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Manager by Seraviel, is a Worm Alternate Universe Fic.

Taylor Hebert's shard is the Queen Administrator, but what if it saw administration in a different light? Instead of manifesting as the ability to control insects, Taylor gains the ability to "manage" powers by taking and giving them away. Knowing that her ability would draw unwanted attention, she keeps her ability a secret and does her best to try and clean up the streets of Brockton Bay. Things go Off the Rails soon afterwards...

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This fic can also be found in AO3.

Warning: Full story and below entries may provide spoilers for Worm canon.

This fanfic contains examples of the following:

  • Appropriated Appellation: Taylor's first persona, consisting of an androgynous outfit made of a dress suit of Danny's and a veil, is named Slenderman (after the myth, which apparently originated on Earth Aleph) by people online after Coil leaks a video (from one of his spy cameras hidden in a clock in their bedroom) of her depowering Squealer and Skidmark in their sleep, in which she simply appears in one frame with her Casting a Shadow powers (which get faster the more darkness there is), and seems to look directly at the camera before disappearing (she was checking the time). She decides to run with the name and theme, even adding things like a laughing children soundtrack, and uses later powers (like her Combat Tentacles) to enhance the vibe.
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  • A Rare Sentence: "And it was, quite probably, the home of my savior, Slenderman."
  • Asshole Victim: Most of Taylor's power theft victims are dead some time later, but they were all villains and murderers, so there's not much crying over them.
  • Asskicking Equals Authority: Rachel is firmly of this mindset.
    Bitch: Strong leads! Show me your strength!
  • Badass Boast: Armsmaster gives one during the fight against Leviathan.
    Armsmaster: You think we humans weren’t planning for you, brute? All of your fights that we have on film? All uploaded and analyzed. I know every move you make before they come, even before you start doing them. You’re done now, beast.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Scion pulls a big one during the Endbringer fight.
  • Blessed with Suck: Taylor's power has aspects of this. On one hand, she can control other capes' powers, take them away with a touch, and give them to other people. On the other hand, if anyone finds out about this, she would be under watch by every major hero, villain, and mundane organization who would want access to her abilities, or dead if they couldn't have them.
    • Also applies to Taylor's power taking shards automatically when she's near capes that have died, as she gains a massive migraine when overloaded and is forced to concentrate on managing them anyway she can to lessen the burden.
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  • Casting a Shadow: The first power Taylor picks up, from Shadow Stalker. It includes Intangible Man and Shadow Walker, but with Weakened by the Light as a downside. If it's dark enough, she can appear and disappear so fast that she seems to be teleporting, and simply appears in video in a single frame, which helps her Slenderman persona's reputation.
  • Clones Are People, Too: Using Oni Lee's power, Taylor is able to create a single, initially-naked, clone of herself that lasts twelve hours (twenty-four if created while Taylor is inside one of her power-boosting areas) that shares all her powers. This clone, whom she calls T, is initially exactly the same as herself mentally. As time goes on, T starts to diverge from Taylor - while Taylor remembers the things that happened to T after she turns to ash, she doesn't remember them quite as clearly as T does after being remade, and vice-versa. Taylor treats T as a separate person, not like an expendable double, and doesn't dare try blending the Clone power with anything else (like the Human power) because she's afraid doing so might erase the developing personality that is T, until the Leviathan fight forces T herself to tamper with the Clone power, where she becomes a fully independent person that no longer needs to be recreated as a result.
  • Combat Tentacles: Taylor — as both Apparition and Slenderman — is capable of manifesting these as a result of gaining Sveta's Case-53 mutation.
  • Compelling Voice: Taylor gains the ability to force people to stop everything and listen to her sing with Canary's power. She admits she sounds like a "cowbell," but they still have to listen anyway. She doesn't keep it.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Max Anders aka Kaiser. He deliberately keeps a black janitor on Medhall staff to lessen the likelihood that it'll be linked to Empire 88 and has had a flaw deliberately programmed into the security system so he can sneak into the building if need be.
  • Deal with the Devil/Bargain with Heaven: Canary manages to get both, from Cauldron and Slenderman, respectively.
  • Death Is Cheap: Taylor gains the ability to be resurrected by T if she dies thanks to an upgraded Clone power. Though the experience of dying still sucks.
  • Discard and Draw: In 7.7 Taylor discovers that combining the Human shard with any other shard makes that other shard's powers stronger but limits it to only affecting humans, which is a major drawback for Brian and Lisa.
    • Combining shards tends to result in this in general. The only exceptions so far are tinker shards, Lisa gaining Canary's power, and giving Sveta more Human shards. In each case it merely enhanced the pre-existing power.
