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Recoil is a Worm fanfic by Ack (also known for Hope Comes to Brockton Bay and Security!). It has discussion pages at SpaceBattles and Sufficient Velocity.

Warning! Unavoidable spoilers for Worm canon follow!

The fight against Behemoth in New Delhi takes a wrong turn, nearly resulting in a Total Party Kill. Taylor, one of the few survivors, is discovered by a Not Quite Dead Phir Sē and sent back into the past to try and do better. However, things don't go quite as planned, starting with the fact that her bug-control powers didn't follow...

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This fanfic contains examples of the following:

  • Ascended Extra
    • Mrs Knott from canon introduced as 'Gladys Harvey', given that she's in high school at the time.
    • Aster Anders from canon, introduced in Part 5-4 as 'Doctor Ruth Goldstein' and then revealed as Purity's one year old daughter, sent back fifty years from 2011. The next four chapters cover what she's been doing since then.
  • Badass Teacher: Mrs Knott, again Taylor's influence causes her to attend JROTC and then ROTC, so that she's more confident and capable than in canon.
  • Boom, Headshot!: Taylor's become such a good shot that all her lethal shots are these.
  • Brought Down to Badass: Taylor loses her bug-control powers after being sent back to the past. Doesn't stop her from kicking arse.
  • But Not Too Bi: Anne-Rose (Taylor's alt-mom) is portrayed as being a little bisexual, enough to be having a relationship with Andrea when Taylor meets her. However, once Taylor sets her up with Danny ...
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  • The Captain: Taylor ends up as one.
  • Captain Smooth and Sergeant Rough: Subverted at times. Taylor keeps Kinsey on his toes, and vice versa.
  • Concealment Equals Cover: Averted in 5-3. One mook asks why they don't just shoot through the walls at Taylor and co. Another one has to tell him that the bullets might overpenetrate and cause Unfriendly Fire.
  • Dead Person Conversation: Taylor regularly chats with Lisa in her dreams, and Lisa possesses far more insight than Taylor's subconscious should have.
  • Danger Deadpan: In Part 5-1, Taylor notes that the pilot of her helicopter remains calm and factual even while the fatally damaged chopper is plunging toward the ground.
  • Dirty Business:
    • Taylor knows that she couldn't give too much advance warning about a Behemoth attack if she wanted to keep her cover. But knowing that doing so led to more people dying that she might have saved eats at her.
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    • Taylor also hates that she has to (pretend to) play nice with Thomas Calvert.
    • In 6-1, Taylor knows she's going to have to murder Eidolon in order to rid the world of Behemoth, but she doesn't like it one little bit.
  • Dream Land: Lisa creates entire landscapes within Taylor's head to host their interactions.
  • Future Slang: Taylor gets to use present slang in the past.
    • She uses the term 'cape' occasionally, usually by accident, years before it becomes current.
    • In Part 5-1, she introduces the term 'End-Bringer' specifically to do with Behemoth.
  • Good Girls Avoid Abortion: Subverted when the victims of the parahuman breeding program of the Brotherhood of the Fallen decide that some of them don't actually want to go through with the unwanted pregnancies resulting from their ordeal. Given that about half of them are teenagers, this is actually not unexpected. There is also a Hand on Womb moment.
    • Magical Abortion: Also subverted. The girls are offered transit to a state where abortion is legal, where they can talk to a counsellor and decide what they really want before going through with it (or not).
  • I Should Have Been Better: Taylor saves tens of thousands of lives when she "predicts" Behemoth's attack on New York ten hours early. But people still die, and she feels guilty over that.
  • If I Wanted You Dead...:
    • In 4-11, Taylor tells Marquis that he'll live, because she only shot out his kneecaps. On being asked why she didn't kill him, she replies that it suits her for him to be alive and free ... for the moment.
    • In 5-0, Taylor asserts that she was not intending to seriously harm Captain Gordon, because it would have turned out much worse for him had that been her intent.
