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"That's my answer, King. I was never your Queen."

"Then, once all the villains were gone, he would reveal what he had done. Reveal that he had killed the villains, brought peace to the city - but not reveal how he had done it, not even reveal who he was. Not even a cape name."
~Jack Slash

A Worm fanfic by Thinker6. Hosted on the Spacebattles forums.

Read it Here. Second Thread here.


Now being reposted on Archive of Our Own and FanFiction.Net

Warning: spoilers for Worm from here on out.


A lonely confrontation, both familiar and so different. The players in familiar parts, but wearing unfamiliar faces and saying the wrong lines. Queen and Harbinger make their desperate play, and fight for both their lives and freedom against the leader of the Slaughterhouse Nine. When it is over...

The King is dead. Long live the Queen.

Twenty-four years later. 2011.

A subtly different world.

Jacob Hebert triggers with the ability to elongate any blade in his possession. Taking the cape name 'Jack Slash', he sets out to carve a bloody path through the criminal underworld. His crusade is arrested by the arrival of the Endbringer Leviathan... And the infamous criminal organization known as The Society, which is ruled by a being known only as 'Weaver'.


This series provides examples of:

  • Alternate Universe Fic
    • Shadow Stalker's power is subtly different.
    • Dragon is a known AI in this continuity.
    • None of the villains show up for Leviathan. Because they're all either dead or inducted into the Society.
    • Faultine's Crew has pyrokinetics. Apparently because Weaver took Labyrinth and they got Burnscar.
    • The only S-class threats are the Endbringers, Nilbog and Weaver's Society.
    • The Travelers aren't working for Coil yet. Because the Society got them first.
    • Sphere never fell to the Simurgh and was instead recruited by Weaver's Society. One of the Endbringers still did something to him, though.
    • The Sleeper exists, yet is not an S-class threat.
    • Five Blasphemies rather than canon's Three.
    • Chuckles is a hero.
  • A Million Is a Statistic:
    • Discussed right in the first segment. Taylor believes that if she truly was doing what she's doing out of seeking a good goal, she should have been able to feel something for the innocents she and Harbinger let die in the process of putting King down. She discovers that she can't.
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    • Later, The Society successfully repels Leviathan from Monrovia without a single casualty to the defending force... using two nuclear missiles and damaging the city nearly as much as Leviathan would have. Weaver's strategy minimized her own forces casualties, and had the greatest chance of killing or neutralizing Leviathan, but still caused tremendous civilian casualties. The strategy was decided upon because Weaver's first responsibility is to her people, second to permanently stopping the Endbringer, third to helping the civilians who cannot help in the future defenses anyway.
  • Anachronic Order: Most of arc three takes place before 2.1.
  • And Now for Someone Completely Different: The first chapter is from Taylor's POV. The second jumps 24 years ahead into Jacob's head. The entire third arc jumps from narrator to narrator to show a host of different perspectives.
  • And I Must Scream: Weaver informs Bakuda that she is being given a second chance with her offer of induction into The Society. If she screws it up...
    "Good. If you join me you'll have to act like a member of a civilized Society. Not the gang of street thugs you've fallen in with in the ABB. If you start shit with us, rant to the other Tinkers about how you're a 'superior genius', I'll punish you. If you treat your fellow citizens as threats instead of allies - hiding your creations, making deadman's switches, attacking citizens without permission - then you're nothing to me but another enemy. I'll crawl through your eye sockets into your brain and eat your amygdala. You'll still make weapons for me but you'll be cured of your unnecessary baggage. Understood?"
  • AntiHero: Both Jack Slash and Weaver, approaching from opposite ends of the spectrum.
  • Anti-Magic: In the Brockton Bay fight, Leviathan counters Shatterbird's silicakinesis through controlled vibrations of his own.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: The reasons Weaver gives for taking down Coil - he has fewer resources, distasteful morality and she already has a citizen using that moniker.
  • Asskicking Equals Authority: Discussed in the PHO threads after the defeat of Leviathan, with one poster suggesting that Alexandria or Eidolon should have leadership of the Protectorate because they are the strongest.
  • Batman Gambit: In Arc 2, Jack pretends to offer Shadow Stalker up to the E88 as a victim for his initiation. The members present buy into his fake racist spiel well enough as to be caught by surprise when the two of them attack.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: In 3.5.1 Tattletale wishes to help the fight against Leviathan and shortly after gets it granted.
