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Literature / Deviant

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Deviant is an in-progress superhero Web Serial Novel by Kataclysm, updated whenever a new chapter is ready.

In 2009, the world changed as Seattle fell to a tsunami, one created seemingly from nothing. The rise of “Deviants”, superhumans with unique abilities and powers, was almost immediate in the wake of the incident. Factions quickly formed, fighting amongst themselves and with each other, and once-mundane criminals became lethally efficient killers. Heroes rose up in response, but the struggle against their adversaries is never-ending.

The story itself takes place in 2025, and centers around Cassandra "Cass" Jansen, a teenager who can create armor and weapons from nothing. Initially, Cass struggles to make a name for herself as a vigilante superhero, as well as find her missing father, in an alternate future version of Phoenix, Arizona, where the city has become a hub for heroes and villains alike. Of course, her original aim lasts for all of a few chapters, as Cass quickly finds herself wrapped up in a conflict that quickly spirals out of control.

This story provides examples of:

  • An Ice Person: Justine 'Blizzard' Wolf, the youngest active member of Terminus, who has the ability to summon and manipulate ice, snow and frost at will, while also capable of reducing temperature in the immediate vicinity.
  • An Ice Suit: Blizzard wears a bulky, heated suit, though she's unaffected by temperature, so she doesn't actually need it. It's mainly there for armor, and to look cool.
  • And Now for Someone Completely Different: As the story progresses, it's common for chapters to bounce between multiple different viewpoints, as the cast grows too large for Cass' viewpoint to fully encompass.
  • Bad Powers, Bad People: The Degenerates, a group of human traffickers and considered to be the general scum of the Earth by everyone else in the story. Their powers only aid their depraved goals, as most of them involve mind manipulation of some sort, or in one case, a villain who gains the powers of Deviants he eats.
    • Arguably Revenant. Unsurprisingly, the person with the ability to resurrect infinitely by possessing other people's dead bodies and re-awakening their consciousness turns out to be a real nutcase. They use their powers to trap "sinners" in an eternal "Hell", making them watch Revenant use their bodies for terrible and demeaning things.
  • Blood Sport: Berzerk was part of an underground fighting ring before his time in Terminus, where murder was commonplace. He was exceptionally good at it.
  • Body Surf: Effectively the means by which Revenant's powers function. Revenant themselves can never die, at least not in the traditional sense - they can possess corpses, reanimating them to serve as their bodies. They can do this with more than one body, and the one-sided conversation they have with Sleepwalker in 2.08 implies that they have an entire network of spare bodies at their disposal.
    • Crowd can also do this with her clones.
  • Child Soldiers: While this is, for the most part, averted by official organisations, gangs and groups of vigilantes recruit Deviants at a young age. Of Cerberus, over half of its members are teenagers, Cass is one of the youngest active Deviants in the story at 15, and Lisa 'Vanquish' Rees, trained extensively as a ruthless covert operative by Alpha, is perhaps the closest the setting comes to the trope proper.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: In Lisa's infiltration of Terminus' airborne base, she single-handedly takes on the Newborns and incapacitates them all while barely breaking stride. The chapter this occurs in is even named 'Curb Stomp'.
  • Curb-Stomp Cushion: On the other hand, as Cass runs into the muscle of Terminus in the first arc, she actually puts up a decent fight against Deviants measurably more experienced than her, even significantly wounding Blizzard - although it still ends with her barely conscious, bleeding profusely, and her arms skewered by Berzerk.
  • Defector from Decadence: Keeper leaves the Grims after they give her daughter to the Degenerates, joining Cerberus.
  • Determinator: Cass. She takes on one hectic week with many broken bones and assorted injuries after her battle with Terminus, but she keeps going into fights anyways. Her power facilitates this attitude, getting stronger the more willpower she has. Tsunami also has a reputation for following this trope.
  • Divided We Fall: The heroes tend to fight each other more than the villains they're supposed to be taking down.
  • Emerging from the Shadows: Verity in 2.06.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Cerberus might be a group that has very little qualms about mowing down a bunch of gang mooks, but that's about the extent of any activities that could be considered "villainous", as they spend most of their time fighting people far worse than them. Notably, the Degenerates.
