(Author's Note: This is an example of what happens when a preamble takes over a chapter. This was meant to be a brief check in, but ended up being much more comprehensive than I originally planned. As such it stands as a point-earning interlude. I may return to this format to cover alternate perspectives over the course of the Summit, though most chapter should cover a greater window of time than this one.)

58.2 Interlude Lisa Addendum Joe

Interlude Lisa

Lisa pushed past the pounding in her temples as she craned her neck, trying to get a better look at Joe's table. A table of seven people. So far the largest group to arrive. A major power bloc, and one she knew absolutely nothing about. One nobody knew anything about.

She took a breath and tried to force her body to relax. In the face of a disaster of this magnitude she found that task beyond her. Recognizing a lost cause, she settled for the appearance of relaxation, or the closest thing she could manage.

"Don't react." She whispered to the rest of the team. They were gawking as much as anyone else in the room. "Everyone is watching. They're noting our reactions. Settle down, or at least stop staring."

"Yeah, easier said than done." Alec quipped as he kept his eyes locked on the silver haired woman. He wasn't the only one. All eyes were on Joe's table, but even among the diverse and concerning arrivals people seemed naturally drawn to the woman.

Lisa could feel her power, feel the boiling rush of it trying to push to the surface. Ready to start analyzing the members of the group, people's reaction to them, Joe's behavior and demeanor. She clamped down on it, reinforcing the walls that held it back. She couldn't afford to be casual with her power. Her reserves were at their limit and the barriers containing it were paper thin. She had barely enough to make it through the meeting. Through what she thought the meeting was going to be. That was out the window now, meaning she had to be insanely conservative if she wanted to avoid being floored by a cape-migraine and having to be carried out of the bar.

The last week had been pure hell. She didn't know any other way to describe it. The way her power worked was the ultimate double-edged sword. A reserve she had to carefully budget and stretch while downplaying the limitation to everyone. One misstep and she could be laid up at a critical moment, or barely functional through a crisis.

Which was exactly what had happened. Not only had she needed to push herself harder than ever, past limits that should never be broken, she'd found her power failing her when she needed it the most. Not just the runaway extrapolations that happened when she focused on an issue past what available information could cover, when her power started making assumptions and modeling connections on its own. No, this was outright failure. Probably the first true failure of her power she had experienced.

It didn't make sense. She didn't know how March had done it or why March could do it. That was one of the worst parts of the situation. March, able to shut down thinker powers, also completely obscured the mechanism of how she had shut down thinker powers. She was blind even to the forces that were restraining her.

Worse was how far the woman's influence had spread. A single person who was able to subvert an entire class of powers… well, it was unlikely, but parahuman abilities were built upon the unlikely. With the near infinite variation, with every cross application, unpredictable interaction, and previously unheard-of expression of abilities, it was far from impossible for a person to be able to subvert thinker analysis.

No, the problem was that it wasn't limited to the person. March's influence spread through every person she coordinated. It was possible the effect only worked so long as her timing instructions were precisely followed, but when every agent of the ABB had a ticking bomb in their head ready to explode at the first deviation from the plan, that factor suddenly became a non-issue. The cloud of impossibility had spread through the city, obscuring every interaction that involved the ABB.

It had been infuriating. Beyond that, it had taken a time when she desperately needed her power to be in top form and reduced her to a wreck. Forced to examine information in isolation, looking only to where March's influence was least prevalent in the hopes of finding something workable. She'd been struggling to pull anything of use out of the quagmire that choked the city, trying to find some way out of what was clearly an impending disaster.

And then the disaster happened anyway. She glanced around at the scattered groups. The disaster had come and passed, leaving an aftermath that nobody knew how to handle. Not with Joe looming over the city, casting all futures into doubt. This summit was the only chance to move forward without another mass conflict, and now that was looking less likely than ever.

Thanks to Joe.

She closed her eyes briefly, cutting off a surge of her power as it attempted to burst through the barriers she had set to restrain it. Sounds echoed across the room. Faultline's crew was shifting nervously. The chair Gregor had moved adjacent to their booth was creaking under his weight. The man was being cautious about stressing it as he turned to watch Joe's group. Nervous about the situation, did not want to cause damage to his seat, repercussions for the team. Devoted, focused on being an asset, not a burden. Concerned about what this could mean. Nervous.

Joe's group was not concerned. Motions between members suggested comradery. Multiple distinct perspectives and reactions between them. Lack of formality, suggestion of emotional connections.

With a breath the walls came back up. Her power receded, saving herself from the type of runaway analysis that would leave her with a comprehensive understanding of trivial details while putting her in a state of complete incapacitation when critical information was being presented. Her power did this, pushed itself to be used and then punished her for using it. Her tolerances and reserves had grown over time, but at a glacial pace, and after over a week of hell she had nothing to spare.

Joe's presence didn't help with her attempts to hold her power back. There had been moments when her analysis seemed to take on a life of its own, when everything flowed perfectly and she could function at a level that should have left her either burned out or spinning off to useless speculation. It had happened more often when she had joined the Undersiders, taken to the field rather than providing support assessments. And it had happened with Joe.

Was that why she had been so confident? Past the initial shock of their first meeting, the collision between their thinker powers in the aftermath of Oni Lee's defeat, Joe had been an open book. Maybe that was the problem. If someone wasn't hiding anything then there was no drive to look deeper. When she finally took the time to get a read on Joe she found him to be passive, reserved, and extremely dependent on his power. So dependent that she could read every interplay between him and his thinker ability as it piloted him through life.

When had that image broken down? When did the first cracks appear? She wasn't sure. She hadn't been looking for them. Possibly when he dropped off their first order, work that stood above his already lofty promises. Or in the aftermath of the bank job, when he was clearly conflicted but pushing through regardless. Determination misread for acceptance.

That was the problem, the core issue, and the reason she couldn't trust anything about him. On reflection it was clear. He hadn't been passive or accepting or anything, and his reserved attitude was a strategic decision. Joe had known his power was growing. Possibly not to the extent it had, but he knew he was getting more powerful. Would get more powerful. And she had missed it. Misinterpreted it. It was an understandable mistake, but that was little comfort when facing the drastic scale of the situation.

It was so easy to see 'I can live with this because I have no other choice' instead of 'I can live with this because eventually I'll be strong enough that the issue will be trivial.'. It was because Joe had been wired for the first option. A history of helplessness in the face of situations he could only endure let him play the role of begrudging acceptance all too well.

That was what made the situation so impossible. Joe was perfectly willing to put up with a situation, right until he wasn't. He had hard limits that would come suddenly and severely. Points where he would break from patterns and deploy new abilities of terrifying power with reckless abandon.

