Disclaimer: "The coward dies a thousand deaths, the brave but one'... (The man who first said that) was probably a coward... He knew a great deal about cowards but nothing about the brave. The brave dies perhaps two thousand deaths if he's intelligent. He simply doesn't mention them."

- Ernest Hemingway, A Farewell to Arms

The Coward

Showing more courage than he'd shown at any moment before in his life, Greg pushed his way through the crowd to the locker and frantically began trying to force it open.

"Taylor!" he screamed. "I'm gonna get you out, I promise I'm gonna get you out!" The boy's eyes stung as every muscle in his body was dedicated to a single task.

"What the fuck do you think you're doing, dweeb?" an angry voice demanded.

Greg felt a hand on his shoulder pulling back and with barely a glance, he responded with an elbow to the face. "Stay calm, Taylor! I promise I'm gonna get you out!"

"Du boke by dose," Sophia mumbled in shocked disbelief. "Du mudder fudder!"


PHO: Brockton Bay: VoidCowboy's last post.

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XxVoid_CowboyxX (Original Poster)

If you're seeing this, it either means that I messed up and forgot to push the timer back on my scheduled post or because I died. I really hope it was the second.

I don't know how I died, could be any one of a thousand things in Brockton Bay, but I hope that It was something badass like getting roasted alive by Lung rather than choking on a pizza roll or something. I guess it doesn't matter. What matters is why I made set this up to post on a twenty four hour timer that I reset every night and why I've been adding to it for the last year and a half. I guess the best place to start is at the beginning.

Hello, my name is Greg Veder and I am a coward.

One of the first things my dad taught me is that a man has to be willing to die to protect what he loves. By his definition, I am not a man.

Bugs Bunny said that a coward dies a thousand deaths and a hero dies just one or something like that. I think he probably got it from somewhere else but that doesn't matter. What matters is how true it is. I was a coward a hundred times, maybe a thousand, maybe ten thousand times and every night after I just lay there wishing feeling miserable and withing that I was dead. Every act of cowardice made it worse to the point that I'm glad that this post is up. I hope it was because I decided to do the right thing for once.

I met a girl when I was in the sixth grade, my first day of middle school She was my first friend, the only friend I've ever had. She had a friend before she met me, her best friend Emma that was out sick with the chicken pox or something so she missed the first couple weeks of class. As pathetic as it sounds, those two weeks are . . . were I suppose, the best of my life. I had a friend and she told me that when her other friend came back then we could all be friends. Emma came back and decided that I was gross and I lost my only friend. I think that normal people would find new friends but I'm me and that didn't happen. I decided to pretend like we were still friends even after she made it clear that she wanted nothing to do with me but I held onto that happiness. I pretended that we were still friends, I pretended like we played video games together or watched movies or all the things I imagined friends would do.

It's not easy being alone, I needed something to get me through the day. It's why I posted here, I could pretend that you were my friends. I know the truth but sometimes a happy lie is better than a harsh truth.

Something changed when we, the three of us, my pretend friend and Emma and me got to High School. Emma changed, she wasn't just mean to me she started being mean to my pretend friend too, as if their friendship meant nothing. She, Emma Barnes, and two other girls, Sophia Hess and Madison Clements started bullying my pretend friend. It got bad, I wrote some statements and signed them and they're attached below and copies are being sent to every member of the school board and the police and everyone else I could think of in hopes that someone might do something.

Me? I didn't do anything to stop it, I was too afraid to help the girl I imagined was still my friend because I was afraid that they'd start treating me like they treated her or that they'd get someone to beat me up. Because of that, I can no longer pretend that she's my friend because a real friend would have been willing to risk anything to stop it. But, as I said before, I am a coward and I am not a man or a friend. I am the lowest sort of scum imaginable and I deserve whatever happened to me.

I hope someone stops the bullying before something happens to my friend of two weeks. I hope that she lives a long and happy life and I hope that she never thinks of me again. I wish I would have had the courage to tell her that I'm sorry or that I had the courage to tell my dad that I'm sorry for not being the man he wanted to become. I didn't measure up as a man, as a son, or as a friend. Maybe the next life will be kinder?

Below are signed statements of what I saw and every other bit of information I could find.

Attachment Attachment Attachment Attachment Attachment Attachment Attachment Attachment Attachment Attachment Attachment Attachment Attachment Attachment Attachment Attachment Attachment Attachment Attachment Attachment Attachment Attachment Attachment Attachment Attachment Attachment Attachment Attachment Attachment Attachment

Green Eggs and Shaft

Holy shit! I think Void just made a real post.

