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Fanfic / Just A Phase

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Just A Phase is a fanfiction of Worm by First Selector.

Taylor Triggers as a Breaker/Stranger/Thinker who can phase through solid objects, phasing out of the locker right in front of Sophia and Emma. Then she Got Volunteered for the Wards by her father.

Finding out that Emma and Sophia are both Wards means Taylor wants nothing to do with the Protectorate, and wants only to live her life.

Taylor gets shipped off to Boston to join the Wards there, with no desire but to quit. She refuses to participate in power testing and gets into contact with the local Youth Guard representative.

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The fic is ongoing and updates on Mondays.


This fanfic contains examples of the following:

  • Adaptational Badass: Emma Triggered in the alley, as an electrokinetic Blaster who can sense weak points in enemies.
  • Adaptational Early Appearance: Tattletale shows up at the Boston Wards public tour in early January, three months before canon Taylor met her.
  • Adaptational Superpower Change: This Taylor is tentatively known as "Phase" (a permanent Cape Name is dependent on power testing, which Taylor won't do); she can phase through solid objects (and isn't Manton-Limited, phasing through people multiple times), has clairvoyance within an 8-foot radius of herself, and is a Thinker Blind Spot that also lets her know when someone tries to use Thinker powers on her.
  • Adults Are Useless: From Taylor's point of view, this is a general thing. The fact that her Youth Guard contact not only believes her over Emma's message but quickly moves to forestall further attempts makes her break down in tears.
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  • The Atoner: Emma after witnessing Taylor's horror at finding two of her bullies were Wards.
  • Benevolent Boss:
    • Regardless of Taylor's feelings on the matter, Director Armstrong and Gauss are trying their best at being this, as they are completely unwilling to force Taylor into power testing despite heavy pressure from above, and they don't consider punishing her after she revealed how she Got Volunteered to a group of teens, even though this kickstarted a big fuss.
    • O'Hannon, Boston Image Department's boss. He guides well, shows willingness to listen to interns for their insights in teenage culture, has them sit in meetings where they can help and orders pizza for everyone when they have to stay late due to overwork.
  • Berserk Button: The Protectorate, for Taylor.
  • Brutal Honesty: Taylor doesn't mince words about how she Got Volunteered into the Wards - even in front of a tour group full of children and teenagers.
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  • Didn't Think This Through: Emma wanted to prove to Sophia that Taylor was strong, so she let her bully Taylor and then joined in, hoping (at the beginning) that they would be able to become friends again once Taylor proved her strength. Two years later, Taylor Triggers - and quickly sets to stay as far away as possible from her tormentors and puts up every barrier she can find between herself and Emma after she sends her a message, because Emma's done the "fake apology" prank so many times that Taylor never thinks she might actually be sincere.
  • Eating Lunch Alone: Taylor's ideal regarding meals. Given that she kept being harassed by her bullies pre-Trigger and by people she completely distrusts post-Trigger, it's hardly surprising.
  • First Friend: The Youth Guard representative becomes Taylor's first friend since Emma turned on her. It also counts as Intergenerational Friendship.
  • Friendless Background: After a year and a half of intense bullying that led to her Trigger event, Taylor has been left with no friends. It takes a while for Gauss to actually realize this, even after Taylor explicitly points it out several times.
  • Heel–Face Door-Slam: Downplayed in that it's a non-lethal example; Emma becomes The Atoner but Taylor is too suspicious to believe her, resulting in Taylor blocking any means Emma could use to contact her and the Protectorate ENE getting audited by the Youth Guard for letting Emma try to contact Taylor.
  • His Own Worst Enemy: Possibly at the insistence of her Conflict Drive, Taylor's begun self-sabotaging her aversion of power testing by moonlighting as a vigilante.
  • I Have No Son!: Inverted. After Danny signs Taylor up for the Wards against her will, she disowns him, blocks all of his attempts to call her and refuses to meet him when he comes down to Boston.
  • I'm Not Here to Make Friends: Taylor absolutely refuses to socialize, her only stated goal being to get out of the Wards as soon as possible.