Power growth. That was the core cause behind the chaos that seemed innate to his being. Not steady increases or a reduction of limits, but sudden, drastic increases in power that even he couldn't anticipate. The kind of things that could take him from an entirely sincere agreement to one course of action to launching into an assault that set the entire city on the path to destruction.

She couldn't trust anything when it came to Joe. She couldn't even trust that he'd be the same person from one encounter to the next. She could tell he was downplaying the impact of his power, practicing control and moderating, at least as much as he was capable of, but it wasn't enough. Not enough for stability of consistency or anything else that was needed to salvage a situation that was rapidly spiraling out of control.

A spiral that had led to this moment. To the impending disaster that was slowly unfolding for them. No, not just for them. For everyone. She took another breath and cracked open her eyes. At the edge of her vision, she could see Coil coolly observing the scene.

Joe's other plan. Well, less of a plan and more of an assurance. A promise of help. That kind of promise coming from Apeiron, it was the kind of thing anyone in the world would dream of. The assurance that he would act on their behalf, would help them 'get out'.

Joe was gunning for Coil. Or gunning for the person he had yet to identify as Coil. He was gunning for him in that unique way that only Joe could, by doing absolutely nothing until he got enough power to be sure he could handle it. It was no wonder she had missed that. No other cape on the planet operated on that principle. The casual ambition of it was almost offensive. A decision to just slide into prominence with no preparation. It flew in the face of all the work she had done, all the schemes and deception and carefully balanced reports, everything she had put in place to somehow escape from the shadow looming over her, and Joe could accomplish the same thing by doing nothing but waiting.

It should have been ridiculous. She would have happily claimed as much a week ago. There was no conceivable growth curve that would allow a single cape to cleanly dismantle Coil's operation. Then Thursday night had shown what Joe thought about 'conceivable growth curves'. More than the power that had allowed him to storm the ABB and fight off Uber and Leet. More than the technical mastery that had fought Dragon to a standstill. More than the new abilities that had emerged out of nowhere during his visit to the hideout.

It should have been enough. It should have been a display that put her fears to rest and opened the door for the endgame. It was earlier than she would have preferred. Not enough time to finish her work, to ensure safe dismantling of Coil's operations, to protect the Undersiders from the aftermath. But with what Joe showed that it could work. There were ways around the defense provided by Coil's powers. With enough force and resources, resources that seemed to appear out of nowhere whenever Joe needed them, they could do it.

Or they would have been able to. That was before the Travelers. Before Coil had brought her into his confidence, to provide comforting assessments for his new team of mercenary capes. Assurances that yes, Apeiron would be able to help them. To help Noelle.

It was insane. Even for Coil, it was insane. She was surprised she had been able to bluff her way through the briefing without screaming. To secure the Travelers, to fully bring them on board, Coil had provided her a full assessment of their situation, their abilities, and their liabilities.

Noelle's presence was a nightmare. The kind of cliché doomsday contingency that was only supposed to exist in bad movies. Coil knew this, knew what monstrous cape represented. Knew that Noelle's presence meant that any move against him would be unbelievably disastrous. The Travelers didn't. To them the man was a lifeline, their last hope to help their 'friend', overlooking the deteriorated state of their relationships. A team hanging together by a thread carrying around a monster who could end the world.

And they wanted Apeiron to help her. They seriously wanted to take Joe, possibly the most powerful cape on the planet, someone with abilities beyond any logic or reason, and put him in a room with a creature who created evil clones of parahumans. Who had, on multiple occasions, created clones that had wreaked havoc until they'd been killed.

There was no level of security, no assurance that could be provided that would be worth that risk. The fact that it was even being considered was insanity of the highest level. Even having someone like Noelle in the same state as Apeiron was an unacceptable risk.

The Travelers didn't care. What assessment her power had been able to pull from the team was almost sad, or it would have been if it hadn't been so worrying. They were so fixated on the prospect of a cure, or getting help and escaping their situation that they didn't even consider the risks. Too long living next to the danger. They'd become numb to it. An S-Class threat that could end the world was just another member of the group, someone to be pitied rather than feared.

There was something off about the mentality of that team, more than their circumstances could explain. She couldn't place it, but for a different reason than the obstructions she had been struggling with until March's death. It was a kind of twisted instability that wove itself through every member of that group. A subtle wrongness that she probably would never have noticed without full access in the wake of March's influence vanishing from the city.

Coil didn't care. Either he didn't see it, or he assumed his power was sufficient to protect him. Just another contingency meant to stack the deck in his favor. It was displayed so blatantly that she had to wonder if he knew. If somehow he had discerned her plans, picked apart her actions, his subversions. He loved to hint at the actions he had taken in his disposable timelines. Acquiring analysis that she didn't remember providing, revealing secrets that could only be acquired through extremely costly action, or even implying consequences for crimes that no one would remember.

But none of that had happened. Mercifully, Coil had been as pressed as her during March's tenure. He had acquired a new thinker, a powerful precognitive that provided assurance and security, but had failed him completely during the rise of the ABB. Now the security provided by that power was functioning again, just in time for it to provide another obstacle to any plans she might attempt.

Coil wasn't stupid. As much as she hated him, she had to admit that. He didn't trust her and would happily play any card he could to remind her of her place. Of the fact that she was owned by him. And in the aftermath of the most dramatic cape fight in the city's history he proudly showed his cards. A precognitive to head off any treachery, a second team to strengthen his influence, and a doomsday contingency waiting in his basement. Just in case she got any idea about playing Joe against him, he made sure she knew what the cost would be.

Somehow, as a small miracle, he wasn't concerned about Joe. Despite everything, Coil continued to trust her initial assessment. Continued to believe that Joe would seek a policy of non-interference. Of holding contracts and staying out of matters that didn't directly involve him or his interests. It was something she had been sure to play into, but it amazed her how firmly Coil had held to that impression.

Because he didn't know. He didn't know about the sudden shifts, the way Joe could be completely on board for a plan, then radically alter his stance the instant his power drew him in a new direction. Coil didn't understand just how unstable Joe was on a fundamental level. He saw what he wanted to see and believed he could manage the situation.

Just like she had. It was a reflection she didn't enjoy. An unflattering comparison on the lines of all mastermind thinkers being alike. One manipulator is the same as any other. As if how Coil recruited and managed her was anything like her own efforts to stabilize her team.

