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"Monster, Devil, Human. Words, which we give power to. We formed them, shaped them, altered them to our needs, watching them grow like children. And in time, shape us, changing our very nature and identities with their mere existence, until they are the ones with the power to control us. Cause and effect, effect and cause, cycles within cycles. A Worm... in Waiting."
Executor Ballas

Worm-in-Waiting is a fanfic by The Watchers Network. It is a crossover between Worm and Warframe.

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The basic premise of this fanfic is that Taylor triggers with the powers of the Tenno while in the locker. Although she initially wants nothing to do with her new powers, she quickly gains the attention of various parties, not all of whom have her best interests in mind.

Though the story starts out as your typical "Taylor triggers with a different power" fanfic, it gradually starts going Off the Rails as various deviations from canon become apparent, such as the addition of several new Endbringers, various OCs, and certain characters being killed earlier than in canon. Eventually, the story is revealed to be a Stealth Sequel to Warframe, with the Origin System's inhabitants having migrated to Earth Bet following the events of the game.

The story can be found on Fanfiction.net, SpaceBattles, and Archive of Our Own.

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Worm-in-Waiting provides examples of:

    open/close all folders 

    Tropes A to F 
  • Abandoned Warehouse: Taylor's powers testing session happens inside an abandoned warehouse.
  • Achievement In Ignorance: Cauldron's plan was to destroy Tāwhirimātea with Tinker-Tech. Unbeknownst to Cauldron, Tāwhirimātea is a Sentient, whose species Hat is being able to No-Sell any high-tech weaponry. Surprisingly, not only does the D-Driver actually succeed in harming Tāwhirimātea, it's completely immune to her Adaptive Ability. Cauldron unknowingly accomplished something that even the Orokin Empire at its peak failed to do. They created advanced technology that the Sentients are incapable of adapting to or taking control of.
  • Achilles' Heel:
    • String Theory's D-Driver works by shooting a beam that destroys any atoms in its path. This turns out to be the perfect counter for the Sentients' Adaptive Ability since even they can't adapt to something that makes atoms go away.
    • For Alexandria, Void-based powers are able to bypass her invulnerability. A Warframe was able to nearly kill her and Taylor's void abilities are able to burn her skin and leave painful scars.
  • Adaptational Badass: Unlike in canon, this version of Vikare is revealed to be a Tenno who singlehandedly drove back an army of Grineer during the late 600s.
  • Adaptational Early Appearance: Chariot is introduced around the same time that the Undersiders make their first appearance, whereas, in canon, he only appeared after the Leviathan arc.
  • Adaptational Expansion: The Nilbog mission gets heavily expanded upon. The entire Ellisburg incident is shown to have been a massive Uriah Gambit by Cauldron, who knew about Nilbog's powers and intended for the PRT's soldiers to be killed by him. They sent in a handful of PRT troopers, spread them thin throughout the town, and then ordered the Protectorate's capes to abandon the PRT's forces to their deaths.
  • Adaptational Heroism:
    • In canon, Rune remained as a member of E88 throughout the entire story. Here, she's introduced having already left E88 and is currently working in one of the Temples.
    • This version of Lung is vehemently opposed to sex trafficking, something that canon!Lung wouldn't bat an eye at. He's also more of a Friendly Neighborhood Gangster compared to his canon self, albeit for Pragmatic Villainy reasons.
  • Adaptational Nice Guy:
    • Armsmaster is far nicer to Taylor than in canon. This is justified as it was a result of him undergoing Character Development following Taylor's Trigger event.
    • While Lung is still a supervillain and a violent gang leader, he's doesn't rely on using fear to control his gang as much as he did in canon.
  • Adaptation Name Change: In canon, Rune's civilian name was Tammi. Here, her name is changed to Cassandra.
  • Affably Evil: While speaking to Taylor on behalf of Coil, Tattletale is completely honest with her and spoke in a polite tone.
  • Affectionate Nickname: Argonaut had two for Alexandria. "Becky" for her civilian identity and "Alex" for her cape identity.
  • All There in the Manual: Some of the fic's backstory or lore is explained in additional posts from the author.
  • Alternate History:
    • The Goosebumps book series was released far earlier than in real-life.
    • Tokyo Ghoul and Samurai Jack are released in the form of short stories.
  • Alternate Universe: Thanks to the Tenno's intervention, several things play out differently than in Worm canon.
    • During the Ellisburg mission, Nilbog is killed and six of the PRT troopers sent in survive instead of two. Because of the Tenno's involvement, the entire incident is covered up by Cauldron rather than made public.
    • Lung is freed from the Yàngbǎn by the Tenno Clans and worked for them prior to becoming an ABB gang leader.
    • Danny and the DWA possess a lot more political influence in the city as a result of Tāwhirimātea's storm creating a brief resurgence in Brockton Bay's economy.
    • Legend isn't as Locked Out of the Loop about Cauldron as he was in canon, though he still doesn't know about the Case 53s.
    • Rune has a Heel–Face Turn prior to the start of the story and abandons E88 to join the Temple of Trinity.
    • Prior to the story's events, the Silver Seven acted as the stand-in for the Triumvirate. This group consisted of the Triumvirate, Hero, Kuzunoha, Argonaut, and Icarus.
    • Because Taylor's power interferes with Coil's, he slips up and Lisa is able to discover his secret identity as Thomas Calvert much earlier than in canon.
    • Rather than joining the Wards, Chariot is introduced as a member of the Undersiders and is spying on them for Coil.
  • Always a Bigger Fish:
    • Nilbog is an S-Class threat and one of the most feared villains in the setting. Despite this, he never stood a chance against the Tenno and is easily killed by a single Warframe.
    • Gray Boy is one of the most powerful parahumans in the world, being able to trap people in time loops known as "Gray Boy bubbles" which only he can alter. Protea, a Warframe who can reverse time, turns out to be an even greater Time Master than Gray Boy and single-handedly frees all his victim from his time loops.
    • Kuzunoha is the bigger fish to Lung and acts as the ABB's enigmatic patron. Surprisingly, Lung doesn't mind others knowing that he takes orders from her since he genuinely respects Kuzunoha and her power.
  • Ambiguously Evil: As always, the Man in the Wall's motivations are a complete mystery. For all the psychological torment he puts Taylor through, he makes many valid points and his remarks eventually led to Taylor undergoing positive Character Development.
  • Amputation Stops Spread: After Clockblocker tries touching the arboriform, his arm immediately gets covered by The Corruption, forcing Panacea to cut off his arm to keep it from spreading to his entire body.
  • Ancient Conspiracy: The Tenno have evolved into this by the start of the story. At some point after the events of Warframe, the Tenno and their enemies migrated to Earth Bet during ancient times and were involved in numerous major historical events. By the modern day, they have spies everywhere and were able to cover up any historical record of their existence.
  • Ancient Astronauts: Dragon discovers that the Tenno have been on Earth Bet since ancient times and various legends and mythologies were based off their Warframes.
  • And Now for Someone Completely Different: "2-3 Interlude, True Steel" is told from the POV of Megan Nagel, a completely new Original Character who never appeared in the story prior.
  • Anti-Magical Faction: The Tenno consider capes to be a danger to the world and more than a few want to "curtail the parahuman threat".
  • Appropriated Appellation: While Sajuuk finds the name "Tāwhirimātea" to be an Atrocious Alias for his sister, his sister has come to enjoy it.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: Armsmaster asks himself one. He wonders, not whether he's a good hero, but if he's a good person.
  • Asshole Victim: All of the Tenno's victims were horrible people who had it coming. This includes people like Nilbog and Heartbreaker.
  • Atrocious Alias: Glory Girl is also an in-universe slang term for a sexual act. Victoria only learned this after she had already been "Glory Girl" for a few years and decided to roll with it. It's still a minor Berserk Button for her and anyone dumb enough to mock her name will quickly get their face smashed in.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: During Nilbog's rampage, the grandmaster of a Tenno clan personally stepped in and killed Nilbog single-handedly while rescuing four additional PRT troopers.