Tube Rat

Assuming he didn't get hacked.

King Butterfly (Verified Cape)

The attachments seem legit. I am passing this on to a contact in non-parahuman law enforcement.


Nina Veder spared the patients a glance as they were rolled into the ER. Patient one appeared to be a Juvenal female covered in filth with visible injuries to both hands. Patient two was harder to classify, she guessed male due to his clothing and hair style, severe injuries to the face rendering him unrecognizable.

"What happened?" she asked, following patient two as the gurney came to a stop.

"Patient one got shoved into a locker filled with filth," the EMT reported. "He." The man gestured to the kid on the slab. "Tried to stop it and the crowd did not approve."

"Alright." She watched as the orderlies cut off his clothes. "I want-" the woman froze, eyes locked on a birthmark on the patient's right thigh.

"Nurse Veder . . . Nurse Veder . . . NURSE VEDER!" one of the orderlies tried to get her attention.

"No!" She screamed, stumbling back. "NO! Where did you get them?"

The EMT took a breath. "Winslow."

"NO! NO!" She disagreed.

One of the other ER nurses rushed over. "Nina! Nina, what's wrong!"

"That's my son," Nina Veder sobbed, eyes locked on the boy's ruined face. "That's my Greg! That's my Greg," she finished almost too low to hear.


PHO: Brockton Bay: VoidCowboy's last post.

Page 33 of 41

Spoon Doggy

My cousin goes to Winslow. They said that two students left in an ambulance today, one was named Greg Veder.

Sling Load

Can Confirm that there was at least one ambulance in the area. I work nearby and I saw it headed towards Winslow.

Beat Street Strawberry

Any details on what happened to them? The way schools are these days I wouldn't be surprised if it was nothing serious. Kid gets hurt, kid gets transported because you're afraid the kids parents will sue you otherwise.

Hippy Clown

School nurse would dump iodine in my cuts and tell me to go back to class. Kids today are soft, they don't know how good they've got it.

Flavor Fink

I've got a police scanner. Two counts of attempted murder.

Beat Street Strawberry

Well . . . that escalated quickly.


Taylor woke slowly. Everything was out of focus, one of her hands felt like it was tied to something. She looked around in a daze, it felt like her brain was wrapped in cotton.

"Is she going to be okay?" she recognized her father's voice. It was filled with concern, it sounded like he cared. She must be dreaming, it sounded like he started crying when she said as much.

"Physically," a girl's voice said harshly. "Mentally isn't my problem. Next?"

"Here please," a woman's voice said, it sounded scratchy.

"Nurse Veder?" the girl's voice said in surprise.

Taylor tried to look but all she could make out was a white blob.

"This is my son," the woman said, sounding broken. "My only child."

Bored of the direction her dream as going, Taylor put her head back down. Maybe she'd wake up or get a better dream if she went to sleep?

There were less people in the room when Taylor woke up again. From what she could make out, she appeared to be in the same place. Maybe her dream hadn't been a dream? She wondered.

"Awake again?" the strange woman from before asked, sounding tired.

"Where am I?"

"You're in a hospital room. Would you like me to get you your glasses?"

"Yes, please," Taylor agreed. The world became clear a few moments later. "What happened?"

"Do you know my son?" the woman walked over to the other bed in the room and took a seat.

"Um." She squinted at the figure on the bed. His? Face had tubes going into every opening. "Maybe? I can't really tell what he looks like."

"Greg Veder," the woman said. "Do you know him?"

"Yeah," Taylor replied, feeling a little uncomfortable that she was being forced to share the room with him. "We go to the same school. Why?"

"Did you offer to be his friend when you both started middle school?" the woman asked, ignoring her question.

"I . . . maybe?" Taylor replied, unsure how to answer the question.

"He says that you stopped being his friend after your other friend started going to school." The woman's eyes were locked on her son's face. "Still, you were a better friend to him than I was a mother so I . . ." The woman's jaw clenched. "So thank you for that, he often thought back on those days."

Feeling uncomfortable, Taylor surreptitiously started reaching for the call button. "You're . . . you're welcome?" she said slowly, hoping not to draw more of the obviously insane woman's attention.

"Taylor?" Her eyes shot to the room's entrance and she was relieved to see her father frozen in the door. "You're awake."

"Dad? What happened?"

"Wait here," her father said, he stepped out of the room for a couple minutes and returned with two men in cheap suits. "Okay, little owl." He licked his lips. "I want you to tell these men everything that happened and to answer all of their questions. Okay? This is really important."


