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WMG / The Reckoners Trilogy
aka: Firefight

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Megan will begin using her powers to cure epics, and inoculating people against calamities power
Since we now know that epics can be cured of Calamity's corruption by facing their worst fears, and that ordinary humans can be made immune to epic transformation through the same method, a powerful illusionist is exactly what they need now. I can even see it becoming a cultural tradition in the long term if Calamity isn't destroyed, a right of passage where everyone has to face a simulation their worst fear.

Calamity and the Epic Powers are based on the power of fear
It certainly works symbolically. Fear grants people extraordinary strength and the ability to do the otherwise impossible, but also makes people selfish and violent. But, if you overcome the selfishness through bravery, it can let you accomplish great things and can bring out the best in people. This is pretty much exactly how epic powers work, given the revelations in Firefight. It's possible that this is literally true as well, with Calamity being some sort of embodiment of the transformative power of fear.

Given that 20th Century Fox has announced that a film adaptation of the books has gone into preproduction, it seems prudent to discuss our favorite castings, on the off-chance that some exec is a Troper.

No one really makes technology based off Epic powers

There's an obvious hurdle in emulating their powers, which is that they're explicitly physically impossible. Steelheart's most advanced equipment and the Reckoners' gear is based off Transference Epics. The arms dealer who provides highly advanced equipment takes payment in the preserved, still-living cells of Epics. This is supposedly for research purposes, but quite possibly has the real purpose of installing cloned cells into the technology, actually using their powers directly instead of merely imitating them. The gun he sells to the Reckoners may actually be an exception; it's a coilgun (so we know how to make it today, in theory) that shoots highly energized projectiles and has a higher power draw than Newcago. If that were representative of the difficulty of replicating Epic powers scientifically, it would not be a thriving research field.

  • Confirmed as of Firefight.
    • Actually, it was Jossed. Knighthawk has several items that were taken from Epic powers, and he even makes a full suit with Prof's powers on it in Calamity.

Prof killed his fifth grade class by accident after the Calamity
That may be why he hates using his power so much. Using powers makes people more evil, and the manifestation of his powers might have made him lose control.
  • As of the end of the trilogy, this theory is never explicitly confirmed or denied, but the revelation in Firefight that powerful Epics experience an outburst of mindless destructive rage when their powers manifest certainly lends credence to the idea. Prof could easily have been at work when his Rending occurred.

Prof made the Diggers
It's mentioned that the Diggers were gifted powers similar to the Tensor devices to dig underground. In the end, the Tensors are revealed to be Magic Feather s and Prof is really a Gifter Epic. Why he would do such a thing remains unclear.
  • Nope - an epic named Digzone gifted them.
    • Do we actually know that? Because there's no rule that says Prof couldn't have been using an alias.
    • We find out a bit more about Digzone in Calamity, and there's no real indication he's Prof.

Prof is afraid of the 'pattern' in Epic weaknesses because it means someone might find his
.For someone that makes his life killing Epics, he's awfully insistent that there is no pattern. And he himself is an Epic, after all.

All Epics are psychopaths because Calamity is a psychopath
.With The Reveal in Firefight that Calamity is itself an Epic, and that all other Epics receive a shred of his power, it's at least possible that the madness that comes with the powers is a reflection of Calamity's own mind.

Calamity really is an Angel
, and the Epics are the true "Reckoners" the series is named forAs Obliteration mentioned in his monologue towards David, he considers that the Four Horseman actually are not "individuals" but metaphorical. One could easily pass it off as the ravings of a psychopath (given Obliteration's track record), but Regalia not only called Calamity an Epic, but described Calamity as the Destroying Angel. In other words, since Calamity is the one who creates the Epics, it and the Epics are collectively the "Reckoners" of Humanity with the coming of the Apocalypse.

Obliteration will undergo a Heel–Face Turn
At the end of [1], Obliteration thanks David for giving him the answer to his nightmares and disappears from the book. We also know that Megan no longer suffers madness from using the power of an Epic, so it is entirely possible Obliteration went off to conquer his fear and regain his Humanity. meaning he will likely show up in Calamity.
  • Sort-of. Obliteration helps the Reckoners defeat Calamity - then cheerfully announces his plans to destroy Toronto in a week. Apparently he conquered his Epic "darkness" a long time ago; he was happy to help defeat a being he perceived as a devil, but apparently the mass-murdering religious nut actually is who he is, powers or no. Even in an alternate universe where Epic powers don't corrupt, he's still a bad guy.