  • Awakening the Sleeping Giant: The Scouring. After Leviathan sank Newfoundland, Cauldron organized a massive assault on the Endbringer Tāwhirimātea as a PR stunt. The capes sent to kill the Stormbringer ended up learning the hard way that while Tāwhirimātea may be peaceful, the army of Sentients living aboard her aren't. While Sajuuk is initially content with snarking at the Triumvirate, the moment the heroes fire on Tāwhirimātea, The Gloves Come Off and the Sentients demonstrate just how dangerous they can really be.
  • Badass Boast: Sajuuk makes one to Alexandria in 3.10 Firewalker as he explains what his people are.
    Sajuuk: You will know us as the Sentients! Builders and destroyers! Survivors and crafters! We breathed life into worlds, and then snuffed out others! And by our many hands, we crushed an empire!
  • The Bait: After being visited by Tattletale, Taylor is contacted by Dragon, who reveals that the PRT is fully aware of Coil's actions and is using Taylor as bait to draw him out.
  • Batman Grabs a Gun: When String Theory threatened to knock the moon out of orbit after demonstrating that her technology could harm a Sentient, the Clans were more than happy to make an exception for their Alien Non-Interference Clause and have her assassinated.
  • Been There, Shaped History: During her investigation of the Clans, Dragon discovers evidence showing that their members were active since the 600s. Warframes were involved in a number of wars throughout history including the 1413 Ottoman Civil War, the Seven-Year War, the American Civil War, and WWII. They were often responsible for single-handedly turning the tide of a battle.
    • The Tenno also cleaned up the Chernobyl disaster and took part in various cape conflicts like the 2001 San Diego siege and the Boston Games.
  • Berserk Button:
    • Harming one of Kuzunoha's "friends" is a great way to get her on a warpath. Her Roaring Rampages of Revenge are infamous for both their brutality and the collateral damage that tends to be left in her wake. Legend believes that Brockton Bay dodged a bullet when Taylor Triggered, since Annette Herbert was a close friend of Kuzuona's.
    • Alexandria's berserk button is Argonaut, her lover and fellow cape who was killed by Tāwhirimātea and Sajuuk during the Scouring. When Armsmaster uses one of Argonaut's quotes against her, she nearly punches him and leaves a dent in his armor.
  • Big Bad Ensemble: Coil and the Man in the Wall for Taylor's part of the story. Coil represents the more physical threat, being a supervillain mastermind who targets Taylor after her powers start interfering with his. The Man in the Wall serves as a more personal enemy for Taylor and plays a greater role in her Character Development.
  • Big Bad Wannabe: While Coil is still menacing, it's clear that the Tenno could have him killed anytime they want to. In one of his dropped timelines where he has Taylor kidnapped, the Clans retaliate by wiping out his entire organization in a manner of minutes.
  • Big Damn Heroes: In "Assault Mode", just as a squad of PRT soldiers is about to be overrun by Nilbog and his creations, a Tenno piloting a Warframe drops in to protect the troopers and kill Nilbog single-handedly.
  • Big "WHAT?!": Armsmaster has this reaction upon learning that the photo of a Warframe he's looking at was taken during World War II.
  • Break the Badass: Sajuuk subjected Alexandria to this by destroying Cauldron's entire airfleet, killing Argonaut and Icarus, curb-stomping her in a fight, demonstrating that he could have killed her anytime he wanted, and finally hitting her with a blast that sent her flying over into the next state.
  • Broken Pedestal:
    • Taylor previously idolized Alexandria and considered her to be the Ideal Hero. After Alexandria nearly kills Taylor, any admiration Taylor had for her quickly disappears.
    • Armsmaster briefly becomes a broken pedestal to Taylor when he initially does nothing as Alexandria nearly breaks Taylor's wrist and tries to arrest her. However, he regains her trust when he eventually stands up to Alexandria and even discloses his secret identity to her later on.
  • Buccaneer Broadcaster: The Nexus (AKA TheNexusOfRails) is an online pirate radio station infamous for leaking confidential PRT files. They also are able to pirate songs from Earth Aleph and various characters are shown listening to it. It's heavily implied that the Nexus is actually Nightwave from Warframe.
  • Canon Character All Along: The Tenno who killed Nilbog, known by her alias "GrandMaster", is confirmed in a later chapter to be the Operator from Warframe.
  • Clothing Damage:
    • When Lung transforms during the Tenno's attack on the Yàngbǎn, his prison garments are destroyed in the process.
    • During the Scouring, Sajuuk creates acid rain which dissolves Alexandria's clothing.
  • Comically Missing the Point: During lunch, Dean uses Frankenstein as an example of how a person could be driven to villainy by being treated like a monster. Victoria responds by expressing surprise that Frankenstein was not the monster's name.
  • Conspicuous Consumption: It turns out that the Aboroflora (those ice trees you see in Orokin structures) are actually a Botanical Abomination that induces insanity into anyone that comes into contact with it. Being the narcissists that they were, the Orokin included it in their architecture to show off their power.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Ordis's username in the Weave is BoneBeast. Prior to his transformation into a Cephalon, Ordis's human self was known by his nickname "Beast of Bones".
    • The Kuva from the Elder Queen's scepter and the sword Paracesis, both of which were quest reward items from Warframe, are a part of Megan's Superhero Trophy Shelf.
    • In "System Reroute", Cephalon Cy mentions the events of Operation Scarlet Spear and the arrival of the Sentient Murex ships.
  • Cool Airship: In Firewalker 3.10, the Protectorate sends a whole fleet of these against Tāwhirimātea. Notably, these ships are basically antique sailing ships with large Tinker engines slapped onto the bottom.
  • Covert Group: The Tenno have kept their existence a secret for most of human history and are a blank spot for international intelligence agencies. Even a Nebulous Evil Organization like Cauldron is hard-pressed to find any information about them.
  • Crapsack World: Even compared to canon Worm. According to Alexandria, Russia is in a civil war where the isolationist neo-communists are winning despite their opposition having the back of Cauldron, Germany is likely to secede from the EU due to cape influence, Great Britain is considering doing the same due to Leviathan destroying London and killing the Royal Family, and the United States just got steam rolled by Tāwhirimātea when the Protectorate tried to kill her as a PR stunt.
  • Crazy-Prepared: While walking around in his civilian identity, Armsmaster keeps a variety of hidden weapons on his person including two holdout pistols, a nightstick, a taser, and a flashbang. His jeep is similarly equipped with bulletproof glass, flashbangs, and an emergency button to contact the PRT.
  • Cryptic Background Reference:
    • During a Cauldron meeting, it's mentioned that the Clans also intervened during the Boston Games and took action in Brockton Bay after Fleur's death.
    • The Clans are mentioned to have fought the Three Blasphemies to a standstill and cleaned up a massive oil spill.
  • Cryptic Conversation: All of the Tenno's meetings are like this. Their conversations are intentionally cryptic as a precaution against any spies listening in using Tinker-Tech.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Nilbog vs. the Operator in a Nova Prime Warframe. Nilbog lasts for only a minute before the Operator vaporizes him with Nova's Antimatter Drop.
  • Curb Stomp Cushion: The battle between the Protectorate's fleet of flying ships and Tāwhirimātea. Initially, the Protectorate is able to seriously injure Tāwhirimātea and incapacitate every Sentient onboard using a powerful laser cannon created by String Theory. However, when Alexandria takes the time to monologue, Sajuuk uses the chance to destroy the cannon. This immediately swings the battle into the Sentients' favor and they proceed to massacre the entire fleet, killing numerous capes, and nearly kill Alexandria.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Taylor was bullied and emotionally abused for two years, which culminated in a psychotic break that ended up killing hundreds of people and destroyed her school. She has PTSD from the whole experience and ends up needing a therapist because of it.
  • A Day in the Limelight:
    • "3.5 Firewalker" is shown by Coil's POV as he adjusts his plans as a result of his powers going on the fritz.
    • "3.10 Firewalker" is shown exclusively from Alexandria's POV during the Scouring.
    • "System Reroute" focuses on Quill Daniel Bobrow in a flashback when he first receives visions of the fanfic's events.
  • Death by Adaptation: Worm villains String Theory, Heartbreaker, Gavel, Nilbog, and Ziggurat were all assassinated by the Tenno prior to the start of the story.