She glanced around and realized how much emphasis should be put on the fact that they were just 'efforts'. Maybe if she'd had a week to deal with things she could have managed the aftermath of that fight. The fact that it had been a victory, if a technical one, only carried them so far. They were the ones to walk out of there, not the ABB, but it didn't feel like a win, and felt even less like one once the cost and implication set in.

But she didn't have time for her team. Not with Coil's demands, not with March obscuring everything, and not with Joe upending the board every two days. At the moment the Undersiders' position had never looked stronger, but they were barely a team anymore. They were held together through obligation and trauma, not any shared cause. It was one more piece of uncertainty, one more contributing factor to the crumbling foundation of her situation.

Their only source of stability was ironically the least stable cape in the city. Joe was holding the team together, both through debt and material support. Both she and Brian had pushed hard for at least the appearance of a separation between them. Too many people already assumed they were Apeiron's team.

Apeiron's team. Her eyes darted over to the fully occupied table, then quickly pulled away before she could get drawn into a spiral of analysis. It was hard. So hard to hold back. It wasn't just the difficulty of restraining her power. She wanted to know. She wanted to know everything, to pick apart the situation and figure out what was happening, to tear into the secrets that were being kept from her and lay them bare so that she could regain some shred of control over the situation.

Her mind flashed back to a time in her she had worked very hard to bury and forget. The aftermath. That horrible time after the wake and the funeral, after all the events and commitments had been seen to and there was nothing left but questions. The burning 'why' that nobody could answer, not really. She wasn't sure why she tried, why she spoke up, but it had been all that was needed to center all that unstable pressure directly on her. The suggestion that she had noticed something was wrong was taken to mean that she knew everything. That she could tell what was happening and just didn't care. The whole world crumbling around her as her parents built their own version of what had happened, the comforting lie that could insulate them from any responsibility.

You can't control a situation that you don't understand. She had lived through that before, and she wouldn't go back. She promised herself that. Even when she was hungry on the streets she hadn't relented. When Coil's men had snatched her off the Boardwalk she nodded and played the long game, never giving up. Observe. Understand. Control.

But that didn't work with Joe. A man who didn't know what his own power would bring couldn't be understood, predicted, and stood as the antithesis of controllable factors. No, the only practical way forward was under his authority. And as practical as it was, she couldn't accept it. Couldn't allow herself to accept it.

She was sitting in a costume that he had made. An incredible costume, light and comfortable and stylish, but most of all protective. Every costume functioned in a different way, but when Joe said bulletproof he had meant bulletproof, not bullet resistant. The band on her wrist housed a hidden supercomputer coupled with the most advanced scanners imaginable. Even the pittance of features she could access set it worlds apart from anything else she'd be able to acquire. A room full of computer towers, of laptops and tablets and anything else she could find, all out done by a trinket thrown together in a morning's work.

All of it was freely given. There were no strings, physical or metaphorical. Not even electronic monitoring. Power, beauty, and comfort, all for the taking. It was the most enticing form of entrapment imaginable.

Her parents had tried to trap her in the house, bound through imposed guilt and obligation. Coil had built a web of fear, constructed out of a command of the situation that could not be challenged. In his own way, Joe was worse than either of them. He handed you the chains and let you put them on yourself. He furnished your cell and left the door unlocked, waiting for you to walk in. It was a prison you could leave at any time, because it wasn't force that was keeping you there. It was something much harder to struggle against. It was kindness.

She felt her stomach roil as she remembered Joe's last visit to the hideout. There had been so much turmoil bound to a single meeting. The announcement that Joe was fighting Dragon. The issuing of unbelievably generous terms for their debt to him. The casual delivery of an unbelievable fortune in tinkertech. Joe's commitment to help them, help her, against Coil. Any one of those actions could be seen as momentous and world changing, but they weren't what kept circling to the front of her mind. They weren't what twisted her stomach and made her break out in sweat. No, what caused that was the memory of how he had healed her.

The healing was a mystery in itself. She was nearly certain some form of nanotechnology was involved, but the means of directing or storing it were completely opaque to her, and that didn't even get into the question of how it could have been developed. It was like Joe had just been handed a collection of advanced nanotech to do with what he may.

It was a ludicrous idea. Had been a ludicrous idea. Her eyes jumped to the crowded table, briefly settling on the golden armored suit, which was attempting to minimize contact between itself and the tablecloth. She dragged her eyes back before her power could open up again.

She had been certain Joe worked alone. Every read, every indication from his all-to-open power indicated as much. His power made him unstable, but not to the point of spontaneously manifesting social connections where none existed. But somehow he had acquired a complete team to support him, just like somehow he obtained advanced medical nanotech.

He had offered it to her freely, casually. A top up to make the discussion easier, tossed out with all the care of asking if he could make her a cup of tea. And once again she got to experience that miracle of science. The same technology used to save her from a fate worse than death was dispatched without any indication of its value. Because to him, it didn't have value. It didn't have a limit on use, or a maintenance commitment, or any personal cost. Technology that could save someone from the brink of death, cure the incurable, and it was being used as a pick-me-up.

That wasn't what did it. She knew the rush that came from that effect, the feeling of being healed to the peak of health, a level you could only experience on your best days. Away from the chaos and stress of the storage yard she could appreciate it more, really understand how marvelous it was. Or she could have, if not for the splitting headache that came from pushing her power to the limit for four days straight.

And then Joe's healing effect reached her brain. The very idea should have been terrifying. The potential for error or subversion was incalculable, much less the kind of work that was needed to develop technology that could repair brain damage. But Joe was completely confident in it. He'd been completely confident on that Saturday night when he healed Taylor and when he was repairing concussions with all the effort of placing a band-aid.

No, she could deal with the evident fact that he could heal brains, that he was confident in doing so. She was ready for that. What she wasn't ready for was the way he banished the feedback of her power.

People equate thinker headaches to migraines. That's only because there isn't a more painful experience to compare them to. A thinker headache isn't a migraine. Migraines can be treated. They can be slept off or managed. Thinker headaches are torture. With some of the potential reveals about the nature of powers, assuming Joe's theories were correct, they might actually be intended as such. A directed, painful feedback meant to drive you towards certain behaviors. She didn't find the idea comforting, particularly with that image that had flashed in her mind when his robot had crashed in a bloom of green sparks, but the horrific nature of the pain always took precedence, overshadowing any abstract theories as to its motivations.

And Joe just turned it off. She could still remember that instant. Going from a complete wreck to absolutely pain free. Every thought and sensation that had been drowned out by the persistent agony suddenly floating to the surface. For an instant she was light. She was free. She was a person again.

