during Blackwell's Kangaroo Court above.
    James: "I. Have. Not. Raised. My. Voice. Yet. If you would like me to raise my voice, I'd be happy to demonstrate the difference."
  • Transformation Sequence: James and Taylor have this, but this causes both of them to be in just their underwear for a few seconds. Naturally, Taylor notices this first, while James continues on unknowing of this fact.
  • True Companions: James and Taylor are slowly developing into this, via the way of Fire-Forged Friends. Lisa, on the other hand, remains to be seen if she would follow along the same path with the two.
    James: "We’re going to complete that quest and see all three of them get what’s coming to them. The bitches three are going to pay.”
  • Universal Poison: Surprisingly, this is averted by the Gamer ability, treating each poison with separate effects. However, the same cannot be told of the universal Acquired Poison Immunity <Poison Resistance>, as it applies to all poisons, not just one.
  • Unwanted Harem: The Valentine's Day Holiday Special ends with this, with James getting the hell out of dodge.
    James: “Why is there no decline button?” *sudden realization* “Oh, Gaia, no!”
  • Wrong Context Magic: Unknowingly, James is this due to Gaia being the source of his abilities instead of shards like all the other parahumans. This is both beneficial - as Word of God would attest to several questions from the readers - and problematic as all previously known 'facts' about parahumans don't necessarily apply to him.
    • This is what causes Colin to mistake him for a Muggle, or at most Badass Normal, all because he does not have an active Corona Pollentia.
  • Word of God: On the threads, both Faria and Harper actively reply and answer the readers' questions, which leads to a very active fanbase.