  • Deconstruction Fic: Unlike a lot of fanfics which see Taylor jumping at the call, here she has no interest in becoming a superhero. At this point, she's still a regular teenage girl who had just gone through an incredibly traumatic experience. Naturally, she wants nothing more than to distance herself from the source of her trauma (i.e. her superpowers). As Word of God puts it:
    The Watchers Network: This isn't the freshly Triggered Taylor, the one that uses her powers to escape what's happening in her life, this is a Taylor that got her powers and then was thrown into a fight like the one with Bakuda. She didn't have time to adjust, to adapt to what was happening, and now the opportunity is there for her to escape another way and she's taking it with both hands because hell no.

    She doesn't have her bugs to back her up, she doesn't have the Undersiders to fall back on, and she has no plans forming because of those two facts. Like any normal human, something happened that's terrible to her and she wants out and away.
  • Demoted to Extra: The Undersiders were the main protagonists of Worm. Since Taylor never met or joined them after Triggering, most of them are only given brief cameos with the exception of Tattletale.
  • Destructive Savior: Tāwhirimātea terraforms the land and uses her powers to generate rain that heals places where Endbringers have previously attacked. Unfortunately, her storms tend to result in flash floods that cause even further damage in large cities.
  • Didn't Think This Through: After seeing how the giant ice tree over Winslow induces insanity into anyone that touches it, Clockblocker gets the idea to use his time-stopping powers on the tree to cancel the effect. Because his power works through physical contact, he touches the arboriform with predictable results. When he's told about this, Armsmaster demands to know what Clockblocker was thinking when he touched the obviously Harmful to Touch tree.
  • Distant Sequel: The story takes place over a thousand years after the events of Warframe.
  • Dogged Nice Guy: Mike Noble deconstructs this. His daily attempts at wooing his co-worker Megan annoys her to no end and nearly crosses the line into borderline sexual harassment. In addition, he's actually a murderous sociopath who wants to seduce Megan as part of a plot to kill her.
  • Door Stopper: The fic is shaping up to be this. At around 190,000 words, the story has only started according to the author's post where they lay out their future plans for the fanfic.
  • Dramatic Irony:
    • The inhabitants of Earth Bet label Tāwhirimātea and Eukaryote as Endbringers. As readers later learn, Tāwhirimātea is a Sentient starship while Eukaryote is a massive Infestation horde.
    • After Armsmaster helps Taylor escape from Alexandria, he assures Taylor that the PRT's Chief Director will learn of Alexandria's behavior and investigate her actions. He's unaware that Alexandria is the Chief Director in her Secret Identity.
    • Alexandria, Eidolon, and Legend actually stumble across Tāwhirimātea's weak point, but dismiss it as being purely for decoration like the Simurgh's wings.
    • The Sentients apparently still think that the Tenno are acting on Orokin orders.
  • The Dreaded:
    • Out of all the Endbringers, none are more terrifying than Eukaryote. It's the only Endbringer that the world actually resorted to using nuclear weapons on.
    • Anyone who knows about the Clans is absolutely terrified of them. Just having the same powers as them is enough for Taylor to get labeled an S-class threat by Alexandria.
  • Dying Town: This is the main reason that Brockton Bay is the Wretched Hive that it is. When the Endbringers destroyed the city's shipping industry, they cut off Brockton Bay's main source of income.
  • Entertainingly Wrong: Coil assumes that Lung's opposition to human trafficking comes from the time he spent as the Yàngbǎn's prisoner.
  • Escort Mission: "Assault Mode" turns the Nilbog incident into one of these. A Tenno, piloting a Nova Prime Warframe, escorts four surviving PRT troopers to a helicopter while fending off Nilbog's creations.
  • E.T. Gave Us Wi-Fi: The Tenno are implied to be indirectly responsible for the PHO's existence, having created the PHO's predecessor using their Cephalons' Weave system.
  • Even Evil Has Standards:
    • Lung does not tolerate human trafficking within his gang and was furious to learn that some of his subordinates were running a sex trafficking ring behind his back.
    • Sajuuk's conversation with the Triumvirate reveals that he knows everything about Cauldron and is completely disgusted by them.
  • Everyone Has Standards:
    • For all their flaws, even Cauldron knew better than to enlist inmates of the Birdcage for their suicidal attack on Tāwhirimātea.
    • As extreme as Alexandria can get, even she detests String Theory and hated having to enlist her for Cauldron’s schemes.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Downplayed as "Well-Intentioned Extremist Cannot Comprehend Good" is more accurate. Contessa and the Number Man calculated that Icarus would betray Cauldron if she ever learned the truth about them, even if they told her about the Entities. It never occurs to Alexandria that the reason Icarus might turn on them was due to being disgusted by Cauldron's actions.
  • Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap!: Armsmaster has this reaction when answering Dragon's question about how many Grey Boy bubbles there are. He comes to the realization that despite knowing about the Grey Boy bubble sites, he somehow has no memory of any of them.
  • Fandom Nod:
    • A major figure within the Nexus of Rails is a PHO moderator known as Tin_Mother. Dragon learns from Narwhal that a popular theory amongst the PRT is that Dragon is secretly Tin_Mother and is a Mole in Charge for the Nexus. This references Tin_Mother being the Online Alias for Dragon in fanon.
    • Fortress Constructions is mentioned by Tattletale as a company that Lung is a stockholder of. Fortress Constructions is a part of Worm's fanon and appears in various other fanfics.
  • The Fellowship Has Ended: Happened twice to the Silver Seven.
    • After Hero was canonically killed by Siberian, members of the Silver Seven all went their separate ways though still kept in touch. Argonaut began reforming the Guild, Icarus formed her own subgroup called Sentinel, and Kuzunoha secretly began working with the Tenno.
    • The failed attack on Tāwhirimātea, known in-universe as the Scouring, made the fracture permanent with the deaths of Argonaut and Icarus.
  • The Fettered: The Tenno Clans all took Oaths which promote non-intervention. Megan finds this frustrating as one of her coworkers is a Fallen spy and she would like nothing more than to get rid of him, especially since said spy frequently tries flirting with her in their civilian identities.
  • Fictional Document: The chapter "Vigilante Supplies" features two. Most of the chapter consists of an archived video report published on the Nexus by Tin_Mother which serves as an Info Dump about the new OC Endbringers. At the end of the report is a letter addressed to PRT Chief Director Rebecca Costa-Brown from Watchdog's director, discussing their failed attempts to capture Tin_Mother.
  • Fictional Social Network: The Silver Weave was the predecessor to the PHO. The Tenno still use it to communicate with each other.
  • Flashback B-Plot: Alongside the main storyline, there are numerous chapters that take place in the past and follow a completely different character, mainly to serve as Worldbuilding.
  • Foil: Cauldron and the Clans (aka Tenno) are both secret organizations with the goal of Saving the World from a greater evil. However, they are polar opposites in almost every other respect.
    • Cauldron is fairly recent, having only been around for the last thirty years. The Clans have been on Earth Bet for more than a thousand years and have existed for even longer.
    • Cauldron is a modern Nebulous Evil Organization, whereas the Tenno are an Ancient Tradition.
    • Cauldron is The Unfettered, being willing to do anything and everything that they believe will help them achieve their goal of killing Scion. In contrast, the Clans are The Fettered, taking pride in following oaths that forbid intervening in Earth Bet's affairs.
    • Cauldron operates through government-based cape organizations like the Protectorate, whereas the Clans are an Impartial Purpose-Driven Faction.
    • Both contribute to the setting's status quo differently. Cauldron directly enforces the status quo through social engineering and involvement with the government. The Tenno, on the other hand, indirectly contribute to the same status quo through their Alien Non-Interference Clause.
    • Cauldron seeks to increase the number of parahumans in the world and sees each freshly Triggered parahuman as another useful tool to save the world. The Clans, in contrast, aims to decrease the number of parahumans worldwide and views each parahuman as another potential threat to global safety.
    • The story assumes that the reader has already read Worm and thus Cauldron's goals, plans, and motivations are made clear to the reader from the very beginning. The Clans are introduced as a complete mystery both in-universe and out.