And then Joe moved on and the pain came flooding back. It wasn't actually worse than it had been before, but the whiplash of returning from complete freedom to a tortured exitance made it seem a hundred times more intense. If it stopped there it would have been fine. She could have made her way back, dealt with the pain and moved on with her life. But that wasn't what happened. Joe saw what happened and he took away the pain. Again.

It wasn't manipulative. That might be the worst part. The part she couldn't fight against. If there was some nefarious motive or scheme, some intent to subvert her through abuse of power, then she could have put up her guard and pushed past the incident. One more challenge in her cape career that she would have conquered. But there was nothing, nothing that she could fight or resent. He saw she was in pain and he moved to help her.

And she hated it. She hated the weakness she had felt in that moment. The way she had pressed into his hand, desperate for the healing to continue, for the pain to stay away. She had held out against her parents when they tried to manipulate her. She had survived on the street without any dependencies or obligations. Even when Coil came she held out, first in her mind and then through whatever subversions she could manage.

She had withstood all of those challenges, but in that moment, with that magical technology holding back the pain, her resolve had vanished. She had been ready to sign on, to take any deal, do whatever it took to stay there. Ready to fall in line in a way she never would with Coil. To be whatever was needed to stay right where she was.

It hadn't lasted. Joe had patched things up, coming up with a temporary solution. The same natural high that carried them through the fight with Bakuda tailored to let her function. And in the aftermath she had been ashamed of how she had felt, of what she was willing to do. That was the danger of Joe, of his power and technology. It didn't even need to be abused in order to break people. Just the presence of that kind of power warped the world around it. It could drive people to desperation, casually taking them to places they had promised themselves they would never go.

And it was being wielded by a college drop out with serious family and emotional issues and an unstable relationship with the very aspects of his own power. A power he tossed around with destructive irreverence. The last week had been a case study in the damage that could be caused by a well-intentioned idiot with the power of a god.

And that was the biggest concern. Joe was 'well intentioned', there was no question there, but telling exactly what those intentions were or how they would play out was anyone's guess. That wasn't supposed to apply to her. Where everyone else stood around confused she was the one smiling in the back, playing the angles no one else could see. But not with Joe. Not with that power that pulled him in directions that nothing could predict.

Joe was focused on the bank job, adamant about it. An investigation would bring him to the kidnapping of Dinah Alcott. She knew Coil had political aspirations and interests within the civic government. The mayor had been leveraging every asset at his disposal to recover his niece, only slowing due to the disaster that had unfolded. It was possible that Coil's plans had been delayed by the attacks, that he would be making an effort to leverage the girl once the city was stable enough that her safety could tip the mayor's hand on some critical issue.

Possible, but not likely. Coil had deployed too many resources to acquire the girl. She was reasonably certain the out-of-city promotional event that had tied up the Protectorate had been orchestrated by one of Coil's shell companies. Various steps had been taken to minimize the civic response even beyond the disruption at the bank. And most of all, and perhaps most damning, if it was just a political matter he wouldn't have kept it from her.

It wasn't a comforting idea, but Coil would not have hesitated to consult her on the matter, both of the kidnapping and the aftermath. At the very least she would have seen a pattern in the analysis he requested from her. More focus on civic works, or profiles of councilmen, something to that effect. Instead, there was radio silence. It was possible she'd been questioned in an alternate timeline, but that didn't seem likely, not for something as complicated as political leverage. No, something else was going on, something bad, and that worried her.

Joe tolerated things right until the moment he didn't. No middle ground, no posturing, no warning shots. When it came to problems he would either bear the full brunt of them, or unleash an unbridled apocalypse. Apeiron as a continuous presence in the city would have been much more manageable than Apeiron randomly exploding from underground in a form nobody could predict.

Joe was willing to work with her. So far that had consisted of leaving her to her work and waiting for the call. The thought made her a bit lightheaded. With a word she could call down Apeiron on Coil's operation. The moment she was ready, all of that power could be unleashed.

Or it could have been, if she had acted before the Traveler's arrived. With Noelle's presence the consequence for a less than perfect strike went from ruin and exposure to the potential end of the world. And she wasn't exaggerating. Risk equals probability times consequences. When the consequences were on the level of an evil version of Apeiron being set loose the probability needed to be nearly negligible before you reached an acceptable level of risk.

But that relied on her still being able to manipulate the circumstances, and Joe allowing her the time to do so. Miraculously, the first seemed to be true. Coil was maintaining his diminished view of Joe in the face of all evidence, though she was helping things along as much as she could. Slight shifts in the phrasing of analysis could allow confirmation bias to run rampant. She was still making progress, building inroads to the organization, subverting funds and accounts. Her power was working again. With enough time she could do this.

But would she have time? Would any of them have time? Joe was willing to let her set the pace of how to deal with Coil, but wasn't restraining himself on other fronts. Joe had brought a team, and in doing so completely upended every assumption about the structure of the summit.

She allowed herself to look over at the table, clamping down on her power as she did. Too many questions were burning in her mind. Who were those people? How had Joe found them? She knew from experience how far Joe's technology could carry a team. It was possible he had just grabbed a random assortment of capes and outfitted them for the meeting. While the idea of Apeiron advertising for teammates was amusing, it wasn't likely, even without her power.

No, those were strong capes. Even without a full assessment she could tell that. She could pick it up from the way they walked into the bar. Every one of them moved with a personal confidence. Joe had outfitted them, and she knew what that meant, but they weren't putting emphasis on his equipment. It was a noted accessory, not something that was focused on to any great degree. The capes were strong even without Joe's equipment. Everything suggested they were strong on the level of what Joe's equipment could accomplish.

No, not universally. The girl in the power armor was treating the suit with higher regard than anyone else showed to their own equipment, and the golden armored figure carried nothing with Joe's signature style. Everyone else moved with self-confidence that barely acknowledged the presence of Joe's technology.

Joe had found six powerful capes. Six more possibilities for things to go wrong with Noelle. Six more sources of a doomsday scenario.

Lisa took a breath and slowly allowed her power to open up. The slightest weakening of the walls caused it to flood out on a level she had rarely experienced.

Comradery/affection between group. No organized command structure. Deference given primary to Apeiron with peer relationship between other members. Comfortable as a group. Likely an extensive period of contact unrelated to professional activities.

Tattletale blinked. Her power was suggesting Joe had known them longer than he'd know the Undersiders. Known them longer than the estimated time since his trigger event. She refocused her analysis, trying to break away from any more erroneous assumptions.