    • Inverted in 5-1 when Taylor finds out Gordon's thwarted plans for her, causing her to want to harm him seriously. Kinsey talks her out of it.
  • I Just Shot Marvin in the Face: L33t accidentally kills Shadow Stalker this way after she suggests killing an infant for the greater good. Nobody raises any serious objections to it.
  • Jurisdiction Friction: 5-4 starts with members of various law enforcement agencies squabbling over how to handle a supervillain prisoner.
  • Loophole Abuse: Marquis Would Not Hit a Girl. But abducting and harming a male comrade to use as leverage? Perfectly fine in his book.
  • Last Kiss: Taylor gives one to Lisa in her dying moments. But it's not their last kiss ...
  • Magic Feather: The tapes Taylor use to put herself into the state needed to contact Lisa aren't actually needed.
  • The Mole: In 5-3, it is revealed that Rodriguez is sympathetic to the Fallen.
  • Moral Guardian: Dorothy Hebert, Taylor's alt-grandma. Fervently Christian, fervently anti-gay.
  • My Own Grampa: Some readers were worried that Taylor meeting her alt-father would spark this trope. Nope. Just nope.
  • Pre Ass Kicking One Liner: At the end of Part 5-2, she's injured and low on ammo, but she's just head-shot three of the opposition, so nobody is about to argue.
    "Congratulations. You're rescued."
  • Reasonable Authority Figure
    • Nina Veder, ship's doctor and psychologist, who takes Taylor under her wing.
    • Principal Paul Woodbine of Winslow High School. Directly contrasting with Ms Blackwell, of Taylor's time.
    • Major (and then Lt Col) Brian Hamilton, of the PRT Intelligence branch. Taylor's boss and father figure.
  • Set Right What Once Went Wrong: What Taylor's trying to do. Time will tell how it works out.
  • Shout-Out
    • Taylor explicitly picks her new surname from Game of Thrones after traveling back in time.
    • In one dream sequence, Lisa shows Taylor a stack of trade paperbacks referencing other Worm fics by the same author, and by others as well. Lisa comments that she knows what she'll be doing for reading material for a while.
    • In Part 5-1, Taylor references two movies that Kinsey likes: Return of the Dragon and Heartbreak Ridge (the second one only by a single quote).
    • In 5-4, brief mention is made of three other Worm fics: Burn Up, The Wolf Time and It Gets Worse.
    • Sergeant Kinsey's name was deliberately chosen as a reference to the different ranges of sexual preference in the story.
  • Take That!: Aster Anders, the child of white supremacists, is raised in the Jewish faith, and has a close friendship with a black woman.
  • The Slow Path:
    • What Taylor's taking to get back to what used to be her own time.
    • Aster in turn overshot Taylor's time of arrival and had to do this too to reach Taylor. Admittedly, she was only one at the time.
  • Strong Family Resemblance
    • Taylor looks enough like her alt-mother that
      • Andrea mistakes Taylor for her on their first meeting.
      • Danny is able to transfer his latent crush from Taylor to Anne-Rose without a problem.
      • She is able to pass for Taylor in a dark movie theatre in order for Taylor to sneak out and rescue Kinsey.
    • Aster has her mother's cheekbones and her father's jaw; Taylor thinks she looks familiar but isn't sure why.
  • Twin Switch: Taylor uses the fact that she and her alt-mother look almost exactly alike to have Annette serve as her alibi while she launches a one-woman raid on Marquis' headquarters to rescue Kinsey.
  • Wham Episode:
    • Part 2-4. Behemoth emerges for the first time.
    • Part 5-4. Taylor wasn't the only one Phir Sē sent back in time; so was Aster Anders.
  • Wham Line
    Part 2-1: Oh shit. My mom's in a lesbian relationship with my room-mate. What the fuck do I do now?.
    Part 3-1: “The name's Tom,” he greeted me. “Tom Calvert.”
    Part 5-1: He frowned. “Okay, I'll bite. If they're not stockpiling guns, what are they stockpiling?”
    My voice was flat. “Parahumans.”
    Part 5-4: We've never met before today. I knew your face but you didn't know mine. You have, however, met my mother and father. I was sent back to the year nineteen sixty-one, in Seattle. I'm thirty-four years old.
    And my birth name is Aster Anders.
    Part 6-2: When sweet old Deborah Goldstein reveals that she's a Holocaust survivor.
    More that that; checking the dates involved reveals that she went through Auschwitz as a child.


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