    • This contrast is only further highlighted by the different relationships they have with the Sentients and the manner in which Sajuuk perceives them. The Tenno carry an intimate knowledge of the Sentients' origins and have fought against them in a centuries-long Forever War. When mentioning the Clans, Sajuuk speaks of them with deep-seated emotions, fear, and a hint of respect. As for Cauldron, their knowledge of the Sentients is non-existent and they've only fought against them once. When Cauldron tried picking a fight with Tāwhirimātea, Sajuuk reacts with mild annoyance and treats them condescendingly. Sajuuk even lampshades their differences by pointing out that the Tenno would never attack him with the same methods that Cauldron used.
  • Flying Seafood Special: Tāwhirimātea resembles a giant flying manta in shape.
  • Forbidden Zone: The Eukaryote Exclusion Zone. Once a forest in Korea, it was reduced to a radioactive wasteland after the governments of the world nuked the place in an attempt to destroy Eukaryote. The exclusion zone covers about ten thousand square miles of land, though only two thousand square miles are actually infested by Eukaryote.
  • Frequently-Broken Unbreakable Vow: Despite the Tenno's oaths to not interfere in Earth Bet's affairs, there have been numerous instances of Warframes being involved in major events throughout human history. Justified as the Oaths are optional.
  • From Bad to Worse:
    • Whenever things start to look up for Taylor, the universe punishes her for it. After her Trigger event, she is harassed by her doppelganger, targeted by Coil, used as bait by the PRT and Dragon, nearly arrested by Alexandria to be used in Cauldron's experiments, and is being stalked by a Sentient Mimic.
    • In the fanfic's backstory, Eukaryote infested a large portion of Korea's forests. The government eventually decided to nuke the entire area and close it off. In the aftermath, North Korea accuses South Korea of having faked the Endbringer attack as part of a foreign plot. Then the Simurgh decides to visit Pyongyang...
  • Futureshadowing: Some chapters begin with a small excerpt from a future chapter, often hinting at things to come.

    Tropes G to M 
  • Gem Heart: Tāwhirimātea has a large heart-shaped crystal located on her back beneath some arches. Because of the her Bizarre Alien Biology, this crystal is her equivalent of an Endbringer core.
  • Gentle Giant: Tāwhirimātea is both the largest of the Endbringers and the most peaceful.
  • The Ghost: Several characters mention an OC Protectorate cape named Conscript who apparently works as a "mercenary" in Brockton Bay's Protectorate team. However, they have yet to make a proper appearance.
  • Giant Flyer: Tāwhirimātea is a manta-ray shaped flying monster about as long as an aircraft carrier.
  • Giver of Lame Names: One of the main gripes Sajuuk has with the Protectorate is the names they gave to the Tenno and Tāwhirimātea. He finds their aliases for the Warframes to be simplistic and insulting. Notably, his last words with Alexandria during their Curb-Stomp Battle was to reveal the name of his race, specifically to avoid being branded with a silly name.
  • Good Is Not Soft: The Clans exemplify this. Justified, since they're assassins first and foremost. When a supervillain is too dangerous to live and the PRT is unwilling to take action, it's the Clans who step in to take the villain out.
  • Grew a Spine: Part of Taylor's Character Development has her learn to stand up for herself after realizing that her previous Extreme Doormat tendencies are what allowed her bullies to get as far as they did. When Alexandria tries to arrest Taylor after seeing that her powers were identical to the Clans', Taylor uses her Void abilities to escape from Alexandria rather than allow herself to be locked in a dark cell when she hasn't done anything wrong.
  • Hell Is That Noise: Anytime the Sentients appear, their presence is signaled by a humming noise described by several characters as an angelic choir.
  • Heroic BSoD: Taylor has one when she learns that her Trigger event killed nearly two hundred people.
  • Historical Hilarity: One photo from Dragon's investigation of the Clans shows a Quill standing next to Abraham Lincoln.
  • How Do I Shot Web?: Taylor initially has no idea how to use her powers, especially since she's actively trying to suppress them. This is considered unusual for parahumans, since most tend to have the Required Secondary Power of instinctually being able to control their powers.
  • I Did What I Had to Do: Alexandria uses this as a justification when Armsmaster calls her out over trying to arrest Taylor despite her having done nothing wrong.
  • Idiot Ball:
    • Attacking the one Endbringer that is semi-peaceful and actually benefits the Earth is one thing. Doing so ahead of schedule when your forces are nowhere near ready while ignoring the advice of experts telling you to delay the attack, is a whole new level of stupid altogether. What makes Cauldron's decision even dumber is that they rushed a plan years in the making as part of a PR stunt.
    • When the above goes pear-shaped and results in not only the worst Endbringer attack in the series, but also the outright devastation of an enormous portion of the agricultural sector of the United States, instead of realizing they made a mistake, Cauldron decides to expand their operations to incorporate others into their plans....and still making plans to attack the one Endbringer that wasn't openly hostile until they struck first.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: Unlike in canon, Taylor wants nothing to do with her powers after her Trigger event caused the death of nearly 200 people.
  • Implausible Deniability: When Colin asks Sara about the Temples' idolization and worship of the Endbringers, she claims that none of the Temples have any connection to either the Endbringers or the Fallen. This is blatantly untrue, since not only do the Temples feature Tāwhirimātea as a patron god, they even sell toys and picture book featuring the Endbringers.
  • In Spite of a Nail:
    • Because Nilbog died, the PRT threw Thomas Calvert into prison instead of letting him go. Despite this, he still holds the same rank as commander in the PRT as he did in canon.
    • The Flash Forward in "3.5 Firewalker" shows that Dinah still ends up getting kidnapped by Coil and is forced to work for him.
    • Despite a number of deviations from canon, if the excerpts from future chapters are any indication, Leviathan still attacks Brockton Bay.
  • Internal Reveal: In 3.8 Firewalker, Taylor is told about the Clans and that her powers are identical to their members. She also realizes that she wasn't hallucinating her Double since both Armsmaster and Assault are able to see it.
  • It's All My Fault: How Armsmaster feels about the circumstances behind Taylor triggering. He knew Sophia was a walking time bomb waiting to go off, but he only did the bare minimum to keep her in line and didn't take any sort of proactive measures. The Man in the Wall is more than happy to rub that wound with salt.
  • Jerkass Has a Point:
    • While Alexandria definitely overreacted upon identifying Taylor's powers, she is understandably suspicious that Taylor would just happen to trigger with the Signature Superpower of the Clans. Especially since the Clans' whole gimmick is that their members share the same specific powerset.
    • While Sajuuk did act like a pompous asshole, he was right to call out the Triumvirate for attacking his sister as part of a PR stunt. Additionally, everything he says while criticizing Cauldron was ultimately correct.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: The fate of Sophia Hess AKA Shadow Stalker. The PRT doesn't even give her a chance to blather or make up some kind of excuse and ship her rightoff straight to Juvenile Hall with the barest of trials, without even giving her a chance to stand in defense. Considering the extent behind Taylor's Trigger, though, she arguably got off rather light since she's the one who caused it in the first place. It should be worth noting that Piggot actually pushed to have her carted off for prison.
  • The Last of These Is Not Like the Others: Unlike the rest of the Endbringers who are all Kaiju with a single body, Eukaryote (a.k.a. the Infestation) is a virus that is spread out.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: After Ordis decides to go through with his Heroic Sacrifice, he shows some awareness that the Tenno's actions in the past were part of a video game.
    Ordis: I have seen a thousand battles, played out in ten hundred thousand ways. The players the same, but different, altered by unseen threads. Faces behind glass, watching beside me watching you, watching me. Victory and defeat, a never-ending cycle, always existing, played over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over.
  • Let Us Never Speak of This Again: Following Alexandria's OOC moment listed below, Armsmaster uses Clockblocker's power to freeze her in place. After Taylor runs away, he prepares to unfreeze Alexandria and has Assault grab ahold of her to prevent her from flying after Taylor. Assault is none too happy with his task and says this verbatim after accidentally groping Alexandria's legs.
    Assault: [to Armsmaster] ...you will never speak of this.