The woman. Mid-twenties. Hair organic, but not a natural expression. Power modified. Muscle structure indicates dancer/model background. Clothing selected to enhance impact of appearance. Appearance significant. Mathematical expression of beauty through expression of symmetry and golden ratio. Aware of beauty. Unused to reaction to beauty. Cloistered existence and/or recent changes to body.

She blinked. Evidence of Joe's healing technology? Something that had brought an injured or disabled cape back into the field and in what even she had to admit was stunning form. It was decidedly off not receiving a constant stream of negative characteristics and personal flaws from looking at the woman that way. She noted a lack of personal interest, but for once it was a conscious lack of interest rather than disgust borne from a flow of repulsive physical details and personal quirks. Possibly the first time since she triggered where she could honestly admit to not being interested in someone.

But that wasn't helpful in this situation. She shifted her attention to the cat and let her powers open by the slightest amount.

Cat. Somewhat formal posture. Formal for a cat. Possibly military trained, high probability of service. Military cat. Intensely familiar with spear. Collapsed rifle in small of back, easily within reach. Cat has unique dynamic within group. Less deferential to Apeiron, some authority over other members of group. Second in command? Second cat in command? Feathers on head and tail biological, part of body. Lacks support structures or musculature. Possible parahuman mutation, possible manifestation of power. Parahuman cat. Paracat?

She wasn't going to get anything more useful, not unless she opened up with more of her power than she could spare. This was prep work for the meat of the meeting. She would need to save her reserves for when the summit started. She shifted again.

Armor occupied. Was occupied during recovery of Apeiron. Minimal alterations to armor design, no rebuild. No replacement. Older work than equipment used by other members. Movements convey pride in armor. Personal attachment? Dynamic suggests level of separation from the rest of group. Isolated? Possible weak link?

Tattletale blinked. Trying to figure out ways to splinter the group was unlikely to be helpful. One member being less connected than the others wasn't unusual. The fact that the various members seemed to have individual motivation and distinct connections suggested the group had formed naturally, at least to a certain extent. It did banish the possibility that this was the result of a series of rapid recruitments, or that Joe was fielding drones to fill out his numbers.

She shifted to the man in the flight suit. Aside from the cat he was the most conventional member of the team. Strip away Joe technology and he could have passed for any other cape in the city, or even looked at home drinking in a place like Somer's Rock.

Late twenties male. Approximately six foot three, slight uncertainty due to helmet. Lack of interest/engagement with activity. Not lack of attention. Motions of body appear smooth, but are conducted at high speed to extreme precision. Minimal movements, efficiency in action. Highly observant but not engaged with current conversation.

That was frightening. What seemed to be completely smooth motions were actually being conducted in tiny bursts. Sub-micron scale movements with massive amounts of power behind them. The same principle Joe used through the mechanical assemblies he wore under his costume, but the effect applied to the man's entire body without a support system facilitating it. There was an immense amount of controlled power sitting in that chair and held in a way that masked it from all casual observation.

The armor came next. A glimmering golden suit cast in an identical design to the mech that Joe deployed during his fight with Lung. It appeared to be confirmation that the mech was deployed for Joe, not by Joe. Only her certainty that Joe worked alone had prevented her from expanding upon the theories. The design based on a Japanese cartoon series. The assembly more basic and utilitarian than anything Joe had shown since his first night out. It suggested another tinker, or tinker-like allies, and this seemed to confirm it. She focused the lightest touch of her power on whoever was in that suit.

Suit solid metal. Possibly remotely operated. Possible non-human physiology. Suit's mass does not match density or composition. Evidence of mass manipulation. Lack of internal mechanics. Sub surface functions driven by direct manipulation of metal. Metal granular and coordinated. Possible parahuman expression, possible programmed memory alloy, possible microscopic mechanical components. Ignoring conversation. Ignoring staff. Ignoring other parties. Focus on structure, furniture, and utilities of the room. Displeasure evident.

She swallowed as she broke her focus from the suit and shifted towards the final member of the group. A three-foot-tall mink-like humanoid form composed of glowing red fibers. It was wearing a long black cross between an overcoat and a cloak that allowed the red glow to bleed through seams and openings. It was like an inversion of the effect generated by Grue's costume, highlighting the glow rather than outlining the darkness.

Composition identical to fibers displayed following Apeiron's injury by March. Individual fiber length extreme, continuous through body. Individual fiber diameter possibly subatomic. Complex structures formed from fiber. Current form emulation of biological systems. Organs present, emulated from fibers. Not limited to current form. Not limited. No limits.

She shook off that chain of thought before she could get caught in it.

Apparent inaudible communication. Slight modulation of discrete points on surface. Ultrasonic? Infrared? Data being transmitted through unknown means. Regarded with affection by Apeiron. No concern from majority of group. Mild concern from woman in armored suit. Concern from Apeiron! Concern fading. Concern not related to personal safety. Movement of waitress tracked. Relaxation when waitress moved away from fibers. Fibers caused extensive damage through brief contact with March's wrist. Fibers cause extensive damage on contact. Fibers were/are present within Apeiron's body. Fibers expressed through forward lock of hair. Rest of hair unnaturally colored through surface structural manipulation. No dye present.

She wrenched away before the limited use of her power could go off on a tangent regarding Apeiron's hair care routine.

Fibers react with living tissue. Fiber parasitic. Fibers remain parasitic while in consolidated form. Lighting displays related to energy expenditure/feeding. Pattern of display indicated feeding. Currently engaged in parasitic feeding. Source of parasitic feeding. Motions of glove on right hand do not map to motions of fibers or structure of hand. Glove independent from fiber organism. Glove living/dead. Glove clothing/construct/creature. Glove being used as food source. Glove not possible food source. Eye on glove lacks musculature to move independently. Eye able to move independently. Eye tracking individual members of group, following conversation. Glove aware of surroundings. Glove cannot be aware. Glove aware of attention. Glove making eye contact. Glove cannot make eye contact. Glove engaged with connection. Glove conveying greeting. Glove eager to meet delicious friend. Glove is-

"HERE IS SCREAMING."

Lisa's head shot back, slamming against the wall of the booth. Her heart was pounding and she blinked away the visions that flashed in front of her eyes. Thousands of voices cast over a twisting landscape. The scene faded from her mind almost like its existence was being rejected. At the table the fiber-mink had shifted its hand, moving the glove out of sight.

Her. Her hand. Despite the danger and impossibility of its existence the creature was being regarded with comradery. She was a member of Joe's team, and a precious one.

That sentiment extended to all of them. To every person sitting at the table. Joe was glad to have them with him, not for their power, but for their companionship. It wasn't a team held together through money or fear or obligation. It was loyalty. Joe had a loyal, supportive team behind him.