DM: XxVoid_CowboyxX → GStringGirl

I set this up to send if I didn't reset it. I don't think that I'll be able to reply if you're reading this.

There are no girls on the internet. I don't know if you're one of the rare ones or if you've been catfishing me and I decided that I don't care. I don't care who you are or what you look like or anything, all I care about is that you were there for me. Thank you for being my friend or at least the closest thing to a friend that I have to one.

Image In case you were wondering what I looked like. I hope you find happiness.


Taylor felt drained when the police were done asking questions. She didn't have much hope would come of it, at best she figured that she might get a week or so reprieve while her bullies waited for the heat to die down.

"Do . . . do you want something to eat?" her father asked, looking like he wanted to be anywhere but in the room with her.

"Sure," Taylor agreed, giving him an excuse to leave her.

"I'll be right back," he promised.

She turned her head so that she didn't have to watch him go. Blinking back tears, she looked around the room. The crazy woman was still there, staring at the other patient and stroking his hair. It took a moment for her to recognize the boy on the bed, he looked different without the creepy grin he always had on his face around her.

"What's Greg doing here?" Taylor demanded. She wondered if she could ask for another room since the thought of having to share space with him for even just a few days was unbearable.

"He got hurt trying to get you out of the locker," the woman said, seemingly not noticing her tone. "He was so badly beaten that I didn't recognize him when he came in."

"Oh." She swallowed, feeling guilty for her thoughts about the boy. "When's he gonna wake up?"

The woman shrugged. "Maybe in a minute, maybe in an hour, maybe in a day or a week or a year," the woman sighed. "Maybe never."



DM: GstringGirl → XxVoid_CowboyxX

Is everything okay?

DM: GstringGirl → XxVoid_CowboyxX

Don't do anything crazy, please. If you need to talk to someone, please talk to someone. Don't do anything crazy.

DM: GstringGirl → XxVoid_CowboyxX

Please answer me.

DM: GstringGirl → XxVoid_CowboyxX

I'll send you a photo.

DM: GstringGirl → XxVoid_CowboyxX

Please, just let me know that you're okay.

DM: GstringGirl → XxVoid_CowboyxX

I saw your post. Give me your phone number and we can talk, please don't do anything to hurt yourself.

Sveta stared helplessly at her monitor. Why wasn't he answering her? She'd been sure that her offer of a photo if nothing else would get him to reply. Her mind shied away from the obvious answer, that he wasn't answering because he couldn't.

The girl took a deep breath and let it out before hitting the call button to summon an orderly.

"What is it?" the voice was muffled by her room's armored door.

"I need help," she said, trying not to cry. "I think one of my friends is going to hurt themselves."



Emily's teeth ground together as she listened to her subordinates give their report on the shit storm her problem child had brewed up.

"Any indication that the victims know Stalker's identity?" she demanded.

"Not at this time, ma'am."

"Have a couple agents pose as local PD with a stack of paperwork to sign," Piggot ordered. "Tell all involved that it's to do with their case and it's needed and slip an NDA in the stack. Tell them it's standard procedure if they notice it."

"Yes, ma'am. What should we do with Shadow Stalker?

"Confine her to base until I have a chance to trade her for someone else," she ordered. Hopefully her new ward would be better than the one they replaced. "Tell her that I'll give consideration to her preferences if she cooperates and doesn't cause any trouble."

"Understood, ma'am."


Thomas considered the news. On the one hand, it represented the perfect opportunity to have Emily removed from her position. On the other, he had wanted to have a bit more time to prepare before he made the jump. Decisions decisions.

Coil keyed the intercom button. "Call Mr. French, tell him that I need him to draft a letter. Call Mr. Boothe, tell him that I need him to tell me how much money one could reasonably expect a high school student to have saved. Tell them both that I will receive them in an hour to give the details of their assignments."


PHO: Brockton Bay: VoidCowboy's last post.

Page 45 of 51

Hippy Clown

Found a couple videos the stupid little fucks made of the whole mess. LINK LINK LINK

I won't say bad stuff didn't happen in my day, stuff as bad as this even, but at least we weren't stupid enough to film ourselves doing it for the police.

Harlot Quinn

Copies downloaded and sent to the BBPD and the press.

Donkey King (Unverified Cape)


Savage Tree

As a savage, I take exception to that comparison.

Fish Catting

I couldn't watch, had to stop a few minutes into the first one. Why is he trying to get into the locker?