  • Living Ship: The Endbringer Tāwhirimātea is a massive Sentient terraforming warship staffed with a legion of Sentient drones.
  • Locked Out of the Loop: Armsmaster in regards to the Clans. Armsmaster knows almost nothing about the Clans, aside from their reputation as a Hidden Agenda Villain, and didn't understand Alexandria's hostility towards their members. Dragon brings him into the loop in "Coolant Leak".
  • Logical Weakness:
    • During her interlude, Contessa acknowledges that even with her power, taking down someone like Crawler or Alexandria is impossible for her to do without using Tinker tech or another cape.
    • One PHO post mentions a case where a seven-year-old boy Triggered and gained the power to bring his chalk drawings to life. At first, there was mass panic from people who saw the kid as the second coming of Nilbog. The crisis ended when it was discovered that, since they were made of chalk, the drawings would dissolve upon being sprayed by water.
  • The Lost Lenore: Argonaut is this for Alexandria. Prior to his death, he was a member of the Silver Seven and was in a relationship with her. His death affects her to this day and is implied to be part of the reason why Alexandria acts so aggressively towards Clan members.
  • MacGuffin Super Person: As the story progresses, Taylor becomes this for several different factions. Coil is after Taylor because her powers are indirectly interfering with his, Cauldron is after Taylor because her powers are identical to the Clans', and Megan is after Taylor because she's now a Tenno like her. On a lesser note, the PRT really want Taylor to join their Wards program, to the point where they secretly bug her entire home and cell phone.
  • Major Injury Underreaction: Clockblocker's reaction to having his arm removed is to joke around and lampoon the An Arm and a Leg trope.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: The Temples are known the absurd amount of luck that happens inside them. They've never been damaged during Endbringer attacks and criminals avoid messing with them. The only supervillain that's ever tried to attack a Temple was Nice Guy of the Slaughterhouse Nine, who later turned up dead inside with the Temple's occupants having no knowledge of how he died.
  • A Million Is a Statistic: Averted. The fact that Taylor's Triggering ended up killing nearly two hundred people is not glossed over by the other characters.
  • The Mole: There are three introduced in the story. Megan Nagel acts as the Tenno's spy within the PRT. Her co-worker Mike is a mole for the Fallen. Meanwhile, Chariot is a spy for Coil in the Undersiders.
  • Monumental Damage: According to one PHO post, Tāwhirimātea's storms were responsible for destroying the Hoover Dam.
  • Ms. Exposition: Dragon acts as this for Armsmaster when she explains the Clans history to him (and by extension, the reader).
  • Mugging the Monster:
    • In the backstory, S9 member Nice Guy tried to go on a killing spree inside a Temple, which served as a front for the Tenno and Quills. It didn't go well for him.
    • Fallen spy Mike Noble is stalking his PRT boss Megan Nagel as part of a plan to seduce and kill her. Megan is secretly a Tenno with her own Warframe and Void powers. Do the math.
  • My God, What Have I Done?:
    • When Armsmaster arrives at Winslow, he sees Clockblocker comforting a girl blathering about her friends and mistakes, implied to be Madison.
    • Taylor has this reaction when she learns that nearly two hundred people died as a result of her Trigger event and is the cause of her I Just Want to Be Normal.
  • My Greatest Failure: Alexandria considers her decision to attack Tāwhirimātea and her inability to save most of the Protectorate's forces during the Scouring to be her greatest failings. Especially since she had been given several chances to either delay the operation or leave in peace, and rejected them in favor of a Suicide Mission.
  • Mysterious Backer: Kuzunoha and the Tenno are this towards Lung and the ABB.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • While going undercover at Brockton Bay's Temple of Trinity, Armsmaster notes that several fish are on display as trophies next to a boot. In Warframe, a boot is a random item you can get while fishing.
    • Sajuuk believes that Cauldron will fail to stop Scion and that the world will fall into petty infighting as a result. This is exactly what ends up happening in canon.

    Tropes N to S 
  • No Body Left Behind: Nilbog after he dies, courtesy of Nova Prime's Antimatter Drop.
  • No Kill Like Overkill: After killing Nilbog with Nova Prime, the Operator then uses Nova's antimatter abilities to vaporize all of Ellisburg, wiping out all of Nilbog's creations and leaving a giant crater where the town once was.
  • Noodle Incident: Whatever Kuzunoha did to Heartbreaker was so gruesome that people still talked about it years later. Seeing as how Heartbreaker was a rapist who pimped his own children, whatever Kuzunoha did to him was well deserved.
  • Not His Sled: Tin_Mother being Dragon's Online Alias is a well-established part of Worm's Fanon. Here, that's not the case as Tin_Mother is a completely separate individual who Dragon is attempting to identify and arrest.
  • Not So Invincible After All: While Alexandria isn't invincible per se, she is notorious for being extremely hard to bring down or even injure thanks to her powers. To this day, one of the few people to ever wound her, much less give her a serious injury, was a Warframe. This resulted in a Trauma Button with any parahuman exhibiting powers remotely similar to the Clans.
  • Nuclear Option: There is only one instance in which the world's governments resorted to using a nuclear bomb against an Endbringer. It was when Eukaryote took over an abandoned forest and had proven to be all but impossible for capes to fight.
  • Obstructive Code of Conduct: The Tenno have all taken Oaths which forbid them from interfering with Earth Bet's problems unless they were caused by an outside force like the Grineer or Sentients. The intent of the Oaths was to prevent the Tenno from Taking Over The World. However, these Oaths are also the reason why the Tenno haven't simply wiped out the Slaughterhouse Nine or taken down all of Brockton Bay's criminal gangs.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome:
    • According to Alexandria, the Tenno battled the Three Blasphemies at one point and fought them to a standstill.
    • Gashadokuro is Famed in Story for defeating the Ash Beast. You know, the same Ash Beast that only Scion was able to kill in canon.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • The Man in the Wall garners this reaction from pretty much any Thinker who meets the damned thing. In one instance, Contessa, one of the strongest Thinkers in the setting, encounters it while it's assuming her form and tries to think of a way to beat it, assuming it's hostile. The Man in the Wall is never acknowledged by Contessa's powers as being there and is otherwise ignored entirely.
    • While trying to escape from Alexandria, Taylor freaks out when she realizes that her powers were able to hurt Alexandria.
    • In 3.8 Firewalker, Taylor has this reaction when Assault is able to see the Man in The Wall, leading her to realize that her doppelganger wasn't a hallucination.
    • Alexandria has this reaction in 3.10 Firewalker when she realizes that Sajuuk is somehow able to block the Doormaker's ability to create portals.
  • One Degree of Separation: Even before Taylor triggered with the Tenno's powers, her mother Annette was close friends with Kuzunoha. Kuzunoha works for the Clans and is also Lung's Mysterious Backer. She also used to be a member of the Silver Seven and was acquainted with several world-famous capes including the Triumvirate.
  • One Riot, One Ranger: Whenever the Clans take action, they always send a single Warframe. This is later justified since prior to the outbreak of parahumans, Warframes were basically unstoppable on Earth Bet. In addition, the Tenno's conversations imply that some of the Clans' actions were the results of lone Tenno acting without permission. This is subverted when "GrandMaster" is about to leave on a mission, as the other Tenno insists that she at least takes some backup with her.
  • OOC Is Serious Business:
    • Alexandria is normally calm and composed, but the second Taylor uses powers disturbingly similar to that of the Clans, she flies off the handle and treats Taylor like she's a major threat on par with the likes of Lung. She has a fairly good reason for acting that way, though.
    • That was nothing compared to what happened during Alexandria's battle against Sajuuk. After seeing Tāwhirimātea annihilate every ship in Cauldron's fleet (and killing Argonaut and Icarus in the process), she absolutely loses it and recklessly charges into Sajuuk and tries to rip him apart, all while screaming at the top of her lungs.
  • Open Secret: The fact that Taylor's Trigger event was responsible for destroying Winslow is this amongst the surviving students.
  • Orcus on His Throne: Justified with Sajuuk, as he's become worn out by the Sentients' Forever War with the Tenno and wants to be left alone in peace with his sister.
  • Original Character: Quite a few of these are featured in the story.