As if he wasn't overpowered enough already.

"Tatts? You alright?" Brian asked.

She took a deep breath. "Yeah. Just got a little spooked." That was a blatant lie. She wasn't alright, and she was far more than a little spooked. She struggled to hold up the walls of her power, keeping it from diving into whatever that was. All she was left with was a mess of impossibilities and contradictory information, but that was still better than getting sucked into that nightmare.

"The glove, right?" Alec asked. "If it makes you feel better, and I know it won't, that glove has a nervous system, but the red thing doesn't." He grinned. "Interesting, huh?"

"Any bugs that even brush against those fibers die instantly." Taylor added, then quickly leaned in. "I'm not trying to mark them or anything, it's just something I noticed."

"It's dangerous?" Brian asked, craning his neck to check.

"She's dangerous." Lisa warned.

"It's a she?" Alec asked.

"Well, yeah." Rachel interjected to the surprise of everyone's surprise. "You guys recognize it, right?"

Alec shifted uncomfortably. "Uh, yeah. Same red stuff that was spinning out of him after he got hit."

"Not that part." Rachel corrected, looking at their confused reaction. "From later in the fight? Right before it went over the bay."

There was a second where the entire group processed what she was saying.

"Dino-wolf?" Alec asked in a whisper. "You're talking about the transformation? What does the red death yarn have to do with the time he went beast mode?"

Rachel just stared at him like it was the most obvious thing in the world, but Lisa's power was already filling in the gaps. Body structure, hybridized features, emulated musculature, and instinctual overtones to movement and behavior.

"It's the same effect. The same thing that let him transform; it's applied to her." Her mind was spinning. Everything she knew told her that was the emergence of a new power, some ability that emerged mid-fight. But the same effect was being demonstrated by the fiber creature… who Joe was doting on to a greater degree than any of the rest of his team. Evidence of a connection, and a significant one.

"Well, that's one more terrifying thing on top of a pile of terrifying things. Anything else we should be concerned about?" Alec asked.

"Probably plenty." Grue answered him. "But for the moment we have bigger concerns." Regent gave him a skeptical look, but the older boy pushed on. "I'm going to have to sit at that table with Joe and the heads of every gang in the city and I'm guessing they'll be as off balance as we are, if not worse." Lisa nodded. "Powers like that being off balance is not a good thing in most circumstances. And this probably throws our prep work out the window?"

Lisa swallowed. "Most definitely. This is going to have serious repercussions." She checked on Coil once more in the corner of her eye. In any other circumstances she would expect a body double with a remote connection, but that was unlikely to work against Joe even if he hadn't arrived with backup. Maybe it had been attempted in another timeline, but they had the actual man here and now.

In any other circumstance that would be a tempting moment to try a deception strike, but that would both violate the truce and could only be done with certainty if both timelines could be accounted for. No, she was stuck with this. Stuck trying to manage an unstable situation that would probably deteriorate rapidly as the evening went on. They were still waiting on the Merchants and Empire, neither of which was aware of the recent upset.

"I need everything you can give me." Grue said. "Everything I need to know before this meeting kicks off."

"I'll feed you what I can, what I get as the other parties arrive. Everyone's going to be off balance." Which was clearly Joe's plan. Well, he never did things by half measures.

"Who are they?" Taylor asked the most obvious question, and the one none of them had an answer for. Even she didn't have anything that wasn't inherently contradictory. Everything about how they interacted indicated Joe had known the woman in the armor for months, probably much longer, but there was no indication of her presence, or the presence of any of the other new arrivals, before they walked in the door.

No, that wasn't right. There had been hints, but hints buried in the chaos of the attacks and then dismissed based on her own personal knowledge and expertise. She did not like being wrong. She did not like missing details, or overlooking obvious facts, and she did not like feeling stupid. But there was no other way she could look at this situation.

That was the problem. How she had looked at the situation, or rather how she hadn't. He didn't trust her and she couldn't understand him. They were working together, but only on parallel tracks. Working towards the same goal, some vague future where Coil is removed from the picture and they are 'safe', probably with very different definitions of what counts as safe. They hadn't been communicating, hadn't been coordinating, and hadn't been sharing information. She couldn't trust him with her secrets for fear of how he'd act on them, and he didn't trust her with his because of her own entanglements. And once again, he had managed to fly off in an impossible direction the moment she took her eyes off of him.

"I don't know." The three words were the most painful ones in Lisa's vocabulary, but she was getting used to the feel of them, out of necessity if nothing else. "They're strong. Not Apeiron's level, but at least in the same ballpark, even without the gear he's made for them."

"He does keep finding ways to impress." Alec quipped, his eyes wandering towards the woman again. Lisa shook her head and turned her attention back to her drink. The next group would be arriving soon and she needed to save her reserves. Hopefully nothing would happen that would burn her out before the meeting proper started up.

"Um, Tattletale?" Came Alec's unsteady voice. Lisa glanced up and saw the all too familiar contemplative posture from Apeiron. The one everyone in the city had learned to recognize, and fear.

"Fuck."

Addendum Joe

This time I was ready for it. After the barrage of major powers from the previous night, I had started keeping closer track of the way my reach developed. Of each missed connection. The pattern of failed attempts to secure powers that would lead to one of those burning novas of power. Really, it was a simple matter, and one I probably should have started tracking much earlier. But earlier I had still been learning the mechanics of my power. Without repeated examples to draw upon I couldn't prepare for what I now know to expect.

Not that there was much I could do to prepare. Really, it just let me know when the potential for a major power was on its way. Five failed connections from the point when I received Nano-technician told the story. Misses from the Vehicles constellation, the Magic constellation, that new, unknown constellation, the Knowledge constellation, and the Magic constellation again had set the stage. I knew how far my reach had grown. I was ready for a major power to arrive. When the Size constellation approached I was prepared.

And no major mote came. A larger than normal one, but not the overwhelming, reality altering power of an exploding star. Just a standard power of the same size as Master Builder or Nanite Removal and Control. Significant, but not world shattering. But the fact that the power hadn't turned reality inside out didn't mean it was weak. On the contrary, some of my most useful powers had been from motes of this size, and this was proving to be a seriously useful power.

Because now I was a tinker.

An actual parahuman tinker, not the pretend classification I had previously had. My parahuman power had just given me a complete parahuman power. It was mind boggling, both because something like that was apparently possible, and because of the revelation that came with it.

Tinkers cheated like motherfuckers.