  • Breaking Them By Talking: Tattletale's specialty.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle:
    • Jack's attack on E88, with Shadow Stalker.They go up against a number of E88 capes and normals. Most of the latter are dead before they know what hit them. Justified due to the element of surprise.
    • Coil never had a chance against Weaver.
  • Desperation Attack: Leviathan pulls out several new tricks in the Battle of Brockton Bay as the fighting worsens for him, and his final attack- a massive open portal to the source of his water -creates a wave that reaches above the clouds.
  • Dramatic Irony: In canon, Taylor had noble goals, but was willing to do morally questionable things to accomplish them. Here, Jacob's pursuit of selfish goals ends up causing him to do heroic things.
    • In canon, Dinah wanted Taylor to "Cut Ties" with the Undersiders to save the world. Here, Weaver wants her to do the same with her old life and join the Society.
  • The Dreaded:
    • Weaver and the Society. Everyone knows to give them a wide berth when they show up.
    • Yet even the Society leadership is properly wary of Leviathan.
  • Eldritch Abomination:
    • Weaver is believed to be a ghostly mind inhabiting the bodies of any nearby insects, impossible to kill.
    • Leviathan is another sort, an alien, unknowable monstrosity.
    • Setsu isn't a cape, just a perfectly normal human... who has undergone prolonged exposure to Dreamer's power, with the end result that she has four brains and multiple hands and mouths and has several minor powers of her own.
  • Final Solution: The PRT has a blanket kill order on every and all members of the Society. Not all members of the Society deserve it given some were rescued from bad places, but the original members were part of the S9 who had kill orders, they do take in criminals and mass-murderers heading for the Birdcage like Tatu and Galvanate, and they do turn captives into tools through tampering with their heads or controlling them.
  • Flash Step: When closing on Brockton Bay, Leviathan moves so fast he appears to have teleported. He repeats this several times during the fight proper.
  • For Want of a Nail: Taylor and Jacob switching places.
  • Friendly Enemy: Dragon and The Society seem to have a mutually beneficial arrangement which neither the Guild nor the PRT are aware of. It's hinted that the Society may have had a hand in unshackling her.
  • Godzilla Threshold:
  • Good Is Not Soft: Dinah, in exchange for going with them and giving up her parents, tries to persuade Taylor to force villains into helping the Society rather than giving them a chance to go free because it would result in a higher survival rate for saving the world. How exactly this forcing is to take place is left ambiguous.
  • Grey-and-Gray Morality: There are very few saints in the series, everyone is doing something that is shady to an extent and what matters is how they justify it.
  • Heel Face Brain Washing: Weaver makes plans to do this with her bugs in the first chapter, turning capes who hate them into allies. Later on we learn that she also uses Master powers (like Regent's), using enemies and clones that have been lobotomized as expendable prisoners or weapons rather than allies.
  • Hit-and-Run Tactics: Weaver's Society operates like this during Endbringer battles. They test new abilities by seeing what works and then flee to leave the Endbringer to do its work, learning from the experience for the next time.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard:
    • When Leviathan attacks Jack realizes that all the heroic talk he's been feeding Shadow Stalker and Parian means he can't back down from facing Leviathan, even though he really doesn't want to fight it, lest his walk betray his talk.
    • When Shadow Stalker phases two time dilation bombs into Leviathan, Leviathan's very own toughness means he can't damage himself fast enough to get them out before they go off.
  • Human Resources: Enemy capes captured by the Society are turned into tools for their use.
  • Hypocrite: Screamer himself notes that while Taylor doesn't want to recruit through coercion (like him whispering thoughts into their ears softly enough they'd think it was them) or force, she's more than willing to have Tattletale ferret out secrets to use or try recruiting when they're in a position where she gives a show of strength that makes it seem like Join or Die is in effect.
  • If I Wanted You Dead...: After she reveals herself to the defenders readying for the Leviathan battle, Jack realizes that if Weaver had hostile intentions she would have attacked already rather than wait for someone to notice her first. In the flashback arc, Victor also comes to a similar conclusion.
  • Inertia Is a Cruel Mistress: Jack beats Cricket by baiting her into moving in a fast but predictable path.
  • In Spite of a Nail: Some readers were annoyed by how early chapters seemed to suggest that little had changed in Brockton Bay despite the decades Weaver's been operating.