    • Kuzunoha is a Case 53 and a powerful Trump who used to be part of the Protectorate's "Silver Seven" alongside the Triumvirate. She later resigned and secretly joined the Tenno Clans.
    • Argonaut was a heroic Tinker who was a member of the Silver Seven and was involved with Cauldron.
    • Icarus was another Tinker who was part of the Silver Seven. She was Locked Out of the Loop about Cauldron and was the founder of Sentinel, a branch of the PRT that would've operated on an international level.
    • Yūrei, an ABB cape who appears as an amorphous shadow blob.
    • Megan Nagel, a PR coordinator for the PRT and secretly a Tenno spy.
    • There are also three new Endbringers introduced alongside the Big Three.
    • Daniel Bobrow, a caretaker for the Temples and a member of the Quill syndicate.
    • Sajuuk is a Sentient general who led the initial wave of Sentients during their war against the Orokin. Nowadays, he spends most of his time flying around Earth Bet aboard his "sister" Tāwhirimātea.
  • Out-of-Genre Experience:
    • The whole fight between Alexandria and Sajuuk plays out exactly like the Final Boss Preview stage of an RPG.
    • When Dragon shows Armsmaster the evidence of the Clans' involvement throughout history, the scene feels like something out of a Conspiracy Thriller.
  • Outside-Context Problem:
    • The Clans, aka Tenno, are this to the Protectorate and Cauldron. According to Alexandria, they just came out of nowhere one day, with weapons and skills beyond most Capes. Even today, Cauldron knows little-to-nothing about them and struggles to match their capabilities. It doesn't help that pretty much all of the Tenno are immune to Contessa's shard.
    • Unlike the classic Endbringers who are superpowered Kaiju, Tāwhirimātea is a Living Ship whose supernatural abilities are the result of really, really advanced technology. Additionally, her origins and powers have nothing to do with the Entities. When the Cauldron attacked Tāwhirimātea, they were unprepared for the arrival of an army of alien robots that adapted to everything they threw at them.
    • As a whole, the Sentients confuse the living hell out of the Passengers. Their technology is so advanced that it seems like magic from the shards' POV. This is why Contessa's power doesn't work on Tāwhirimātea; her "Path to Victory" shard honestly has no idea what Tāwhirimātea even is, let alone how to defeat it.
    • The Man in the Wall is a Humanoid Abomination that randomly appears before various characters as their doppelgangers. They're completely immune to all parahuman powers, are Invisible to Normals, and somehow has knowledge of all their victims' private lives. No one has any clue what to do about him and the best counter that anyone can come up with is Just Ignore It.
  • Outside-Genre Foe: The Sentients, especially Sajuuk. They're basically Starfish Aliens that have been transplanted from a sci-fi/space RPG to a grounded superhero setting. Small wonder that they're such an Outside-Context Problem for the Triumvirate and Cauldron, who are more used to fighting supervillains and the occasional Kaiju.
  • Perpetual Motion Man: Taylor gradually starts to notice several changes in her body after Triggering. She no longer needs to sleep, doesn’t get hungry, has nigh-limitless stamina, and no longer needs glasses to see. Megan’s interlude shows that she doesn't have chairs in her apartment because her legs never get tired, confirming that all of the Tenno are like this.
  • Pinball Protagonist: Following her Trigger event, Taylor is this for the first couple of arcs. Word of God describes her as being caught in the middle of several converging events.
  • Playful Hacker: PHO moderator Tin_Mother is infamous amongst the PRT for hacking into their data files and posting it online.
  • Poor Communication Kills:
    • While it's unlikely that the Protectorate would have aborted their attack on Tāwhirimātea, Sajuuk did nothing to deescalate the situation aside from acting like a Jerkass and making vague remarks about himself and the Tenno.
    • As it currently stands, the whole Tenno-Sentient war could easily end if either side bothered to try talking to the other. There's no reason for them to continue fighting: their Orokin creators are long dead, the Origin System is gone, and any wars they previously fought were in the distant past. Given their shared predicament, both sides could probably create a mutually beneficial relationship if they really tried. Somewhat justified in this case, as Warframe's plot indicates that the Orokin-Sentient War was a firm case of Evil vs. Evil and the Sentients (for the most part) weren't much better than the Orokin.
  • Power Incontinence: The author confirms that all of the Tenno are capable of messing with Thinker powers on a large scale, they just refrain from doing so. Unfortunately for Taylor, she never received any of the Tenno's training.
  • Power Misidentification: Following the Winslow Incident, Taylor's power is understandably thought to be ice-based.
  • Practice Target Overkill: While testing out her new powers on some practice targets, Taylor fires a Void beam that completely demolishes all of her targets and even carves a line into the concrete floor.
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner: In response to Nilbog declaring himself a god, the Operator has this to say before vaporizing him.
    Operator: No such thing as gods.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Sajuuk delivers an epic one to the Triumvirate in 3.10 Firewalker. He verbally tears apart Cauldron, their Omniscient Morality License, and their self-righteous nature.
    Legend: We are heroes! Not... warlords, like you seem to think we are!
    Sajuuk: You? You claim to be heroes? You believe that your masks make you powerful, important, and safe, hidden behind them as you are? No. Not here, not in the ways that matter. Behind those masks, you are nothing but children playing a game, just like we were, once. And children always grow up, whether they like it or not. And you are children. Messing with things you don’t understand, playing around and declaring yourself heroes and protectors, despite the world burning down around you.
  • The Reveal:
    • "Assault Mode" reveals that the Tenno have been active on Earth Bet for at least a couple of years now and that the PRT is aware of their existence.
    • In "Investigator", the Quills are shown to have set up shop in Earth Bet and run numerous temples which have drawn the attention of the PRT.
    • "Unleashed" reveals that Lung was freed from the C.U.I. by the Tenno and secretly works for them alongside a powerful cape named Kuzunoha. The conversation between the Tenno reveals that the story is actually a Stealth Sequel to Warframe and GrandMaster is the Operator.
    • 3.2 Firewalker reveals that Cauldron has been trying to hunt down the Clans and that Alexandria was injured by a Warframe in the past. In addition, the Man in the Wall isn't limited to Brockton Bay and has been seen by Thinkers all over the globe.
    • "Coolant Leak" has the shocking reveal that, contrary to what most thought, the Tenno aren't new to the Worm universe. They've actually been present on Earth Bet since ancient times and were involved in numerous historical events that were covered up.
    • 3.10 Firewalker confirms reader theories that the OC Endbringer Tāwhirimātea is actually a Sentient. Not only that, but there are other Sentients living inside her and their leader Sajuuk somehow knows everything about Cauldron.
  • Recognition Failure: While at Arcadia High, Taylor doesn't recognize either Amy or Victoria as public superheroes until Amy flat out tells her.
  • Red Herring: The PHO user Tin_Mother, which is Dragon's alias in fanon. In an author's note, they explain that they initially meant to use it as a red herring and clarify that Tin_Mother is a completely separate individual. Based on Tin_Mother's use of the word "Dreamers" in a live stream they were hosting, it's implied that their true identity is Nora Night.
  • Refusal of the Call: When the PRT offers to let Taylor join the Wards, she refuses and makes it clear that she just wants to move on and live a normal life.
  • The Remnant: Both the Tenno and Sentients are reduced to this by modern-day. The Sentients' entire race consists of a single warship and her crew. Meanwhile, the Tenno are implied to have been reduced in number and have only a couple of Cephalons that still work.
  • Riddle for the Ages: What happened to the Origin System and how did the Tenno arrive at Earth Bet?
  • Right for the Wrong Reasons: While wandering through an abandoned street, Taylor hears a strange humming coming from an alleyway. She doesn't enter the alley, being Genre Savvy enough to know that a dark alleyway is the kind of place where a person gets mugged. The singing was actually from a Sentient Mimic, which had taken the form of a trash can and was waiting to ambush her.
  • Right Hand Vs Left Hand: During Megan's Internal Monologue, she notes how easy it would be for her to take out all of Brockton Bay's villains, including Lung. This implies that she doesn't know about Lung secretly working for the Tenno.