  • Divergent Character Evolution: As time goes on, T (Taylor's clone made with Oni Lee's power), grows more divergent from Taylor, with it being noted that she likes Tinkering even more than Taylor does, developing affections for Kid Win, etc.
  • Drama-Preserving Handicap: Self-imposed. Taylor and T constantly limit themselves to whatever power is assigned to a specific persona when in costume due to fear of being targeted by the whole cape community if their full power was ever made public (see Blessed with Suck above). This causes fights with other capes to be far more difficult than it would be were they using their full range of abilities.
  • The Dreaded: Slenderman/Taylor is this to all capes. According to Sveta, the Slenderman persona is one of the top five most feared capes in America as of Leviathan.
  • Driven to Suicide: Oni Lee in 4.2 as a result of Victor's power manifesting for Taylor as draining others' will to live.
  • Entertainingly Wrong: Even when working logically from what data they have, no one (not even Dragon) even comes close to the truth about Slenderman. Dragon lampshades how every bit of new information seems like one step forward and ten steps back.
  • Epic Flail: Project Lucifer. Why Lucifer? Because he's the Morningstar!
  • Evil Counterpart: Inverted. Taylor appears to be building a Good Counterpart to Cauldron, with herself as Eidolon, Sveta as Contessa, Tattletale as Number Man and Grue as Legend.
  • Faking the Dead: The Undersiders decide to fake their deaths to hide from Coil after he intentionally sets them up to fight a publicly outed E88, using Taylor's power swapping to hide their abilities, while working as a team under Taylor's Arsenal identity.
  • False Flag Operation: In 7.5 T as Apparition pretends to attack Taylor as Slenderman in order to make everyone believe they're separate people.
  • Famed In-Story: Taylor in her Slenderman guise has become an Internet sensation thanks to her deeds being frequently captured on video and distributed. Later, Sveta remarks that Taylor's persona has become one of the top 5 most feared capes in America.
  • Field Promotion: Miss Militia becomes the leader of Brockton Bay's Protectorate and PRT after all the senior members died during the Endbringer battle against Leviathan.
  • Five-Man Band
  • Fix Fic: For Taylor, and a number of characters, things have played out infinitely better than they did in canon.
    • Subverted for Dinah, as she still gets kidnapped as well as nearly dies during Bakuda's bombing spree.
    • Subverted again in the Leviathan fight as capes that survived in canon die in this one, including Vista, Browbeat, Armsmaster, and Taylor. Granted, Taylor was immediately resurrected by T with a modified Clone shard, but she was still briefly killed off.
  • Geeky Turn-On: Kid Win sparks a friendship with T when he gives her her Tinkering notes back, and Gallant quickly senses Kid met someone who makes him happier than usual.
  • Gravity Master: Taylor gains gravity powers during the Leviathan fight.
  • Grievous Harm with a Body: In 7 I:B Sveta throws one of Bitch's dogs at Newter.
  • How Do I Shot Web?: In addition to initially not knowing what her power did, Taylor also has to learn how to use every power she picks up, because they manifest in different ways with different people compared to with their original users. This also applies to any combined powers as well.
  • Immune to Fate: Sveta is shown to be able to negate the Path to Victory.
  • Instant Awesome: Just Add Dragons!: Taylor gains the ability to manifest dragons out of any substance after taking away Lung's power, as well as turn into one when combining it with Shadow Stalker's power.
  • Intangible Man: After the Leviathan fight, Taylor gains the power to pass through physical acts caused by others, while still able to physically affect things when she acts on it with her upgraded Shadow power.
  • Intergenerational Friendship: Armsmaster is unaware he has the makings of this with Taylor, since her Arsenal persona pretends to be Protectorate material - so, legally grown-up. After Armsmaster's death, Miss Militia even reflects Arsenal was probably on his way to become the older Tinker's most close confidant after Dragon.
  • It Makes Sense in Context: Slenderman being a hero makes sense within the confines of the story.
  • Knockout Gas: Thanks to his upgrade with Victor's shard, Grue's power essentially becomes this; stealing energy from anyone within his clouds of darkness till his targets fall unconscious. He can also choose who he does and doesn't affect at will.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Taylor has one of these moments when presented with the idea of leading her own team.
    The ever-rejected Taylor, leading a group of superheroes? Even fiction didn't get this silly.
  • Locked Out of the Loop: Rachel and Alex have no idea about the full extent of Taylor's capabilities, that she's Slenderman, that Grue and Lisa have gotten significant power upgrades, and are also completely unaware of T. They are eventually told as of 10.7.