Calamity is the same type of being as Scion from Worm.
In Worm, Scion is a glowing, divine-looking, power-granting alien. Calamity comes from the same place, but is employing a different strategy with his power investment.
  • This is pretty reasonable, especially given that, just like Scion, Calamity showed up at the same time as powers began appearing, the superpowers have a build-in drive for conflict, and when Calamity attempts to force a shard into David it/he uses similar [IDEA] communication as Scion and Eden use in the Trigger vision.
  • Fireflight's actual power, revealed to be bringing images and physical parts of alternate realities into her own, and pushing parts of reality into other alternate realities is entirely in line with how Worm powers depend on dimensional shenanigans, and its description is surprisingly similar to (in Worm) Tattletale's explanation of how Shadow Stalker's power works.

Tia will be the key to stopping Prof
. We know that the key to overcoming the corruption is the Epic's greatest fear, something from their past. So surely a person who actually knew the person before they became an Epic would hold the key. Failing that, it's also possible that Tia already knew Prof's weakness as a failsafe in case Heroic Willpower finally failed. Seems likely that reaching her before she can be killed will be a priority in Calamity.

Prof is afraid of taking risks.
Before Calamity, he was upset because somebody won a prize in a contest he didn't even enter, and his ex-girlfriend Tia says he never gambled. According to the pattern seen with other Epics, this means Prof's powers fail him when he indulges in games of chance, or otherwise takes risks. This explains why the Reckoners are slow and methodical. It's because Prof is risk-averse. His actions at the climaxes of both books don't count, Steelheart because he was never in any personal danger from Steelheart, and Firefight because, ironically, David convinced him it was a sure thing.
  • This makes a great deal of sense. And that's also why he attacked David IMMEDIATELY on rising as a High Epic, because letting the person most likely to be able to kill him live is also an unacceptable risk.
  • I agree that Prof is pretty risk-averse, but I think that's more a personality trait than a weakness. Megan describes weaknesses as those things you have nightmares about. I seriously doubt Prof wakes from sleep in a cold sweat thinking about the risks he's taking. As to attacking David, David is obviously the most dangerous tactical mind remaining in the Reckoners. If your opponent's queen is exposed, you take it.
    • Confirmed. Prof doesn't take risks for the same reason he fears his powers - he fears failure.

Calamity didn't fail in making David an Epic.
David might still have powers thanks to his contact with Calamity, he just hasn't used them. He might not even know he has them, and they'll manifest at an appropriately dramatic moment.
  • Most epics apparently discover their powers and learn how to use them during the Rending. David unwittingly made himself immune to the Rending about two minutes prior to his confrontation with Calamity.
  • He got gifted powers though after that chat. Gifters can't give powers to other Epics which makes this a little more unlikely.
  • Or a mental power. There would be little to no indication of that.
    • Confirmed in Calamity. He got Steelheart's powerset.

Prof's weakness is his own powers.
Judging from the Fridge Brilliance page and the end of Firefight with Megan trapping him in his own forcefields, Prof seems to be afraid of his own powers. He also chastises David for forcing him to use his powers and had been restraining himself for presumably years. Despite being an Epic himself, he also doesn't seem to believe in the redemption of other Epics and thinks all powers corrupt without anything to stop them, giving off a rather negative view which can be interpreted as fearful.
  • Close. Prof does fear his powers, but his real fear is failure, and he fears influence/success/his powers because he feels that the more he has, the bigger his inevitable failure will be. Confronting him with his own powers weakens him a bit, but doesn't fully depower him or count as his "fear" for the purpose of escaping corruption.

Calamity's powers come from a Shard
I know it's been stated that the Reckoners isn't part of The Cosmere, but well, why couldn't it be? The effects of Epic powers sound a lot like the effects of Ruin and Odium have on those who use powers granted by them. The only thing that makes this series stand out is the lack of a Big Good to go with the Big Evil of Calamity/whatever gave Calamity powers.
  • It doesn't need to be strictly part of the cosmere to follow similar rules to a shard either.
  • As a friend of mine pointed out, we have a character running around with the power to open portals to other dimensions. Perhaps Calamity entered through a similar rift.
  • Sanderson did say that that whatever the source is, if it was a Shard, would have an Intent along the lines of Temptation. So he's thought about it.