  • Rouge Angles of Satin: It's pretty obvious that the author never bothered to write multiple drafts or use a spellchecker. Grammatical and spelling mistakes can be found aplenty, including missing apostrophes and words that don't have spaces between them.
  • Sand Worm: OC Endbringer Shari-Hulud is a giant sandworm over 3 miles long.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: When the Protectorate obviously wasn't going to do anything about Nilbog, the Operator (aka GrandMaster) decided to kill Nilbog herself despite being forbidden to by her Clan's oath.
  • Screw Your Ultimatum!: When Sajuuk makes his Don't Make Me Destroy You speech to the Triumvirate and gives them the chance to leave, Cauldron's cape army responds by shooting Tāwhirimātea with the D-Driver.
  • Secret War: It's implied that Cauldron has been fighting a secret war for years against the Tenno Clans. This later turns out to be completely one-sided on Cauldron's part.
  • Seers: The Quills are a secret order made up of people who have the power to glimpse a Multiple-Choice Future.
  • Ship Tease: Between Armsmaster and Dragon to the point where even Armsmaster catches on to it.
    Colin: [to Dragon] You are one of, if not the best, Tinkers in the world. You also check up on me at least once a week, and have pried me away from more than one project to watch movies or the newest shows, and it was recently pointed out to me that I am a man, and you… well, are a woman, one that spends a large amount of time and effort to keep in touch with me, someone that has been noted to be… difficult to work with, at times.
  • Shoot the Dangerous Minion: Coil plans on doing this to Tattletale since he's aware that she can't be trusted to stay loyal.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Shown Their Work: Though not immediately obvious at first glance, it's clear that the author is a big fan of Warframe and has extensive knowledge of its lore. There are minor gags and nods throughout the story that only long-time Warframe players are likely going to notice.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: In 3.6 Firewalker, Taylor finally has enough of her Double's taunting and decides to stop running from her problems. The speech she gives the Man in the Wall makes it clear that she's done letting them mess with her.
  • Slave to PR: The whole reason that Cauldron's planned assault on Tāwhirimātea was carried out ahead of schedule was to restore the public's hope in the Protectorate.
  • Sliding Scale of Free Will vs. Fate:
    • As a member of the Quills, Daniel gets visions of a Multiple-Choice Future. This has led him to believe that things like fate and destiny aren't real. To him, the future is determined by the decisions one chooses to make.
      Daniel: What you perceive as the future is nothing more than a series of events formed from other events, shaped by the actions of others, and the others before them. Consequence brushing consequence in an ever-expanding equation, a circle of action, reaction, and action again. Fate and destiny are nothing more than our actions preset upon by another, built upon the past, shaped upon our choices; we all are simply reacting to the echoes of what was.
    • Sajuuk believes in the exact opposite. He's aware of Worm's canonical events, including Scion's eventual Face–Heel Turn and humanity's infighting that breaks out soon after. Because of this, he's become resigned to the idea that You Can't Fight Fate.
      Sajuuk: [to the Triumvirate] The incoming storm is Eternal and Inevitable; you cannot escape it. This world of yours will drown, instigated by your own actions and attempts to save it. Not even you, the Silver Seven, will stand, unbroken, from your lofty lairs in the aftermath to witness the Ascension, the culmination of a Great Journey. For all of this was ordained, and will be; no matter your wants, no matter what we wish, know this is how it always will be.
  • Smarter Than You Look: A lot of people tend to underestimate Lung's intelligence and write him off as a Dumb Muscle. There are several instances that show he's far more cunning than people give him credit for.
    • Prior to being freed by the Tenno, Lung had already figured out a way to escape his prison.
    • While meeting with Tattletale, he quickly deduced that the Undersiders had a secret backer.
    • Tattletale provides Lung a plan to take control of the city, only to later learn that Lung had already secretly done it without anyone noticing.
  • The Spook: Prior to Icarus's death, a background check done by Cauldron revealed that she had no record of her existence anywhere outside of a bank account and an unused apartment. This factored into why Icarus was Locked Out of the Loop about Cauldron's secrets.
  • Spanner in the Works: For pre-cogs, Taylor is this and she doesn't even know it. Their powers revolve around knowing how something will go (a good example being Contessa whose powers let her know how many steps it takes to achieve a certain task). Taylor, however, throws all of those predictions into complete disarray or even outright destroys them. This makes her a prime target for Coil, who really doesn't appreciate Taylor somehow screwing up his own powers.
  • The Starscream: Tattletale to Coil, unsurprisingly. Thanks to Taylor's trigger event, Coil's powers have gone on the fritz, putting him in a vulnerable spot. Tattletale plans to use the opportunity to kill her boss and take over his organization.
  • Stealth Sequel: The story starts out like your typical "Taylor gets an alt-power" fanfic. However, it's gradually revealed that the story takes place thousands of years after Warframe, with several characters referring to the game's events in the past tense.
  • Sunk Cost Fallacy: This was the Triumvirate's justification for continuing Cauldron's planned attack on Tāwhirimātea despite it being clear that their forces were underprepared and underequipped for the mission.
    Alexandria: This has been nearly three years in the making, to back out now would be unthinkable.
  • Sympathy for the Devil: Taylor feels this way towards Emma after learning about how she was attacked by thugs in an alley. It's not enough for her to forgive Emma though.
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    Tropes T to Z 
  • Talking Is a Free Action: Justified and then subverted in Firewalker 3.10.
    • During Sajuuk's tirade against the Triumvirate, the latter allows him to continue talking because they want to distract him while the D-Driver Model 6 finishes charging. Additionally, Sajuuk's exposition-riddled speech gives Cauldron more information about Tāwhirimātea.
    • Subverted when Alexandria goes on her own Shut Up, Hannibal! speech while Sajuuk is temporarily incapacitated. Sajuuk takes the time to recover before interrupting Alexandria mid-sentence and blasting apart the ship holding the laser being used to harm Tāwhirimātea.
  • Taking the Bullet: When Nova Prime first tries hitting Nilbog with her antimatter, Nilbog's creations rush to his defense and use their bodies to try shielding him from the blast.
  • Tempting Fate: Right before they head off to attack Tāwhirimātea, the exchange that Argonaut and Alexandria have:
    Argonaut: ...Promise me you'll be safe?
    Alexandria: [smiles] I’m Alexandria, I'm always safe.
  • Terms of Endangerment: During their confrontation, Sajuuk addresses Alexandria, Eidolon, and Legend by their first names.
  • Theme Naming: The Protectorate's naming conventions for the various Warframes they encounter are based on the unique abilities they exhibit, such as Charger, Skewer, and Screamer.
  • They Just Don't Get It: Alexandria, Eidolon, and Legend seem unable to process the idea that Tāwhirimātea isn't an Endbringer, but something entirely different. Even after Sajuuk drops several clear hints, Alexandria still internally refers to Tāwhirimātea as an Endbringer and Eidolon jumps to the conclusion that Sajuuk is some sort of proto-Endbringer.
  • This Means War!: In Firewalker 3.10, Sajuuk was initially willing to let the Protectorate leave in peace, mainly because his sister Tāwhirimātea asked him to. However, when the Protectorate opens fire on Tāwhirimātea with a BFG, Sajuuk responds by declaring war upon the Protectorate.
  • Treachery Cover Up: Sophia's involvement in Taylor's Trigger event gets covered up by the PRT, who want to avoid the bad PR since Sophia was a Ward. Surprisingly, Taylor doesn't mind since she never has to see Sophia again.
  • Trespassing to Talk: In 2.8 Rolling Guard, Tattletale breaks into Taylor's house to speak to her on behalf of Coil.
  • Token Good Teammate: Tāwhirimātea is this to both the Endbringers and the Sentients. Out of all the Endbringers, she is the only one who can be considered benevolent. Her presence directly benefits the environment, cleaning up radiation from a previous Behemoth attack, bringing the American buffalo back from the brink of extinction, and covering wastelands with vegetation. Additionally, unlike the other Sentients, Tāwhirimātea actually enjoys the presence of humans and even adopted the name they gave her. She also pressured Sajuuk into being "polite" with the capes sent to kill her and only attacked after being shot with the D-Driver.