I mean, I understood that tinkers didn't work the way I did, but I badly underestimated how much heavy lifting was left up to the power. Really, it was no wonder someone like Squealer could be a successful tinker if this is the way the power worked. It was like it took the technology repository, crafting skills, design abilities, and material science from a dozen of my powers, set them to autopilot, and then jammed them into someone's brain.

What's more, it was built to be used out of the box, so to speak. No obstacles of inhuman materials or archaic practices. You had the need for materials, and tools, and that was about it. Otherwise, everything was provided for you. It wasn't quite autopilot, but it was close.

Just getting the base abilities of a tinker would have been enough to make this power stand out, but this wasn't a normal parahuman power. It had the brakes taken off. The insane complexity that characterized tinkertech? That was optional for me. I could design understandable technology, or set up mass production and automated assembly without the guidance of a power capturing precision conditions. And more than anything else, my power integrated with my other abilities.

The power was called Miniaturization and Efficiency. In addition to holding a staggering volume of scientific and technical knowledge, it specialized in exactly what you would expect, only to a level that could only be described as insane. Fusion reactors the size of watch batteries, hyper efficient systems using a tiny sliver of the power they should require, and an innate understanding of nanotech that took my already exceptional talents to an even higher level.

What's more, the principles applied to all of my other work, and not just to technology. I could miniaturize almost anything down to those levels, technical or not, and apply the same level of efficiency to all of my works, even magitech or pure magic.

But that wasn't the limit of it. Like so many powers this came with support items, in this case an entire cache of related tinkertech. I was past the point of zoning out to focus on my power and was currently in communication with my duplicates.

"Uh, what's going on? Is this a bad one?" Aisha asked. The question was delivered silently through her helmet coms in contrast to our general policy of speaking out loud while at the table. Generally, being seen to communicate like normal people put others at ease. It also meant that when we did need to speak privately we had more cover for the activity.

'Not bad' I replied through my implant. 'Just different and significant. Really significant, if I'm correct on this. I'm just having the duplicates check on the new items and-'

I was cut off by a message from the workshop. 'Checking the gear now. Advance stuff, in line with the specialization. Tools, materials and basic equipment.' The first transmitted.

'And…?' I asked.

'And you were right. It's mostly halberds.'

Aisha turned towards me. 'Halberds? What does that have to do with anything?'

I shifted uncomfortably, my expanded senses telling me exactly how the display was affecting Tattletale. Actually, I had gotten a full showing of her levels of panic and despair as she attempted to analyze our group. Honestly, I was on the fence about informing her beforehand, but there was really no simple way of breaking that news. Furthermore, as soon as it got to Tattletale, it would have gotten to Coil, and then to anyone else. At least this way she had deniability with her boss.

'Okay.' I transmitted. 'You know the theory of how I'm kind of absorbing powers from other universes, or versions of myself from them?'

"Yeah." She said, drawing out the word.

I did my best not to display any reaction to the words I was transmitting for the rest of the bar. 'I'm pretty sure that, in another universe, I was Armsmaster.'

There was a brief confused moment where I wasn't sure what I had been doing. I looked over at Fleet, Survey, Tetra, Tybalt, and the Matrix and considered the impact of my new power. Then Aisha was back, settling into her seat while Survey turned to me and transmitted a silent message.

'Aisha briefly activated her power in order to scream confused obscenities at the bar without causing a disruption.'

"Damn right I did. Now, do you want to explain the fuck that means?" She asked, managing to play things casual with her body language while carrying a strained tone in her voice.

'I just got a tinker power.' I replied. 'Like, a normal tinker power, complete with quirks and specialization. As far as I can tell, it's the same specialization as Armsmaster.'

"Okay, but there are similar tinkers out there. Similar capes. Hell, you have the whole 'Alexandria Package' thing. I don't get how this means you were Armsmaster. Or a version of you was, or whatever."

'The power came with a set of gear. Some of it's tools and lab equipment, but there's combat gear as well. Halberds and basic armor.' I replied, then felt the duplicates take over the announcement.

'It looks like what Armsmaster was using just before he became head of the Protectorate ENE. Same principles in the armor and same designs on the halberds, only everything is sized for us. Exactly fitted, actually. Could be some kind of adaptation effect, but everything about this power is pointing towards Armsmaster.'

Aisha sat back in her seat. "Well fuck. This is a big shakeup, right? In terms of all that multiverse stuff? What does it mean?"

'It means a high-level miniaturization ability coupled with specialization in nanotechnology was gained immediately following the finalization of the generation four nanobot design.' The Matrix transmitted. 'It is immediate and complete obsolescence.' They looked over at Fleet and Survey's bodies. 'For all of us.'

Aisha glanced at the Matrix. "Is that true, or are you still just sore about the state of this place?"

'I could make a better bar than this.' They looked around at the dingy atmosphere. 'I could BE a better bar than this! Three-micron-thick nanobot shells would be able to emulate this entire establishment. With better drinks. And service!'

I noted the waitress circling towards us with her pad and pen. Apparently the drop in activity from shifting to direct transmissions had convinced her we were ready to order. 'It's impolite to make statements like that about our hosts before you've given them a chance.' I transmitted back. The Matrix replied with grumbling acceptance, coupled with the implication that an exhaustive report would forthcoming, a stance that was agreed upon by Survey while Fleet nodded in amusement.

As the waitress approached I let my mind drift to the ability that had come paired with my tinker power. It was called Outside Context Problem and provided the simple effect of blocking all power-based precognition. Complete and instant protection, granted shortly after I had figured out how to do the same thing on my own. The power was still useful, taking stress off my anti-divination items and allowing me to focus more on misdirection, but that wasn't what drew my attention.

The power was phenomenal, but given the threat that precognition represented I wouldn't have felt safe unless it specifically guaranteed protection against the Simurgh.

It specifically guaranteed protection against the Simurgh. And Scion, and someone named Contessa. Upon hearing that name my passenger's interest spiked and it only took some minimal effort to put things together. The reaction was the same as what I'd experienced when warning Weld about investigating the origin of the Case 53s. Whoever Contessa was, she was deeply connected to them. And connected to a lot of other things from the feel of it. There was an undoubtable sense of relief that came from this protection. A critical defense locked in and guaranteed by direct fiat rather than divine construct.

There was just one problem, and he was sitting across the bar from me. One other cape had been mentioned along with Scion, the Simurgh, and Contessa. Coil. Specifically, whatever Coil's power was, this ability couldn't disrupt it.

That wasn't to say the man in the overly tight body stocking was more dangerous than an Endbringer. That had been a very real concern and my passenger had quickly put that to rest. No, his power wasn't stronger than the Simurgh, but it was more robust. Harder to fool, more difficult to subvert. Something about it gave him an undeniable advantage, one I needed to be cautious of even with all my power.