Steelheart hasn’t been evil since the Day of Annexation
  • As of Firefight, we know that Epics who face their greatest fear/weakness are no longer compelled to do evil. As Steelheart can only be harmed by someone who has never feared him, Steelheart faced his weakness on the Day of Annexation, when he killed David’s father.

    • Except they have to accept their fear, rather than avoid it to break Calamity's influence. Otherwise everyone would be immune to Calamity's empowerment like David was: After all the fears the Epics' weaknesses are based on are things in their past.
  • Then, for the rest of the book, all of his actions fit with a singular mindframe: Steelheart wants to protect the inhabitants of one of the most populous cities on the continent from the atrocities of the Epics.
    • Steelheart declares himself emperor of Chicago and gives a single ultimatum to all Epics in the city: swear allegiance or die. All Epics know where they stand with him, and they need to take care not to get on his bad side. This means not making Newcago a terrible place to live.
    • Steelheart keeps the lights on and the water running. Newcago is one of the better places to live in the Fractured States because Steelheart has kept the infrastructure in excellent repair: Conflux and the power station give the city electricity, there’s a functioning sewage treatment plant, and a decent portion of the population can even have jobs. Between that and a functional military/police force, the crime rate is probably at a historic low for Chicago, even with the Epics.
    • Steelheart is more than the protector of one of the nicest pieces of real estate on the continent: he is an icon of Power, with a capital P. He’s acting as a lightning rod. He has set himself up as a target for the bravest, stupidest, and most ambitious Epics. They come to Newcago to claim the crown, and then Steelheart kills them, so they can’t go commit atrocities somewhere else. He even turned the entire city to steel so that when Epics come to challenge him, collateral damage is minimal.
    • The Reckoners find propaganda suggesting that Steelheart is a way worse person than he is inside the power plant. Given how powerful Steelheart is and how evil all Epics supposedly are, why go through the trouble of having propagandists make up stories about that time you burned a town to the ground and murdered all the inhabitants? Why not actually go out, burn a town to the ground, and murder the inhabitants on camera? Steelheart is taking the course of least bloodshed: inspiring fear to augment his invulnerability while also not actually killing anyone.
    • Steelheart’s actions throughout the book have shown that he cares more about his population’s welfare than the local Epics.
      • The Reckoners kill Fortuity. Result: No major repercussions.
      • The Reckoners kill Refractionary. Result: No major repercussions.
      • The Reckoners destroy the power plant. Result: Steelheart goes looking for terrorists, but doesn’t prepare to throw down. Why would he? He can still power the entire city with Conflux.
      • Conflux is kidnapped by a High Epic. Result: Steelheart, Firefight, Nightwielder, and basically all of Enforcement mobilize to face this serious and imminent threat that has now knocked out power to several million homes.
  • I really like this idea, I'm just not sure it holds up. If just being exposed to your weakness was enough to cure you, not many epics would still be insane. It seems to me that facing your fear requires active effort rather than passive exposure. So in his case it would require doing a King Incognito routine or similar, where noone knows who he is and so he's surrounded by people who don't fear him. That said, if he did indeed confront his fear at one point, that makes him very much like The Lord Ruler from Mistborn.

Calamity is an Entity

(Note: Spoilers follow for both Worm and the Reckoners Trilogy.)

  • Much like Scion, Calamity is an immensely powerful being (having access to essentially any superpower in their respective universes), and is revealed to be the source of said superpowers. In addition, both Steelheart's Epics and many of Worm's parahumans have serious mental issues that came with the powers. In addition, the superhuman feudalism is remarkably similar to Wildbow's description of a different way Earth Bet could have gone. Eden's Interlude also makes it clear that different Entites work differently, meaning that the concept of one whose projection in a given universe hangs in space is not impossible.

Transference Epics can take the next step.
  • David theorizes that Calamity is "just" a massively powerful Transference epic. He's right. Or close enough. It's later shown that if an Epic claims their powers for themselves, they can sever their connection to Calamity and keep their powers, inoculating them from his effects and preventing him from taking their powers back. The theory is Just as Epics can claim powers from Calamity, it a normal human were given powers by a more standard Transference Epic, they could claim them for themselves in the same manner, and become Epics themselves.

Alternative Title(s): Steelheart, Firefight


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