  • Logic Bomb: Sveta's power appears to be this for Contessa. Contessa's Path To Victory power can compute a series of steps to capture Sveta for Cauldron, but the moment Contessa moves to start the first step, Sveta's Danger power warns her against doing whatever it is that will allow Contessa to capture her using those steps and so the series of steps changes. The first time it comes up, Contessa tries it three times, then decides it's too much trouble.
  • Loophole Abuse: Dragon, using loopholes of her own, contacts Slenderman Sveta so that "he" can take Canary's power, which would keep her from being sent to the Birdcage since she's not a parahuman anymore, allowing her a retrial not from her Kangaroo Court.
  • Mad Bomber: Oni Lee, with his suicide bombing thing. This bites him in the ass and gets him killed when he faces Slenderman.
  • Misapplied Phlebotinum: Taylor complains to Lisa how ineffectively the Merchants used their powers before she took them, saying that Squealer, with her vehicle specialty, could have built things like rockets to the moon, and that Skidmark could have made a railgun or powered a Perpetual Motion Machine.
  • Multilayer Façade: "Kid Win's tinker girlfriend" is secretly (except to Kid Win) the Taylor that goes to school, who is secretly starting-to-diverge clone T.
  • Mundane Utility:
    • Sveta's Danger power can be used to help her win in videogames.
    • After a bit of practice Taylor learns to change clothes with her Shadow powers. This comes in handy when she needs to put her Arsenal power suit on quickly.
  • Mythology Gag: Taylor saying that massive mind control powers would be necessary to make every cape work together.
    • Taylor balking at the idea that she could seriously be considered as leadership material.
    • Taylor, as in canon, can get annoyed at powers being used inefficiently.
    • The PHO chapter mentions a girl considered a 2 in every power rating category.
  • Nerves of Steel: Taylor shows signs of this in 10.5. She didn't so much as flinch when Leviathan came straight towards her, or when Scion's lasers came within a foot of her head.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Danny gives some of the strongest heroes a boost in power in order to better combat Leviathan and unwittingly ends up causing the Endbringer to blitzkreig the meeting before they're organized after empowering Eidolon.
  • New Powers as the Plot Demands: Justified. Taylor's ability to automatically harvest the shards of dead capes was a complete surprise to the readers, but made sense within the story. Up until then, Taylor was never in the proximity of a dead cape, and had only taken the powers of living ones. Even then, there were several hints within the story that there was more to her power than it seemed, what with the constant comparisons to the Fairy Queen. It's also proven to be more hindrance than helpful. See Blessed with Suck above.
  • The Nondescript: Taylor using Othala's power on Lisa manifests as making Lisa this.
  • Perception Filter: Tian Yan's power on Taylor allows her to know how many people are looking at her, and allows her to "turn off" those people's awareness of her, though it doesn't work on cameras. She uses this to waltz into Canary's trial unopposed and take her power, and several heroes are unnerved by how Slenderman can sneak up on them like that.
  • Personality Powers: As Worm canon has established that how powers manifest is based partially on the cape's personality (and trigger event), Seraviel utilizes the same concept by giving different people different powers from the same shard, rather than straight up Power Copying. For example, Taylor's Tinker powers have a specialization of personal equipment, even though Squealer, who she took her first Tinker shard from, had a vehicle focus.
  • Power Glows: Quite literally. Parahumans have a visible glowing aura in Taylor's sight. Natural triggers are white, while Cauldron-given powers are bronze.
  • Powers as Programs: Taylor's true underlining power, which allows her to take and gift them by touch, as well as combine them for new or greater powers provided they are compatible.
  • Reality Is Unrealistic: The PHO Interlude that was carefully crafted to resemble an authentic forum discussion rather than just a rifling through Chekhov's Armory and World Building detail received a lot of brickbats for being "spammy".
    • Explanation - the forum posts were in fact written by readers of the story, whose contributions were gathered and put together. As a result, it is indeed as close to authentic forum discussion as possible, but the substance (YMMV) may have suffered for it.
  • Red Filter of Doom: In-Universe with Sveta's Danger power that manifests as a red filter in her sight over the source of danger. The more vivid the red, the greater the danger.
  • Re-Power: After being admitted into juvy and reflecting that her sense of self may die in there, Sophia experiences a new Trigger Event and gets the ability to turn into electricity and escapes through the computer she was using.
  • Required Secondary Powers:
    • The healing beacon accelerates healing, but it doesn't provide the nutrients needed, broken bones have to be set manually, and any shrapnel or other contaminant needs to be removed from wounds.
    • Sveta's Danger shard makes her automatically dodge attacks, but unlike Contessa it doesn't give appropriate fighting skills to back it up, meaning she's only good as an evasion-type Stone Wall.
  • Robbing the Dead: Taylor finds out during an Endbringer fight that her power automatically takes the shards of dead capes when they're within her range.