  • Kill Sat: Weaver's Society employs an orbital railgun in the Brockton Bay fight against Leviathan, built by a Tinker named Coil (not the one in BB). It's powerful enough to damage the continental slope... and still isn't enough to damage his core.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: If you haven't read up to the point in canon where it's revealed that Jack Slash has a secondary ability to predict parahumans' actions... you will be spoilered rotten.
  • Mass "Oh, Crap!": The Society tries using replicas of The Simurgh to psyche out Leviathan, as well as gauge his reactions and senses. While the success of that experiment is debatable, it caused a panicked retreat among the Protectorate force.
  • Megaton Punch: Weaver's Society has a cape named Heavenly Fist who can do this.
  • Mirroring Factions: Cauldron and the Society both have the same end-goal in mind with dealing with the end of the world. The difference is that Cauldron focuses on the goal of saving as many human lives when Scion does go rogue, while the Society is focused on saving as many parahuman lives. It bleeds over into Opposing Combat Philosophies.
  • Morton's Fork: Dinah accuses Weaver of this when recruiting her... and if that was the case then she should be fair by doing it to everyone else.
    Dinah: "You said you knew I was a good person, you knew I'd make sacrifices to save the world. When you asked me you already knew my answer! Sacrifice three lives to save billions, of course I had to do it, I didn't have a choice! So why should you give anyone else a choice? If they're good like me they'll help us save the world anyway. If they're bad then they're evil, they'll let the world burn without lifting a finger, so we should just make them help."
  • Motive Rant: Kaiser and Jack trade speeches that are part this, part Rousing Speech.
  • Mundane Utility: Before his recruitment, Jeopardy had been using his power to give his school quiz team success in competitions by draining their opponents' knowledge.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Taylor's name under King was 'Queen'. Just as Jack Slash himself was originally named 'Knight'. Both were named for Chess pieces.
    • Following the Timeskip, Taylor has taken the name Weaver.
    • Rune jokes about Jack riding Hookwolf and using his power on Hookwolf's blades.
    • Sophia and Emma were still collecting bloody tampons for some reason.
    • The ABB were destroyed as a power before Leviathan.
    • Tattletale mentions that Regent was beaten by an evil clone of himself, one with a mustache.
    • When Jack has to be healed after Leviathan, Good Girl says that he used to look like a young Johnny Depp, which was exactly how he was described in canon.
    • Riley tried to and still ultimately fails to save her parents.
  • Names to Run Away From: One of the S-class threats mentioned in the Society's files is 'Lake of Flesh'.
  • New Powers as the Plot Demands: Leviathan just seems to be pulling new abilities out of thin air every time the opposing capes manage to press him. Then again, in canon, it's pretty clear that the Endbringers have always been holding back.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero:
    • The Society's attempt to get rid of Leviathan in Monrovia, Liberia in 2009 by chained nuclear Launcher Move, ended up doing almost as much damage to the city as would have occurred had capes engaged him in a conventional fight.
    • The Wards' attempt to have Clockblocker freeze Leviathan is disrupted by a pair of outsider capes attacking him at the wrong time.
  • Noodle Incident:
    • Weaver's Society is responsible for 'a string of city-plus scale disasters - Ciudad Bolivar, Cologne, the Mordovia Bubble, El Obeid, the Egyptian Biosphere'.
      • It's HEAVILY implied that most of these were things they were involved in but not responsible for - Sphere caused the Egyptian Biosphere incident.
    • Sphere "pulled a stunt" that got him confined. It also got him listed as one of the global threats the Society has faced, so definitely not Played for Laughs
  • "Not So Different" Remark: Weaver notes that Coil and she had similar ideals, only his were marred forcibly recruitment and the fact that she had more power at the moment.
    Weaver: What doomed him was simply the difference in our motivations. In a choice between Coil's organization and my own, I would put my Society first. And who would make better use of Alcott's power - Coil with his modest resources and small ambitions of taking over a city, or my Society with the power to topple governments when we so chose? There was also the matter of morality. Coil's plan involved drugging Alcott into compliance, while I refused to recruit my citizens by force.
  • Off with His Head!: In 3.7 Jack, Armsmaster and Flechette pool their powers and resources to decapitate Leviathan, followed by them taking off his limbs one by one. It isn't enough.
  • Opposing Combat Philosophies: The PRT and Weaver's Society practice this on the strategic level with regards to Endbringer fights. The PRT are focused on preserving civilian lives and infrastructure, even if it means prioritizing defense of the city over actually hurting the Endbringer, and will throw capes into the grinder to do so; the Society focuses on trying to kill the Endbringer and preserving cape lives, especially its own citizens', in order to build a core of experience and reliable anti-Endbringer strategies, and will let civilians and infrastructure burn if need be.