Harlot Quinn

There was a girl locked in it with a bunch of nasty shit. He was trying to get her out.


Carol's eyebrows rose when she saw the odd looking envelope in her mail. It looked like a fan letter, they had a service to take care of that sort of thing so why wasn't it screened out before it got to her?

She picked it up and noticed that it had a sticky note on it stating that the envelope contained US currency and a request that she provide legal representation for a third party. Why in the hell hadn't they returned it or had it sent to her firm? She wondered, turning the envelope over in her fingers.

She pulled the letter out, dislodging a stack of mixed notes and another envelope. She skimmed it, apparently some kid wanted her to sue the school on behalf of his crush. She snorted, the allegations were disturbing but hardly the sort of thing- she froze when she came to the part that stated that one of his crush's main tormentors was a Ward and the following statement that said that her identity was in the inner envelope. Now this? This was something interesting. Well, assuming that the boy was telling the truth anyway.


PHO: Brockton Bay: VoidCowboy's last post.

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The IIIIs Have it

So I'm gonna start by saying that this is a throw away account. LINK has proof that a ward was involved in the Winslow murder attempts. Who wants to bet that the PRT and the Protectorate do their very best to sweep this all under the rug.

MOD NOTE: This is on the line of a rules violation. You did not out a Ward but you posted a link to a source that did. I am going to leave this up for now because it seems like this is legitimate public interest in the fact that a Ward was using her status to hide crimes committed in her normal life. That may change after the other Mods and I discuss this matter. Consider this a warning and a notice that you may get banned in the future.

White Viking (BANNED)

MOD NOTE: Let's keep the racism out of the forum, shall we?


Piggot's face was red with rage when she slammed her phone down. Her problem child wasn't content just dumping a fucking mess in her lap, no, she had to get sloppy and out herself. Now trading her away was gonna be a bitch and a fucking half.

Her phone rang again. "What!" Piggot's jaw tightened. "Yes, Chief Director." Her rage increased at the woman's words. "Understood, Chief Director." This time she slammed the phone down so hard that she broke it.

The useless chair warming bitch in Washington thought that she could scapegoat her? Fine! They wanted her out, they could fucking have the job, she decided. But if they thought that she was going to go quietly then they were in for a very unpleasant surprise.

She eyed the remains of her phone for a few moments before pulling out her cell. "Stan? It's Emily Piggot. When can we meet?" She smiled. "Cause I've got a story for you, that's why." Her smile deepened. "Yeah, they're fucking me with that. Would you like to know the rest of the story?"


Doctor Mother did not outwardly react when Alexandria stormed into the room and shot a glare at Contessa. If she'd have known that damned vial would keep the woman a perpetual teenager then she'd have dumped it down the nearest drain before she let the then petulant teen have a sip.

"I've been fired as Chief Director!" she whined.

Contessa nodded. "That does not significantly change any of my paths."

"Why didn't you stop them?" Alexandria demanded. "You could have but you didn't and now I'm losing my job."

Doctor Mother sighed. "Your body double spent more time in your office than you did. She also did all of the paperwork associated with the position."

"It was mine and you let them take it from me!" Alexandria repeated, glaring at Contessa.

"Any path to prevent it would interfere with your experiment," the thinker stated calmly. "You instructed me to avoid all paths having to do with Brockton Bay."

"I didn't mean this!" Alexandria whined, sounding like a petulant teen. "I would have wanted you to interfere if I'd known that it would make me lose something."

"I see." Contessa met the brute's eyes. "There is no path available to fix this. What would you like me to do?"

"Who was responsible for me losing my job?"

"Thomas Calvert is the one who leaked Shadow Stalker's identity," Contessa replied.

"Kill him," Alexandria demanded.

"He would be more useful in one of the cells," Doctor Mother pointed out.

"Fine," Alexandria huffed. "But I get to be the one to make him cooperative."

"That can be arranged," Doctor Mother agreed. "Was that all you needed?"

The woman spun on her heel and stormed out of the room.

Contessa spoke. "Your experiment to place parahuman in positions of power does not appear to be bearing fruit."

"It does not," Doctor Mother agreed. "Alexandria is a micromanager, Legend is either willfully blind or a simpleton, and Eidolon only cares about being in charge because he thinks it brings him more attention."

"Would you like me to path a way to end this experiment?"

"No need," Doctor Mother decided. "They still have their uses. Worst comes to worst, well, it's only one world at risk."

AN: And that's all I wrote.