  • Second Super-Identity: Taylor's created several identities for herself:
    • Slenderman, the power-stealing eldritch abomination, named by Parahumans Online posters who watch the grainy video of her taking Squealer's and Skidmark's powers. She runs with it using tinker-tech and, as she acquires them, appropriate stolen powers.
    • Unnamed crime-fighter, using a different tinker-tech powersuit since her first cape identity isn't very heroic. Taylor is forced to abandon the powersuit before she even gets a cape name for this persona after Victor snipes her shoulder and brings a building down on her.
    • Apparition, an Undersider with shadow-movement powers. Taylor uses a blonde wig and padding as part of the costume to keep her identity secret. Slenderman's use of the shadow-movement power in already-dark places looked like just suddenly appearing/disappearing in the first posted video, so she's careful to do the same in later Slenderman appearances so it won't look like Apparition's power. Oni Lee's power lets her stage a fight between the two personas in 7.5 to reinforce the separation.
    • Arsenal, a power-armored tinker with a deep, male voice. She creates this persona so she can get better materials as a PRT-affiliated rogue. Posters on the SpaceBattles thread have pointed out that this can be conveniently linked with her unnamed crime-fighter persona should the PRT find her old powersuit buried under the rubble - it'd make sense for a tinker who tried being a hero and got hurt due to inadequate armor to switch to the safer role of rogue and affiliate to get access to better materials. That the tech sample she brought to her affiliation interview was the healing beacon she invented after getting hurt could reinforce that assumption.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!: Thanks to her connection with Sveta, Dragon is able to contact Slenderman/Taylor in order to request aid as a last resort to help Canary avoid an unfair sentence.
  • Semantic Superpower: You'd be surprised, just how versatile the ability to sense danger can be. Sveta turns it into an inverted Path to Victory. Instead of telling her how to win, it tells her how to avoid losing, and it even screws with Path to Victory if Contessa tries to use it against her or anyone Sveta is using her power on.
  • Sensual Spandex: Being a size too small, and in a hurry, the cape costume Danny wears leaves little to the imagination.
  • Ship Tease: Between T and Kid Win.
  • Shrouded in Myth: As the PHO Interlude demonstrates, thanks to the original Mythos and her appropriate acquired powers, Taylor's persona is surrounded by a ton of rumor and wild speculation. It's noted that even Dragon has difficulty determining what's fact and what isn't.
  • Super Senses: Lisa gains super hearing after Taylor combines her power with Canary's power, giving her Comic Book/Daredevil-like echolocation.
  • Superpower Lottery: Taylor won it big time. Permanent power theft is broken enough. Being able to combine powers to get new effects? Even more broken. Being able to give stolen powers to others? Eidolon tier. Capable of harvesting shards from dead or dying capes simply by being near enough? Glaistig Uaine tier. Her Tinker specialization of personal equipment is also extremely flexible.
    • Sveta, after Taylor visits her, is able to return to a completely normal human body thanks to her own altered power, while other Case 53's will remain stuck with abnormal features unless given a similar ability. Her Danger Sense is also an incredibly useful power, even able to counter Path to Victory.
    • Lisa's upgrade makes her already insanely strong thinker ability even better. She gained improved analysis of sound, enhanced hearing, and an increased time limit with no downsides.
    • Danny gains the ability to basically cause a temporary second trigger from Othala's power. Lisa even lampshades that being broken seems to be a family trait.
    • Eidolon's second trigger (courtesy of Danny's power) allows him to specifically choose exactly what power he wants.
  • Super Empowering: Taylor realizes this aspect of her underlining power in 4.3 when she accidentally does this to Danny.
    • That, in addition to the ability to amplify existing powers (including her own) in a select area, thanks to her version of Skidmark's power.
    • Danny's version of Othala's power effectively gives second triggers for a short period of time.
  • Undying Loyalty: Sveta has this for Taylor after she cured her of being a Case-53 and turned her human again.
  • Variant Power Copying: Taylor's power works by reassigning a shard to a new host. Said new host will naturally take on a different aspect of that shard, gaining different, though similar, powers to the original.
  • Wham Episode:
    • 4.3 where Taylor accidentally makes Danny a cape.
    • 8 I:KW where Lung loses his power to Taylor.
    • 9.5 Leviathan is here.
    • 10 is particularly notable for its back-to-back episodes, where we have Taylor automatically gaining shards from dead capes in 10.3, dead in 10.4, resurrected by T with the modified Clone shard in an interlude, and then Scion arrives in 10.5.
  • X-Ray Vision: Tian Yan's power gives Tattletale this ability, even when combined with her original thinker power and the super hearing she gets from Canary's power.

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