    • Vortex even states that the Grims hate the Degenerates, but try to work with them in order to prevent a potential gang war. It doesn't work.
  • Eye Beams: Discussed. At one point, Alpha states that he has "heat vision", only to hurriedly clarify that he can see heat signatures.
  • Eye Scream: Havoc's calling card. Michelle's gruesome death exemplifies how she operates.
  • A Father to His Men: In a gender-swapped version of this trope, Tsunami.
  • Finding Judas: Insinuation "betrays" Cerberus by failing to reveal that his villainous brother is still alive - only to reveal that he intended to kill Verity before anyone could find out, trying to protect Anathema in his own way.
  • Heroes Gone Fishing: The Newborns end up playing Dungeons & Dragons in their free time.
  • I Am a Humanitarian: Marrow, a cannibalistic Deviant who gains powers from those he eats. Alpha is out for his blood in the wake of him killing Spore, a former member of Terminus.
  • Immune to Bullets: Played with. Cass gets shot by Godsend during the first arc, but manages to - somehow - power through it. This resilience is noted by several characters, as a Deviant being able to tank something like this is fairly rare. The only other example shown in-story so far is Tsunami, who is very much an outlier.
  • Kid Hero: The Newborns, a team of Deviants in training, are an entire group of these - for a given definition of 'kid'. Many of the prominent Deviants within the cast are also fairly young themselves, though how heroic they are tends to vary between individuals.
  • Lap Pillow: At one point, Cass is knocked unconscious, only to wake up with her head on Loudspeaker's lap.
  • Mook: The various superpowered gangs have quite a few unpowered members between them.
  • Mysterious Watcher: Havoc is shown watching the Jansen house, a chapter before she kills Michelle.
  • Next Sunday A.D.: Deviant takes place in 2025, a scant six years away from when the first chapter was published.
  • Our Dragons Are Different: Draconian, one of the central members of Terminus, and his nemesis Frostbite are essentially the setting's equivalent of dragons, complete with wings and breath-based projectiles.
  • Playing with Fire: Alpha and Flare.
  • Refusal of the Call: After abandoning the identity of Genesis, Cass is approached by an enigmatic Deviant named Psychosis, who informs her of an impending calamity and calls her the 'Pariah', a figure destined to play a vital role in the events to come. Cass, however, wants absolutely nothing to do with it.
  • Religious Bruiser: Tsunami is Christian.
  • Sociopathic Hero: Insinuation, for a given value of "hero".
  • Super Hero Origin: While every Deviant naturally develops their powers at puberty, Cass's first experience with them is shown in detail.
  • Superpower Lottery: Tsunami, hands down. Control of massive amounts of water at once, durability and strength on an absolutely massive scale - hell, she doesn't even have to use existing water, she can just make it herself!
    • On a smaller scale, Godsend, whose power is having the ability to use a randomly-generated but always effective superpower to counter threats depending on the situation.
    • Cass - When she discovers she can create anything. Unfortunately, this power is limited by her youth and lack of practice with her abilities.
  • Supervillain Lair: The Degenerates live in a tavern-esque lair in the sewers.
  • Team Pet: Draconian - though he is a very dangerous version of this trope, being just as lethal as the rest of Terminus.
  • 10-Minute Retirement: After dealing with an ever-increasing degree of stress in being a superhero, culminating in her killing Degenerate henchmen during a rescue operation, Cass hangs up her hat. It takes until the conclusion of the second arc for her to don her armour again.
  • The Medic: It is noted on multiple occasions in the story that there are no Deviants with the power to heal the injuries of others, that we know of - for Phoenix, the task of tending to wounds falls to Remedy, a doctor without any superpowers at all who still takes it upon herself to be a source of medical attention when fights get bloody.
  • These Hands Have Killed: During the mission to rescue Keeper's daughter, Jeannine, Cass kills one Degenerate and is indirectly responsible for the deaths of two more. This has a profound impact on her, both psychologically and emotionally, and feeds directly into the above.
  • This Is Reality: Happens multiple times (normally Cass is the one who says something along these lines).
  • Token Evil Teammate: Revenant and (maybe) Insinuation.
  • Vomit Indiscretion Shot: At one point, Cass forces herself to vomit to get a tracking device out of her body.