  • Too Clever by Half: Tattletale's Thinker powers tend to make her overconfident in her plans as shown in her attempt to manipulate Lung. When Tattletale presented Lung with a plan to increase his gang's influence, she discovers that Lung had already carried out his own version of her plan and thus was uninterested in her proposal. In addition, her meeting with Lung immediately gets discovered by Coil and it's only thanks to the Man in the Wall's intervention that Coil doesn't figure out her plan.
  • Too Good to Be True: The Temples are a mix between community centers and churches, known for helping people who are down on their luck. They always have whatever a person needs to solve their life problems, whether it be unemployment, homelessness, or protection from supervillain gangs. Given the Crapsack World that is Earth Bet, the PRT finds it suspicious the Temples are always able to avoid misfortune. The buildings even manage to survive Endbringers and an attack by a member of the Slaughterhouse Nine, which adds to the PRT's suspicion that something else is going on inside them.
  • Tranquil Fury: When Dragon informs Armsmaster that someone filmed the Trigger event, he immediately realizes what could have caused the Trigger to happen in the first place when he sees Taylor's injuries and evidence of her being trapped in a locker with biowaste. He keeps his conversation with Dragon normal and professional, but his dialogue makes it clear that he is beyond livid.
  • Trauma Button: The Clans are one for Alexandria after she was nearly killed by a Warframe in the past. Upon realizing that Taylor has the exact same powers as the Clans' members, she immediately attacks her and reacts with a primal fear when Taylor uses them to try and escape.
  • Troll: This is the Man in the Wall's sole motivation for why he chooses to appear before certain individuals. He gets a kick out of seeing his victims freak out. To him, the universe is a theatre and he is the audience.
  • Undying Loyalty: Even after Ordis began glitching out and became an unreliable Mission Control, the Operator refused to let Ordis be shut down. It was only after Ordis himself asked to be taken offline that the Operator reluctantly agreed with the other Tenno.
  • Unstoppable Rage: Nilbog's army has a collective Villainous Breakdown upon his death and react by mindlessly charging at his killer, even trampling each other in their race to avenge him.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: By Triggering, Taylor unknowingly unleashes the Man in the Wall upon Earth Bet, leaving him free to terrorize Precogs and Thinkers worldwide.
  • Uriah Gambit: What the Ellisburg mission was in reality. Cauldron wanted to experiment with Nilbog's powers and sent in the PRT's forces to act as their Unwitting Test Subjects.
  • Walking Spoiler: Everything about Sajuuk gives away some kind of spoiler. His mere existence reveals that the Sentients are present on Earth Bet, confirms that Tāwhirimātea is also a Sentient and shows that the Sentients are capable of Triggering. The role he plays in the Scouring is also pivotal to the story, as it is responsible for starting Alexandria's obsession with the Tenno.
  • War from Another World: The Tenno were not the only ones from the Warframe universe to arrive on Earth Bet. OC Endbringer Eukaryote is actually a massive Infestation and it can be inferred that the "demonic force" which invaded ancient Japan was an army of Grineer. According to Dragon, throughout Earth Bet's history, there were records of the Clans fighting against "demons" that matched the Tenno's strength.
    • As of Firewalker 3.10, the Sentients can also be added to the list as Endbringer Tāwhirimātea is revealed to be a gigantic Sentient warship with an entire colony living onboard.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Deconstructed by Alexandria. Her "ends justify the means" mentality turns her into a dangerously unfettered Knight Templar who is unable to recognize her wrongdoings and plays the “I Did What I Had to Do” card anytime someone tries to call her out on it.
  • Weird Historical War: Dragon's investigation reveals that the Origin System's factions have been involved in many historical conflicts. For example, one battle in the American Civil War had a Warframe fighting on the Union's side, while the Infested fought on the Confederate's.
  • Wham Episode:
    • "Coolant Leak" reveals that the Tenno have been operating on Earth Bet for thousands of years, rather than a few decades like previously thought.
    • 3.10 Firewalker confirms theories that the OC Endbringer Tāwhirimātea is actually a Sentient. The introduction of Sajuuk and his forces reveals that the Sentients followed the Tenno to Earth Bet. The Sentients also somehow know everything about Cauldron, as well as the secret identities of all their members. We are also shown the Scouring and what led Alexandria to start hunting for the Tenno.
  • Wham Line: As Dragon briefs Armsmaster on everything she knows about the Clans, she shows him images of different Clan members. However, Armsmaster notices something particularly strange about one of the photos:
    Dragon: Look familiar?
    Colin: Yes, It’s the same San Diego Clan cape, even if the outer armor is different, the symbol is even the same on its chest. But why is the picture in black and white?
    Dragon: Because this photo was taken somewhere in the forest of Warsaw, circa 1939.
  • What the Hell Are You?:
    • At one point, Taylor asks the Man in the Wall this as she is uncertain whether or not he is a hallucination.
    • The Triumvirate asks this after coming face-to-face with Sajuuk, who somehow knows everything about Cauldron and the Entities.
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • Taylor's dad wastes no time in tearing into the PRT when he learns that Sophia, one of their Wards, was responsible for Taylor triggering. His fury even manages to scare one of the capes out of the room.
    • When the grandmaster of a Tenno clan breaks her Alien Non-Interference Clause and kills Nilbog, she gets called out by members of her clan for breaking their oaths and acting without their knowledge. It doesn't help that she tries to brush them off by saying Screw the Rules, I Make Them!.
    • When Taylor attempts to discover the limits of her powers under PRT supervision, Armsmaster is both horrified and infuriated by Alexandria's sudden hostility towards Taylor and declaring Taylor to be an S-Class threat. Alexandria's refusal to explain her hostility doesn't help matters either.
  • Who Dares?: Said by Sajuuk after Cauldron's forces fire the D-Driver on Tāwhirimātea.
    Sajuuk: ...You, you DARE!?!?!
  • Whole Episode Flashback: There are quite a few of these due to the story's Flashback B-Plot format.
    • "Shell Shock" takes place six years in the past and follows a younger Taylor and Emma witnessing Tāwhirimātea flying over Brockton Bay.
    • "Assault Mode" focuses on Nilbog's rampage in Ellisburg, his death, and its aftermath from several POVs, including a PRT squad sent into Ellisburg, Director Costa-Brown/Alexandria, and the Tenno.
    • "Unleashed" takes place during Lung's imprisonment by the Chinese government and his subsequent breakout by the Tenno.
    • "3.10 Firewalker" takes place in 2006 and centers around the Protectorate's doomed assault on the Endbringer Tāwhirimātea.
    • "System Reroute" takes place shortly after the Tenno arrival in the Sol System and follows a younger Daniel Bobrow as he meets with Cephalon Cy aboard a Railjack and has visions of upcoming future events.
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: Both Lisa and Taylor wonder why Coil doesn't simply have Taylor killed since her powers are messing with his. This is later justified, as Coil did try to kidnap Taylor in several timelines, but all of them ended with him getting caught by Dragon or killed by the Tenno.
  • The Worf Effect:
    • Contessa is one of the most powerful characters in Worm's setting. The fact that her power is useless against the Man in the Wall, and that their appearance alone causes her to freak out, only highlights just how terrifying and mysterious the Man in the Wall is.
    • In order to establish how dangerous the Sentients are, their first appearance sees them tear apart Cauldron's cape army and the Triumvirate with laughable ease.
    • The Clans are infamous among the Protectorate and PRT for being able to fight on par with some of the world's most powerful parahumans. They've fought the Three Blasphemies, wiped out Nilbog and his creations, and nearly killed Alexandria (something that only the Siberian could previously do).
  • Worf Had the Flu: Lisa was able to figure out Coil's secret identity because Taylor's Trigger event messed with his powers, making him act more irrational and less cautious than usual.
  • Wrong Context Magic: The Tenno's Void abilities are this to the superpowers in Worm. Unlike parahumans, the Tenno get their powers from the Void instead of the Entities. Also, they all share the exact same set of powers, whereas parahumans each have a unique powerset.
  • Your Days Are Numbered: It's revealed during a Clan meeting that Ordis is breaking down due to old age. Ordis himself realizes this and convinces GrandMaster to temporarily take him offline for repairs.

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