  • Pyrrhic Victory: The slaying of Leviathan. Brockton Bay is pretty much gone as a city, many capes including influential and powerful Protectorate members are dead, and the other Endbringers are probably going to go I Am Not Left-Handed now.
  • Recursive Fanfiction: They've started to crop up. First one is Here.
  • Reed Richards Is Useless: Weaver points out in the first chapter that the government hamstrings capes from doing something meaningful.
    Weaver: We've got these fantastic powers but the grandest plan any governments can think of is to throw capes at their neighbors to shift a few pointless borders around. It's the same with business, they've kept the same products, the same markets, the same economy. Hell, why is there still an economy at all? Look at the capes in India and Pakistan. They had the right set of powers to make an unlimited amount of rare-earth metals, but they lost it because they were too busy slitting each other's throats. It's insane.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Starting a New Life: Part of joining Weaver's Society is cutting ties with your old life entirely. In Dinah's case, she would have her death faked and ended up in the care of a foster family in the Society.
  • Taught by Experience: One of the reasons that Weaver doesn't like recruiting allies by coercion is that King did the same to her and she killed him for it, so she wasn't going to repeat that mistake out of both morals and pragmatism. This is also how they deal with progressing in facing off against Endbringers.
  • Tempting Fate: A retroactive one due to Anachronic Order - 3.4.3 ends with the first person narrator thinking that things will be smooth sailing. Given that it takes place before Leviathan's arrival...
  • The Unexpected: Sabah/Parian working with Jack.
  • The Unfettered: Weaver starts as this the moment she killed King, realizing to accomplish her goal nothing was expendable, even if waiting an hour could have spared fifteen more people.
  • Totalitarian Utilitarian: Weaver, to a fair extent. She priorities capes because they can contribute more, any enemies who target them are basically turned into tools, she kills any threats to her Society to protect them, all of these things aren't morally right, but logistically they are practical.
  • Utopia Justifies the Means: Weaver wants to change the world and make it better. While she doesn't intentionally target civilians and innocents, she won't lose sleep over it they have to die to get something done.
  • Weapon of Mass Destruction: Bakuda's bombs are mentioned in the same breath as "hundred megaton warheads", which is not so surprising considering that in canon they killed Crawler.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Weaver's Society. They have plans to improve the world, starting with getting rid of the Endbringers, but they're perfectly willing to sacrifice a city to do it.
  • What If?: Besides the fic's initial premise, one is also raised as the abilities of the Endbringers with the reveal of Leviathan using his powers to generate a kill-field and various Blaster abilities like Behemoth. The realisation that the Endbringers can fill in the roles of the others leads Jack Slash to imagine a world where their roles were changed.
    Leviathan the hero-killer, rising from the waves. A localized kill aura as powerful Behemoth's, a regenerating shield of water giving him even greater durability, slowly and inexorably swimming toward his target as his crushing walls of water sundered buildings, civilians, and heroes alike. Behemoth the city-killer, rising from the earth. Holding out against the heroes with his claws and brute durability, shaping his aura to stretch for ten miles around his body, filling the landscape with a low dose of heat and radiation that accumulated with each passing minute until it became an uninhabitable wasteland. The Simurgh playing a different game, pretending to be a pure telekinetic. Staging a performance, dodging the defenders with a delicate dance in the sky while reaching out to people in her range, choosing randomly from civilians and heroes alike, slowly ripping them apart limb by limb. Sixty people in the first minute and rising at an ever-increasing rate until she was driven away, the survivors calculated to go mad with grief, to deal more devastation in her wake.
    • Word Of God also brings up what Leviathan fulfilling the Simurgh's role might be like, and portrayed the scenario of Leviathan using long-distance Hydrokinesis on the water in our our brains to manipulate our minds to drive people mad, all the while Leviathan is residing safe in the ocean, "from where he sleeps in his house at R'lyeh..."
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: Jack Slash pretending to make nice with Rune before unflinchingly killing her along with the rest of the E88 capes as the culmination of his plan.
  • Zerg Rush: The Protectorate doesn't build extensive Endbringer combat strategies beyond 'hit it with everything' and group their troops by class. Most apparent after the initial skirmish with Leviathan in Brockton Bay.