What's more, Coil was making a play. He was going to push for something at this meeting, something significant. With Coil and the Undersiders in the same room, with Tattletale's warnings about the strength of their boss's thinker power, and with my passenger's confirmation the pieces came together. Pieces that I probably could have sorted days ago had I not agreed to leave this matter to Tattletale.

Coil was the Undersiders' boss. He was the man in the shadows, looming over Tattletale and acting as a persistent threat to Taylor. A threat to both Taylor's role in preventing the end of the world, and whatever dangerous mission she had gotten caught up in. Another thing I had no information on and was leaving to someone else to sort out and hope for the best.

That was a policy that couldn't stand. Not anymore. I have left behind any chance of that when I elected to bring the entire crew. I wasn't a lone wolf anymore; I was staking myself as a real player. And, as a consequence, I had to play. The days of sitting back and waiting for things to play out were over. The Time constellation missed a connection as I turned and smiled at the waitress.

There was no going back to the old days of hiding in my Workshop. It was time to act.

Jumpchain abilities this chapter:

Parahuman - Tinker - Miniaturization and Efficiency (Worm) 400:

It seems that you've triggered, and gained some rather impressive powers. This is optional, you can go without becoming a parahuman if you wish. Although that means you won't be getting any impressive new abilities to help keep you alive in this world. You can only have a single parahuman power. Powers adapt to whatever capabilities you already have. Taking them into account and ensuring you can use your parahuman abilities in sync with them. Assume any potential incompatibilities are handled appropriately to allow a power to still perform its intended function. All powers may be toggled on or off, and you understand their nature and how to use them instinctively, if not necessarily all the different ways they could be applied creatively.

Tinker: Whereas other parahumans get the power to do incredible things, Tinkers get the ability to build incredible things. Tinkers essentially have a database of extremely advanced scientific data and technology in their heads, letting them build and create things far ahead of their time. This data follows a certain theme, whether that be bombs, efficiency, vehicles, or otherwise which defines what their power lets them build and work with. Tinkers need resources, time, and effort to do what other parahumans can do casually, but they are incredibly adaptable, able to show up to the next fight able to completely shut down opponents that were untouchable in their last encounter, all because they can build the right tool. Within their specialty a Tinker can build nearly anything they can imagine. Tinker abilities seamlessly integrate any such knowledge of technology and science you possess, meaning you don't have to make any extra effort to use your powers along with any other tech based perks you might have. The knowledge you gain is basically the collected science of hundreds of advanced civilizations within your area of expertise. You don't necessary have the capability to process and sort through it all at once, but your power will continue to feed you data and knowledge relevant to your endeavors and what you're building.

Miniaturization and Efficiency - You can miniaturize anything down to levels that any sane man would consider impossible. A fusion reactor the size of a watch battery would be the absolute minimum of what you are capable of, and you'd be able to make it far smaller than that. Your power also makes you a master of technological efficiency, anything you make needing barely any energy to run compared to what it should and continue to do so for a very long time. These specialties also make you a master of nanotechnology and similar pursuits. Of course you aren't barred from building something big like a giant robot, just that it'll be impossibly efficient and crammed full of more weapons and subsystems then should be possible.

After this jump any powers are now part of you instead of your shard/passenger, and its connection is severed completely. All other shard limitations are released, even if you stay, letting Tinkers mass produce their tech, precogs see the Entities and Endbringers, etc. This doesn't enhance your power, only removes things like the Manton Limit that held it back before. The same applies to your companions and anyone you bring with you.

The inability of other people to properly maintain Tinker-Tech is simply because a Tinker's shard is hard coded to make it so anything they build is too complex and advanced to learn how to properly do so in any reasonable time frame. Like trying to teach cavemen how to build and maintain modern day computers. A Tinker completely understands the science behind what they have built, but would have to write a massive document to properly explain the maintenance procedures. After this jump this is no longer a problem and you can make things that are easily maintainable and mass producible by others, with the caveat that it doesn't do away with the normal issues of trying to do so. Like said caveman example up above. You can design things to make it much easier, with your power helping instead of hindering.

Tinker abilities give you an insanely large and advanced database of scientific knowledge and superhuman skill at employing it, all within their specialty. Your power will always mean that within this field you'll learn, innovate, and improve in superhuman ways, growing beyond what you start with. This scientific information can be spread and taught just like anything else you know, others simply don't have your impossible skill and talent at it.

It's up to you on how powers budding off works in your jumpchain. Whether they do, or don't, or there are limits to it. You don't personally control this, but you can fanwank whatever you want. Your Jumpchain, not mine. For those of you who aren't familiar with Worm, people close and somehow important to a parahuman will have what is known as a Second-Gen Trigger. Unlike First-Generation triggers these only require very little stress, and result in powers that are similar if different to the original parahuman. A single Third generation trigger was confirmed in canon, happening to a five year old.

Powers do grow with time and use, but this only expands already present parameters, it doesn't allow the development of new ones. Range, area, precision, strength, etc all increase, but your power only does what it could always do better, not gain entirely new capabilities. For example Skitter's range for her bug control expanded with time, she learned to comprehend more of her bug's senses properly, and her bugs began acting with perfect coordination to her desires with nearly zero effort on her part.

Outside Context Problem (Worm) Free:

It'd be boring if you were to just die right at the start so for free you'll have a selective immunity to the powers of a few rather nasty plot device level opponents that by all rights would probably want to kill you right out of the gate. Contessa, Ziz, and Zion's precog doesn't seem to be able to pick you up, instead returning a zero-sum error whenever they try to force the issue. They won't notice this until you garner enough attention for them to try and then they might take further measures to see what the problem is. But at the moment you'll be safe from being instantly killed due to the threat you pose to their plans. This works on all shard/entity derived precog. Your peculiar inter-dimensional nature just messes up their ability to predict you. Coil is an exception due to the weird nature of his power.

Tinker-Tech Cache (Worm) Free:

You get a decent sized cache of Tinker-Tech whose nature is up to you. Whether you want a large variety of computing and programming devices, an armory full of futuristic guns and weapons, or maybe just a ton of Tinker tools for your personal use. There is nothing crazy in here, but even basic Tinker tech is far more advanced than anything on modern earth. If you have a Tinker ability you get one purchase of this free for tech that corresponds to your specialty, giving you more than enough to get started. Note: Even the worst Tinker-Tech is hundreds of years ahead of modern day earth, and the samples you get here aren't bargain bin by any means, just not anything earth shaking.