  • Leave Me Alone!: Taylor's default reaction to any Protectorate, Wards, or PRT interactions.
  • Loophole Abuse:
    • Costumes, permanent Cape Names, and Patrols (among other things) are dependent on Power Testing; since Power Testing technically isn't compulsory, and Taylor refuses to do Power Testing, she does not need any of these, only a domino mask. Fortunately for Taylor, vigilantism does not require Power Testing.
    • Wards schedules include a couple hours a day for hobbies. As Shadow Stalker can attest, vigilantism apparently counts as a hobby.
    • If Wards and Protectorate can use their powers at a pizza party, and Taylor hasn't been through power testing, then Taylor can leave in spite of pressure to stay. Also related, she ducks out of Armstrong's weekly meeting with the Boston Wards after he states is optional.
    • She also screws with Emma and Sophia by pointing out to the Youth Guard that the Brockton Bay Wards aren't following regulations.
    • Director Armstrong attempts to pull one (in a misguided attempt to help Taylor socialize) by revealing that Taylor can participate in public tours of the Wards' common areas, since they do not require power use. However, Taylor counterloops by realizing she can just do her homework and ignore anyone that tries to speak to her. It doesn't work the way she wants, but she instead ends up telling a group of teens about how she Got Volunteered.
  • Not So Different:
    • Taylor and Shadow Stalker of all people, in taking up vigilantism as a hobby.
    • Flechette considers Taylor and herself as this, seeing Taylor as what she could be if circumstances had been slightly different.
  • Obliviously Evil: Emma isn't clued in that her behavior towards Taylor is horrifically abusive until she sees Taylor's horrified recognition.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Taylor upon discovering that Emma and Sophia are Wards - she was so distraught that she phased through the Wards' room door on the way out.
    • Emma when she sees Taylor being horrified that Emma is a Ward.
    • Taylor when Flechette's bedroom is within her Thinker radius.
    • Taylor when Emma sends her an apology text.
    • Danny and Director Armstrong when Taylor refuses any and all social contact other than with the Youth Guard.
    • Emma when Taylor blocks her over the apology text.
    • Taylor when Director and Flechette find out what she's been doing on her 'nightly runs'.
    • Adolescent tourists (and their tourist guide) when Taylor displays Brutal Honesty about how she Got Volunteered.
  • Properly Paranoid: From Taylor's perspective, she is this. She's suspicious that the Wards were ordered to befriend her so she goes through power testing, and gets the Youth Guard to block Sophia and Emma on her Wards Phone after the latter attempts to apologize.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Director Armstrong tries to do the best he can to make Taylor more comfortable, but he doesn't realize that Taylor has become such a cynic that she can only see anything he suggests that runs against her purpose in a negative light.
  • The Shut-In: Taylor only ever leaves her room for essential purposes (food, showering, school, shopping, exercise), and minimizes time outside - and contact with other people - as much as possible.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!:
    • Taylor's reaction when she saw that Emma and Sophia were in the Wards.
    • Taylor's motive regarding the Wards. She nearly bolts several times, but is motivated to stay by material concerns and the Youth Guard member being her Only Friend.
    • Taylor is also able to justify leaving a social function where participants can use their powers because she hasn't been through power testing. She also leaves Armstrong's office the moment their personal meeting ends so she won't be roped in the general meeting with the rest of the Wards.
  • Wham Shot: Taylor's reaction of despondent panic upon finding out she's a Ward is this for Emma.
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • Taylor has no problem in dropping brutally honest comments on the Protectorate whenever she has an opening. After all, from her point of view, she was left to suffer for two years at the hands of two Wards and the adults did not care until she Triggered. Why should she care about their opinion now?
    • Connie/Valve points out that Taylor being forced to be in the public tour was counterproducent and then tells Weld that it doesn't matter if she wants Taylor to be in the Wards - the important thing should be whether Taylor wants to be in the Wards.

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